Friday, 17 August 2018

The Media

Last week I was approached by someone on Twitter who wanted me to answer a few questions on why I have started prepping, of course I answered her questions as best as I could and everything was fine, until I checked the profile of the lady who was asking the questions and found out that she was a journalist.

I am well aware that Preppers and journalists or the media don't have the best if relationships. Preppers nearly always get portrayed as "Doomsday Preppers" waiting for the end of the world so they can play with their tactical gear.

I admit, that there are a few Preppers out there who are like this, but not the majority. To say that all Preppers are waiting for the apocalypse is wholly inaccurate, that would be like saying that all people who have a lot of tattoos and prefer wearing boots are criminally inclined just because that group over there are, note, I have a lot of tattoos and prefer to wear boots and have never been in trouble with the law.

Yet the media continues to portray Preppers as gun crazy survival nuts waiting for the zombie apocalypse.

Thanks to the media wanting to protect your family during troubling times is seen as a bad thing when even the CDC strongly recommend it, they even have a "zombie survival guide" on their website. 

The journalist who I was talking with asked if she could interview me for a case study of people who have started prepping because of Brexit and the possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU without any trade deals in place in March 2019.
Needless to say I made some half arsed excuse and declined her offer. Last thing I want is for what ever I say to be taken out of context and used to make me look like a nut job lone wolf who is planning on shooting up a school. I`m not.

I am just a middle aged bloke who has come to realise how fragile society is and how easy it would be for everything we have come to rely on to be snatched away from us.

They say that as a society is only three meals away from anarchy, if that is the case I want my family and myself to be ready, whether that is ready to lock down and bug in until it all blows over and our streets are safe again or if the need arises to bug out and leave the area.

As for the media, historically the media will report on what they want you to know, they will set out their report in such a way to colour your point of view, the way you see a situation or a group of people, sensationalism, big stories set out in a big, larger than life situations sell papers and get views, we must also remember that the best way to make a group of people or an idea look bad is to question their credibility and their grasp on reality, as society and the media would have it seen.

Question what you read, ask for proof and demand receipts, dont rely on one source for your information, read the same event from four or five different sources to get a good overview of the event before making up your mind.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Letting My Stretched Ears Heal

I can't quite remember if it was just after or just before I made the post about The Gray Man Principal when I was nearly accosted by one of those annoying street sales people while in town, you know the ones.

"Hi, how you doing? Looking good today, yeah, would you be interested in switching electricity providers/making a regular donation to [insert obscure charity here]

Except this one, a young woman caught me slightly off guard when she made a beeline for me with the line,

"You have stretched out your earliest lobes like me, cool... Can I interest you in"...

Of course I told the young lady that I was late and apologised, like so many other people have in the past. Not only did she catch me off guard but she did freak me out just a little bit. She had picked out a feature on me and used it by way of starting a conversation.

With this in mind on the 8th August 2018 I took the 10mm tubes out of my ears with a view of letting them shrink back down to a relatively normal size, I have also removed the ring I had in my nose, as this could possibly become another feature which stands out.

Two reasons, if a SHTF scenario were to happen (and god knows I hope that it doesn't happen) I simply will not have the time, or resources to take my tubes out every few days to clean them. My priorities will be totally different.

On top of this, I am in my 50's now, and seeing a person of my age with a nose ring and stretched ear lobes is well its not something you will see every day. Even though they are small things, they are something which will make me stand out and I don't want that to happen.

I want to be able to walk down any street and not do anything which could cause unnecessary attention, and obviously my stretched lobes were doing this. At least now, or in a couple of months time, once my ear lobes have started to shrink down, I will be able to move around my home town, or any town for that matter, virtually unnoticed. At least that is the plan

Of course I will be keeping you updated with how the healing process is going in case anyone else is in the same situation.

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Gray Man Principal

Becoming the Grey Man is a concept where we dress in such a way that we can walk through the streets of any town and not be noticed, the idea is to find out how the majority of people in that area dress, take a baseline dress code and mimic it so to speak, this way we can walk down any street without attracting attention.

When I first heard about the Gray Man Principal I admit that I thought to myself that the people in my neighbourhood are used to seeing me pootle around in my combat jacket and my 100 ltr burgan strapped to my back, so I don't need to worry about blending in while I bug out or while some shooter is taking people out in my location.

These days, I am thinking different, maybe not looking like I have just fell out a documentary about British soldiers in Iraq would be a better option, if I need to get out and scavenge up some water or whatever or if my neck of the woods is hit by one of those low life terrorists we are having issues with right now, I won't stand out and become target No.1.

Don't get me wrong, becoming a Gray Man does not mean not being prepared, hell my bug out bag is British Army issue and once I get the side pouches for it.. as a purpose built backpack created for military service use, I am going to use that sucker.

Saying that, I can not go about my daily life with a huge ass backpack on my back when all I am doing is going for a job interview or going for a coffee with friend's. Yet I still want to be carrying my emergency first aid kit, survival kit, and the rest of my EDC items (which I am still putting together), without standing out.

This is where the Gray Man Principal comes in. You can still be prepared and still have all your Every Day Carry items on you but, you need to do this without drawing attention to yourself.
See, the human brain is bombarded on a daily basis with a gazillion ton's of information and stimuli, luckily we have been programmed to be able to ignore irrelevant information and only pick up on things which stand out from the norm, and you, boys, girls and those of you of mixed or no gender will stand out big time if you pootle down the street in your full tactical gear and your hug backpack, you will be seen and you will have people comment.

You do not want this because it could pose all kinds of problems in the future if you are in a Bug out situation or you are unlucky enough to attract the attention of a shooter. The thing is, as you go down the street in full tactical you look like you know what you're doing, you look military and as such you are a target, more of a target than that dude in front of you with the blue jeans and sweat top that doesn't even have a logo on it, and because you look like a target you will become a target.

I still have my Army issue combat jacket and my 100 ltr burgan but, once I get the side pouches for the burgan, that will become my bug out bag and the jacket? Yeah, that will be packed away as part of my bug out kit.
This week I bought a plain black Karrimor Urban 30 backpack (Pictured left), a small one, big enough for my EDC and a few other bits that I will need. So I can go out and not stand out while still being prepared.

Other things you could do to go Gray Man would be to wear ear buds, you don't even need to have them plugged in to anything, just have them in your ears. This serves two purposes.

1. People will not approach you and strike up a conversation because they will think your listening to music.

2. If someone does approach you, like those annoying street sales people who try to corner as many people in the street as they can, you can walk by without even making eye contact, while not coming across as being ignorant.

The idea is, as I have said earlier in this post is to be able to walk down a street unnoticed, this means that you attract no unwanted attention, no-one makes eye contact with you, once you make eye contact, you have opened the door to a conversation, which will create a memory in the mind if the other person.

Any conversations which you do have, with shop assistants etc, must be made in such a way that the assistant will forget that you were even there within a couple of minutes.

Going Gray Man will enable you to melt into the background, this way, even in a bug out situation you will go unnoticed, no-one will remember you, thus keeping you and where ever you are going to or coming from safe.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Prepping On A Budget

One of the main things that will put a would be prepper off apart from the lack of knowledge is the expense, prepping is so expensive.. No, its not, prepping on a tight budget is just as easy and in my opinion better.

Bear in mind that most of what I say in this post is my opinion.

You don't have to go out and buy everything you think you need in one go, most people will have different prepping needs, as an example, I live in England and my needs will be different to that of a Prepper in America or Canada.

Your main purchases as I see it would be your bug out bag, which should be big enough to carry what you need, food, water, first aid kit, survival kit, axe, knifes, fishing gear etc, etc, etc, remembering that the more you pack, the more you will have to carry. You should also look into buying a good knife (Top tip, get a knife which is "full tang" this is where the knife blade goes all the way through the handle), as in the picture below 
Not My knife
Full tang knifes can handle a whole lot more abuse than a standard knife. Thats about it as a start anyway.

If you plan to "Bug in" which as I said in my last post is always your first best option, then your priorities are stockpiling food and water, again, this does not have to be an expensive affair, just a couple more tins of beans or soup, white spaghetti and rice (brown rice and pasta still contains oils which over time will cause it to become spoiled) and water on your weekly shop.

Of course you should also stock up on medical supplies such as band aids, bandages, pain killers and diarrhoea tablets, etc, sewing kits, para cord, something to light fires and something to sterilise water. Remember the rules of 3

Rules of 3
You can live 3 minutes without oxygen,
3 hours without shelter
 3 days without water,
3 weeks without food.

Someone once told me that if you have three weeks worth of food and only two weeks worth of water, then you only have two weeks worth of food. So Water and shelter should always be your priority, after that, everything else will fall into place, if your prepared.

Again, the above list does not have to be bought all at once, if you have access to clean fresh water from a local stream then you could easily bottle that (I would still sterilise/boil it before storage though, just in case), you can build your preps up over weeks.

Should your bug in base (home) become unsafe then you will need to grab your bug out bags and move to your bug out location which you will have already found and made a start on prepping, and get ready to start living off grid. Again this does not have to be an expensive affair, slowly build up your tools and supplies.

There are a ton of videos on YouTube made by people who spend a lot of their time living off grid, these videos are a mine of knowledge and should be watched. Learn how to hunt, set snares and fish without a rod, make a fire without fire lighting equipment. Get to know which wild plants are safe to eat.

Practice living off grid, maybe start with one night and slowly build it up to a weekend away, tell your kids if you have any, you`re taking them camping. Over time you will come to know which tools you need for your circumstances, save up a bit of money for that axe and saw, some tools you can even make yourself.

Get in shape If you smoke, quit! I know, I know someone else saying stop smoking but look at it like this, it will save you money, it will improve your health and if SHTF you can't be wondering where your next cigarette is going to come from, you have other more important things to think about.

Start running, you dont need to be sporting the best running shoes in town, hell, I run in my Dr. Martin boots some times, just run long enough and hard enough to build up a good sweat and then to the point where you think you cant go on, then a little bit more, we only ever reach about 20% of what we are really capable of doing, saying that, dont run or exercise to the point where you cause yourself an injury. Work on your core strengths and stamina. We are not training to be in the next Olympic games, we are just getting into shape.

If you drink a shit ton of coffee every day, cut down, get down to one or two cups a day, then only a couple of cups a week. The last thing you need is to be in a SHTF situation when that caffeine withdrawal headache kicks in.

To end, if I were to give only one piece of advice to anyone taking those 1st steps into becoming a prepper I would say, look for prepper websites and forums, check Facebook and other social media sites and ask questions, ask all the questions you can think of, you will be surprised at how many preppers there are out there, and how willing they are to offer you advice on just about everything.

Dont try to do and learn everything at once, you will probably become overwhelmed and become stuck, not knowing what to do or where to go next, prep for maybe a weekend without power, once you have all your prep, food and water stocks to last you a weekend, prep for a week, then two weeks, a month and so on.

Baby steps and good luck.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Common Prepper Misconceptions Debunked

If I were to ask you what the first thing is you think about when you hear the word "Prepper", you will probably say something along the lines of someone dressed in full tactical gear, sat in a bunker filled to the brim with food and water, clutching an assault rifle, waiting for the apocalypse.

Even the internet defines Prepper as..

a person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.
"there's no agreement among preppers about what disaster is most imminent"

Well, this could not be further from the truth, but as per usual that 1% who think that, if and when SHTF you need to set your priorities to protect above all else and get armed to the teeth. 

Let me tell you, being a Prepper is so much more than having a basement full of food and weapons.
Let's start with this, preppers are just waiting for the end of the world so they can go all Rambo.

Misconception 1: OK, stop, just stop right there, no, I for one love my planet and I don't want anything to happen to it.
I kind of like my "easy" life where I can turn a tap on if I want a drink of clean water or nip to my local shop if I want something to eat. 
I have electricity to run my fridge freezer and I can sleep at night happy in the knowledge that my family and possessions are safe.

The only real worry I have is paying my bills on time and what kind of mischief my kids are up to. That's really about it..

Misconception 2: Preppers have basements or bunkers stocked full with food, water, guns and other emergency supplies.

Not true. Although yes, most preppers do have a stockpile of foods and water it is no where near a bunker full.
The switched on Prepper will be learning as much as they can about bushcrafting and living off grid.

Saying that, staying put at home is always the first best plan, you should always stay there, if safety permits it. Which is why we store foods and water with long shelf lives, as well as the means to cook this food without the mod cons we have. 

Misconception 3: Preppers are all about dressing up in tactical gear, knifes, guns and killing stuff. 

Again, not true. Around 99% of preppers will say that when SHTF the ideal place to be would be in your own home, it's safe and you know where all the exits and weak points are, they call this "Bugging in"

Chances are in a SHTF scenario that your home will become unsafe at some point and you will need to "Bug out" and go off grid. 
This is where the tactical gear and knifes come in. You will need to blend in to your new bug out location, set up a shelter and prepare to possibly stay there for a while.
It would be impossible to carry weeks worth of food and water with you unless you're lucky enough to own a 4x4, so you will need to be prepared to find water and hunt for your meals.

Being a Prepper is a whole lot more than waiting for that catastrophic event or the collapse of society just so we can say "We told you so!"

You will usually find that preppers are either skilled or are learning how to be skilled in the following..

Food preparation, safe food storage, food and water shelf life, nutrition, fitness, weight management, first aid, emergency and field first aid, navigation, hunting and fishing, how to prep and start a fire with and without fire lighting equipment and so much more..
Some countries are even activity promoting the idea of being preparing for an emergency situation. Think about it, if you have stocked food, water and first aid supplies and have a bug in/ bug out plan, should the s**t hit the fan your prepared for it, you could even help your neighbors (if you like them) until rescue arrives.

You don't have to go all Doomsday Prepper but it would be in your advantage to be ready should something really bad happen whether that be a flood, unexpected heavy snow storm which cuts you off, the national grid going off line for a couple of days or weeks or even longer, hurricain, a pandemic, the collapse of the economy, collapse of society, meteor shower, alien invasion or the zombie apocalypse.. 

(yes, I did add those two scenarios as a bit of a joke, of course I don't think that the economy and/or society will ever collapse).

I want to thank the following people for their help in writing this post.