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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Collapse Catalyst: Solar Storms

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com was one of the early groups that discounted the potential for Solar Storms to wreck havoc on our infrastructure. However, after having reviewed several sources concerning the potential for solar storms to precipitate a infrastructure disaster, we now think we have to take the threat seriously.

Analysis of the Threat:

Source: http://www.prisonplanet.com/massive-solar-storm-to-hit-earth-in-2012-with-force-of-100m-bombs.html

Astronomers are predicting that a massive solar storm, much bigger in potential than the one that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month, is to strike our planet in 2012 with a force of 100 million hydrogen bombs. Several US media outlets have reported that NASA was warning the massive flare this month (August 2010) was just a precursor to a massive solar storm building that had the potential to wipe out the entire planet’s power grid. Despite its rebuttal, NASA’s been watching out for this storm since 2006 and reports from the US this week claim the storms could hit on that most Hollywood of disaster dates – 2012. Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale. The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.

"The general consensus among general astronomers (and certainly solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years," News.com.au quoted astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke as saying. A bold statement and one taken seriously by those it will affect most, namely airline companies, communications companies and anyone working with modern GPS systems.




Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0609/Solar-storms-to-erupt-soon.-What-will-be-the-impact-on-Earth

The sun is about to get a lot more active, which could have ill effects on Earth. So to prepare, top sun scientists met Tuesday (8 June 2010) to discuss the best ways to protect Earth's satellites and other vital systems from the coming solar storms. Solar storms occur when sunspots on our star erupt and spew out flumes of charged particles that can damage power systems. The sun's activity typically follows an 11-year cycle, and it looks to be coming out of a slump and gearing up for an active period.

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," said Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss."

People of the 21st century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. But smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A major solar storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina, warned the National Academy of Sciences in a 2008 report, "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts."


Source: http://www.solutionsfromscience.com/

John Kappenman and other experts have discovered a shocking secret of the sun; a solar cycle that produces magnetic storms so powerful they can literally turn our electric grid into a giant antenna, funneling enough power down the lines to fry sensitive and critical components like transformers.

And when those transformers go, experts say it may take as long as 10 years to replace them all. That's because there are only a few firms-mostly foreign-that make these sensitive and expensive grid components, and even more worrisome, there's already a 2-3 year waiting list.

Unfortunately, the protective bill passed by the US House of Representatives has been hijacked in the Senate and is unlikely to be passed in its original form, leaving our national infrastructure naked and defenseless. This means that when the electromagnetic storm hits, and experts agree it is a matter of when, not 'if', the backbone of our electrical system will be fried.

Threat Counter-Measures:

Assumptions – power solutions of a total collapse of the electrical grid cannot be primarily based on the use of fossil fuels as an collapse of the electrical grid would drastically effect all modes of transportation and therefore fuel availability as well as some percentage of crude oil previous destined for gasoline and diesel production would have to re-directed for use in power generation and heating that previous was received through the electrical grid.

How to keep the lights on when the grid goes dark:




What threat to our country is so great that the US House of Representatives voted unanimously to fund protection measures? Something so dangerous to the very foundations of our nation to unite people like socialist Dennis Kucinich and libertarian leader Ron Paul?

The answer will frighten you.

Neither you or I can do much about that, but what we can do is take some steps to keep the lights on in our own homes. Portable solar power generators like the Powerhub 1800 provide enough electricity to power your basic household needs and are separate from the grid and so therefore won't be effected by the solar storms that could ravage the grid.

The key to off-grid living and self-reliance has always been to detach ourselves from dependence on public infrastructure, and the Powerhub 1800 gives you just that; true energy independence. With two 150 watt solar panels, you can harness the power of the sun to keep your food fresh, preserve your medicines, power emergency devices and communications equipment, or just keep the lights on after dark. It's like having your own personal backyard power plant... one that will work cleanly and quietly even if the grid as we know it does collapse.

Check out Solutions from Science at the upper elft side of this page, or click here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - by Dave Grossman (LTC, USA) Ret

Long but good read from Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

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. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

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. But 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."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers- athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf
appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can
accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...

"Baa."

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Lessons Learned from Katrina

Possibly the best real life Urban Survival example, since the Great Depression, that we can draw lessons learned from is Hurricane Katrina and aftermath of this devastating storm on the greater New Orleans area.

The aftermath killed almost 1,500 people; flooded 80 percent of the city; 70 percent of all occupied housing was damaged; and, over 150 billion in total damages.

These are my observations.

Alot of people died needlessly. They waited too long. Granted they received misleading information from the local government and the local/state government were way too slow in communicating the scope of the impending disaster to the population. People and government just did not have a plan. So the Lesson Learned here is that YOU must have a plan. It must rely on your ability to read indicators. It must rely on your ability to execute. If you have a survival group and they are going to rally at your location or a mutual third party location, consider actions and plans after this that are achievable without all planned parties. They may just not show up.

You cannot count on U.S. Government assistance. This was a pretty small collapse type scenario after all. Only the Greater New Orleans area was damaged. Imagine if this was a natural disaster or a nuclear detonation event or a total power infrastructure collapse over an area five time the size or even larger? The Government would be exponentially slower to respond with less assets per given size of area. Lesson Learned. You are responsible for yourself. Do not count on the Government. If they provide help fine,...just don't count on it,...not in a timely manner and not at all.

On Tuesday morning the storm was over and the Sun came out. With it came looters and killers. Much earlier than anyone ever predicted. Most government experts thought the majority of looting and criminals acts would not start until several days after the storm subsided, but again this was not the case. Lesson Learned. You absolutely have to have the ability protect yourself and your family. I have said it before and I'll say it again,...Survival is a Team Sport. You need a group to survive. A group of people who are alike minded, prepared, equipped and who share the same morale values you have. Choose wisely and equip yourselves. You don't need squad automatic weapons. You need some serviceable firearms with a decent amount of ammunition on hand. I would think that a rifle and handgun for each adult person in your group with one hundred rounds of ammunition per firearms would be a minimal,...a very minimal amount. Some weapons are more preferable than others, but you have what you have. Shotguns would be a good choice of a "special" weapon. Great for defending entry points against massed intruders. Stock buckshot, slug and birdshot for it.

We all saw the Katrina video footage of a very fat lady refusing MRE's from the National Guard on or about Day Four. "I don't want this shit!" Most of us laughed, knowing that MRE's wouldn't be out favorite choice either. But actually they are good eating, decent nutrition and were free to boot. The Lesson Learned here is don't make yourself dependent upon others for food. And this include after the food run outs, you need to be able to grow and procure your own food. In fact, right after I post this, I am going to vacuum pack another bucket of white and brown rice, black and pinto beans, dried split peas, beef bullion cubes, salt, garlic powder, and powdered chicken soup.

Some people were rescued or otherwise made their way to the Superdome where one of the main government care and relief centers was set up (precursor to FEMA camps?). There they were disarmed and some became further victims of criminal elements that were uncontrolled in this facility. Lesson Learned. Never give up your guns! Enough said about that.

Katrina postscript. Five years later, the post Katrina population of New Orleans is still 100,000 less than it was at it's peak, pre-Katrina. There are still almost 64,000 unoccupied buildings or homes in New Orleans, up from less than 20,000 pre-Katrina.. Violent crime which stood at 948 crimes per 100,000 population in 2004 have risen to 1,019 per 100,000 (2008 data).

Be prepared. Be prepared for everything.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Survival Chronciles of Jim - Chapter 17

Last weekend I cached the Survival Equipment and Material that I was talking about in my last Chapter: 22 LR revolver; 200 rounds of .22 LR ammunition; Sharpening device for my knife and hachet; Pack of 8 “AA” rechargeable batteries; Package of 8 boxes of wooden matches; Small gun
cleaning kit; one pair of Green 5.11 pants; Extra t-shirt and Sweatshirt; two small emergency ponchos; and, the #10 can of Vegi-Max Heirloom from EarthWaveLiving.

I still had alittle room in my second PVC container, so I also dropped in a three pack of butane lighters and a one quart Army Canteen with canteen cup.

Makes me feel much better to have these caches in place. This new cache, which I am calling my August Cache, is at a different location than than the February Cache. Actually, I got a little lazy on this one and emplaced just over a little hill about 100 yards of the dirt road leading to my cabin, but it is still at a location that cannot be seen from the cabin in case the cabin is occupied by somebody when I Bug Out to here and have to retrieve the cache surreptitiously (that's mmeans in a sneaky manner).

I also received the case lots that I ordered of (6 #10 cans) of Chili Mac and Scrambled Eggs with Ham from EarthWaveLiving, as well as another #10 vaccumed packed can of Vegi-Max Hierloom Garden Seeds. Not counting other food I have, these EarthWaveLiving cases will provide me at least 60-75 days of meals just by themselves. This order is earmarked as my Urban Survival supply of food and is going to stay at the house (my Urban Survival location) with me to support the time I stay here after a collapse, and, combined with the canned goods in my pantry and stored rice and beans, I think I could last 4 months if I had too. If I add another survivor, like my son or Neomi, then those 4 months will be cut in half.

What a far distance I have traveled since late last year. I got to read read UrbanMan's last post on Hyper-Inflation just before he posted it and it is scary. I have quite a bit of money tied up into real estate, bonds and mutual funds. I am going to have to re-think where I keep that money and be prepared to move it once the indicators are slapping me in the face. The signs don't look good, but I still have hope that a economic disaster can be averted.

Reading Urban Man's posts on Intelligence for Survival situations, I have introduced myself to several previously un-met neighbors and wrote those people's names on my neighborhood map that I made using a National Geographic Topo mapping program. I gave some of my squash that I had grown away to an old couple and to an older women living alone, as an introduction and to start building rapport,...plus to get rid of excess squash!. When I visited these people nothing gave me the indication that they were prepared for a collapse.

That's going to be a hard thing to control, and that is the need or want to help people who can't help themselves. There are also a group of four young college students in one rental house who seemed polite enough and maybe they would be an asset,....maybe not. The interesting thing is that the old retired couple have an above ground pool they keep filled for when their grandkids visit. It could be an emergency water source.

At one the corner houses leading up my dead end street, is another lady in her late 40's or early 50's who works for a bank. She has a old Chevy Suburban next to her car port. Thinking that it may make a better Bug Out Vehicle than my Toyota Rav 3, I asked her if it was for sale. She told me it was her ex-husband's re-building project and doesn't expect to hear from him again but isn't going to sell it as she has no title. So I took that as it doesn't run, but I was looking at with it's four good tires and thought at the right time I could roll into the street and create an barricade when needed. People coming down the street will now have to walk and my house is the last house.

So, I'll continue compiling an Intelligence picture of my neighborhood and the people. I'll make it a point to get to know all the people and their ideas, capabilities, etc. This is my first version of my situation map as UrbanMan calls it.


Lastly I looked at some AR type rifles at a gun store. Just not going to commit to one of those just yet,...hope I don't regret it. For now, my Walther .22 handgun, 12 gauge shotgun and Mosin-Nagant rifle are going to have to do.

You all be safe. And don't be insulted if I hope all this Survival prepping we are all doing is for naught.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Hyper-Inflation Predicted and Explained

This is part of an article by Gonzalo Lira, entitled "Hyperinflation, Part II: What It Will Look Like", the entire article can be read at: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-hyperinflation-part-ii-what-it-will-look

My apologies to Gonzalo Lira, but I decided to post only a portion of it as it gets fairly technical and I think UrbanSurvivalSkills.com readers are more interested in the indicators and the effects of Hyperinflation, rather than the technical market reasons.

I argue that Treasury bonds are the New and Improved Toxic Assets. I argue that, if there was a run on Treasuries, the Federal Reserve—in its anti-deflationary zeal, and its efforts to prop up bond market prices—would over-react, and set off a run on commodities. This, I argue, would trigger hyperinflation.

There are two issues that many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around, with regards to a hyperinflationary event. These two issues are an greatly increased money supply, hence deflating it's value, and, a big increase in the price of commodities while equities, real estate and other assets fall:

“Where’s all the dough gonna come from?” After all, as we know from our history books, hyperinflation involves people hoisting bundles and bundles of high-denomination bills which aren’t worth a damn, and tossing them into the chimney cause the bundles of cash are cheaper than firewood. If the dollar were to crash, where would all these bundles of $100 bills come from?

The second issue was, Why will commodities rise, while equities, real estate and other assets fall? In other words, if there is an old fashioned run on a currency—in this case, the dollar, the world’s reserve currency—why would people get out of the dollar into commodities only, rather than into equities and real estate and other assets?

Apart from what happened with the Weimar Republic in the 1920’s, advanced Western economies have no experience with hyperinflation. (I actually think that the high inflation that struck the dollar in the 1970’s, and which was successfully choked off by Paul Volcker, was in fact an incipient bout of commodity-driven hyperinflation—but that’s for some other time.) Though there were plenty of hyperinflationary events in the XIX century and before, after the Weimar experience, the advanced economies learned their lesson—and learned it so well, in fact, that it’s been forgotten.

During the period 1970–’73, Chile experienced hyperinflation, brought about by the failed and corrupt policies of Salvador Allende and his Popular Unity Government. Though I was too young to experience it first hand, my family and some of my older friends have vivid memories of the Allende period—vivid memories that are actually closer to nightmares.

The causes of Chile’s hyperinflation forty years ago were vastly different from what I believe will cause American hyperinflation now. But a slight detour through this history is useful to our current predicament.

To begin: In 1970, Salvador Allende was elected president by roughly a third of the population. His (Allende’s) election was a fluke.

He wasn’t a centrist, no matter what the current hagiography might claim: Allende was a hard-core Socialist who took over the administration of the country, and quickly implemented several “reforms”, which were designed to “put Chile on the road to Socialism”.

Land was expropriated—often by force—and given to the workers. Companies and mines were also nationalized, and also given to the workers. Of course, the farms, companies and mines which were stripped from their owners weren’t inefficient or ineptly run—on the contrary, Allende and his Unidad Popular thugs stole farms, companies and mines from precisely the “blood-thirsty Capitalists” who best treated their workers, and who were the most fair towards them.

One of the key policy initiative Allende carried out was wage and price controls. In order to appease and co-opt the workers, Allende’s regime simultaneously froze prices of basic goods and services, and augmented wages by decree.

At first, this measure worked like a charm: Workers had more money, but goods and services still had the same old low prices. So workers were happy with Allende: They went on a shopping spree—and rapidly emptied stores and warehouses of consumer goods and basic products. Allende and the UP Government then claimed it was right-wing, anti-Revolutionary “acaparadores”—hoarders—who were keeping consumer goods from the workers. Right.

Meanwhile, private companies—forced to raise worker wages while maintaining their same price structures—quickly went bankrupt: So then, of course, they were taken over by the Allende government, “in the name of the people”. Key industries were put on the State dole, as it were, and made to continue their operations at a loss, so as to satisfy internal demand. If there was a cash shortfall, the Allende government would simply print more escudos and give them to the now State-controlled companies, which would then pay the workers.

This is how hyperinflation started in Chile. Workers had plenty of cash in hand—but it was useless, because there were no goods to buy.

So Allende’s government quickly instituted the Juntas de Abastecimiento y Control de Precios (“Unions of Supply and Price Controls”, known as JAP). These were locally formed boards, composed of loyal Party members, who decided who in a given neighborhood received consumer products, and who did not. Naturally, other UP-loyalists had preference—these Allende backers received ration cards, with which to buy consumer goods and basic staples.

Of course, those people perceived as “unfriendly” to Allende and the UP Government either received insufficient rations for their families, or no rations at all, if they were vocally opposed to the Allende regime and its policies.

Very quickly, a black market in goods and staples arose. At first, these black markets accepted escudos. But with each passing month, more and more escudos were printed into circulation by the Allende government, until by late ’72, black marketeers were no longer accepting escudos. Their mantra became, “Sólo dólares”: Only dollars.

Hyperinflation had arrived in Chile. One of the effects of Chile’s hyperinflation was the collapse in asset prices.

This would seem counterintuitive. After all, if the prices of consumer goods and basic staples are rising in a hyperinflationary environment, then asset prices should rise as well—right? Equities should rise in price—since more money is chasing after the same number of stock. Real estate prices should rise also—and for the same reason. Right?

Actually, wrong—and for a simple reason: Once basic necessities are unmet, and remain unmet for a sustained period of time, any asset will be willingly and instantly sacrificed, in order to meet that basic need.

To put it in simple terms: If you were dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, would you give up your family heirloom diamonds, in exchange for a gallon of water? The answer is obvious—yes. You would sacrifice anything and everyting—instantly—in order to meet your basic needs, or those of your family.

So as the situation in Chile deteriorated in ’72 and into ’73, the stock market collapsed, the housing market collapsed—everything collapsed, as people either cashed out of their assets in order to buy basic goods and staples on the black market, or cashed out so as to leave the country altogether. No asset class was safe, from this sell-off—it was across-the-board, and total.

Now let’s return to the possibility of hyperinflation in the United States:

If there were a sudden collapse in the Treasury bond market, I argued that sellers would take their cash and put them into commodities. My reasoning was, they would seek a sure store of value. If Treasury bonds ceased to be that store of value, then people would invest in the next best thing, which would be commodities, especially precious and industrial metals, as well as oil—in other words, non-perishable commodities.

Some people argued this point with me. They argued many different approaches to the problem, but essentially, it all boiled down to the argument that commodities and precious metals have no intrinsic value.

Actually, I think they’re right. In a strict sense, only oxygen, food and water have intrinsic value to human beings—everything else is superfluous. Therefore the value of everything else is arbitrary.

Yet both gold and silver have, historically, been considered valuable. Setting aside a theoretical or mathematical construct that would justify the value of gold and silver, look at it from a practical standpoint: If I went to a farmer with five ounces of silver, would he give me a sack of grain? Probably. If I offered him an ounce of gold for two or three pigs, would he give them to me? Again, probably.

Where there is a human society, there is a need to exchange. Where there is a need to exchange, a medium of exchange will soon appear. Gold and silver (and copper and brass and other metals) have served that purpose for literally millennia, but then they were replaced by paper.

Right now, there are two forms of paper currency: Actual dollars, and Treasury bonds. One is a medium of exchange, the other a store of value.

If Treasuries—the store of value—were to collapse in price, people in a Treasury panic would buy commodities. This ballooning of non-perishable commodities would be as a means to store value. Because that’s what people do in a panic—they batten down the hatches, and go into what’s safest. And this rush to commodities, I argued, would trigger hyperinflation.

Now, I said I would answer two questions—one was why commodities would outpace all other asset classes in a Treasury panic and subsequent hyperinflation. The other question was, “Where’s all the dough to feed my fireplace gonna come from, in a hyperinflationary event?”

The first wave of dollars in a hyperinflationary event will come from people’s savings accounts.

If Treasuries tank, and the markets all barrel into commodities, then prices will rise for regular consumers—this should not be a controversial inference. What would consumers do, with suddenly much higher gas prices, and soon much higher food prices? Simple: They’ll bust open their piggy banks, whatsoever those piggy banks might happen to be: 401(k)s, whatever equities they might have, etc.

But if the higher consumer prices continue—or become worse—what will happen to the 320 million American consumers? They’ll start buying more gas now, rather than wait around for tomorrow—and the market will react to this. How? Two way: Prices of commodities will rise even further—and asset prices will fall even lower.

If American consumers are getting hit at the gas station and the supermarket, they’ll start selling everything so as to buy gas, heating oil (most especially) and foodstuffs. The Treasury panic will thus be transfered to the average consumer—from Wall Street to Main Street by way of $15 a gallon gas prices, and $10 a gallon heating oil prices.

All other consumer prices would soon follow the leads of gas, heating oil and food.

Would there be Federal government intervention of some sort? Most definitely—people would be screaming for it. Would food rationing be implemented? Probably, and probably by way of the current Food Stamps program. Troops on the streets, protecting gas stations and supermarkets? Curfews to prevent looting? Palliative dollar printing? Yes, yes, and very likely yes.

That last bit—palliative dollar-printing: That’s the key. When palliative dollar-printing happens, it will be the final stages of hyperinflation—it’s when sensible people ought to realize that the crisis is almost over, and that a new normal will soon appear. But this stage will be f@#$*^ awful.

Palliative dollar printing will take place when the Federal government simply runs out of options. The whole boatload of fools in Washington, on seeing this terrible commodity-driven crisis unfold, with consumer prices shooting the moon, will scream for dollars to be printed—and their rationale will be perfectly reasonable, I can practically hear it now: “We've got to get cash into the hands of the average American citizen, so he or she can buy food and heating oil for their families! We can’t let Americans starve and freeze to death!”

Now, this fairly Apocalyptic scenario is simply horrifying.

If Treasuries tank and commodities shoot up so high that they essentially break the dollar, civilization will not come crashing down into anarchy. At worst, there’ll be a three-four years of hell—economic hell. Financial hell. But then things will settle down into a new normal.

This new normal might well have unsavory characteristics. I tend to be a pessimist, and just glancing through history, I can see that just about every period of hyperinflation has been stabilized by some subsequent form of autocratic or totalitarian government. The United States currently has all the legal decisions and practical devices to quickly transition into an authoritarian or totalitarian regime, should a crisis befall the nation: The so-called PATRIOT Acts, the Department of Homeland Security Agency, the practical suspension of habeas corpus, etc., etc.

But as I said in my previous post, and reiterate here: Speculations about the new normal are pointless at this time. The future will happen soon enough.

What I do know is, One, a hyperinflationary event will happen, following the crash in Treasuries. Two, commodities will be the go-to medium for value storage. Three, all asset classes will collapse in short order. And Four—and most importantly—civil society will not collapse along with the dollar. Civil society will stumble about like a drunken sailor, but eventually right itself and carry on with a new normal.

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com disagrees somewhat with Lira,...there is a good possibility that the "new normal" won't happen, and if it does, it may take much longer than a few years.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Intelligence Prep 301: Electronic Intelligence Collection Devices Part I

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com is continuing on with Intelligence support for Survival. Previously I have talked about general Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield and how it applies to Urban Survival; debriefing your own patrols; interviewing refugees and other people for intelligence information; and developing Situation Maps to maintain your intelligence perspective and situational awareness.

This post is Part I on using electronic devices to augment your intelligence collection. In my mind the two most effective electronic devices that are easy to use and can bring good intelligence and information benefits to your Survival Group in order to develop your situational awareness are Radio Scanners and Game Cameras. In this post, Electronic Intelligence Devices Part I, we will focus on Game Cameras.

Game Cameras are simply a combination of motion detector and digital camera. Which detect motion and will snap a photograph, a series of photographs or even a short video of the movement that triggered the motion detector.

Game Cameras can send pictures to a cell phone via wireless connectvity, or send the image or video to a computer terminal with a wirless radio signal. However these models of game cameras are fairly expensive.

I'm going to focus on Game Cameras less than or around $100, within the budget of most Survival Planners and Preppers. With these economy Game Cameras you will get the same range, pixel resolution however the images have to be downloaded from the cameras either using a USB cable or swithcing out SD Cards.

Not necessarily useful for monitoring six lane roads as the extended range required would be near the outer limits of the game camera, unless you used one camera on each side of the road, still these game cameras would certainly work on natural lines of drift, county roads, suburban streets or anyplace else you need electronic intelligence and surveillance devices to determine ectent of traffic...especially the two legged kind.

The series of segments depicted in the strung together videos below were taken with a game camera set up along the Arizona Border showing illegal aliens and drug smugglers - notice the burlap wrapped bundles of marijuana fashioned into back packs. This will give you an idea of the auaity of video these game cametras are capable of....as well as probable piss you off.



Moultrie D-40 Game Camera

With an infrared motion sensor with a range of 30 feet and 22 degrees, the camera delivers clear footage of moving game, day or night, with multiple operational modes. With an average battery life of 60 days, the Moultrie Game Spy D-40 gives you the ability to spy out the game even when you're away for days at a time. Adjustable elastic mounting cords make it easy to mount the camera in trees or other stationary locations. The camera responds rapidly with FDA Class 2 laser aiming and a passive infrared sensor that activates as soon as motion is detected. Pictures are clear and easy to read in full color day and night, with 4 megapixel images that can be shot in low, medium, or high resolution.

Auto mode activates the motion sensor, allowing you to leave the camera alone to capture images while you are not present. In automatic mode you have the ability to capture still images day and night with or without flash operation, 10-second AVI clips-video images during the daytime that will automatically switch to still photos with the flash in low light situations, and capture multi-shot images of up three shots. The camera is also equipped with a handheld-removable manual operation, and a setup mode that allows you to customize menu settings. The electronic flash can be set to automatic or in off-security mode. The flash range is from five to 45 feet.

Designed for multi-day, automatic use, the Game Spy D-40 has a built in memory of 16 MB of video and picture storage. Up to four GB of additional SD memory can be added. The camera images can be accessed via the 2-inch LCD display or output to a TV or a computer via USB. Imprints time, date and camera ID on every photo or video The camera imprints still and video images with date, time, and camera ID so that you always know exactly when the stand is active. Has an weather-resistant, airtight camera housing.

Moultrie D-55 Game Camera

Billed as high-end scouting equipment on a budget. Moultrie 's Game Spy D-55 flash scouting camera gives you a feature-rich game camera at an affordable price. Loaded with features including 5.0 megapixels, camouflage housing and much more. Possess rapid response time; a 50-ft flash; Infrared (IR) sensor for immediate game capture; Temperature, moon phase, time, date and camera ID on every photo; Color day and night pictures; Video clips during the day (5/15/30 seconds); Display showing battery life remaining, pictures taken and remaining, and delay timer; IR aim for quick and precise camera setup; Picture delay, set 1-60 minutes; Multi-shot pictures (up to 3 shots) with 5 seconds between multi-shots; Three picture resolutions to choose from; Two video resolutions; SD Memory Card Slot – up to 16GB; Includes weather-resistant casing, USB cable and mounting strap; External power port for optional Moultrie PowerPanel; Operates on 6 C-cell batteries.




Powering Game Cameras

You will have to have to ability to re-charge batteries or re-configure power supply to the game camera. Having the ability to recharge the larger D and C batteries wuld be important. Given the battery life on these Game Cameras, a modest supply of re-chargeable batteries would be needed. Please visit All-Battery.com for rechargers and rechargeable batteries options.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Urban Survival Book Review - One, by Conrad Williams


Since there are no real life Surviving the Collapse scenarios, other than short term disaster type situations and perhaps wilderness survival circumstances, we are regulated to reading fictional accounts of TEOTEAWKI/SHTF.

I read them these Post Collapse - Survival books as they serve a good purpose to the Survival Preparing community to present us with situations and examples for us to think about, learn from, plan for, ultimately prepare for if they are good, valid lessons.

In that vein, I ordered and recently finished the post apocalypse book "One – by Conrad Williams".

This book starts with an event, left identified, but similar to a nuclear holocaust or maybe even a meteor strike which find the main character Richard Jane barely surviving his deep sea diving job and intent on getting to London to find his 5 year old son and estranged wife.

This novel about post apocalypse in England is more of a tale of human suffering, both physical and emotional, with very little lessons to be learned or to be wargamed by today’s Survivor Preppers, other than to just prepare.

I had to struggle to get through the book and half way through, without so much as a tag line or date, the novel shifts to 10 years in the future with Richard still searching for his son and people eating bits and scraps of what has been left....until a crop of Zombie like, flesh eating creatures (called Skinners) start to appear and become a large threat.

This may good a decent novel for those you who like to read Sci-Fi type Monster stories, but not for the serious Survival Prepper trying to embed himself into a survival situation for lessons learned and wargaming problems presented. This book is like The Road, where the only lesson is the lesson to prepare well in the first place....maybe that's the lesson and I just couldn't see.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Intelligence 201: The Situation Map

Following on the Urban Survival Planning – Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield 101 of 14 August 2010, this post concerns with developing an operational intelligence capability for your Urban Survival Group.

Simply, if you don’t utilize intelligence information to plan operations, then you are planning in an intelligence vacuum and will greatly decrease your chances of success.

You should consider intelligence for two geographical areas: the Area of Operations (AOR) , which is the immediate area around your Survival Base that you can direct power to or directly threatens you; and the Area of Influence (AI) which the area outside your AOR that events or actions occur in and can affect you in the near future. An example of an AOR would be your street and maybe one street parallel to you in each direction, or how far you could observe and engage with small arms. The AI would be an area outside of your AOR which may include many blocks away and even miles away. Again the AI is defined as th area outside your AOR that events can occur in that may threaten or impact on your AOR.

An example of an event in your AI could be gangs or mobs looting homes, which once finished it is likely they would move in your direction. Another example would be routes into your AOR that refugees would travel once the inner city unraveled.

This goes back to Survival being a team sport. You have got to be organized, even if loosely. If you don’t get it done pre-collapse, you’ll need to do it post collapse but it will be harder. You need to have some type of connectivity with any people or groups around your AOR and AI, for information and intelligence sharing. Not only for intelligence and information sharing, but for mutual support as well. Consider, if you have enough radios, providing a trusted neighbor with a radio for contact at selected times to pass off information or to coordinate movement or support.

Your Survival Group may assign one member as the Intelligence Officer, but in any case you will need to collect, collate/sort and store information of anything of value which may include: empty houses; houses that have been looted or intentionally burned; dead bodies; water sources and conditions; sign of any activity especially threat groups; covered and/or concealed routes; concentrations of refugees; locations of possible material of value; and, anything that pertains to your safety and continued survival.

One of the best ways to collect intelligence and information is to conduct debriefs on people passing by or people who are remaining in their homes. Debriefing your patrols is vitally important. You can annotate this information on a Situation Map (SITMAP) or a series of SITMAPS, so you can keep the area situation updated.

The below imagery shows the patrol that the Survivors conducted, see post on Opn’l Planning – The Patrol Order, after they returned to Base and were debriefed. The information they collected gave them a better picture of the AOR and AI around their base. In the absence of being able to access computers and print new images or maps, you can make sketches or even use chalk on a painted or a cement wall.


I have both blown up 36 inch x 36 inch charts, laminated so I can draw on them with dry erase markers. I have both maps and imagery, and multiple copies so I can provide other individual or groups with the same map or imagery for the purposes of being on the same sheet of music when talking about or reporting locations.

I can annotate events and other information using pieces of yellow stickies or plain paper and scotch tape and post them to my map or imagery creating a SITMAP or situational picture of my AOR and AI.

It is also useful for operational planning such as deciding where to put obstacles in place, or to establish LP/OP's, etc.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reader Comment on the .45-70 Government

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following comment on the post "Urban Survival Firearms - Sniper Rifle Necessity?":
....Outlander777 says "Good article. I have been checking out your site and am getting some info from you. Thanks. I would like to say at my safe spots we determined to use the Shilo Sharps in 45-70. I can hit most anything I aim at with it out to around 500 yrds. A couple of my younger family members have taken to it and can do much more justice to the gun and it responds in kind. They are a brother and sister team when it comes to that gun, always trying to out shoot each other. The boy is an ex Marine and the girl just loves guns. She has been shooting since my brother could put a rifle into her hands. We have stocked several different rounds for it and as a back up are set up to reload it and all of our other weapons. It does help that we set it up to also reload it in original black powder form also. I would not want to be on the receiving end. They have a range card set up for it out to 1200 yards. The boy says at that range if he don't hit ya in the chest, he will blow your bladder out. :-)"

UrbanMan replies: Outlander, that's what scares the hell of the Liberals and what makes this country practically invulnerable to an occupation by foreign troops,...60 million plus gun owners!

A friend of mine owns a gun store and he related to me,..this story is 12 months old,...that a older gentleman came through one day and bought up all the store's .45-70 Gov't ammunition. Over $800 worth. The older gentleman told the store clerks that he was from Wyoming and was transiting a big loop through Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas in search of .45-70 ammunition. He didn't need any handgun ammunition as he believed only his .45-70 rifle. Reminds me of a saying that goes "Beware of the gent who only has one gun, as he probably knows how to use it well."

I respect the .45-70, but the round is pretty damn slow. Alot of drop at extended ranges, even with the lightweight bullets (around 305 grains). Hornady makes the Leverevolution ammunition in .45-70, which I have not tried, but I know the .30-30 load will give near .308 performance for those old deer guns.....probably greatly enhances the .45-70 also.

The great thing about shooting those old guns is the marksmanship skills one learns that is transferable to practically all long guns.

Anyway, sounds like you know what you're doing. Won't try to convince you to get something that feeds from a box magazine. Good luck to you and thanks for the comments.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Operational Planning: The Patrol Order

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com is continuing on with Urban Survival Operational Planning with the Patrol Order. The post the day before this post, outlined conceptual planning or developing the Concept of Operations (CONOPS). Which essential is a concept briefed to Survival Group members so their input can modify and refine that concept. Once that is completed, the mission planner plans the operation in detail and this results in the Patrol Order.

The Patrol Order is where details and contingencies are articulated. Remember PACE (Primary, Alternate Contingency and Emergency. The more procedures are standardized into a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) the less time it takes to plan and formulate a Patrol Order.

The Patrol Order format can look something like this:

Task Organization. Who is participating on the operation and how the unit is organized to complete the mission.

Situation.What is the general situation in the immediate area and expanded area. Consider the effects of weather and terrain also.

Mission. What are you going to be accomplishing (considering the 5 W’s).


Execution.
This is the detailed flow of the operation. Specific routes, actions and contingencies are planned for and briefed. This covers from launch from the Survival Base Camp through the mission and return.

Service and Supply. Equipment Common to All. Special Equipment and who will carry it.

Command and Signal. Chain of Command. The Communications plan, including lost or no communications plan. Verbal Passwords, authentications and visual signals are planned for as well.

Again, a sand table (terrain model), sketches and/or maps should be used to articulate the operational plan. This facilitates everyone’s understanding of the operation.

After the Patrol Order is briefed and understood, the Mission Leader may give the Patrol members some time to finish and finalize preparations, then conduct an inspection of the Patrol members to ensure everyone has the required equipment, and has minimized light and noise makers on their kit.

Rehearsals should be considered for any critical part of the operation.

The same Urban Survival Group from the post on CONOPS has already briefed the CONOPS, refined and modified the conceptual plan and is now ready to brief the Patrol Order.

Again, Jim is the mission planner and patrol leader for this patrol). Other members of this Survival Group include: Bob, John, Larry, Steve, Laura, Teresa and Sally.

Jim: “Okay everyone, this is the Patrol Order for tomorrow’s security patrol. “

“The Task Organization for this patrol is myself as Patrol Leader, Larry as second in command and Sally as patrol member and also serving as the patrol medic. Base Camp Organization is the five remaining Survival Group members, under John in command, with Steve as second in Command. Along with Teresa, Laura and Bob, this group will maintain security and conduct normal daily Survival Base Camp functions. While the patrol is out of the base camp, John will maintain two personnel on security manning the NORTH and SOUTH Observation Posts. “

“The Situation is that since we have come together here in my home for our Urban Survival Base Camp three weeks ago, we have ventured out in the neighborhood to see what the situation is. We have seen most of our neighbors pack up and leave. In fact, we have helped ourselves to the gasoline in the vehicles they left behind, as well some of the food they also left behind. We have heard sporadic gunfire, nothing to indicate pitched battles, but we just don’t know the extent of the situation. If there are alike organized pockets of survivors,…anyone who is need of medical assistance or even food. “

“Our Mission is to conduct a foot patrol around the neighborhood, beginning tomorrow morning at 0730 hours, following the route I have drew on the map, in order to: determine extent of remaining population; determine presence of criminal or threat elements based or operating nearby, if any; determine presence and/or make contact with any alike organized Survival Group; offer assistance to selected personnel in need; and, catalog any material, equipment or supplies that may be of use to us."

“OK, Execution of the Operation follows. The Patrol will depart here tomorrow at 0730 hrs, moving in a three person column formation. Larry on point, followed by me, then Sally as tail gunner. Interval will be 15 yards between Patrol Members in the suburbs; once we get into the woods along the power lines, I want to close up the interval to 10 yards. Standard Arm and Hand signals in effect”.

“We will move NORTH up Cedar Street then EAST on Oak Street, then parallel the State highway SOUTH to the power line, then parallel the power lines WEST to Jackson Blvd. We’ll established an Objective Rally Point (ORP) here one block away from Jackson Blvd, determine through observation and listening any activity on Jackson Blvd. From here we’ll determine the best route to approach Jackson Blvd. If it doesn’t seem safe enough, then we will observe activity on Jackson Blvd., at a distance from concealed positions. I really want to determine the status of the Dollar store one block NORTH of where the power lines cross Jackson, and, the Auto Zone store three blocks NORTH of that. “

“We then follow Jackson Blvd NORTH to Peterson Street, then EAST on Oak Street and come back into our base, no earlier than late afternoon and no later than sunset. Total distance is 8 miles and at no time should we be more than 1 mile away from the base."

Bob: “Jim, are you going to go into the Dollar Store or the Auto Zone, if it appears to be safe enough?

Jim: “No. Once we return and have a after operations brief on our Patrol, if it seems another Patrol specifically to enter and recover material from the Dollar Store or Auto Zone is in order, then we’ll plan a separate Patrol and most likely it would require five people so we could keep at least three outside in a security and observation role. Again, we will not be entering any store, that would require crossing Jackson as they are on the WEST side of the Blvd and pose too big of danger for only a three person Patrol.”

“If run into an significant threat element, we will break contact and return back to base attempting not to come straight back, but to break line of sight contact with any threat. If we find a residence that we think maybe occupied, we will hail the house from a covered position. We will be prepared to provide people with a radio FRS channel so they can talk to us on the radio, if they have one, rather than them or us exposing ourselves without any assurances someone will not shoot.”

“If we find someone who needs help and if it seems safe enough, Sally and myself will approach so Sally can determine needs and provide some medical treatment with me as near security. Larry will remain outside any structure or otherwise in a location to provide far security, early warning and covering fire.”

“We will be prepared to hole up if the threat situation requires it, but considering that then we will have our force split, so we won’t make this decision lightly. If possible and necessary we would move in darkness back to base.”

“Service and Supply. All three of us on this Patrol will carry rifle and handgun, at least 60 rounds for the rifles and three re-loads for the handgun; Basic Bug Out Bag to include individual medical kit, three days worth of meals in case we have to hole up someplace; Motorola Radio; and, six quarts of water. For Special Equipment: I'll carry a pair of the larger binoculars, Steve carry a smaller pair. I'll carry the small tool kit with screwdrivers, large and small crescent wrenches; Sally will carry the larger patrol first aid kit, with extra bandages, small one time use anti-biotic tubes and aspirin. We’ll all carry notebooks and pencils, but Sally will be the recorder for when we conduct observation from a static position."

“I have already briefed the Chain of Command for the Patrol as remaining here at Base. Again, we will communicate primarily using the Motorola FRS radios on Channel 4 with the alternate channel being Channel 12. All of us will have our radios turned on as we move. We will attempt to communicate with the base, every hour on the hour, once we depart the Base. If we haven’t made contact within 3 hours, then we’ll attempt to minimize any line of sight issues, gain some high ground and re-try communications. However, if the operation is unfolding well, no threat and such, then I will not abort the Patrol due to no communications, unless we hear gunfire from around the Base or we see any element, Threat or Non-Threat, moving towards the Base.”

“Our standard signals will be effect. Approaching the base at night or dusk using one person and three one-second blinks using a red lens flashlight every thirty seconds, until within verbal range, then we’ll go to challenge and password, which for tomorrow and until the Patrol returns will be the: Challenge - Disco Light and the Password – Helen of Troy.”

“In the event we are being chased back to Base, the running password will be Helen. In the event we are captured and forced to approach Base, under threat of death, the duress code will be the word ‘radio’ built into a phrase, other wise if we need to articulate or communicate the word radio, we use the word Motorola instead.“

“Any questions? No? Good. The Patrol will meet here tomorrow at 0630 hours for a quick breakfast and an inspection of gear and equipment, prior to the Patrol moving out at 0730 hrs. This concludes the Patrol Order.”

What occurred in the dialogue above was a Jim taking the CONOPS from earlier, developing a more detailed plan, then briefing it to the Patrol and rest of the Survival Group. Everytime this is done, it helps train the other members of the Survival Group in planning.

Read it again and see if Jim planned and briefed in all areas of the Patrol Order: Task Organization, Situation, Mission, Execution, Service and Supply, and Command and Signal. What do you think he missed?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Operational Planning: Developing the CONOPS

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a comment on the post that was answering a question on the Case of the Coming Collapse...."Anonymous said... Hey Urban Man - really like that stuff on military planning. Can you do some more survival collapse oriented planning?"

UrbanMan’s reply: Operational planning skills are a necessity. Some people are natural planners and organizers. Others have to have a process and that is where keywords, checklists, and formats come in handy. In a simplified manner, if someone remembers to address the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When and Why) as well as apply PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) then they are more often going to be successful in developing their plan.

To makes things very simple the Military Operational planning process can be thought of as a Conceptual Phase and a Detailed Planning Phase. This post is on the Conceptual Phase of Planning.

Conceptual planning is developing the Concept of Operations, also called the CONOPS. This is a general concept covering key elements of a plan, but not the detailed elements of a plan. There are some essential elements of a CONOPS, they are:

Mission. What are you going to be accomplishing (considering the 5 W’s).

Task Organization. Who is participating on the operation and how the unit is organized to complete the mission.

Chain of Command. Who is in charge, second, third, etc. You need a chain of command and it needs to be enforced. A mission conducted with individuals and not a team will fail.

General Concept of Execution.
This is a general concept of how the operation will unfold. No need to determine exact times here, exact routes, etc....this is a general concept at this time. This covers from launch from the Survival Base Camp through the mission and return.

Essential Tasks. What tasks are critical to the success of the mission? WHat are trying to accomplish with the operation?

Critical Equipment (logistics). What items are critical to the mission, both team and individual gear. Sometimes this is referred to Equipment Common to All, and, Special Equipment plus who is going to carry the special equipment.

Communications. How and when communications will be conducted.

Timeline. The general planned timeline.

Imagine a Urban Survival Group occupying a house in a mostly abandoned neighborhood. Sporadic gunfire, not every day, but often enough to make the Group concerned. Abandoned vehicles in the neighborhood have been drained for fuel and stored in the Groups extra fuel cans and several of the groups vehicles are packed for a Emergency Bug Out. The Group decides that a security patrol around the neighborhood, maybe up to a mile perimeter should be conducted.

The operation is planned and briefed. The briefing of the mission serves to wargame the operation, and refine or modify elements of the mission that problems are identified with. It is essential that either a sand table (terrain model, a chart or a map is used to briefed the conduct of the operation so everyone gets a visualization on the concept.

Lets say the Survival Group consists of 5 men and 3 women. Jim (mission planner and team leader), Bob, John, Larry, Steve, Laura, Teresa and Sally.

A decent operational concept (or CONOPS) brief will go like this:

Jim: "This is the concept for tomorrow’s security patrol which will be a daytime patrol returning tomorrow night and is intended to recon the general area surrounding our neighborhood not to exceed one mile, to get an idea of any security risks like criminal gangs that have either moved in or are operating in the immediate area, and, possibly locate and contact other survival groups. We should be prepared to render aid if I can do it and not compromise our security or safety."

Jim: "The patrol will consist of myself as Team Leader, Larry and Teresa."

Larry: "Hey Jim, that leaves the only people with medical training, Steve and Sally, back here. I suggest taking a medic so if case if you encounter anyone who needs treatment you will have that capability."

Jim: "Good idea Larry. Okay, Sally replaces Teresa on this mission. I’m in charge, Larry is second in command. We depart here tomorrow morning and move NORTH up Cedar Street then EAST on Oak Street, then parallel the State highway SOUTH to the powerline, then parallel the powerlines WEST to Jackson Blvd. We’ll then follow Jackson Blvd NORTH to Peterson Street, then EAST on Oak Street and come back into our base, no earlier than mid afternoon and no later than sunset. Total distance is 8 miles and at no time should we be more than 1 mile away from the base."

Laura "Jim,...maybe you should be prepared to parallel Jackson Blvd rather than walk on it as that is the direction of most the gunfire we have been hearing and from our SOUTH facing Observation Post on the second floor, I have been seeing head lights of vehicles occasionally on that Blvd."

Jim "Roger that Laura,..okay we may parallel Jackson Blvd, but we will need to observe it for awhile to get an idea of what traffic may be using it and if there any people living along it."

Jim "Our essential tasks as I see it is to conduct a foot patrol, maintaining movement interval and noise discipline; determine extent of remaining population; determine presence of criminal or threat elements if any; and, catalog any material, equipment or supplies that may be of use to us."

Steve "Hey Jim, I would suggest taking some basic tools in case you locate something we can use that requires using tools to breakdown,..."

Jim "Good idea Steve......Okay the equipment list. Each of us on patrol will carry rifle and handgun, at least 60 rounds for the rifles and three re-loads for the handgun; Basic Bug Out Bag to include individual medical kit, three days worth of meals in case we have to hole up someplace; Motorola Radio; and, six quarts of water. For Special Equipment: I'll carry a pair of the larger binoculars, Steve carry a smaller pair. I'll carry the small tool kit with screwdrivers, large and small crescent wrenches; Sally carry's the larger patrol first aid kit - probably need to add some extra bandages, small one time use anti-biotic tubes and aspirin."

Jim "Our communications plan will be to attempt radio communications via the Motorola's every hour on the hour. Bob - you are in charge of the base camp while I am gone. Please ensure someone is monitoring the base station radio at all times. We may be pushing the range of our radios given the buildings that may inhibit line of sight. If we can't make communications for three hours then we will get some high ground, such as on a roof and attempt communications with a better line of sight."

John "Jim, what if you can't make communications at all? Will you abort the patrol and make your way back to base?"

Jim "Good point John,...Unless I think the threat is sufficient to abort, I'll take the risk of not having communications to finish the patrol. However, I will ensure that we make it back to base before last light. In the absence of radio communications, we'll ensure we approach the base in the standard method, using one person and three one-second blinks using a red lens flashlight every thirty seconds."

Jim "Any questions? No? Good. Okay we'll all meet here again at 1800 hours, except Bob and Laura who are on LP/OP duty, for the Patrol Order. We'll use another hour after that to ensure the patrol remembers the arm and hands signals, then pack equipment and get some rack time by 2200 hours. Plan on wake up at the normal time 0430 hours, except for the two coming off LP/OP duty. The Patrol will depart at 0730 hours tomorrow morning."



What occurred in the dialogue above was a Jim developing a Concept of Operations, briefing it to his Survival Group, and getting feedback to modify or refine the concept. Read it again and see if Jim covered all essential elements of a CONOPS including: Mission, Task Organization, Chain of Command, Concept of Execution, Essential Tasks, Critical Equipment, Communications and Timeline.

Jim will now develop a Patrol Order (this is the detailed plan) then brief it the night before the Patrol begins. I'll cover what they may sound like in a different post.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on SKS

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following reader question: …… "Anonymous said…..…What’s your opinion on an SKS rifle for a survival weapon? Two of my friends in our loose knit survival group are pushing me to buy an AR type rifle, but I feel comfortable with my SKS."

UrbanMan replies: The SKS (Samozaryadniy Karabin Simonova) is a great little carbine, firing the Russian M43 round, more commonly known as the 7.62x39mm. It was put into service in the Russian Army on or about 1945 then quickly phased out of front line service with the fielding of the AK-47 (Automat Kalashnikov Model of 1947) which fired the same cartridge, although out of a 30 round magazine rather than a 10 round semi fixed box magazine like the SKS. But, of course you already know this. As well as know how durable and reliable this rifle is.

The 7.62x39mm is a much better stopper than the 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington) given the small bullet type. The M-4 is more accurate than the SKS (or the AK series rifles), but there is not reason you shouldn't be able to hit static man sized targets routinely at 300 yards with the SKS.

The standard military load for the 7.62x39mm is a 122 grain FMJ bullet with a muzzle velocity about 2,400 fps. Ammunition is easily available and fairly cheap too. I routinely see 1,000 round cases of Wolf brand, non-corrosive ammunition for around $200.

The SKS is kinda slow to load, compared to removable box magazines like the AK-47 or the M-4/M-16, but there are modification kits and detachable magazines available. They are kind of unwieldy due to the floor plate type extension on the front lip of the magazine, but none the less are quicker to reload and give the shooter 300 rounds between reloads. I wish I never let my SKS go,..one of those gun trades you wish you had back, but I have commercial versions of the AKM now.

Being part of a Urban Survival Group equipped basically the same is a great goal but needs to be carefully thought out. I would not advise any of the people in my Survival Group to “upgrade” to an M-4 for sake of uniformity and ammunition compatibility if they haven’t squared themselves away with other necessary Survival Equipment, Gear and Material, such as food as basic gear. I would think that some people are missing the boat to exclude otherwise excellent assets from joining their Survival Group because of the single reason of not having the same gun. Hopefully your group is not this way. If they were, they it may be fortunate that if you can’t join them, as their decision making skills are probably a little bent. What's next? Wanting everyone to wear a yellow ascot?

The bottom line is that everyone needs a rifle.....magazine fed even better and in a decent caliber. I prefer the M-4. That is main Survival Gun and most, if not all, people in my Urban Survival Group own at least one, but I would not feel in-adequately equipped with an SKS and the skill to use it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reader Question on the Case for the Coming Collapse

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a reader comment on the post titled The Case for the Coming Collapse,…...."Anonymous said... So what are you suggesting I do? Take out my money from the bank and empty out my 401K and sit on my money at my house? I do not understand what you are trying to get me (us) to do."

UrbanMan replies: The article I drew from was by Dr Craig Roberts and was not meant as a “how to” or “what to do”, although I can see how it is implied that you should do something since the momentum for a collapse is practically unstoppable.

What you do is up to you. A prudent man would listen to a lot of sources, collect information across the board and develop a plan that is feasible for him and his family. Feasible means doable….within your capability.

That plan also needs to be Complete,…considering all possible events and circumstances. From these events and circumstances, that same man and his family could develop a list of Survival Gear, Equipment and Material that would be necessary to support the plan.

Your preparation for the plan and the execution of this plan needs to be Suitable for your goals. This list for procurement and preparation will be long and most certainly will be expensive, therefore the list will need to be prioritized.

The plan also needs to be Acceptable,…..meaning the risks on not doing the plan or the financial risks of executing the preparation plan are acceptable.

Those words,....Complete (covering all major planning areas); Feasible (within the your capabilities); Suitable (meets your needs); and, Acceptable (within accepted risks) are straight out military operational planning when determining possible course of actions to accomplish a given mission.

Now as far as financial planning goes, I am not suggesting you pull out all your money from the banks and sit on it. Think about this….you have $4,000 in cash in your gun safe – worth about $4,000 of goods today and probably tomorrow. If and when hyper-inflation hits that money will loose value. That same $4,000 will then buy less and less. Nor am I suggesting you spend all your money all Survival Gear, Equipment and Material. And I am also not suggesting you trade your paycheck every two weeks for an equal value of gold or silver. What ever you do has to meet those operational requirements for you and your family.

I would however suggest that possible things you can do, is ensure you have a minimum amount of Survival Gear, Equipment and Material which for you may or may not include firearms, equipment, and stored foods; think about keeping some cash on hand for immediate procurement/purchasing needs;....think about having some amount of gold and silver; and, above all keep yourself situational aware of indicators for the coming collapse, be it a over night major event or a gradual slide into a economic depression and chaos. You should have a plan on where to go (that is safe) in the event where you are at is no longer viable for survival.

Good luck to you and remember my first suggestion,...collect information, listen to diverse sources, determine what is valid for you, your family and your plan and get to preparing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - The Case for the Coming Hyper Inflation

I am including this article on UrbanSurvivalSkills.com because I believe much of what Dr. Roberts puts forth as an explanation of why a collapse of the dollar and subsequent Hyper-Inflation is not only coming it is unavoidable given just how far we have tumbled. And with Hyper Inflation will come a collapse that will create chaos.

This article is written by Paul Craig Roberts and can be read in it’s entirety at http://www.infowars.com/the-ecstasy-of-empire
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times column, “Welcome to the Recovery.”

As John Williams has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Washington cannot spend the economy out of recession. The deficits are already too large for the dollar to survive as reserve currency, and deficit spending cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been moved offshore.

Let’s get real. Here is what the government is likely to do. Once Washington realizes that the dollar is at risk and that they can no longer finance their wars by borrowing abroad, the government will either levy a tax on private pensions on the grounds that the pensions have accumulated tax-deferred, or the government will require pension fund managers to purchase Treasury debt with our pensions. This will buy the government a bit more time while pension accounts are loaded up with worthless paper.

The only remaining financier will be the Federal Reserve. When Treasury bonds brought to auction do not sell, the Federal Reserve must purchase them. UrbanMan comment: This is already happening.

The Federal Reserve purchases the bonds by creating new demand deposits, or checking accounts, for the Treasury. As the Treasury spends the proceeds of the new debt sales, the US money supply expands by the amount of the Federal Reserve’s purchase of Treasury debt.

Do goods and services expand by the same amount? Imports will increase as US jobs have been migrated off shore and given to foreigners, thus worsening the trade deficit. When the Federal Reserve purchases the Treasury’s new debt issues, the money supply will increase by more than the supply of domestically produced goods and services. Prices are likely to rise.

How high will they rise? The longer money is created in order that government can pay its bills, the more likely hyperinflation will be the result.

The economy has not recovered. By the end of this year it will be obvious that the collapsing economy means a larger than $1.4 trillion budget deficit to finance. Will it be $2 trillion? Higher?

Whatever the size, the rest of the world will see that the dollar is being printed in such quantities that it cannot serve as reserve currency. At that point wholesale dumping of dollars will result as foreign central banks try to unload a worthless currency.

The collapse of the dollar will drive up the prices of imports and off shored produced goods on which Americans are dependent. Wal-Mart shoppers will think they have mistakenly gone into Neiman Marcus.

Domestic prices will also explode as a growing money supply chases the supply of goods and services still made in America by Americans.

The dollar as reserve currency cannot survive the conflagration. When the dollar goes the US cannot finance its trade deficit. Therefore, imports will fall sharply, thus adding to domestic inflation and, as the US is energy import-dependent, there will be transportation disruptions that will disrupt work and grocery store deliveries.

Panic will be the order of the day. Will farms will be raided? Will those trapped in cities resort to riots and looting?

UrbanMan’s rhetorical Questions: Just how many banks will fall? How long will the “have nots” go without? Will the U.S. impose martial law? How will you survive?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Urban Survival Communications - Field Telephones

UrbanMan received this private message from a Reader:

"Urban, thought I drop you a line and let you know what I am doing for my Home Defense. My plan is to stay in my home (suburban neighborhood) for as along as I can. Then to BO if necessary to my Uncle’s Farm which is only 45 miles away. My primary route would be 63 miles because I would take the back roads to get there. Thanks for the posts on home defense, I am using a couple of those concepts, most were not new to me. My house is a two stories. I have two bedrooms that face opposite direction and viewing from both windows gives me almost a full circle view around my home. Most of the other houses are one story homes. I bought two old Army radio telephones, called TA-312’s and put one up stairs with enough wire so the person on watch can move from one room to the other and carry the TA-312 by the strap. He or she will be able to call downstairs and let us know what they see. These TA-312 telephones are great to use. I bought mine at a gun show for $150 (for two of them) and a wire spool. If I BO to the farm, I will take these with me and we can use them there. Maybe you can do an article on these radio telephones. Shelly."

UrbanMan replies: Shelly, yes the TA-312 are a great communication tool and more secure than transmitting on push to talk radios. I suggest using PACE planning (Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) for everything, communications included. Don’t reply just on one mode or method for anything. Push to talk radios, pull strings, emergency klaxons, alert light system and horns all have places in your communications plan.

When I need to employ a 24 hour watch, putting at least one person in a position on my flat home roof, I will use push to talk Motorola radios, powered by re-chargeable AA batteries as primary voice comms, with a pull string system leading down through a skylight to a series of bells to alert people in the house. I also have a canned air horn and am playing with a couple of car horns I pulled from junked vehicles to use as a larger alert siren. However, having the ability to talk, two way, to your Observation Post/Listening Post is priceless.

There are other alike versions of the TA-312 that I see from time to time in military surplus catalogs, some of them from China or wherever. The only problem with the TA-312 is that it requires batteries to operate. Using the military BA30 or civilian equivalent “D” cells. I have not used the TA-312 very much and certainly not in the last 30 years…..(...Jesus, am I that old?). I looked around and saw where one could purchase a set of TA-312’s (two field phones) for around $150 and for another $140 could purchase ¼ mile of WD-1 telephone wire.

A much better version of the field telephone is the TA-1. This is a newer version of the landline telephone system. Although the TA-1 is much lighter than the TA-312, the main advantage of this newer model is that it uses no batteries. Also unlike the TA-312, the TA-1 uses a dynamic microphone element so it's "sound powered". Signaling to another field phone so they can pickup on the other end is by means of a built-in generator that, instead of a crank like the TA-312, uses a level that you pump. I recently saw a set (a pair) of TA-1, without wire, for $240.

I remember reading something last year, where an enterprising individual utilized two extension type phones,…those without dials or push pads, to make a commercial type TA-312 system using a battery and a separate light to power the microphone in the handset and a light to indicate a call in-coming. This is also a possibility for a post collapse communications system between fixed points.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - M-4/M-16/AR-15 Magazines

UrbanMan received an e-mail asking about the differences between and my recommendations on AR magazines.

I only use three different types of AR magazines: P-MAGS, H and K Mags and the standard aluminum AR magazines manufactured by Colt.

Although I have many more aluminum Colt magazines than any others combined, these are primarily my training magazines, although some of stacked in M-4 ready cans with ammunition. This magazine can be usually purchased for less than $15; is usually reliable; but after all is aluminum and subject to more easily applied damage than the P-MAG or the Hecklar and Koch mags. When I have determined that one of these aluminum magazines are causing malfunctions, I stomp on the feed lip and follower end so it is smashed then trash it. I have enough messed up mags already for training purposes (inducing stoppages, etc.) but those are marked with red painted floor plates.


The H and K mags used to be all the rage a few years ago. We had feeding problems with the first edition and now the one's being issued/sold with the black follower have eliminated those early problems. This is a robust magazine as it better be since it is made out of steel and is much heavier than the aluminum magazines. Image that? These are slick magazines as well,..no "scrunch, scrunch, scrunch" of the old aluminum mags, nor follower wobble. Very good magazines, but around $40 a copy, these are expensive as well.


By and large my favorite, and what I recommend are the P-MAG's made by Mag-Pul. At around $15 a copy these are affordable. Made from extremely durable advanced impact resistant polymer, these magazines can take a beating. They are available in various colors: Black, OD green, Flat Dark Earth and Foliage. Hell, I just get mine in OD Green. I guess if you are from San Francisco you can paint them Chartrusse or Teal Blue. These mags come with a pop-off impact cover for storage, and an easy to dis-assemble design (using the pop-off impact cover), and, with a flared floor plate for just a little better magazine extraction from pouches. I have not completed changing out all my M-4 mags for P-MAGS, but I have several dozen and all work well. I have never had a feeding problem with one yet. Now I just jinxed myself.


I run into people from time to time that talk about this "new" 100 round dual drum magazine for the AR. I can't remember the first time I saw the BETA C-MAG,.... could have been as early as 1989, but I know we bought six C-MAGS in 1999 for a test for consideration to be included in our kit. Well, we did not buy any more. They have feed problems, noisy with loose ammunition rattling around, and, easily broken plastic feed lips. I understand there is a new production of these, but we see this as a solution to a non existent problem, and will not buy/test the new ones. I'd say, at $275 or so a copy, buy them at your own risk.

Brownell's is where I get most of my M-4 accessories including magazines, you can pay them a visit by clicking here. Magazines will be the fourth tab from the left.