Category: Preparedness

5 Survival Things You Shouldn’t Compromise On

4x4 bug out vehicle

Ok, ok, so you might ask yourself: what can you compromise on when it comes to survival and preparedness? A lot of things, particularly when it comes to using everyday items to solve problems or when you’re solving redundancy issues. If you already have a veritable flashlight collection, it doesn’t matter if your 6th one is from a Maglite or some knock-off.

But some things you should never compromise on, because your life and the life of your family may depend on them. Let’s talk about those for a moment.

Clean Water

I know some people are tempted to drink water from a river that looks clean, but that doesn’t mean it’s full of bacteria. If shelter can be improvised, clean water cannot. Keep a water bottle in your bug out bag, one inside your car and always keep a portable water filter at hand. If you’re bugging in, you should think about additional ways to obtain it, such boiling it on a small propane stove (to kill bacteria) and even stock up on refills for those Brita water filters that remove some heavy metals.

Security

Imagine this: you’re speeding on the highway, anxious to get to your BOL when, all of the sudden you’re stopped by a gang of thugs. What do you do?

We’ve seen this in Europe recently: the African and Middle-Eastern migrants that were forced to live in a camp near Calais, France, would constantly attack trucks and even a school bus at one point. Do you know what to do if that happens to you? Do you have the reaction time to defend your family, or will you freak out?

I think people are misled by “survival documentaries” where they depict bugging out as being a walk in the park. Maybe it will be, or maybe it won’t.

Just look at the atrocities happening to the migrants on their journey form the Middle East to Europe. Rape, starvation – those camps are anything but safe, and we’ve seen something similar during Katrina when average folks and thugs alike were all crammed in the Louisiana Superdome – eye witnesses said it was horrible.

Freedom

Stories from migrant and FEMA camps are more than enough for us to realize that our freedom should not be compromised. It’s better to be out there in the woods than taken into detention camps where, in theory at least, you’ll be safer and have access to supplies.

During Katrina, it was only a matter of time until all the food they had there started to rot, (after they ran out of electricity). Supplies are never enough and, sanitation and hygiene are always a problem when large numbers of people are crammed together into tight places. Now, I’m not saying you should run around through the woods when there’s a hurricane, but if you do it right, no disaster should ever take you by surprise and cause you to share a room with thugs and rapists.

Your Bug Out Vehicle

Believe me, the LAST thing you want is to for it to stop working when you’re desperate to get to you your bug out location. Sure, you can always go on foot, but that could take days and will be exhausting to say the least. Besides, when you’re in your car, it’s a little difficult for people to physically harm you.

That being said, you need a solid bug out vehicle that’s always equipped and always in good shape. One other thing you should do if you have the budget is bulletproof it. Things like using run flat tires, installing bulletproof windows and even steel-plated armor for the exterior.

Weapons

Knives, guns, primitive weapons – all of these need to work flawlessly. With a little bit of research, you can find plenty of quality items at the right price. The Internet is full of scams but also of reviews on forums, blogs and on Amazon – real people sharing their experiences with every product.

Speaking of knives, one thing you should probably do is have two of them. A larger, bushcraft knife that you can rely on for rough tasks (including chopping wood) and a second, smaller one that you can keep as a back-up. Swedish company Mora makes very good carbon steel budget knives.

Final Word

I wish I had some memorable ending for this article, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you take survival and preparedness and that you never try to cut corners.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst is the thing that sums up well everything you read on this page, and what it means is, you should never cut corners when your life and the life of your family is at stake.

Sure, you may try to wing it with some aspects of survival, such as stockpiling less in favor of having the skills to acquire food and water, but some things are just too important not to do them right.

Prepare your mind for the coming crisis – Part 9

Mind Preparedness

Coping with negative feelings: Loneliness and Boredom

Today, I’d like to talk about two of the worst feelings in the world: loneliness and boredom. Now, we’ve all experienced each of these emotions at least one in our lives… and I’m sure you know just how awful they feel… how they get you down to point where you grow accustomed to the feeling and you just sink in it until someone in your family or one of your friends rings the alarm and tries to pull you out.

Take boredom for example. It’s the most common feeling we experience. In fact, it’s so common, we feel its presence every day. But here’s where it gets nasty: our daily dose of boredom comes and goes as easily as we want. Whenever we get bored, we can start another activty, something more entertaining.

In times of crisis, however, it’s not as simple to fight boredom. If a disaster happens and you’re stuck indoors, with almost nothing to do but basic survival activities… then boredom becomes a real, heavy burden. I mean it can literally drive you crazy.

But there are plenty of ways to keep it out of your home and enjoy every moment spent with your family or by yourself. Here are some of them:

Loneliness

If you’ve ever lived by yourself, you should be quite familiar with this feeling. Well, as unpleasant as it may be, you might have to deal with it again when the crisis hits.

You see, during disasters, people usually come together. They help each other go through the danger, they share losses and victories and bond like family. However, when there’s a long-term crisis (like the one waiting just around the corner), people tend to isolate themselves from the world. They get absorbed by their own problems that seem like they’re never going to end… and they get selfish.

Even your spouse and your kids will become less communicative. It’s just what harsh times do to people. But you can change that, by initiating communication with your family and friends.

  • You can cook for your dear ones and invite them to dinner…
  • Or you could ask for their helpwhen you’ve got a problem. They’re not going to say no, because they love you and want to help you out. You just need to tell them that they’re needed…
  • Or simply sit down and talk about their problems. Offer some advice. It’s always welcome.

The bottom line here is: don’t isolate yourself like everyone else does. Don’t let problems ruin communication with your loved ones. Open up to them and ask for the same thing from their part. It may be harder at first, but they’ll come around,

Boredom

As I said before, boredom is a feeling we have to deal with almost daily. And when boredom sets in, what do we do? We immediately try to get rid of it. We break our routine even for 10 minutes, we go get a cup of coffee, or read the news, or whatever it takes to make us feel more entertained.

But what happens when we’re stuck indoors and there’s nothing to do? For example, if a disaster strikes and you’re out of power for a couple weeks… After you’re done repairing damages and get used to the situation, boredom will strike you like never before. And you’ll be surprised to see just how fast it gets installed.

I remember seeing some pictures of people sitting around in a refugee camp, after Katrina hit in 2005. Outside, houses were being  torn to pieces, while people were playing cards inside. They were lying on blankets on the floor, playing cards and getting bored by the minute.

Waiting around for things to get better is actually the hardest part of dealing with a crisis, so here’s what you need to do to avoid boredom:

  • Write. Everyone dreams of writing the Great American Novel, so start writing yours. Ok, it doesn’t have to be the Great American Novel, but you can start with your memoirs. It’s refreshing and it makes you think back on the good moments of your life. Or simply write about the crisis and how you’re handling it. It might help other people some day.
  • Play. If you’ve got small kids or grandkids, play with them. Try to understand their games and get into their world. It will be fascinating, I promise you that. And you’ll get to spend quality time with your family.
  • Read. It’s never too late to start reading a book you’ve always wanted too read, but never had the time to. If you want to entertain your loved ones, as well, read it out loud. You can actually start a routine by reading 20 or 30 pages to them every day. This way, you’ll enjoy the book together.
  • Build. Find some scraps and start building something, like a bird house or a chair or whatever you like (depending on the materials you’ve found). It will take your mind off the crisis and give you a useful occupation. Let the kids in your family help you out. It will be more fun and they’ll learn a lot from the experience.

If you’ve got more suggestions on how to kill boredom during a crisis, please share it with me and the other readers in the comments section. I’d love to see your ideas!

And if you’d like to read more articles on survival topics, visit www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com.

Is Wal-Mart Destroying America? 20 Facts About Wal-Mart That Will Absolutely Shock You

Is Wal-Mart Destroying America? 20 Facts About Wal-Mart

America absolutely loves Wal-Mart. 100 million customers visit Wal-Mart every single week in this country. But is Wal-Mart good for America? That is a question that most people never stop and ask.

Most of us love shopping in big, clean stores that are packed with super cheap merchandise, but the truth is that Wal-Mart is destroying America in a lot of ways.

As you will see below, Wal-Mart has destroyed tens of thousands of small businesses and countless manufacturing jobs over the past couple of decades. Wal-Mart has become a gigantic retail behemoth that sells five times more stuff than any other retailer in the United States. Unfortunately, about 85 percent of all the stuff sold at Wal-Mart is made overseas. What that is costing the U.S. economy in terms of lost jobs and lost revenue is incalculable. But Wal-Mart is a perfect example of where our economic system is headed.

Our economy is becoming completely and totally dominated by highly centralized monolithic predator corporations that ruthlessly crush all competition and that will stoop to just about anything in order to cut costs. In the future, will we all be working for gigantic communal entities that funnel all of the wealth and economic rewards to a very tiny elite? That sounds very much like how communist China works, and red-blooded Americans should want no part of that. America is supposed to be about free enterprise and competition and working together to build up this country, and Wal-Mart is destroying all of that.

The following are 20 facts about Wal-Mart that will absolutely shock you….

#1 The average U.S. family now spends more than $4000 a year at Wal-Mart.

#2 In 2010, Wal-Mart had revenues of 421 billion dollars. That amount was greater than the GDP of 170 different countries including Norway, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.

#3 If Wal-Mart was a nation, it would have the 23rd largest GDP in the world.

#4 Wal-Mart now sells more groceries than anyone else in America does. In the United States today, one out of every four grocery dollars is spent at Wal-Mart.

#5 Amazingly, 100 million customers shop at Wal-Mart every single week.

#6 Wal-Mart has opened more than 1,100 “supercenters” since 2005 alone.

#7 Today, Wal-Mart has more than 2 million employees.

#8 If Wal-Mart was an army, it would be the second largest military on the planet behind China.

#9 Wal-Mart is the largest employer in 25 different U.S. states.

#10 According to the Economic Policy Institute, trade between Wal-Mart and China resulted in the loss of 133,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States between 2001 and 2006.

#11 The CEO of Wal-Mart makes more in a single hour than a full-time Wal-Mart associate makes in an entire year.

#12 Tens of thousands of Wal-Mart employees and their children are enrolled in Medicaid and are dependent on the government for healthcare.

#13 Between 2001 and 2007, the value of products that Wal-Mart imported from China grew from $9 billion to $27 billion.

#14 Sadly, about 85 percent of all the products sold at Wal-Mart are made outside of the United States.

#15 It is being reported that about 80 percent of all Wal-Mart suppliers are in China at this point.

#16 Amazingly, 96 percent of all Americans now live within 20 miles of a Wal-Mart.

#17 The number of “independent retailers” in the United States declined by 60,000 between 1992 and 2007.

#18 According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wal-Mart spent 7.8 million dollars on political lobbying during 2011. That number does not even include campaign contributions.

#19 Today, Wal-Mart has five times the sales of the second largest U.S. retailer (Costco).

#20 The combined net worth of six members of the Walton family is roughly equal to the combined net worth of the poorest 30 percent of all Americans.

All over the country, independent retailers are going out of business because they cannot compete with Wal-Mart and their super cheap Chinese products. Often communities will give Wal-Mart huge tax breaks just to move in to their areas. But what many communities don’t take into account is that the introduction of a Wal-Mart is often absolutely devastating to small businesses….

A study of small and rural towns in Iowa showed lost sales for local businesses ranging from -17.2% in small towns to -61.4% in rural areas, amounting to a total dollar loss of $2.46 BILLION over a 13-year period.

When we buy stuff made by people working for slave labor wages in China, we destroy good paying American jobs and we make America poorer. This is a point that I have tried to make over and over.

Wal-Mart often tells one thing to the public and then does another thing in private. Sadly, the truth is that Wal-Mart does not care about U.S. manufacturing jobs. Wal-Mart just wants to get products as cheaply as they possibly can, and most of the time that means getting them from China.

Just check out this first-hand testimony from an 81-year-old retired apparel manufacturer….

I was president of the Southwestern Apparel Manufacturers Association. There was ameeting sometime between 1985 and 1990. Walmart had contacted our organization and asked if they could meet with us at our beautiful Apparel Mart we had here in Dallas, which has now been razed, because all the independent merchants don’t exist that used to come to it. Two people from Walmart came down and they said they were going to be sourcing goods from overseas and we would have to meet those prices for consumer products and to get ready for it—we are going to be sourcing the world. Walmart was the only company that came out and said this.

It was sort of shocking: I was selling them some merchandise at the time. On the back of their trucks it was saying ‘Bring it Back to America!’ They had the big ‘keep it in America’ program going at that time on the big signs in the stores. Meanwhile when I reminded the buyer of that, she told me, ‘that is just for domestic consumption, we’re going to buy at the cheapest we can anywhere on earth.’

As I have written about previously, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

We are losing millions of good jobs that cannot be replaced. If you can believe it, the United States has actually lost an average of about 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was the biggest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world, and Wal-Mart played a huge role in that.

In fact, Wal-Mart has actually been forcing some U.S. manufacturers to pack up and move overseas. The following is from a recent article by Amy Traub….

Walmart’s market power is so immense that the even the largest suppliers must comply with its demands for lower and lower prices because they cannot afford to have their goods taken off its shelves. Companies that used to manufacture products in the United States, from Levi’s jeans to lock maker Master Lock, were pressured to shut their U.S. factories and moved manufacturing abroad to meet Walmart’s demand for low prices.

Unfortunately, the vast wealth that Wal-Mart is sucking out of our communities is not put back into our communities. The profits are funneled out to Wal-Mart executives and shareholders. We may enjoy the low prices, but very little of the money that we give to Wal-Mart gets recycled in our local areas.

In the old days, you could actually support a family selling electronics or running a general store. But you can’t support a family working at Wal-Mart. The vast majority of the jobs that Wal-Mart creates are very low paying. Large numbers of Wal-Mart employees are actually on welfare, and this is part of the reason why we have seen such an explosion in the number of the working poor in America.

At this point, more than 40 percent of all jobs in America are low wage jobs and the middle class is rapidly disappearing.

If we do not support American jobs and American manufacturers they will continue to go away and the welfare rolls in this country will continue to explode.

There is not going to be any prosperity in this country without jobs. Unfortunately, most Americans simply do not understand how good jobs are being systematically destroyed in America every single day.

The path that America is headed on today is only going to end in complete and total disaster. We are being transformed from a wealthy nation into a poor nation. In the end, we will be dominated by a very tiny elite and everyone else will either be among the working poor or will be totally dependent on the government.

Our system is supposed to be about open, honest competition. But that is not what Wal-Mart is about. Wal-Mart is about crushing small businesses and manufacturers here in America and getting us all to buy their super cheap Chinese-made goods.

The saddest part? The original founder, Sam Walton, based his company on all-American values. He insisted on only selling USA-made goods and ran his operation with such remarkable skill that the company took off. How far, now, the values from the original ethos behind the company.

So what do all of you think about Wal-Mart? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

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