Crime

Prepping For Ferguson-Related Civil Strife

I was planning on wrapping up my blogging on Survival And Prosperity last night (as I strive for posting regularly again Sunday through Thursday), but thought it was important that I end this week with a few words concerning the upcoming decision by a St. Louis grand jury on whether or not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. As I wrote in a post last Sunday:

Why do I care? Because I suspect there’s a lot of pent-up anger and frustration out there that could fuel significant destruction and violence in the wake of such a finding.

That being said, the authorities have had a good deal of time to prepare for the day the decision is announced and position resources in the Ferguson area to deal with any peaceful protest gone rogue.

In that respect, it won’t be like the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

Still, that’s not to say civil strife won’t be sparked in other areas of the country after the announcement is made. St. Louis and Chicago come to mind here. A number of other U.S. municipalities are possible candidates as well.

So what do you do if you live in these areas where Ferguson-related civil disorder could break out any day now?

Late last night I came across an article on The Daily Sheeple alternative news website that might be of some help to those in the crosshairs. Daisy Luther wrote in “Officials Warn: ‘Make Sure You Are Prepared for a Period of Disruption’ Before Michael Brown Decision”:

Are you prepared for civil unrest?

The thing about racially motivated conflicts is that the divisive emotions and actions can spread far beyond the local area. You don’t have to live in the Ferguson area to face the potential for civil unrest. Here’s a synopsis of the threats during such an event and what you can do to prepare for them…

Luther goes on to talk about looting, violence for the sake of violence, destruction of property, running out of supplies, and martial law- and how to deal with each of these threats.

While it was an interesting piece to read for me, it should be required reading for those who are more likely to be impacted by any Ferguson-related civil strife. The article is located on The Daily Sheeple website here. Keep in mind there are a number of items that may require immediate action on the reader’s part, so don’t delay here as a decision could be handed down at any time now.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Advertiser Spotlight: BulletSafe

“Body armor is not something a lot of people think of. Even people that carry guns, most of them don’t own or consider they need body armor…

But as violence gets worse, as the possibility of a gunfight gets closer and you hear about neighbors, people you know getting shot, you have a much better picture…

Just like your firearm or your fire extinguisher, body armor is the kind of ‘insurance’ you need to buy before you need it.”

-Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre, in a Surviving In Argentina blog post from October 28, 2008

When I think of quality body armor that’s available to the public, BulletSafe comes to mind. From the Troy, Michigan-based company’s website:

BulletSafe.com offers a great bulletproof vest at an unbelievable price.

BulletSafe.com was launched by the team at PriveCo Inc. and Tom Nardone, PriveCo’s CEO. Tom is a former military equipment Test Engineer with extensive experience testing the ballistics capabilities of mechanical components.

Mr. Nardone is taking the challenge of delivering great ballistics protection gear at an affordable price. He ensures that the products we sell are safe, meet the test standards, and are offered at a great price.

The flagship product of BulletSafe is a high-quality-yet-affordable bullet-resistant vest. From their website:

BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests - BulletSafe makes a great bulletproof vest at an unbelievable price. You can buy our vest right here. It offers NIJ Level IIIA protection for just $299. It’s a great vest too, with a large coverage area, plate pockets for ballistic plates, 6 sizes to fit almost everyone, and high-quality materials. Did we mention the unbelievable price? Just $299. Bulletsafe bulletproof vests are the first great, affordable bulletproof vests.

How do we make a great bullet resistant vest for such a low price? Simple, first we decided that we wanted to offer the best bulletproof vest for the price, anywhere. Then we designed the vest. We didn’t need to sacrifice protection or quality, we just had to limit the options available. Our vest is available in one style, six sizes, and you can order any color you want, as long as that color is black (Just like Henry Ford’s Model T). Our vest will meet the needs of lots of people, and our price is attractive to everyone.


“TheGunWriter.com Review: BulletSafe bulletproof vest”
YouTube Video

In addition to BulletSafe ballistic plates ($169 as I type this) that offer Level IV protection when used in conjunction with BulletSafe vests, there’s also the recently-introduced BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel. From the website:

This bulletproof backpack panel uses the same ballistic materials as our bulletproof vest. It can be used inside a backpack, briefcase, bug-out bag or even a purse. It provides NIJ level IIIA protection, which means it will stop almost all handgun rounds including a .44 Magnum.

The panel is 10 inches by 12 inches and weighs just 20 ounces (1.25 lbs).

Our panel is enclosed in a washable, 600 denier polyester carrier. This carrier provides a tough outer shell so that you don’t have to worry about carrying other items in your backpack. The BulletSafe bulletproof backpack panel is rugged enough for everyday use.

Originally, the BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel was designed by our company President for his children’s backpacks. Our company then launched a successful Indiegogo campaign and the public responded. People wanted the opportunity to buy a bulletproof panel at a reasonable price and our panel offered additional features (washability, durability) that help it survive in a kid’s backpack.


“The BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel”
(Warning: Hilarious kids)
YouTube Video

Your price for the backpack panel? Only $99 as I type this.

Did I mention BulletSafe offers free shipping at the present time for vests, ballistic plates, and backpacks with the free shipping code “safe”?

In addition, right now, receive a free gift (looks like a paracord bracelet on the website) with your BulletSafe order.

Click on the banner ad below and see what BulletSafe can do for you. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Coming On Or After November 15?

Many Americans are wondering when a St. Louis grand jury’s decision on whether or not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown is coming. Some speculate an announcement might be made as soon as Monday afternoon. Others say a decision won’t be coming until November 15 or afterwards- based on statements made by Ferguson’s mayor and the St. Louis County prosecutor’s spokesperson. Alexis Zotos reported on the KMOV 4 (St. Louis) website on November 6:

School superintendents worried that their students might get caught in potential unrest have asked St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to announce the grand jury’s finding after 5 p.m. on a weekday or on a weekend, when most kids are safely at home…

McCulloch’s spokesman, Edward Magee, said the prosecuting attorney will inform police when the grand jury reaches a decision but will not reveal the substance of the decision. McCulloch’s office is considering advance-notice requests but hasn’t decided how it will announce the decision, Magee said.

The decision is expected on or after Nov. 15, Magee said

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller online news website corroborated that announcement date still being a week away with the following last night:

Sources are reaffirming that a decision will not come for at least another week.

Ferguson mayor James Knowles told The Daily Caller on Friday that the 12-person grand jury, which meets every Wednesday, was still hearing evidence this week and that a decision would not come “for at least a week.”

Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCullough, who is presenting the case to the grand jury, confirmed the same, telling KSDK on Friday that a decision would not be made until next weekend at the earliest.

McCullough had initially stated that the grand jury would return a decision by mid-November…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I like that idea from the school superintendents about the grand jury’s finding being announced after 5 PM on a weekday or on a weekend, “when most kids are safely at home.” And if the decision isn’t made until early next week (November 17-18), The Weather Channel is forecasting temperatures in Ferguson, Missouri, will drop into the 30s during the day while falling as low as 21° F at night. Not exactly ideal rioting temps should the decision favor Officer Wilson. Why do I care? Because I suspect there’s a lot of pent-up anger and frustration out there that could fuel significant destruction and violence in the wake of such a finding. Consider what Kellan Howell reported on The Washington Times website Saturday:

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri attacked one of their own on Friday night, sending a student who attended a church meeting supporting slain teenager Michael Brown to the hospital on Thursday.

Chris Schaefer, a senior at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, told Buzzfeed News Nov. 8 that he was attacked by five men at a gathering in a church where protesters were set to discuss how to conduct future demonstrations…

Mr. Schaefer said there is unrest amongst protesters and that the movement is not entirely unified. He said that there are groups of people who wish for the demonstrations to remain peaceful but other “agitators” have divided the issue on racial lines.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I suspect these “agitators” will be out in full-force in Ferguson- and possibly elsewhere in the country- should Darren Wilson not be indicted with Michael Brown’s shooting death. Should this be the case, it’s probably a good idea to try and steer clear of locations where such individuals might congregate to “protest.” Otherwise?


“Reginald Denny Beating”
(Warning: Violent images)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Ross, Chuck. “Sources Say Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Not Coming For At Least A Week.” The Daily Caller. 8 Nov. 2014. (http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/08/sources-say-ferguson-grand-jury-decision-not-coming-for-at-least-a-week/). 9 Nov. 2014.

Zotos, Alexis. “Rumors swirl about when grand jury announcement will take place.” KMOV 4. 6 Nov. 2014. (http://www.kmov.com/special-coverage-001/Rumors-fly-about-when-Michael-Brown-Grand-Jury-will-reach-decision-281875751.html). 9 Nov. 2014.

Howell, Kellan. “Ferguson protester beaten by allies at church meeting, hospitalized.” The Washington Times. 8 Nov. 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/8/chris-schaefer-ferguson-protester-supporter-beaten/). 9 Nov. 2014.

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Thieves Target Chicago-Area Community Food Gardens

While I wouldn’t call myself a prepper, I do glean a number of ideas from them.

One of those being food security.

This coming winter, I look forward to planning with my girlfriend a future food garden located on our property. I think I know of a good spot for it as well. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember this photo I took shortly after moving into our house last summer:

Garden Future Site

Now, I’ve been wanting a food garden since I lived in the “concrete jungle” that is Chicago’s Northwest Side. So much so, if I didn’t end up living someplace where I had my own private plot to grow one, I figured I might utilize a community food garden. I started looking into them a few years back , and loved the concept. However, I was put off about the potential for theft. Which turns out is a real concern in the Chicagoland area. Dawn Rhodes reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Vegetables stolen from Downers Grove garden plot

Vegetables were reported stolen out of a community garden managed by the park district late last month, according to police.

The vegetables were planted at the Mar-Duke Farm near 68th and Main streets, according to a police report…

Regrettably, such criminal activity has been going on for some time now in the Chicagoland area. From the Chicago Garden blog on the ChicagoNow website back on August 30, 2010:

This summer Chicagoans have been treating community gardens like personal food banks.

After spending their summer carefully cultivating fruits, herbs and vegetables, some community gardeners are being beaten to the harvest by vegetable thieves…

Garden theft isn’t something isolated to neighborhoods undergoing a transition. From Pilsen to Bowmanville to even a community garden in Forest Park, IL., these gardens are being targeted by people who feel they have the right to reap the hard work of gardeners…

MrBrownThumb also added:

On a recent trip to this garden to photograph these garden signs (see gallery above) a member who lived nearby stopped me and a friend to ask us what we were doing in the garden. I explained to him that I was only interested in taking pictures and he told me about the various people he encounters stealing veggies from the garden. One lady who brought her own grocery bag justified her theft by saying that people routinely shoot each other or sell drugs nearby.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Disturbing. Especially that last bit with the rationale employed by the thief.

I am even more grateful now knowing I have a private plot to grow a food garden in after reading all this.

I’m still a big fan of community food gardens. I just hope going forward should financial conditions erode and individual circumstances worsen (as I suspect they will), increased security is implemented at these locations.

For those who are interested, the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin makes a comprehensive “Community Garden Security” worksheet available (.doc format) on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

Sources:

Rhodes, Dawn. “Vegetables stolen from Downers Grove garden plot.” Chicago Tribune. 6 Nov. 2014.( http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/downers-grove-darien-westmont-woodridge/ct-stolen-vegetables-downers-grove-tl-1113-20141106-story.html). 6 Nov. 2014.

MrBrownThumb. “‘Please do not steal the Vegetables!!’” Chicago Garden. 30 Aug. 2010. (http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-garden/2010/08/please-do-not-steal-the-vegetables/#image/1). 6 Nov. 2014.

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014 Crime, Food, Gardening, Security, SP Resources No Comments

Would Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Ban Assault Weapons?

When Pat Quinn was Governor, Illinoisans knew where he stood on so-called “assault weapons.”

With incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, it’s just not that clear.

So much so I wonder if after a major mass shooting or terrorist attack on U.S. soil and the political winds were blowing in that direction, Governor Rauner would sign off on an “assault weapons” ban.

Think that’s far-fetched? Consider what I wrote back on March 2:

The four Republican candidates for the office- State Senators Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and businessman Bruce Rauner- were recently given campaign questionnaires by the Associated Press, in which gun rights was one of the topics.

According to the AP, two of the four candidates may support a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

From last Tuesday:

In a campaign questionnaire for The Associated Press, the four candidates — state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner — all said gun rights need to be protected but that some public safeguards should exist.

The four differed over assault-style guns — high-capacity weapons that have been used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. They currently aren’t illegal statewide, and a proposed statewide ban backed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was pulled from consideration last year in Springfield…

Dillard, of Hinsdale, and Rauner, of Winnetka, both left open the possibility they would support a ban. Rutherford, of Chenoa, and Brady, of Bloomington, oppose such a ban…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I added later in that post:

So what about Rauner? The Associated Press did think his questionnaire answer was “more vague” than Dillard’s.

Turning back to their piece:

Rauner gave a more vague answer, saying he supports background checks that keep guns away from criminals and people with mental illness.

“Going beyond that requires a very careful balance between promoting public safety and protecting constitutional rights,” Rauner wrote…

Unless Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner actually come out and say they are against a state AWB, I would chalk them up as possibly being in support of an “assault weapons” ban if the political winds were blowing in that direction.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from Michelle Manchir on the Chicago Tribune website on October 15:

Rauner would not say whether he supports an assault weapons ban during a debate Tuesday night, instead saying that the “most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and (the) mentally ill.”

On Wednesday, Rauner reiterated that point at a Little Village event where he sipped coffee with Latino clergy and leaders invited by his campaign.

“Pat Quinn has been a failure on crime. Keep the guns away from criminals and the mentally ill and then the real answer for crime is to make sure that the American Dream and opportunity is available to young people in our neighborhoods,” Rauner told reporters when asked whether not speaking out for an assault weapons ban could cost him votes in some segments of the electorate…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Manchir concluded then-gubernatorial candidate Rauner was “back-and-forth on guns.”

A number of Illinois owners of so-called “assault weapons” might feel they’re safe from any ban with Bruce Rauner now at the helm of the state.

But if I had one of these military-pattern semi-automatic long guns in the state, I’m not so sure I would.

Then again, when you consider what (who) the alternative was on November 4…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Manchir, Michelle. “Quinn hits Rauner on gun control.” Chicago Tribune. 15 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-quinn-hits-rauner-on-gun-control-20141015-story.html). 5 Nov. 2014.

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments

Oak Park And Cook County Referenda For More Gun ‘Control’ In Illinois, U.S.

Here’s the latest from “ground zero” for gun “control” in the United States. Voters in Cook County and Oak Park (Cook County, Illinois) will have the opportunity to vote on the following referenda in next week’s election. For Cook County voters:

Shall the Illinois General Assembly enact the Illinois Public Safety Act (Senate Bill 3659) which would require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?

And for Oak Park Township voters:

Shall the Federal Government enact legislation requiring universal background checks of criminal and mental health history records for all transfers of ownership or possession of firearms, including transfers which occur at gun shows, over the internet and privately, as a step toward preventing the ownership or possession of firearms by criminals and those with serious mental illnesses, and as a step toward preventing gun trafficking altogether?

Regarding that Cook County referendum- I understand its primary purpose (along with other referenda appearing on the November 4 ballot) is to energize Democrats to vote in this mid-term election.

As for that Oak Park referendum- Your guess is as good as mine. I’m going to go with making a statement, seeing that both referenda are non-binding.

I will say this though. After the next mass shooting or terrorist attack on American soil with a significant number of casualties, expect the results of both (should voters “approve” them) to be trotted out by various politicians pushing more gun “control.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago-Area Firefighters Survive Hurricane Odile, Escape SHTF Aftermath

“What we went through this weekend, the way we had to get ourselves out, the looting, the vandalism- it was like something right out of a movie.”

-Jim Kotrba, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, in a September 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune article

October 2005. I was in my office at a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago when a firefighter/paramedic by the name of “Mark” stopped by. He had just returned from his honeymoon in Cancún, Mexico- early. The well-known resort had just been pummeled by Hurricane Wilma. “Mark” and his new wife paid attention to the growing number of warnings about the incoming maelstrom, and decided to pack up and leave the popular tourist destination two (?) days before it struck. I remember him saying the airport was pretty much a ghost town despite the ominous weather forecasts. In case readers don’t remember Wilma, here’s what the couple missed. From The Independent (UK) website on October 23, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma pounded the beach resorts and fishing villages of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula yesterday, whipping up 120mph winds and creating a 10ft storm surge that sent sea water racing through the lower floors of some of Cancun’s most luxurious beachfront hotels…

Cancun’s beachfront hotel district, constructed on a narrow peninsula, was completely evacuated yesterday. But in the city itself, only a small number of residents and tourists – 50,000 or so out of a local population of 700,000 – left on buses before the storm arrived. The others, including an estimated 30,000 foreign visitors, huddled in shelters and downtown hotels, where food and drink was due to run out yesterday.

With electricity cut off in advance as a safety precaution, the shelters – mostly in schools, hotels and gymnasiums – were hot, sweaty and crowded. Scott Stout, an American spending part of his honeymoon on an indoor basketball court in Cancun beneath a leaky roof, told the Associated Press: “After one more day of this, I believe people will start getting cranky.”

Weather experts in Mexico and the US said that Wilma’s unexpectedly long sojourn over the Yucatan meant that in effect local people were undergoing several hurricanes, one after another…

Fast forward to 2014. And the last several days in particular. More members of the fire service from that neck of the woods went to Mexico for a wedding-related event, and also ended up the victims of bad timing. Unlike “Mark” however, these firefighters didn’t make it out of town before a different hurricane struck. Becky Schlikerman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 17:

A group of 16 northwest suburban firefighters are stuck in Mexico after a hurricane ravaged the resort area of Cabo San Lucas.

The group had traveled to a beautiful oceanfront resort for the destination wedding of longtime Hoffman Estates firefighter Tom Mangiameli. About 50 friends and relatives traveled abroad, according to Mangiameli’s sister-in-law, Sharen Mangiameli.

The wedding was to be Saturday, relatives said. On Sunday, Hurricane Odile made landfall as a monster Category 3 storm.

Since then, electrical and water services have been out.

Tom Mangiameli and his group are still at the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, said Sharen Mangiameli, 55, of Naperville.

“There’s no food, there’s no drinking water and there are looters coming into the hotel,” she said. “One of my nephews has been texting saying when they try to leave the hotel they’re being attacked by the locals who are looting.”

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Tourists and residents alike dealt with grave conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane. Pedro Juarez Mejia reported on the Agence France-Presse website on September 18:

Residents of Mexico’s Los Cabos resort armed themselves with guns and machetes in hurricane-battered neighborhoods to defend their homes from looters, as troops were deployed.

The government sent extra federal police and soldiers to the Baja California peninsula to counter widespread looting that erupted after Hurricane Odile tore down homes earlier this week…

Chaos took over this week as hundreds helped themselves to food, water, televisions and any goods they could grab in supermarkets and retail stores after Odile knocked out power and flattened homes.

But now residents fear their houses are next, amid reports of armed and masked gangs roaming neighborhoods.

Dressed in white and holding everything from bats to machetes, sticks and rocks, residents burned tires and wood…

Rodrigo Sanchez Villa, a lawyer for a hotel group, told local radio that masked gangs were pillaging shops, hotels and houses in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

“The situation appears to be getting worse all the time. A lack of security is being added to the problem of shortages of food and water and the lack of local authorities,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Sound like it’s been a nightmare down there over the past week or so. Thankfully, this group of Chicago-area firefighters eventually escaped the carnage in Cabo San Lucas. John Keilman wrote on September 18 on the Chicago Tribune website:

One person in the wedding party found a transportation company that was willing to send six buses to the resort to ferry the group to the airport, Kotrba said. The buses arrived before dawn Thursday and parked away from the resort, while the group sneaked out of the lobby to avoid attention.

“There were hundreds of people in the lobby,” Kotrba said. “If the buses had been seen, there would have been a riot.”

And upon their return to the U.S., the firefighters’ tale of survival was being shared. Becky Schlikerman and Tina Sfondeles reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 18:

Sandwiches were handed out, then they ran out. Generators kicked in, then died because of lack of fuel and flooding.

“We were at the point where we made rope from a life preserver that was out by the pool and basketball nets and we started to build a little system to lift buckets of water from the waste buckets to flush toilets,” [Daniel] Pearson, 43, of Carpentersville, said from a Phoenix airport Thursday night.

“We had no cellphone service, food and water,” Pearson said. “We did whatever we could make do with. I have no dignity left. I took a bath in a fountain.”

Pearson is a former U.S. Marine. He spent nine months fighting in the Gulf War. And he has fought fires for 18 years. But he wasn’t ready for this.

I was in survival mode. I don’t think I was scared. It just got to the point where we had 48 people. What am I supposed to do? When we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis. And I think that last line should have read “What am I supposed to do when we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?)

In addition to using iron boards to defend themselves, that Keilman piece noted the firefighters set up their own security system, with some men sleeping in the hallway outside their rooms and confronting anyone who walked through.

All this reminds me of something the English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin once said about survival:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

I’m grateful these firefighters and the rest of their party made it back to the United States safely. And I wish all the best to the newlyweds.

After learning about their harrowing experience, I’m thinking it’s probably not a bad idea for overseas travelers to bring/put together a small emergency kit if/when it makes sense, adding emergency supplies in the event of some looming threat.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Gumbel, Andrew. “Hour after hour, Hurricane Wilma batters Cancun.” The Independent. 23 Oct. 2005. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hour-after-hour-hurricane-wilma-batters-cancun-512143.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky, “16 suburban firefighters stranded in Mexico after hurricane.” Chicago Sun-Times. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/29951882-761/16-suburban-firefighters-stranded-in-mexico-after-hurricane.html#.VB83fZV0zIV). 21 Sep. 2014.

Juarez Mejia, Pedro. “Residents grab guns to deter looters in Mexico resort.” Agence France-Presse. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://news.yahoo.com/residents-grab-guns-deter-looters-mexico-resort-230317288.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Keilman, John. “16 firefighters returning from Mexico after being stranded by hurricane.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/schaumburg-hoffman-estates/chi-16-hoffman-estates-firefighters-stranded-at-mexican-resort-20140918-story.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky and Sfondeles, Tina. “Firefighter recounts harrowing aftermath of hurricane in Mexico.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/29970010-418/firefighter-recounts-harrowing-aftermath-of-hurricane-in-mexico.html#.VBxvp5V0zIU]). 21 Sep. 2014.

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Thoughts On Concealed-Carry Permits And Their Relation To ‘Falling’ Chicago Crime

“I don’t expect to see these numbers being touted by Chicago’s mayor or the national media, but they should. The Windy City is one of the areas of the nation most plagued by violence and their efforts to make the entire metropolis a ‘gun free zone’ have only fueled further violence by those who weren’t going to pay attention to the laws in the first place.”

-Jazz Shaw, conservative blog Hot Air, August 25, 2014

A number of alternative media outlets are discussing a supposed correlation between concealed-carry permits being issued in the state of Illinois and “declining” crime in Chicago. Kelly Riddell reported on the website of The Washington Times this past weekend:

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses… A July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.

The apparent correlation between more concealed-carry permits and falling violent crime both locally and nationally is interesting. However, in the case of Chicago, I suspect there’s more at work here than just Chicagoans now walking around town armed with Illinois Concealed Carry Licenses and handguns.

“Better” policing, as Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy is supposedly countering with?

What changed?

I suspect the “falling” crime rates can also be attributed to crimes like robberies and burglaries just not being reported like they once were. I blogged back on Halloween of last year:

Enter the folks over at the insightful Chicago police blog Second City Cop, and something they wrote earlier this month. SCC blogged on October 16:

Perception is part of the key to people “feeling safe.” The other part is actually being safe, having a visible patrol presence, being seen making arrests, performing traffic stops, and interacting with the public. That isn’t happening in most “safe” neighborhoods because the manpower has been stripped (or retired without replacement) from those areas.

Add in a massive reclassification of crime, increased response times to discourage reporting of crime, making the 3-1-1 (Alternate Response) a nightmare to navigate through and you have all the makings of betraying trust with the community when they can see the uptick in crimes with their own eyes and they no longer believe your numbers.

Before I exited the city in May, I myself witnessed CPD manpower being stripped from my police district (16th), heard stories about this “massive reclassification of crime”- “downgrade and reclassify”- from Chicago police officers, and read about/personally experienced the “nightmare” in interacting with the Chicago Police Department (procedural, not personnel).

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Make reporting crime a big pain in the butt for residents, and reported crimes like robbery and burglary plummet. Simple as that.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a real correlation did exist between more Illinois CCLs out there in the city and less robberies and burglaries. I just don’t think it’s responsible for most of the drop in crime.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Riddell, Kelly. “Chicago crime rate drops as concealed carry applications surge.” The Washington Times. 24 Aug. 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/24/chicago-crime-rate-drops-as-concealed-carry-gun-pe/). 26 Aug. 2014.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 76

This morning, I was talking to the assistant manager of my parents’ condo building not too far from Chicago’s West Side. I’ll call this guy “Bookman,” one of my favorite characters from the TV show Good Times. Bookman’s from the area, and a couple of years older than me. From the exchange:

BOOKMAN: Have you been following what’s going on Missouri?
EDITOR: Yeah.
BOOKMAN: I think it’s going to blow up.
EDITOR: You mean, like a replay of Rodney King?
BOOKMAN: No, like after Martin Luther King was shot.
EDITOR: Oh, you mean the 1968 riots on the West Side.
BOOKMAN: Yes- but all over the country.

Interesting. Hope he’s wrong. But I’ll be keeping an eye out for any signs of coming widespread unrest.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Future Riots In Store For Ferguson, Missouri, And Elsewhere In U.S.?

I first mentioned Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, way back in April 2011. I follow Suarez on a regular basis, and yesterday he wrote the following about the ongoing civil strife in Ferguson, Missouri, and how it’s been “a replay of the Rodney King events of so long ago.” Via an e-mail from Suarez International:

I will make a prediction – in this order.

The Grand Jury will find the officer “Innocent Of Any Wrong Doing”.
The mob will not accept it and riot again.
Obama will step in, demanding another hearing.
No justice – no peace…as it were.
There will be another hearing where the officer is found guilty (wink-wink-nod-nod)

And all will live happily ever after.

Sure enough, Tim Bross and Jef Feeley reported on the Bloomberg website earlier today:

A grand jury will begin hearing evidence tomorrow in the police shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown, as violent clashes continued in the St. Louis suburb.

A grand jury will start hearing from witnesses about the shooting that left Brown, 18, dead, Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, said in a telephone interview today…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Gabe Suarez may be on to something with that prediction about the state grand jury finding the officer “Innocent Of Any Wrong Doing.” Along with other media outlets, Jason Howerton reported on TheBlaze.com late last night:

More than a dozen witnesses have backed up the account of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the controversial shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, police sources reportedly told St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Christine Byers…

Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting #Ferguson

— Christine Byers (@ChristineDByers) August 19, 2014

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Will Suarez’s other prediction about an “innocent” verdict play out, and “the mob will not accept it and riot again” be in store for Ferguson, Missouri, and possibly other parts of the country?

Time will tell. But I’ll say this- If I suspected the safety of loved ones and/or myself could be threatened by such activity, I’d start taking steps to prevent that from happening.

Don’t be that schmuck trying to obtain personal safety gear, supplies, tools, what have you after the riot’s already at your doorstep, a la Los Angeles, April/May 1992.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Suarez, Gabe. “St. Louis: Having “Been – There – Done – That.” Suarez International Blog. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://blog.suarezinternational.com/2014/08/st-louis-my-take-having-been-there-done-that.html#.U_O955V0zIU). 19 Aug. 2014.

Bross, Tim and Feeley, Jef. “Ferguson Police Shooting Grand Jury Probe Starts Tomorrow.” Bloomberg.com. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-19/ferguson-police-shooting-grand-jury-probe-starts-tomorrow.html). 19 Aug. 2014.

Howerton, Jason. “Report: More Than a Dozen Witnesses Have Corroborated Officer Darren Wilson’s Version of Ferguson Shooting.” TheBlaze.com. 18 Aug. 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/18/report-more-than-a-dozen-witnesses-have-corroborated-officer-darren-wilsons-version-of-ferguson-shooting/). 19 Aug. 2014.

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1992 Los Angeles Riots: ‘There Are No Atheists In Foxholes; There Are No Liberals In Riots’

I haven’t really thought about the 1992 Los Angeles Riots since I put together a piece that appeared on the shooting sports news website AmmoLand.com back at the beginning of May 2012- the twentieth anniversary of the “Rodney King Riots.”

And then racially-charged protests and looting occurred in Ferguson, Missouri.

Last night, I was looking over some of the L.A. Riot-related material I had gone through over two years ago. A couple of news articles of the time stand out as the Missouri National Guard take their turn patrolling the streets of Ferguson tonight:

The police tolerated armed citizens. Jonathan Lovitt reported in the May 4, 1992, edition of USA Today:

Many hundreds of people, alarmed by law enforcement’s inability to control the chaos, took up weapons throughout the riots.

Police were grateful. “You get a guy standing over you with a gun and you’re not going to loot … and that’s fine with us,” said Sgt. George Wright of Los Angeles Police Rampart Division.

Anti-gun types quickly “saw the light.” Lovitt added:

The rush to weapons began almost immediately after the riot’s first vivid images went out over TV.

Shopkeepers said some gun buyers were lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they’d never need – only to find themselves blocked by gun-control legislation that requires Californians to wait 15 days.

“The customers were angry about the waiting period but they bought the guns anyway,” says Barry Kahn, who owns B&B Sales, one of the region’s largest gun outlets. “These people were different from my usual customers. They were definitely first-time buyers.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

American ingenuity shone. Lovitt wrote:

But many buyers beat the restrictions, purchasing exempt “antique” firearms, made before 1941…

Others employed different tactics. Black-owned shops hung signs saying “Black-owned and operated: Do not Loot” with the name of a prominent gangster, an enforcer, below. Along trendy Melrose Avenue, store owners boarded up windows and hung “for sale” or “for lease” signs, hoping looters would search for visible booty.

Some Los Angeleans prepared accordingly. Phil Sneiderman wrote in the Los Angeles Times on April 9, 1993:

Still, some residents are concerned that police would not be able to halt widespread violence. Area gun shop owners said they have noticed an increase in people buying guns over the past few weeks, well before the federal King beating case neared an end.

“They knew the trial was starting and that there would be a verdict eventually,” said Steve Cotter, whose family runs Hilldale Sales, a Simi Valley gun shop. “They knew about the 15-day waiting period, and they started buying early.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A memorable quote was born. Ron Soble wrote in the Los Angeles Times on August 17, 1992:

Part of the rush for weapons was caused by police inability to initially control the riot, said her husband, Steve Cotter, who waits on customers with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson stuffed into his holster.

That spawned a public perception that “if the police can’t handle it, we’ll handle it ourselves,” he said.

Such emotions even motivate liberal advocates of gun control to buy a weapon for the first time, he believes.

“There are no atheists in foxholes; there are no liberals in riots,” he said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ammo sales were banned in L.A. Soble added:

On top of the waiting period was an emergency order issued by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley on April 30, which banned ammunition sales in Los Angeles until May 20.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The California National Guard initially had no ammunition. I blogged on September 14, 2012:

Watch for yourself the following news segment where then-California Governor Peter “Pete” Wilson admits California National Guard troops weren’t initially given bullets:


“LA Riots the GOV explains that the Guard has no ammo”
YouTube Video

Governor Wilson revealed:

There was some hesitation on the part of the Guard officers. I gave the order that they should take the ammunition that they had distributed as I would think they should in any case to those who are platoon and squad leaders making it available as needed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, guns saved lives and property. According to self-described “anti-gun feminist to armed feminist” Katherine von Tour in 1999 on KeepAndBearArms.com:

One day, just before the riots exploded, I was driving in downtown LA in a scary part of town. It was dusk. As I was stopped at a stop-light, with one car in front of me, two men who had been watching me began quickly and menacingly approaching my car from the sidewalk. One of them was carrying a tire iron.

I grabbed the pistol, which I had laid on the seat beside me, and held it up so they could see it.

The look in their eyes changed in an instant from threatening to fearful, and they immediately turned around and ran in the opposite direction. The light changed. I drove away.

No one was hurt, but a gun in my formerly liberal hand had, I believe, probably saved my life, or at least prevented me from likely injury…

Within a week, the very street where this incident happened had erupted in rioting, looting and killing.

I watched on television as the Korean grocers defended their property with AK-47’s and AR-15’s, and thus prevented it from being torched and looted. The police couldn’t stop the violence and killing.

I had friends who worked in the garment district in LA who barely made it out alive, and who told tales of pulling out pistols and having would-be attackers turn tail and run away.

Guns were saving lives and property.

As the riots threatened to spill over into Beverly Hills, myriad Hollywood types stormed gun stores to arm themselves, only to be told that there was a 15-day waiting period; radio talk shows boiled with people calling in and screaming about how unfair this was, and how the law was leaving them helpless.

Some of them even admitted that they had previously supported the waiting period, and that they were now furious that it had left them unarmed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Real insightful stuff, much of which I wouldn’t have known about without the Internet even though I watched the riots live on television while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a little more than 22 years ago.

And seeing that history never repeats- but often rhymes, as Mark Twain said- how much of the above will ring true in the next major riot on American soil?

We may find out as early as later tonight.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Lovitt, Jonathan T. “Survival for the armed.” USA Today. 4 May 1992. (http://www.jonathanlovitt.com/usa/SurvivalForTheArmed.htm). 18 Aug 2014.

Sneiderman, Phil. “Police Agencies Rehearse Riot Response Plans : King case: Authorities vow to back up one another if disturbances occur. Some area gun shops report brisk sales.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Apr. 1993 (http://articles.latimes.com/1993-04-09/local/me-21047_1_gun-shop). 18 Aug. 2014.

Soble, Ron. “Going Great Guns : Security: The L.A. riots trigger a firearms-buying spree in the county. First-time owners drive the boom in sales.” Los Angeles Times. 17 Aug. 1992. (http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-17/local/me-5096_1_gun-sales). 18 Aug. 2014.

von Tour, Katherine. “My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist.” KeepAndBearArms.com. 1999. (http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBPrintItem.asp?ID=635). 18 Aug. 2014.

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Chicagoans’ Personal Safety Compromised By ‘Stoning’ Of Police In Ferguson, Missouri?

Anyone else been watching the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, the last couple of days? I haven’t been following the racially-charged protests and looting as much I would have liked to. However, here’s one observation I’ve made that many should do well to recognize in America of 2014:

You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your personal safety.

On Friday, I heard it mentioned in one of the live TV broadcasts from the embattled town that law enforcement was purposely being kept some distance away from the protesters with the idea being that if police officers weren’t physically present, they wouldn’t incite any violence, and Thursday’s relative calm would continue.

Regrettably, things didn’t go as planned as the looters moved in to take advantage of this situation (you don’t say?). From the FOX News website Saturday:

Looters in Ferguson, Mo., were met with little police resistance Friday night and store owners say they were forced to protect their businesses with their own guns, Fox2Now.com reported…

A reporter from the station tweeted that police cars were seen driving past some of the stores being looted and did not respond. It rained in Ferguson Friday night and protesters could be seen outside until 6 a.m.

Two store owners, standing outside their business holding guns, told Fox2Now.com that when they called 911, they were sent from one police agency to another, and got no response.

One of the owners, with a large black gun resting on his shoulder, told the station that police were lined up blocks from the looting, and did not engage looters making off with large boxes from these stores.

“There’s no police,” he said. “We trusted the police to keep it peaceful; they didn’t do their job.”

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch tweeted: “You did not see “police restraint” overnight. You saw police reluctant to act. We cannot keep stoning the keepers at the gate.”

“We cannot keep stoning the keepers at the gate.”

This activity- which President Barack Obama and others have been charged with undertaking during the Ferguson ordeal- hasn’t been lost on at least some in the Chicago Police Department. From the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop yesterday:

You know what we’re hearing, loud and clear?

• Don’t get out of the car. Ever. Indianapolis Metro Police Department be damned, if you get out of the car, the media will run half-truths, the community will riot, the brass will turn their backs and the politicians will run the bus over you, again and again and again in a constant loop.

In the urban centers, police work is done and the Law of the Jungle prevails. Protect yourself and your job. We never thought we’d have to type that.

“In the urban centers, police work is done and the Law of the Jungle prevails.”

Can’t say I blame them for feeling this way.

Consequently, Chicagoans better realize this is how things may stand going forward concerning their personal safety.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“‘There are no police’: Ferguson store owners guard businesses; cite lack of police response.” FOX News. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/16/there-are-no-police-ferguson-store-owners-guard-businesses-with-own-guns-lack/). 17 Aug. 2014.

“Guess What Message We’re Hearing.” Second City Cop. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2014/08/guess-what-message-were-hearing.html). 17 Aug. 2014.

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Sunday, August 17th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Resource Of The Week: ATSN’s Stop The Threat TV Show

I’ve now been at the new place a little more than a year, and I still don’t have my beloved satellite TV service hooked up. Truth be told, I’m so busy these days I don’t have that much time to watch television. However, I do miss some of the shows that were only on “pay TV.” One that I used to watch on a regular basis was Stop the Threat. From the American Trigger Sports Network website:

American Trigger Sports Network presents “Stop the Threat”, hosted by James B. Towle, featuring a rotating round table of expert guest panelists as they offer an informed discussion aimed at armed citizens on legal gun ownership, the use of deadly force, and how one may avoid becoming a victim, or respond to a life or death situation. This series may save your life!


“ATSN Stop the Threat television series promo”
YouTube Video

I used to watch it on the Pursuit Channel, which adds:

They analyze life-threatening crime scenes reenacted from real crime scenarios happening across the country. With more citizens, legal gun owners, and viewers becoming interested in protecting themselves and their families, Stop the Threat has opened the conversation of a previously neglected subject that could help save lives.

Very intense yet very informative. That’s what I used to think of the show.

How about you? Seeing that past episodes can be viewed for FREE via the Stop the Threat page on the ATSN website.

As of tonight, I count 36 episodes archived, each running somewhat longer than 20 minutes.

If you are going to watch the show, keep in mind the warning that’s prominently displayed at the beginning of each episode:

VIEWER WARNING: Contains extreme violence and is intended for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.

Adds a lot more realism to the crime reenactment, if you ask me.

While the last episode released looks to be from April 14, 2014, according to the ATSN Facebook page on August 6:

New season is coming soon!!!

Until then, you can watch hours and hours of Stop the Threat archived on the American Trigger Sports Network website here (scroll down to bottom of page).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Wilding Strikes Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood

“I had a group of about 20-30 swarm my car as I slowed to avoid hitting these kids. They started hitting and kicking my car and one of them opened my car door from the outside while another was grabbing at me… I also saw them assault other drivers, kicking and hitting their cars as they tried, and in some cases succeeded, in opening car doors.”

-NBC 5 (Chicago) website, regarding Monday’s wilding in Uptown

Last night, I was watching the WGN 9 (Chicago) evening news with my girlfriend when another wilding/flash mob/mob attack incident was talked about- this time north of downtown Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. According to the WGN website:

A large group of teenagers caused chaos and damage in the Uptown neighborhood Monday night…

The teens ran and trampled on top of cars around Leland Ave and Beacon Street. Cars were dented, scratched and windshields were broken.


WGN 9 Video

NBC 5 reported there were “20-30 teens.” I heard from a different news outlet that the feral youth numbered as high as 100.

My girlfriend said the Chicago Police Department had a strong presence downtown this past weekend. I can’t help but wonder if this latest wilding incident might be signaling a new trend, where such criminal activity moves to nearby neighborhoods and streets because of more CPD police officers around the tourist hot spots. Time will tell.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Massive ‘Wilding’ Incident Disrupts Uptown Traffic.” NBC 5. 12 Aug. 2014. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Massive-Wilding-Incident-Disrupts-Uptown-Traffic-271001461.html). 13 Aug. 2014.

“Video captures vandals damages slew of cars in Uptown.” WGN 9. 12 Aug. 2014. (http://wgntv.com/2014/08/12/group-damages-several-parked-cars-in-uptown/). 13 Aug. 2014.

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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 Crime, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Northern Illinois Bank Robberies Up 35 Percent

Just got done watching the WGN evening news in Chicago a short time ago. One of the segments focused on the alarming number of bank robberies taking place in the Chicagoland area.

According to WGN, bank robberies in northern Illinois are up 35 percent.

101 heists have taken place so far this year.

122 bank robberies were committed in all of 2013.

Just yesterday, a teller was shot at one of these incidents out in suburban Bolingbrook.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get to the point where I need to don body armor whenever I head out to conduct a financial transaction (this already occurs in some countries, from what I understand).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 Banking, Crime, Gear, Main Street, Self-Defense No Comments


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