U.S. Hospitals Prepared for Ebola?

Hi Ferfal,
I was just looking through your site. Looks like there has not been much on ebola. You may recall I am a licensed healthcare person, although not a nurse. I have a personal intellectual interest in infectious diseases, so I get this email digest from the International Society for Infectious Disease.
http://www.promedmail.org/ They had a period when it seemed like no messages were going out, but they seem back in the game now.
As a result, I guess I have been following the ebola outbreak since pretty close to when it started. I also just have kept an eye out for other articles about it. I distinctly remembered in the summer reading that the people who purport to study this kind of thing were heavily implying that it could be transmitted by droplets. The CDC et al. always go out of their way to insist ebola is not airborne. That is technically true, but to the layperson I think they don’t make a distinction between droplet transmission and airborne. Already at the beginning of August, the health authorities were giving guidance that was clearly intended to avoid droplet transmission.
Anyway, you know the CDC now has been going on and on about we have such a great healthcare system in the US, etc etc. I think anyone who actually works in the industry would be quick to tell you differently- including me. Last winter we were constantly running short of simple masks during flu season. So it was not hard to figure that they would not have a good supply of space suits for ebola care.
Just because I have been keeping an eye out, I have seen a few memos go past in the work email since the start of the outbreak, but they all have been beyond superficial. There has been no education, no drills, no stocking up that I can see, no designating areas to care for suspected cases, nothing like that. The vague, ebola related emails were just mixed right in with employee parking spot winners and foolishness like that.
Just yesterday morning we got an email ‘[Our hospital] remains prepared to deal with Ebola’. It was almost like a pep talk for people who already worked there. The only substantive bit was to tell people to look at the FAQs on the CDC website. There was nothing like ‘personal protective equipment can be obtained from so-and-so’ or ‘please put any suspected ebola cases in room 2′ or anything that would be immediately useful.
So last night the emergency department had someone come in who fit the profile for a potential ebola case. Guess what? No one knew what do to. They were calling around to see if anyone knew what to do, looking on google to find out what kind of PPE they should be wearing and how to isolate the patient.
I was surprised to learn that the people working didn’t even know about the potential for infectious droplets, because I had thought that was already established back in the summer. So basically, it sounds like it was a big clusterf*k. This is at a community hospital, so maybe they didn’t think it would be a problem for them.
I am on the email list from another hospital I used to work at- i.e. a ‘big city hospital’, and they were doing a training session today on PPE apparently. It says ‘ebola overview, resources, donning and doffing of PPE’. I only got the email first thing this morning which leads me to believe it was probably put together at the last minute.
I personally have not heard of anyone, anywhere, saying anything like, ‘Wow, we have done so much training for ebola,’ or ‘wow, my hospital is really on top of this.’ Everyone is like, ‘What’s going on?’
Just thought you might be interested.

– JM

Hi JM,
As you know I have a very practical, no-nonsense approach to modern survivalism. I especially try to keep a level headed attitude and avoid fear mongering. Having said that, I just cannot believe how irresponsibly ebola is being handled.
“NOT EASY TO CONTRACT” this is literally what cnn has to say about ebola. Of course then it goes on to say in the same video presentation that it is carried in bodily fluids, blood, saliva, tears, mucus, feces, urine, sweat, semen and vomit. How can we say on one hand that direct contact is needed to get infected, but on the same video clip they say that saliva and mucus carries ebola and it can get into your body through your nose, mouth and even your eyes. Cant anyone makes the elemental connection between saliva and the thousands of droplets flying after a patient sneezes or coughs? Just yesterday I saw CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta argue with ebola expert David Sanders. Sanders was explaining the possibility of ebola being spread through aerosol transmission (sneeze, cough, vomit) but Gupta cut him short claiming the chances of such a transmission were so small, it was not worth talking about while other things were more important…??? You’re talking about ebola, and you don’t think its important to learn how you can actually catch it? I can’t believe relatively smart grown persons are either a) so stupid b) so irresponsible. The only option left I see is that these claims we see on the press are very misguided attempted to keep people calm. In any case, it is very concerning to still see talking heads in the media claiming ebola can’t be transmitted in such a way.
Thanks for sharing your experience JM!

FerFAL

Example of Hyperinflation and “Shrinkflation” at Work

I recently found this bus ticket in one of my jackets. This is a minimum fee bus ticket from Buenos Aires back in 2011. Notice that is says “Subsidised by the National Estate”. Today, that same minimum fee, one ride ticket paid in cash costs 6 pesos, an inflation of nearly 600% in 3 years.

Also notice how small the bus ticket is. As the economy got worse in Argentina, everything suffered “shrinkflation” so as to cut cost and expenses wherever possible or even hide inflation by making food and other consumable goods in smaller “new” packages and bottles. As months went by, bus tickets kept getting smaller and smaller, up to the point where it was hard to read them for some people.

FerFAL

 

The Truth About Gun Control (Part I)

This is the first submission of a multi-part essay by Jim V on Gun Control. It’s well researched and packed with information. Looking forward to the following chapters by Jim!
FerFAL

Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.” (A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer’s hands.)
–    Lucius Annaeus Seneca, circa 4 BC – 65 AD

Americans [have] the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust their people with arms”
 James Madison, considered the father of the US Constitution

“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.”
-  Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

During World War II, six million Swiss had guns and six million Jews did not.”
     –
Author unknown

“…sort of like the people who repeat foolish slogans like “guns kill” – as though guns sprout little feet when no one is looking and run around shooting people all by themselves.”
–  Doug Casey, financial columnist

“If you don’t have to give up your car because others drive drunk with theirs, then why do you have to give up your gun because others commit crimes with theirs?”
– Anonymous internet wag

When a crime is committed, does the gun go to jail?”
- From BrotherJohn.com   

“Let’s stop playing games. The problem is people, not guns. Our society suffers from a deficiency of personal responsibility – not from an excess of personal freedom.”
– Star Parker, African American writer and commentator    

The horrifying truth is this: we live now in a culture that not only does not respect life, but discards it like trash — not only at the beginning of life, but also at the end, and every place in between. What has happened to us?”
–  C
atholic Deacon Greg Kandra

“…we’re also going to make it clear that when a pig gets iced that’s a good thing, and that everyone who considers himself a revolutionary should be armed, should own a gun, should have a gun in his house.”
–  
Bill Ayers, leftist activist and confidant of gun control happy Barack Obama, in A Strategy To Win, appearing in New Left Notes, September 12, 1969

‘The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.'” 
|     
- HL Mencken

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government
–  Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

 

INTRODUCTION

The utterly horrific Colorado and Connecticut shootings, among others, are still being processed into the collective conscience of America.  Clearly, everyone of good conscience will grieve for the lives that were lost and damaged. But it is time now to reflect on what has caused tragedies such as these, and others. Here are some preliminary thoughts that may be worth reflecting on as you consider the gun control issue, that is sure to surface again in the near future:

First, is it guns, or is it people, that kill? As the old saying goes, Teddy Kennedy’s cars have killed more people than all the guns of 99.999% of all gun owners in America.  And this true around the world.  My brother lived in ultra-safe Switzerland for years. Why is Switzerland so safe? Is it because guns are outlawed?

Hardly.

Wikipedia notes: “If you were a Swiss man, you would be a soldier as well. Every able-bodied Swiss man must go to the army in Switzerland for 90 days (Rekrutenschule-Ecole de recrue) and then every 2 years until the age of 42, he must return for practice for 19 days. This allows the government to raise an army of 400,000 men, fully armed, within 24 hours, as every soldier has an assault gun in his house, complete with ammunition.” http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/swiss-business-guide/swiss-army.html “; moreover, “Each individual is required to keep his army issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm SIG 550 rifle for enlisted personnel or the SIG 510 rifle and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified personal retention quantity of government issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56/48 rounds 9mm…)
http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/gun_politics_in_switzerland.” Switzerland which has had three times the gun ownership as, for example Germany, has also had a much lower murder rate. And statistics like this ring true throughout the world. A short 3 minute video is here, for those that wish to see a short report on the Swiss and their guns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WFUu7cfa7k&feature=player_embedded#t=22s

Indeed, Thomas Sowell notes countries with stronger gun control laws than the US, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico (Mexico basically bans firearms completely, yet has a higher gun homicide rate than the US), have much higher murder rates, while there are many countries with high rates of gun ownership but low murder rates, such as Israel, New Zealand and Finland. In fact, in Mexico, the murder rate is 22.7 murders per 100,000, whereas the global average is ~7 homicides per 100,000, and the gun happy US is 4.8 murders per 100,000. http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-end-gun-debate-forever.html.  That is correct – the US, which has the widest gun ownership in the world, is below the worldwide average in homicides.  Of course, in the US, approximately 90 million legal owners of guns, owing 300 million firearms; murdered zero people last year. Contrast that with the approximately 170 million Prof. R.J. Rummel of Univ. of Hawaii, in his book Death by Government, says were killed in the last century, the majority of them after their governments disarmed them (Stéphane Courtois, author of the highly regarded Black Book of Communism estimates 94 million were murdered by Communists alone).  An hour long, very sobering summary video documenting what happens when the population has their weapons removed can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDivHkQ2GSg&feature=player_embedded#t=8s  Or perhaps one might wish to contrast this to the 32,000 people who lost their lives – including thousands of youth – in car accidents last year (see http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1103.pdf or http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCSA to get the latest exact figure). And for those of you who correctly answered the  “cars are necessary, but guns are not” objection, a gold star, for indeed you are correct – an armed population, as the Founding Fathers repeatedly noted, is the sine qua non of a free country and a free population. “Free” as in –  as historical records show – comparison to a  country like the USSR, Cuba or China that end up murdering millions – including children (just google “Ukrainian Kulak” and look at the photos of millions of children who were murdered by Stalin’s government.  As the saying goes, “Free men have guns; slaves do not.”

An interview in The State Journal of West Virginia, regarding guns and the 2nd Amendment, is illustrative of the rabid anti-gun attitudes of the politically correct cadre. Predictably, the media talking head, who is of course anti-gun, interviews Keith Morgan, president of the West Virginia Citizen’s Defense League. The reporter tried to push the old canard that a national debate on guns is long overdue. (Yes… apparently leftist media reporters all get their same talking points from the same, lame “LeftistTalking Point Depot!”), to which Morgan replies “I have to take issue with the immediate premise that we started out with that it’s a long overdue discussion.  The discussion is as old as the country itself.  The Framers set everything up and settled that discussion pretty well with the wording and language of the Second Amendment…”

Mr. Morgan has it 100% nailed on the head!

HOW EFFECTIVE IS GUN CONTROL?

A 2000 study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms revealed that 47% of guns used for crime are obtained via a straw purchase, while another 26% are stolen. So, how effective is firearms control in practice? In gun-control happy Chicago – which has banned guns for all practical purposes – the city has become the leading “alpha” city for gun murders in the world. 2012 ended with around five hundred murders in the city. http://news.yahoo.com/chicago-reaches-500-homicides-fatal-shooting-145951769.html – sixty of which were children! In fact, “gun free” Chicago had more murders than the entire nation of Japan in 2012. For comparison, drug war ridden Mexico City has 8.0 murders a year per 100,000 population, Moscow 9.6, Sao Paolo 15.6 and Chicago 19.4Similarly, Washington DC, which has banned concealed carry since 1975, has one of the highest rates of murder in the U.S. And of course, one might also have the temerity to ask why there are no theatre, mall or school shootings in Israel, where a goodly percentage of the population is armed, including fully automatic weapons. (Picture from http://janmorganmedia.com/2012/12/why-you-dont-hear-about-any-school-shootings-in-israel/ )

Let’s examine Chicago and a similar size city, Houston, which has concealed carry. Details are from 2012 – and do note that Chicago just recently  was forced to adopt more lenient gun laws in the past year – during which time the homicide rate dropped.  Those facts are not indicated in the chart below. How did formerly gun control happy Chicago and Houston compare?

 

  Chicago , IL  

   Houston , TX  

Population

  2.7 million

   2.15 million

Median HH income

  $38,600

   $37,000

% African-American

  32.9%

   24%

% Hispanic

  28.9%

   44%

% Asian

  5.5%

   6%

% non-Hispanic White

  31.7%

   26%

A reasonably similar matchup -until:

 

Chicago, IL

Houston, TX

Concealed carry gun law  

No

Yes

# of gun stores

0


84 dedicated gun shops,
1500 places to buy guns
(Walmart, etc.)

Homicides, 2012

506

207

Homicides per 100k

18.4

9.6

Average January
high temp, F

 31

63

Presumably the leftist conclusion from the above is that cold weather causes shootings!

OK, so what about New York City?  Yes, there was a reduction in gun shootings in 2012, but there were still 414 homicides in 2012. Notwithstanding the fact that NYC is almost becoming a police state, a one year drop could be attributable to many things, and as Frank Zimring, professor of law at UC Berkeley told NPR, “”If you’re gonna make the assumption that changes in crime rates always are responding to policies then why shouldn’t we be blaming the police for the slight increases [in New York's murder rate] in 2010 and 2011?” No word from Mr. Bloomberg on that… nor why Mr. Bloomberg has changed his tune from “al Qaeda hates us for our freedoms” to the situation today, where the NYPD conducts unconstitutional stop-and-frisk searches all over NYC.  And the reality is that the general trend in NYC has been a general trend of a drop in murder rates in NYC since the 1990s.

As a matter of fact, Dr. John Lott spoke on the Piers Morgan show shortly after the Connecticut school shooting, and noted that since 1950, in almost every public mass shooting in which three or more people died, it was in a setting where guns are banned, such as schools. Of course, relative to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Connecticut already had banned “assault weapons,” and the Newtown school was already a gun free zone. There also is already a total ban on guns in the possession of mentally unstable in Connecticut. A lot of good that did.  And if the shooter didn’t get it from his mother in this case, do you really think he wouldn’t have gone to the black market to get one, or turned to other tools, such as the bombs the leftist Unibomber or Timothy McVeigh used?  Were people any less dead because those two men used bombs instead of guns? On a personal level, when I was a student teacher in Illinois, a young high school student set a bomb right outside my classroom – it was found before it went off, but could have killed many students if it hadn’t been found in time. Are we next going to ban intelligence so that people can’t make bombs out of various materials? As a matter of fact, perhaps we already have banned intelligence – or at least wisdom – from our schools. But that is a story for another day…. along with some enterprising researcher conducting a study correlating the number of school shootings with the number of teachers having sex with their students.

Meanwhile, hidden from public view by a leftist media, school shootings are indeed occurring in countries with strict gun control. Former psychology professor and Army Ranger Lt. Col. David Grossman noted in Dec., 2012, on his Facebook site atwww.facebook.com/LtColDaveGrossman, that gun control poster child Germany has had two mass murders in their high schools that had body counts surpassing those at Columbine, while Dunblain, Scotland had a massacre in a kindergarten class, and just down the road from where I used to live in Alberta, Canada, the town of Taber experienced a school massacre. Handguns are outlawed in Canada. Finland has had three school massacres, and of course there was the Anders Breivik massacre in Norway, which also has restrictions on gun ownership. And if it isn’t guns, it’s knives. Grossman notes in gunless Belgium, a sicko dressed as the Joker from Batman got into a day care centre and hacked a dozen babies in their cribs, injuring them. Two more babies were killed, as well as one daycare worker.  If leftists want schools and other areas as “gun free zones,” perhaps we should make those who created gun free zones liable for the murders that occur there? And at the same time, may we ask why government buildings in Washington DC are “gun free zones” – or is it  that the “let them eat cake” ruling class gets armed security everywhere they go in the town (not to mention exemption from ObamaCare), while the rest of us poor, unwashed masses have to trust our safety to luck? In fact, there is a formal petition to the White House to have the Secret Service protecting the president and others in Washington made a gun free zone – remember, it is guns themselves that are the cause of crime. (Article at http://www.examiner.com/article/white-house-petition-demands-secret-service-be-replaced-by-gun-free-zone?cid=Editorial-NearYou-HP-RecentArticles

But, in case you don’t believe Lt. Colonel Grossman or Dr. Lott, perhaps you might believe the man running lead for Obama’s gun control task force after Sandy Hook, Joe Biden? Here is Biden in his own words, explaining that gun control will not stop a potential mass shooting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTyoppK_aDM&feature=player_embedded#t=2s

The top ten school massacres are listed here, for your reference: http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/, the worst being the Beslan school massacre in Russia, with 386 dead, and over 700 injured by Chechen militants. In the US, one of the first US school massacres occurred, as Mark Steyn notes, on July 25,1764, when “…four Lenape Indians walked into a one-room schoolhouse in colonial Pennsylvania and killed Enoch Brown and ten of his pupils. One child survived, scalped and demented to the end of his days” (no assault rifles were recorded as being used in this attack); and the worst massacre in a US schooloccurred May 18. 1927, in Bath, Michigan, when school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe used a bomb to blow up the Bath Consolidated School, killing 44 people, including 38 children. Again, much to the chagrin of the left, no assault weapon was used.

And the comments from the left that masquerade as “fact,” such as the post-Sandy Hook Bill Clinton statement: “Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005. Half of all of them in the history of the country.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=or-inV1KKDE#t=0s  are not even close to reality.  Leaving aside the definition of what “is” is, what are the actual facts?  Unfortunately – similar to the ClimateGate revelations – someone actually did the research in a 2007 book entitled Mass Murder in the United States” A History, authored by Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections. Here’s what Duwe found, as summarized from http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/01/bill-clinton-caught-in-lie-over-mass-shootings-fact/ :

In the past 100 years, there have been 156 mass killings where at least four people were killed publicly with a firearm in under 24 hours, where the killings did not include robbery, drugs or gangs. As of Jan., 2013, there have been 32 mass public shootings since Clinton’s assault weapons ban expired on Sept. 13, 2004, with seven in 2012.  Here is the tally by decade:

1900s : zero
1910s: 2
1920s: 2
1930s: 942
1940s: 8
1950s: 1
1960s: 6
1970s: 13
1980s: 32
1990s: 42
2000s: 28
2010s (three years): 14

Data from Boston.com, using data extracted from official police reports to the FBI, shows mass shootings in the US over the past 30 years have not increased. (See http://boston.com/community/blogs/crime_punishment/2012/08/no_increase_in_mass_shootings.html or as below)

Mass Shootings 1980-2010.jpg

Of course, the vast majority of these were not committed with semi-automatic rifles; rather, they were committed by handguns. Why no outcry re. handguns? Is it because they look less “scary?” Or might it really be because rifles could be used by a free people to defend themselves against totalitarianism? Perhaps the left should lift all restrictions on long guns, and legislate against handguns if they honestly wanted to make a dent in the death toll. (And while they are at it, perhaps they could pass legislation against “Fast & Furious” Eric Holder being anywhere within 100 miles of any gun at all.)

On the other side of the school shooter equation, in 2008, the isolated Harrold Independent School District in Texas, noting the damage done in the Columbine shootings, among others, decided the 20 minutes it could take police to arrive could lead to a horrific disaster, trained school staff were allowed to carry firearms in school.  The result? Dead students? Mayhem?  Actually… nothing, except a safe school. School district superintendent David Thweatt simply stated “We’re the first responders. We have to be. We don’t have 5 minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell” if the school was attacked. In fact, Evan Todd – who was shot and wounded at the Columbine massacre – makes this exact point (and a few more!) in his open letter to President Obama of Feb., 2013, found at http://chicksontheright.com/posts/item/23858-have-you-read-evan-todd-s-letter-to-obama-yet . Todd elucidated on his points in a further interview found at http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/19/being-shot-gave-this-columbine-survivor-strong-views-on-gun-control-heres-why-he-opposes-more-restrictions/

But lurking behind the school shooting question is the issue of “never let a crisis go to waste,” per Rahm Emmanuel. Is it really guns, or is it rather the gun grabber agenda that is in the dock here? If the former, why no comment from the leftist media that every month after the Sandy Hook shooting, on average 40 juveniles will be murdered with something other than a rifle? Or doesn’t that meet with the agenda du jour? (And I’m just waiting to hear some leftist claim that rifles cause global warming!)

And finally, if gun grabbers are so “concerned for the kids,” why then this story that came out just after Sandy Hook:

“Amid all the hubbub surrounding Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s “assault weapons” ban, there are still everyday stories of average law-abiding citizens using firearms to defend themselves and others from evil — or in this case, serious harm. An 11-year-old boy was riding his bike in a Washington, DC, neighborhood when he came upon three pit bulls. The dogs pounced, mauling the boy. Fortunately, a neighbor saw what was happening, grabbed his handgun and rushed out to shoot one of the pit bulls. A DC police officer patrolling nearby on a bicycle heard the shot, and came to the boy’s aid as well, shooting the other two pit bulls. The boy’s injuries were severe, but he will survive, thanks to the quick action of this neighbor. However, the hero is under investigation for violating local gun laws — discharging his weapon while not on his own property. No word yet on whether charges will be filed, but DC’s gun laws are what put children at risk.” (Source for this story not retained, but published week of 21 Jan., 2013)

This story clearly illustrates that for many on the left, it is not about the kids. It is about their agenda.

There is more to come, but this should get you started on your reflections on the issue.

Deal Alert: Kershaw BlackWash Series

Kershaw 1302BW Lifter Folding Knife with SpeedSafeKershaw 1301BW Starter Folding Knife with SpeedSafe

Kershaw 1303BW Manifold Folding Knife with SpeedSafe

Every now and then a knife comes out that provides outstanding value. The Cold Steel Bowie machete at 15 Usd was such a knife. So was the Spyderco Tenacious and the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival I reviewed some time ago. (Updated review coming up soon)
Now, Kershaw has recently released three high value knifes in their BlackWash series. The Design and esthetics are what you can come to expect from other knives of the same company but with an extra zero on the price tag. That black-oxide BlackWash finish looks great on all three models, each with their own character.
These’s knives are currently selling in Amazon at around 20 usd. Expect the prices to go up as soon as the videos and reviews start rolling. The price should really be around 30 usd. I already placed my order, will do the reviews as soon as possible.
If you’re looking to get a solid small/medium EDC blade that gets the job done seriously consider one of these three for 20 bucks while you can.
FerFAL

Relocating because of ISIS and other Terrorist Threats

Hi Ferfal,

I’ve been a follower of your blog since 2009 (i think). I am getting concerned about ISIS, with their threat to Americans. I am in New Mexico on the border of Juarez/Las Cruces. I plan to get my five kids passports next week and regardless of ISIS, I’d like to make preparations to relocate if needed. Is China a good place to go? Seems like noone is bothering them….where is a safe place to relocate right now? Seems like things are changing all the time in all the different nations. It’s hard to know where would be safe should things go south quickly…your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. if you decide to post this on your blog, Will you shoot me back an email and let me know when you do? thanks so much!

-Michelle

Hello Michelle,
First of all, it’s a great idea to get passports for everyone. People often forget about them, but they are one of the most important tools to have. Even if you’re not planning on moving or traveling, you should have a passport. If there’s ever an emergency and you are forced to move or evacuate abroad, a passport can make all the difference in the world. People wont have enough time to get one in short notice during a wide spread disaster.
About your concerns regarding problems along the border I suggest taking a good look within your State. Moving to a safer location with New Mexico seems like the best option. If you want more of a change you may look at moving to some other State based on your personal circumstances and what’s important to you. These are the kind of topics that I’ve addressed in “Bugging Out and Relocation”, where I include charts and data for each State so as to see what works best for you . Personal circumstances will dictate to a great extent what works best for each individual or family group. A retired couple may worry more about cost of living and healthcare, while a family with young kids will be concerned more about education, cost of living and safety.
Regarding terrorist threats, I understand it is a concern but I don’t think that the possibility of terrorist attacks alone should be enough to move out of the country. Terrorist attacks sure have happened before in USA and I believe they will continue, but rather than moving abroad because of it, it should be enough to avoid the main and better known metropolis and capital cities, which are likely to get hit in the first place. Not living in a massive and well known landmark city should be enough to significantly reduce the risk of terror threats.
If you’d like to listen to more about this topic, please check the video below.

FerFAL

Restoring old foggy headlights with toothpaste!

 

This trick actually helped me a great deal. My car’s headlights where looking pretty bad. The plastic was foggy and yellowish due to oxidation. A little toothpaste and some elbow grease fixed that.
Here’s the four steps to restore a plastic lens headlight to like-new condition:
1)Sandpaper. If the headlight is very deteriorated, cracks, yellowish oxidation and looks pitted, you want to start with sandpaper. Start with 500grit if there’s a lot of damage, then move to 1000 and finally 2000 grit. If the headlight isn’t too deteriorated, doesn’t look pitted and cracked, you may skip this step entirely. Once you removed scratches, yellow oxidation and any pitting, rinse with water and move to the next step.
2)Toothpaste. Any toothpaste will do but whitening toothpaste may be more abrasive and do a better job. You’re looking to polish the lens with the toothpaste, so use a cloth rag since paper will easily fall apart. Patience and plenty of elbow grease may be needed here, depending on how damaged the lens is.
3)Once you’re done, rinse with water and dry the headlight. It should look completely translucent. If you’re not happy with the results repeat step 2.
4)Once the headlight is dry, use a silicone based product to treat the newly polished lens. Any dashboard spray or liquid, even tire shine may work as long as it has silicone in it. Silicone restores your car’s plastic components and creates a film which prevents from oxidation. Spread it over the lens and let it absorb some into the plastic. After an hour or so wipe clean with a dry cloth and buff until your headlights look shiny.
I was about to buy new ones for my car, but doing this saved me a few bucks and it didn’t cost a single cent. The car looked MUCH better with the new looking headlights too, and it illuminates the road better, making it safer to drive.

FerFAL

What happens to debt and mortgages after an Economic Collapse?

Question for Fernando: What happens to personal debts in an economic collapse? How do people make monthly payments on debts when the economy implodes?

Thanks,

Janae

You basically still have to pay. If you owe 1000 USD and the dollar devaluates you still have to pay 1000 USD. If the dollar collapses and a week later those 1000 USD are worthless or at least worth less, then you pay back in that worthless money and there’s a chance you may have benefited from the event by paying back for whatever you got with your money in currency that is now worth less, while the property, goods or capital you bought or invested it retains its value much better. Then again, laws may be passed so as to avoid further economic damage by which your debt is adjusted to inflation. This will be very much contract specific but as we all know laws are written with one hand and changed with the other. In any case, chances are that if you buy property, cars or other durable goods with that money and some time later the economy collapses, you probably benefit from it as long as you’re able to keep making the payments and the inflation adjustment (if there is one) isnt too bad.

Tent town in USA

In the case of Argentina people that where just about to pay a debt in dollars, and just the day before they did, the economy crashed, and a few weeks later they just had to pay ¼ of what they had borrowed if the dollar debt was “pesified”, turned to pesos which at the time was 4 pesos =1 USD. They would have paid 1dollar to 1 peso before the devaluation.

Same happened to others but the other way around.

They paid for the debt and a few weeks later realized that if they had waited they would have saved ¾ of their money.

People that got into debt in dollars for a house, machinery, they were lucky because since the problem was so big most debts were pesified, meaning they paid back at a 1 dollar =1.4 pesos rate or so if they had the debt in dollars, or simply paid back in pesos if the debt was contracted in pesos. Having debt in devaluated pesos was of course the most beneficial scenario given that their debt was suddenly reduced to 25% of the original amount.

Of course you no longer got paid in a currency that was 1 to1 with the USD, but yes, it was a sweet deal for some.

latin america urbanisation

Favela in Brazil

You would make the payments as you normaly would. Although it was very hard to get cash debit payments and bank transfers were still possible and you could still make your card payments, even if credit card payments where not accepted any more in most stores. Of course this was all complicated due to the halt in the financial and business world, with the lack of cash due to the ATM extraction limits complicating things further.

Mortgages

Regarding mortgages in Argentina, certain laws were implemented to stop people from losing their homes, but it just worked in a smaller percentages of the cases.

A law was passed, Ley 25.798, which gave you a year before you had to continue making your mortgage payments. The mortgage was updated to the current price of the property and monthly payments could not be greater than 25% of the family’s income. This only benefited those that had bought the property between January 2001 and September 2003, the property had to cost less than 100.000 USD or the equal amount converted to pesos and it had to be your only property, the one you live in. This of course meant that the law only benefited the lower income buyer, and only those that bought during that period of time. As for those not covered by this law, a thousand homes went under the hammer per month.

Here’s the link explaining all this but its in Spanish:

http://www.contactoprofesional.com/abogados/hipotecas.htm

What happens if you cant make the payments? Accounts get frozen, and any money coming into your account is immediately taken to pay for those debts. You lose everything little by little and become poor or even fall below the poverty bracket into extreme poverty and indigence, losing it all and becoming homeless. That happened to hundreds of thousands. I know of several people that had to move back with their parents, other relatives of friends to live in their kitchens or living rooms for long periods of time, and those are the lucky ones. Those that didn’t have family to take them in, they ended up living on the streets.

 

What does all this mean?

 

Lets suppose for a minute that the United States collapses economically. If it does, then its not hard to see similar measures being taken: Maybe some of the poorest people that have debt may be able to benefit from some emergency law that buys them a bit more time, although it may be of little or no help in the end. The financial help or other extraordinary measures or laws passed to help the middle class would be even less. Ultimately you’re looking at the poor and middle class taking most of the financial damage, with a large chunk of the American society falling a few more steps of the social ladder into even deeper poverty.

 

FerFAL

5 Biggest Bug Out Mistakes

In spite of the ton of articles and videos about the topic floating around people still get it wrong pretty often. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when planning for Bug Out scenarios.
1)Being too fat and out of shape
Too many people are fat or morbidly obese. Its not about being big, abut being large or big boned, its fat. If you are in poor physical shape, forget about backpacks, sleeping bags and losing sleep over which knife is best: None of that matters if you don’t take care of your basic, elemental tool: your body.
2)Poor Planning and Execution
Bugging Out means moving from point A to point B, point B being a place where there’s safety and shelter, maybe a friends house or a family member. Chances are, there’s already a road that can take you there, so there’s no need to walk across a national park when bugging out. Many survival experts show themselves or hold classes on bugging out which are basically glorified hiking trips. When you bug out for real, chances are you’ll walk along a road, and there’s a good chance there will be other refugees along with you.
3)Too much emphasis on combat or bushcraft
We tend to favor the things we enjoy doing. For former military guys, they tend to go gun-ho very easily, although at times its better to carry concealed. For outdoorsy types, its buschcraft that they focus on, sometimes overlooking more practical solutions or completely loosing perspective of the real objective just because of nostalgia.
4)Bug Out Bag is too heavy
In general the bags tend to be too heavy for the person carrying it. 10-15% of the body weight should be the maximum weight so as to stay somewhat light and be able to keep up a reasonable speed and not tire that much.
5)Essential items missing
In spite of most bags being too heavy and having plenty of necessary items, they often miss the crucial ones. Actual water for one is missing in many kits. People have bottles they expect to refill or filters or pills they think they can use, but no actual water. You need to actually carry water. Same goes for clothes, you need a spare set of clothes in case yours get torn, wet, bloody or otherwise destroyed. A new set of clean clothes will be invaluable and there’s a good chance you’ll need them during disasters and daily, more average emergencies.

FerFAL

Job security after SHTF?

 

Hi Ferfal, I’m a big fan of yours, and have recommended your books to a lot of people.

I just took a pretty good job as an auditor with the electric and gas utility (privately owned, not government)about 100 miles north of NYC. Previously, I lived within 20 miles of NYC for my entire life, but it’s easy to see what a powder keg that area will become if times get tough, so I made a move. Can you tell me how stable a job like that proved to be in Argentina when TSHTF? Also, did government workers, who have a high level of perceived job security, actually fair well?

Since you have rated economic instability as the 2nd biggest problem behind security during TSHTF, I think it would be very valuable if you write another book, to provide more detail on common occupations (accountants, nurses, administrators, salespeople etc. etc.) and exactly how they faired in Argentina pre/post crisis. I know you did that in your first book, but it was a little brief.

You input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Joe

 

Hello Joe, thanks for your support, congratulations on the new job and I’m glad you like my work.

As I wrote in “The ModernSurvival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse”, the job situation gets pretty complicated for everyone when unemployment goes +%25.
Pretty much everyone is at risk and no one has his job fully warrantied against termination.

As I explained in the book, there are some jobs that are more secure than others, but that still doesn’t mean you couldn’t end up facing serious problems eventually. Take police officers for example. You would think that in a country with such a serious crime problem, law enforcement would be a pretty safe income in spite of how dangerous it many be. Still, police officers have been struggling for years with very low wages and for all practical purposes many are forced to complement their salary with “tips” (bribes) to get by. Something similar happens with teachers and other public workers. They have a job, but condition and pay isnt that good, sometimes its not even enough to live.

As the public services and infrastructure fail, there’s more opportunities for private companies to fill in the gap and these hire people.

In the case of electric companies in Argentina, they have been known to cut costs because of the crisis, letting the grid deteriorate further. This led to rolling blackouts and transformers exploding in summer. The poor power grid situation is widely reported, but little is being done to update the deteriorated infrastructure. Even cell phone signal is rapidly deteriorating. Its already a common local joke to criticize and make fun of the poor signal people often receive.

Like I said in the chapter about employment, its not town blacksmith or ranch hand that are in high demand post economic collapse. The jobs that are in high demand and also happen to pay well at a certain level are marketing and sales. During tough times companies appreciate those that are gifted and manage to land sales. With a lot of work, small companies do well and this is what many unemployed end up doing once they ran out of options. So as to reinforce your work position you must make yourself very important and valuable to the company.

The more of a key person you are to the functioning of the company, the less likely you are to lose your job.

I do agree about NYC. I would try to avoid that city as much as possible. About “government workers, who have a high level of perceived job security” some are almost impossible to fire due to the Unions. In general, a desk job for the government, in one of the administrative buildings and halls tends to be pretty secure. The government rarely fires more people when unemployment is already bad.

FerFAL