The Survival Mindset – Mistakes to Avoid

A friend brought to my attention an insightful BBC article entitled What Not to Do in a Disaster. Below I’ll share highlights. Read the full article by clicking on its title.

A quote sums up the main point. “Survival is less about heroic actions than avoiding mindless mistakes.”

Experts note people don’t often make good decisions when under the pressure a disaster brings. Brain fog can hit each of us. Many times survivors make it through a plane crash or earthquake in spite of themselves.

The trick is knowing what not to do when the chips are down.

Here’s what usually happens. Notice how closely related these points are.

  1. Freezing, or doing nothing. It’s a surprisingly natural response.
  2. Inability to think. We may not be able to think through or remember our options fast enough to take action.
  3. Tunnel vision. We become locked into thinking a certain way. Our focus is too narrow.
  4. Staying stuck in routine. We want to do the things we’re used to. An example would be grabbing for our wallet even when leving our burning house. New situations are taxing, and doing the routine seems to free up mental space for dealing with the new situation.
  5. Denial. We want to ignore the danger or we can’t believe it’s happening. We’re not able to accurately assess the risk.

With these points in mind, what should we do?

  • Have a plan.
  • Practice what you need to do to survive.

The article concludes by noting good luck sometimes enters the picture.

I prefer to think of it as divine providence.

But don’t count on that. Prepare to the best of your ability now, both physically, mentally and spiritually. Hopefully, you can avoid the mistakes most of us are prone to make.

Remember, think survival.

FANGS! Snakes In The Hood

Editor’s note: Capt. William E. Simpson told me that the CDC and many state poison control centers are being swamped with calls about snakebites. Since this could be of concern to each of us, he submitted the following article as a public service.

Capt. Bill is the author of The Nautical Prepper and Dark Stallions – Legend of the Centaurians, and has been my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. He occasionally contributes articles here for DestinySurvival. – John




Author Capt. William E. Simpson displays the fangs of a Pacific Rattlesnake; its deadly venom is seen dripping off the wire.


Looks like it’s shaping-up to be a particularly bad year for rattlesnakes and snakebites here in the Pacific Northwest and across America as many news stories are now reporting; here’s one:

In fact, we killed 7 rattlesnakes so far just in May around the homestead (here in Siskiyou County, CA) and seen one I let live (seen in the photos in my ‘Mr. Grumpy’ article: read here:–again.php).

When these pit-vipers (rattlers) are operating in close proximity to people, homes, pets (horses & livestock) accidents can and do happen. In these cases where a venomous snake presents an unacceptable ‘danger-close’ risk, I prefer to eliminate the risk by killing the viper.

Here’s two rattlers (photos below) that my wife Laura killed just 15-minutes apart in her bird garden yesterday (Friday May 26th). She was wearing flip-flops when she noticed the first one that appeared a few feet behind her. So after killing it using a few rocks, she got her boots on and when she returned to finish filling the bird feeders (15-min.) there was another one waiting.


Twin Rattlesnakes

Of course, my buddy Mr. Gnome (in photo above) isn’t impressed, he sees-em all the time… he lets anyone into his garden parties.


Then, a little later the same day, Jack our trusty McNab dog started a warning bark; he had found another rattler in the driveway… this one was even bigger… maybe 4.5 feet.

And the season has just begun! Families who are planning on spending vacation time at the lakes, rivers and streams (places with water) should maintain an extra careful lookout over children and pets. Like most other snakes, rattlesnakes absorb most of the water they need from their prey. It’s usually their prey that requires the water. However, venomous snakes maintain habitats in the mountains, forests and in driest areas as well, such as the deserts of Eastern Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and yes, Southern California.


Snake Venom

When I pulled the fangs forward, venom begins to flow.


Large Rattler


A large male rattler (photo above) is seen hiding in my wife’s rock garden near the bird feeders/water. This well-camouflaged snake remained unseen by my wife even when I pointed to it. The heat sensing pits on the snakes nose are easily seen (black colored pits)… and allow the snake to strike and hit warm blooded animals with deadly accuracy.

Depending on variables of temp and humidity, Rattlesnakes are most active during the hot days of summer early in the day from around 7:00-11:00 AM and then again early evening from around 4:00PM through sundown and early evening. They spend a lot of time around areas that attract rodents (chicken coops, bird baths and feeders, barns, areas of litter and garbage, etc. Because rodents do require water, and the snakes know this instinctively, places where there is water and food suitable for rodents are prime real estate, and snakes like to lay waiting in nearby shady places in ambush.

The Pacific Rattler is fortunately not as deadly as many other poisonous snakes in America. South and southeastern CA, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada have numerous species of rattlesnakes, including some areas there, which have been known to host the Mojave-Green Rattler, whose venom contains both a hemotoxin and a neurotoxin… a devastating combination!

The Pacific Rattler’s hemotoxin poses an additional threat to folks who are taking blood thinners, and therefore, requires special attention. Attending EMS personnel and doctor(s) should be made aware of any drugs that have been taken during the intake process for snakebite.

As many folks know, I grew-up in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon where we had our fair share of Pacific Rattlesnakes. And I have collected and studied snakes as a hobby for decades, so I have extensive experience handling and dealing with them, meaning; don’t mess around with any snake unless you have the knowledge and experience! Handling any venomous snake, even when it is dead is extremely dangerous and should never be done except by expert handlers.

Folks with questions, feel free to contact me via my email contact form.

Snakes are mostly beneficial, so unless you have a rattler near pets, livestock or the house, don’t kill them; they eat mice and rats, which do a lot of property damage and spread disease.

It’s interesting to note that many snakebites are instigated by inexperienced people attempting to kill a snake.


Capt. Bill with Bullsnake

Capt. Bill with a beneficial gopher snake.


Capt. Bill with Dispatched Rattlesnake

A 5’4″ viper (Pacific Rattlesnake) above; one of the largest Bill has dispatched in Nor. CA/OR…


Snake's Buttons

It had 12 buttons… second most, behind a larger Rattlesnake that had 18.


Have a safe and fun Summer!


Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
More about the author here.


The Tyranny Of A Cashless Society Coming?

Editor’s note: It’s becoming more convenient to pay for items without cash. Technology has made some incredible advances. And electronic currencies appear to be with us for some time to come.

But another aspect of a cashless society calls for our attention as preppers. And it may not be what you’d think. The following is food for thought from Capt. William E. Simpson.

He is the author of The Nautical Prepper and Dark Stallions – Legend of the Centaurians, and has been my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. He occasionally contributes articles here for DestinySurvival. – John


After governments abolish cash in useful denominations, then governments will likely focus upon eliminating personal and commercial commerce through the use of compact high-value commodities such as gold and silver, a natural progression if $100-dollar bills are taken out of circulation in the United States.

People today who are living in the legacy of the Obama economy already need a fist-full of $20-dollar bills just to buy a week’s supply of groceries. And it’s easy to spend $400/week on fresh groceries for two people, especially if you buy premium products and organic.

If we consider the increasing trend, where banks, institutions and big retailers are regularly hacked, combined with I.D. theft, digital commerce and credit cards aren’t all they’re cracked-up to be, and in reality are posing an ever-increasing level of liability on all levels through their use.

Like many people, I am a careful person when it comes to digital commerce, yet nonetheless had two of my credit cards hacked (twice in the last 4 years); one time by a supposedly reliable online retail company, another time when I rented a trailer. And both times, it required an incredible amount of time, police reports, phone calls, etc. just to get back to square one and get my money back. But my own experience was just one of nearly 18-million Americans who suffered from some form of I.D. theft in 2014 alone.

‘Digital commerce’ is very problematic and is not the panacea that companies and government want the public to believe. And the relatively few people who may ultimately control all of the digital wealth of Americans, will virtually have control of all the people in a cashless society. This results in a definite loss of freedom and liberty.

There are many, many other ways for law enforcement to hammer criminals and curtail their enterprises, if that is truly the goal. But any method that inhibits or erodes the freedoms of Americans in any way, including limiting or infringing upon person-to-person commerce and personal privacy in any manner is to be shunned and counter to the intents and spirit of our beloved U.S. Constitution.

Digital currency transactions in lieu of cash, would allow virtually 100% tracking of all Americans, including law-abiding citizens and all that we do. We have already learned over the past 8-years of the Obama led government that governments don’t necessarily work-for or even represent the will of the People. So how can anyone justify giving the government this much power over Americans? There is no such justification.

The vast majority of Americans are not criminals, and therefore any action by government that affects or targets the vast majority of people, in order to deal with a small factional percentage of criminals in the population is manifestly unfair. Politicians simply need to do the jobs they are being paid to do, and come-up with anti-criminal tactics that strictly focus upon the bad actors, not the majority of law-abiding Americans, instead of suggesting that the removal of cash is necessary to deal with criminals. It is just a convenient lie.

If the minds behind a cashless society are allowed to have their way, America would become little more a monumental ant-farm, where the elitist-class studies Americans to a much greater extent than ever before; how we move around, what we do, use, eat, watch, listen-to, and then using this deeply insightful personal information, potentially plot how to control everyone. Things like; if we’re allowed to be born (abortions already control this to some extent), how long we get to live, and what we are allowed to do in between… Orwellian yes, but true nonetheless.

Here’s a video that should be alarming:

Brazil played-around in past decades on many occasions with re-issuing, devaluing and recalling currency to limit amounts of currency in circulation: And the Marxists paid close attention to that exercise.

However, India’s currency games are more immediate and could have a sinister effect, since they are already a socialist state and we know how fond socialists and communists are of controlling all aspects of their populations. One might assume that India is merely executing a plan similar to what may soon be in the works for Americans?

I have to say, that it’s looking like living in the countryside on a piece of land that provides sustainable sustenance and provides a firewall from a population that may recoil and strike-out in anger sometime soon is the only viable path to surviving past what may be an ugly and austere potential future. Anyone who cares to look at the news these days will see riots, murders and unrest all around inside the United States, a result of numerous factors, not the least of which is the rise of the ‘Deep State’.

Even as much as most Americans admire and respect President Trump, the Marxist-socialist momentum that has already metastasized in America might be too much for him and his team to overcome? Our new President definitely needs our continued strong support more than ever.

Smile and pray for the best, but adequately prepare for the worst.


Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Member: Authors Guild

The Last Wizards

Editor’s note: What are our prospects for the future in a “dumbed down” society? Who among us will have what it takes to survive when the grid goes down?

Capt. William E. Simpson sheds light on these questions in the following article.

He occasionally contributes articles for DestinySurvival. He’s the author of The Nautical Prepper and Dark Stallions – Legend of the Centaurians, and has been my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. – John


If we traveled into the city, any city In fact, and tested the knowledge and skills of average people on the street who grew-up with the Internet, it would be shocking to learn that the majority of these people don’t have even the simplest knowledge or skills needed to survive for a couple weeks in the wilderness, let alone for months or years. Or for that matter, survive for a week without any technology off-grid in the wilderness.

Today, we find that most of the people who grew-up with the Internet believe that all they need or want to know about almost anything can be found on the Internet using a handy electrically powered device, such as a smart-phone. And they have become largely dependent upon the Internet for their knowledge base, as opposed to memorizing key information, as was the paradigm of the past. The result is that many people of the Internet generation have a very limited understanding of science, and have little to no applicable skills related to the sciences. This also applies to the world around them and is evidence by the fact that most cannot correctly answer even the simplest questions as seen in some of the on-street interviews that have been conducted by Mark Dice. The foregoing isn’t about berating anyone; it’s to showcase how ill prepared these people are for any kind of life without the Internet and the support of the government and business in order to just stay alive in the cities of today.

On the other hand, people who lead rural lifestyles far from the cities are by necessity able to provide for their own needs on a normal day-to-day basis. They have the skills and knowledge that give them the unique ability to live in a sustainable manner in remote rural areas. But these people only make-up about 10% of the total population. The other 90% of Americans live in the cities and urban areas.

Prior to the advent of the Internet (pre-1990), people had to learn skills and memorize knowledge. For instance, how many people do you know personally that can rebuild the engine or the transmission from your car, other than a professional mechanic? How many people can milk a cow or a goat, make fire with just the things found in nature, identify any of the stars in the sky overhead or navigate through the wilderness without a compass or GPS? Not many I would guess. Of course there are many other skills that would be necessary for survival without technology during a long-term national crises, such as during the aftermath of a collapse of the national energy grid. And cities will be the most hostile of places to attempt any sort of survival, even on a short-term bases.

Few people realize that if the national energy grid collapses (aka: ‘grid-down event’), the odds of ever re-energizing the grid are small at best and would result in a pre-industrial revolution (‘dark age’) in America for decades. Adding to complexities of attempting to repair and re-energizing the grid are some critical facts that are easily overlooked.

The key power transformers that would be damaged on the national grid, for which there are no spares laying around, take months to custom-build and are made overseas. Under ideal circumstances (with power) these building-sized transformers require months to install if you have the highly-skilled people and supporting logistics available at each of the dozens of damaged sites. But many of these people would likely succumb to all of the chaos and carnage post-collapse, resulting in the loss of the relatively very few technical personnel who had all the intrinsic know-how to re-energize the grid.

It wasn’t too long ago when many people had a host of practical personal skills accompanied by a wealth of memorized knowledge that was available to them without the need for a device to access the Internet to ‘look stuff up’, a crutch that is heavily relied upon by most millennials today. Other than the local library, the human brain was the storehouse of knowledge, and numerous practical skills were taught from 7th grade through high-school.

For instance, classes in gardening, first aid, electronics, metal and wood shop, drafting, welding and auto-shop were common classes provided up through the 12th grade prior to 1990. The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts actually provided hands-on training in all the woodsman skills, which are hard to find today. The 4-H and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) taught American youth critical agricultural and animal production skills. These skills are now rarities in today’s American technocratic society, where at least 81% of Americans live in cities.

If we envision the predicted post-disaster America as a place where there is no electrical grid then the ramifications of that are grim at best. Without power society loses almost everything is has come to depend upon and in the process, the thin veneer of civility peels away revealing the savageries of the human survival instinct. Without power, there is obviously no light or ventilation in any building, there is no fresh water coming out of the pipes, no functional sewage systems, no functioning hospitals, no refrigeration, no fuel, no transportation systems, no Internet or cell phones, and only very limited short-wave radio communications. How would the masses of people survive? The simple answer by the people who have studied this issue in great deal is that, most people will die.

The sad fact is that, according to a commission appointed by Congress, about 90% of Americans would perish within 12-months of an EMP attack, solar event or computer-hack on the national energy grid. The result of which is that nothing powered by the grid would continue working. And the damage can also extend into many devices that are connected to the grid when it fails, so even if temporary alternate energy sources are available, these devices are also useless. Furthermore, according to the same blue-ribbon commission, the odds of bringing the grid back online after such an event are slim to none, even after two years. So the question arises, who would be surviving after two years?

I have not written this article to scare people; what’s the point in that? I have written this article to help Americans to wake-up to the fact that if they fail to prepare properly now while it’s possible, then they will be facing the ugly situation that has been presented in a candy-coated manner. Make no mistake, things would be far worse than can be cited herein.

The government is pathetic in its approach to taking effective actions against this very real probability, and have failed in every respect to properly inform and educate the People of the United States so they at least have the option of doing something for themselves.

In the aftermath of such a grid-down national disaster and after it has taken its full toll upon the population, there will be very few people left alive who have a deep-well of knowledge and complex skill sets. And because of their knowledge of many things unknown to others, it may very well be that these individuals will become the last Wizards.

All of that said, I’m not one to just showcase the risks without offering a solution, or in this case, a survival strategy. Here is an article that provides both some strategy and tactics that would allow some people to vastly increase their odds of surviving such upheaval.

Bliss is not derived through ignorance, it comes from being aware and prepared.


Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Member: Authors Guild


What Are Your Prepping and Survival Goals for the New Year?

Setting prepping and survival goals sounds noble and good, doesn’t it? Perhaps you’ve resolved to set some.

But new year’s resolutions have become a laughing matter. Many of us say vague things like we’ll eat less and lose weight.

The problem is we make generalized statements and don’t set definable, reachable goals. It’s easier to do than you might think.

But the holidays always throw off our normal routine, so we’re not always thinking as clearly as we might. And if you carry that mindset through the year, you’ll be caught off guard by events that could develop unnecessarily into crisis situations.

Start today and take 15 minutes to dream and plan your prepping goals for the coming year. Keep them small and reachable. Start with just three things, and you may find yourself adding a couple more when you begin to think about it.

Do you need more than 15 minutes? Perhaps you’ll want to take 15 minutes each day for a week to figure out your goals.

Suppose you decide to add a month’s worth of storage food to your survival pantry. How much is a month’s supply for your family? Do you want to buy it from the supermarket, long term food storage companies, or a combination of those?

Take the 15 minutes mentioned above to write your answers down and follow a plan. Will you add X number of canned items when you go grocery shopping? Will you set aside X dollars each month for long term food storage purchases?

This may seem complicated or overwhelming at first, but you’ll think of practical questions and ways to work things out once you put your mind to it.

Before long you will have achieved your goal. It may surprise you to find you’ve accomplished it sooner in the year than you expected. Can you do it again? If it’s April, you’ve got until the end of December to start adding another month’s supply of storage food.

If finances are a problem, there are plenty of books and Web sites to give you guidance, such as those at Living On A Dime. But the simplest way to start digging out of a debt hole is to pay down small bills first. When you knock each one out of the way, you can go to the next one and chip away at it, and keep moving forward.

You’ve heard the old sayings. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Or a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

But then something comes along and scuttles your plans. Life happens. Still, where would you be if you didn’t have goals to start with? Can you get back on track?

The ironic thing is prepping itself means planning for disruption. If you and I didn’t anticipate trouble, why would we bother prepping for survival in the first place?

But what if The Big One comes along? What if you have to leave home for several days or weeks to get out of the path of a hurricane? What if you want to escape days of erupting violence where you live?

Why not take your 15 minute daydreaming time to think of possible disastrous scenarios and how you and your family would face them? Is that too scary to contemplate? It’s best to be scared now if it means you’re taking steps toward preparedness.

Does every member of your family have a bug out bag or go-kit? If not, one of your goals should be to see that everyone is equipped with one.

Remember, when setting goals, be specific. Make sure your goals are definable and reachable. If you look back this time next year and you haven’t met them all, don’t worry. Take satisfaction in the progress you did make and keep moving forward with goals for the next year.

For now, just get started.


A Few Thoughts on Giving Thanks, No Matter What

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18, King James Version

I’m not big on holidays, but I do enjoy Thanksgiving. Not just because of the food, but because it’s a time to take a breather and simply give thanks to God for the many blessings we have.

The past few years haven’t been easy for many of us. And it looks like things aren’t getting any better for some time to come. Our country didn’t get in the mess it’s in overnight. Any attempts to turn things around won’t happen overnight either.

I’m not going to suggest we sugar coat things and say things are better than what they are.

We get needed perspective on thankfulness from the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in the Scriptures. Notice that the verse says, “In everything give thanks.” It doesn’t say “For everything give thanks.”

Nonetheless, no matter what the situation, it’s possible to find something for which we can indeed be thankful. If nothing else, take time to be thankful for the basics–shelter, clothing, food and water.

Most of us in America live quite well compared to many people in poorer countries. We have a more comfortable lifestyle than our ancestors who lived 150 years ago or more.

Granted, it may not always be this way. As a prepper you know that.

But this isn’t just about material things. Be thankful you’re alive to read this right now. Each new day is a gift. In fact, as long as you’re breathing from minute to minute, you’re surviving, and there’s hope.

So remember, in everything give thanks.

Prepare for…Disruption

Why do we set aside storage food and make provisions to have clean water? Why do we stock up on ammunition for our firearms?

Because we’re preparing for some kind of disruption. That after all is what’s at the heart of why we prepare. If we didn’t anticipate any change to “normal” life, why would we do any of this?

The big question is what form that disruption will take.

But I have a bigger question for you.

How well do you personally handle disruption?

As I write this, I’ve recently come through an eye operation on my right eye to relieve glaucoma pressure. It involved implanting a small tube or valve. This wasn’t a simple in-office laser procedure. The surgeon did quite a bit of knocking around inside my eye.

Recovery has meant…

  • Doing a few things differently.
  • Taking things at a slower, deliberate pace.
  • Recalling past experiences and lessons learned from previous eye surgeries.
  • Reprioritizing.
  • Adapting to a new normal, which changes from one day to the next.

I remember going through something similar when I broke my left ankle back in 2007. Circumstances are different, but the mentality of adaptability called for is the same.

And that’s where we fail or succeed at survival.

Any number of events can be disruptive. It may be a hurricane or flood that disrupts your life in a major way. Or it may be something as small as losing battery power in your smart phone for a few hours. It’s the scale of the disruption that varies.

If we’re to have a survival mindset, we need to know there are a lot of things that can’t be dealt with well, no matter how much storage food we have put by.

And it makes a huge difference if you’ve got a support group or community to support, encourage or help in some way.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised and uplifted by the number of people who have prayed for me and expressed well wishes as I’ve gone through my eye surgery and recovery. I’m thinking of people in my family, at church, my blog readers and subscribers to the DestinySurvival Dispatch, and members of a writers’ group I belong to with members spread all over the country.

Support, whether direct or indirect, is a blessing. And it provides incentive to return kindness to others in their time of need.

I’m reminded of ANTS (Americans Networking to Survive), the group founded by Timothy French. See what I wrote about one of his visits to DestinySurvival Radio here. It’s not merely about passing along needed survival supplies. It’s ultimately about caring for one another.

But before you tune me out for getting too sentimental, let me return to the question of how well you handle disruption.

Once there’s been an incident, no matter what the scale, who says life must return to the way it was before? Maybe it never will. Are you ready for that?

Or maybe you’ll be able to do a few things that are “normal” while things are being set right.

How ready are you for making compromises? How ready are you to accept the “new normal” and keep moving?

If you can do those things, you have a shot at survival, come what may.