Friday, October 28, 2016

Preparedness and The Normalcy Bias

A few years back I was driving down a familiar highway. I was traveling back to my town from a town I had a Church assignment in. As I came down a hill I saw on the side of the road a mini-van laying on its side. Also pulled off to the side were about 4 or 5 cars that had stopped to “help”. I slowed down and carefully drove by thinking “There are plenty people there. If I stop I’ll just be adding to the chaos.” As I looked in my mirror something told me to go back. I turned around and went back. What I found was a smoldering mini-van with about 6 to 8 people standing about 35 yards away on the shoulder of the road. They were all standing there talking quietly. I walked up to them and asked if anyone had called 911? They all looked at me like they didn’t know what a phone was. I looked at a guy with a cell phone in his hands and said, “Call 911!” I then told another guy to go a little ways up the highway and find out what mile marker we were near. I then asked this big Tongan looking guy to come with me. We proceeded to get the people out and get some first aid going. Why were those 6 people completely useless until they were told to do something? It’s called Normalcy Bias. This is defined as a survival mechanism our brains are equipped with that can place us in grave danger when we’re faced with something traumatic. Simply put, it causes our brains to insist that all is okay. Everything will return to normal. Americans are really bad about this because we live in a relatively safe, and secure society. Most everyone has indoor plumbing and clean water.
Another example is from 1977 when two planes collided just above a runway in Tenerife, Spain. A man was stuck, with his wife, in a plane that was slowly being engulfed in flames. He remembered making a special note of the exits, grabbed his wife's hand, and ran towards one of them. As it happened, he didn't need to use it, since a portion of the plane had been sheared away. He jumped out, along with his wife and the few people who survived. Many more people should have made it out. Fleeing survivors ran past living, uninjured people who sat in seats literally watching for the minute it took for the flames to reach them.
This isn't unique behavior, although plane crashes provide the most dramatic examples. People seeking shelter during tornadoes and cyclones are often called back, or delayed, by people doing normal activities, who refuse to believe the emergency is happening. These people are displaying normalcy bias. About 70% of people in a disaster do it. Although movies show crowds screaming and panicking, most people move dazedly through normal activities in a crisis. This can be a good thing; researchers find that people who are in this state are docile and can be directed without chaos. They even tend to quiet and calm the 10-15% of people who freak out. But they can be a liability if you need their help. This is also hoe some people react to violence.
There are things you can do to fight this. Being trained and prepared helps.

1. Be willing to go through the painful process of acknowledging the uncertainty of our future. It’s like the grief process:
o Denial (Normalcy Bias rearing its ugly head!),
o Anger — (at politicians, circumstances, family members),
o Bargaining (“If I can just buy enough precious metals, we’ll be okay.”),
o Depression (Our children aren’t facing the same, sunny future that we did, America is changing before our eyes)
o Acceptance (I can’t do everything, but I can be proactive and do what I can.)
2. Face facts, don’t hide from them. Acknowledge your limits. Only when you face reality can you prepare for it.
3. Trust your instincts. Headlines change on a dime. Take in a much bigger picture than a single, optimistic headline or the words of a politician seeking re-election. Trust your own senses and what your gut is telling you.
4. Start where you are with what you have.
5. Fight feeling overwhelmed with lists and organization. Focus on what you will do today, this week, or this month. Little by little it will all come together.
6. Reach out to others. Start your own preparedness group. Spend time on preparedness and survival forums, as long as they don’t feed your fears. If there was ever a time for people to come together, this is it.
7. It’s better to over-prepare than to be under-prepared. Normalcy Bias assures us that everything will be okay. A few extra bottles of water is all you really need. Those ten cans of tuna will be plenty! Go ahead and stock up more than you think you’ll need to. Make plans for scenarios that may be a bit far out but still within the realm of possibility.
8. Make plans. Have an evacuation plan, and prepare for it. Have a hunker-down plan, and prepare for it. Decide ahead of time how you will face the most likely crises and communicate those plans with those who need-to-know. Write down your plans. Panic and stress have a way of erasing the logical parts of our brains.
9. Be ready to act quickly and decisively. It’s better to take action too soon than too late.
10. Take time off. Forget you ever heard of the word, “preparedness”. Go shopping. Go out to lunch. Play with the kids. Spend an hour on the phone with your best friend. Give yourself a mental break. Your family needs you to be strong. You need to take care of yourself, body, soul, and spirit.
11. Get physically fit. There is a huge connection between physical and mental fitness. Start with some sort of exercise and start today.
The opposite of fear is faith. Have faith in God. Have some faith in yourself and your family. The scripture says:
D&C 38:30 … but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
I like to paraphrase that and turn it around to If ye have more faith, ye shall become prepared.
Become better prepared. Your family’s safety, security, and happiness is at stake. Don‘t let the normalcy bias lull you into a false sense that we are not in the last days and that things will be as a storm all around us. But we can be an island of calm preparedness. Take the first step and talk to your spouse and your family. Make a simple plan and work it. Change your plan as your needs dictate. Be proactive. Talk to your like-minded friends. Don’t go crazy and don’t go into debt. Work slowly and methodically. You will get there in time.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, October 24, 2016

Find Ammunition Quickly and Cheaply:

In the first year I started this blog I wrote a review of a website that seemed timely. We were just coming out of the worst ammunition shortage I had ever experienced. I’ve been storing ammunition since the ‘80’s. So when this shortage hit I really had the ammo that I wanted. But I would normally not go into my stored ammo. I would buy more to train with and rotate through my stored ammo. So this was starting to eat away at my stored ammo. I also reload so I knew that was an option too. Ammunition is part of my preparedness plans. I could recommend an amount of ammo I think you should store, but that may seem excessive, or lacking from your perspective. When I was competing I went through a few 1,000 rounds a week. Now, I limit myself to only 50 rounds per caliber. I usually shoot .22 to work on my grip, trigger press, and aim, then I go through my “workout”. This consists of different drills, depending on what I’m working on. I don’t limit my .22 but usually only shoot about 40-50 rounds of it. The 9mm and the .223 I limit to 50. If I don’t limit myself I’ll blow through 100 or 200 rounds. I just enjoy it too much! You must determine what you are storing ammo for, and how much to store. I’ve heard some crazy (even for me!) ideas of 100,000 rounds per gun. I don’t know, that kind of cost and weight would do me in. But, everyone has to make that determination and who am I to dispute someone’s need? It’s hard to anticipate every scenario. Will you have to defend your home for a long time? Will you have to hunt for years? Will you have to train others? Or will you just have enough to train yourself for a year? I try to come somewhere between fighting a war, and occasional plinking.
Back in 2014 when I first reviewed the word “ammo” on a Google search gave you 18,100,000 hits. Today it gave me 57,700,000. That’s an increase of over 39,000,000. Why do you think that search would give you 39 million more hits than 2 years ago? It’s because many people have begun to understand the importance of defending yourself, and the fear of ammo being licensed, tracked, limited, or just in short supply is very real. I haven’t changed my ammo buying regime, but I may increase it a little soon. I have considered putting up my storage limit on certain calibers. This is where comes into significant play.
Going through the shortage was a little stressful if you were looking for ammo. During that stressful time I found it difficult to find certain ammo and components. I guess it wasn’t really stressful, but frustrating. But that frustration was eased with This site is great for finding what you need in the area of ammunition, reloading components, and magazines. I like the no nonsense way this site is set up and that they tell you when something is out of stock or not. It also will show you the total price of ammunition but also the price per round. You can set your “good deal” threshold which means you can pick a price per round that you’re looking for and the site will let you know in red letters or a “beep alert” that you can set. I found this site easy to use and simple (like my brain). Now, I know that there are other similar sites out there but this was the first one I came across and it helped in my time of “need”. There is even a list of retailers that they follow on this site that is ever growing. When I need reloading components this is still where I go. I don’t need to buy ammo online since I don’t need large amounts because of my stored ammunition. But components I usually buy in bulk. This site helps me find what I need and in the amounts I desire.
No one knows what this election may bring. Being wise about ammo storage now may make a difference later.
If you order these items on the internet, this website will help. Please take a look and let me know what you think in the comments.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, October 21, 2016

Registration and Privacy

Many people, even those who are considered conservatives, believe that all guns are registered. And further, they think the registration is a federal law! Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no national system to register guns. Federal law prohibits the use of the background check system (NICS) to create a database or system to register guns and their owners.
The National Firearms Act of 1986 banned transfer and possession of machine guns. You can own them, but you must go through a background check, licensing, and registration to own them.
I say that military weapons are already registered and regulated. Other than a handgun, I never shot a weapon in the military that was not a select fire automatic weapon. A semi-automatic weapon is not a military weapon. Anyone who tells you they are has no knowledge of military firearms and is misleading you.
The ATF maintains the registration system of NFA guns. The ATF wants more freedom. They want to be able to share information with law enforcement to fight gun crime. As much as I want these agencies and all of law enforcement to succeed at what they do, they, and we, must understand that the Constitution ties their hands somewhat. To make their job easier we would have to give away some rights of privacy. I don’t think we should scrap the Constitution so that law enforcement will have an easier job. The ATF can't require gun dealers to conduct an inventory to account for lost or stolen guns; records of customer background checks must be destroyed within 24 hours if they are clean enough to allow the sale; and trace data can't be used in state civil lawsuits or in an effort to suspend or revoke a gun dealer's license.
The terrorists in San Bernardino had an Apple i-phone. The FBI thought they might find evidence or connections in that phone to other domestic terrorists. They got the proper warrant to search the phone but they couldn’t get in the phone because of the encryption. They tried to order Apple to find a way through that encryption. Apple said “No” and they were going through some legal things. Basically, the FBI was trying to force Apple to do their job. That type of lazy police work makes me mad. How can you force someone to do your work?
This is the way I feel about law enforcement who want their job to be easy at the expense of my God-given rights.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for law enforcement in this country. I think they are top notch. But if they are the best, they will find a way to do their work without trampling the rights of those they swear to protect. They should not expect others to make their job easier. No one should stop them at their work, but the work they do is sometimes difficult within the law. It might be seen as limiting them. And yes, it is. Other countries don’t have some of these restrictions. Other countries also don’t have the freedoms that we enjoy.
Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." He understood the fight for freedom and what it took to have our Constitution. He also realized that citizen’s rights are above any security we might want or even need.
Some politicians, some law enforcement especially at higher levels, need to understand this. They work for us. We are not subservient to them. Often I hear politicians talk about “sensible gun laws” and often they are not sensible. Also, even if a law is made, the people need a check and balance in place so that bad leaders in the future won’t be able to oppress or use the law to enslave or subjugate the people. I know that some politicians and even some people, don’t believe that would ever happen. That is a false pretense to work from.
In Salem, Oregon, local resident Manuel Martinez testified against gun-control measures. The Cuban-born Martinez spoke calmly but firmly about the dangers of gun control, incorporating his experience in Communist Cuba.
Martinez began by noting: “I oppose any manipulation, any regulation, elimination, or disruption of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”
Drawing upon his experience in Cuba, he recalled: “In 1959, a revolution with individuals, malicious individuals, masquerading as Democrats… established a regime, a dictatorial regime, in my nation, called Communism, Socialism, Stalinism, Marxism and whatever other ‘ism’ you want to [call] it.”
Martinez noted the regime stripped the populace of its arms, even though:
[The right to bear arms] is a God-given right – it is not given by anybody, it’s not given by any group. It’s the same thing as freedom, which is a God-given right, and no one, absolutely no one, has the authority to take it away. To cease to defend the Second Amendment, and my God-given right of freedom, will cease only with my death.
Martinez then recalled his own first-hand experience, choking up and holding back tears:
I’ve been through it, I’ve been there. You people don’t know what freedom is because you never lost it! You haven’t been tortured, you haven’t seen the assassinations, you haven’t [seen] mothers begging for the lives of their sons not to be killed because [their sons] want to be free. And they killed the mothers and they killed the sons.
He also warned that infringing on the Second Amendment would “open” this nation to the possibility of a dictatorial state, noting:
If we tangle with the Second Amendment, we are open the same way that Cuba was open for Communism, [as well as] China, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, on and on…. Gun control does not protect anybody – does not protect the citizens, does not protect the people. The only reason for gun control is for the government to protect [itself from] the citizens, so that the government can… manipulate the people and subjugate them. That’s what happened in Cuba…. “
Cuba is just one country. There are many that demand their citizens to disarm. In 2010 Cuba gave their citizens amnesty for the guns that they had. They could register them without problems. They wanted all their guns registered in the name of safety and security. The current government remember that they toppled Fulgencio Batista in 1959 with an armed revolution. They want to know where the guns are. After Castro took over they used a list of those who sought gun licenses to go door-to-door and “encouraged” people to turn in their guns. This is from the Havana Journal.
A list is not a good thing.
When you purchase a gun you go through a background check in the NICS (National Crime Information Center). Someone who doesn’t really know much about guns or law enforcement will write an article about background checks and tell you the info in these checks are erased in 24 hours. Yes that is true. But what they don’t know is that there is a log of the check. It has in that log who or what was checked, which agency checked and, if the officer is using an in-car computer, which officer did the checking. With this information coupled with other information makes some good evidence that has been used to catch bad guys. The data base does not exist, but the log does. Basically, it’s not a database of registration or ownership, but it is information that can be used to trace people.
This is when the liberal “rose colored glasses” attitude starts to come into play. People who have no concept of reality in how things work, and what actually happens in the real world think “This could never happen here!” I agree that it won’t happen here, but only if the checks and balances that the founders put into place are kept intact and not treated as “antiquated.” Those who balk at our government ever over stepping or over reaching have never had anything happen to them that would make them think different. It’s the same with those who think they don’t need to worry about their security because the police are there. Nothing has ever happened to them to actually need the police.
I think that to always think that the worst can never happen in the United States is foolish. I’m not sure it will happen. But I know that in small ways these things have happened. We have crime and corruption. We have dealt with disasters that have rendered our comfortable “rule of law” ineffective. During a national “disaster” the government could step in according to executive orders. This is not a liberal thing, it’s a government thing. “That would never happen here” you say. If it would never happen here then why does the executive order exist? Obviously US Presidents agree that it could happen.
Registration is the same dark path. I want to help law enforcement as much as possible but not at the expense of the Constitution. I’ve taught my children to never talk to the police. I know that is not very cooperative but I believe no good can come of it. If police have evidence then they have it. They either have a case or they don’t. If I’m a witness I will have to be very careful as to not inadvertently implicate myself right into the crime. I know that sounds mistrusting and I guess it is. Most police are good, honest people, but there are some that just want to “solve” the case. Lawyers are not quite so honest. Their job is to defend someone even if the know they are guilty. I don’t trust very many lawyers.
Registering guns would help law enforcement, no doubt. But it would hurt citizen rights and privacy. We should care more about our rights, our God given rights, than about making law enforcement have an easier time. Some things are more important than others. I don’t like people who burn the flag, but I will defend their right to do that with my life, as I have sworn to do.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Spare Magazine and Maintenance

When you think about carrying a weapon you have lots of questions. Which gun? What caliber? What holster? Inside the waistband or outside? These are only a few of those considerations. One thing I always suggest is, carry a spare magazine. You will hear many schools of thought concerning this but here is mine.
I’ve talked to many people who have actual fighting experience. They are from law enforcement, Special Forces, and regular combat, and the civilian world. Each one of them told me that the more ammunition you have, the better your chances of surviving. The saying “If you can’t get it done with X number of rounds, more probably won’t help” is pure fiction! Real warriors know that cover and rounds are everything. I’ve heard many carriers slam other carriers for having a spare magazine. I believe this comes from ignorance. To me defensive shooting means stacking the cards against an attacker. I don’t want a fair fight. I want an attacker to wish they had not got up in the morning. I don’t want to hurt or kill anyone, but if I need to stop the threat, I want it to be swift and final.
In the St Cloud, Minnesota mall stabbing in September, the attacker stabbed 8 people before being stopped. Mainstream media reported him being stopped by an off-duty policeman. He was a part time policeman who owns a shooting school and is a 3-gun competitor. Jason Falconer was not just an off duty policeman. He shot in USPSA (U.S. Practical Shooting Association). When he shot the attacker it is doubtful, even under stress, that he did much missing. He shot him 6 times! Now I don’t know about you, but I would guess that the average gun carrier is not the same caliber of shot that Jason is. So I think an average shooter might have had to empty a 10 round magazine in the same situation Jason was in. Witnesses said that Jason shot the attacker and he kept coming. He went down but got back up twice! This tells me that perhaps 10 rounds is not enough. Add to that another attacker and all of a sudden you don’t have enough rounds even with 2 magazines. Those that want to limit magazine capacities really do not know what they are talking about. All they are reacting to are mass murders where several people were killed and the psycho used many, many rounds. They use many rounds because they can’t shoot. In the Orlando night club shooting the attacker fired around 200 rounds. There were about 102 people killed or wounded before he was killed by a SWAT team. Of course, that includes the rounds used in the shoot-out with police. I don’t think he was that great of a shot. I just think no one could get to the wounded for some time and they died from loss of blood. I’m just guessing, but his body count was probably not from well-placed shots. But because of the fact that he had “high capacity” magazines, whatever THAT is, the media and other ignorant people went nuts on how it was the fact that he had lots of rounds that made him effective. I’d like to know the facts of those innocents and how they died. I am speculating, but firing 200 rounds sounds like a “spray and pray” type of shooting. The fact that it was a confined space with little or no cover also made it a lot easier than if someone was shooting back from cover!
Please don’t think I am unfeeling of this cowardly act of violence. I’m just analyzing the reality of the shootings.
Often we talk about what we “need” in defensive shooting. In the thick of the fight I want a howitzer and the 101st Airborne to back me up! The FBI has come up with a statistic that we can look at and probably discard. They say in shooting, their agents needed 3.7 rounds to take care of the threat. I think that’s a starting point, but I think it can be a dangerous “standard”. Will you be the one that has an “average” encounter? Are you willing to bet your life on the stats and your skill? This could be a fatal error.
In 2008 a Skokie, IL officer, Tim Gramins, found himself face to face with an armed bank robber. With only his patrol car between them Officer Gramins finally hit the robber 3 times in the head to stop his threat and kill the attacker. After ward 17 total bullet holes were found in the bank robber who aggressively engaged the officer. 17 times! So how would that have worked if the police officer only had 10 round magazines? Or even 15? The firefight only lasted less than one minute. Gramins fired 33 shots while the attacker fired 21. Don’t tell me you only need one magazine! Don’t tell me you can “get it done with one mag.”
"People don't die the way we think they do," Gramins said. "I had 17 rounds in the guy. That will teach you how critical shot placement is." And more than one magazine!

These two incidents may be the exception you say. Well, please tell me which incident I’ll be involved in that will be any different than these two. Exactly. It can’t be foretold. So I am going to carry, at a minimum, an extra magazine.
Another consideration is mechanical failure. Ever hear of a magazine failing? If you compete for a long period of time you will see it. I’ve seen it happen to Glock, Ruger, Kimber, Smith and Wesson, and aftermarket mags. No one is immune. It can happen. Magazine maintenance is almost as important as gun maintenance.
In a defensive situation, having the ability to immediately eject the now-empty magazine body and replace it with a functioning unit could be the determining factor in the fight.

You will never know if fate is about to deal you a “Gramins moment” or a mechanical failure. Carrying at least one spare magazine is a small choice that can offer major advantages. Just in case.

You should have spare magazines to rotate on occasion or perhaps to have a practice set and an everyday carry set. Be sure to mark your magazines in order to know which is which when it comes time to rotate or diagnose trouble. All it takes is a simple paint pen to number and distinguish each magazine. It is always prudent to inspect the parts for cracks or damage after they have been wiped clean and to use a rust preventative (that won’t contaminate your ammunition) on the metal parts before reassembly.
Magazine maintenance is like voodoo and witchcraft to some and to others isn’t even given a consideration. One thing to remember about your pistol is that without the magazine it is nothing more than a high-dollar club. The magazine is an integral working part of a semi-automatic pistol, which contains the ammunition and facilitates the feeding of ammunition into the chamber. Having a magazine that is not reliable is almost like not having a magazine at all. Since magazines are such an important operating component of the semi-automatic pistol, it is highly recommended that all of the magazines associated with a pistol be maintained right along with the pistol each time maintenance is performed.
There are a few important things to remember when maintaining your magazines that will help to avoid trouble in the future.
When you disassemble your magazines, do them one at a time or segregate the parts if you insist on doing more than one at a time, so there is no mixing of parts from one magazine to another. When the magazine spring is removed from the magazine tube, take note of how it was positioned in the tube. In many cases there is a specific top and bottom as well as a front and back to the spring which means that you have three out of four options to get it wrong if you didn’t pay attention when it was removed.
If the magazine spring is installed incorrectly a variety of problems may occur, all of which will create less than satisfactory performance. The rest of the parts are pretty simple to remove and install. Match the shape of the parts to the shape of the magazine tube if you forget how it came apart and you will have a good chance of successful reassembly.
It is always prudent to inspect the parts for cracks or damage after they have been wiped clean and to use a rust preventative (that won’t contaminate your ammunition) on the metal parts before reassembly. Once the magazine is reassembled, use a cleaning rod or similar device to push the follower from top to bottom ensuring smoothness in both directions. Finally, load the magazine to capacity and test for the vertical movement of the rounds using thumb or finger pressure. Treat each magazine the same way and your magazines will serve you well for a long time to come.
Carry a spare and you will not be caught unaware.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, October 14, 2016


I was at the range one day and had just finished my work out. I was putting things in my range bag when a few cars drove up and parked next to my truck. Out jumped about 6 people with some gun cases and ammo boxes. They came up to me and asked if I was their instructor. I told them I was not “I don’t have a class today” were my words. They said “So you are an instructor?” I said “Yes.” They started to pepper me with questions. I finally said, “Your instructor should have told you that…” In the course of talking I found that this was indeed their 3rd class with this particular instructor.
This reminded me of a story I recently read about an experience another instructor had.

“Recently I was asked to ‘baby sit’ (my words) a fellow who was teaching a handgun class at a range where I serve as a Range Safety Officer. I was to give an impromptu safety talk and then observe the class for a while to determine if they could be left on their own or needed watching. They needed watching. Boy Oh Boy, Did they need watching.
Before they started I asked questions to get a feel for their experience and training. I was told that ‘most’ of the four students had trained under this instructor before. The instructor did have a large emblem on the back of his jacket showing his certification as an instructor, issued from a large well known organization, no less. This instructor informed me that these students were all at the ‘intermediate’ level, he then added that this was because they had all attended a concealed weapon class. The class, I believe, he had taught.
Among them one had a medium frame revolver, another a small Glock, another a small oddball copy of the Colt ‘1911’, I don’t recall what semi-auto the other fellow had. Two of the semi-auto shooters didn’t remember how to load their guns, even how to insert the magazine. I observed that the ‘1911’ shooter fired right handed but always used his left hand to put the safety on or off. Later I showed him how to operate the safety using the thumb of his right hand and the alternate method if he was shooting with his left hand. I cautioned one shooter to not put his thumb behind the slide of his semi-auto. I had to remind one or two to put on their eye protection. There was one or two other things I advised. The instructor had never said anything nor did he assist the students with any of these problems. Nor did he assist or correct any other problems.
They were firing at ledger size sheets of paper, that is 11 by 17 inches and doing so from seven yards. The warm-up was to take their time and fire six shots. One guy hit with only five shots, another with only four, the Glock shooter missed with all six. Throughout my observation I kept reminding myself ‘He calls these INTERMEDIATE level students’.
The first four or five drills the shooters were to start from a ‘low ready’ position and fire six shots, returning to the low ready after each shot. Glock shooter never did, every drill he would raise his gun and fire all six. The instructor never said anything. He never knew about it.
I held back from much I could have said or done. I did not want to undermine the instructor or seem like I was ‘taking over’ the class however it was almost difficult not to. I did jump in when the instructor stood in of his students (who were all on the firing line) and as he spoke of something, two of them drew their guns from the holsters and pointed them down range though somewhat to the side. The instructor had not thought of that as a problem until I interrupted and pointed it out. He didn’t even seem to notice.
While the instructor took a potty break I inquired how much they were paying him. One hundred dollars each for a partial day.
Part of the problem was very clear. He, the instructor, never watched his students. Yup, He would tell them to do something then never watch them as they attempted to do it.
His written material, some memorized, some read aloud from his notes, was ok, not bad, certainly not wrong but was often incomplete in areas. The drills he had them do were so-so at best but did not seem to be leading to any particular goal. His great error was that he never paid attention to what the students were doing. He could not assist his students, correct their problems, improve their technique, or anything because he never saw them in action. Whenever they shot he would stand in the middle of the line and shoot along with them at the same time. They could have been shooting at each other and as long as they missed he might never have never know it.
After about an hour and a half I was notified that I would be needed elsewhere.”
I fear sometimes there are many of those out there. For some of those instructors it was never a passion or they never had a great desire to teach. Some may be just in it for the money. I don’t care which it may be but I find it disheartening as an instructor that so many people out there are being “abused.”
Once in a while I’ve been accused of being an “expert.” I don’t really consider myself an expert. An instructor named Dan Shea pointed out long ago that there really are no experts in any subject, just Reasonably Knowledgeable Individuals, or RKI’s. I like that concept as it keeps all of us honest and locked into the permanent role of student. I also do not think my way is necessarily the best. I’ve learned things through my experience that work for me and have worked for others. Does that mean that’s it? No, there are other techniques and opinions out there. I’d be a fool if I thought I’d learned it all and that there was no more insight in the world. Times change. Technology changes. People’s ideas change. We must be smart enough to see through the hype and learn new things.
Be open to more training. Never stop learning. Never stop trying to find better ways to teach. Read. Observe. Stay informed.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Rant About Politics And LDS Members

This is a letter I've sent to family and friends. It explains where I stand and implores LDS members to think about their politics.

Politics makes me crazy. I don’t like it because it causes too much contention. But the political process is something we should be involved in.
On October 5, 2016, the First Presidency sent a letter to be read to Church congregations throughout the United States:

It basically says to participate in the voting process. But it gives us some guidelines.

"Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles."

I find it hard to be able to honestly say that the two main candidates embody “principles compatible with the gospel.” If only a small portion of what they are accused of is true, then we should not be voting for evil.

Hyrum Smith said:
"We engage in the election the same as in any other principle; you are to vote for good men, and if you do not do this it is a sin; to vote for wicked men, it would be sin. Choose the good and refuse the evil. Men of false principles have preyed upon us like wolves upon helpless lambs. Damn the rod of tyranny; curse it. Let every man use his liberties according to the constitution. Don’t fear man or devil; electioneer with all people, male and female, and exhort them to do the thing that is right. We want a President of the U.S., not a Party president, but a President of the whole people; for a Party president disfranchises the opposite party. Have a President who will maintain every man in his rights (History of the Church, Vol. 6, Ch. 15, p. 323; emphasis added).

I have heard all the justifications and rationalizations. I’ve even done it myself. I’ve voted for the lessor of two evils. Think about that statement for a minute. You’re STILL choosing evil! As LDS members and professed Christians I think that we should be ashamed of ourselves!

I have a quote from President Benson but it is not a public, confirmed quote. It was a personal conversation when he was an Apostle. It goes like this:

“Pres. Benson, when we were sitting in his office in the Church Office Building many years ago told me this after discussing many issues: ‘Mike, if you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil and you will be judged for it. You should always vote for the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not. Then, even if the worst possible candidate wins, the Lord will bless our nation more because more people were willing to stand up for what is right.’”
Mike Thompson
Mike is a lawyer who lives in Orem, UT. I do not know him so I don’t know anything about him or this quote. But I do know a lot about Pres. Benson’s teachings. I’ve studied them for years and this quote fits with his thoughts on government and voting. He had strong feelings about government and that’s what made him not so well liked by liberal members.
Even if this quote is not really from an Apostle, you can always quote me as saying it. I agree with it wholeheartedly.
I have been disgusted with politics ever since watching the Watergate hearings in the 70’s. Very few politicians are not tainted in scandal. So I am an Independent. Both of the main parties are hard for me to support. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Libertarians.

As LDS members we must subscribe to this scripture:

“Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.”
D&C 98:10

Brigham Young said:

“Are we a political people? Yes, very political indeed. But what party do you belong to or would you vote for? I will tell you whom we will vote for: we will vote for the man who will sustain the principles of civil and religious liberty, the man who knows the most and who has the best heart and brain for a statesman; and we do not care a farthing whether he is a whig, a democrat, a barn-burner, a republican, a new light or anything else. These are our politics.”
President Brigham Young, 1869, JD-13:149

Are these your politics? Or do you do what I have done before. “Well I agree with their stance on this or that, so I will vote for them.”

I think its high time members step up. I think it’s time we stop upholding evil and find something good to uphold. Please do not try and convince me that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are good people. There are way too many things that they have said, things they support, and their track records. If that is your definition of “good” then I guess I’m questioning your tolerance of evil. I know we must live in this world but more and more we are supporting the Gadiantons.

Ether 8:22
22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.

We know Gadiantons destroy governments: (3 Nephi 7:6)
6 And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.

Lest I sound like a conspiracy theorist let me give you a quote from Conference, then Apostle President Benson:

“Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon —it is a conspiracy fact.”

I’ve used this quote before and I’ve heard all the baloney from members trying to justify their position. If we do not have Gadiantons in our government, then tell me where they are? The mafia? Gangs? Surely they are there. But I believe there are Gadiantons in our government. I also think that in 1973 when he gave this quote, Ezra Taft Benson would have been an authority on the U.S. government. Can you imagine having an Apostle serve in our government? As Secretary of Agriculture President Benson served with distinction for 8 years! He understood how government worked. He had first-hand experience. I think he would be considered an “expert” in our government.

President McKay was prophet during the turbulent 60’s. He understood many of the realities that we are now dealing with. Have you ever heard someone say “It’s the 60’s all over again”?
Many of the same ideas that caused so many problems then, are popular now. We must take a higher road as members of the Church.

“Let us in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as citizens of this beloved land, use our influence to see that men and women of upright character, or unimpeachable honor, are elected to office.” (President David O. McKay, CR-4/64:6)

“Gadianton robbers fill the judgement seats in many nations. An evil power seeks to overthrow the freedom of all nations and countries.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, speaking in the April 1980 General Conference)

Gadiantons believe they are good. Like many politicians. 3 nephi 3:9
9 And behold, I am Giddianhi; and I am the governor of this the secret society of Gadianton; which society and the works thereof I know to be good; and they are of ancient date and they have been handed down unto us.

The Brethren are not silent on this either:

“It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down. We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October, 2001)

“Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the President of the United States…it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, pp. 314-315)

“The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, First Presidency Message, Ensign, August 2005)

We cannot sit back and try to convince ourselves this is not happening to us. It is as real and it is destructive. I beg of you, please don’t ignore what Prophets, Apostles, and God through scriptures is trying to tell us. As a Church we like to say “The Book of Mormon was written for our time.” Do we really believe it?

Please vote. Be involved with politics but don’t get caught separating your beliefs from your politics. That is impossible but we try to do it all the time. Find a good person who is running and vote for them. Be honest in your judgement of their goodness. Will someone who is not main stream win? Probably not. Are you more interested in winning? Or doing what is right?

The following incident from church history helps resolve this question from a Latter-day Saint perspective. In 1844, the prophet Joseph Smith ran for the office of President of the United States. The Saints knew the improbability of Brother Joseph being elected to this high station, yet their conscience told them they would rather vote for a man they knew to be good and honest, than for either of the two candidates at the time, under whose leadership the wrongs committed against the Saints would continue. John Taylor published an article about the presidential election in the Times and Seasons in which he stated that if the Latter-day Saint people would cast their vote for Joseph Smith, they would have the "satisfaction of knowing that we have acted conscientiously and have used our best judgment; and if we have to throw away our votes, we had better do so upon a worthy, rather than upon an unworthy individual."

Showing the Lord where you stand is not throwing away your vote, I believe.

“We must never give up. We must not become discouraged. We must never surrender to the forces of evil. We can and must maintain the standards for which this Church has stood since it was organized. There is a better way than the way of the world. If it means standing alone, we must do it. But we shall not be alone. I am confident that there are millions of people throughout the world who grieve over the evil they see about them. They love the virtuous, the good, and the uplifting. They too will raise their voices and give of their strength to the preservation of those values which are worthy of maintenance and cultivation.”
(Gordon B Hinckley, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, January 10, 2004)

It is time to make a difference. It is time to stop kidding ourselves. Also, I have very strong feelings about the media. Mainstream media seems to get worse every day. I don’t care what “party leanings” you have. Mainstream media reports what they want you know. Editors and producers decide what you need to know. Find news sources you can trust. That is not easy. As for mainstream media I have a saying that matches them: “No news in the truth, no truth in the news.”

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Are You Being Followed?

The other day I left work and noticed something. I work on a federal installation and have about a 15 to 20 minute commute so I settled down to thinking about what I had to do at home.
I realized that I had picked up a “tail”. Actually, I was not sure about it but after making 2 turns I still saw the gray SUV behind me. First, I got the vehicles plate number. Then I started a little counter-surveillance technique called SDR or surveillance detection route.
Counter-Surveillance is, simply put, the art of preventing people from seeing what you are doing. This can cover techniques as simple as alternating your daily movement patterns to as complex as sweeping your bedroom for electronic listening devices.
This article covers a simple technique for detecting if you have a “tail.”
As someone who works on a government facility I’m always aware that I can catch the attention of some protester or some anti-government character that may be intent on doing me harm. Or worse, finding out where I live and trying to do my family harm. If you are in law enforcement, the judicial system, or maybe just work in a controversial place, like Planned Parenthood or some high profile place like that, you may need this information. You may just be a young woman who lives alone.
Always remember to keep your “head on a swivel” and practice good situational awareness.
More likely than not, you will be driving when you’re being tailed but this applies to being on foot also.
When I had my “spidey” senses go off with this SUV I started to formulate my plan. I turned at a place I never turn on my way home from work.
Turning is the beginning of your SDR. You are trying to see if someone follows and how far they will go. Ensure you don’t find yourself turning into a bad part of town or an isolated location. In narcotics this is called “squaring the block.” If you see the same vehicle after 3 turns or it disappears but reappears you can assume you are being followed. Speeding up and slowing down will also tell you something. Most people will pass you if you slow down enough. As you do these simple things pay close attention to the “target” vehicle. What is their reaction to what you have done? If you are in an area that you are familiar with drive into a cul-de-sac. If the suspected vehicle follows you in pay close attention to a description of the vehicle and the occupants. Even grab your phone and take a picture or video of them. Be very careful with this move. If the target vehicle means to attack you, then you may have driven into a trap.
Professionals will have multiple vehicles and communication between them. They will make it look like nothing is wrong. They understand SDR and will use it to their advantage to put your mind at ease and think you are not being followed. If that is happening to you will have other things to worry about rather than being followed. You’re either being targeted by law enforcement or the government. Either one of those is because you are involved with something illegal.
If you are not sure about being followed but want to be more cautious park close to your home rather than in the driveway. Sit in your car for a few minutes before exiting. Look around to see if there is anything unusual. Any occupied cars parked nearby? Anyone you don’t know walking their dog or jogging? Binoculars are an asset in this situation. If you are still concerned walk to the corner and back or walk around the block. If things are alright go into your home but make sure.
To master surveillance tradecraft you must be taught. The techniques are not natural in fact it runs counter to human nature. Because of this, intelligence and security professionals who work surveillance operations receive in-depth training that includes many hours of heavily critiqued practical exercises, often followed by field training with experienced surveillance operatives.
At the most basic level, counter surveillance can be performed by a person who is aware of his or her surroundings and who is watching for people who violate the principles of TEDD. TEDD is what the U.S. government uses to illustrate the principles that can be used to identify surveillance. TEDD stands for Time, Environment, Distance, and Demeanor. So, a person who sees someone repeatedly over Time, in different Environments and over Distance, or one who displays poor Demeanor can assume he or she is under surveillance.
Situational awareness will go a long way to detecting surveillance. If you feel threatened or fear violence drive to a police station or a very populated, well lit, location. Call the police.
Be sure to not make SDR part of your daily activities. Situational awareness should be part of your daily activities. SDR can help you determine others intentions or if you should safeguard yourself more than usual. SDR requires full alertness and concentration.
I had turned 3 times and was still being followed. After the fourth turn the SUV kept going straight. I never saw it again. False alarm I guess. But it was good practice.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Back-up For The Contingency Plan

Here is my personal security plan.

My favorite solution to any attack or situation where I may be called upon to defend myself is to never get into the situation to begin with. Stay out of the bad part of town. Don’t be out at 3 in the morning. Choose the gunfighter chair in the restaurant. Back my vehicle into the parking spot. All these ideas are to get me out of, or away from, any problem or altercation. I don’t want to have to pull my weapon. I don’t want to use my tactical pen, but if need be, I’m prepared.

After avoidance my plan is to try and defuse the attack or situation from turning into an attack. If Bubba is upset because I took “his” parking spot, then I can politely move my vehicle. I’m not a wimp, but I don’t need a fight. If it’s just ego on the line then make me look like the little guy. I don’t need to prove anything with anyone, and I will stand my ground to a certain extent, but I pick my battles. This means keeping my emotions, especially my anger, under control. If Bubba wants to strut around like a Rooster he can knock himself out! I really don’t want to shoot anyone. I have to be the bigger person because of the responsibility of carrying a weapon.

How can I get away from this situation? If someone starts a fight I’m outa there. If a riot or big brawl starts I want to have a quick exit. The gunfighter seat is something you can work out in many places other than restaurants. Just remember that having a good view of entrances and being close to an exit can be had in many places. You do have to be aware and sometimes assertive about where you want to sit or stand at events. I like to be on the outskirts of crowds so that if something turns nasty, I have room to maneuver. It does take situational awareness and a little planning.

Things don’t always go as you plan. Even operations don’t always go as planned. This is why you must have a contingency plan. Would a situation be better served with a can of pepper spray rather than my gun? You have to have the spray, and the training, before it can be an option. You also must be open to an alternative path. Going to guns is actually a contingency plan. When we display or fire our weapons, it means that our plan to follow our other priorities has failed. In my particular case, those other priorities are Avoid and Escape.

There is a saying:
“Wise people learn from their mistakes, super-wise people learn from OTHERS mistakes!”

I like to read of other people’s perils. Not because I like to see others having problems, but to learn from them. One fight that I particularly learned a lot from was a couple in Seattle, WA who ended up having to kill their assailant. The steps that they took, right and wrong, teach us a lot.

You can read their story here:

This young couple was staying at one of their parents’ home when in through an unlocked door walked an intruder who robbed a young woman, slapped her around, and left. I’m sure the woman was terrorized after that incident but the guy came back. They were not sure, but it appeared he had snuck into the house during the day (the husband checked ALL the locks 3 times!) and then attacked again at night. The husband had fought with the attacker AFTER he had sprayed him with wasp spray. The attacker had been hit with a baseball bat but had continued. He was stopped by the wife stabbing him several (10 or so) before he stopped fighting with her husband. The attacker later died at the scene.

I know that this is a synopsis of a newspaper article so the details are general at best. Also, the emotion of going through this is never in a newspaper article. So I’m not trying to judge this couple, but to learn from their horrible experience.

It sounds like the guy stalked the family some before his attack. I’m thinking some situational awareness might have made some difference here. Now that may not be so, but it looked like the guy had “cased” the house. Maybe looking at the bushes and “blind spots” and making them more visible. More lighting or providing a way to let the dog out and to roam around the house, might have made a difference.
From the beginning, locking a door looks like it would have made at least a small difference.
Having access to a weapon and the training to use it might have made the difference in the first encounter.
After the first attack I would be on “high alert”. Maybe they were and this just was circumstances. But paying very particular attention to the doors and windows, if it looks like they were breached at all, and keeping them locked day and night, may have gone a long way.
By way of weapons they had wasp spray. It doesn’t say if the spray was kept as a weapon or just happened to be near, but it proved ineffective. Not sure if he just missed his eyes, or it just had no effect, but maybe even pepper spray would not have worked. After the fight started the wife hit the attacker with a baseball bat, I’m assuming several times, until it broke. It does not say if the guy was on drugs or not, but several hits with a bat until it broke is a lot to take even with adrenaline flowing. After getting sprayed in the face with wasp spray, fighting with another guy, taking several hits with a bat until it broke, you’d think this attacker would be easy to stop by now. It took 10 stabs to stop the guy. Now having some training in knife fighting would have probably helped.
One thing I can say for this couple, especially the wife, is that they would not stop. The husband stayed in the fight and the wife kept at it too. They used multiple weapons, some improvised. That is impressive.

What this article also taught me was always have a contingency plan. It’s good to have a back-up and even a back-up for the back-up. Sounds like over kill but this couple needed several things to stop this attacker. He had already shown that he had no problem with physical violence. His taking on the husband showed his intent, to harm these people. From the attackers Youtube videos he was clearly having a problem with women. The police concluded that abduction and sexual assault were his intent.

The first attack should have been a wake-up call. They didn’t mention an alarm system and I guess deciding to get one after the first attack would have been too little too late. But I think I would have been hyper alert and would have suspected any unusual thing. I would have wondered how the guy knew the door was unlocked. I would have wondered if the first attack was a crime of opportunity or something planned. I would have wondered if the guy was still around and would have done some recon of the area noting vehicles and unusual things. But that is me. Not everyone is as nutty about security as me.

Having that security mid set is important for you, and your families, safety. Learning from what others experience is important.
Look at your home and neighborhood. Know your neighbors and their vehicles. Look for blind spots on your property. Cut back shrubs and plant pointed plants under windows. Have your dog able to be all around your house. Lock your doors and use your alarm if you have one night and day.

Having a plan is something each of us and our families should have. Building in contingency plans is also important. These plans don’t have to be elaborate, they can be simple. The next time you read an article like this think to yourself, “Would we be ready for such a situation?” “What back-up plans do we have?” Have a contingency. Contingency planning is part of developing your personal guidelines for using force as part of our Personal Protection plan. It should be part of your family plan as well.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, October 7, 2016

Security From RAT's: Communications Security

I am not a computer genius. I often brag to my children that I was there when the internet was born. I used to call other bulletin boards. I worked on an Air Force base at the time and I would call other bases bulletin boards and download games and other shareware. There were no passwords, ICC cards, or virus protection. I kind of miss that time. Anyway, I know enough about computers to get myself in trouble. My son is a developer and my other son would like to be a developer. But that is the extent of my computer expertise, being related to someone who knows about programming. So hacking is not something I have ever been into.
A RAT is a remote administration tool that can control your computer from another computer. I’ve had someone I trusted use this type of software to fix my computer. It worked great. The problem is, what if that software was put onto your computer without your knowledge? Most Trojan viruses have some type of RAT capabilities. In the name of privacy and security, here are some things RAT can do.
• Find out all system information, including hardware being used and the exact version of your operating system, including security patches
• Control all the processes currently running on your system
• View and modify your registry
• Modify your Hosts file
• Control your computer from a remote shell
• Modify your startup processes and services, including adding a few of its own
• Execute various types of scripts on your system
• Modify/View/Steal your files
• Put files of its own on your system
• Steal your stored password
• Listen to your microphone
• Log your keystrokes (duh)
• Scan your network
• View your network shares
• Mess with your MSN Messenger / Steal your contacts / Add new contacts!
• Steal from your clipboard (things you’ve copied)
• Control your printer
• Lock/Restart/Shutdown your computer
• Update the implant with a new address to beacon to or new functionality
• Watch your webcam
• Use your computer in a denial of service (DOS) attack
And that's not all. DarkComet includes a "Fun Manager" that can perform all sorts of tricks on the target system, including:
• Hiding the Desktop—Hiding all the icons and making it impossible to right click on the desktop.
• Hide the Clock—Self Explanatory
• Hide Task Icons—In the little box on the right side of your start bar
• Hide Sys Tray Icons—Hide icons and open application buttons on the taskbar
• Hide Taskbar—Self Explanatory
• Hide the Start Button—Only works in Win XP
• Disable the Start Button (XP Only)—Gray out the start button, disabling it.
• Disable TaskMgr—Disables the Windows Task Manager (When you hit Ctrl+Alt+Del)
• Open/Close CD Tray—Self Explanatory
And more. So how can you keep yourself and your family safe in this RAT infested internet? Here are a few ideas.
Make your password harder to hack
Hard passwords include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. They should be at least eight characters in length. They should also not spell out words easy for hackers to find, like your pet’s name or the name of a family member.
Change your password regularly
A very common mistake made by users is to create one hard password, but then never change it. Remembering a long list of complicated passwords can be difficult. But no password is unbreakable. Hackers are better able hack multiple accounts if those accounts all have the same password. A password management service, like Dashlane or PasswordBox, can help you keep track of hard passwords. These services permit users to easily store and secure their passwords.
Clear your browser history
This goes for all the devices you use in a day – your home computer, your work computer, or your friend’s iPad. Internet browsers like Firefox or Chrome keep track of where you’ve been and what you’ve done online. They keep records of every site you visited. Information about what you sent from or saved on your computer can be kept for days or weeks. It is very easy for anyone who sees that information to steal a detailed record of your online activities.
Do not use free Wi-Fi
An increasing number of public places now offer free wireless access to the Internet. Often, a user does not need a password to connect to these wireless networks. These services might be useful, but they’re also an easy way for hackers to access everything on your device. Unless you really need it, it is best not to use it.
HTTPS is officially known as “hyper-text transfer protocol secure.” It is similar to HTTP, which is used to enter Internet addresses. HTTPS adds an extra layer of security and encryption while online. Communications between users and sites that support HTTPS are encrypted. The information is also authenticated. That means that HTTPS can determine whether or not a website is real.
Watch what you click
One of the most popular and successful ways hackers infect your computer is through a technique called phishing. Phishing occurs when someone opens an email attachment that looks real. But the attachment is actually a virus that immediately infects the user’s computer. If someone sends you a file or a website you did not ask for, it is best to not click on it.
Try not to use public computers
For many people, not using a public computer can be difficult. Those without a computer or Internet access at home often use Internet cafes to get online. However, the more different people use a computer, the more likely a virus has infected it.
Use anti-virus protection
There are many anti-virus services available for users. They can offer many different types of computer protection. Some anti-virus services are even free. They are a great way to have a professional help keep users one step ahead of hackers.
Be careful while using thumb drive
Thumb drives, also known as flash drives, are small and easy storage devices to use across different computers. They are a popular device that people use to exchange files and documents. They can also spread viruses easily across computers and networks.
Unplug the webcam

For desktop users with external webcams (which is 99%+ of the desktop machines with webcams) the easiest solution is to simply unplug the external USB web cam. No amount of hacking is going to magically plug an unplugged device back in.

This is the solution I use. Leave the webcams in their usual position atop their monitor and then when you need to use it you plug the USB cable into an easily accessible front or top USB port on the computer.

It’s the most foolproof way to approach the problem if you have an external webcam and works regardless of the hardware or operating system.

This can be a serious security problem for your family. If you suspect your computer is infected with this type of virus consult a professional computer doctor. In the meantime, unhook from the internet.

Keeping your computer and devices protected is a constant task we need to be vigilant about.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Food Choices For Your Prep Plan

“The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat.”
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1 page 250
"The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah." Ezra Taft Benson, "Prepare Ye," Ensign, Jan 1974, 69.
"We are living in the prophesied time, 'when peace shall be taken from the earth,' (D&C 1:35) when 'all thing shall be in commotion,' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91) These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity.'" ... While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us. We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming." ( Preparation for the Second Coming, Elder Dallin H. Oaks Conference, April 2004).
When I teach preparedness I use an acronym for the basics of survival. It is ASWiFFS. It stands for Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, and Security. I believe these to be the basics of survival. I also teach the rule of 3’s. You can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in inclement weather, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Food is a basic building block in its importance to our survival. Emergency food is a little different than food storage although it is an important part.
Freeze-Dried Food
Long shelf life
Very lightweight
Very low moisture
Reconstitutes quickly
Best way to dry meat items
Generally tastes better than dehydrated
Retains original shape, texture, color after reconstitution
Most expensive food storage option
Most items require water to prepare
Items are bulkier than if dehydrated
If purchased in Mylar pouches, they’re susceptible to puncture

Dehydrated Food
No waste
Low moisture
Long shelf life
Not easily spoiled
Requires water to prepare
Some items have poor visual appeal
Some items lose taste after reconstitution
Some items take a long time to reconstitute
Dehydration process can affect nutritional value
MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)
Convenient to use
Familiar foods available
Requires no water to prepare
No mixing or blending required
Can be heated for hot meal by many methods
Can be eaten right from pouch without preparation
Taste of MREs considered poor by some
Not intended for long term consumption
Artificial additives added in many recipes
Expensive considering actual food received
Entrees alone will not supply adequate nutritional value
Because of foil pouch, they are susceptible to puncture
Can be heavy if larger quantities need to be transported
Many entrees more like sauces & require additional quality carbohydrates for a filling meal

Commercially Canned Food
Wide variety of canned foods
Secure packaging-containment
Readily available at all grocery stores
Moderate shelf life, generally 3-years – depending on food
‘Real’ shelf life often much longer than posted without issues
Difficulty in freezing conditions
Heavier than dehydrated, freeze-dried
Typically lots of preservatives-salt, etc.
Not as practical for on-the-go or carrying
Exposure to water-humidity promotes rust
Requires more physical space than other types of processing
Emergency Food Bars
Low cost
Calorie dense
Good shelf life
Compact – convenient
Good for portability – small kit, etc.
Limited nutritional value
Not everyone likes the taste
Not adequate for prolonged use
Not a satisfying substitute for a hot meal
Grains, Beans, Basic Commodities
Low cost
Good nutritional value
The basic food staples – very important
Very long storage life if stored properly
Essential ingredients for sustaining life
Many sprout-able seeds, grains, and beans increase nutritional value
More time consuming to prepare
Heavy weight – meant for storage, not portability
Not generally appropriate for shorter term emergencies
Time is required to adapt to basic commodity oriented diet
Requires relatively large quantities of water and fuel to prepare
For calories, a fairly large quantity must be consumed when eaten exclusively
Storing food for long term is different than for short term emergencies. A mixture of some of these may fit into all your food storage needs.
Food IS more valuable than gold. Having food storage will give you greater peace of mind than any amount of gold would.
Your family should have a food storage program tailored to your needs and desires. Food storage should be in your family’s preparedness plans.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Storing Gasoline

Many of us own gasoline powered generators and other power tools that run on gasoline. Despite the fact that this is one of the most commonly used types of fuels, many people don’t know that it has a relatively short shelf life. Some say that untreated gas only has a shelf life of about three months but in my experience, that might be stretching it a bit. Gasoline will degrade over time. A fuel stabilizer will help to keep that gas good for a longer period. I’ve stored stabilized fuel for 2 years without a problem. But I think that’s pushing it. For my fuel storage I use a year as my bench mark. I rotate fuel through my vehicles. I set my standard at a year, but in truth, it’s probably closer to 3 to 6 months. Do not put bad gas in a vehicle! It will mess up an engine fast. I use screens and filters as much as possible when transferring gas from container to vehicle/equipment. Keep good records of when you bought the gas, when it was stabilized, and rotated. Always use stabilizer.
If you store gasoline in a generator so that it will always be ready when you need it, there’s a good chance that your generator won’t start when you need it the most. Gasoline WILL go bad when it is stored for very long. In addition to it becoming less combustible, other things can happen to it. For example, water condensation can accumulate inside the container, and as I’m sure you know, water doesn’t burn too well in any engine.
Another thing that can happen is a process called “oxidation” which can reduce the octane quality of the gasoline. This can also result in sludge like deposits accumulating in the tiny orifices of your engine’s carburetor. If you allow this to happen, simply draining out the old gasoline and replacing it with fresh gas won’t help you a bit. Your engine still won’t run because the new fresh gas won’t be able to flow properly through the carburetor. You’ll need to pull the carburetor and give it a thorough cleaning with carburetor cleaner.
Once gas has already gone bad, it’s too late to add fuel stabilizer to it since the degradation of the fuel has already taken place. I’ve had some success when I’ve mixed old gasoline with new gasoline for use in non-critical tools like lawn mowers and rototillers. Having said that, I would never suggest running old fuel in critical tools like generators.
Store fuel, any fuel, away from flame and if possible away from sheds and buildings. Ours in locked in a chain link dog kennel. It originally did not have a roof so I put one on it. This way it is secured but far enough from buildings. Be careful to store fuel away from stored water too. Check the laws in your area for fuel storage as far as how and what amounts. Often that limit is 25 gallons. Make sure the containers are approved for fuel storage. Other containers may degrade or crack. They say to only fill containers 95%. I say, the fuller the container, the fresher the fuel. But it does expand with heat so leave some room. Use good judgement. Cap it tight. Keep fuel storage out of the sun.
If you have a generator, you must have gas storage. How much is up to you. It can be a lot of work to stabilize, store, and rotate fuel. I think it’s worth it, but many would only want a few 5 gallon cans. I try to keep about 50 to 65 gallons on hand. If you put yourself on a schedule, you can rotate all of it in 6 months. It does cost more to keep it safe, stabilized, and fresh, but the options I feel I have because I have an extra 50 gallons of gas ready to use at any time, gives me the options to run vehicles and equipment that will make a big difference in a grid down situation.
I’ve included a reference to an earlier article about siphoning that may be of help with storing gas. Siphoning Gas/Water 2/29/2016

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Overwatch: October Drill Of The Month

Learning to Shoot with Both Eyes Open

Many shooters close or squint their weak eye to focus on the front sight, but doing so impairs peripheral vision and depth perception while increasing eye fatigue. Your target-to-target transitions will be much quicker if you are using both your eyes, and you can be more relaxed, which will improve your shooting in general. The problem is usually that the dominant eye is not much stronger than the weak eye, so instead of seeing one image strongly and the other faintly, you see both strongly. When focused on the front sight, you see a confusing array of rear sights and targets, with no way to coordinate them.
It’s impossible to sort out the double images every time you take a shot. Instead, train your eye to
simply "know" what a good sight picture is and to ignore the extraneous elements. Within a few months, you can shoot as well as anyone, with complete peripheral awareness, by learning not to "see" any doubling of the sight picture.

The following is a recovery program for shooters with eye squinching problems:
Put a strip of scotch tape on your shooting glasses over your non-dominant eye and learn to shoot with both eyes open. The tape will obscure the weak eye's picture to the point where it will not interfere with your sight picture. Shoot this way until you have acquired the technique and your stance, sight focus, and follow through feel natural.
Dry fire every day. Select either the presentation from the holster or low ready, whichever makes sense to your situation, and practice first to make it smooth, then to make it perfect. Always keep a strong front-sight focus, and be very aware of where the sights are when the hammer falls. Work your way up to being able to make a presentation with your eyes closed, then open your eyes and see a solid sight picture.
Replace the tape with a smear of Vaseline, thin enough you see a ghostly rear sight when focused on the front sight. It will disorient you, as you'll see two rear sights and two targets. You will find that you are able to put the sight dead on the target regardless of the double vision. Continue the dry-fire regimen, and soon you will hardly be aware of the second image. As you get more acclimated to seeing the sight picture with only the strong eye, you can remove more and more Vaseline.
Eventually, open both eyes. Watch the sight through recoil. You will learn that you can follow the sight and retain a sharp picture, disregarding any weak-eye images of the rear sight or target. If your eyes begin to confuse the images, go back to the other glasses for a few minutes. In live-fire, gradually phase out the old glasses.
Within a few months, you won't ever think about it again--your eyes will "know" the sight picture and the non-dominant image will seem like a peripheral, ghostly superposition. This is because attention is what makes the image strong. The steps above will allow you to shoot as if the conflicting image didn't exist--and the more you ignore it, the more it doesn't exist. The result is no visual confusion, just a strong sight picture, normal depth perception, and the full range of your natural peripheral vision.

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Generator Power As An Option

With hurricanes threatening it has me thinking about alternative power. Where I live we don’t worry too much about hurricanes. But we have power outages all the time. One of our resources for alternative power is a generator.
Generators come in many sizes and capacities so make sure you buy one that will meet your needs. Here is some info that may help you to decide. This is what generators can handle.
Small portable: 3,000 to 4,000 watts; $400 to $800 for most (more for inverter models)
What it can power: The basics, including items such as...
• Refrigerator (600 watts)
• Microwave (1,500 watts)
• Sump pump (600 watts)
• Several lights (400 watts)
• TV (200 watts)
Midsized portable and small stationary: 5,000 to 8,500 watts; $500 to $1,000 for portables; twice that for stationary
What it can power: Same as small models, plus...
• Portable heater (1,300 watts)
• Computer (250 watts)
• Heating system (500 watts)
• Second pump (600 watts)
• More lights (400 watts)
Large portable: 10,000 watts; $2,000 to $3,000
What it can power: Adds choice of...
• Small water heater (3,000 watts)
• Central air conditioner (5,000 watts)
• Electric range (5,000 watts)
Large stationary: 10,000 to 15,000 watts; $5,000 to $10,000 or more, plus installation
What it can power: Same as large portable models, plus...
• Clothes washer (1,200 watts)
• Electric dryer (5,000 watts)
Pick a model with a wattage at least equal to the total for what you're powering. Manufacturers also suggest totaling the higher surge watts some appliances draw when they cycle on.
What if you have a well pump?
For a pump that is 1.5 horsepower you will assume you will need about 2.25 horsepower of electrical power due to the starting surge and resistance loss in the power line.
2.25HP = 1679 Watts. So a generator of 2,000 Watts or 2kW should be sufficient. A 4,000 watt generator would work and provide some extra power too. Just make sure it has a 240V capability and outlet. Use 10 gage wire rated for sump pump use.
You can hook up your generator to your house through your dryer outlet. This is for informational purposes only. Consult a qualified electrician before using any type of hook up. Doing this is dangerous for power workers. A transfer box that keeps your power isolated to your house is the best way to hook up a generator. But, like explosives, I want to know what to do with them. I want the information. Hooking up your generator through your dryer outlet may be illegal in some places. I will not include instructions how to do this because it is dangerous. IF you do this, know that you take a chance with someone’s life. If it is an EMP or something extreme like that, you will not have to worry about a lineman fixing anything! This is the only reason I want this information.
A generator can be an asset in a grid down problem. I would not use it as my only source because it too can fail (Two is one, one is none). Some don’t like this idea because you have to store fuel. Fuel can be used for many things beside my generator but if not stored properly can be dangerous and is perishable. There are many things that run off fuel such as vehicles, tractors, lawn equipment, chain saws, shredders and log splitters. These can be very advantageous in a grid down scenario.
Besides generator power there is wind and solar power, if you have running water there are water turbines too. Find more than one source and keep parts and maintenance of these systems.
Since this article is about generators, the next article will be about storing fuel.
Semper Paratus
Check 6