Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keep Your Car Keys By Your Bed At Night & Take Shopping Carts Back To The Store.

Keep Your Car Keys By Your Bed At Night
Many of us can't afford a burglar alarm system, but if you have an alarm on your car you have an alarm system in place whenever you're in your house.

Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear someone breaking into your house hit the car remote's panic button; it will set off the car alarm. (Some remotes require you to hold down two buttons to enter the panic mode.)

Test it before you depend on it. Your remote will probably cause your car alarm to go off from almost everywhere in your house. If there's a dead spot, remember it.

Just like if someone were breaking into your car, once the car alarm enters panic mode it will keep honking your horn (or wailing the siren) until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain or your battery runs down.

Obviously this tactic works better if your vehicle is parked in the driveway, but even if the car is in the garage the noise should cause housebreakers to take flight.

In any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't get to the phone the car alarm trick will draw attention.

Take Shopping Carts Back To The Store
[Edit] This one has been nagging me ever since I posted it. I was so busy mixing up fancy words that I failed to communicate, prompting a question that indicated a lack of understanding of what I meant. In short, I wasn't clear enough.

To be clear, the sole purpose of taking a shopping cart with you from the parking lot to the store or mall is to provide a mobile barrier. Period. Likewise on your way back out to your vehicle you should take a mobile barrier (shopping cart) with you to your car for the same reason. You are under no obligation to put the shopping cart into the cart corral when you get back to your vehicle. Doing so would expose you to the very danger you've been avoiding. [End edit]

I encourage my wife, niece and any other female to take a shopping cart from the parking lot into the store when they go shopping. I also do it myself. Because I'm a good citizen? No. Because you can't run from every scruffy looking person that comes near you in the parking lot. But you can play hard to get.

Taking an empty shopping cart into the store as you enter may earn you Browne points with store management, but more importantly it provides a mobile barrier you put between you and an attacker on your way in.

When my wife's niece visited us on her way to college I challenged her to a game of tag around a shopping cart. As my wife looked on in disapproval, she came to realize that as long as I kept the shopping cart between us she couldn't catch even an old codger like me.

Of course you'll want to take a shopping cart out with you as you return to your car too; even if you didn't buy anything. This is a safety issue; it's not about helping the store with its carts. Leaving your shopping cart in the Cart Corral as you are leaving is optional.

Now, add to that yelling and screaming as you're being chased around the shopping cart and you've got your mobile personal defense barrier for going into and coming out of the store day or night. A rapist/robber doesn't want attention from all the people in the parking lot and those coming out of the store. He'll run off.

Pedestrian U-Turn on sidewalk
Another trick I showed her was the U-Turn when some creep is driving alongside her trying to pick her up while she is walking on the sidewalk. Walking faster won't work 'cause the creep in the car can go a lot faster then a human can run.

But just by turning around and walking back the other way women & girls can derail a lecher's plans. He can't back up into traffic and if he tries he's likely to back himself into an accident. Besides showing the roué she's not interested this tactic puts distance between her and Lothario in case he's tempted to try more forceful means. A few months ago she called to say the U-Turn maneuver worked for her.

(RRM writes)
Your ideas and suggestions were very good and hope that will help other people.

Thanks for sharing,

(I appreciate your vote of thanks,

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

MultiCam Camouflage: the Desert Test

This article will be rather short on words but long on pictures. My wife and I went out into the Southwestern desert this morning to take some pictures of me decked out in Atlanco (Tru-Spec brand name) MultiCam from boonie hat to jacket and pants.

We took about 86 pictures: two each of me with my head down behind the MultiCam bonnie hat to hide my un-camouflaged face from the camera and two each of me in the exact same position looking at the camera so viewers could see my face.

Relax; I'm only going to show you six of the best pictures here. Three in which it will be hard to spot me and three of me in the same spot but with my face showing so you'll know where to look when you go back to look at the first picture again.
Double Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Keep in mind that although your viewing is hampered by having to look at an image on a computer screen you also have the advantage of knowing there's a person in the picture so eventually you'll spot me because you know to keep looking. Now imagine you're walking along a trail with no idea where to look. Ayup! You could easily walk right by a whole platoon, wearing MultiCam, hiding in the bushes or even in knee high grass.

Although it's hard to judge from the images, all pictures were taken from within pistol shot range, 50 yards, (which amounts to close range for a rifle) and a few well within easy pistol range.

Also when in sunlight black (as in black rifles) tends to stand out against a lighter background.

I know of no camouflage that can help you remain hidden when you're backlit in an open area. The contrast between the lighter sunlit area and the shaded side of you creates an instant silhouette.

As with all camouflage just about everything's easier to hide in shadow so I'm not including the pictures of me in shadows since I'm invisible in them even to me and I know where I was standing when the picture was taken. Suffice to say if you're forced to hide wearing non-camouflage clothing (hopefully browns, grays or dark tans) shadows are a good place to do it.

As my own mini adventures and the searches of the Spanish Peaks area documented in Incident At Big Sky have shown once you've eliminated white and/or bright clothing from the equation remaining still is the key to not being noticed.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MultiCam Camouflage Clothing

MultiCam looked so spectacularly effective on my computer screen I decided I had to have a set of my own – purely for evaluation purposes you understand. Since I have such problems with fit in military clothing I determined that a vacation from my retirement in the form of a road trip was in order.

A few hundred miles into the trip I'd tried REI (sporting goods store) and Bass Pro looking for MultiCam without success. The Bass Pro's camouflage "expert" (a young lady in her early twenties) told me the camouflage pattern "has been discontinued" and seemed confused when informed the pattern was so new it was just starting to hit the market and was current issue to our troops in Afghanistan.

I'd done business before at a surplus store in Ft. Collins, Colorado called Jax Outdoor Gear so I thought I'd revisit them and check for MultiCam.

VICTORY! Jax, now three times larger than I remembered it, has MultiCam! Well, kind'a sort'a. They had a Tru-Spec brand jacket (shirt) by Atlanco in my size but no pants in my size at that time. Nor did they have any MultiCam boonie hats in my size left on the shelves when I came through. I was assured a new shipment was expected soon. I decided to check back with Jax on my way home.

I could hardly believe this stuff! Seeing pictures of it blending into a variety of backgrounds on the web is one thing, but seeing the pattern in person is something else. It almost seemed to be trying to blend in with the walls in my motel room as I wrote my notes on the purchase.

The merchandising guys at MultiCam have dubbed this camo pattern the "One perfect camo pattern for all environments and for all seasons."

Perfect? Er... what about snow? Hey, pobody's nerfect and since I don't plan to invade Antarctica anytime soon I'll give the advertising guys a pass on that one.

But I do have to agree with "... with MultiCam you can actually become one with the background whether it's an eastern hardwood forest, a western prairie or a duck blind on a southeastern waterway." And I'll add it works pretty darn well in southwestern deserts too. This camo pattern is truly awesome!

I stopped by Jax again on the way back home and picked up another set of real Tru-Spec MultiCams since I was having so much trouble finding them.

I'm now the proud possessor of two (2) Atlanco (Tru-Spec brand name) MultiCam shirts (cotton twill & ripstop) and MultiCam pants. I've learned to look for the "MultiCam" label since there are some knockoffs out there. You have to look for the Tru-Spec or Propper brand label and/or the little two-tone tab that says "MultiCam" peeking out from a seam. I still need to find a genuine Tru-Spec or Propper boonie hat to complete my MultiCam camouflage ensemble.

It seems the Army & Navy stores have beat out the big sporting goods stores on this one. Every big name (REI, Bass Pro and another one I can't recall right now) sporting goods store I've gone to hasn't even heard of MultiCam but two out of three surplus stores I visited were carrying MultiCam or a cheap off brand imitation of a slightly different color scheme. Problem is it's flying off the shelves of the surplus stores so fast it's hard to find the real stuff in my size.

The Cabela's store I visited didn't have MultiCam in stock; however Cabela's does list MultiCam on their website.

Success! I picked up (at last) a genuine Tru-Spec MultiCam boonie hat in Albuquerque. My MultiCam "outfit" was at last complete. As far as I've been able to discover the only MultiCam boots on the market are more brown leather than Multicam pattern so I'll pass on those for now. When I compare the real MultiCam camouflage pattern by Atlanco (Tru-Spec brand name) or Propper (Public Safety brand name) to BDU's from some imitator I can see the difference. I expect that difference will show in the field too.

My goals at the start of the Road Trip were to:
A. Collect a full set of the new MultiCam BDU's that fit me which would mean trying them on and checking the labels to insure I was getting the real Tru-Spec MultiCam camouflage pattern. Fallback Position/ Plan B: Order from the Internet and hope.

B. Not miss a single episode of Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods on CBS Friday nights. Fallback Position/ Plan B: Hope for reruns.

Thanks to Jax and in room hotel TV's I succeeded in accomplishing both goals.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Incident at Big Sky

I just stayed up until four AM to finish reading a book I already knew the ending to. I'd recently received a tip on a book that touches on the nourishment aspect of survivalism from 6Tex at one of the boards I frequent.

I ordered Incident at Big Sky (ISBN 0393023346) from Amazon and waited for the snail mail.

Incident at Big Sky is the true story of Sheriff Johnny France and his struggle to capture "Mountain Men" Dan and Don Nichols in 1984; written by Johnny France and Malcolm McConnell.

Long story short, Dan and his father Don Nichols had kidnapped Kari Swenson intending to make her "Dan's woman" but the plot fell apart when two amateur would be rescuers, Al Goldstein and Jim Schwalbe, found the Nichols' camp -- with Kari chained to a tree. In the ensuing mêlée Dan Nichols accidentally shot Kari badly wounding her and Don Nichols deliberately shot and killed Al Goldstein. The Nicholses abandoned the wounded Kari and went on the run. Sheriff Johnny France took out after them.

When Botch Cassidy and the Some Dunce Kid pulled their little "Me Tarzan, you Jane" stunt they cut themselves off from one of the main survival strategies that real hunter-gatherers have depended upon for ages i.e. mobility; the ability to follow the game/maturing vegetation throughout the year. As wanted men the Nicholses couldn't follow the deer and elk down into the valley when winter forced the herds into the "lowlands" where the sheriff was waiting for them. Hence they were near starving when arrested.

The calories available from deer meat are a lot fewer than those available from beef.

Highly active men typically burn about 4,200 Calories a day. Traveling up and down mountainsides through snow and clambering over boulders and deadfalls while staying off roads and trails the Nicholses would easily burn up 4,200 calories in a day. Hunting would be a difficult way to try to make up for the calorie deficit particularly when we consider that not all hunts are successful, but all hunts burn calories.

Wild meat is generally less "filling" in terms of energy providing fat than meat from domestic animals.

I can't remember for sure, but I think it was on Man Woman Wild that I recall Ruth England saying that hunter-gathers got something like 80% of their food (calories?) from gathering. A check with Wikipedia verified that: in the first paragraph. (HA! I remembered it right! Guess I'm not ready for the old folks home yet.)

In the summertime the Nicholses couldn't go to their hidden gardens in the mountains because the Sheriff's deputies were watching them. Of course you're not going to get 4,200 calories a day out of turnips and carrots either.

Macho men survivalists who head for the bunker in the bush to escape TEOTWAWKI will find themselves in nearly the same situation as the Nicholses when the MRE's run out.

You pretty much need to be in the "lowlands" to grow any meaningful amount of crops and, make no mistake about it, the lowlands is where people are going to be. Starving TEOTWAWKI survivors probably won't be all that considerate of farmer's property rights either.

If you're expecting TEOTWAWKI you'd probably do better joining or organizing farming collectives similar to the Israeli Kibbutz system for you, your friends and family than digging a cave in a mountainside with interlocking fields of fire.

And now, cutting to the chase, here are some things that stood out in my mind as I read the book.

On pg. 15, 16, 17 Kari's first mistake was not paying attention to her instincts. She should have turned around and run away when she first saw the two grubby men waiting for her on the trail.

On pg. 56 First two searchers/would be rescuers, Jim Schwalbe and Al Goldstein, had obviously been watching too much TV! Although confronted by two men armed with rifles they through they could control the situation by denying reality and decreeing "Nobody's gunn'a get hurt we don't want any more gun play!" When reality reared its ugly head Al was dead.

In Ch. 6 & 7 Amazing amount of organization and coordination is necessary to mount a search & rescue operation. The two sheriffs involved had to balance budgets, duty rosters and media relations among other things.

End Ch. 7, when the sheriffs and deputies moved in to rescue Kari and recover Al's body they were all armed with a rifle and a pistol each. They used military tactics not that Hollywood crap you see on TV and in the movies.

On pg. 129, before the kidnapping & killing the Nichols had planted hidden gardens of turnips & carrots in mountain microclimates that would support them. They also supplemented their supplies by stealing food staples from cow camps and the Cachés of professional hunting guides.

On pg. 166, 167 Afraid to go to their hidden gardens & Cachés they raid a cow camp tent stealing food and looking for a radio in hopes of learning what was going on in the lowlands and discovering how/where the search for them was progressing.

Pg. 220, 222, despite having stolen nearly 60 pounds of food from two "lowland" cabins the Nichols were hungry and asking for food when Tom, a hunting guide, found them about a week and a half later early in the winter (October). Living in the open in the snow burns a LOT of calories (pg.223, 230).

One thing that stands out, over and over again, is Don Nichols' arrogance. Having eschewed contact with society he imagines himself omnipotent in his wilderness domain. This hubris causes him to repeatedly decree that certain things can't happen in "his" wilderness. But, of course, when he comes into contact with other humans his presumptions prove untrue.

Several times experienced LEO's (Las Enforcement Officers) pass within "ten paces" (pg. 144) or a few yards (pg. 199) of Don & Dan Nichols. The Nichols escape detection by closely following the same principles of stealth I use.

During my first enlistment in Basic Training at Ft. Ord, CA the effectiveness of stillness was brought home to us young trainees one day when we were all marched into bleachers and sat looking out over about fifty yards of iceplant about four inches deep while a Drill Instructor lectured us about camouflage.

Although he told us there was a camouflaged sniper directly to our front sixty pairs of eyes couldn't spot him and were indeed beginning to believe there was no sniper when the DI told the sniper to shoot a blank "into the air" because the sniper was so close the DI didn't want anyone to get hurt.

We saw the puff of smoke and heard the rifle's report, but still couldn't see the camouflaged sniper until he stood up. Even then we could barely see him until he walked right up to us.

Overall Incident At Big Sky was a good book well worth the time it took to read. I've added it to my permanent survival library.


'Mountain man' woman abductor denied parole
"Don Nichols, who has spent nearly 23 years in the Montana State Prison for kidnapping a Bozeman woman and killing one man who tried to rescue her, was denied parole Monday. The self-described mountain man appeared in front of the state Board of Pardons & Parole at the prison in Deer Lodge, said Craig Thomas, executive director of the board. The board told Nichols he wouldn't have another opportunity for freedom until April 2012, when he will have his next parole hearing."

Here's the video for those of you who don't read books.

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