Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fire Extinguishers a Fire Hazard

April 12th, 2011

I just read George Hill’s blog and came across this post.”Great Britain Just Went Full Retard” He was discussing the news article “Extinguishers banned as a fire safety hazard” You read that right. In the UK a fire extinguisher is now considered a fire hazard. How do they get there? Someone might try to fight a fire that is too big if they have access to a fire extinguisher.

This sort of “thinking” drives me nuts. It’s infuriating. On the face of it the idea seems too stupid to argue. However, this is not the first place that I have heard of this sort of non-sense. UK pubs switching to plastic pint glasses — so the glass can’t be used as a weapon — is an example.

I have figured out what the problem is.

Judgement.

I am a big fan of safety. I wear eye and ear protection when I’m using tools that need them. I am a zealous promoter and enforcer of the four cardinal safety rules for gun handling. I wear my seat belt. I am also a big fan of safety testing. I don’t like melamine in my milk. I don’t like lead in toys. I don’t like decrepit bridges. If something is dangerous though it looks safe, something needs to be done. This is not what the “Safety” folks are doing with fire extinguishers. They are not proposing the removal of a dangerous item that will function other than as intended. They are trying to find what the dumbest person with the poorest judgement would do and then putting everyone else at risk by trying to save that stupid person from himself.

You do not make people safe by removing options. You make people safe through training. Fighting a fire that is too big for your skill or equipment is a VERY dangerous thing to do. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THAT! They should not be removing options for fighting fire. They should be educating people.

We put plugs into electrical outlets to protect children who don’t know better from hurting themselves. We are not children. We are free men and women. If a danger is identified we need to be informed not “protected.”

The Tsunami Dymanic – Knowledge Part 5

April 8th, 2011

Knots

There are a lot of great knots out there but you don’t need to be a sailor or a Boy Scout. There are three knots you should know and two more that are good for general use. We will look at these knots in more depth when we look at shelter but for now here is the list.

The three you must know are:

  • Siberian Hitch
  • Power Cinch
  • Prusik Knot

The two other knots that would be good to know are:

  • Square Knot
  • Half Hitch

If you tie your shoes correctly then you already know how to tie a square knot. If you tie your shoes and the bow tends to lay along the length of your foot and not across it you are tyeing a Granny which is close but not as secure.

For more “survivalish” information you can check out the videos at these links:

Ray Mears
Wilderness Outfitters

Knowledge Review

You need to know the following:

  • Where you are
  • Where the “high ground” is
  • How to get out of the building
  • Have a plan
  • How to use your comms
  • How to use shelter materials as well as improvise
  • How to make a fire
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Self defense
  • Knots

N E V E R – S T O P – L E A R N I N G

That concludes the overview of important points of knowledge.

Next is a look at mindset.

The Tsunami Dynamic – Knowledge Part 4

April 6th, 2011

First Aid and CPR

You know you should know CPR and first aid already but the Tsunami Dynamic gives you another reason. It is extremely likely that you or someone else you come across will be injured in an emergency.

A great place to start in getting this training is the Red Cross. In addition to this I recommend taking a wilderness first aid course. Stores like REI often host classes like this. If the classes are free go for it but the good classes will cost about $150. Budget extra because you will learn what gear you need and that is the time to get it.

This is not simply a step to take in preparing for a natural disaster. A class like this is an investment in yourself and your family.

Self Defense

Everyone should know a smattering of empty handed combat. Just like you don’t need to be Ray Mears to start a fire, you don’t need to be Bruce Lee to be prepared to defend yourself. For unarmed combat that is quick and dirty I suggest Krav Maga and Systema. Like any skill set you can devote your life to it but what you need is some basics so if you find yourself in a physical conflict you will have some idea about what to do. If you are a female I highly recommend taking a women’s self defense class. Many law enforcement agencies offer them for free. My wife went to Women’s Strength and thought it was a very good investment of her time. When it is free like that you have no excuse.

Weapons. The function of a weapon is to offset differences in physical strength. You should have one. Knives are sometimes better than nothing but to use one you MUST make contact with your enemy. This is where guns are superior. Having a gun guarantees you nothing. You may not be able to deploy a gun before a threat is upon you. But a gun gives you options. Thousands of people use a gun every day to fend off would be attackers and don’t have to shoot anyone. Don’t let this deceive you into thinking that you can just wave a gun at a threat to scare it off. If you draw a firearm you had better be willing to use it.

If you are willing to use a gun then you better know how. You must get training to know how to use a gun to defend yourself. This has nothing to do with plinking or putting holes in paper targets. “Ben, this is way beyond the ‘very reasonable financial outlay’ that you led off with in your introduction.” True. Owning a firearm and getting the training you need is a commitment. However, it is not a huge commitment. Places like PFI can get you squared away on how to effectively use your weapon and there are a lot of good, reliable, and affordable guns to choose from.

I am suggesting that carrying a firearm should be a normal part of your daily life. If it is, then your firearm simply augments your preparations. However, if you are not one who carries on a daily basis then you need to add it to your preps. This would make a firearm a more advanced addition to your “Go Bag.”

The Tsunami Dynamic – Knowledge Part 3

April 5th, 2011

Fire

Fire is essential. You can make food and water safe, get warm, signal, and more, all with fire.

Have you seen those guys on the “survival situation” shows making fire by rubbing wood together? I’m not talking about that. Can you make a fire at all? In your gear you’ll have matches, lighters, and/or fire steels but now, at home, with every resource you could need available, can you make a fire?

A treatise on the subject is warranted but is well beyond the scope of this article so here are some basics to get you started.

If it’s not dry it won’t light

In the equipment section we’ll discuss some exceptions to this but in every case the drier it is the better it will work. A way to get around fuel being wet is to split the wood and get the dry inside to burn. It’s also possible to get a fire going that is hot enough to dry wet wood so it will then burn but that’s not where you want to start.

Gently grow your fire

Ray Mears – How to Light a Fire

You want to start with small stuff and as the fire grows add progressively larger pieces. There are three basic types of fuel.

  • Tinder
  • Kindling
  • Fire Wood (small and large)

Before you start your fire be sure that you have a good supply of each category on hand and ready to use. You should have quite a bit more than you think you need to get the fire started and use more than you think you need when you start.

You need a balance of three things to sustain a fire.

  • Air
  • Heat
  • Fuel

If your fuel is stacked too close together there will not be enough air to burn the fuel.

If your fuel is spread out too far apart there will not be enough heat to keep the fire burning. Pulling the fire apart is a good way to put out a fire that you want to start again.

If the fuel is too big for the size of the fire then it will not get hot enough to catch fire.

Tinder is the smallest, driest, fluffiest, most flammable material. It should catch a spark or small flame and create a large enough fire to light the kindling.

Kindling is the intermediate fuel that will get your fire wood lit. I usually split the kindling from a piece of fire wood but pine cones, small dry twigs and branches can work well too. In a more urban area cardboard (corrugated and single thickness) can serve as lighter kindling.

Fire wood is what you feed the fire to keep it going. When starting the fire use the smaller, split pieces with the split face towards the flames and when these smaller pieces have caught well on fire move up to the big stuff.

There are many different types of wood and they all burn differently. In general the harder the wood, the harder it is to get it to catch fire but the longer it burns. Oak is a good example of a hard, long burning wood. Softer woods catch fire more easily but burn faster so you are feeding the fire more often and use more wood to keep it lit. Cedar is a great wood to make tinder and kindling out of. An un-split section of wood will tend to burn longer than a split piece of the same material.

Make a point of building a fire at least once a year to stay familiar with it and if making a fire is seeming easy, start doing it in worse weather (high winds, rain, cold, snow). The worse the weather is, the more likely it is you’ll need a fire.

The Tsunami Dynamic – Knowledge Part 2

April 3rd, 2011

So you are safe and sound on high ground. What’s next?

A Plan

Do you have a rendezvous? Is there a place that you know to meet up with the people you care about? Do you have a couple fall-back places? A plan like this should be very simple. You don’t know what events will happen that will make the plan necessary so be ready to adapt it. No plan survives first contact with the enemy. It doesn’t need to be perfect, you just need to have one.

Communication

Do you and those you care about have a means of getting in touch? Always have a phone with you. Cell towers are likely to be overwhelmed with phone calls but text messages are much more likely to get through. Do you know how to send a text message? Do you know how to receive a text message? If you don’t know then make a point of learning how and then sending and receiving at least one text message a week.

We’ll look at other communications equipment but you need to know how to use it. We’re not looking to learn Morse code or anything like that but there are some basic essentials that you need to have covered.

Shelter

In your gear you will have something to use for shelter. It may be a heavy-duty contractor’s garbage bag, it may by a Kifaru tipi. Regardless, You need to have tested it before you use it in an emergency.

Do you know how to improvise a shelter? Think about how you could find protection from the elements using what you see around you. If you are in the forest then think about using branches, boughs, and leaves. If you are in the city look for cardboard or even a recycling dumpster. Pay attention to what the bums, homeless, and mentally ill do for improvised shelter in the city (those are three distinct groups and should not be lumped in together).

Next we’ll take a close look at fire.

The Tsunami Dynamic – Knowledge Part 1

April 2nd, 2011

Knowledge. It costs little more than time to acquire and weighs nothing. You can take that as far as you want (e.g. fire by friction, first aid, self defense, and shelter building) but what I’m specifically thinking of is knowing how to get to high ground.

You’re at the beach and there is a tsunami warning. Do you know where the high ground is? Do you know how to get to it? You’re in a building and there is a fire. Do you know where the stairs are? Do you know the different ways to get out of the building? Have you used them? You’re at Starbucks and some genius comes in and is robbing the place. You are tucked away out of sight and making the call to 911. Do you know the address? How about the nearest cross street?

Do you know which way is north?

The Tsunami evacuation route might take a little digging to find but the rest are things you can easily find out and know.

So you’ve found the high ground and you’ve made it there safely. Now what? Later we’ll discuss the equipment you’ll have with you but do you know how to use it?

There are several areas of knowledge to have a grasp of once you are safely out of harm’s way. We’ll look at those next.

Gun Control – The Positions

March 17th, 2011

Gun Control Debate

Do you have an opinion about the right to keep and bear arms? How educated is that opinion? You may find that your thoughts and feelings place you firmly on one side of the issue but have you heard what the other side has to say?

Below are links to a series of podcasts put out by Mark Vanderberg of the Gun Rights Advocates Podcast. He is a clear advocate for gun rights but what he has published here is a unique opportunity to hear real representatives of each side speak at some length about the positions they hold. I have included times when each speaker starts and stops so you can go immediately to the person you want to hear. If you are pressed for time then the must hear folks are John Lott in the first podcast and then all three on the second podcast. This will give you two speakers from each position.

This was a debate held at the Cooley Law School. The format is opening remarks followed by a too brief debate.

In order of appearance the participants are:

Part 1 (Download Link)
Beginning – 8:20 – Mark Vanderberg’s intro
8:20 – 16:47 – Introduction by William Wagner
16:47 – 48:19 – John Lott (Pro-Gun)
49:35 – 1:06:01 – James Manley (Pro-Gun)
1:07:00 – End – John Johnson (Anti-Gun)

Part 2 (Download Link)
Beginning – 15:39 – Mark Vanderberg’s intro
15:39 – 34:32 – Joshua Horwitz (Anti-Gun)
36:40 – 47:23 – Steven W. Dulan (Pro-Gun)
48:44 – 1:09:34 – Dennis A. Henigan (Anti-Gun)
1:09:34 – End – John Lott is given time to respond to Dennis A. Henigan’s claims.

Part 3 (Download Link)
Beginning – 12:48 – Mark Vanderberg’s introduction
12:48 – End – The Debate

Mr Vanderberg recognized what an important resource this was and out of his own pocket paid for a professional transcription of each section.

Casey the Punisher

March 16th, 2011

Video Of Bullying Victim Bodyslamming His Bully Goes Viral, Media Firestorm Likely To Ensue
From Sports Grid

I don’t hear it discussed in the media. I don’t ever remember hearing about it in school as a child. In fact the only time I remember it being discussed was by my father when he was trying to communicate important information about being a man to a boy (me) who didn’t quite get it. Respect. There is never a reason to be disrespectful to anybody. This has nothing to do with being nice. This has nothing to do with getting along and liking each other.

Respect is very simple. You don’t interfere with another person’s stuff. You don’t interfere with another person’s body. You don’t insult another person. That’s pretty much it.

Each one of us has a right to DEMAND respect. It is owed to us but we can’t demand more respect than what we have given. So now we come to the video. Our main characters are the bully runt (I have no name so I describe his character and size) and Casey Heynes. I own that we only see what is in the video and we don’t know what happened before, but what is there allows us to speak with authority about a few things. Let’s start with the punchline. Young Mr. Heynes was in the right – 100%. I see the possibility of no other view. Even if we find out that Mr. Heynes earlier had been provoking the bully runt (and it looks like it was the exact opposite), the bully runt experienced only what he should have expected from his actions.

I’d like to articulate the specifics of the reasonableness of Mr. Heynes actions. The bully runt is small and fast but still can deliver a solid punch. Look at how Mr. Heyne’s head is rocked back by the initial assault by the bully runt. Mr. Heynes is strong but not as fast as the bully runt. The event unfolds with the bully runt harassing Mr. Heyes by grabbing his shirt (un-wanted physical contact). Then the bully runt assaults Mr. Heynes with a solid blow to the face. Mr. Heynes does not respond physically. Mr. Heynes is punched four times in the stomach before responding. The bully runt has demonstrated that he is not interested in leaving Mr Heynes alone. It is not reasonable for Mr. Heynes to leave. The threat is the bully runt and not the location. He cannot out run the bully runt and he now must defend himself. Since he does not have the speed of his attacker, Mr. Heynes uses his greater physical strength to his advantage and ends the fight.

“What if the “bully runt” as you call him was your son? What would you think then?” I don’t know. I sincerely hope I wouldn’t raise such a disrespectful and foolish child but I think after watching the video I would tell him, “Stupid should hurt.”

“The UK has become a nation of pansies”

March 15th, 2011

That is the title of George Hill’s most recent post at MadOgre.com and On the whole I think he’s right. You can’t really call Ian, the winner of last year’s Top Shot and a UK native, a pansy. I wouldn’t call the brave men of the SAS pansies but I still think George is right. You can read his article here:

The UK has become a nation of pansies

And here is the article he is talking about:

Is this 4ft beast proof that foxes are getting bigger? Cat-killer trapped by vet
from Mail Online

Unfortunately this is not confined to the UK. People in the states are just a separated from the earth and where our food comes from. We too are just as afraid of death.

In spite of this I’m optimistic. We are a great nation with a great history and culture. We were not gradually liberated from the rule of a king. I believe people are growing weary of the artificial and empty culture being peddled on prime-time TV.

I just hope we see the comments posted to that news story as a warning and we heed it.