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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How To Make An Emergency Rope Horse Halter

  • 20 feet of 1/4″ or 5/16″ polyester rope 
  • Scissors
  • Matches / Lighter
  • Tape Measurer

1. Start tying simple knots at the following measurement points. Measurements are from knot to knot and do not include the actual knot. Make sure the knot will stay put, but isn’t too tight as you’ll be coming back to slip the rope through them later.

2. Measure 10″ from your Tie Loop. Attach this point to the left nose knot. Then go another 10″ and tie into the right nose knot.

3. In order to do a tie into a knot, you simply loosen the knot and follow the knotted rope around all the turns with the new rope.

4. After the over the nose piece, things get a little complicated. Measure out 30″ more of rope and arrange your ropes in the following pattern so it makes sense. Tie the 30″ into the throat latch knot.

5. Measure 10″ and tie into the right cheek knot.

6. Cut the extra rope to match the length of the poll tie. Then use a match to burn your ends. Most rope halters have the two strings separate. I burnt mine together for convenience.

7. Grab the throat latch and under-nose pieces and tie a knot with a loop hanging from it. This loop is where you’ll attach your lead rope.

8. At this point, you need to try the halter on your horse. The measurements above are all generic horse sized and won’t work perfectly for every horse. Once it’s on your horse, you can determine what lengths need to change.

9. You can see how terribly this fit at this point. I ended up lengthening the over-the-nose- ropes and shortening the throat latch pieces. Much better:


10. You can add some braiding to the nose-band if you want to. Start with 3′ of rope. Find the middle and slip the rope through one of the nose knots.

11. Loop the added rope behind the original over-the-nose pieces. Then cross them as you bring them through the middle of the original pieces.

12. Repeat the previous step continually until you reach the knot on the other side of the over-the-nose pieces. Slip the added rope through that knot and burn together to hold on place. The nose-band will now look like this:

At this point, your rope halter is finished.

Make sure to tie it correctly when you put it on your horse.

DISCLAIMER: Rope halters can exert a lot more pressure than a normal halter. Do NOT turn a horse out or leave a horse tied with a rope halter. The thinner your rope, the more pressure is exerted.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Trapped In A Demonstration? What are your Self-Defense Options?

[by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield]

We’ve all seen the news reports of the mob scenes and riots across the country following recent police shootings and now the election. We feel that it is important that you understand your rights should you find yourself unintentionally caught up in such a situation where an angry mob blocks the roadway.

As a real-life example, we received a call to the emergency hotline from a member who was traveling and found himself and his family confronted by angry rioters in a major city out west. With the threatening mob descending upon his vehicle, the member turned around to make a hasty exit. However, as he was trying to get his family out of harm’s way, one screaming rioter charged toward the member’s car and was struck, landing on the hood before rolling off. Fortunately, the member and his family safely escaped the melee.

To figure out if the member’s act of running into a rioter was legal, we turned to Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington with the question: Are you justified in hitting or “running over” someone in this scenario?

“The answer? It depends!” Byington said. “Don’t you hate that answer?”

Let’s look at whether an act of running down a rioter would be lawful as a justified act of self-defense.

To begin the analysis, she said we treat this situation just as we would any other use of deadly force in self-defense. Let’s start with some general concepts, and then analyze how the specifics of the law will apply in these scenarios. The concepts to focus on are imminence, reasonableness, and not being the aggressor.

Imminence. Prosecutors love to attack the imminence prong. Does a group of people blocking a roadway pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to you inside of the vehicle? Blocking a roadway, normally, cannot cause death or serious bodily injury to those inside the vehicle, much less pose an imminent or immediate threat. As a result, using a vehicle to “run them down,” or even to physically push them aside, is unlikely to be justified. However, if there is additional threatening conduct such as the protestors attempting to enter the vehicle, or say, charging toward you with a baseball bat, that is a completely different scenario. If you are placed in reasonable fear of imminent deadly force, you would be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, including the use of your vehicle to neutralize the unlawful deadly force threat.

Reasonableness. What would be required to generate a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury? The key here is that it doesn’t matter what your personal beliefs are if a jury would not believe that your fear was reasonable under the circumstances. There are extremes where your conduct will almost always be viewed as reasonable, such as attempts to set your car on fire or flip it over. On the other hand, under many circumstances, it will be extremely difficult to convince a jury that you acted reasonably if you use deadly force against protestors. One example would be injuring or attempting to injure a group of peaceful protestors who are merely blocking a roadway. If the protestors attempt, or reasonably appear to attempt, to forcibly enter blockaded vehicles, you will gain a presumption of reasonableness under the laws of many, but not all, states. You will also have a much better argument that you had reasonable grounds to fear an imminent attack with deadly force. Such conduct could include the smashing of windows or attempts to open doors. Also, you do not necessarily need to wait until the protestors have turned violent against your vehicle if you see it happening to someone else. Remember, you must have a reasonable belief from what you are seeing and hearing around you and not merely speculating about what might occur.”

Byington also noted, “Keep in mind, here in Texas, you may also use deadly force to protect a third party as long as you would be justified in using deadly force to protect yourself in that same situation.

If you intend to use your vehicle against a rioter, it will almost always constitute the use of deadly force – that is, force capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Deadly force can be used in self-defense to the extent the force with which you are threatened also constitutes deadly force. In other words, deadly force can be met with deadly force, she said. If you are faced with anything less than deadly force, you will face an uphill battle in arguing that your actions were reasonable. To make matters worse, if you respond to a threat that is non-deadly in nature with unlawful deadly force, it would allow the other person to lawfully respond in kind with deadly force against you.

Not the Aggressor. Is the person seeking justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense a victim, or is he the aggressor? State laws may vary, but generally, the defense of justification is not available to the individual who starts the fight and does not stop to convey to the other person their intention to stop the aggression.

So, how might this apply in a protest or riot situation? Byington noted, “Say you are stuck for an hour in the middle of a protest and decide to ‘nudge’ one of these folks with your vehicle so that you can get out of the traffic snarl. If the otherwise peaceful protestor then becomes violent, and you use deadly force to protect yourself, a prosecutor, judge, or jury could easily argue that you were the initial aggressor. You may lose a number of legal protections, and on top of that, appear like the aggressor during the investigation or trial.

Suppose you yell out “Sorry! Didn’t mean to bump you, it won’t happen again!” If the other person continues the assault after having been informed of your intention to stop, at that point you may regain the right of self-defense, although the protestor will almost certainly argue that he/she could not hear you due to the noise of the protest.

A Few Practical Tips:

So, what should you do if you come across such a mob?

STOP. Don’t go any farther. Do whatever is necessary to change direction and get out of the area. If you are alert, hopefully you will see these masses of people far enough in advance so that you can completely avoid the situation, long before being surrounded.

Remember, you can’t legally run people over just because they are in the road. You may think the safest action to take in a situation like this is to keep moving, which may result in hitting people with your car to get them out of the way. That isn’t legal! It could easily be considered an aggravated assault, or worse! Even if people are illegally blocking the road, you will go to jail. It is that simple. Avoidance is key.

However, once the rioters attack you or attempt to enter the vehicle, the game changes, and your legal justification kicks in. With your vehicle surrounded so that you can’t escape and attackers trying to burn your car, flip it over, or attempt to drag you out of it, it is reasonable to assume that you will suffer imminent serious bodily injury or death. It is at this point you may use deadly force. In this moment of adrenaline and pure fear, you must keep your common sense. Do not get out and try to shoot your way out of the mob! You will quickly be overtaken and perhaps have your gun stripped from you. Instead, use your vehicle to get out of that situation by driving away from the surrounding rioters.

An additional point to remember is, should your vehicle come under attack, roll your windows down about half an inch. Experts say it is harder to break a window that is partly down than one that is fully closed. Turn off your ventilation system so you do not draw in any outside air in the event there is tear gas or smoke present. Further, if surrounded and moving slowly, you may want to take off your seat belt to allow a quick exit from the vehicle should it be overturned or set on fire.

“Once again, it is evident that your best course of action is to avoid these, often, pre-planned demonstrations altogether and drive away quickly should you come upon one,” she said.

The law is different in every state. For example, Texas has the “Castle Doctrine,” which gives a person the presumption of reasonableness if he or she uses deadly force against a person attempting to enter or entering their vehicle. Byington said, “It is a HUGE legal tool. Unfortunately, other states may not expand their Castle Doctrine to the vehicle [New Jersey]. With that in mind, I hope everyone can stay safe – and also stay legal! – if you find yourself in any protest or riot situation.”

To help Members in other states, we contacted U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys to get additional insights. Their comments appear below.


Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards offered this explanation on Colorado’s the law on self-defense. In the book Colorado Gun Law: Armed And Educated, co-authored by Richards, Stanley Marks, and Christopher Ferrero, Richards points out that “a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose.

“Importantly,” Richards adds, “a person is not justified in using any degree of physical force if he provokes the other person into the use of unlawful force with the intent of using that as a justification to cause the other person bodily injury or death.

Richards also points out that “[D]eadly physical force may be used only if a person reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate, and he has reasonable grounds to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury.”

For more specific information on this and other Colorado gun laws, click the Colorado Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.


For the law on self-defense in Virginia, we turned to U.S. Law Shield of Virginia Independent Program Attorneys Mitchell Wells and W. Edward Riley of Riley & Wells. In the upcoming book, Virginia Gun Law: Armed And Educated, co-authored by Riley and Wells, they point out that a person caught in a demonstration that’s turning violent must reasonably fear that they are in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death to be justified in the use of deadly force. For more specific information on this and other Virginia gun laws, look for the upcoming announcement as to when Virginia Gun Law: Armed And Educated will be published and available.


Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles added “[T]hat the laws in Oklahoma regarding the use of deadly force in a self-defense situation are pretty well in line with the laws in the neighboring state to the south [Texas] and can be found in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, Title 21, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 1290.1, et seq.”

“In Oklahoma, the law gives the presumption that a person held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm and therefore deadly force was necessary, if it is used against an individual who was unlawfully or forcibly in the process of entering or entered into an occupied vehicle; or is attempting to forcibly remove another against his or her will from an occupied vehicle. Deadly force is also presumed to be justified to prevent the commission or attempted commission of forcible felonies including murder, burglary, carjacking, and home invasion robberies,” he said.

“Furthermore,” Robles added, “if people are present in any place where they have a right to be, they have no duty to retreat and have the right to meet force with force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

For more specific information on this and other Oklahoma gun laws, click the Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.


Independent Program Attorney Deborah Alessi summarized Missouri’s law as, “A person cannot use deadly force upon another person unless he or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony, and is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter a vehicle lawfully occupied by such person.”

Alessi added that “a person does not have the duty to retreat from their occupied vehicle before using deadly force under the circumstances described, and these laws can be found in RSMo Chapter 563 Defense of Justification, Section 563.0031.1.”


Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo expands upon the Texas law to explain how the law of self-defense would apply in Georgia under these circumstances.

1. Innocence. Is the person seeking justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense an innocent victim, or is he or she the instigator of the confrontation? In Georgia an individual may not claim as justified a use of force against another when he or she initially provokes the initial force as an excuse to commit an act of force; at any time when committing (or attempting to commit) or fleeing the commission of a felony; or anytime he or she was the initial aggressor in a situation or was engaged in mutual “combat by agreement”, unless or until withdrawing from combat and making that decision known to the other individual. See O.C.G.A. §16-13-21(b). If the other party continues an assault after having been informed of your intention to stop, then you may “reacquire” the right of self-defense.

2. Imminence. Does a group of people blocking the roadway pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to you inside your vehicle? Simply blocking a roadway cannot normally cause death or serious bodily harm to those inside a vehicle. As a result, using one’s vehicle to “run them down,” or even to physically push them aside, is unlikely to be legally justified unless there is some additional threatening conduct. But suppose the mob begins more direct threats or the use of actual force against you? If you are now placed in reasonable fear of an imminent deadly force attack, then you could be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, including the use of your vehicle to neutralize the unlawful deadly force threat. Remember, the use of force is justified in Georgia when a party “reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. . . .” Imminence is vitally important, especially when using a weapon as deadly as a car: the threat must be real and immediate.

3. Proportionality. Keep in mind, however— should you intend to use your vehicle against anyone— this will almost certainly constitute deadly force, that force “which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm.” Deadly force may only be used to protect yourself or another person when “necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury. . . or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” O.C.G.A. §16-3-21(a). Should you respond to a threat that is non-deadly in nature with deadly force (or one that does not constitute a forcible felony, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, or aggravated assault; any felony that contains an element of force), it would allow the other person to respond in kind with deadly force against you. Additionally, you may be the one charged.

4. Reasonableness. What action would be required of a mob or any of its members to generate a fear of death or great bodily injury that justifies the use of a weapon like a car in the eyes of police, prosecutors, judges, and juries? If the protestors attempt (or reasonably appear to attempt) to forcibly enter your vehicle or the vehicle of others, this could certainly constitute reasonable grounds to fear an imminent deadly force attack. Such conduct would include the smashing of windows or attempts to force open doors. The same applies to attempts to set vehicles on fire, or to flip vehicles over. Generally, a defender need not necessarily wait until the protestors have turned violent against his particular vehicle: If members of a mob have begun threatening or using deadly force against other blockaded vehicles, it could be considered reasonable to believe your own vehicle is likely to be next — you are, after all, legally entitled to defend yourself not just against the danger already occurring to you but also against the danger that is about to occur, that is imminent. But you must draw a reasonable belief from actual evidence around you, not merely speculate what might happen.

Kilgo went on to add, “If you find yourself in a mob situation, remember, you can’t just run anyone over with your car. It’s best to just keep moving, which may result in your bumping people out of the way with your car. However, this may be considered battery on your part, which is a crime. You may be arrested if you strike someone with your car, absent a legitimate threat to your life or the life of others. So it’s best to avoid those situations.”

“Perhaps most importantly,” Kilgo went on to say, “familiarize yourself with Georgia’s laws on the use of force, as well as such important legal concepts as the ‘Castle Doctrine’ and Georgia’s stand your ground law. The law can and does protect you in situations such as this, but you must be aware of what your rights are. While your best course of action is to avoid these often pre-planned demonstrations altogether and drive away quickly should you come upon one, knowing what you may legally do to protect yourself and your family in such a situation is your best protection.”


Independent Program Attorneys David Katz and James Phillips offered this summary of the law regarding the use of deadly force in Florida.

“Under Florida Statute Chapter 776, Section 776.012(2),” says Katz, “A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

Phillips added, “If you use or threaten to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection, you do not have a duty to retreat and have the right to stand your ground, so long as you are not engaged in a criminal activity and are in a place where you have a right to be.”

“You are presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm if the other person was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered your occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove you against your will from your occupied vehicle,” Katz pointed out.

For more specific information on this and other Florida gun laws, click the Florida Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.


According to Independent Program Attorney Justine McShane, the law of self-defense in the Keystone State is similar to the law in Texas, but different in significant ways.

“The Pennsylvania self-defense statute provides that use of force is ‘justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.’ 18 Pa.C.S. § 505.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Building a Bug Out Bag - Another Opinion

This is an article on How to Build a Bug-Out Bag in 16 Easy Steps by Nick Oetken posted on The article serves to consider his opinions to double check your efforts and preparation on your own bug outs bags - you have one don't you?


Despite being one of the most popular and well known aspects of prepping, most bug out bags are still very poorly put together. Many times this is because the bags have been pre-made by stores, and are thrown together using items that are low quality and don’t take into account the unique situation of the buyer.

The truth is that your bug out bag has to be designed for a unique scenario, and it can only be designed this way if it is put together by you. While it can be a daunting task to select the right backpack to be your bug out bag and then decide which items to put in it, this article will walk you through the 16 different steps you need to follow in order to build an effective bug out bag.


Before you even buy a backpack to be your bug out bag, you first have to consider what kind of situations your bug out bag is for and any special circumstances that exist.

Step #1: How Long Does It Have to Keep You Alive?

Obviously your bug out bag has to be big enough to hold the items you need for an estimated amount of time. A good rule of thumb, and one that is repeated multiple times in the survival and prepping community, is for your bug out bag to have enough gear to keep you alive for at least three days (or seventy-two hours). A solid bug out bag, however, should have supplies you can stretch to last you at least five to six days.

Your planned duration, however, may be different. For example, if you’re planning to live long term out of your bug out bag, it’s going to need to contain more items and ways to create/purify food and water. You’ll need an inch bag for this. If you’re planning your bug out bag to be more of a get home bag or something that can get you from your car to your house, then it may be a little smaller and lighter.

In the end, your estimated duration is what will most heavily influence the size of your bug out bag and the kinds and quantities of items that you’ll be holding within it.

Step #2: What Type of Environment Will Your Bug Out Bag Be Keeping You Alive In?

The location you are in also heavily influences what goes into your BOB. If you live in colder climates, then things like extra sets of warm clothing, fire starting materials, and shelter building items will take precedence. But if you live in warmer climates, then you’ll need to focus more on things such as water, purification tablets, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Things can become tricky if you live in a location with extreme temperatures. For example, the Northwestern United States has very hot summers and very cold winters, and you may be seeking to build a standard bug out bag that you can grab and use no matter what. In this case, your bug out bag will need to keep you safe regardless of the situation you are in.

In addition to weather and climate, consider geography and terrain. If you live somewhere with lots of rivers and lakes, it would be wise to include a complete fishing kit and waterproof everything, for example.

Step #3: What Type of Emergencies Could You Face?

Many preppers recommend assembling different bug out bags for different emergencies, so ask yourself what specific kind of an emergency you have in mind before starting on your bug out bag. For example, are you mostly concerned about an economic collapse, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster?

If you are assembling a bug out bag for an economic collapse, then you would want to include valuable possessions that can be used as bartering items, such as gold and silver, ammunition, and toilet paper. For social unrest, you would want your bug out bag to include things such as first aid/medical kits and defensive weapons. For natural disasters, food, water purification tablets, and a way to cook food would take precedence.

Step #4: Take Your Health into Account

This one is easily the most overlooked step in preparing a bug out bag. If you, or anybody in your family for that matter, have unique health conditions then you absolutely have to take it into account.

If you’re in poor shape, then it would be wiser to build a lighter bug out bag. A heavier one would slow you down and cause you to over exert yourself. If a member of your family cannot walk well for long distances (or at all), then you’ll need to either include a stretcher or items to make a stretcher in your bag.

If you have specific medical conditions that require medical prescriptions, you should include plenty of your medications in your bug out bag as well. Ultimately, medicine may end up proving more valuable than weapons.


At this point, you have decided what the purpose of your bug out bag is and have taken all unique conditions related to you and your environment in mind. These factors will be what most heavily influence the type of bug out bag you select.

Step #5: The Volume of the Backpack

Many bug out bags will claim to hold the same capacity, but they can’t all hold the same amount or type of gear due to the amount of compartments they have and the design of the bag.

Regardless of your bug out bag’s volume, it should contain MANY compartments of large and small sizes. More compartments not only allow for improved organization; it also means that your bag can hold more gear. In addition, all compartments and the pack itself should be easy to close securely with either Velcro or zippers.

If you want your bug out bag to get you through one day, it should have a volume of up to forty liters. A bag to keep you alive for three days will need a capacity of around sixty. A bag made to keep you alive for a week will need at least a ninety-liter capacity.

Step #6: Choosing Between Internal and External Frames

You will have to decide between light and heavy, and specifically internal and external frames, for your bug out bag. Between the two, internal frames have a hidden frame located on the inside of the pack. They cannot hold as much weight but they are more flexible and will position most of the weight of the pack on your hip rather than your shoulders. They are more than suitable for the standard three-day bug out bag, and they also permit faster movement through the forest because they don’t have an external frame to get hung up on branches and thorns.

External frames are stronger and heavier, and as the name suggests the pack is supported by a visible frame on the outside. External frame backpacks are also almost always larger than internal framed bags, meaning you can attach more heavy duty gear such as tents. If you want a ninety-liter or more bug out bag designed to last more than week, the external frame is the better choice.

Step #7: Checking the Quality of the Backpack

Finally, and this one should go without saying, your chosen pack MUST absolutely be top quality. Things to check for include waterproof/water resistant materials, the zippers and Velcro all working without mishaps, and thick, sturdy, adjustable straps.

While you can always read reviews of specific bug out bags online, it is recommended that you buy your bag in person so you can inspect the bag yourself for defects.


Our next series of steps are going to focus on the fun part of bug out bag building: deciding what to put in it!

Step #8: Water

Water is essential for your survival, but it is also heavy. Regardless of how much you manage to store in your bug out bag, you probably won’t have enough water. For this reason, your bug out bag should always include ways to purify water found in nature, so it is safe to drink.

Purification tablets and portable water filters are your two best options in this case because they are effective, lightweight, and don’t take up too much room. You should also have a small canteen cup and fire starting materials on hand so you can boil water too.

Step #9: Fire

Fire will provide you with warmth, comfort, security, and the ability to cook food. You should have many different types of fire starters in your bug out bag, from matches to lighters to magnesium flint strikers.

In addition, have emergency fire kindling in your bug out bag so that you can quickly start a fire on the go. The best choice for this is cotton balls that have been soaked in vaseline, but as an alternative, you can carry dryer lint soaked in alcohol and stuffed into a cardboard toilet paper roll or prepare a fire bundle made out of twigs and moss.

Keep everything pertaining to fire in your fire-starting kit in a waterproof container such as a waterproof pouch, an airtight plastic container or a Ziploc bag.

Step #10: Shelter

Shelter is what will protect you from the natural elements in a survival situation. Two person tents are best recommended for this task. In extreme weather conditions, your life can be in danger after just 3-hours of exposure to the elements so good shelter is a priority.

As an alternative, you can include items that allow you to forge a makeshift shelter. Examples include rope, space blankets, a tarp, and a poncho. In addition, don’t forget to include insulation material, such as trash bags or polyethylene foam.

Step #11: Extra Clothing

Rather than including a full change of clothes, just include specific clothing items in your bug out bag: a hat, extra pair of socks, gloves, and a bandana. Keep all your clothes in Ziplocs to avoid getting them wet.

Step #12: Weapons and Tools

There are certain items under the ‘weapons and tools’ category that you simply must include in your bug out bag. The first one is the knife, and you better have more than just one. One of your knives should be a fixed blade model for heavy duty purposes, while the other should be a smaller, folding knife for more precise work.

Additional weapons that also serve as tools, that you would be wise to include are a hatchet/tomahawk, a handsaw, and/or a machete.

Hand tools such as a multi-tool, screwdrivers, wire cutters, an Allen wrench, hammer and nails, and a pair of pliers are not as essential as the above tools, but they are still worth considering.

Step #13: Medical and First Aid

Every single one of your bug out bags should have medical items, and you should know how to use them without question. Absolutely include standard first aid equipment such as bandages, gauze pads, aspirin tablets, hand sanitizer, medical gloves, tape, tweezers, and tourniquets, but also remember to keep your personal health in mind. If you have any prescription medications like we talked about before, now is the time to include them. If you have asthma, there should be at least one if not two inhalers in your bag.

Step #14: Personal Hygiene

When it comes to putting things in the bug out bag, personal hygiene is what many people often tend to overlook. Nonetheless, it’s still very important and necessary for your health. Keep soap, toothpaste and a tooth brush, chap stick, and a roll of toilet paper in your bag at the bare minimum.

Step #15: Food

Even though you can last weeks without food, you’ll feel a dramatic drainage of energy if you go just one day without it. For this reason, include compact foods that are high in proteins, carbs, and calories, and that have a high shelf life. Examples include protein bars and freeze dried foods or pemmican.

In the same way that you need to have a means to procure water and make it safe, you need a way to gather more food as well. Have fishing equipment on hand, in addition to several materials to make traps and snares. Store a small book on edible and medicinal plants in your bag as well as fire starting materials so you can cook any food that you catch or forage.

Step #16: Navigation and Communication

The critical need for maps truly cannot be given enough attention. Have maps in your bug out bag that both show the general area and specific locations, alternative routes and roads. You can easily find these kinds of maps at grocery stores and gas stations. You can include a GPS if you want, but there’s no guarantee that it will always pick up a signal, so at least include maps a backup.

For communication, emergency radios will give you important information in regards to what the government is doing and where you can seek help. A two-way radio will allow you to communicate with others and call in for help.


Building your bug out bag will take time, but it’s well worth the effort. In the event of an emergency or survival situation, it can and will keep you alive. As long as you follow the steps in this article, you’ll be well on your way to building a bug out bag that can do just that.

Urban Man~

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bugging Out: Why Americans are giving up citizenship in record numbers

Some of you are considering a pre-collapse Bug Out or a Bug Out just as the collapse appears to be unfolding and heading out of this country. Many people are doing it now to avoid taxes. Consider this article if you are going to do so in order to save money and position yourself in a better position to ride out or survive the collapse.

The prospect of mogul Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office has driven celebrities and common folk alike to contemplate moving to Canada — or any other country that is not America. Actress Lena Dunham is interested. Samuel L. Jackson is considering South Africa. Jon Stewart wants to leave the entire planet. Google reported a spike in searches for “move to Canada” after the Donald swept the Super Tuesday primaries in March.

And indeed, government statistics show record numbers of people are renouncing their U.S. citizenship. But it’s not Trump that has persuaded them to go. It’s taxes.

The IRS publishes the names of each American who gives up his or her citizenship. The list comes out every three months, and international tax lawyer Andrew Mitchel has tallied them up. In the first quarter of this year, 1,158 people expatriated — more than 10 times the number in the first quarter of 2008, when Mitchel began his count. Last year, a record 4,279 people renounced their citizenship.

Expatriation's have grown steadily since 2008 but began to spike in 2013. That timing undermines the theory that Trump is responsible. (Back then, he was busy suing talk-show host and comedian Bill Maher for calling him the spawn of an orangutan.) But the increase dovetails with the implementation of new federal reporting requirements and penalties for assets held overseas by U.S. citizens.

The rules were passed back in 2010 as part of legislation intended to encourage businesses to hire more employees and jump-start the nation’s economic recovery. Attached to the law was a provision called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that was supposed to “detect, deter and discourage” tax evasion through offshore bank accounts.

The law requires foreign banks to report whether their clients are U.S. citizens. The penalty for not complying is stiff: a 30 percent withholding from the proceeds of the bank's financial transactions in the United States. That has caused plenty of consternation among foreign firms, some of which have reportedly closed accounts belonging to Americans as a result.

The regulations also created new filing requirements for individuals with assets overseas and increased the fines for missing a form. The penalty for failing to file is $10,000 per form. The consequences are even steeper for intentionally not filing a document known as the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, which could result in a fine of $100,000 or 50 percent of what’s in the bank account — whichever is greater.

“They’re like, 'Oh my, God, the IRS is going to bankrupt me,'” Mitchel said of his clients. “People get terrified of this, and they don’t want to have anything to do with the IRS, and then they want to renounce.”

Mitchel said that many of his clients have been paying taxes in the country where they live now and may not have bothered filing a U.S. return. Most countries in the world expect you to pay taxes only when you live inside their borders. But two nations — the United States and Eritrea — require its citizens to pay taxes on income while living in other countries. And Mitchel said it’s not just the very wealthy who are chafing under the new regulations. Many of his clients are moderate-income households and retirees living overseas who find navigating the morass of requirements more trouble than it is worth.

Mitchel described one client who plans to retire soon in Australia, where he will not have to pay any taxes on the pension he has built up after 20 years of work there. But under U.S. tax law, he would be required to file a return and pony up to Uncle Sam.

“It’s a very straightforward financial question: Is his U.S. citizenship worth hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars?” Mitchel asked.

Of course, America may be the land of the free, but leaving it isn’t necessarily cheap: Those who renounce their citizenship could be subject to an exit tax on all of their assets around the world, as if they had sold everything on their last day as an American. Even with a nearly $700,000 exemption, the bill can be hefty, Mitchel said.

The IRS publishes very little data about its former citizens beyond their names, so it’s difficult to tell conclusively whether the new tax laws are the reason that so many Americans have been relinquishing their passports. But the timing of its implementation seems to coincide with the increase in expatriation. And there appears to be widespread recognition that the new reporting requirements have amounted to one giant headache for all involved — including the U.S. government.

“That mountain of data not only puts burdens on the individuals trying to comply, but that also puts a large burden on the IRS to go through the data,” said W. Gavin Ekins, a research economist at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. “The cost of actually finding a dollar of tax evasion may cost us $5 of actually sifting through the data and compliance costs. From an economics point of view, I’m not sure how valuable the system will be. But maybe it really is from a fairness point of view, and people really believe fairness is worth the cost.”

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