Low Prices Make this the Time to Stock Up on Guns and Ammo

We don’t sell guns or ammunition, but I’m here to tell you to buy guns and ammo now, because you may never see prices this low again. Stock up while you still can, on pistols and shotguns, but especially those black rifles gun control proponents like to call “assault weapons.”

M4Two years ago, the school shooting in Sandy Hook lead to new anti-gun laws in several states, including New York, Connecticut, and Colorado. Threats of legislation at the federal level sent the cost of guns and ammo spiraling upwards to more than two times their normal price. Even though this was the worst time to buy, people did because they were worried that they might never be able to do so again.

Let’s look at a case of 1,000 rounds of your basic 5.56 55 grain ammo from a supplier like Federal. Before Sandy Hook, a case could be found for about $300. Once talk of gun control starter, everyone bought up available supplies. There were shortages and prices soared in excess of $600 per case, or 60 cents per round. I’ve even seen it going for $899, or three times the price.

I walked through big box sporting goods stores at the height of the drought, and there were and astounding number of empty shelves that used to hold ammo. It was depressing.

The same thing happened with AR15s. People bought up every available gun, driving prices up well above $1500 in some cases. The standard 30-round magazines saw similar shortages and prices shot upwards. Same for AK-47s and other military style rifles and accessories. Gun stores sold out and had waiting lists.

Earlier this year, prices began to drop back down. Magazines were once again plentiful, rifles became cheaper and in the past two months, ammo prices are dropping back to their “normal” price range. In most parts of the country, you can go to Walmart and buy ammo without restrictions. About the only thing still in short supply is rimfire rounds such as 22LR.

This surge in demand, followed by a shortage that contributes to rising prices is nothing new. We saw shortages when Obama was elected in 2008. We saw it back in the 1990s when Clinton passed the assault weapons ban. And we’ve seen it just recently for Kalashnikov weapons that have been banned from import due to sanctions on Russian companies. I don’t personally remember, but I dare say there were similar runs on weapons and ammo back when they passed the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Right now, we are benefitting from a period in which the shortage in AR15s has turned into a surplus. Every company that ramped up production and ordered more parts to meet the rising demand is now facing the opposite situation: Weapons are plentiful and prices are falling.

Last month, I saw stripped lower receivers being sold for $39.95. Add a $389.95 parts kit from SARCO, Inc., and you could build your own AR15 for $430. Don’t want to do the work yourself? Just a couple weeks ago, a local gun store was selling Bushmaster AR15s for $550 and buyers could get a $50 rebate from Bushmaster via mail, which nets out at $500 for a brand name weapon.

So what are you waiting for? If you considered owning a modern sporting rifle, I doubt you will ever see a better price than $500.

Two rifle bullets isolated on white backgroundAmmunition prices are also dropping. By shopping around, I found Federal XM193 on stripper clips for 31 cents per round once shipping was included.  Now that was the best price I saw, but $340 for a case of 1,000 rounds of Federal or PMC was not uncommon. Steel-cased .223 from Wolf could be had for $250 per case. These prices represent a return to pre-Sandy Hook pricing.

How long will this window of good pricing last? No one knows. If we go back to war in the Middle East, we could see ammo shortages again. If President Obama tries to do something to restrict our rights with an executive order, we could see another spike in demand. Even if nothing happens, this temporary glut in the market will be absorbed and a good brand-name AR15 will return to the $700 to $800 range.

If you are a prepper and don’t know what to get your spouse for Christmas, I recommend you buy an AR15, 1,000 rounds of ammo and 12 magazines. You can do so for about $1,000. If you already own enough weapons, then buy a couple thousand rounds of ammo for your primary battle rifle. When you put them in your stash, take out the oldest bullets and go get some trigger time. Build some skills, or take a friend shooting.

Act now, and you won’t have to hear us say “Told you so” in a couple years.

Prepare for More Ebola Quaratines

Nice to see a national business publication such as Forbes covering the Ebola quarantine issue.  This article predicting more quarantines and outlining problem with the current law is well worth reading.

A couple of takeaways:

“Under current law, the federal government is responsible for quarantining individuals traveling from outside the U.S. or between states, while state governments have quarantine authority over people traveling within state boundaries.”

To me, this says that the “patchwork” of policies put in place by governors is likely to continue. And I’m OK with that because I want states to utilize their own powers because no two states are going to have exactly the same issues.  A state like new Jersey with large urban centers and lots of international travel is going to  have a different issues than a state like Wyoming.

In my opinion, confining someone to a tent in a hospital parking lot shows a lack of planning, foresight and common sense.  Tents and chemical toilets should be your last option, not your first. If you want to quarantine people, rent or buy a hotel.  Staff it with medical personnel who can take temperatures and spot early symptoms.  Keep the kitchen staff working and provide room service, linens, free WiFi and paid TV.  My guess is that people will grumble, but law suits will decline.

Ebola disease will never become epidemic in the U.S. (so long the virus doesn’t mutate in ways that make it far more contagious). But the prospect of larger and more frequent outbreaks is likely. As we have seen with the anxiety engendered by just a few isolated cases, if we were to have even a dozen cases in a major U.S. city, it could have a substantial impact on our economic and social life.

Economic impact is a good point.  Just keep in mind the Anthrax attacks and how much disruption that caused.  Every time someone spilled some salt, they called in the HazMat team.  If Ebola remains confined to Africa, it will be an on-again, off-again news story that flares into the public eye every time an American gets sick.  If it starts to spread to Europe, Asia or the U.S., then people will start to worry and stock markets will start dropping and there will be an impact on the travel industry as airline and cruise ships see a drop in passengers.

 

Lone Wolf Terrorist Attacks and how we can Protect Ourselves

As we saw last week in Canada and in New York, a few individuals have apparently been inspired by ISIS to attack soldiers, the police, and government officials. I expect this there will be more lone wolf terrorist attacks by “self radicalized Islamist extremists” not only in Canada and in the U.S, but probably in Europe.  There are warnings that ISIS is encouraging their followers to kidnap citzens and are seeking to inspre beheadings.

HatchetAttackBefore I address what you can do to protect yourself from lone wolf terrorists, it is interesting to take note of what weapons these terrorists used in their attacks: a vehicle, a lever-action rifle (often reported to be a shotgun in early news coverage), and a hatchet.

This is not the most devastating arsenal of weapons, nor are they difficult to find. I would expect that just about every rural home in the U.S. probably has at least one of each.

This leads me to two thoughts:

  1. The government will probably add this information to their databases, crunch some numbers and send a memo to law enforcement warning then that that everyone with a hatchet and a car is a possible terrorist. (Perhaps this is the wrong time to admit this, but I have a hatchet in my car. Sadly, I do not own a lever action rifle.)
  2. We should be glad that these guys did not have AK-47s or a team of terrorists, like the Mumbai attack  or the Westgate Mall Terrorist attack in Kenya just last year.

Looking at this and other recent terrorist attacks, which those more politically correct than I might choose to call “incidents of workplace violence,” we can conclude a few things:

  1. As both the Sargent at Arms in Canada and the cops in New York City proved, guns in the right hands can and do save lives. In both cases, the attack ceased when the terrorist was shot. Accurately and repeatedly shooting a terrorist with a weapon of sufficient caliber is the best way to stop a lone wolf terrorist attack once it has commenced.
  2. Our soldiers need to be armed, and no one should be required to stand guard, ceremonial or otherwise, without a loaded magazine in their weapon. Not only were the ceremonial guards in Canada carrying empty weapons, soldiers at Ft. Hood were unarmed, allowing Nidal Hasan to kill 12 and injure 31 more before he was finally shot. If the powers that be either do not think our soldiers are well enough trained to carry loaded weapons or do not trust them to do so, then I can only conclude that either they need more and better training or better leaders.  (Let me add that requiring that soldiers do not wear their uniforms in public due to the increased danger is another reason to conclude it’s leadership at fault.  Are you a fighting force, or a hiding force?)
  1. Cops are going to understandably be a bit nervous. Traditional criminals try to avoid the police; these crazy guys may well seek them out. Keep this in mind if you have any interactions with law enforcement.

 How to Protect Yourself

Assuming that you are not a target, how can you stay out of the line of fire and what should you do if you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time? Here are my suggestions:

Avoidance. The best and easiest way to protect yourself from trouble is to avoid places where trouble lurks. For example, if you avoid bars, chances are excellent that you will avoid being in a bar fight. In this case, we can be a little more specific and suggest that you stay away from governmental buildings, places where the police congregate, and other “targets of opportunity.” (As I wrote this article, Homeland Security  announced “heightened security measures” at federal buildings.)

If you can avoid trouble, you may never need the following advice. Unfortunately, most of us have to work outside the home, need to go to town, have to stop in the bank, need to go shopping etc. Even at home, we may face dangers, from home intruders to dangerous animals. That’s why the next steps will be necessary:

Mindset: The second most important thing to do to protect yourself is to adopt the proper mindset. You need to own the fact that no one will protect you and your loved ones but you because no one cares about you and your loved ones but you. Yes, it’s true: You are on your own. Courage, honor and valor are worthy pursuits, but do not expect it in your fellow man; be prepared to defend yourself or to make a strategic retreat.

If you somehow still naively believe life is fair, that someone will take care of you, and that you have nothing to fear, then I respectfully suggest you wake up or grow up! Take the big step towards self-realization and to becoming an adult by acknowledging that no one is responsible for your personal safety and your behavior except YOU. Face the fact that neither life nor fights are fair, and that you could die any minute of any day for any reason from making a dumb mistake to the whim of a stranger to plain ol’ bad luck. Once you acknowledge this, then you can go forth and proactively prepare to avoid death by planning, by building up your skills, and by equipping yourself in a manner that gives you all the advantages possible.

Plan: Have a plan and have a Plan B. Know alternate routes. Know the exits and sit near one. Have a fallback location where you will go to regroup. Be aware of those around you and keep an eye on their hands. Look for suspicious behavior. Listen to your instincts and what your hind brand is telling you. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted, but focus on the task at hand. Be discreet and don’t attract attention to yourself, but do not look like a victim. (Got all that?)

Keep in mind that in a lone-wolf terrorist attack scenario, your primary responsibility is to protect yourself and those you are with. This may your family, friends or colleagues.  It is not the random dude who just happened to be there.  “Protecting yourself” may mean killing the terrorist. It may mean hiding. It may mean turning the other way and running. (Hint: Incorporate one or more of those options Plan A and B.)

Unless you are law enforcement, you are not obligated to stop an attack. If, however, you feel morally obligated to do so, that’s your call, but think about what the untended consequences may be. I am not saying avoid the hero route; I am simply saying that you should only go down that route with your eyes open and your estate planning documents up to date.

Equipment: It has been said that your mind is your greatest weapon, but until I master the Force, I going to keep carrying a gun! But your equipment goes beyond weaponry to include other safety equipment. To be properly equipped, you should start with the following:

A 45 caliber pistol automatic knife and flashlight isolated on whiteOn your person carry:

  • At least one hand gun of 9mm or greater
  • One or two reloads for your weapon
  • A knife that can be used for utility and as a defensive weapon, such as a folder with at least a 3” blade
  • A tactical flashlight (read our article on what makes a flashlight “tactical”)
  • A few tac-med items, such as a Israeli battle dressing and/or a tourniquet
  • A cell phone with earphone or blue tooth so you can communicate hands-free

The above can be carried in the pockets of a pair of cargo pants and/or in a jacket or vest. If you carry a backpack, consider carrying some power bars or candy bars, a bottle of water, spare batteries, and a more complete medical kit.  Feel free to add a Multi-tool or other items.

Some would advise carrying pepper spray, and it is hard to argue with that as it is a nice non-lethal option when you need to disengage from someone who does not meet the threat level to justify shooting them. I’m not convinced that facing a hatchet-wielding assailant or his AK-47 terrorist brethren with pepper spray is the smart choice, but if you are unable or unwilling to effectively use a handgun, pepper spray is probably the best alternative. At the every least, you may be able to use it to incapacitate a threat long enough for you to clear the area.

In your vehicle, carry:

  • A rifle, preferably an urban rifle or battle rifle, depending on your environment
  • At least three loaded magazines in an “active shooter” bag or a bandolier you can throw on if you need to grab your rifle from your vehicle and beat feet
  • Spare ammunition for your rifle and your handgun
  • A larger emergency medicine kit
  • Food and water
  • A blanket or two
  • A spare pair of shoes and possibly a change of clothes
  • A three-day supply of any prescription drugs you are depended upon
  • Anything else you can see yourself needing to get to safety, to fight back and defend yourself, or to hunker down and wait it out.

For most of us, our car or truck is simply transportation, but it can also provide shelter or even be a weapon. Equip it so that you could easilly survive if it took you three days to get home again.

As I mentioned above, using your weapon(s) should be just one aspect of your plan. You carry a concealed weapon to defend yourself from a lethal force when you have no reasonable alternative. In a Mumbai-style attack involving multiple terrorists in a busy area, you would use your pistol to stop an immediate threat and then trade up to your rifle or get to a rifle a terrorist no longer “needs.” You can then use the rifle to either 1) kill the terrorists who are trying to kill you, 2) kill the terrorists who are killing others and help these others to escape, or 3) provide cover as you escape or shoot your way out of their target zone. Keep in mind that historically, the people who fared best in these attacks were those who got out while it was in the early stages and were never pinned down were never captured and become hostages. If you are not a Marine or a police officer, you don’t have to run towards gunfire. If you choose to do so, be careful that responding law enforcement personnel do not mistake you for a terrorist.

It is also important to remember that in a suicide bombing, guns won’t do you any good. That’s where the medical kit will be useful. Sure, people made tourniquets from belts at the Boston marathon bombing, but wouldn’t it be convenience to have a couple tourniquets available and know how to use them? And that brings us to our next topic…

Training: Having a plan is only sufficient if you have the skills to carry it out. Have equipment is only beneficial if you know how to use it. You need to drill with your weapons so you can consistently and repeatedly put accurate aimed fire on a moving target or targets under adverse conditions. You need to know basics about treating wounds and how to apply a tourniquet. Carrying that Israeli battle dressing isn’t much good if you have to stop and read the directions in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Training will help you swing into motion and do some good instead of standing there in shock.

And so we come full circle, back to mindset. If you don’t believe it could happen to you, then you will be in denial and unable to respond. If you have played out the scenario in your mind, you will be ready to take decisive action.

So to recap: Avoid terrorist attacks by avoiding places where they might happen. Adopt the proper mindset and plan for the worst. Have the equipment and training you need to help turn the odds in your favor.

And finally, it’s important to remember that the odds of you being caught up in a terrorist attack are extremely low. Plan and prepare, but don’t let it keep you up at night.

Here’s an interesting piece about lone wolf terrorists in which John Lott, Jr., warns that “the last line of defense is having more citizens carry guns.”

 

 

The Latest Ebola News: What it Means

In the 10 days since our last post on Ebola (which  I encourage you to read), there’s been both bad news and good. The bad news is that two nurses involved in treating Thomas Eric Duncan, patient zero, were stricken with Ebola, and one of them was allowed by the CDC to fly from Cleveland to Dallas despite showing mild symptoms. The good news is that there is no broad outbreak. School children in Dallas remain safe. None of Duncan’s family members and friends became sick, nor did the EMTs or the initial medical personnel who saw Duncan in the emergency room.

EbolaInfographic

Click to enlarge Infographic on Ebola symptoms

This seems to confirm statements that the illness is difficult to catch through casual contact and that victims are not contagious until they are exhibiting symptoms. On second glance, I would modify that to say: The evidence seems to imply that Ebola is difficult to catch from a patient in the early stages of the disease, but as patients become sicker, they become more contagious and it becomes easier to catch the disease, even when gowned up and wearing gloves and masks.

It is also interesting to note that while the first patient was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian, the next two victims were flown to specialized hospitals for treatment. It appears that that despite initial claims from the CDC, not every hospital is capable of treating Ebola patients.

I liken this first U.S. exposure experience to a football game where your team fumbles and its players make dumb mistakes, but they regroup at halftime and come back to win. If these two nurses can recover and no one else gets sick, we will have limited the damage from fumbling the initial handling of Duncan. We will have learned some important lessons, and we will be better able to treat the next patient. And we can expect another patient, because as long as another carrier can fly in and start the cycle all over again, we face a future where Ebola patients will continue to walk into emergency rooms.

What new information can a prepper glean from this first cluster of cases in the U.S.?

  1. Gowns and gloves are not enough protection in late stages of the disease. You need to cover every spec of skin and use either a full gas mask or a positive pressure breathing system that provides filtered air.
  2. We used to worry about blood because of HIV. Now every bodily fluid is a potential disease carrier. Stay away – and teach your kids to stay away — from vomit, diarrhea and blood.
  3. If you or someone else from your household is diagnosed with Ebola, you lose all rights, including the right to privacy. Someone else will come in and decontaminate your house. (What will they say when they see your store of food, guns and ammo?) Anyone else who lives there will be quarantined for 21 days.

Here are a few interesting articles on Ebola I recommend:

  • From the New York Times, a good wrap up on how people reacted to Ebola, from panic to the political impact of the disease.
  • Six Reasons to Panic, from The Weekly Standard reminds us that the danger has not passed and things could take a turn for the worse.
  • In contrast, we have an article from Wall Street Journal, which reports that it is unlikely that Ebola could evolve to become airborne.  “No human virus is known to have changed its mode of transmission,” reports the author.
  • And another article from the WSJ reporting that the scientific journal Lancet that “suggests Ebola cases could be spread by unwitting travelers.” (Yeah, I know, that should be obvious, but now there is scientific “proof” to back up our common sense.) The study authors also concluded that “screenings can miss travelers who don’t yet show signs of Ebola.”  Ya think?

As you can tell, I think the CDC’s willingness to allow potential disease vectors easy access to the giant petri dish that is our population is misguided. They’ve made a number of missteps already, and I am afraid the decision to leave our border open to passengers from the stricken countries will prove to be another one.

I am reminded of the difference between experience and wisdom:  Experience is learning from your mistakes while wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others.  I wish those in charge of protecting this country from an outbreak would demonstrate a bit of wisdom instead of having to learn the hard way.  Again.

 

Should You Be Worried about Ebola? This Prepper’s Perspective

A number of people have asked me, “Aren’t you worried about Ebola?” So let me take a deep dive into this topic:

I look at this single case of Ebola in Dallas as the warning shot across our bow. I hope it is something our hospitals, county health departments, state health departments, and the CDC can learn from, because clearly mistakes were made.

EbolaGasMaskI look at this as I would look at the very early report of a tropical storm forming somewhere in the Atlantic. We do not know if the tropical storm will become a hurricane. We do not know how strong it will be. We do not know where it will land – will it Florida? Go up the East Coast? Roar into the Gulf and hit Mississippi or New Orleans? Heck, we don’t even know if it will make landfall. But a wise person will buy plywood, stock up on bottled water, have gas for their generator, and have a plan for bugging out.

This is what the current case of Ebola provides us: A reminder that we should plan, prepare, and be ready, because if Hurricane Ebola sets its sights on your town, it’s too late to wonder what to do.

I’ll cover in detail how to prepare, but let’s take an objective look at Ebola first.

 

The Bad News

Ebola Viral Disease, often called Ebola in the press or EVD by the medical community, is a hemorrhagic fever that kills anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of its victims.

EVD originated in Africa, where it is thought the epidemic was initially spread by eating bats or monkeys. Once it infected a human host, it spread person-to-person through close contact with sick people or dead bodies.

Earlier outbreaks have been controlled, but the outbreak in West Africa (specifically Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) spread from small, isolated villages to large, crowded cities where it has proven to be unstoppable, overwhelming the local medical system.

If you exposed to the bodily fluids of a living or dead EVD victim – vomit, blood, semen, tears, sweat, diarrhea, etc. – then you are at a high risk of getting the disease. It is not an easy death as it causes your internal organs shut down, your blood to lose its ability to clot, and your blood vessels leak, giving you a blood shot eyes and bleeding from any or all of your orifices. This also causes a rapid drop in blood pressure which contributes to death.

EVD is spreading in West Africa at the rate of two new people falling sick for every person infected with the disease. So the numbers of infected are rising and the scope of the disease doubles every three to four weeks. (The only thing keeping it from growing faster is the relatively long incubation period.) There have been 4,000 acknowledged deaths, with many more going unreported. Experts estimate that EVD could reach 1.4 million people if it is not controlled. And that’s just in Africa.

Doctor writes Ebola symptoms on whiteboard isolated on white backgroundEVD has reached the U.S. There is one victim in Dallas, Texas, who was infected in his native Liberia by taking a sick woman to the hospital. He traveled to the U.S. and became sick here. He exposed his relatives in the U.S., both adults and children, putting them at grave risk. (They are now quarantine.) More than 100 people are being monitored to see if they will present symptoms, but only the 10 closest to him after he fell ill are thought to be at grave risk of getting EVD.

One of the chief dangers our healthcare system faces is that the symptoms of the flu are similar to the onset of EVD (fever, chills, muscle pain, and weakness). So if you show up at the hospital complaining of fever and chills, the medical staff does not have any idea which virus you are fighting. That’s why they ask if you have been traveling or exposed to someone from West Africa. But if Ebola gets a strong foothold here in the U.S., then the traveling question won’t matter.

There are a limited number of medical facilities in the U.S. that can isolate and treat EVD patients, and there are nowhere near enough in West Africa. There are also limited supplies of personal protective gear designed to keep medical staff protected. This results in many health care professionals getting infected in West Africa and we could see the same thing here.

There is currently no cure or vaccine. If you get EVD, you either get better, or you die.

 

The Good News

EVD is not yet able to spread via air – at least outside the range of droplets in a cough or sneeze. Granted, you don’t want a victim to cough on you, but you don’t have to worry about walking around and catching EVD by simply breathing the air near a sick person’s house. This makes it much less transferrable than the flu or SARs. It is also not thought to be transferrable through insects.

You can catch it by getting the virus and/or aforementioned bodily fluids in your eyes, mucous membranes or through an open wound or scratch. This is why doctors wear face shields and why you should wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Be aware that a sick person could leave one or more of these bodily fluids on something that you could touch – a door handle, a bus seat, a dollar bill, a sidewalk – and no one really knows how long that virus will stay dangerous. Another reason to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and wash any potentially exposed area with a Clorox solution. (Medical personnel recommend a 10-to 1 solution of water to bleach.)

While the disease has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days (most people get sick 4 to 10 days after exposure), people who are carrying the disease but not yet showing symptoms are reportedly not contagious.  The danger is that people with mild illnesses tend to show up at work or school, which means they could be spreading it even though they don’t feel very sick.

EbolaLabCompanies are working on developing drugs to treat EVD and vaccines to prevent or mitigate infection. At some point, there may be antibodies from patients who survived that can be given to new patients. While these are largely untried and developmental, it is expected that the government will provide expedited approvals rather than the years it normally takes to get a drug through the FDA approval process. So if you can survive the epidemic long enough, there may be a vaccine you can take in the future.

If things get bad, I expect the government to require or force companies work on and production of vaccines and other drugs for the treatment of EVD. All it takes is one executive order and the government could swoop in and take over a production facility. Thais assumes, of course, that there is a vaccine to produce.

As things stand today, your chances of getting Ebola are quite small. Keep in mind, Liberia is in the middle of the epidemic and only 1 in 1,000 people there have contacted the disease, and many of them were medical personnel who were directly treating the sick. If it hits the U.S., it will start slowly and you should have some warning and time to prepare.

Still, there are things you can do to minimize those chances even further. Here are some suggestions of things to do now, before the outbreak reaches the U.S. in any kind of severity:

  • Avoid travel outside the U.S., especially to Africa and other third-world and developing nations.
  • Avoid people who have traveled internationally in the past three weeks.
  • Stay off airplanes, which appear to be the primary vector of EVD into the U.S.
  • Avoid emergency rooms for routine medical care (unless you think you have Ebola). If possible, make an appointment with your doctor instead of going to the emergency room.
  • Avoid anyone who is sick, especially if they look sweaty and worn out. Call an ambulance if they need it, but do not provide any care personally that could potentially expose you to the Ebola virus.
  • Get a flu shot. I don’t usually get one, but I think I will this year. Probably not a good year to show up at the ER with the flu.

Once the virus reaches the U.S. and begins to spread, add these additional steps:

  • Start practicing social withdrawal or social avoidance to minimize potential exposure. In other words, don’t go out any more than you have to.
  • Minimize your exposure to other people. Do business by phone or video chat, not in person.
  • Avoid shaking hands. Adopt the “fist bump” instead, or just keep your distance.
  • Avoid crowded areas, including athletic events, state fairs, concerts, etc.
  • Stop eating out.
  • Wash your hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer. Why? Because the average adult touches his or her face between 15 and 20 times per hour, and that’s how diseases can enter your body. (It’s reportedly 50 times per hour for kids.)
  • Stay off mass transit and avoid public places where a contagious person could have sweated.
  • Consider working out at home instead of going to the gym.
  • Avoid unnecessary shopping. When you have to go shopping, minimize the time spent in the store and shop at slow times when fewer people are present. Order online and have goods dropped on your porch instead of meeting the driver and signing for the order.
  • When you come home from work, shopping or another activity, consider heading right to the shower and showering with plenty of soap when you do get home.

Should the virus start to spread more rapidly, or when someone you know or know of is confirmed to have EVD, take these additional measures:

  • Move from social avoidance to self-quarantine. In other words, stay at home. Do not leave the house or yard unless it is an emergency and if you are in the yard, make sure you have no contact with neighbors or strangers/ (People with kids will have to enforce this with an iron fist.) This means
    • Pull the kids from school. If the teachers threaten you, tell them you are leaving town or are going to be home schooling them for the duration of the emergency.
    • Stop going to work. Get permission to work from home. Take a leave of absence if you can, use the FMLA if possible, or just quit if they give you no choice.
  • If you are an apartment dweller and live in an urban area, this would be a good time to consider leaving for the duration of the emergency. In other words, bug out before martial law or travel restrictions prevent you from leaving. Bug out to a place with much lower population density where you can easily go all day without coming face-to-face with another person.
  • If one family member insists on working or cannot participate in self-quarantine, that individual should stay at home and the others bug out, or he or she should move into a hotel or short-term rental for the duration. You can Skype, use Facetime or other electronic means to communicate, but do not meet in person for any reason.

The good news is that unlike a hurricane or an EMP strike, the power and other utilities are likely to stay on – at least for a while — during an Ebola epidemic. That means you can live on food in your freezer, heat or cool your house, have hot-and cold running water etc. While you may not be able to go to the bank, electronic systems may keep working, allowing you to pay bills and make purchases. The pandemic would have to reach catastrophic levels for a complete and total failure of our infrastructure. Far more likely would be a shortage fo food and other goods that must be transported and handled by people.

Stock Up Now

I have always said that by preparing for a specific event, you are at least 80% prepared for any event. So if you are prepared for the end of the world as we know it (whether that is an EMP, economic collapse, war or other cataclysm), then you are already 80 percent of the way to being prepared for EVD. That means you only need to add preps that are specific to Ebola or any other deadly, contagious disease. This would include:

  • CloroxBottleBottles of Clorox or another brand of bleach, which can be used to decontaminate areas and kill the virus. Consider adding some buckets, small spray bottles, and possibly a larger garden sprayer to use to spray down people or things that may be contaminated.
  • Cans of Lysol, Clorox wipes, and other cleaning products.
  • M95 face masks, face shields, gloves, and protective clothing. A full suit would include the mask and face shield, as well as a hooded suit with protective booties and two layers of gloves. These are useful should you need to leave your self-imposed quarantine for any length of time to deal with the outside world. Many of these items are already in short supply and manufacturers are reportedly working three shifts a day to produce as many as possible. If standard suppliers are out of stock, consider looking at Home Depot or Lowes. Often items designed to protect painters and people using hazardous materials will protect you from biological hazards as well. Even if they are not certified, it’s better than nothing.
  • Hand sanitizer and other personal cleansing products.
  • Think about what you and your family would need to occupy themselves if you were to be locked inside your house for six months. Yes, you can download movies and watch TV, but that if services are degraded? Have books and board or card games you can play by candle light.
  • Double check your traditional preps, especially related to food and water, to ensure you could survive for three to six months without outside support. Stock up on

Remember, this is early in the advanced warning phase, yet supplies are already getting harder to find. Our MRE supplier is back ordered on multiple MRE menus and cannot tell us when they can fill our back order. Our canned meat supplier is running three weeks behind on filling both beef and chicken orders. Suppliers of medical and personal protective equipment are working three shifts and these items are still back ordered. So if you need supplies, buy them – or at least order them – now, because it will be too once Ebola reaches your state.

 

Have A Plan, Build Some Skills

The important thing is to have a plan. Know what you will do before Ebola hits your town so that you can put your plan into action instead of wasting time. Planning to leave? Have a map with alternate routes, have a list of what to pack, know where you plan to stop along the way, have a means to communicate between vehicles if you take more than one, etc. Be ready to leave on short notice so you can beat the rush and beat the potential government roadblocks.

If you are sheltering in place and practicing self-quarantine, know when you will go into lock down. Know how you will communicate with others and enforce your plans. Know how you will protect yourself from contact or from aggressive predators looking to loot and steal.

If you don’t know how to insert an IV or how to make oral rehydration solution, this is the time to learn. If you haven’t unpacked your grain mill or checked to see if the brick of yeast in your pantry is still active, this would be a good time to do that. If you are a prepper, practice prepping.

 

The Danger Lies Beyond the Virus

You may never get Ebola, but that doesn’t mean this epidemic can’t kill you. If it spreads in the U.S., EVD is likely to incite panic, and possibly a deterioration of the rule of law. Either one could result in a dangerous situation. Let’s look at some scenarios for how the outbreak might happen in the U.S.

(Please keep in mind that these scenarios are made up. We’re not saying we expect one or the other. This is just a few potential scenarios that are useful to consider as you evaluate your preps and develop your plan.)

Scenario 1 – A Large Single-Point Outbreak

Ebola breaks out in a large, crowded city that has a large immigrant population and is served by an international airport, such as Miami or New York. By “breaks out” I don’t mean infects a few people; I mean a few hundred people over the course of a week or so, enough that the National Guard builds tents in the hospital parking lots to treat the influx of patients and where refrigerate tractor trailers are lined up to hold the dead bodies.

In this scenario, expect the following:

  • People will panic and try to flee, and the government will want to contain the outbreak, so it will try to stop them from doing so. This will result in civil unrest, someone will over-react, and people will be killed. It will probably be filmed and broadcast via YouTube, and things will escalate, getting much worse more quickly. Before you know it, there will be looting and arson, and mayhem.
  • Full out martial law could be declared with curfews and travel limitations. This will be protested as racist, as a violation of our rights, etc., but it won’t matter. Just as smugglers have always been able to run blockades, it will also be impossible to stop everyone from leaving and the disease will break out in surrounding areas as “escapees” who are contaminated but not sick bring it with them. This will result in more aggressive government action and probably vigilante action as both formal and spontaneously-formed militias step in to protect their town, county or nceck of the woods from “disease-ridden outsiders.”
  • Expect airlines to stop flying in and out of infected areas, not just due to government orders but because pilots and flight crews will refuse to do so. As the disease spreads, all commercial airliner passenger flights could be suspended.
  • Truck drivers may also refuse to drive into contaminated areas, meaning food deliveries will slow or even stop. Companies may stop sending trucks if the roadblocks will not let them back out. The government will be forced to set up transfer areas outside the infected zone where commercial trucks drop off supplies that are then carried into the danger areas by military or contractors.
  • During an outbreak of this magnitute, people will stop going to work because they fear getting sick, and the local population won’t get services. Restaurants will close. Stores will run out of food and supplies or will close simply because they do not have staff to work the registers. It won’t be long before people like ambulance drivers will quickly see that risking exposure is not worth their $12 to $15-an-hour paycheck. Then things will slowly shudder to a halt. Some healthcare workers will stop showing up for their shifts. Police and firemen will stop responding to sickness calls and change the way they respond to keep themselves safe. The rule of law will have fault lines, and chaos and mayhem will enter in through those cracks.
  • Ideally, the damage will be contained to one geographic area and other parts of the country will function relatively normally. Crops will be harvested, oil will be pumped and refined, food will reach store shelves, and help will be provided to the infected area. Sure, people will die, but the country as a whole will survive.

 

Scenario 2 – Multiple, Small Outbreaks

In this scenario, there are pockets of small scale outbreaks that pop up seemingly at random. At first, it will be in big cities and people in small towns will feel safe. Then some small ton in Indiana or Oregon will have an outbreak and people will recognize that it could happen anywhere.

The outbreaks will be contained – just like in Dallas – but they will happen over and over again until it becomes the New Normal. Today, one patient with EVD in the U.S. makes national headlines and dominates cable news. When an outbreak doesn’t get mentioned on the national news, you will know it Ebola is here to stay.

The results of this scenario will be far different and involve significant social change, just as the emergence of HIV and AIDS did three decades ago:

  • There will be significantly less in-person social interaction. The bubble of personal space most of us are used to will increase to three or four feet.
  • Sick people will be shunned and treated with fear and suspicion. People who catch the common cold will be sent home from work and not allowed to come to school.
  • Laws will be passed stripping civil rights from anyone with symptoms. There will be plans in place to snatch up potentially sick people and whisk them off to isolation units where they will be tested and monitored. Should they be sick, everything from the contents of their phones to the contents of their homes will be subject to official search and seizure.
  • Homeless people will be shunned and swept up as a potential “disease vector.”
  • Containment camps will be created to hold the families of those in isolation units or with the disease.
  • Our ability to cure infected people will improve, but the treatments will be expensive, and there will be complaints that the poor or certain minority groups are not receiving treatments. Health insurance costs will go up for everyone.
  • Eventually, a vaccine to prevent it will be developed. The government will go to great lengths to force everyone to get vaccinated and there will be protests and strife, but the vaccine will reduce Ebola to a nuisance instead of a death sentence.
  • In five years, no one will really worry about Ebola.

 

Scenario 3 – Massive, Multiple Outbreaks

This is the worst-case scenario, and would be likely only if Ebola mutates to become transmissible by air. While this is possible, it is considered highly unlikely.

In this scenario, the Ebola spreads to dozens and then hundreds of locations, overwhelming the medical system. It becomes so pervasive that the government cannot control outbreaks and cannot provide enough emergency response. Commerce could grind to a halt. Utilities could slowly shut down. Law and order will evaporate. It will be a WROL (without rule of law) situation in which it is every man for himself.

In urban areas, half the population could be sickened and at least half of them could die. Others will get sick due to lack of food, lack of running water, lack of sanitation facilities, etc. Then cold weather will set in when there is no gasoline, no natural gas, and no oil and people who managed to avoid the disease will be killed by exposure.

Survivors will be those who are lucky, or self-sufficient. They will have avoided exposure and have enough resources to live. They will have had effective plans in place to minimize or eliminate disease vectors and avoid infection. This is where your preparations will benefit you the most.

Should You Worry about Ebola?

If you unprepared, then you should probably worry. And that worry should motivate you to prepare as best you can given your resources. If you are already well-prepared, then you should plan, practice and update your preps.

 

Recent Resources

Read this excellent article from the Washington Post that provides a great deal of useful information:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/10/04/how-ebola-sped-out-of-control/

 

Ebola isn’t the only communicable disease of concern, as we see in this article from Forbes.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2014/10/09/enterovirus-d68-and-influenza-far-more-dangerous-than-ebola-in-u-s-say-top-infectious-diseases-physicians/

 

An Interesting Discussion of What Happens to Your Rights Under Ebola

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/during-an-ebola-pandemic-all-of-your-rights-would-essentially-be-meaningless

 

How’s the government doing so far?

http://www.woodpilereport.com/html/index-390.htm

 

They’re Baaaaack – Terrorist Threaten Strikes in U.S., Again

For the past few years, Americans have relaxed and let their guard down. It was as if we collectively said: “Osama Bin Laden is dead, we droned his top deputies, and the few terrorists that have tried to attack us have bungled it or were caught by the FBI. Sure, there was that thing with the Boston Marathon, but it wasn’t Al Qaida and it wasn’t the same scope as the twin towers. Besides, we’re not going to let a couple of goofballs with pressure cookers stop us! No Sir!”

Suddenly, the picture has changed.

While we were busy watching reality TV and trying to ignore the fighting in Syria, a new foe appeared as if from nowhere and swept into Iraq. Cities where our soldiers fought for months were taken in hours. Iraqi soldiers we spent billions to train and equip dropped their weapons, abandoned their posts, changed into civilian clothes, and ran away as fast as they could. Left ehind was a wealth of weapons that were quickly added to the armories of ISIS (which stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), the newest extremist Muslim threat the world is facing. And by “weapons,” we don’t mean just a few AK-47s that were left lying around, but Humvees, tank, artillery, rockets, anti-aircraft weapons, and nice big machine guns.

This is no “Arab Spring” revolt. ISIS is not there to bring democracy to the country; they are there to form a caliphate, a kingdom governed by a Caliph where their view of sharia law is strictly enforced.

Think of it this way: ISIS is to Iraq what the Taliban is to Afghanistan but several times more extreme. In other words, ISIS the antithesis of freedom and has no moral compunction against slaughtering innocents.  We’re not talking “wear a burka and don’t send your girls to school;” we’re talking forced conversions to Islam, the slaying of thousands of Christians, and beheading anyone who does not agree with them. Even Muslims who are not Sunni have much to fear from this new oppressor.

When Al Qaida was hiding in caves releasing an occasional video or audio tape, it was easy to dismiss them as not much of a threat. Now ISIS trumpets its latest acts of violence on social media, launching a hashtag campaign far more successful than any online campaign of the U.S. government.

If this was a battle of hash tags, a social media show down, so to speak, we could rest easy, but it is not. ISIS is threatening to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.S.  Check out some of this news coverage:

Rarely do your opponents telegraph their moves so clearly, so we have to ask, is it a legitimate threat, whishful thinking or false bravado designed to scare us?  In this case, we have video proof that ISIS thinks nothing of shooting blindfolded men, cutting off the heads of hostages, or raping women that are of a different religion. We know thousands of Europeans and more than 100 U.S. citizens are fighting for ISIS.  Not hard to believe they have the desire, the ability and will to create an opportunity to strike us here.  Afterall, it would be great for their image and a big recruiting tool.

In the UK, they are taking precautions, but it is hard to tell if the U.S. is taking the threat seriously. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help protect yourself and minimize the chance that you could be caught or killed in a terror attack.

How to Protect Yourself from a Terrorist Attack

  • Stay off airplanes. That’s right, minimize the amount of travel you take on airplanes because it is quite likely that ISIS has control of MANPADS (shoulder-launched, man-portable missile systems designed to shoot down airplanes) that can be used to shoot down commercial airlines, especially as they take off or land. Imagine a couple of terrorists with these launchers hitting a few airports at the same time. An attack like this would shut down air travel for weeks and hurt the economy.  (If you do travel, get a rental car on the other end — in a wort-case scenario, you can always drive home.)
  • Stay away from known targets. Not the best time to visit the Sears Tower, Madison Square Garden, big events and crowded public areas. If you go to the mall, don’t go when it is especially crowded.  Avoid places that would be good targets for car bombs, suicide bombers or a target rich environment for a squad of AK-47-toting terrorists.
  • Stay in condition orange: Stay alert to threats. Be aware of your surroundings. Look for things that seem out of place. Listen to that part of your animal brain that tells you something is wrong and get out of there. Consider calling 911 and reporting your suspicions.
  • Carry first aid materials: Carry a backpack, messenger bag, brief case or big purse that has the following in it: A compression bandage, a tourniquet, some QuikClot, and a basic first aid kit. You might save yourself, a loved one, or even a random stranger. (Think of it as your chance to be a hero.)
  • Carry an escape kit: To facilitate your escape in the event of an explosion, carry an N95 mask (available at any hardware store), bottled water, a snack, a flashlight, a way to charge your phone.
  • Have a GOOD Bag: A “Get out of Dodge” bag should be stored in your car and in your place of work. Unlike a bug-out bag – which you use when you need to evacuate or leave your home – this bag is designed to get you home, even if you have to walk there. It should include more food and water, spare batteries, a poncho, a warm sweater or sweatshirt, comfortable shoes, a map, a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses of friends who live between you and your house. (Remember, internet and cell service might be down or overwhelmed.)
  • Don’t worry: It’s a big country. There are more than 310 million of us and only a few of them. Your odds of getting hit by lightning are higher than getting caught in a terrorist attack.  Take basic precautions

The threat of terrorism is not new, but it has resurfaced. We’ve faced it before and will undoubtedly do so again. Stay alert, be smart, and be prepared.

The Latest Ebola Danger: India

I know we’ve been writing about Ebola quite a bit lately, but it’s an issue that those concerned about their survival and long term well-being should not ignore. This is the calm before the storm – possibly your final chance to prepare. It’s analogous to the time between when the hurricane has been spotted out at sea and when it hits your town. But instead of buying batteries, bottled water and plywood for your windows, this is the time to stock up on masks, filters, gloves, Lysol, bleach, and enough supplies for a long period of self quarantine.

How long should you prepare for? As long as you can. The disease has been spreading for six months in Africa. Who knows how long it will take to run its course if it reaches the U.S.? Of course, if the disease strikes here, you really only need to live in self quarantine until they come out with a vaccine and have had enough trial cases to prove that it works.

In any case, this article from the Times of India was posted earlier today on the Drudge Report, and from what I can see, the potential disaster it represents is being ignored. India is tracking 773 passengers who have flown into India from Ebola hot spots, and several of them have been quarantined at the airport.

If you didn’t bother clicking on the link, just look at this quote:

On Tuesday, IGI airport witnessed hectic activity with passengers being rushed out of the airport and an APHO (Airport Health Organization) ambulance making several rounds from their office at the airport and T-3’s arrival terminal. The first flight from Liberia, routed via Doha, QR564, landed at IGI at 7.40 am. The next flight — Ethiopian Airlines — came almost an hour later. Three passengers from it were rushed to APHO in an ambulance.

The Ebola suspects were wearing a suit and face mask. Officials at the airport said the aircraft carrying the passengers was being sequestered and fumigated. “The luggage of the Ebola suspects is also being isolated,” an official said.

The scare this disease has caused was palpable inside and outside the airport.

To give the Indian authorities credit, they seem to be on top of this and doing a pretty good job monitoring the incoming travelers, but I have to ask: When will it be time to stop allowing inbound flights from these countries where the Ebola pandemic rages?

I am by no means an expert on conditions in India, but I do know that they have slums with millions of people packed together, living in tight confines with little access to medical care or running water.  (Watch this short  video from National Geographic for a glimpse of life in the slums.)   How fast would Ebola spread if a few people in one of these slums got sick?

Slums of Hyderabad India

If hundreds of sick people in villages spread across four countries in Africa is considered a crisis, what would you call tens of thousands of Ebola victims in Delhi, the worlds’ sixth largest city?

“The end of the world as we know it” comes to mind.

Wells Run Dry in California — Are You Prepped for Water Outages?

Interesting follow up to the post we made last week on the drought in California

Wells in Central California started going dry and Detroit started wave two of cutting people’s water off due to unpaid bills. Think how much a source of clean, running water has contributed to civilization.  Not only does it provide a ready supply of drinking water and flushes away wastes, but it was critical to improving hygiene and food safety and cutting down on disease. Without running water, washing the dishes and doing laundry become much more difficult.  Our quality of life definitely suffers without running water.

What would you do without a steady supply of fresh, clean water?

What would you do without a steady supply of fresh, clean water?

The first article refers to one small are in California, but the way the drought is spreading and the rate at which the ground water is being consumed, it will likely be two before long, and then four. In a year or two without relief, it could be entire counties and even large cities without water. How long will those residents stay in their homes without water? What will happen to their property values? What about business that depend on water, like farming, manufacturing, and even hotels and restaurants?  (Can’t pass the county health inspection without running water.)  This is a pending social and economic problem the magnitude of which many underestimate.

It could be the dust bowl all over again.  Think dead crops, hungry children, high unemployment, and a huge population migration.

As a kid who tried to avoid or defer a bath whenever possible, I remember being impressed that in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book “Farmer Boy”, they took a bath every Saturday so they would be clean for church on Sunday. I’m not so thrilled about that idea now!  As an adult, I like the ability to take a warm shower with just the turn of a knob.

In a TEOTWAWKI situation where there are no utilities, you won’t have that option. You need to make sure you have stored water for short-term use and identified alternate water sources and purification methods for longer term use. We cover this in great detail in the section on Water in Captain Dave’s Survival Guide.

How’s Inflation Hitting Your Wallet?

Found this article “Inflation Watch: Is the $5 Bill The New $1 Bill?” by Tyler Durden over at ZeroHedge.com to be right on target.

His basic premise is that every thing that used to cost $1 is now $5.  I could not agree more! Here are just a few of my first-hand examples of inflation.  Feel free to share yours:

  • The average price for a pound of lean ground beef is now $5.28.  More if you want the healthier, grass-fed stuff.
  • Back when I was prepping for Y2K, you could buy four cans of Shop’n’Save vegetables for $1.  Today, just 15 years later, you would be lucky to get 4 cans for $5.  Even a can of soup or chili costs well over $1.
  • You might be able to eat a value meal for $5, but your average fast-food lunch is going to be more.
  • When I was a kid, my mom would drop me off at the barber shop to get a haircut while she went grocery shopping.  It was less than $5 with tip.  My last haircut: $30.