Thursday, April 16, 2015

Important Reflections


This is a katana

            There is an old saying which is, "Don't take a knife to a gun fight".    On the surface, this sounds like intelligent advice, however there are some considerations that are not immediately obvious.   On this blog we speak about firearms quite a bit, and I often feel badly for this as many of the people from nations who are frequent readers of this blog, aren't permitted to defend themselves with legal firearms.  For those readers, this post should be particularly interesting.

              In Argentina this week, a 49 year old man, a steelworker,  and his wife were sleeping in their home at about 3:30 am.   Four young men, two with handguns entered the home and beat the couple, and proceeded to rob their home.  Then, the woman was separated from her husband.  The husband began to panic and noticed the Japanese katana that was hanging on his wall.  The middle aged man used the katana against the four men in self defense and in defense of his wife.  The men exited their home with a number of the couples belongings and crashed their getaway car just afterward.  Soon after, police arrested the four men, and an accomplice.

             I will not include the particularly graphic injury photos which have appeared in many places on the internet, but suffice it to say, the katana inflicted significant and probably permanent nerve and skeletal damage on the four home invaders. More than one of them was placed in intensive care, at least initially.  At least one of them will sport permanent scars, and I don't care how good the ER physician doing the sutures might be.

            Sadly, the man and his wife are presently living elsewhere as they fear retribution from the men who committed the home invasion and/or their relatives or gang members.  I don't know how realistic this concern is,even in Argentina, as I don't know how many people would risk such injuries,and the men who committed the initial home invasion and assault are not likely to be up to criminal activity again for awhile.

             This raises some important questions.  For those of you who cannot legally own firearms, how comfortable are you with a Japanese sword like a katana, or a machete ?   How physically able are you to inflict maximum damage in a life and death situation, even with lots of adrenaline flowing ?   Most importantly, how sure are you that you could keep on swinging and avoiding the katana or the knife being taken from you during such a situation, especially with multiple attackers who apparently forgot they possessed firearms ?

            A close friend of mine who is a Scot tells me that he is never without his sgian dubh.   In fact, he wore it when he got married.  He says that all kilted gentlemen are in possession of one.

this is a sgian dubh

                 In reality, there are times in which, in tight space, a knife could be more effective than a handgun.

  A knife is less comfortable for me, and is something with which I have less experience and training, but it may be something some of you wish to consider.   However,  a katana, a machete, a sword, a sgian dubh or even a tactical knife are dangerous to children who find one, and can be dangerous to you should someone enter your home, find one,  and attempt to use one against you.  Make sure that you are in good enough physical condition in order to use one of these on an emergent self defensive basis.   Make sure also that you have mentally explored the possibility of using one of these on a home invader.  The very best survival tool is your brain which will lead you to the tools which are best for you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Islam and Christianity Irreconcilable ?

(Picture of white dove:    )

    Recently, a study completed in Canada indicated that 42% of Canadian Muslims admit that Islam and Christianity are "Irreconcilable".

             This is really quite fascinating if it weren't so concerning.   Many people don't realize that in the time of Thomas Jefferson, that there was communication and dealings between he and Muslims.  He eventually concluded that he simply couldn't communicate with them, and that isolation was simply the best strategy given his particular block of time.  What the study in Canada indicates, is that others may be thinking the same thing in the present day.

               In the West, most of us know Christianity to be a remarkably forgiving and loving faith.   None of us really deserve the lives we have been given, or many of the talents, the training, the economic opportunities, the love,  or great gifts we have known.  In Christianity, we are given this life and potentially a life hereafter by grace, by having faith in Jesus Christ.   Many people have forgotten that the US did not come into being as a secular state. It began as a place where people could practice their religion as they saw fit.  However, it was not created in a vacuum.  Many Christians risked their lives, their families and their fortunes, because they believed that the birth of this new nation with such high ideals was a task sent to them by God.  The United States was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, even though there was no obligatory edict which forced the individual practice of a particular faith.

              Even to this day, Judeo-Christian principles still guide many of our laws and the way in which they are implemented.   A multiple murderer might not deserve open heart surgery as he sits in prison completing a sentence of seventy years. However, in my own state, and many others, he will receive it, if he needs it.  It won't be substandard care either.  I took care of several prisoners following open heart surgery in an ICU step down unit, at the expense of the taxpayer.   The man will receive the care, not because he deserves it, but because our nation, built on Judeo-Christian principles provides us with more than we deserve.  Our society seeks to provide grace to others just as we understand God to be doing, in the world beyond this one. Remember that Christians are to fashion this world as we believe Heaven to be.   This provision of grace and meeting needs we might not deserve simply by living propels our nation and our society to be ever- reaching, and excelling.   This template provided by scripture and by God, is why our nation grew to be a great nation. Many suspect that when we began to depart from these Biblical standards in our culture, that this is when our place in the world, and our nation internally began to deteriorate.

                Although I do know some very good people who consider themselves to be Muslims, I am also aware of American Muslims who came to this nation from Muslim nations, and who wish to tinker with the internal workings of the United States.  Strangely, they came here for the infrastructure, the education, the safety,  the opportunities for themselves and for their children, and for the best health care the world has to offer. (Which actually existed a few short years ago.)   All of these benefits evolved in the bosom of a Christian nation with considerable continued influence from Jews.  None of these desirable attributes would have been possible without the striving of Christians and Jews to leave something better in this world and in this nation, than was here before.  (Before you jump a cog, yes, atheists have done good things in the world too, but this is not the subject of this particular post.)     Yet, some of these Muslims enter the US with a desire to tinker and change the inner workings of the US.   In reality, none of us deserve to enjoy all the opportunities that were here when we were born, but nonetheless we do.  If Muslims are allowed to implement Sharia Law for their families or to be given a pass on the enforcement of laws which exist in the US, then they will be eroding the very infrastructure they came here to enjoy.

              Danny Thomas didn't have to start St. Jude's Hospital.  He and his family sacrificed and worked hard to bring free cutting edge medical care to potentially terminally ill  children of the United States, and sometimes of the world.  It was not opened just for Jewish children, or just for Christian children.  It was opened to provide care to the family of man.

              Before extremist Muslims make too many changes to the US, they need to consider whether they really wish us to depart from the teachings of Christianity.   Does Dzhokhar Tsarnaev really want what he deserves by his actions or does he want a more Christian, more forgiving sentencing which considers the bizarre control his elder brother Tamerlan had over him.  Does he wish the jury to consider the bitterness of his mother toward Christian Americans that he heard as he was being raised ?

                Perhaps, the best course of action is tolerance.  I don't assume that Muslim Americans are terrorists, and Muslims should not assume that Christians are infidels who require beheading.  I agree not to drag new American Muslims to my favorite Christian church for conversion, and you agree not to attempt to change laws to remake the United States into a nation where Muslims receive clear preference over any faith.  The real trouble begins if you, or I choose not to respect one another.




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Planning for Drought

(This particular drought as portrayed in this picture, took place in Texas.   Picture: )

              In parts of Taiwan this week, water shortages are so severe that two days a week public water is being cut off.  People are surviving by stocking water in containers each week while the water is running, in anticipation of the two consecutive days when it is turned off.  The government is also providing emergency water in urns throughout the city for those desperate for water during the days in which public water is off.  This is making life particularly difficult for restaurants who depend on large amounts of water in order to cook, wash vegetables, and provide water for drinking.  There was no mention in the articles I read as to the impact on agriculture in that region.  Water shortages to such a degree are very likely to impact public health negatively when hand washing becomes much less likely.   What happens in other nations could be an indicator of actions coming to the US, and soon.

              California which produces half of the fruits and vegetables in the US, is looking at the sixth year of serious drought.  There has been a doubling of the population of California, but no plans for additional reservoirs or for desalinization of ocean water as is done in Saudi Arabia.  Many farmers are going out of business as selling their water shares back to their local water authority proved more fiscally responsible for them than planting crops this year.  Almonds and walnuts, which I learned this week require more water than many crops, are likely to become scarce and extremely expensive.  Vegetables and fruit from California are likely to become much more costly as a result of this protracted drought.

               I am the descendant of a Merced Falls, California ranching family.  Through books and what has been related to me as family history, serious drought has been a prominent feature in the lives of California ranchers and farmers as long as history has been recorded there.  It was unwise of government to continue to allow more and more families to enter California beyond its carrying capacity,  without making additional plans for the provision of water.  Largely, the state has been a sitting duck for the next drought for a long time.  This next year will have negative effects on the rest of our country as well because we depend upon California so heavily for everything from lettuce and strawberries to nuts, avocados, grapes, and livestock products.

             A few years ago we had a drought in the state in which I reside now.   Everyone from Lowe's to Burger King replaced their sinks with trickling water which shuts off the moment someone rinses their hands in a restroom.  Of course, there will be effects of diminishing hand washing water availability.  Your food being made by someone who could not properly wash his hands will spread everything from salmonella to E-Coli.   During droughts, use common sense about eating out.  If fast food or other restaurants are short of water, will they keep the kitchen as clean as they did before ?  Will they wash the vegetables as well as they did ?  A ten second hand wash will not be as effective as a minute one, and I don't care what chemical hand soap you are using.

              No matter where you are, drought or even temporary water shortage of some kind should be a point of focus for emergency planning.   If you receive municipal water, think ahead to how you and your family might cope during a temporary water problem.   Where would you get water to use for cooking, toilet flushing, bathing, tooth brushing and drinking ?  What about your animals ?   How would you purify drinking water if necessary ?  What about babies or family members with special needs, or those who are incontinent and need to bathe more often ?

              We need to consider how we would run our homes in the event of a water shortage, wherever our location.   Most of us already know that we can brush teeth without running the sink continuously, and by putting water in a bathroom sized paper cup.   Most of us have flow restrictors on shower heads already.  Many of us have already planted flowers that require less water than others.   Please take this time to gather or purchase water containers should a water interruption or a drought come your way. Those of us with horses or other livestock need to make plans now for intermittent or protracted water interruptions.

These are some prior posts which are related to this topic and may be helpful

Monday, April 6, 2015

Establishing A "Preppers Home" Yourself

Many homes can be outfitted to be excellent preparedness homes.


         There are an abundance of high acreage homes available worldwide being sold as "Prepper Ready" or as Survivalist Homes.  Some of them are stocked with multiple years supplies of freeze dried food.  In fact, one of the most rapidly growing categories of real estate are "Prepper Homes" and this isn't just within the United States.   However, none of these homes are inexpensive.  They trade on the idea that "There is no time left and you have to get something completely outfitted for survival right now !"    Of course, unless you have a great deal of money and you are in a job making a great deal of money, then you are probably wiser to select a home with some land that you like very much, and then make the additional changes and do the stocking you need to do, paying for these items yourself.   Secondly, a place you buy with everything outfitted is likely to be known to everyone in the area from building contractors to the brother in law of the former owners, and they could show up during hurricanes or other tough times.   In addition, a place you stock yourself offers the advantage of your knowing what the supplies are, where they came from, and remembering exactly where they are when stressful times emerge. Even the most devoted preppers misplace or forget important items they have purchased. Stocking yourself gives you and your family a better handle on your inventory of supplies.

A dry basement which is finished or could easily be, can provide space, storage, and peace of mind.

                    The most important thing is not to overextend yourself financially when moving to a rural place.  If you are moving to a place hours from a work hub, then you need to be able to sustain such a place with either a job with internet generated employment or sales, or through a little job in retail or service that could be done at your new location.  A few of us have a retirement or a pension that would help also.    Secondly, you should evaluate whether you should initially obtain a mortgage and then pay off the property later, or pay cash for such a property.  Keep in mind that property taxes and homeowners would still need to be paid even if you are lucky enough to be able to pay cash. Property taxes don't ever really go down, and in the last few years, homeowners insurance hasn't  either.    Remember that homes can be added to, but land only rarely can be, so buy enough land from the outset.    Remember that a small well organized house can be even more liveable than a sprawling one with no storage and without clear planning consideration of its interior.  Remember that outbuildings can make a tiny house much more liveable because the items used intermittently can be stored outside.  A lawnmower doesn't need to live in a garage attached to your home. It can live in an outbuilding.  In fact, it is less of a fire hazard to you and your family, in the outbuilding.

                  Your next rural home might not actually be a "survival home".   You might have a well there, but choose to add The Simple Pump  later.  It might have a basement but no storage shelving for emergency food.  You may need to frame and shelve a room in your basement for such.  It should be fairly private in that people foraging for food and supplies don't easily see it on the way out of town.

Solidly built outbuildings are a big plus.  They can be used for storage or for housing animals.

                   Before you sell your urban home and move to an area with fewer jobs and pay cash for your home, you should talk to your financial advisor.  Chances are, he won't encourage you, because that isn't his job, however you should be aware of all of the financial implications of your choices. I did them anyway, but you need full awareness of the implications of such.

                   The most important thing in establishing a prepared home is location.  You need a location in which you would feel comfortable sheltering in place for an extended period.  It should feel like home, not a survival safe house.   It should have adequate land in order to grow vegetables and fruit as best you can.  It should have a place to raise rabbits or chickens, and no legal restrictions for such.   It should be possible to keep a couple of dogs there as sentries.

                    If you are in a fire prone location, then it should have a fire resistant roof.  Since you will be prepping and not as devoted to home maintenance as many were fifteen years ago, your new home should be easy maintenance. It should not require any structural improvements, only cosmetic ones.

                   In general, I don't think that a prepper home should share a driveway or other essential infrastructure, like a well.    Of course, if the perfect affordable situation appears, then concessions are often made, but in general, it's best to avoid conflicts with neighbors who can change in an instant when someone dies or someone inherits and does not see eye to eye with you as the former owner may have.

                   Once you have moved in, do not announce to anyone that you are there to establish your "prepper home".  Your holding on to your supplies depends upon your ability to stay quiet.  You are simply organizing a new home.

                   Rather than encouraging your spouse of family to "shelter in place" or cocoon right away, let them gradually get to know people in your community.  Let your children enjoy 4H and the education that will come with it.  Encourage your spouse to fish or join the learning to can vegetables group at the local church.   It is not possible to set up safe like minded connections in a flash, but learning about people and establishing trust takes time and must start somewhere.

You may not need as many hens as this.


                     Although establishing a prepping home in a new location is always a leap of faith and a challenge, it can also be one of the most rewarding tasks a family takes on.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Acquired Psychoses of Autoimmune Origin ?


Certainly survival and life in general is better without a psychotic family member.  (Rendering: )

         I have written a number of posts lately lamenting that people with whom I am acquainted appear to have gone mad.   Of course, some of my commentary was figurative, especially when discussing various aspects of present day politics.  However, in the case of a few people of whom I was thinking, my comments were quite literal.    What makes a person who was functional through half a lifetime become psychotic ?    Some would attribute this to the oddness of a ticking time bomb which was covered until present day stress finally unmasked "the real problem".  Some physicians would say that it could be an early Alzheimer's disease.   However, there may be yet another cause.

             I have always been interested in autoimmune diseases and disorders.  The idea that under some circumstances, the body and its systems can turn against itself and wipe out certain target organs and systems is fascinating.   In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, for example,  the body turns against the last organ to go online, the thyroid.  Eventually, following what may be periods of low function alternated with higher inappropriate function, the thyroid produces insufficient hormone, leaving the remainder of body systems from kidneys to white blood cells functioning at a sub par level, and producing a variety of symptoms the result of varietal organ and system insufficiencies.    In juvenile diabetes, a trigger of some type, often a virus, causes the body to destroy the beta cells of the islets of langerhans of the pancreas. The person is left without the ability to make insulin.  Until the advent of externally provided insulin, this autoimmune process was fatal, and most often afflicted the young.   Multiple sclerosis, Lupus, Crohn's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Guillain-Barre Syndrome,  Henoch-Schonlein Purpura, Narcolepsy and a host of other illnesses have all been proven to be of some type of autoimmune origin.     I have been aware that there is a disorder called PANDAS which is an acute psychiatric disorder in children which is triggered by a strep infection, and that this too is felt to trigger an autoimmune reaction.

             Recently, rather than mental illness being only rarely attributed to an autoimmune cause, more attention is being given to it.  Perhaps those who have a maturity onset psychosis simply have a new onset autoimmune disorder which fuels a severe separation from reality)  In her paper Dr. Belinda Lennox examines the relevance of new onset antibody mediated encephalitic autoimmune disorder.   Late last year Dr. Belinda Lennox, a psychiatrist at Oxford University in England published a paper in which she examined the prevalence of autoimmune antibodies in people who have psychosis.   (Psychosis, for the purpose of our blog post today, is a severe separation from reality.  She examines the new disorders of antibody mediated psychosis.  She discusses the challenges of treating those with psychosis with immunologic therapy.
This is a highly important revelation as it not only explains how some of the people with whom I am acquainted suffered devastating psychoses in maturity or middle age, but it provides a strategy for treatment for such.  Dr. Lennox has found some success in using steroids, intravenous immunoglobulins, and low dose immunosuppressives, which are not generally considered items in the tool box of the psychiatrist.

           This week, a twenty-seven year old co-pilot crashed a jet into the side of a mountain in France, killing all aboard.  There were no obvious signs of psychosis prior, and the pilot has spent twenty-seven years impressing a wide variety of  people of his intelligence, kindness, competence and calm.  I couldn't help but wonder what happened which caused him to cause the deaths more one hundred and fifty plus people, and himself.

 It will be interesting to see the results of the Lennox study, and to see if her results are duplicated in studies by other research physicians.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ISIS publishes a US Military Kill List and Your Countermeasures

Picture of ISIS

     A number of news sources have published an article in which it is claimed that ISIS has published a desired "Kill list" of  US military employees.  ISIS claims to have hacked military servers in order to obtain records with addresses and family information.  ISIS hopes  to send individuals to "decapitate them in their own homes"  Let this be a "heads up" to you all.

                 Most military people have known for some time that it was a matter of time before Islamic extremists began to send agents after them and after their families.  Many of them have been arming and training wives, sisters, mothers, and improving the fire power they had at home.   This is also when internet operational security becomes essential.     Everyone,military and not,  stop listing your upcoming vacation and itineraries online.   Don't tell us that your son plays soccer at the Bent Fork Park on Saturdays !    The name of your daughter's ballet school, or even the fact that she takes ballet is a vulnerability.

                  Even if your name is not on the ISIS listing and you have never served in the US military, this news should be concerning to you.    What if John H. Smith the special ops soldier who lives in Glendale happens to match your name ?   The families, the relatives, the namesakes and every American is also therefore potentially under attack.

                  What can we do ?   What we always could have done.   Improve your own situational awareness.   Notice the cars and people in your neighborhoods, and teach your family to do the same.   I know exactly who travels my area and who is gone by 8:30 am, and who is home all day.  When something is different, call someone.   Call their neighbor, or call your law enforcement.    Forget paranoia, it doesn't help in decision making.  Instead, learn to be mindfully alert.      Secondly, teach plain and simple concepts of situational awareness to your children.   I believe that 90% of people are good, and that 10% would do a child or a vulnerable person harm, but that we never know who the 10% is.   Of course, a lot of law enforcement would disagree with me on those percentages, but it doesn't matter.  Your children need to know that evil, both domestic and foreign,exists on the Earth and that they need to use their own observational skills and report to you and to others when something is different or to simply note it if it's just typical.  We are not sitting ducks. Even a child is powerful, and along with potentially frightening news, we need to convey the positives of our situation to them as well.

                  Next, understand that we all have a responsibility to protect our families.  If you are legally and physically capable, you need to arm yourself and train to remove a threat who enters your home.   Buying a weapon and storing it without training makes your family more vulnerable than you are now, and so you must take the extra step by arranging to train and use your weapon properly.  Its use must become a task you could do competently in a frightening or confusing situation. You must identify the person in your home properly.  It would be tragic to shoot a friend or family member inappropriately.  The mental work of weapon use and what you might do "if",  must be done.  For those of us who have focused for many years on saving lives rather than potentially damaging people or ending lives, this can be a tall order.  Most nurses would rather talk someone to death than shoot them.  Sometimes those of us in the "helping professions" are also arrogant enough to think that we could talk anyone out of almost anything.   The weapons training and mental preparation just has to be there.  You must train to reach a point in which someone who wishes you or a family member dead can be vanquished, because we are permitted to act in self defense.

                 Improve the security of your home.   Get doors reinforced.  Improve curtains and blinds.   People should not be able to see where everyone is in your home from the street at dusk.   Upgrade your deadbolts.  If your keys are out in the community with friends and neighbors, then change your locks.  If you need a locksmith, then take a class at Lowe's and learn how to change your locks.  I did.  I can change all the exterior locks here in an hour, and I have.   I have also changed deadbolt locks for friends, although my sons are clearly faster at it.

                    I also think that it is time, rather than the Obama administration taking guns away from people, to make handguns as defensive weapons more possible for those without mental health or legal constraints in Washington DC, New York and New Jersey.   With attacks looming from ISIS, we need to have trained citizens available, not just hamstrung.

                  In a free society we can never make the world completely safe.  However, there is a lot we can do in order to continue to live a life in the face of Muslim extremist terrorists or for that matter, domestic terrorists, as well.  We can certainly make the task as difficult as possible for them.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Putin Admits He Was Prepared to Use Nukes Against Us in the Recent Crimean Takeover

Putin, taken today.     Someone has either had some work done or had a number of liters of intravenous fluid with salt.

      First, I would like to say that I have spent time in Russia and have a great deal of admiration and fondness for the people of Russia and for the culture, and the Russian Orthodox Christian faith. I also have a number of Russian friends whom I admire.   But just as Barack Hussein Obama's policies do not represent me or a great many of the people I know, Vladimir Putin does not represent everyone in Russia, despite the propaganda which is presently being spouted to the opposite.

             I first heard of Crimea when I was a child.  Florence Nightingale who was a pioneer in the profession of nursing practiced her craft as she created it, in the Crimean War.  

              I listen to news on a great many foreign stations because what passes for professional journalism on television in the US is sanitized to the point that very little real information is conveyed to us.  There is bias in the foreign reports, but as I have said before, if something is stated on the Chinese News, and on NHK from Japan, and from Arirang in Korea, DW in Germany, BBC from the UK, and France 24, then it is likely true.

              Today, an interview of Vladimir Putin discussing the Russian takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, which occurred a year ago yielded some frightening and unexpected news.  Putin stated that he was ready and able to use use nuclear weapons had the US or Europe stopped him from reclaiming Crimea.   

Putin has claimed that Crimea is historically Russian territory and that Russian people reside there.  Therefore, he feels justified in reclaiming it.   Of course, the rest of the world, Germany, Britain, Canada and the US if its leaders still had spines, all see this as a violation of sovereign territory of the nation of Ukraine.   This is particularly shameful for us in the US because our present regime convinced Ukraine to give up its nuclear arms because "we would defend them" and then our present regime did absolutely nothing when they were attacked. Our present regime is still simply tossing around the possibility sending weapons to Ukraine.

             The takeover of Crimea might be more understandable if it had not occurred in tandem with continuing Russian occupation of the Donetsk region of Ukraine.  It also occurs during a time in which Russian jets are now violating both Canadian and British airspace intermittently.   Russia has also paid down its debt and is building quite the military machine.  They are also developing quite a propaganda machine using RT in Arabic, English and Spanish.  Biased though it may be, much of it is better journalism than mainstream American news.    There is also a growing nationalism in Russia.  In Moscow there is a rude light display of Barack Obama which implies that he is homosexual.  This is not being done for amusement.  Alleging that our president is depraved in some manner is part of a formula of progressive readying of war against the US and the West.

             These are very dangerous times indeed.   Both Russia, the US and Europe are targets of militant Islamists.  It makes sense for us to work together in order to vanquish or at least reduce the threat.   Instead, our present regime is reducing military spending, retiring many of our sharpest high ranking military officers, stopping breakfasts for active military, providing second class quality weaponry for active military, and running our diplomatic corps like a hobby business.   While Russia gears up, our nation gears down.

             The saddest thing I see here is that although I disagree with the actions of Vladimir Putin, he consistently acts as someone who passionately loves Russia and what he believes she should be.   Our primary leader dislikes our nation and calls for its "fundamental transformation" at every opportunity.   And of course, we inch toward World War III.

             About all we as citizens can do is prepare for very bad times to come, and work to be as self sufficient and perhaps as mobile as possible.

Information on Mr. Putin's willingness to use nuclear weapons