Even in ostensibly peaceful and tolerant Sweden, civil unrest happens.

Credit: Scanpix Sweden/Reuters

Over the last few days, rioting has taken place around Stockholm.  Many of the rioters are young and from immigrant communities suffering from high unemployment and lack of opportunity.  Even in a country known for generous social welfare programs and a reputation for tolerance, anger and resentment can explode amongst certain subsets of the population.

Live in a nice neighborhood, on a peaceful street?  Think you are immune to riots?  What would you do if one broke out in your community?

Think about that for a moment.

Violence can happen anywhere and seemingly insignificant events can trigger rioting.  When it happens, you will need to be ready.  Having food, water, light, shelter, first aid items, and personal protection (firearms, clubs, knives, etc.) on-hand will be a necessity.  When it comes to evacuating, you may be forced to flee your home with little notice if widespread rioting hits your community.  We’ll go into more detail in future articles about how to prepare for civil unrest and similar events, just know that if it can happen in a cosmopolitan city like Stockholm, it can happen anywhere…

If anybody thinks Great Britain is peaceful and safe, think again.

Credit: ITV

The blood on that fella’s hands came from a British soldier that he beheaded moments before.  It took twenty minutes(!) for police to arrive and eventually apprehend the two suspects.  Before the police arrived, a lady confronted one of the alleged killers while he was roaming around the murder scene.  She distracted him to prevent others in the area from getting attacked.  All in all, a very violent and bloody scene of Islamic violence.

Great Britain has an undeserved reputation of being a non-violent country where crimes like this are rare.  However, brutal assaults like this happen in the UK and everywhere else in the world on a regular basis.  Some members of society are violent and full of anger, when they lash out it can be brutal.

The principle to keep in mind here is that you can be a veteran soldier and be attacked in your home country.  Military training and combat experience can be trumped by surprise and violence as we have seen in this recent incident.  Being alert, trained, and ready will give you the mindset necessary to survive during a violent incident even if you are a civilian.  Remember too, that violent attacks can take place anywhere and you are never completely safe.

Bonus:  If you have a moment, read this short article on the link between welfare and terrorism.

If you see this, its too late to prepare…

Credit: Onstar

As we saw last week, tornadoes can wreak havoc when they strike populated areas.  However, you can take steps now to protect yourself from them.  You can read more by going to ready.gov and reading their pages that discuss tornado preparedness.  There is more good information over at the CDC and the Weather Channel regarding tornadoes as well.  The Red Cross also publishes a handy, one-page Tornado Safety Checklist that you can view or download here.

There are also some important things to keep in mind when it comes to tornadoes.  Often times, heavy rain and hail accompany the storms that spawn tornadoes.  While the destructive path of a twister can be relatively narrow, the storms can be hundreds of miles wide and cause significant damage.  The rain, hail, and wind is more likely to cause damage to people and property, which needs to be accounted for in any tornado preparedness plan.

The aftermath of a tornado is something that needs to be accounted for as well.  Many times power lines are downed, causing loss of electricity for days or even weeks.  Roads can be blocked by fallen trees or other debris too.  The rain storms can also cause flooding that can wash out roads, bridges, and damage structures in low-lying areas.  While the tornado may only last a few minutes, the after affects will last much longer.  Here are some items you may want to have on-hand if you live in or near Tornado Alley:

  • Radio with NOAA weatherband
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Water and food for three days (MREs, Datrex rations, granola bars, etc.)
  • First Aid kit
  • Medication
  • Cash
  • Chainsaw and fuel
  • Portable generator and fuel

Take some time today to read through some of these links and start making your tornado preparedness plans.

Bonus:  Here is a good article about what to do if you are in your car during a tornado.

If purchasing a firearm represents a first step in personal protection, learning how to use it is the logical and necessary second step.  As KC writes:

Owning a gun is just the first step on a journey. Guns are not self-protection talismans that ward off evil-doers all by themselves: You have to have it handy when you need it and you need to be ready, willing and able to defend your life and your loved one’s lives, if, God forbid, the need to do so arises.

Where does one start though?  As a relatively new gun owner, I would suggest you give these folks a look.

You can read about it here but I also recommend you bookmark them and regularly visit their site.  They have a lot of good information that focuses on firearms training, personal security, and other preparation-related issues.  I’ve gone shooting with Kevin, Robert, and Jaci so I can personally vouch for their knowledge of firearms-related subjects.  They are good people and are compiling a lot of useful information you can apply.  Check them out, its worth your time.

Its small, light, bright, durable, and field-tested…the Pelican PM6 3330 is a VERY impressive LED flashlight.

Pelican PM6 3330 LED Flashlight

This flashlight packs a lot of punch and functionality into a package that’s perfect in many applications.  Mine is clipped to the outside of my Go Bag but I’m going to buy another couple for other kits.  The thing I love about this flashlight is it is bright and uses a button to control the light.

Why is this so important?

Sometimes, you need to use a light to signal in an emergency situation (S-O-S) and having a one-handed tail switch that allows the operator to choose between constant light or momentary flashes is an important feature.  Perhaps that is why Pelican is used by the military units and police departments around the world.

Another great aspect of this flashlight is the material its made of.  The unit is made out of Xenoy polymer that is durable, water-resistant, and heat-resistant.  Its also easy to handle because it does not get slippery when wet!  The PM6 3330 uses CR123 Lithium batteries too, which means greater performance and brighter light than flashlights that use regular alkaline batteries.  It has a 40 hour run time too, so it will be able to offer a lot of performance for an extended period of time.

Oh and it is bright!

Last and not least, its another fine Made in the USA product.  It incorporates innovation, quality, and great design in a useful tool that everybody needs.  I have one, I use it, and I recommend it so get one next time you are looking for a flashlight.

Overall Rating:  9/10

Click here to purchase a Pelican PM6 3330 LED Flashlight, Black

Two unrelated, related stories about emergency response times.

First, there was an attempted robbery at Pepe’s Grocery in Dallas, TX the other day.  The store manager shot one of the robbers with his handgun and called 911.  The police did not arrive until 75 minutes after the call was made.

Second, the Emergency Manager for Detroit delivered a report to the Michigan Treasurer that stated the City of Detroit was insolvent and unable to borrow money.  Pension costs, debt service, and lower tax revenues combined with decades of fiscal mismanagement have brought the problem to a head.  Police and fire response times in Motown are also comparatively long.

Credit: The Ruins of Detroit

These stories are related because they show that government services may not be there when you need them.  In the case of Joe Cho, a pistol was all that kept him from being robbed since the police would not arrive for over an hour after he made his 911 call.  For Detroit, residents can expect even fewer services (police, fire, public works) as the city deals with insolvency.  As I have written about here and here, increasing municipal financial problems will have an impact on citizens lives.

Part of the solution to this is to become better prepared to handle emergencies yourself.  Police, fire, and rescue personnel may not be as available or responsive as they have been in the past.  Individuals will have to rely upon themselves and non-governmental entities to provide services previously performed by governments.  Some example include:

  • Firearms ownership and training
  • Private policing and armed security
  • Physical security upgrades (hardened entrances, video surveillance, increased lighting)
  • Emergency electrical power generation
  • Community patrols by trained citizens

Becoming better prepared means greater resiliency and independence in an increasingly unstable world where the government is not always there to protect you…

One problem I have (and have seen in others) is a tendency to over-think matters and encounter analysis paralysis.  This causes delays in taking action and not beginning an important process (in this case, preparation).  Col. John Boyd (USAF) developed and refined the OODA Loop which describes decision-making in fighter combat but can also be applied to other matters.  The essential principle is to make a decision and act quickly for in the words of Gen. George Patton:

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.

This applies to preparation in one aspect, thinking about the equipment you need to adequately prepare for the unknown.  Sometimes we can get bogged-down in the details of deciding what we need and where we put it rather than on the importance of starting something, anything, now and refining it over time.  I am guilty of this myself, but am working towards addressing it as I refine my own preparations.

The principle I want to address now is repurposing and multiuse.  Instead of wondering what you need to get in the future, ask yourself what you have on-hand right now that can help you get better prepared.  Over time, you can add or adjust your equipment and kit but we all need to start somewhere.  Making incremental progress over time is what is more important than your starting point.

Leatherman Supertool 300

If you go camping or backpacking, you probably have many items that can come be used in your preparations.  Check your garage, if you have tools you are already prepared for household emergencies.  Have you taken a Red Cross class lately?  If so, you are armed with information that can be used in the future.  Go into your kitchen and see what is in your cupboards and/or pantry.  Got canned, freeze-dried, or dry foods you can prepare?  How about a gas grill or camp stove?  Have extra flashlights and batteries?  Take a look around, you may already be on your way towards preparation.

The good news is you may not have to purchase a lot of new items, they may already be in your home!  Gas grills can be used to prepare steaks but they can also be used to boil water if necessary.  Camping gear can be used as temporary shelter in case your domicile has to be abandoned.  Hand sanitizer not only cleans your hands, it can serve as a fire starter.  The bat that you use in your recreational softball league and also serve as a club in a pinch.  There are countless items that can serve in multiple roles, take some time and do an inventory of what you have right now.

Whatever you do, start the process now and keep at it.  Think of preparation as an exercise program that will yield results over time.  Keep at it and you will realize your goal, which is to become more prepared and resilient during emergencies.  This in turn will benefit you, your family, your neighbors, the community you live in, and the country as a while.

Get started!

This is what we are approaching…and its great news.

The post-war model (or as Walter Russell Mead calls it the “blue social model“) is rapidly falling apart as its unsustainable fiscal policies and inflexible rule sets.  The commitments and assumptions made before and after World War Two don’t match current reality.  As Kevin Williamson writes:

The real debate for the next 30 years is not how we go about paying our bills, but how we go about not paying them. What is most likely is a much smaller and more modest government, something closer to what Robert Nozick called the “nightwatchman state.” The reason for that is the fact that we have good substitutes for Social Security and the Department of Education but not for the army or the courts.

The future is going to entail less government involvement and greater privatization of services.  All of this will take place in an environment of austerity and slow growth, as we are currently experiencing.

What does this have to do with preparation?

The short-term could get rough, especially with declining government services (think roads, police, fire, and other services) and higher taxes.  Less service for a higher price could lead to increased crime, longer response times, and worn-out infrastructure.  This is already apparent in municipalities across the country that are either bankrupt (ex. Stockton, CA) or struggling to pay their bills (ex. Chicago, IL).  As a citizen, you can expect less from your government, meaning you will have to be more independent and prepared.

The long-term will see a much more stable and resilient country (re)emerge though.  Think back to life before the Progressive Era, the New Deal, World War Two, and the Great Society…there will be less government in people’s lives in the future.  Instead of relying upon government institutions, citizens will have to become more involved in taking care of their needs as well as those of around them.  That requires regular citizens stepping up though and assuming responsibilities that had been given to the state in years past.

My friend Kevin is fond of saying that firearms ownership is the gateway drug to freedom.  I reckon preparation is a gateway drug to greater independence and responsibility, which will lead to a stronger nation.

Still think living in a small town eliminates the threat of terrorism?  The Montevideo MN terror plot shows that no town is immune from the threat.

Credit: slowingtheracingmind

A few days ago, the FBI arrested a man who may have been planning a terrorist attack in the small town of Montevideo, Minnesota.  The suspect was a white supremacist who had pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, and various firearms in his possession at the time of arrest.  One of the planned targets was the local police station, no other potential targets were mentioned.

I grew up in Minnesota (Twin Cities Metro area) and have traveled throughout the state for the first half of my life.  There are many small towns like Montevideo throughout the state.  The college I went to was in a farm town of about 15,000 residents and many people enjoyed its tranquil atmosphere.  However, living in a small town is no guarantee of immunity from terrorism, as Montevideo (population 5,800) demonstrates.

There are crazy, dangerous people everywhere.  This is a sad fact of life and no matter where you live, you need to be prepared in case these people act out their violent desires.  Even if you live in a small town, be ready for the unthinkable and you will be better able to handle the situation.

It’s a small world after all.