Survival Fiction: The Sheriff of Stone County, Part 4

Will signaled to Ed that he’d found the women, and the two smiled briefly at each other. But it was a little premature for a celebration. They probably could not slip the girls out without being noticed. Ed gestured for Will to go back into the office and set up by the doorway leading from it to the aisle behind the counter. Will did as he was told, and along the way alerted the two women. They managed to squirm into cover inside the store room, out of the line of fire.
Ed stepped back from his position long enough to glance into the store room, where the two women were cowering on the floor. Past them he could see Will, shotgun ready. He signaled for him to hold his fire until he had good targets, and then Ed moved back to the door, hunkered down in a firm shooting stance, and readied himself for the next few seconds. After just an instance of mental focusing, he pushed into the room.
The electronic sight mounted on top of the carbine superimposed a glowing circle of red into his field of vision; it looked as if the aiming reticle itself floated a few feet in front of his face. It was not the circle on which he focused, but beyond it, at his target. The red glowing circle formed a fuzzy halo around the face of the first raider, the one standing guard at the far windows.
The shot was incredibly loud, rebounding off the walls and ceiling, and as it did everything began to move both quickly and slowly. Ed was acting on instinct and he wasted not an iota of a second; as his far target dropped Ed pivoted smoothly and unceremoniously blasted the guard by the door right in the face, then turned again and drilled the three sleepy raiders on the counter. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. The heavy triple staccato of the shots coincided with each raider as he sat up, and then slumped back off the stool and onto the ground in a loose clump. The five shots took place in a flash and in that span no one seemed to move at all but Ed.
After those shots the conflict entered a dreamlike state for all involved. Everything seemed to happen at once. The raider on the counter dropped behind it, into the aisle way of the kitchen. The cook dropped low behind the counter too, putting the two of them out of Ed’s line of sight.
“Fire,” he yelled, turning to the booths where the raiders who had been sprawled out asleep were now scrambling in an almost comical fashion to get to their feet. Ed felt more than heard the crash of the shotgun as it blasted down the lane behind the counter from Will’s position in the store room doorway. Ed was confident of Will’s aim and too busy to check in any event; he worked his trigger finger with celerity, firing at point blank range into the group. When his carbine ran out ammunition, Ed transitioned straight to his handgun without missing a beat, managing to hit the last raider twice as tried to limp out the front door. The raider collapsed, however, propping the door open with his limp body.
The room was full of bloody, groaning, and screaming men. The carbine’s heavy rounds had made gruesome work of them, the massive .50 Beowulf bullets splattering bits of bone, brains, and blood all about the floors, counter, and booths. Ed wasted no time admiring his handiwork, but simply kept firing his handgun at anything that crawled, moaned, or wriggled, until it too ran dry.
The whole sequence hadn’t lasted more than 3 or 4 seconds. Ed’s killing of the dozing men was less a gunfight and more an execution, which was just as he had planned. No one reached a weapon. No one fired back. They simply startled awake and were slaughtered mercilessly at close range. At their best, Ed knew, ambushes were like that – simply murder.
Ed stuffed the pistol back into its holster and slapped a fresh magazine into his rifle. He backed out of the restaurant, ready for any retaliatory fire.
“Go! Go!” Ed barked as he backed down the hallway, shielding the women with his body. Will hustled the women out the back door and into the cover of the brush pile. Ed watched the hall for a five count, and then turned and sprinted to the brush pile from which Will had covered his retreat.
The two women stayed hunkered down while the two men covered the back of the Waffle House. As they waited, Ed and Will handed them both handguns, a last resort in case things turned south. After an agonizing minute, to make sure no raider busted out the back door and began firing after them, Ed motioned that it was time to go, and the group slunk away into the night.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

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Survival Fiction: The Sheriff of Stone County, Part 3

Ed was tucked in tight behind the carbine as he entered the service door to the Waffle House, his body leaning forward aggressively, body taut but balanced, and he moved fluidly with a preternatural focus that came from many violent encounters. His senses strained to pick up movement in the dim hallway as he crept toward the swinging door which led into the seating area of the restaurant. That was where he believed most of the gang had taken up residence.
Ed knew Sal’s place well, had spent hours there as a younger man, back in brighter days, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Now, a lifetime away it seemed, he was inching into a situation he had tried to prevent, and there was little to do about it now but get on with it.
In the hall the two doors on his right were marked as bathrooms, a single doorway on the left was marked Staff. He knew that it led to the kitchen, a small storage room, and an office. Ed inched closer to the swinging door to position himself where he could see into the restaurant through a view port in the door. He peeked through the small window and a few dim LED lights hanging from the ceiling illuminated a macabre scene.
Sal was hanging from a rope tied up in the rafters, his body stiff from rigor as it swung over the serving counter. Several of the stools beneath him were occupied by raiders; they were slumped over, snoozing, using their arms as pillows. One was sleeping on the bar itself and beyond him, another was tending a cook pot on the stove.
 Several knots of two or three raiders were sleeping in the booths or on the tables. A couple were apparently on guard – one at the front door, sitting on an upturned bucket, dozing in and out of consciousness. Another nearer the front of the restaurant was more alert, pacing back and forth, looking through what remained of the large glass panes. Strips of duct tape and pieces of cardboard and plywood held the broken glass together, but there were enough gaps that it still provided a good observation post from which to watch the highway.
By Ed’s count, that totaled eleven men, which sounded about right from Matt’s description of the assault on his homestead. What Ed couldn’t see from his vantage point was any trace of Matt’s wife or his teenage daughter.
Ed turned back and cupped his hand over Will’s ear and whispered “Check for the girls, I’ll stay here.” Will nodded that he understood. Ed gave him a knowing look; Will nodded in return. He was only seventeen, and a few years ago he’d have been considered a boy, but Will had long been a man. It was a harder world now, and it called for hardier stock.
While Ed stood ready to unleash a wall of lead into the raiders, Will slung his pump shotgun over his shoulder with a practiced ease and then pulled a revolver, which was handier for this close range work. He gently eased open the first of the bathroom doors, found nothing inside but refuse, and so he gently let the door close and moved to the next. He found nothing there either. That left the office and storage area.
He was tempted to cock the hammer back on the old Colt, but decided against it. “Never show your hand,” he remembered his father telling him. He pushed against the Staff door and it budged a little, so he slowly guided it open, peering around the door inside, handgun at the ready. The room had been converted ages ago to Sal’s sleeping quarters and a general storage room. It was filled with crates of canned goods, sacks of potatoes, and other food for which Sal had bartered. The room had a damp earthy smell to it and in the dim light it seemed more like a root cellar than a fast food restaurant, but he was able to make out two forms, gagged and bound on the floor. The girls were here, and they were alive.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

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Survival Fiction: The Sheriff of Stone County, Part 2

  Elizabeth awoke with a start. She sat upright, unsure at first what had awoken her. A noise? Her father snoring from across the hall? The popping of logs in the fireplace? A dog barking? She couldn't be sure. She listened, straining to hear it again. And then she heard it, sure this time, the unmistakable “warning” bark of Bo, her family’s pet and guard dog.
  She could normally tell in an instant if he was barking out of curiosity, boredom, playfulness, or if it was more serious. This bark was the serious kind. She slipped carefully out of bed to keep from waking her sister, and then tugged on her muck boots and eased down the hall and passed her parent’s room, which was dark and still. They apparently hadn't heard Bo, but that wasn’t unusual; Elizabeth had a keen sense of hearing and a special bond with Bo, and so often was the first one up if his bark meant business. Elizabeth briefly considered waking her parents, but decided against it. It was okay to check very quickly and see if there was a real danger before waking them up. Her father and mother worked so hard, and she wanted them to sleep a little extra if they could. No need to bother them over a possum in the grain buckets, or if the Miller’s cow was in the garden again. Besides, she knew what to do. They had trained her well.
  She made her way down the hall, first unlocking the steel cage door at the top of the stairs. This was a barrier which protected the upstairs sleeping rooms from the rest of the house; if bad men broke in, they would have to make a lot of noise before getting to the family. Beside the door was a rack of rifles, and she picked out a small one, just her size. It was pink with a small but powerful flashlight taped to the muzzle. Once switched on, wherever the rifle pointed it would become bright as day.
  Elizabeth unbolted the security door and eased it open carefully. It was well oiled, for just this purpose -- so that family members could open it without alerting bad men that they were awake and coming to greet them. She left the door slightly ajar and tread quietly down the stairs to the heavy front door of the home. It was more like a fort, really. The door was studded with iron and steel plates and heavy timbers, and she slid a footstool near the door over to her, stepped on it, and then craned her neck to peak out the tiny glazed view port.
  The yard in front of the house had once been covered in her mother’s flower beds. She had vague memories of them, of playing with a puppy-sized Bo and her then toddler-sized sisters as her mother tended the beds in her sun hat. That seemed like ages ago now. The yard was all barren, all possible hiding spaces cleared away, with the large shady oaks felled and turned into lumber to reinforce the house. Where the white picket fence once stood was now a barbed wire one, the pickets repurposed as shutters.
  She could not see the dog in his crate on the front porch, nor was he anywhere in view in the yard. She listened for a few minutes and thought she heard him scramble across the backyard. At well over a hundred pounds, he was not a quiet dog and sometimes at night it sounded as if a horse were loping around the house. At the back door she stood on a stool and instantly saw Bo – his thick body arched, hair standing on end across his back, his head down. He was not barking, but instead emitted a low, rumbling, and menacing growl.
  He was locked on to something she could not see from the view port. She placed her head near the port and craned her neck, straining to get a view of something . . . there it was, a shape on the ground, moving . . . crawling . . . perhaps a dog. Sometimes packs of wild dogs had terrorized the family, and forced them to take Bo inside until they could be dealt with.
  No. She saw it now. She could finally make it out. A man was lying on the ground. He had a gun. And it was pointed at Bo.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

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Survival Fiction: The Sheriff of Stone County, Part 1

     Ed swung the carbine up, made eye contact with his son, and nodded, as if to say, "Let's do this." He then took a deep breath and stepped slowly and deliberately out from behind the brush pile and moved steadily toward the Waffle House.The building's dim lights throbbed in time to the unsteady thrum of the old diesel generator.
     Off to his left was a long strip mall, burned out long ago, and somehow its emptiness suddenly crept over him in the dark. They had moved through a portion of its remains on their way to the back of the restaurant and he was fairly sure no one was inside, but the deep black maw of the empty building and its warped steel girders, the vacant parking lot with its brushy medians and the grass growing high in crazed patterns in the cracks of the pavement all at once cast a heavy weight on him. It was a big place inside, and anybody could be hiding there, including a sentry.
     He shut that idea out of his head. There was nothing could be done about it now anyhow. He kept stepping forward, eyes scanning the back of the building. After a few steps he felt more than heard his son come out behind him, his 12 gauge pump at the ready, no doubt. The pair crouched low, stalking carefully in short controlled steps, rolling their feet from heel to toe in a long practiced effort to conceal their approach. A crackling twig, rattle of a discarded tin, even an inadvertent cough could reveal their presence to the marauders inside.
     Somehow they passed from the brushy refuse pile through the weedy, overgrown parking lot and up to the building without being noticed. Ed half expected gunfire to erupt at any moment from the shopping mall, or from the gutted filling station on the opposite side of the Waffle House . . . but nothing happened. The two crept up to the building and stood hunched by the back door for a moment, senses straining to detect movement or voices inside. They heard only intermittent grunts, snoring, and then silence.
     Ed stood with his left hand on the door knob, his carbine tucked in tight to his shoulder and pointed down so he could swing the door open and then rotate the rifle up, ready to fire. He wore an old trooper’s hat with flaps over his ears, a faded fatigue jacket, patched jeans, and a pair of battered work boots. A heavy woolen scarf masked his face, and breath, in the sharp, cold air. William, his teenaged son, wore a similar outfit of make-do clothing. Both wore a hodgepodge of leather cartridge belts, magazine cases, handguns, belt knives, and other items around their waist. Each had a small pack on his back. And it was from this that they had lived for the last five days.
     They traveled light, and had suffered for it. Both were freezing, and had been shivering off and on as they had cased the building over the last few hours. Neither had eaten since morning -- they had been traveling too fast to worry much about victuals. Hunger was a far away feeling, anyway, replaced instead by the acrid bite of a building fear, the rapid breathing, the stiff insides, the heart pounding, the hands which had quickly became so remote and unresponsive.
     Ed felt that wave of intense emotions wash upon him and he wrestled it back. He metered his breathing, tensed his large muscles and relaxed them, he shrugged several times and loosened his neck. He intentionally willed his body to relax. He willed the serpentine presence of fear that began to creep into conscience to retreat back into its cave; he thought of his favorite song lyrics, then willed himself to remember a quote from Scott . . . or maybe it was Burns . . . and exhaled slowly several times. He pushed the fear back. He focused, and was ready.
     And then the pair stood ready to open the door and do that for which they had come. Ed would have preferred another outcome, but it fell to him, as sheriff, to serve the citizens of the county, such as remained. Tonight was a police raid. There was no warrant. And there would be no reading of rights, no handcuffs, and no trial.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

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EDC: Every Day Carry

In simpler times travelers carried certain basic equipment with them everywhere they went. Prehistoric peoples, for instance, carried a basic survival kit, such as Oetzi the Iceman did: fire-making tools, a simple knife, tinder, and other necessities. In Medieval England a man often carried his cup and bowl with him, a knife, a bit of flint, and a cloak for shelter. Even women and children carried their own general utility knives at all times.

American frontiersmen developed a number of ways to light a fire, including using the flintlock to strike a spark, or even discharging gunpowder into a pile of tinder. The basic tools and skills of daily life, all down through history, were those that kept you alive.

Since the advances of the industrial revolution, urbanization, and the transportation of the last 150 years or so, we've become less dependent upon these basic hand tools to keep us alive. Policemen patrol the streets, keepingus safe, its presumed, from bandits. Basic shelter is common enough that only our most impoverished citizens have no safe, dry, warm bed at night. Food is in abundance such that we have an epidemic of obesity never seen in human history. Miraculous communication summons rescue at our every beck and call. AAA arrives within minutes with fuel or a tow, the paramedics arrive to heal our wounds, and so on. As a culture we have convinced ourselves we have no need to rely on the tools, or even learn the skills, or even develop the mindset, that predominated all previous human history. Self-reliance is, presumably, abnormal.

But, the prepper movement has responded to this dearth of thinking by hearkening back to times when a man (or woman) was responsible for his (or her) own life. One minor feature of that desire to reset a lifestyle back to self-reliance has been the much discussed topic of EDC or every day carry.

There are countless forums, blogs, and other places in which you can read about EDC. See here and here for just a small sample of the discussions on this topic. I do not intend to compete with their expertise; if you wish to devote a lot of time and energy (and money) to EDC items, go ahead. I certainly encourage you to embrace the desire to provide for yourself at all times. However, I'd like to simplify the task, and perhaps, direct you to the actual goal, which is not gadgets and commercialism, but, SELF reliance.

It's easiest to break down the items into the five or six most crucial categories. The five traditional human needs are: warmth, shelter, food, water, and light. One might quibble with the list -- you could add security, withdraw food as an unnecessary EDC item, etc. The list is not set in stone. Context is everything. What you NEED varies. It depends on your job and attire, your commute, the environment in which you live, and so forth. There is no universal kit; each person must assess and analyze. Determine what is best for you and your situation. Decide for yourself what items will work with your occupation requirements, seasons, transportation, etc. Its about self-reliance, after all.

Some basic principles are helpful. First, a common principle is "two is one, and one is none." Put simply, plan on losing an item, or plan on it breaking or malfunctioning. This means you carry a spare. In addition, plan on making that spare an item that uses a different mechanism to accomplish the same purpose -- matches and a lighter, a poncho and a space blanket, etc. Second, commit to carrying this AT ALL TIMES. It's not EDC for nothing. If you don't have it, you aren't prepared, and you could be in a world of hurt. Making it a habit, like grabbing your wallet, phone, etc. will help keep you "survival minded" all day. It's a great way to sharpen preparedness skills. "I have my kit. What would happen if the bus crashed? It's snowing, and it might take awhile to get an ambulance here. That elderly man would likely be a serious injury; I could use the space blanket to stabilize him. I have the lockback knife to cut off any clothes in the way of treating a bleeding injury. My poncho will keep me dry, and so forth." If you carry it and think about it, mentally practice using it, you'll have a huge advantage of already having thought through many dangerous situations before they happen. You'll be quicker to react if they do happen.

What should be obvious is that the items are important, but they are only tools, after all. They need, in order to useful, to be wielded by someone with the skills to use them to their utmost ability. If you EDC, you need training and experience, too. Otherwise you have a pocketful of junk, not real way to save yourself or anyone else.

So, what to carry in an EDC? Here's a simple list which can folded up and carried in the pockets of most any type of clothing (a suit coat, over coat, jacket) or carried in a purse, fanny pack, backpack, etc. From here, knock yourself out!

  • Warmth: lighter, matches, fire rod, and/or chemical hand warmers if you can't carry proper fire-making tools.
  • Shelter: space blanket and mini pocket poncho.
  • Food: snickers bar, handful of hard candy, fishing line wrapped around a bundle of fishhooks, a steel rabbit snare, a square of thick aluminum foil for cooking a meal, etc.
  • Water: a water bottle, un-lubed condoms (for carrying water), iodine tabs, hiking water filter, survival straw.
  • Light: matches, chemlights, flashlight.
  • Security: fixed blade hunting knife, swiss army knife, multi-tool, small handgun.
  • Ancillaries: a small first aid kit, sunglasses, a filter mask, surgical gloves, etc.

Notice that several items can serve multiple purposes -- a knife can be used to acquire food, knock up a shelter, or used in self-defense. It's a critical tool because of this. If you can't carry one, you are at a huge disadvantage. In my locale, a knife under 3.5" in length is not considered a weapon, so I carry a multi-tool with a 3" blade. Given my preference, I'd have a 4" fixed-blade Mora knife, but since I'm in a profession where a hunting knife would look a bit out of place, my multi-tool works just fine. (I uses this every day to open packages, tighten loose screws, strip wire, etc.)

You will have to evaluate what you need to cover the bases, but I encourage you to do so. It's easy to put it off, but I'm a firm believer that the decision to EDC is the first step into becoming self-reliant. It's not an irrational decision; it's a natural human act. Welcome to being a normal human!

In Nothing We Trust

This article from the National Journal deals with something sociologists call the trust gap, that is, the idea that American society is in a dive due to complete lack of faith in its institutions. This graphic tells it all:


The article has its own biases, and wears them on its sleeve, but despite that it touches on something called social capital. You can, and should, read about it here. A short bit:
The growing disaffection of citizens from their public institutions may be related to a decline in civic engagement, and contrasts with earlier periods when Americans had plentiful stocks of social capital. The key to making American democracy work, Alexis de Tocqueville noted in his classic Democracy in America, has been the propensity of Americans to form all kinds of civic associations.
If you will look around you, and think about your own experience over the last couple of decades, you'll find this decline in social capital is true. We are more and more becoming loners. We are suspicious, afraid, and incapable of trust. Deep down, everyone else is the enemy.  We build McMansions, not neighborhoods, invest in schools, not education, in degrees, not relationships. If American society is to continue, this trend has to be reversed. It's not clear that is possible.

Must Read: Apocalyptic Daze

Wow. Pascal Bruckner takes aim at radical environmentalism (ala End:Civ or Derrick Jensen) as an extension of the Marxist critique. A must read article, folks.

"Over the last half-century, leftist intellectuals have identified two great scapegoats for the world’s woes. First, Marxism designated capitalism as responsible for human misery. Second, “Third World” ideology, disappointed by the bourgeois indulgences of the working class, targeted the West, supposedly the inventor of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. The guilty party that environmentalism now accuses—mankind itself, in its will to dominate the planet—is essentially a composite of the previous two, a capitalism invented by a West that oppresses peoples and destroys the earth. Indeed, environmentalism sees itself as the fulfillment of all earlier critiques."

A Diamond is Forever? How about Spam?

I sometimes get questions about the shelf life of food, particularly canned or packaged food. No matter the kind of food, or the packaging, its the science of the food packaging that matters. Whether its canned or retort packaging, both kill all bacteria inside the food package. As long as the package is sound (no punctures, holes, tears, etc.) and the food in the package does not look or smell bad you are fine. The only difference is that canned food is in a tougher package. That's it.

For people who want to stockpile food for emergencies (the US government and the Red Cross recommend at least three days, and up to 2 weeks), it's a fairly simple and easy process to pick out canned or retort packaged items, put them in a sealed container (to minimize the chances of damaging the packages) in a cool place, and forget about it. Select items based on nutritional quality and ease of preparation. Foods you would eat cold with a spoon are probably best (say, because of an electricity outage after a tornado or snow storm), but there is no reason you cannot select items you would want to eat after a bit more food preparation. Just remember that the point is to have food for emergencies, and enough for everyone in your home (and frankly, consider your neighbors may be in need as well) for two weeks. Note: when you buy your emergency food, get an extra can opener, a couple of boxes of candles, and a few packages of plastic plates or bowls and eating utensils, too. Put all of this in your emergency food container. That way you can grab the box and know you'll have everything you need to eat a meal.

Check the links below for more information.
The processing techniques utilized by Hormel Foods makes the canned product safe for use indefinitely if the product seal remains intact, unbroken and securely attached to a can that has been well maintained. It is suggested that all canned products be stored in a cool and dry environment to keep the flavor adequately preserved. For maximum flavor it is recommended that the product be used within three years of the manufacturing date. After that period of time, the product is still safe to use however, the flavor gradually declines.
Practically, the darn things last a long, long, time. As long as the individual MRE components aren't damaged, punctured, (or SWELLING!!), they should still be edible.
Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time. In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures (75° Fahrenheit and below). Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe! We don't recommend keeping canned food for 100 years, but if the can is intact, it is edible. Rust or dents do not affect the contents of the can as long as the can does not leak. If the can is leaking, however, or if the ends are bulged, the food should not be used.

Here is the food ration suggested in The Management of Nutrition in Major Emergencies, by the World Health Organization.

A two year supply of food.
14x 50 lb. bags of white rice, $16.97 ea
10x 10 lb. bags of beans, $6.88 ea.
5x 10 lb. bottles of oil, $8 ea.
16x 3 lb. cans of meat, $7.88 ea.
4x 10 lb. bags of sugar, $6.45 ea.
2x 4 lb. cans of salt, $0.98 ea.
That comes to $501.20, according to my spreadsheet.

Thinking on Resiliency in the Face of Disaster

I am posting a link to an article I wrote over at James Rawles' SurvivalBlog. The link is:
Let me know what you think.

Buying and Selling Pleasure and Purpose

Part of "commercial-oriented neo-survivalism" is based on the premise that buying things will make you feel better. This is no different than consumer capitalism in general: Buy Guichi, feel good is the same as Buy Emergency Essentials, feel good. Stockpiling is not "prepping," it's just buying. We need to get used to that and move people beyond that simple approach. We need instead to look at sustainable, resilient approaches to security. Once upon a time, wealth meant security. Over the last hundred years we've become convinced that wealth equals luxury. In an unstable and simplifying world, going back to wealth = security is an essential lifestyle move. Stockpiling alone does not do that.

Other aspects of survivalism involve a less consumerist-based concept, and specifically I mean here those focusing on training and exercise, the development of essential life skills, and particularly I think those which are substantially more primitive-focused than the best 21st century technology. I mean here basic skills such as gardening food, cooking from scratch, hunting, processing meat, and so forth. Whole Foods is fine, but for security and sustainability reasons, let's move beyond that to homegrown foods.

Science, it seems, is coming to understand the problem of Progress about our bodies, too. Progress, as some call it, is not always a good thing. The article here has two great quotes:

"Obesity is a consequence of Homo sapiens carrying into an era of abundance, leisure and warmth the physiology that evolved in a world marked by barely enough food, constant physical activity and dangerous cold."

"We are living in a very comfortable time," said Wouter D. van Marken Lichtenbelt, a physiologist at Maastricht University who led the Dutch study. "But we did not evolve in such a time."

So, if you plan to "survive" (whatever it is: unemployment, zombie apocalypse, another recession, an earthquake or tornado) how can you plan now to fall back on your own biology to save you? What can you do to make survivalism a coping strategy, and not just a shopping list?

Read more on this topic and others at

Failed States

Not long ago the UN Secretary-General said, “Security is under threat.” We often think this is something which happens far away from our shores. But, Mexico's security situation has been well treated in the news. Increasingly states are coming under siege from elements determined to upset their stability. Non-official groups (terrorists, criminals, activists, political dissidents) are challenging countries for the right to rule. When a state collapses to the point it can no longer provide basic services, like security, it becomes what is called a "failed state."

Go read the article on the Failed States Index in Foreign Policy magazine, here. Notice that the US is not the most stable. It has lost rankings from the previous years. And, need I point out, that's academia in the political sciences noting that we are in decline. You may consider reading a report: "The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment" which you can read here.

On Writing and Thinking

My name is Liam Fisher. I am beginning this blog as a way to discuss my writing and thoughts on a number of different topics, including fiction, disaster preparedness, history, philosophy, and theology. I am an academic, with publications in my field, and have an extensive education in history. I am interested in all manner of topics -- technology, sociology, science, medicine, Jeeps, shooting, hunting, primitive skills, hiking, horses, and gardening. Mostly, I simply would like to have a conversation with you. In the coming weeks I will be posting information about my publications, so stay tuned.