Emergencies

Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo Scheduled For October 25

Last Wednesday, I blogged about a prepper/survivalist show that took place over the weekend in northwest Indiana (anyone go?).

This Wednesday, I’m going to talk about one that’s scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 25, in Appleton, Wisconsin (3 hour 17 minute drive from Chicago according to Google). From the event flyer:

Are you and your family ready if disaster strikes?

Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo

Largest preparedness and sustainable living event in Wisconsin

Free Admission

October 25th
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Players Choice Sports & Expo Center
W3035 Edgewood Trail (Hwy JJ)
Appleton, WI 54913

www.wisconsinprepperexpo.com
info@wisconsinprepperexpo.com

If the power went out for several days, would you and your family be ready? How about in the middle of winter? What if you were given a half hour notice that you had to evacuate your home. Consider the reverse, what if there was a pandemic and you had to stay in your home for a week or two?

If you have never given this serious thought, now is the time to learn from the experts. Join us for the largest prepping and survival expo in Wisconsin.

Everything you will need & want to know to be prepared for Natural or Man-made Disasters, Pandemics and other Emergency Issues that could affect our daily lives in the Midwest.

This family friendly event meant for everyone, from those with little experience to the most experienced.

According to the flyer, over 200 exhibits, presentations, workshops, classes, and activities are planned for the expo. Subject areas include:

• Alternative Energy
• Backyard Farming & Urban Homestead
• Breathing and Oxygen Systems
• Bug Out Bags & Home Ready Kits
• Camping Equipment
• Chicken, Goats, Rabbits, & Quail
• Curing Meat and Fish
• Butchering Livestock at Home
• Communications/HAM radio/GPS
• Disaster Response
• Drying fruit, herbs & vegetables
• Earth Shelters and Bunkers
• Emergency Preparedness
• First Aid & Emergency Medical Supplies
• Food Production/Advanced Gardening
• Foraging for Wild Plants
• Heirloom Seed and Organic Gardening
• Homebrew Equipment
• Homeopathic Health / Natural Remedies
• Hunting, Trapping, Fishing & Gathering
• Hydroponics/Aquaponics
• Pet Care Preparedness
• Preserving the Harvest
• Safe and Fast Evacuation
• Security and Defense
• Sharpening Hand Tools
• Soil & Fertility
• Survival Skills & Equipment
• Tactical & Military Surplus
• Urban Survival
• Water & Food Storage Options
• Water Purification and Filtration
• Wilderness Survival

Nice. Sounds like there’s tons of useful information that can be taken away from this event. And did I mention admission is free?

In addition to Saturday’s show, there’s something called the “Prepper Immersion Experience” ($50) the day before the event and a “Prepper Breakfast” ($TBA) the day of the expo.

For more information about the Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo, go to their website here.

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

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Survivalism ‘Shouldn’t Come With A Bad Reputation’

“Survivalism: The stark ideology that may have led to killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper”

-Actual headline on the Washington Post website, September 17, 2014

“I love publishing material that readers can sink their teeth into and learn a lot from. I hope to do a lot more of it when things calm down on my end. At the same time, I will blog about some topics that might not be so informative- like prepping as a form of insurance, for example. Why’s that? It depends on the situation really. But in the case of “Prepping As Insurance,” I’m disappointed in how the mainstream media often portrays preppers/survivalists. Many times, the so-called Fourth Estate equates preparedness with anti-social behavior, paranoia (sound familiar?), and/or domestic terrorism. I like to point out that emergency preparedness (something Uncle Sam/other levels of government actively push- even while demonizing it in some instances) can be thought of as another form of insurance and one of our civic duties as American citizens (the emphasis on self-reliance/sufficiency frees up public safety resources in major emergencies) by its practitioners. Letting the idea fester in our society that prepping is BAD could ultimately result in way too many helpless Americans in a SHTF situation. My intention with this post- while not really one that is chock-full of knowledge- is to help torpedo that dangerous idea with hopes (dreams?) of a more resilient society once again.”

-One of my comments in a discussion about last Friday’s Survival And Prosperity post entitled “Prepping As Insurance”

I’ve always thought any negative associations with prepping/survivalism stemming from related “reality” TV shows like National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers were essentially harmless. As they were rolling out a couple of years ago, I trusted people would be able to figure out it’s only entertainment television- with some useful knowledge thrown in to keep more “demanding” viewers coming back for more. Entertainment TV with a good deal of shock and awe to ratchet up ratings and score as many advertising dollars as possible.

Several years on, and plenty of critics- particularly in the mainstream media- of preparedness/survivalism base their view at least in part of what they’ve seen on TV.

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper


They just don’t get it. And if you ask me, in many cases it’s because they’ve haven’t researched the subject thoroughly enough (either by choice or lack of time).

And the ones that do but who still try and push the goofy idea that most- if not all- preppers/survivalists are authority-hating, machine gun-toting, wannabe special forces types who are two sandwiches short of a picnic and long for the end of the world (note I’m not including “as we know it” here) to remake it in their own image- well, don’t forget they’ve got newspapers/other media products to sell.

So it was with some relief that I encountered the following article yesterday on the WFMZ-TV 69 News (Allentown, Pennsylvania) website. Talking about the ongoing manhunt for alleged cop killer Eric Frein, 69 News staff wrote:

This weekend, 69 News spoke with the chief of the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue about survivalists.

Mark Hopkins believes Frein will be able to evade police for a period of time, but police will catch up with him.

He says to a degree, everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.

“I wouldn’t want to see that lumped together and think that all survivalists or all people that are doing this prepping stuff want to hurt people, because that’s not the case; this is clearly an outlawry,” Hopkins said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.”

Something the “haters” would do well to remember. But probably won’t, or choose not to out of self-interest or something else.

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

Source:

“Survival expert believes police will catch up with Frein.” 69 News. 21 Sep. 2014. (http://www.wfmz.com/news/Regional-Poconos-Coal/survival-expert-believes-police-will-catch-up-with-frein/28175968). 22 Sep. 2014.

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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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BUDK, My Patriot Supply Weekend Sales

Just wanted to let you know about some terrific sales going on this weekend by two affiliate marketing partners of Survival And Prosperity- BUDK (not yet reviewed) and My Patriot Supply (reviewed here).

From an e-mail I received from Muncie, Indiana-based My Patriot Supply, “Your Patriot Owned Survival Store” :

We wanted to send a quick reminder that we’re offering you 20% off all seed packets but this offer ends Sunday. Whether you’re gardening to be more self-reliant or just trying to build your perfect garden, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our wide varieties of seeds, all of which can be planted now or saved for years and planted when you’re ready.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from Moultrie, Georgia-based BUDK, a vendor of knives, swords, and much more:

We’re overstocked with new products and just can’t make room. So we’re slashing prices on products and shipping all at once and offering you 15% OFF + FREE Shipping on all orders of $49 or more. Here’s your chance to save a ton and take advantage of this special offer today. But you’ve got to hurry, discounts this great only happen once in a blue moon, so snatch up the savings today! Just use the promo code above at checkout to receive the discount! *Exclusions Apply*

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That promo code BUDK is referring to is BKSALE802, and the sale is good only through this weekend.

You can click on the banner ads for each vendor below to check out their respective sales. Please note that by clicking on an ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from that sale.



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

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Prepping As Insurance

A couple of days ago, I stumbled on a Chicago Tribune piece that made fun of preppers. I’ve encountered a number of these in the mainstream media the past few years, so I wasn’t really surprised to see one in my “local” paper. Columnist Steve Johnson wrote on the Tribune website:

All across the country people are preparing or, in the shorthand, “prepping” for a coming apocalypse — the day when, in the even shorter hand, the “SHTF.” That’s an acronym preppers use that stands, almost, for “something hits the fan.”

I read news stories about this anticipatory readiness. I witness it on reality TV, a realm in which shows are primarily about Alaskans, Kardashians and preppers. Even more meaningfully, I see it in such leading cultural indicators as costco.com and SkyMall. Many people think a social meltdown looms, and they are getting their gear, from canned goods to weaponry, in order.

Yet I dawdle. I toe-drag. Instead of outfitting the family for a dubious kind of survival, I let myself get distracted by such trifling matters as whether my sons have girlfriends and should I try one of those stand-up desks.

But I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am lax, and I must take stock. Let me enumerate the ways in which I am not prepared for the apocalypse…

That included such things as “I do not have a zombie fighting plan,” and “I have not doled out $3,999.99 to Costco for the ‘32,000 Total Servings 4-Person 1-Year Food Storage,’ an actual product,” along with “My cars are not swathed in armor, jacked up to go way off road and fitted with machine-gun turrets,” among others.

The Tribune columnist wrapped up his ridicule of preppers with the following:

When we can no longer hold out, well, that’s when we bite down on the cyanide capsules — OK, I’m going to be a little bit prepared — and thank our lucky stars we didn’t spend the good days cloaked in paranoia, suspicion and highly speculative, ridiculously costly planning.

Now, I’m not a prepper. Nor do I claim to be an expert on preppers. But from my experience researching and writing about them for a couple of years now, the actions of most preppers don’t seem to stem from some belief of “a coming apocalypse” (an image made popular by “reality” TV). Nor have the majority of preppers I’ve met/corresponded with been “cloaked in paranoia” or filled with “suspicion.” No doubt some fall into the camps. But I suspect most preppers are not unlike the Tribune columnist himself- an adult American with a job, car, kids/ loved ones depending on them, and many other “real world” responsibilities, concerns, and problems to boot.

It’s just that the prepper has either insured or is in the process of insuring his or her lifestyle in the event of a lasting emergency which can strike at any time.

This can include anything from a local power outage lasting a couple of days, to a regional man-made/natural disaster, to that “apocalypse” Johnson wrote about.

Many Americans insure their health, their life, their residence, their vehicle, and so on. Why not their ability to live comfortably on a day-to-day basis in the event something terrible happens?

Consider what modern survivalist and The Survival Podcast host Jack Spriko said on August 13, 2014, about prepping as a form of insurance. In episode 1406, “Well, Why Isn’t Everyone a ‘Survivalist’?”:

I’ll say, “Dude, what kind of car do you drive?”
“Well, I have this car. I’ve got this new car and I bought it.”
“Do you have insurance on it?”
“Well, yeah. You have to.”
“If you didn’t have to, would you have insurance on your car?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Well, why?”
“Well, if you get into a wreck, you want someone to pay for it.”
“Oh, so you’re a prepper?”
“Oh, no. That’s not what that means.”
And I’m like, “It kind of does.”
“You have a potential disaster- a car wreck- and I’m sure your insurance covers things like injury or bodily harm or other people if you get sued, things like that. So you preempted a potential emergency with prior planning. This makes you prepared for that. Therefore you’re a prepper.”
“Well, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
And then if you start having a conversation with them, you’ll find there’s all these places in their life that they’ve put some sort of assurance or insurance into. But then there’s the gaping holes of things that are actually very, very important.
So you’ll say, “What happens if one of your family members dies?”
“Oh, well, you know- we have life insurance.”
“Great. Well what happens if you both lose your job for some reason and you’re trying to put food on the table?”
There’s some unemployment, but when you start doing the math, it’s like your whole life is going to fall apart.
“Well, if you have some food set aside- even just a couple of months- and for a couple of months you knew that you could just not go to a grocery store, or only go 10 percent as much as you used to buy, and you can use that 60-, 90-day period as a get-by in-between so you can get back on your feet, don’t you think that would take the pressure off of you, let you make better decisions about getting a new job?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Then why don’t you do it?”

“Then why don’t you do it?”

Short of not having the financial/physical resources to do so, maybe because it’s easier to mock others rather than make the effort to insure one’s way of life in the event of a real, drawn-out emergency?

Prepping as paranoia? Try prepping as insurance. That’s how I’ve observed more Americans considering it these days.

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

Source:

Johnson, Steve. “Completely unprepped for doomsday.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-doomsday-johnson-talk-20140908-column.html). 19 Sep. 2014.

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13th Anniversary Of 9/11

“Dozens of students at George Washington University were unaware of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in recent interviews, while they were able to name celebrities involved in the nude photo scandal last week…”

-The Daily Caller website, September 10, 2014

Lest we forget…


“WTC Attack September 11, 2001 from New York Police Helicopter”
Warning: Language
YouTube Video

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

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The Coming Major Terrorist Attack On The U.S.

I read a disturbing piece on TheBlaze.com yesterday morning about the coming anniversary of 9/11. Sara Carter reported:

U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and amid the continuing battle for supremacy between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, current and former U.S. officials told TheBlaze.

“We’ve noticed a significant increase in chatter among Islamic terrorist organizations overseas both on the Internet and phone lines,” said a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. “This is certainly concerning, but as of yet we can’t pinpoint what or if they are planning a particular attack. We did see this kind of increase in chatter before the September 11 attacks. We just hope the public continues to remain vigilant.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“We just hope the public continues to remain vigilant.”

As do I. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may recall that prior to the last few anniversaries of 9/11 , I blogged about the need for continued vigilance in the face of possible major terrorist attacks on the U.S. by an enemy who I think is not as impotent as this White House would like you to believe.

Thankfully, that vigilance hasn’t been called into play. Yet.

Personally, I believe the threat of a significant terrorist operation launched against America not only still remains, but has grown, due to a tussle between Al-Qaeda and the newly-minted Islamic State.

Once Osama bin Laden was killed, a new leader took the helm of the terrorist group. I wrote back on June 28, 2011:

Recent suggestions that Al-Qaeda is on the run and that their new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is “a bit of a loser,” as a source close to the Obama administration has called him (source: The Telegraph)- in conjunction with those recent setbacks suffered by Al-Qaeda- may motivate the Egyptian surgeon to push for a major attack against the United States and/or its allies as soon as possible. With all its symbolism and accompanying celebrations, the Fourth of July weekend could have significant appeal for Al-Qaeda and al-Zawahiri to not only strike a blow against the United States, but dispel doubts over the operational capabilities of the terrorist organization and the leadership abilities of al-Zawahiri right from the get-go.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That July 4 came and went. As did other major U.S. holidays and “desirable” occasions ripe for an Al-Qaeda strike. When it comes to putting on a visible display of leadership, it’s pretty much been an epic fail for al-Zawahiri to date.

In the meantime, concern about such an attack has waned significantly. I blogged back on September 10, 2012:

Al-Qaeda is like the Rodney Dangerfield of terrorist organizations these days- can’t get no respect. Look at these recent headlines on some mainstream media websites:

“Terror takes back seat; Americans safer now”
-From the Associated Press on Yahoo! News, September 8, 2012

“Never have so few been able to frighten so many”
-Philly.com (joint project of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, September 9, 2012)

“On anniversary of 9/11, fear is present but not all-consuming”
-The Boston Globe, September 10, 2012

There’s even this out of Hong Kong:

“Americans stop fretting about the threat of terrorism”
-South China Morning Post, September 10, 2012

I added:

I loathe Al-Qaeda as much as any other American. But let’s not call the outcome of the game (Al-Qaeda is now kaput) while it’s still in the early innings, as the next generation of terrorists- inspired by the American response and presence in the Middle East after 9/11- start to replace their predecessors who have been captured, incapacitated, and killed.

That “next generation” is still being molded. However, a different group of Muslim extremists have rapidly emerged on the jihadist scene and pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. Terry Atlas and A.R. Lakshmanan reported on Bloomberg.com on August 14:

The radical Islamic State’s advances in Iraq are strengthening its challenge to al-Qaeda in a contest for the leadership of the global jihadi movement, according to five U.S. intelligence officials.

Its territorial gains and declaration of a caliphate spanning parts of Syria and Iraq, reinforced by its use of social media to broadcast its accomplishments in many languages, are attracting recruits and even drawing defections from the leadership of the core al-Qaeda group and some affiliates, the officials told reporters at a briefing yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments.

The U.S. intelligence community thinks the Islamic State has an incentive to conduct a major terrorist strike against U.S. or European targets, in part to further assert itself as the true leader of radical Islam , the officials said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste. Going back to that piece on TheBlaze.com, Carter added:

“The threat is two-fold because ISIS is in war with core Al Qaeda,” former CIA case officer Brian Fairchild said. “ISIS was kicked out of Al Qaeda in February and they’ve been fighting each other internally for leadership. ISIS is winning right now. They have captured the imagination of young Muslims from around the world and depriving Al Qaeda of its own fighters. Al Qaeda is split down the middle and now you have 9/11 [anniversary approaching]. It would be beneficial to both camps that on 9/11, some great attack in the United States takes place. It’s certainly a serious consideration because they are both vying for primacy.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Who knows if either group is planning a 9/11/14 attack. But the motivation looks to be there. From what I know about the Islamic State, they’re more “shoot from the hip.” For Al-Qaeda, it’s all about patience and careful planning/preparation. I suspect the caliphate will eventually get around to attacking the U.S. homeland, if operationally-capable. But if bin Laden’s followers had anything already in the works, should they have the ability to carry it out, I fear they’ll speed things up to land the next major blow to the homeland. It seems to me they have more at stake here by letting the upstarts beat them to the punch. It would be disastrous for al-Zawahiri’s already-precarious leadership and the movement’s ability to attract and retain jihadists.

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

Sources:

Carter, Sara. “U.S. Officials Say ‘Significant Increase’ in Jihadi Chatter Ahead of 9/11 Anniversary.” TheBlaze.com. 27 Aug. 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/27/u-s-officials-say-significant-increase-in-jihadi-chatter-ahead-of-911-anniversary/). 28 Aug. 2014.

Atlas, Terry and Lakshmanan, A.R. “ Islamic State Militants Said to Challenge Al-Qaeda for Jihadi Leadership.” Bloomberg.com. 14 Aug. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-15/islamic-state-militants-said-to-challenge-al-qaeda-for-jihadi-leadership.html). 28 Aug. 2014.

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Former CIA Director: Islamic State Attack On U.S. ‘Will Come Probably Sooner Rather Than Later’

“#AmessagefromISIStoUS
We are in your state
We are in your cities
We are in your streets
You are our goals anywhere.”

-Twitter post supposedly connected with the Islamic State, which also included a photo of the Old Republic Building, 307 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, along with that flag photo outside the White House.

Well, it shouldn’t surprise regular readers of Survival And Prosperity that not only does terrorism carried out by Muslim extremists against the United States and its interests still pose a real threat, but another major player besides Al-Qaeda has now emerged with the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS or ISIL).

Subsequently, the United States is taking action in defense of the “homeland.” John Dodge reported on the website of Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 last Friday:

The U.S. government on Friday issued a security bulletin to all U.S. law enforcement in light of the overall threat posed by Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL…

The security bulletin issued Friday cautioned that there is no known threat to any U.S. cities…

Since Al-Qaeda has reportedly been trying to strike at targets within the United States for a number of years now, should Americans be concerned about this new upstart and their threats? Consider what retired General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, had to say in an interview Monday on CNN. From his exchange with Jim Sciutto:

SCIUTTO: When it comes to ISIS, I think a principle concern for Americans is, what is the direct threat to them? My impression is that there’s a debate inside the intelligence community as to how imminent that threat is. You have a school of thought that they certainly aspire to attack the American homeland. They have a number of Americans among their ranks. Perhaps 100. But the FBI put out a report this week saying no credible threats yet. Where do you stand in that debate? Is it more imminent, or less imminent, is this a future threat, or a clear and present danger?
HAYDEN: Well, Jim, you’ve outlined it perfectly. This is a question of timing. Not of inevitability. Not of intent. And right now, I think it’s fair to say, that ISIS is very powerful local terrorist organization, and probably a reasonably powerful regional terrorist organization. But it’s one that has global ambitions. And it has the tools, as you suggested. American passport holders, European passport holders. It’s expressed the intent. And so, if it’s not Tuesday, it’s at a time and place of their choosing. And will come probably sooner rather than later. Look, they’re in a competition now with Al-Qaeda Prime, folks along the Afghan-Pakistani border, and there’s no way more powerful to express their street credentials among the jihadist community than a successful attack against the West.
SCIUTTO: So, to be clear, you’re saying it’s just a matter of time before ISIS attempts to attack or attacks the U.S. homeland?
HAYDEN: I think so. Certainly the West in general. Of course, and Americans and American interests in the region right now, are at risk.


“Hayden: ‘ISIS Attack A Matter Of Time’”
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Dodge, John. “Chicago A Top Terror Target; Ominous Tweet Connects ISIS Threat In City.” CBS 2. 22 Aug. 2014. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/08/22/ominous-tweet-connects-isis-threat-in-chicago/). 26 Aug. 2014.

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Reminder To Californians

“The past couple of articles I’ve read that mentioned major earthquakes and California seemed to imply that the state was somewhat ready for such an event. I understand ‘The Golden State’ has improved its earthquake readiness and response capabilities over time. However, I get the feeling there’s some complacency going around, with a lot more work still needing to be done…

Keep those earthquakes preparations going at full throttle, Californians. And visit The Great California Shakeout website- among other earthquake preparedness online resources- if you haven’t already.

After all, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘Big One’ strikes.”

-December 12, 2013, post on Survival And Prosperity


Watch more news videos | Latest from the US
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By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Sunday, August 24th, 2014 Emergencies, Preparedness, Public Safety No Comments

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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Riot-Inspired Purchases During The Ferguson And 2011 England Unrest

It’s interesting- at least, for me- to see what sort of gear, supplies, and tools are being acquired while the protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, for another night. Yesterday, Kerry Picket reported on Breitbart.com:

The use of tear gas by Missouri law enforcement has caused a run on gas masks in the St. Louis area. Local residents, reporters, and video production crews are making last minute calls to places like Uncle Sam’s military surplus only to find out that gas masks, gas mask filters, and bullet proof vests are all sold out

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Picket added later in the piece that ear plugs, “bullet proof chest plates” for vests, and tactical vests are in demand as well.

The civil unrest looks to be spurring sales of certain personal safety products on Amazon.com as well. Charlie Spiering reported on the Breitbart website this morning:

As protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, gas mask sales are skyrocketing at Amazon.com. Sales of the online retailer’s most popular gas mask model have risen 434 percent in the past 24 hours…

Another popular gas mask sold on Amazon, the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask, has rocketed up the sales charts by 250 percent…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As I type this, that “most popular gas mask model”- the NBC 40mm NATO SGE 400/3 Anti-Riot Military Gas Mask Made In The USA- is running low (only 16 units left in stock), while sales are still up 63 percent over the past 24 hours.

As for the other popular gas mask- the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask with NBC NATO Filter and Drinking Hydration Tube- that’s also still up 58 percent.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask w/ Nato Filter (no drinking hydration tube) has jumped ahead of the other two, racking up a 128 percent increase in sales over the past day last time I looked.

Compare all this to what the English were buying during their 2011 bout with civil strife. I blogged back on August 12, 2011:

Apparently, pots, pans, and rubber hoses just aren’t cutting it for some Brits on the front lines of the rioting and looting. Reuters’ Rosalba O’Brien reported yesterday:

Sales of baseball bats and batons have shot up more than 5,000 percent in the last 24 hours on Amazon’s British website, as London suffered its worst violent unrest in decades.

Seven of the top 10 ‘movers and shakers’ in Amazon’s sports and leisure list were baseball bats of various kinds, their sales since Monday rising between 1,756 percent and 5,149 percent.

A “military police telescopic baton”, described by the manufacturer as useful for “effective self-defence with extra reach”, was the 110th best selling item among Amazon’s sports and leisure customers, up from a ranking of 5,622 just 24 hours ago. Actual sale number of the items are not given.

A look at the Amazon UK site right now shows that the top “mover and shaker” in the “Sports & Leisure” category is a folding shovel by Gelert. This forged steel shovel has a serrated edge for sawing- or for seriously ruining the day of some threatening rioter/looter.

In the past twenty-four hours, the sales rank of this folding shovel has skyrocketed 283,300 percent from 2,834 to number one in the sports and leisure category.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

283,300 percent? While this Gelert folding shovel is still available on the Amazon UK site, I couldn’t find it on the U.S. counterpart. The closest folding shovel I saw on our Amazon looked to be the Wenzel Tri-Fold Shovel- although Amazon customers are raving about the similar-in-function US Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel.

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

Sources:

Picket, Kerry. “Run On Gas Masks In Ferguson.” Breitbart.com. 18 Aug.2014. (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/18/Run-On-Gas-Masks-In-Ferguson). 19 Aug. 2014.

Spiering, Charlie. “Popular Gas Mask Sales Up 434 Percent On Amazon.” Breitbart.com. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/19/Popular-Gas-Mask-Sales-Up-434-Percent-On-Amazon). 19 Aug. 2014.

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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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Chicago Water Treatment Plant Security Concerns One More Reason For Area Residents To Store Emergency Water

Chicago residents and those from surrounding suburbs who get their tap water from the city really should consider setting aside an emergency supply of water if they haven’t done so already.

I made my case for taking care of this simple, inexpensive prep in a Monday post.

And if that wasn’t incentive enough, perhaps the following from Frank Main and Fran Spielman over at the Chicago Sun-Times regarding security concerns at the James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant- the largest water treatment plant in the world- is:


“James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant Security”
YouTube Video

You can read the accompanying article on the Sun-Times website here.

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

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Protecting Against The Ebola Virus

August 4, 2014
Outbreak Update

The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1603 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 887 deaths, as of August 1, 2014. Of the 1603 clinical cases, 1009 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.”

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, August 5, 2014

A little over five months ago, I first started blogging about the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. I wrote at the time:

Am I worried Ebola might spread to the United States?

Not really. From what I understand, the quality of a country’s healthcare infrastructure plays an important role in containing the threat…

Still, the public health authorities need to keep on top of this.

While I remain dubious about a widespread outbreak of Ebola (in its current form) in America, I am curious about the measures an individual can take to protect against the deadly virus.

Consider the following from the “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever” area on the CDC website:

When cases of the disease do appear, there is increased risk of transmission within health care settings. Therefore, health care workers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola HF and be ready to employ practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions or barrier nursing techniques. They should also have the capability to request diagnostic tests or prepare samples for shipping and testing elsewhere.

Barrier nursing techniques include:

• wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
• the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
• isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.

The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected patient.

Even though these are barrier nursing techniques being discussed here, I’m confident these same protective measures can be employed by the common Joe.

Still- what kind of masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles are required for the job?

I actually came across a really interesting website this morning called PreventEbola.com. From their home page:

This web site is brand new and was established on August 3, 2014 to provide you with common-sense information on how to protect yourself and your family from the outbreak of the Ebola Virus. This site contains information that you are not being told by the media or by government officials. Sadly, no outlet in the mass media is telling anyone how to protect themselves, so we decided to do so!

And on their “How to Protect Yourself” page, the following is recommended:

• N100 or P100 filter masks
• Waterproof eye protection like swimming goggles
• Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
• Chlorhexidine gluconate hand soap/sanitizer
• 43-day supply of emergency food

N100 or P100 filter masks? Those are kind of expensive. How about N95 particulate respirators? They’re much more affordable, and I have a bunch of them socked away for household tasks and emergency situations, if needed:

3M N95 Mask
3M 8511 Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve, 10-Pack
($15.87 per 10-pack on Amazon as I type this)

Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy/The Survival Medicine Handbook-fame- just wrote on the Doom and Bloom website on July 30 in “Ebola Update”:

I recommend stocking up on masks, gowns, eye protection, and gloves, and learn about how to have an effective survival sick room.

He added later in the comment section:

The best masks are N95 or N100, the N95 are more readily available and somewhat more breathable. Masks by themselves are not enough, though, some kind of eye protection and coveralls would be useful additions to your medical storage for pandemics.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From what I understand, N95 particulate respirators have also been recommended for use around Ebola by the International Association of Firefighters and American Academy of Family Physicians.

As for the rest of those protective items- they seem easy enough to source as things stand right now.

That being said, during the worldwide H1N1 pandemic of 2009, I remember watching N95 masks and hand sanitizer disappear left and right on Amazon and eBay.

In real time.

I hope I don’t witness anything like that again soon.

You can read more about Ebola on the CDC website here.

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

Source:

Alton, Joe. “Ebola Update.” Doom And Bloom. 30 July 2014. (http://www.doomandbloom.net/ebola-update/). 5 Aug. 2014.

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USGS Updates National Seismic Hazard Maps

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I occasionally blog about the threat posed by earthquakes. So when I saw earlier today that the U.S. Geological Survey had recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, I wanted make sure readers knew about it. From the USGS website this morning:

To help make the best decisions to protect communities from earthquakes, new USGS maps display how intense ground shaking could be across the nation.

The USGS recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, which reflect the best and most current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur, and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result.

While all states have some potential for earthquakes, 42 of the 50 states have a reasonable chance of experiencing damaging ground shaking from an earthquake in 50 years (the typical lifetime of a building). Scientists also conclude that 16 states have a relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking. These states have historically experienced earthquakes with a magnitude 6 or greater.

The hazard is especially high along the west coast, intermountain west, and in several active regions of the central and eastern U.S., such as near New Madrid, MO, and near Charleston, SC. The 16 states at highest risk are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

While these overarching conclusions of the national-level hazard are similar to those of the previous maps released in 2008, details and estimates differ for many cities and states. Several areas have been identified as being capable of having the potential for larger and more powerful earthquakes than previously thought due to more data and updated earthquake models

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For more information about the recent updates made to the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps- and to view the maps themselves- go to the USGS website here.

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

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

Source:

Petersen, Mark and Robertson, Jessica. “New Insight on the Nation’s Earthquake Hazards.” USGS. 17 July 2014. (http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/new-insight-on-the-nations-earthquake-hazards/?from=title). 17 July 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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