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Speaking My Mind

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO

Posted by Doug Jeffreys on July 13, 2015 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I love all things zombie/apocalyptic and have given much thought to various bug-out places and structures that are often discussed (even marking various primo locations on Google Earth). However, I live on a budget, like most folks, so buying an old missile silo in Wyoming or building an underground bunker like those seen on "Doomsday Preppers" is not in my game plan. I have a better idea, I'm staying home.

The town where I live was essentially owned and built to its glory between the 1920's to the 1960's by the Bethlehem Steel Company and United States Steel company. They built entire neighborhoods of identical row houses and duplexes for the laborers. They also built several neighborhoods of single-family dwellings for middle-management. It is one of those "middle-management" neighborhoods that I live in. Whereas the architecture is fairly mundane, the structural integrity is quite impressive.

There are 87 houses within a neighborhood that encompasses about 26.6 acres. Each house is built from formed concrete. That's right; each house was formed and poured. Walls 14 inches thick, from the foundation to the eaves. Basement, first floor, and second floor all swathed in a thick, protective wall of solid concrete and topped with either a gabled or hipped roof with dormers providing a finished attic. Each house is essentially its own little castle. You won't breach those walls without artillery. In the case of a SHTF scenario it would be a matter of a single day to reinforce the windows with hardwood shutters. Perhaps two or three days would be needed to brick up the windows on the first floor leaving just firing slits in each. Barring a serious nuclear, chemical or biological threat, I'm staying put in my fortress (and yes, I do have a bug-out plan, just in case). I feel confident my bunker will withstand any zombie horde or ravenous mob of human raiders. I'm well supplied and have more than adequate means to defend it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Sure Doug, that’s all well and good.” You ponder as you raise an eyebrow inquisitively “But what if the poo-poo hits the fan while you’re at work”? This should not be an insurmountable problem, for a couple reasons; First, It is only 3.3 miles from my house to where I work. Even walking slowly, with great stealth, I could traverse that in two or three hours. Second, I drive a Suzuki Vitara. The only SUV in its class rated for off-road. So even considering that there is a river between my house and where I work. And even if all the bridges were blown to stop the hordes of bloodthirsty zombies or were blocked by unruly mobs of ne’er-do-wells, my vehicle is fully capable of fording the river at any number of points.

Now, of course, your nostrils flare with disdain as you say rather condescendingly “Well, there just happened to be an EMP at the same time as the zombie apocalypse and your nice little SUV won’t start”. I always have an EDC sling bag with me every time I leave the house. It contains everything I need to survive a night or two if need be; Two contractor bags for shelter, water, peanuts & beef jerky, a multi-tool, cordage, a first-aid kit, fire making supplies, my handgun with extra magazines and a box of ammunition and various other necessities needed to get me home safely. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, you smart ass! If, once I got home, I felt the pressing need to head for the hills; I do have a full size bug-out bag. But I’ll discuss that in another post.

 

On Survival and Being a Prepper

Posted by Doug Jeffreys on July 9, 2015 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I believe anyone with a normal survival instinct is a "prepper". However, I hate the term prepper or survivalist due to the decades long smear campaign by the media. Now anytime one hears those words you immediately conjure up an image of a paranoid conspiracy theorist huddled in their log cabin surrounded by weapons and barrels full of dried legumes and beef jerky. I was a Boy Scout and believe strongly in the motto "Be Prepared". If you're prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for any natural or man-made disaster that may befall you. Face it, no matter what part of the country or world you live in, you will face one or more common disaster scenarios. In my neck of the woods it's blizzards and floods, and the occasional tornado.

At the man-made end of the spectrum there is the threat of contamination by one of several nuclear power plants in the state. Or a state-wide blackout due to a catastrophic failure of one of our many coal powered generating stations. There could be a flood caused by the failure of one of our many aging dams. There could also be a financial collapse brought on by the crooks in our state and federal government.

All of the above listed reasons are a good excuse to be a prepper. Fortunately, my state has a rich history of woodcraft and outdoorsmen. Large portions of the population are accomplished hunters, anglers and farmers and even the city folk have backyard vegetable gardens. Most anybody would simply consider this part of their heritage and a common way to supplement their larder. But, these are in fact, the stepping stones to being a prepper.

Being a prepper simply means being self-sufficient. Aside from the outdoorsman skills mentioned, a basic grounding in the use of common tools and skills such as basic carpentry and masonry work. You don’t need to be a craftsman to build a decent cabin with an outdoor shower and an outhouse. There you have shelter and basic sanitation. With a little more study, some more specialized tools and some ambition you can easily go from surviving to relative luxury. I know. I helped my friend build a single story cabin with a simple sleeping loft, then over the course of a couple years transform it into a split-level, 5 room hunting lodge with two large fireplaces, stained-glass windows and a wrap-around porch and raised bed gardens. Neither one of us had any type of formal training in engineering, carpentry, blacksmithing or agriculture. All the materials were either acquired on site or bought as scrap from a local lumber mill. We learned by doing and not only was it satisfying and fun, but the end result was a beautiful structure that would have cost at least 10 times as much to have a contractor build it. I learned many valuable skills and continue to do so. Am I now some paranoid anarchist skulking about the woods wearing camouflage fatigues and sporting an assault rifle? Certainly not. But I do have the confidence and skill set to know I stand an excellent chance of surviving any turn of misfortune that may befall me; whether it may be something as simple as getting lost on a hike and having to spend an unexpected night in the woods to a major disaster such as a blizzard that may keep me trapped in my house for a week without heat and electricity. If I can do it, anyone can.