Selecting an EDC Bag

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The mystery of the Argentine Big Mac…



I lived in Argentina almost my entire life, and while not a fan of fast food I’ve gone to McDonalds and Burger King on many occasions.

While I like Burger King better, McDonalds has nicer (and better advertised) toys, and being the father of two that basically seals my destiny in terms of burger choice.

When eating at the spooky clown’s store I’ve always ordered a quarter pounder with cheese. A couple burger menus and Happy meals would usually land a hefty bill to pay. Going to McDonalds is more expensive in Argentina than in USA, I knew that much, but seems that the evil looking clown has no problem in playing along the local corrupt government.

You see, there’s this thing called the Big Mac Index, an informal index created by The Economist in 1986 to measure purchasing power parity, or in other words how expensive stuff is compared from one country to another. To do that you need a product that is similar in each country, and the BigMac does just that. As informal as the Big Mac Index is, its been around long enough to be taken very seriously.

Surprised was I when I read that Argentina does quite well in the BigMac Index… but why is it then that I’ve always found it to be MORE expensive than other countries where Ive been to McDonalds?… wait.. why is it that I’ve always ordered Quarter Pounders with cheese instead of BigMacs?… oh! That’s right! There’s NO BIGMAC in Argentina! Its not advertised, its not displayed in any of their menu options, at least not openly in those big banners with pictures and menus. If you don’t see it offered, you don’t order it, and that’s the idea. McDonalds doesn’t want you to order the BigMac in  Argentina.

But why would they do this? Simple. To LIE about the BigMac Index, and make Argentina sound 50% cheaper than it actually is. If you compare the unusually low official price of the BigMac to the rest of the menus you see how its surprisingly low. The Argentine government came to some sort of arrangement with McDonalds: Keep the BigMac at X price, and we’ll make it up to you. That’s why the price is kept so low, and that’s why they don’t tell anyone the BigMac is listed.

But can you actually get the BIgMac in Argentina, even if it’s a best kept secret? I do remember this one time when my father visited us in Argentina and ordered a BigMac and they told him they didn’t have it, but other sources assure that they are obligated to sell it to you, so give it a try!

That’s how it works in Argentina. In any other sane country a company would openly advertise a product that they have at a very low price. In Argentina, its kept secret so as to not lose money, yet officially have it listed.

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Gunfight during home Invasion


“Break into my house and I kill you” said Argentine radio host and actor Angel “Baby” Etchecopar.
Last night as Argentina usually forces you to do, he had to put his life where his mouth was.


Etchecopar and his son where involved in a shooting last night. The attack was pretty typical and there are some lessons to be learned.
It started with a common enough mistake, one that you may be able to get away with in less dangerous places but not Argentina: Last night his 24 year old son Federico was talking with his girlfriend in his car. You’re not supposed to do that. You’re a sitting duck.
The well known radio host and actor had already been involved in a home robbery attempt a few years ago and had knocked down with a punch (lucky punch in his own words) and captured one of his attackers. This time they had his son and his girlfriend at gunpoint as they forced their way inside. Inside his house he cooperated with the attackers, opened his safe, gave them watches, cash, etc. They loaded a car with a TV as well but they wanted more. Constantly beating Baby and his son they were still not satisfied and started to touch and threaten to rape his 5 month pregnant daughter and wife.
Etchecopar then, thinking quickly and actually very smart, pretended to suffer a heart attack and conveniently collapse over his night table… where he kept his Glock .40.
“Baby” shot one of the attackers eight times, killing him. His son also picked a 357 magnum and shot back. The other attacker, 17 years old, escaped wounded and was later captured when he showed up in a hospital. Given his age, he’s unlikely to spend any time in jail. There’s a 3rd man that was involved in the robbery that hasn’t been captured yet but has been identified because of the pictures in the cellphone of his dead accomplice and their Facebook pictures.
During the gunfight, Baby was shot in both legs and one hand, his son was shot in the buttocks(punctured his intestine), twice in the chest (collapsed lung) and another shot in the leg. 18 spent cases were recovered in that bedroom, eight of them 40 S&W, the rest 9mm.
“Baby” Etchecopar is recovering well in spite of an exposed bone fracture in his leg. His son is still in intensive care and fighting to survive after two surgeries.
Lets try to learn a thing or two here.
First, what was done right:
1)Being armed, of course. And the weapon of choice is also smart. A .40 Glock and a 357 magnum backup which his son managed to use.
2)Pretending to collapse over the night table where he kept the gun. That was pretty smart given that they had the drop on him. When he saw that they wanted more than the material belongings, started to touch and threaten to rape his daughter and wife and kill him, his reaction was the best given the worst case scenario it had turned into.
3)The will to fight, with any and all means. Etchecopar made clear claims of what we would do if something like this happened and he indeed lived up to it. Even though both him and his son got seriously wounded, something very hard to avoid in a gunfight inside a room at probably extreme close quarters, they are still alive and his wife, daughter and unborn grandson are fine. They could be dead if he hadn’t fought back.
As for mistakes made:
1)His son shouldn’t have been talking in the parked car with his girlfriend. This is VERY risky to do in Argentina and people that become careless like that often pay for it. Its well known that you’re much safer going into a house or bar or coffee house instead if you want to talk.
2)Etchecopar hasn’t received formal defensive shooting training, and is more likely limited to a trip to the range for typical target practice instead. While luck is a big factor, a few lessons on self defense shooting may have been put to good use in this occasion, favoring his odds a bit more.

3)There’s a chance that 3 or 4 rounds of 40S&W JHP would have been enough, and that he could have moved to the second attacker after that. Based on research of many similar incidents, I know that its easy to get blinded by the rage of the fight, caught in the moment. Maybe if he had done some defensive shooting training he would have shot 3 or 4 times and quickly moved to the next bad guy. Then again maybe he did need eight rounds to drop that particulat attacker. Its so easy to be technical when you’re not the one shooting it out with a couple sociopaths in a bedroom surrounded by your son wife and pregnant daughter.
Things to notice:
1) The patterns of how these things happen. The moments of vulnerability and the window of opportunity provided by one careless action such as fooling around or talking in a parked car at 10 PM. You can do that in other places, not in Argentina.
2) You are only as strong as the weakest link. Even if you do all the training and have all the mindset and awareness in the planet, if your son or daughter is carless then you are as weak as the weakest link in the group. One day they’ll show up with someone pointing a gun at their head. Work on having the entire family involved and know what to do in these situations and which risks should be avoiding.
3) “Baby” got shot in the hand which is typical of exchanging gunfire given that the hands end up placed covering your center of mass as you shoot each other. Make sure you know your non dominant hand shooting skill, single handed reloading, etc.
4) 18 rounds fired, plus maybe another six in the revolver. Still think that you can count on 5 or 6 rounds doing the trick? Better have more ammo, accuracy, ease of reloading and the ability to place quick follow up shots on target.


Hot item to Steal: Tide!

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Thanks SiriusBlack over at the Modern Survivalist forum for bringing this up

Doesn’t’ go bad, its expensive and used by everyone on frequent basis: Laundry detergent  Tide!
Criminals are stealing it and later selling it to stores for below retail, even drug dealers are accepting it instead of cash, knowing a few bottles can be quickly sold and even 50% off retail leaves them a nice profit.

Expect more serious security at supermarkets in the not so distant future. I still remember the first time I saw a guard armed with a pump shotgun posted in front of a supermarket as food was being unloaded.
As things get worse, you’ll keep seeing more of this.

Recent Burglary

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I’ve got to say you book hits the nail on the head 100%
I was recently burglarized and had 3 AR-15’s and a Saiga 12 shotgun were taken along with the wifes jewelry. This county in Ohio is very rural only, one deputy is on duty at any one time and the crooks know this. There are 4 three man teams working hitting in broad daylight, night when ever they want. I suspect this is only going to get worse. Concealed carry classes are going on almost daily.
I’ve learned a lot from this; dumped this years tax return into security cameras solar motion detecting lights, a new gunsafe a steel front door etc. Thanks for the book, I wish I had implemented more of your suggestions early on.

Hi K, so sorry you had to go through that.
I’ve helped people after home invasions, its such an awful experience. People feel their intimacy stolen from them. Its not just that they take your belongings, they touch and go through what’s private, you cant help feel violated.
Indeed, cash, jewelry, guns, drugs/prescription drugs and maybe some small electronics is what they go for. There are cases where when they have enough time, they take everything they can, but in general that’s the short list right there.
You made some good suggestions there with the gun safe, security camera and lights.
Unfortunately these emails are becoming more and more common. While there’s some crime you avoid in less populated areas, I hope that by now people get it that distance does not equal safety. Yours isn’t the only email I’ve got about home invasions in rural locations.
One thing you might try doing is going to local and nearby city pawnshops with pictures and descriptions of what got stolen. You might get lucky and land with someone that identifies your belongings, its worth a shot.
Also guys, remember to take photos and make short videos of your belonging for the insurance company. A robbery, fire or some other disaster may occur and a short clip or drive with photos saves you time and money if you ever need to make a claim.
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