Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Interview with Massad Ayoob

I'm going to cheat a little this time and direct your attention to a famous firearms expert; not just because I'm feeling lazy, but because I agree with what he says here and he says it so much better than I do. The following is a transcript of an interview Brad Kozak did with Massad Ayoob in January of this year.

Please note that quotes following each of the links below are just a small part of the information available at that link. Click through to get the quote in context.

Ayoob Chronicles part One
I would make the statement “I will sign the complaint,” which confirms from the outset that you are the victim/complainant, and the guy laying on the ground, doing an imitation of a victim is the actual perpetrator. I would point out witnesses, I would point out evidence. In the case of any further questions, I’d say “Officer, you will have my full cooperation, after I’ve spoken with counsel.” And hold to that like name/rank/serial number.

Why is this so important?

"It’s just so easy for something to be said out-of-sequence. The questions will be asked in the order that they occur to the questioning officer. Because his notes are being taken in that sequence, it creates the illusion later that this was you narrating the sequence of events. Because you answer in the order that the questions come from the officer, if you clarify something later, it creates the illusion that you’ve changed your story.

Ayoob Chronicles part Two
"That said, anytime you have to half-undress to get your gun back in the holster, nature is telling you, you don’t have the most effective system. What are you gonna do, if you have to draw your gun in a darkened parking lot and the suspect runs? Are you gonna stand there for two minutes, unbuttoning your pants to get the gun back in, when it’s over?

Being able to holster the gun, one-handed by feel, is, I think, a very critical survival skill for the armed citizen. It’s got nothing to do with the hundreds or repetitions you may do at the range in a week of training. It has everything to do with, as those officers are responding, as you don’t want to be “man with a gun” there now, you do not want to set the gun down on the ground, where the perpetrator can revive and reach it.

You want to be able to holster that gun without having to take your eyes off the suspect, without having to break your danger scan."

Ayoob Chronicles part Three
From the D.A.’s point of view, what are the red flags they will look for that will determine if they want to prosecute as opposed to believing it’s a justifiable, self-defense situation?

Well, the person who seems angry at the scene is a red flag. That’s never good. The person who has fled the scene – it’s one of the stupidest thing you can do, and I’ve been to classes where I’ve absolutely heard people say “leave the scene.” It triggers an element called “flight = guilt,” which is an tenet of the law that goes back all the way to the Bible. The assumption is, “if you did the right thing, why did you not stand your ground and explain yourself.”

Fleeing the scene is an almost guaranteed indictment, and is one of the most difficult to dig people out of.

Ayoob Chronicles part Four
Studies that Kapelsohn and others did, and that we replicated and that you’ve now replicated showed us what they showed you, that a tenth of a second is not going to be the deal-breaker. And over the years I’ve seen so many cases where when the finger was on the trigger, something startled the individual, someone grabbed the individual’s hand, someone grabbed at the gun, and the gun went off.

Well, guess what, you and I know that whoever grabbed the gun caused the discharge. All the rest of the world sees is, you were holding it, it went off, it’s negligence, negligence is the key ingredient, in a manslaughter conviction or a wrongful death finding, and you are screwed.

Ayoob Chronicles part Five
You’re gonna need a hand free to work the phone, you’re gonna need a hand free to turn doorknobs, to handle light switches. Any time you take one hand off a two-handed weapon, if somebody jumps you out of the dark, you’re gonna lose it before you can retain it. I say that having taught handgun retention for 30-something years now.

The handgun is the easiest of all firearms to retain, one-handed, and that does leave a hand free. If you need to go mobile for any reason, I prefer the handgun. If we’ve counted noses and everyone is here in the safe room with me, and the bad guys are kicking in the bedroom door, now I’d like to have something more substantial than a handgun, and that’s where the AR-15, the Mini-14, the shotgun come in.

If the budget or the situation only allows the one, I’d go with the handgun for the greater flexibility, even though you’re giving up some firepower.

Ayoob Chronicles part Six
"If you look at the several shootings, the watch repairman Lance Thomas, the Rolex expert was involved in, a chain of five gunfights with a minimum of multiple opponents. He often had to empty a gun, or another gun, et cetera, et cetera, to solve the problem. A situation some years ago, in Richmond, Virginia, the Beverly Hills Jewlers incident (also covered in American Handgunner magazine) where the people in the jewelry store emptied several five-shot revolvers at two very heavily-armed, professional criminals, before they finally managed to kill the two of them."

From the Massad Ayoob Group web site. If you're serious about defending yourself and your family with a gun you should read all of all of them.

"Ayoob has authored several books and more than 1,000 articles on firearms, combat techniques, self-defense, and legal issues, and has served in an editorial capacity for Guns Magazine, American Handgunner, Gun Week, and Combat Handguns. Since 1995, he has written self-defense and firearms-related articles for Backwoods Home Magazine He also has a featured segment on the television show Personal Defense TV, which airs on the Sportsman Channel in the United States."

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Emergency Preparation Lists

(Addendum: be sure to click on the "LIST" link (in red) under the picture it is one of the best I've ever seen.)

There are two types of Emergencies you may wish to prepare a List for: Rapid Onset Disasters and Slow Onset Disasters.

1. Rapid Onset Disasters :
Can be short term or end of the world survival situations.

Short term survival -- situations exist where for a few hours, days or weeks the government has been knocked for a loop and will take a while to regroup, reorganize and resume the care and feeding of its citizens.

Although it may take years to rebuild bridges and buildings and infrastructure once essential services (water, food and utilities) have been restored the emergency part of the disaster is over. *

The emergency part of a disaster could last anywhere from the few days like the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 to a few weeks; like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to a few months like with hurricane Katrina

As you think about these disasters remember that most of the people in the areas named did not participate, to a major degree, in the originating event and were mainly affected by the aftermath i.e. the sudden disruption in the delivery of potable water, eatable food, electricity and natural gas.

If you are in an earthquake you are much more likely have to deal with weather, hunger and thirst than falling bricks so why not prepare for them?

The one recurring theme you'll find in the aftermath of large disasters all around the world is the need for food, water, medicine and shelter. Suddenly people can't just go down to the corner convenience store to buy more. Preparing now is cheaper than you might think.

You don't need a bunch of expensive equipment to prepare to survive after an earthquake or other disaster that disrupts your life:

A sleeping bag is nothing more than a blanket folded and sewn along the side to keep bugs and breezes out. Yes, I know sleeping bags are fluff filled for insulation; can you say down quilt? If you think you may have to take your blankets outside put'em in a waterproof plastic trash bag.

Yes, your warm dress suit may seem out of place at the National Guard's water distribution point, but it'll serve its purpose and that's the point.

Your hiking/running shoes may not be top of the line mountain climbing or combat boots, but they'll do. Got Moleskin (for blisters)?

Wear warm clothes in cold weather (duh) and long sleeves/pants in hot weather to help keep bugs off and prevent cuts and scrapes.

Wound care products:

New-Skin liquid bandage

Hydrogen peroxide


As well as shelter and medicine you'll need food and water.

Canned goods are cheap to buy (now) and store practically forever in a cool dry place.

It's impractical to store or transport large quantities of water so consider purchasing water filters.

When you see roads cleared through the rubble like in the pictures of destroyed cities in Germany and Japan at the end of World War Two

You know government has reestablished itself in the area and the emergency part of the disaster is over.

Until a path through the rubble on the roads is reclaimed from the debris there is no government presence because the government needs open roads for the movement of personnel and supplies.

For those of you who want a list here's the best Bug Out Bag LIST I've ever seen. Note the layered approach. Also note that he also carries: "An aerosol can of flat fix stuff, Folding timber saw and a Hatchet."

2. Slow Onset Disaster :
Although the moniker at the top of this blog says TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) I have more recently come to the conclusion that lifestyles as we know them will come to an end not with a radioactive rumble but rather with a cheap whine as our politicians try to pull off one last economic slight of hand to buy votes and keep themselves in power just a little longer.

Eventually the economic can being kicked down the road will bump into a Black Swan and we'll see ourselves playing out a scenario much like Argentina in 2001.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lessons from Argentina's Crash

Any of you who've followed these postings know that I've referenced the only survivalist I know who has survived and thrived the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina i.e. Fernando "FerFAL" Aguirre. I've alluded to FerFAL, his book and his blog on four separate occasions. This post will make the fifth reference.

(If you want to review my references to FerFAL, the two most pertinent posts are this one and this one.)

It's not that FerFAL and I are involved in some sort of conspiracy (I'm pretty sure he's never even heard of me.) but rather that the Argentinean experience is the most recent and germane to what may soon become our American experience.

But just in case there are any conspiracy theorists out there here's another Argentinean experience from another source.

I'm quoting here:

My driver, a garrulous Argentine from Buenos Aires, chatted with me in his native Spanish– a notable variation on the language due to its numerous vocabulary differences and French sounding phonology.

As it turns out, Diego (‘like Maradona’ he told me, referring to Argentina’s futbol superhero) is quite adept at planting multiple flags. He was a police officer in Buenos Aires in the 1990s, a time in which the city was among the safest in the western hemisphere and being a cop was a decent profession.

Argentina’s economy turned for the worst in 2000, completely collapsing later that year. Under tremendous pressure to maintain an unrealistic currency peg, fight recession, and pay its swelling debts, the government defaulted on its debt obligations, devalued the peso, closed banks, and confiscated every centavo of private funds they could find.

Blood ran in the streets. Protestors in Buenos Aires staged huge riots demanding change. In response, President Fernando de la Rua turned Qadaffi on them, sending police and military into the streets to engage the protestors. It wasn’t Argentina’s finest hour, and by no means a good time to be a police officer in Buenos Aires.

Diego wasn’t around for it.

As he told me, he saw first hand how the initial signs of the recession were wearing down society – rising crime rates and increased homelessness were everyday occurrences on his beat back in 1998.

His first step was in establishing a foreign bank account in neighboring Uruguay; it was a good fit since they spoke his language and it was easy to get to. This was in the days before September 11th– Diego told me how he hopped on a friend’s boat with several other people and headed for Uruguay without declaring their cash hoard. Must be nice.

He spent the rest of the year researching places to escape to… and when things started to turn in 1999, he headed to New York. At the time, the US economy was doing very well, and Argentina was on the visa-waiver program. It was easy for him to gain entry and apply for residency.

In time, he applied for naturalization in the US… not because he found himself swelling with pride for his newfound home, but because it helped reduce his uncertainty. “I was already here paying these crazy taxes… so I thought I would go ahead and apply for citizenship. I thought that having a second passport would give me more options.”

He’s right. It’s a simple, common sense approach to uncertainty: reducing concentration and exposure to any one single government reduces risk and provides more options to be able to better deal with uncertainty.

So, what have you done to reduce your exposure to economic collapse?

"J" writes:
My times in Argentina – both just before their meltdown and just after – as well as trips to Brazil during their bouts with hyperinflation have had no small role in my current investment structure.

J Makes a good point: It's one thing to read about something and intellectually know it; experiencing it is quite another type of knowing.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

New Resource Found

One of the advantages of being retired is not having to do a lot of stuff. This leads to lapses in self-discipline which leads to lapses in posting to my blog. I was reminded of that lapse today when I received an email from A with some good advice in conjunction with an article I posted back in December of 2010.

In response to my More Than I Bargained For Blog post A writes:

"I recommend you reconsider rabbits vs chickens. Dual purpose chickens
are a much better option - providing continuous, renewable protein
source daily (eggs), and are also usable in the pot. If you're in the
city, no roosters, but if you're in an area where you can have a
rooster, the flock can be maintained and any unwanted roos can be
dinner. Chickens also provide GREAT compostable manure (like rabbits)
for the garden and thrive on leftovers and freeranging.

Just something to consider if TSHTF."

It's true, you'll likely get a lot more food from a chicken over it's lifetime than you'd get from a rabbit. Also, harvesting the protein from chickens is a lot less messy than harvesting the protein from a rabbit. (Also, eggs are easier to catch ;-)

Now, back to work.

I've Found A New Resource

Backwoods Home Magazine - practical ideas for self-reliant living

Backwoods Home Magazine bills itself as a magazine of "Practical ideas and articles on self-reliant living, your homestead, livestock husbandry, building, alternative energy, gardening, and farming." From what I've seen it lives up to that promise.

But you ask: "What does homesteading and animal husbandry have to do with survival ?"

Well if you're talkin' The Road type TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) type event with the end of civilization, cannibals and zombies probably not too much.

On the other hand if (like me) you're thinkin' we're headed for a series of WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) events that'll erode our ability to feed and clothe our families then methinks Backwoods Home Magazine would be of interest to you as you struggle to find alternative sources for basic necessities.

While it is by no means a "Survivalist Magazine" each issue is filled with articles that bear upon self-sufficiency in rural, suburban and even urban environments.

Although many past articles are available online I recently subscribed to the paper edition so as to have access to all the articles and to have printed versions in case the Internet becomes unavailable for some reason.

In the first dead tree issue I found articles on Propagating plants and the second article of a series on LED Lighting (mostly flashlights) which would be of interest to just about anyone. (The first article of the series is also available ) As you can see both those published articles are online too.

When seconds mean life or death the police are only minutes away.
-- John Connor

When seconds mean life or death you are the police.
-- Desert Dave

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