Bug Out Bag – Essential Antibiotics

Your Bug Out Bag – Essential Antibiotics
There are several reasons why you could need to evacuate your house. It could be because of a natural disaster, such as an oncoming storm, rise flood waters, or an earthquake. It could also be due to a fire or some other emergency. Just do not get too many ideas from that ridiculous San Andreas movie.

That movie was preposterous. The point is, when we leave our house in a hurry to head to somewhere safer, we often don’t have the time or opportunity to take along a lot of things. We only take the bare essentials, and other necessary items if we remember too.
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No sauerkraut after SHTF

Usually there is not much humor in prepping, but today there is an exception. There will be no sauerkraut after the SHTF!

During our scheduled can food storage inspection and rotation we noticed something odd about the can of sauerkraut. It appears to have corroded from the inside out. Possibly from the vinegar inside eating away at the cans enamel coating.

Just goes to show that preppers must always keep an eye on their prepping and rotation schedules.

Bug In or Bug Out (Evacuate or Stay put/ Survival in place)

I get asked this question all the time, so I figured I will talk about it a little more. Should I bug in or Bug out? Lets look at both:

Bug In – (AKA Survival in place, Staying put, etc)

This is where your primary residence, whether it be a house, apartment, trailer, mobile home or farm, is the place you go to when the SHTF or the balloon goes up. It is more cost effective (cheaper) to bug in , if you have all your preps at this location and have created a survival retreat out of your house. This includes but is not limited to food reserves, water storage, water collection devices, survival gardens, livestock, defensive plans, reinforced structure, etc.

Bug Out – (AKA Head for the hills)

Bugging out is when you leave your primary residence and go to a PRE-DETERMINED survival location. This is usually the situation when you live in a fairly large . Possibly dangerous after civil unrest city, that you feel is way to dangerous to Bug In or you have other concerns about your primary residence where you are not comfortable bugging in. Bug out locations are usually at least 15 miles away from your primary residence and could be as far away as 150 miles, but should be under 60 miles away if possible. These are usually farm type locations with at least one acre of land.

So what is the differences and which one is better? This is up to you, your location and your financial abilities. If your primary residence is in a suburban area, where it can be defended, and you have enough preps and supplies on site and the ability to raise or grow and store more, it is best to bug in and stay. If you do not own your primary residence, or you have the financial ability to have a dedicated bug out location, or if your primary residence is located in an unsafe zone, It is best to bug out.

Fire Extinguishers at the Bug Out Location

The title says it all, the one thing I never read about or see in any survivalist or prepper writings. The need for fire extinguishers in your bug out location. Remember there is no 911 after the SHTF. The fire department will not come to your rescue. You most be able to stop any fires before they get out of control, or better yet stop any potential fires from happening in the first place.

Fire Extinguisher Basics:
Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.
Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil.
Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires – the risk of electrical shock is far too great!
fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium.
Class K fire extinguishers are for fires that involve cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances found in the kitchen.
Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires – the flames will spread and make the fire even bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and are typically pressurized with air. Only fight the fire if you’re certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only.
Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.
1. BC – This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials.
2. ABC – This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The ABC type is filled with mono-ammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances.
Dry chemical extinguishers have an advantage over CO2 extinguishers since they leave a non-flammable substance on the extinguished material, reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are used for class B and C fires. CO2 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, and are highly pressurized. The pressure is so great that it is not uncommon for bits of dry ice to shoot out the nozzle. They don’t work very well on class A fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen to put the fire out, causing it to re-ignite.
Water Extinguishers are the only ones that can be reused and have a indefinite shelf life as they can be refilled. All the other ones listed above loose charge over time and may not be there when you need it. Keeping flammable materials away from fire sources is a start to a safe survival retreat.

Hide your Preps

Just a quick note and reminder to all of our readers. Hide your preps, Nosy neighbors are no good. This should not be too hard if everything is inside, but watch out for your exterior preps. There are very crafty ways to hide such outside preps. This include storing them in a shed, making them look like a shed, Disguising them as pool equipment if you have a pool, Making them look like compost bins, etc.

Long Knives

Long Knives

By long Knives I mean swords, kukri’s and machete’s. Anything over 10 inches that can be used for chopping in a self defense senario. I am not a sword expert and have only just brought my very first sword blade. I have had a large collection of kukri’s, down to 5 at the current moment and had a little experience with machete’s. Below is the research Ive collated from the following links, that I thought may make it easier for another purchaser to use when buying their first long knife.

Ive found that anything over 18 inches is not practical in terms of concealment POST SHTF. Anything under 10 is more a camp chopping blade. 12 inch kukri’s can be carried in a dundee rig, inverted across the shoulder blades as can a medium length golok, 14.5 inches in blade length. Ive modified my golok by reshaping the tip so its more rounded and had it reground from a convex to a V grind for better decapitation qualities. At the moment it is also having a kydex sheath made for an inverted carry option. I suggest watching Cold Steels fighting Machete dvds from Cutting Edge Knives to see the capabilities of a machete in action. As these seem the wave of the future in defensive choppers.

I was about to purchase a Cheness Ko-katana but just got in with the pre-orders of Swamprat Rodent Waki’s made from SR-101 with a 17.5 inch blade. If I ended up purchasing a ko-katana. I probably would have cut it down to an 18 inch blade from the handle end and replaced the grip with micarta. (Personal observation). I believe theyve now come out with a Practical Katana called a Tak Wak at 18 inches in length made from 5160 steel.

One blade Ive taken a chance on buying to see how it would perform is a Rambo 4 chopper. Ive got to tell everyone before mentioning this not to laugh, but it ended up being a great chopper at 12 inches. The temper is a little soft, so doesnt keep an edge when chopping hardwood. However it wasnt brought for that reason. Going up against a steel bar or similar a softer temper has less chance of snapping when compared to a harder steel, being brittle with a harder temper. Ive ended up doing the same as with the golok with an inverted kydex sheath and reshaping the initial grind to a slightly thinner edge for slicing. I havent touched the secondary grind to keep the weight behind the length. The grip has also been replaced with black paracord. These would make a very good design for a combat machete made from a better quality steel.

Cold steel DVD’s


Swamprat Rodent Waki


Valiant Goloks




Cheness Ko-Katanas


Sword Buyers guide


Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri

Review of the Cold Steel SK-5 Gurkha Kukri

by Mc Joe Donald


So far, the CS SK-5 Gurkha Kukri has been a fantastic companion. It chops, it splits, it carves, it stabs and pierces deeply. It comes with a great edge, and it keeps a great edge. I’ve used mine regularly with little more than the occasional touch up to the edge, I haven’t had to actually re-sharpen the knife in the year that I’ve owned it.�

Aesthetics: The knife is 17″ from tip to tail, 5/16″ at the spine (which tapers after the curve down to the point), with a wedge-shaped blade, and a v-shaped edge grind. �
It has a kraton handle, which can be described as a hard rubber or soft plastic, durable, grips well when wet, and has proven to be comfortable so far. The black coating has held up well. I’ll be posting pics and hopefully videos of the knife in action at a later date.�

Steel: SK-5 (I’m no expert) is a high carbon tool steel. It’s similar to that used in hardened cutting tools, such as chisels and wood carving knives. It is a tad on the brittle side as compared to say 1055, but with the shape of the blade it seems it would take a really stupid mistake to ever make this a factor. I’ve split countless logs (batoning) chipped tinder, carved spears, notched traps, drilled fire boards, hammered tent stakes, cleared trails and lanes and so far the only noticeable wear on the edge is where it caught a couple grains of sand while splitting a 4″ ash log (you can feel it with a finger nail, still cant really see it). For as much hardwood as this knife has been through, I am amazed. I’ve never seen an edge on any knife last this long after so much hard use, except for my high quality bee-keeping hive knife.�

The kukri shape of the blade definitely adds to its utility. I do not exaggerate when I say this knife chops like a good hatchet. There’s one less tool you need to carry. The downward angled, weight-forward design makes it bite deep, and the V-shaped grind on the blade makes it spit chunks like an axe. Have yet to get it stuck.�
The narrow part of the blade (nearer to the handle) makes carving tools a breeze. You have good leverage when choking your hand up nearer to the edge, and the weight of the blade makes taking small consistent shavings an easy task. This is one area where a heavier knife shines, as you are able to make more controlled (and resoundingly safer) strokes with less effort. Let the weight of the blade do the work. I’ve found a lighter knife for carving tools to be dangerous and much more fatiguing.�

Advantages: When in the wilderness, every calorie counts. Every drop of sweat counts. Every drop of blood really counts. Having a little weight in your blade will save you effort in the long run, even though it’s more to carry. That’s why I like a bigger knife… fewer blisters, you don’t have to swing as hard. You don’t have to push the knife to carve, you gently swing it. And more weight = more steel, and usually that means stronger. It’s worth the extra carry weight to me to have it easier when its work time.�

Quality:The knife comes with a 5 year Warranty. Judging from what I’ve seen I don’t think I’ll need it. The handle would probably be the only thing I’d expect to wear out. It is made of Japanese steel (great stuff) in China (eh, didn’t know it when I bought it, glad I didn’t though) but so far it has far exceeded my expectations.�
The sheath is decent, 2 pieces of molded kydex style plastic, suspended vertically on a nylon web loop. The halves are riveted together, kind of a negative in my mind, as I like to be able to take the sheath apart. It secures on the bulge near the business end of the grip by snapping around it. There is a hole in the sheath tip to allow for water drainage. There are many places to attach a leg-lashing to keep it in place. I like to lash the sheath to a pack with the 2″ wide holes running along its sides. It also hangs low enough to wear it on a belt on your hip while also wearing a backpack padded belt (mine is a Kelty external frame) and still have easy access to it.�

Drawbacks: The only other negatives I can see to the knife are the fact that you need to keep the edge oiled (animal tallow would work for this), and the fact that it is a tag big for gutting and skinning smaller animals, but does well at this task, with care, on whitetail (and I assume larger) deer or animals. This would be a reason to carry a smaller, more suited knife for fine tasks, besides the the fact that you should always have a backup anyway. I like the Tom Brown Tracker T2 by Topps for this purpose. I’ll be reviewing it at a later date.�

Overall: I’d give this knife a 9 out of 10, loosing a point for the potential long term durability issues of the handle, and limited utility on small game. I plan on ordering a couple extra handles from cold steel, I understand they are hammered on, so it should be a simple task to replace the handle once the worn one is removed.�

This is my favorite knife to date. The price is reasonable (i’ve found them for less than $80) the steel is quality with a good ring to it. It is hard and sharp, and in my opinion, just the right size.

What is the best type of steel for a sword?

This is a common question asked by beginners, but it is somewhat akin to asking ‘how long is a piece of string’ – mostly because ‘best’ depends on what type of sword we are talking about and what its intended usage is…

Not to mention that there are other factors that are actually more important than just the type of steel it is made from (for example, heat treatment and the quality of the forging is more important than the steel itself – a properly heat treated piece of the cheapest plain carbon steel is much better than than the best quality L6 tool steel if the attempt is not NOT tempered properly!).


So let’s ask instead ‘what are the different types of steel commonly used to make a sword – and what are their strengths and weaknesses’ (when tempered properly of course!)?

In this article, we will attempt to answer THIS question – and let you make up your own mind on what types of steel best suit YOUR preference (and budget) in a sword.


It used to be that just about every sword on the market was made from Stainless Steel. Now, it is almost only relegated to cheap decorative swords – and for good reason!

Stainless steel swords (or any blade over 12″ long) is considered to be TOO brittle for serious usage and can shatter relatively easily.

To get just a little technical with it – Stainless steel is ‘stainless’ because it has a high Chromium content (over 11%) – and when a blade gets over 12″ long (such as a sword..) the grain boundaries between the chromium and the rest of the steel start to weaken, creating stress points. So the purpose of a sword made from stainless steel is to put it on the wall – and just keep it there to admire from a distance!

NOTE: There are a few exceptions to this rule. Stainless steel swords can be used for NON CONTACT forms practice. And there have been a few smiths who have been able to use more sophisticated techniques to make it suitable for cutting – but these techniques come at a price, and are never found on the ‘surgical quality stainless steel’ blades being sold on the Internet and marketed as battle ready because they are sharp… (Yikes!).


At the very least, for a functional sword it has to be a (properly tempered) ‘High Carbon steel sword’. But what exactly does this mean?

Generally, The American society of automotive engineers (SAE) scale is the one most commonly used by sword manufacturers. And the most commonly used steel for functional swords is plain carbon steel, which is designated by the first two digits 10 – and a number from 01 to 99 afterwards, with each point signifies that .01% of that steel is carbon.

For example, steel classified as AISI 1045 has 0.45% carbon content, 1060 is 0.60 carbon, etc.

Steels with a carbon content between 0.05 to 0.15 are considered to be LOW CARBON STEEL, and 0.16 to 0.29 MILD STEEL – neither of which are suitable for a functional sword (as any sword with a carbon content of less than 0.40% can’t really be hardened and given a decent heat treatment).

The most popular three types of carbon steel used in swords are 1045, 1060 and 1095, starting with the most inexpensive (1045) with most sword experts agree that the ideal range for a durable and sharp sword is somewhere between 0.5 and 0.7 carbon content.


1045 Carbon Steel swords are quite cheap to make because, being relatively soft, they are easy to make (either by hand forging, pressing or machine milling) but can be hardened, so are effectively the MINIMUM acceptable steel for a functional blade.

If well tempered, they can be surprisingly strong, and when you look at a sword under US$100, if it just says ‘high carbon steel’ – it is probably 1045… (and at this price, it is almost certainly machine milled).


1060 Carbon Steel is a great compromise between hardness (edge holding ability) and pliability (strength) – and many swords famous for their DURABILITY, such as those by COLD STEEL and DARKSWORD ARMORY , are made from 1060 carbon steel.

Consequentially, 1060 Carbon Steel swords are very popular, though because the steel is harder than 1045 – are more difficult to forge, shape and polish and thus almost always has a higher price tag.

Definitely a great all round steel that is hard enough to take and keep a good edge but focused primarily on it’s durability.


1095 Carbon steel is very HARD – and unless it is properly heat treated, this hardness can sometimes be problematic when used on harder targets (either intentionally, or unintentionally – such as accidently hitting a wooden stand).

The main advantage to swords made from 1095 carbon steel is that they can take and keep a much keener edge than swords with a lower carbon content. The disadvantage is that they can sometimes be a little on the brittle side – so durability is traded off for edge retention.

It doesn’t mean that a sword made from 1095 carbon steel is exceptionally fragile, but it is simply no where near as TOUGH as the lower carbon content swords. The video below of the Akio Hattori Katana distributed by DARKSWORD ARMORY show that while they may not be as tough as the lower carbon content swords, they are still quite durable…

So it just depends on what you are looking for in a blade…


For our purposes, there are basically two types of spring steel swords – 5160 and 9260. As with the plain carbon steel swords, the last two digits represent the carbon content – so both have .60% carbon and therefore, are like the 1060 carbon steel swords (a great compromise between hardness and durability) – and when properly heat treated, allows objects made of spring steel to return to their original shape despite significant bending or twisting, thus giving 1060 spring steel a special kind of ‘twist’.

So let’s take a look at these two different steel types:


5160 Spring Steel is a low Chromium alloy steel, with around 0.7 Chromium – which is not enough to make it stainless (which requires a minimum of 13% Chromium) – but combined with a small amount of silicon (0.2%) results in an extremely tough and durable sword and is favored by sword makers such as ANGUS TRIM, GENERATION 2 and the blades designed by Michael Tinker Pearce and made by the HANWEI FORGE.

5160 Spring Steel was also the steel of choice for the famous Nepalese Khurki – blades so tough and so sharp they are reportedly able to cut off a buffalos head with a single strike!

Again, what is critically important is the heat treatment – if it is applied wrong, even the best 5160 Spring Steel sword will take a set (Generation 2 had some issues with this way back in 2007), but when applied properly – the end result is spectacular.

Made famous by CHENESS CUTLERY – 9260 Spring Steel (also called Silicon Manganese Steel) consists of 2% silicon content, giving it an even more dramatic resilience against lateral bends and allowing it to spring back to true even after being bent almost to 90 degrees.

Swords made from 9260 Spring Steel have a reputation for durability – with 9260 Spring Steel having a tensile strength almost double that of 5160 (source – efunda.com).

While these swords are almost legendary for their toughness, like any blade they are not indestructible – and while rare, they can be broken or damaged. I’ve tested quite a few myself very hard and never had this happen, but I have heard of it occurring – and there is this video on youtube showing a Konron forge 9260 blade breaking against a thick bone (thicker than any human bone would be) – which would happen to almost any blade striking it – so they don’t have magical powers that defy metallurgy or physics..! 😉

The moral of the story is that no blade is indestructible – and because of the nature of what swords were originally designed to do, it is never a good idea to put yourself in a situation where you expose yourself to the potential of a blade snapping off and flying through the air anywhere near you…


Tool steel swords have been quite popular in recent years, mostly because swords made from these steels are hard yet quite tough and tend to hold and keep a good edge. While there are several types on the market, there are two that everyone tends to be talking about – and those two are T-10 tool steel and the legendary L6 Bainite.


T10 Tool Steel is a Tungsten alloy steel with a very high carbon content (around 0.9 to 1.0%) with a little bit of silicon (around .35% maximum) and is often referred to as ‘High Speed Steel’.

This stuff tends to be very hard (above HRC60 when properly tempered) and the Tungsten means that it is also more resistant to scratches and abrasions than most other types of steels, plus considerably tougher than other swords with a similar level of carbon content.

While these swords are generally only seen on higher end production swords, the $330 SBG Custom Katana series swords are made from T10 steel, hold their own quite well.


L6 Bainite is also a tool steel (band saw steel actually), with the L designating it is a low alloy steel and – when properly heat treated, has a reputation as the TOUGHEST type of sword steel currently on the market – mostly due to the innovative custom sword work of Howard Clark, a smith for the Bugei Trading company who started producing this steel in the late 1990s.

While when properly heat treated (it can be a hard steel to work with) there is little argument that it is one of the toughest steels commercially available for swords, it can sometimes be prone to rust so needs plenty of maintenance, and of course, is quite expensive to make (no decently made L6 sword has a price tag of under US$1,000).

REAL Swords have a FULL TANG

The weakest point of most modern swords is the handle, in particular the metal insert into the handle attached to the blade known as the tang. Unless a sword has what is known as a “full tang” it is liable to break when struck against any surface. Or worse still, come loose from the handle like a helicopter blade when swung with even moderate force (and for obvious reasons cannot be called a functional sword).

REAL Swords have been properly HEAT TREATED

Real swords (at least these days) are for safety reasons always properly heat treated and tempered to create a blade that is not too brittle and not too soft. If a sword is described as “carbon steel” but there is no mention of how it is heat treated and you don’t know about the manufacturer – there is a good chance that it hasn’t been heat treated at all. And if it hasn’t been heat treated, it doesn’t qualify as a real sword.

REAL Swords are made from CARBON STEEL

Real swords are always made from carbon steel. The vast majority of cheap swords being sold online are made from stainless steel. While stainless steel is a great choice for knives, it starts becoming very brittle on anything longer than 12″ and is NOT a suitable material for a functional sword, no matter what some marketers might claim�

What are you going to cut with your sword?

  • There are light, medium, and heavy use cutters. Most manufacturers will tell you right up front what a particular sword is designed for:�
    • Light cutting: beach mats, pool noodles, water bottles, etc�
    • Medium cutting: regular cutting of light targets and occasional cutting of tatami omote�
    • Heavy cutting: regular cutting of Tatami Omote and occasional cutting of heavy targets such as 3″+ bamboo, multiple rolls of tatami omote, or mats wrapped around an oak dowel

A Beginner’s Glossary of Terms�

Arms of the Hilt | Basket | Blade | Blade Length | Blunt | Button | Center of Gravity (CoG) | Center of Percussion (CoP) | Counterguard | Cross (Cross-guard) | Cruciform | Edge | False Edge | Ferrule | Finger Ring | Forte’ | Foible | Fuller | Furniture | Grip | Guard | Hilt | Knuckle-guard | Langet | Overall Length | Pas D`ane | Point of Balance | Pommel | Port | Quillion | Quillion Block | Ricasso | Scabbard | Shell Guard | Side Ring | Tang | Terzo | Turk’s Head | Wire-wrap

Arms of the Hilt�
Part of the sword hilt extending on each side from the cross guard (or quillions) toward the blade and having the form of a small arc. The arms of the hilt are known to have been in use from the 15th century but they had probably made their appearance in the 14th, protecting the forefinger when it gripped the ricasso. They represented an important step in the development of the guard. In the swords of the 16th and 17th centuries the arms of the hilt served as a support for loops and rings of the guard, as well as for bars of the counterguard. �

An arrangement of bars, plates, and rings that form a “cage” around the sword hilt, creating a protected guard (or “basket”) around the wielder’s hand. �

The cutting and/or thrusting part of edged weapons, excluding the hilt. �

Blade Length (BL)�
A unit of measurement representing the length of a weapon’s actual blade; generally measured from the tip to the end of the guards. �

A term applied to an unsharpened sword or dagger that has had its edges rounded for safe sparring activities. �

A raised piece on the pommel of swords, daggers and knives, to which the tip of the tang of the blade was peened. It usually formed part of the pommel, but could also be a separate piece; it was sometimes made of a different material. Since the 19th century the button on military weapons has had a threaded hole inside to be screwed onto the threaded end of the tang. �

Center of Gravity (CoG)�
See Point of Balance.�

Center of Percussion (CoP)�
The Center of Percussion of a blade is the measured value along its length that produces the least amount of vibration upon hitting a target. It’s the area able to deliver the most efficient, powerful blow and is often called the blade’s “sweet spot”. �

Also called inner guard, a system of rings, loops, and bars in a sword guard that was developed in c.1500 to protect the inner side of the hand and body. Bars or branches of the counterguard usually joined the knuckle-guard and arms of the hilt. �

Cross (Cross-guard)�
A part of the furniture of edged weapons, positioned crosswise to the blade and the grip. As the simplest form of guard, it has been known since antiquity. In some swords of the 16th to 18th centuries, cross guards were extended forward and backward to form the fore and rear quillions. Cross guards can also be seen on some staff weapons, on which they served the same purpose of protecting the hand. �

A term describing a sword with a simple cross-guard, that when inverted point up, forms the profile of a crucifix. �

The sharpened cutting portion of a weapon’s blade. �

False Edge�
In single-edged weapons, a sharpened portion of the back near the point; it is also called the back edge. It served both for better thrusting penetration and for cutting strikes carried out from the same position of the sword (without turning the hand). �

A ring or cap reinforcing the grip of an edged weapon or the shaft of a pole arm. The term is also often applied to scabbard bands. �

Finger Ring (Finger Guard)�
The portion of a sword’s guard that is a semi-circular bar laying in the plane of the blade, attached to the root of the quillions and curved round to touch, or nearly touch, the edges of the blade. Finger rings are also called the Arms of the Hilt. �

The upper third of the blade, ending in the point. The division of the blade into forte, terzo, and foible is attributed to the Italian school of fencing, which enjoyed a fine reputation in the 16th and 17th centuries �

The lower third of the blade of a sword, nearest the hilt, which is the strongest section of a blade and does most of the parrying. �

The grooves running lengthwise on some blades of edged weaponry, designed to both lighten and make flexible the weapon. Compared with the various other structural modifications made to blades, the fuller appeared relatively late and only after considerable technological advances had been made in metalworking. In the Bronze Age there were opposite forms, with various angling and ribbing methods designed to reinforce the blade. During the “barbarian” migrations, we find swords with blades having a wide, shallow groove running down both faces. At a later stage the first signatures or marks of the craftsman appeared in these grooves. Through the centuries the fuller became an even more integral part of the blade until, in the 16th and 17th centuries, it also became a demonstration of the craftsman’s skill. �

A generic word used to describe the accessories and fittings on various types of weapons. It refers, in particular, to everything built onto the tang of any edged weapon to facilitate its use and any decorative mounts on the handle, blade, or scabbard. It is also used in a general sense, when referring to attachments, fittings, and accessories of armor. �

The part of edged weapons that is gripped by the hand. In the Stone Age it was made by rounding off and smoothing the part held, then binding it with leather or fabric. In the Bronze Age, because of the greater possibilities offered by this metal, the grip became markedly different from the rest of the weapons and added some sort of protection for the hand. From the late Middle Ages, the wooden shaft was predominately used, covered with colored fabrics, sheets of decorated precious metal, polished leather, or twisted and braided wire. In order to provide a firm hold, the grip almost invariably had a spindle-like form, was fairly rounded, and trimmed and grooved. �

In edged weapons, a device or a part designed to protect the user’s hand. �

The whole of the grip and the guard in a bladed weapon, generally consisting of the pommel, grip, and cross guard. �

Knuckle-guard (or Knuckle-bow)�
An important part of the hilt of swords and sabers in the form of a bow extending from the cross guard toward the pommel. As can be adduced from several English swords, it appeared no later than the mid-15th century, first as an extension of the cross guard strongly bent upward to protect the hand from cutting blows. Later the knuckle-guard became a central piece of the sophisticated system of side bars forming the guard of swords and rapiers. Although it gradually lost its importance with the introduction of light thrusting smallswords in the second half of the 17th century, some examples of this weapon preserved the knuckle-guard as a traditional pattern up to the 20th century. In most types of military swords and sabers, the knuckle-guard has always retained its role of protecting the hand from cuts, and it is still a feature of fencing sabers and of swords of historic form worn with full dress uniforms. �

In staff weapons, the langet consisted of an iron strap, usually straight but sometimes zigzag shape, extending from the socket down the wooden part of the shaft and attached to it by nails or screws. There were usually two langets, in line either with the cutting edges or with the flat faces of the head. They carried out the dual task of increasing the strength of the attachment of the head to the staff and of protecting the most exposed part from blows; in hafted combat weapons, therefore, the other two sides of the wood were sometimes protected by “false langets,” with one end fitted into the socket or into a square ring under the socket, thus protecting the other two sides of the wooden staff.�

In sabers, and less often, in other swords, the langets are extensions of the cross guard going symmetrically from its center into the grip and over the shoulder of the blade, on both faces of the blade. In most cases, there is a small space between the blade and langets, which tightly fit the locket of the mouth of the scabbard, thus preventing an accidental unsheathing. There is a possibility that strong langets were also used by experienced swordsmen to stop and catch an opponent’s blade at a sliding lateral strike. �

Overall Length (OL)�
A unit of measurement representing the complete length of a weapon from tip to end. �

Pas D`ane�
A term of French origin, used fairly widely but incorrectly since the 19th century to describe the arms of the hilt. In the 17th century, it was used to describe one of the oval shells forming the sword guard. �

A term referring to the sharp tip or end of a sword blade at the opposite end of the hilt. �

Point of Balance (PoB)�
The Point of Balance on a sword is simply the point on which the center of gravity is located. In other words, it’s the spot along the blade’s length that has equal mass on either side of it. The PoB will vary widely between sword types and their intended functions. �

The end of the grip in swords and daggers, which served either to give a better hold on the weapon or to balance it. �

See Side Ring.�

Quillion (or Quillon)�
An extended cross guard of swords and daggers designed in the 16th century to parry or entangle the opponent’s blade. The quillions extended from a base, the quillion block, below the grip, and were either straight, recurved in S-Form, or bent toward the blade (especially in parrying daggers). In some types of hilts the forward quillion was curved toward the pommel, serving as a knuckle-guard. �

Quillion Block (or Quillon Block)�
Part of the guard of edged weapons consisting of a small block of metal with the tang passing through it, acting as a support for the shoulder of the blade and the base of the cross guard. This feature was absent throughout most of the Bronze Age, appearing in antiquity as an intermediate element between the grip and the blade, being slightly broader than the latter. With the appearance of quillions and other elements of the guard, its form and function became more defined; in fact, the quillions extended from it, as did the knuckleguard and the arms of the hilt. The quillion block was also called the ecusson. �

The unsharpend section of the blade near the hilt and usually within the guards in front of the quillions. One purpose of the ricasso was to allow a user to curl a finger over a quillion, allowing for better point control. Often times, longer swords would have an extended ricasso, allowing the gripping of an entire hand onto the blade past the cross guard for more leverage. �

A rigid sheath made of wood, metal, or leather-often cuir-bouilli (hardened leather)–used to enclose and carry the blade of an edged weapon, both to protect the wearer and to keep the blade clean and sound. In the protohistoric period, it was often made with plaques of cast bronze; later it was made with small wooden plaques that were covered with leather or fabric and then fitted with bindings and metal mounts. The edged weapon has always been something of a status symbol, and the scabbard was therefore of great importance to keep the weapon in good order.�

The ways in which scabbards have been made down the ages vary a great deal, but they have been generally simple for weapons of war, and richly decorated and ornate for weapons carried by leaders and royalty, and for presentation and ceremonial weapons. �

Shell Guard�
A type of the sword guard, often round or oval in shape. It appeared in the early 17th century and was used in various swords, such as the Pappenheimer or the Walloon sword. By 1630 it had assumed the hemispherical shape and was widely used in Spanish and Italian swords. Shell guards were also fitted to smallswords and to various hunting and naval weapons. �

Side Ring�
Also called ring guard or port, a part of the guard of swords and daggers for protecting the hand during parrying actions, first seen in the 15th century and particularly widely used in the 16th and 17th centuries. The side ring was positioned at the center of the cross guard, at right angles to the blade. It was made of a solid piece of steel welded or brazed to the cross guard and was sometimes fitted, for additional protection of the fingers, with an openwork metal plate. Occasionally a smaller side ring was placed inside another, both meeting at the cross guard. In other types, one side ring projected from the cross guard and the other from below it, both being linked by the arms of the hilt. The latter construction is frequently found on rapiers and two-handed swords. �

The stem of the blade, which extends into the handle and serves to attach the hilt. Its form varies depending on the system that joins the handle to the blade. If pointed, the tang is driven in like a nail, a very simple system still used for tool handles (e.g., files, chisels, etc.). In order to achieve a stronger join, the tang is usually shaped like a tapering cylinder that slightly exceeds the length of the handle and is peened onto the pommel or button. In the 19th century the end of the tang was often threaded, and the button was screwed onto it. �

The middle section of a blade, between the forte and the foible. �

Turk’s Head�
A modern nickname for rings made of twisted-wire braid sometimes used to finish off both ends of the grip of swords and daggers. It is so called because of its resemblance to a turban, a type of headdress typical of some Moslem peoples. �

A form of covering and finishing the grip of a weapon, consisting of twisted or braided wire spun round the handle. Often the wire was of alternating types (iron, bronze, copper, etc.) or alternating patterns (twisted clockwise, counter-clockwise, straight, etc.), forming complex visual patterns. Wire wrapping was employed both to increase the security of a weapon’s grip as well as of a means of decoration.

Survival knife Choices Introduction PT 1

Everyone seems to have the impression that a survival knife has to be a large Bowie style blade. Not the easiest knife to try and skin a rabbit with, but a large knife can do things a small knife can�t, but not the other way around, particularly for the use of shelter building. Blade steels, essentially there�s Spring Steel vs. Tool Steel vs. High End Super Steels. The Spring steels are tougher and more ductile, where as tool steels have more wear resistance and hardness being mainly used more for custom made blades. 1095/1080 spring steels are the most commonly used for survival style production blades. The high end super steels, well you�d be hard pressed to ever break one in your life time. The advantages of spring steels are that they are a production blade being cheaper but you may be able to sharpen them on a river rock if caught without a sharpening device. Steels made from D2, 3V, INFI etc. you will need a diamond sharpener to put a good edge on the blade. I have cheap $50 blades right up to high end $1000 dollar knives. Some production and others custom made that I�ve waited months for and been made to my exact specifications. Some have been great and others have been crap, it all comes down to a decent heat treatment, no matter what the steel used. There are several ways of looking at survival knives. One; the best knife is the one you have on you at the time. Two; carrying one blade that does it all is a myth. It�s taken me over 10 years to find such a blade that comes very close to that knife. Three; if carrying one large blade, then attach a smaller parasite blade to the sheath to have more control over smaller jobs. Four; carry multiple blades, Small, medium and large knives to cover varying situations. One philosophy is to buy many cheap and nasty knives and just replace them as they break. You can buy knives worth $20 dollars each by the dozen and still not cost the price of one good custom blade that will last a life time. I prefer a knife I can trust not to break, whether that�s a cheap knife or an expensive model. When looking for survival knives and not interested in custom made or steels and high prices etc. Then you can�t go wrong with either the Kabar/Beckers or the Esee brands. They have a model to suit every use. Over the next few posts I�ll be showing blades differing in steels and sizes and explaining their uses from, fighting, general purpose, all-rounder�s, Nessmuk trio�s, chopping and bush craft Doubles, etc.

Survival Knives PT 2 – Nessmuk Trio

DSCF0821 The Nessmuk trio is based on the writings in the book �Woodcraft and Camping� written by George Washington Sears under the pen name Nessmuk. Where the author carries three tools, a short double bitted axe, a mid sized skinning blade commonly called a Nessmuk after the author and a small clasp knife. There are many versions of this trio through a net search. � http://www.zianet.com/jgray/nessmuk/woodcraft/title_page.html http://www.oldjimbo.com/Outdoors-Magazine/Nessmuk-and-his-Tools.pdf

Jeff Crowner Knife Collection

I hadn�t started with the intent of buying more than one knife from Jeff but it didn�t turn out that way. However I became very impressed with his work, heat treatment of material, designs and ended up with several of his blades, four actually. The first was a NW Bush blade. This was initiated from watching Man vs. Woman with Mykel Hawke. I wanted that one blade, where if I was stuck in the middle of nowhere could do it all. The Bush Blade usually made as a 9 inch, I had custom designed as an 8.5 inch version to suit my height which exceeded all my expectations. The only problem I had with it was that after so many injuries to my shoulder rotator cups, wrists etc. I really needed palm swells. Jeff agreed to remake the grips for me but when it arrived he had spent so much time shaping the original grips, couldn�t bear to grind them off so we did a trade. Jeff kept my original for his personal bug out bag and made me a second. (That�s how good it had turned out). This was to be my third blade from him. This time I went for an 8 inch version for several reasons. Originally the 8.5 was if I was intending to carry only one knife and be used for more chopping applications. I hadn�t really planned on buying multiple blades when I had first ordered it. I have always said an 8 inch blade would be the perfect survival knife, so I thought it about time I put my money where my mouth is, now that I�ve found the design and material (3V) that I liked. Secondly, realistically I don�t just carry one knife but at a minimum three, so the slightly shorter 8 inch blade fitted in much better when incorporating a three blade system. The second blade ordered was a 9.5 inch NW Golok and since buying it have sold many of my other chopping blades minus my D2 chisel ground kukri�s which are custom made and one of a kind. That Golok still hasn�t been beaten as a chopper. I feel confident that if I was dropped in the middle of nowhere with it I could quite easily build a full scale winter shelter without a problem. For the fourth blade I wanted a fighter. Something I could use in Kali training and along the lines of a �Book of Eli� style fighting blade. I have a Swapmrat 17�Waki and 15� Ruki. The 15 inch blade is still a little too long for concealment. The same can really be said for the 14� Valiant Golok . I�ve tried regrinding this several times and still can�t remove the harmonic; I also wouldn�t class it as a heavy cutter being able to strike against another blade in combat. I believe a 14 inch blade would be minimal when going against another long blade or multiple trained opponents but in all likely hood that is unlikely to happen to me. I required a blade that not only could be concealed for ADC (All Day Carry) but also used as a short machete for realistic purposes. At 12.5 inches I thought the Bush knife would fit both these requirements. Very easy to draw from an inverted Dundee rig and very fast in the hand, the shorter blade having no over swing like in a 14 inch. This is similar in length to the Cold Steel kuks and enabling me to even the odds in terms of reach and leverage I may one day need if defending against more than one assailant.

How to Survive When Disaster Strikes

When I first started designing my own 72 hour Bug Out Bag, this article probably influenced me the most of all the ones posted on the internet at the time. It just had the basics and wasnt filled with a whole bunch of crap that would be deposited along the road side being too heavy to carry any distance. It wasnt written by someone that had never trekked with a full load and didnt have the rambo, carry a dozen guns attitude. Id like to see anyone carry more than a long rifle and a pistol any distance with a decent amount of ammo included. Thats why I always like passing this one on to others, hopefully it will make a good starting point for them, as it did for me. Although Ive now opted for more permanent 7 day and 14 day kits to be carried by vehicle, I still have 3 day kits set up. These can be carried with you at all times. I have one in my jeep at all times and another stored under the decking in my backyard within a plastic water tight container for a backup.

Bug Out!

How to Survive When Disaster Strikes

By Dan Johnson


In an amusing B-grade Sci-Fi flick titled “Tremors,” giant underground worms terrorized a small desert town. What is even more unbelievable than the giant worms is that Hollywood would produce a movie where one of the heroes is not only a gun aficionado but also a hard-core survivalist. Burt, played by Michael Gross, is a decent but decidedly paranoid and eccentric character who is often the butt of local jokes. But when he and his wife supply the townsfolk with much needed weaponry and kill one of the monsters that crashes into their well-stocked compound, one of the locals admits, “We’re not gonna be able to make fun of Burt anymore.”

Since the tragic events of September 11, we are all in more of a survival mode and considering “what if” scenarios doesn’t seem so far-fetched now. Even the most liberal among us are not as prone to make fun of survivalists anymore. While it may not be time to head for a remote compound, a few common sense preparations are certainly in order. Terrorist concerns aside, there are many types of disasters that can disrupt our life and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends we all have a supply of food, water and an Emergency Preparedness Kit on hand in case of disaster.

The kit is what survivalist types often refer to as a bug-out bag and it is as good a term as any for discussion here. Besides, I’m too lazy to keep typing Emergency Preparedness Kit. If you were suddenly forced to evacuate your home, the bug-out bag contains items to keep you safe and comfortable until emergency services are in place. Even with natural catastrophes like floods and earthquakes, it usually takes up to 72 hours for emergency services to be implemented. So 72 hours is the minimal time frame in which you should prepare to be on your own. In most cases you are better off if you can stay put in your home. If you do, the bug-out bag is still a convenient way to keep all your emergency supplies organized and in one place.

America is a vast and varied landscape with climate ranging from sub-tropical to alpine. Some of us live in huge urban areas where an escape to the country can take hours under the best conditions, others in rural areas or maybe even on the edge of wilderness. So, if you must evacuate, where you live and where you expect to escape to dictates what items you might need in an emergency, as does climate, population density, and other considerations. A bug-out bag for an escape to the wilderness will be very different than one for a move to an indoor emergency shelter.

I live in a city in the southwest where there is plenty of open land beyond the city limits in every direction, mountains to the north and east and desert to the south and west. Since I live alone, have no children at home to worry about and enjoy camping even in harsh weather, I’ve decided I’d rather head for the hills than be crowded into an emergency shelter. Your needs may be different from mine. Still, I thought it might be useful to discuss the choices I made in putting together a bug-out bag for me and discuss why it works for me and why it might not work for you.

Most survivalists prepare for the long haul and stockpile an assortment of combat weapons and large quantities of ammo. Nothing wrong with that, but we are concerned here with short-term survival and in most cases heavy firepower will not be needed. It is unlikely we will have to engage terrorists in our neighborhoods but riots and looting may be a concern where you live, and you can certainly prepare for it. Just bear in mind local regulations regarding carrying firearms and realize those laws will likely remain in effect. In fact, you are more likely to be searched in a disaster situation and probably less tolerance shown by law enforcement.

I opted not to pack weapons in my main bug-out bag for several reasons, not the least of which is I use my guns often and did not want to have to continuously go into my bug-out bag to retrieve them. You may decide to pack weapons in your main bag or not at all, depending on your circumstances. I keep a small second bag packed. This one is the mini-range bag from Bagmaster and is strictly for weapons and ammo. It holds a 1911 and a Marvel .22 conversion unit, along with a half-dozen loaded .45 auto magazines and two magazines for the .22 conversion. In the outer pocket is a 100-round pack of .22 ammo, a holster, and tools for installing the conversion unit.

In choosing a bag you should consider how much gear you need to carry and how far you may have to physically carry it. If a lot of walking is likely to be involved, backpacks are favored. Multiple bags are called for with families as all the adults and older children can share the load and the more people to provide for, the more supplies needed. You may even want to put together a special little bag for the smaller children consisting of new toys, games, and activity books they have not played with beforehand to help keep their minds off the situation. You can also pack some of their favorite packaged snacks.

Bags should be water-resistant and possibly even waterproof if you live in a very wet climate. I mentioned bags first but they should likely be the last item chosen. First decide what you need to carry, stack all the items together and then decide what size and number of bags you need. How to distribute the supplies among family members warrants careful thought. For instance, you may decide to have one bag for food and cooking apparatus, another for clothing and shelter, and one just for first aid and miscellaneous gear. But then if family members are somehow separated or a bag is lost or damaged, none of you will have all that you need. It may be unlikely that this will happen, but you have to consider every possible scenario and make the best choices you can. Each choice will often mean a compromise.

I chose a Bagmaster Pro Gear Bag over a backpack because I like the easy accessibility of the duffel-type bag and didn’t consider it likely I would have to carry the bag very far. I live close to the edge of town, and I’m confident my 4X4 can get me out of the city even if I have to resort to some creative cross country driving. If I am wrong and do end up traveling on foot, the shoulder strap works pretty well and I feel I can manage.

Other than in frigid conditions where freezing to death is a major concern, water is the most important element of your immediate survival. Yet we tend to take water for granted. Americans just assume when they turn on the faucet, the water will flow. Even if you decide you don’t need emergency survival gear, one thing everyone should do is lay in a supply of emergency water. It doesn’t cost anything. You can simply fill some empty milk jugs with water and add a drop of bleach to purify it. This works fine for storing water in the home but milk jugs are not made as sturdy as they once were and are prone to leak if moved around a lot such as in a vehicle. If you store water in your vehicle, use a heavyweight plastic container. They are inexpensive and will assure the water is there if you need it.

Ideally, each person should drink at least a gallon of water a day but FEMA recommends you plan on a minimum of two-quarts per day per person. You can survive short-term on less but you will still need a fair amount of water to go three days without dehydrating and without some water you will not survive 72 hours.

If you have to evacuate, water is bulky and heavy and you could easily fill up your bug-out bag with even a minimal three-day supply, so it is best to include only a very short-term supply in your bag. I’ve packed three of the prepackaged four-ounce emergency water packs in my bag and made other arrangements for my sustained needs. Since I hope to evacuate via vehicle, I keep a five-gallon water can in my 4X4 and as an extra precaution included an MSR Mini-Works water filter in my bag, plus a small bottle of iodine tablets.

Water can be readily found in most parts of the country, even in the desert thanks to windmills and livestock tanks, but little of it is safe to drink without purification. Small water filters like the Mini-Works were designed for backpackers and will remove harmful bacteria and protozoa and any sediment. They will not remove viruses however. This is not usually a problem in the US but for extra caution you can treat the water first with iodine tablets and then filter out the sediment and iodine. Water treated this way is as pure and sweet as any you’ll find in a bottle at the supermarket.

You can easily survive 72 hours and longer without food but it is uncomfortable to do so and both your physical strength and mental processes will suffer. Packaged fatty foods like sausages and beef jerky take up little room and offer quick energy, but if you feel confident of a good water supply, freeze dried foods are your best bet for more substantial meals. Some of the meals designed for backpacking are quite good and well balanced or you can find suitable packaged foods at the supermarket. The packaged pasta dinners are good. Some call for milk but I have cooked a lot of them with just water and can tell little difference. If you take the time to look around your local store, you’ll find a multitude of suitable packaged foods to stock your bag.

You will of course need a pot for cooking and preferably a portable stove. You can cook over a campfire but some of the compact stoves on the market are very small, much more convenient, and can also be used for emergency short-term heat. I have the MSR Superfly model that weighs only 4.5 ounces, yet will boil water in less than three minutes. One feature I especially like about this stove is the Multi-Mount technology. It is the only butane stove that fits almost all makes and types of self-sealing butane canisters.

When choosing cookware, the first impulse might be to pick as small a pot as possible to save on space. But I use a two-liter pot with lid designed for camping. It is large enough to come in handy for filtering water or as a wash pan for personal hygiene since I can store the stove and other items inside it, there is really very little if any space sacrificed. Don’t forget to include cooking utensils. If you smoke or have a caffeine addiction, an emergency is no time to quit. Withdrawal symptoms include nervousness and impaired reasoning, not what you need in a high-stress situation. So be sure to include some of your favorite vices in your bug-out bag.

What clothes you need depends on the region and time of year. Winter clothes are bulkier and require more space, so if extreme cold is expected, you may want to consider a separate bag just for the needed clothing. I managed to pack what I needed for the relatively mild winters in my area into my main bag by using layers of relatively thin high-quality clothing. This is one area you don’t want to cut corners. Cheap cotton long johns do not provide the degree of protection needed.

My winter bag contains a set of polypropylene long underwear that offers excellent heat retention in a very thin layer when worn next to the skin. If needed, I have a set of Ullfrotte wool/polyester blend underwear to put on over the polypropylenes for added warmth; some knee-high wool-blend socks and a wool pullover also from Ullfrotte; gloves; a stocking cap; and an extra shirt round out my winter wear. I see no reason to pack a coat in the bag since it takes up a lot of room and, if it is winter, I am certain to have one handy anyway. Some type of rain gear is advisable. Here in the dry southwest, I feel I can get by with a lightweight emergency poncho. Better gear may be needed where you live.

Shelter depends on your predicted survival scenario. If you expect to stay in the city, you can usually find shelter of some sort, but since I have opted to head for open country I included a Eureka one-man backpacking tent in my bag. It folds up very compactly and provides good shelter from wind and rain.

I keep a sleeping bag in my truck at all times but wanted something in my bug-out bag in case my vehicle is not accessible. Space blankets are an option but I sacrificed a little more space in the bag for a Thermo-Lite Emergency Bivvy Sack. It is of the same material used in space blankets but designed as a sleeping bag to keep out the cold. It folds up compactly into the stuff sack provided and requires little storage space.

There are a number of good first aid kits on the market. Some are just basic ointment and bandages while others offer supplies for more serious injuries. Adventure Medical Kits, designed for serious wilderness expeditions, are among the most technically advanced. I chose their Fundamentals kit for my bag. It is a rather large kit, but my reasoning is I will be on my own out there and want to be able to properly treat any injuries. Plus, if I should pass some injured people on my exodus I will certainly stop to offer help. This kit has a good assortment of bandages plus splints and even a biohazard kit. It also contains a comprehensive first aid manual. If you are on any prescription medication, be sure to add a supply to the first aid kit. You might also want to add some over the counter products such as Excedrin PM to ease aching muscles and help you sleep once you are in a secure location.

Every kit should have a good knife and a multi-tool of some make. Beyond that, it depends on what you expect your needs to be. Since I likely will be camping, I included a Glock E-tool and a Gränsfors Bruks Hunter’s Axe. The E-Tool is a lightweight folding shovel that requires little room in the bag yet could certainly come in handy in an emergency. It even has a saw that stows in the handle. The Hunter’s Axe is of course for cutting firewood and, though I didn’t deem it an absolute necessity, it fits neatly on top of my bag thanks to some Velcro straps and thus doesn’t take up any room inside.

There are a lot of other items worthy of consideration. For example, a good map and compass if you are evacuating by road. Main routes may be blocked or congested requiring some detours. My bag includes a detailed geographic map of the area that shows not only minor dirt roads across the desert but stock tanks and springs where water may be found.

A good light source is essential. I packed a powerful four-cell AA flashlight plus a Lightwave 4000 LED light for sustained use. Candles or a small backpacker’s lantern are also worthy of consideration. Be sure to include extra batteries, bulbs, and fuel if needed.

Here is a checklist of other items you may need:

  • Money
  • Copy of insurance documents
  • Portable radio
  • Survival manual
  • Liquid anti-bacterial soap
  • Toilet tissue
  • Matches /lighter
  • Sunblock/insect repellent
  • Pen/pencil/paper
  • Rope/twine/cord
  • Towel/washcloth
  • Duct tape
  • Signaling device
  • Portable heater
  • Pre-paid phone card

You should repack your bag every six-months and rotate food items to keep them fresh. Spring and fall are the best times as you can pack clothes and other items suitable for the upcoming season. All members of the family who are old enough should be involved and know what supplies are packed, where they are and how to use them. It can actually be a fun family project. The most important element of survival is common sense and a cool head. Consider carefully every possible scenario and plan for it. Don’t go overboard and pack more than you can reasonably carry, but try to include everything you need.

Prepper’s Library

What�s on your shelves? A Prepper�s Library

If you hang around the various prepper/survivalist boards, you will quickly learn about the three �B�s. Beans, Band-Aids, and Bullets. What you don�t hear so often is the fourth �B�; Books.

Like other supplies and equipment, books can greatly add to your survivability and comfort in a difficult situation. From reloading to food preserving, books not only supplements the knowledge you already have, but gives you a teaching tool when passing on your knowledge to your children, spouse, or friends. If something should happen to you, the books are banked knowledge that can used for generations to come.

The only downside to physical books is their bulk and weight. Full sized manuals rarely have space devoted to them in the Bug out Bag or camping backpack. But then, manuals for home repair or gardening aren�t really needed when the situation has deteriorated to the point of evacuation.

An argument could be made for having book backups in the form of PDFs or E-books. It is a good choice, but given the delicate nature of present day readers, pods, and pads; plus the necessity of having a renewable form of recharging (solar charger), I consider them as backup to physical books.

Physical books don�t need energy to work. They rarely break when dropped; have better results drying out after getting wet; and can be read in multiple forms of light.

Physical books also have the often overlooked advantage of acting as an insulation device. A wall of standard manual sized books adds eight inches of wood pulp that helps hold in either heat or cold.

The types of books in your personal library will, obviously, be based on your personality and point of view; but for basics and beginners, I�d recommend the following:

A First Aid manual: Having a good First Aid book will help keep any training you get fresh in your head as well as back you up during a stressful time.

A general Home Repair manual: You might live in a condo or apartment where maintenance repairs things, but when things go wrong and they aren�t around, these books can save you a lot of headaches. From basic wiring to plumbing, a book like this will help you fix that dripping faucet or change out wall sockets (fixtures).

A general vehicle repair manual: Like home repair, these books can give you instructions on how to diagnose and repair your vehicle, saving you money in good times, and possibly your bacon in bad. While there are repairs I�d rather have a true mechanic do, there are many other repairs and general maintenance items I found I could do on my own. It built confidence and gave me insight to my vehicle in ways I could not get as just a driver. Be warned: Most general vehicle repair manuals deal with the engine, electrics, and minor body work. They do not have any instruction when it comes to transmissions. You will need a general transmission manual for that.

A book on edible wild plants: If things go really bad, or if you just live in a bad neighborhood, you can expect unsavory people to raid vegetable gardens like wild rabbits. It might take them a while to find it, but one they do it will be picked clean. A book on wild edibles will not only show you what plants have dibble parts when hiking, but they will also show you what plants you can install in your landscape that will provided rarely detected nutrients for you and your family. (How many people have you seen chewing on cat tail?)

A book on general survival: You may never plan on having to build a lean-to shelter, or build a snare trap, but a book on general survival is a great tool no matter where you live. Even urban dwellers can appreciate the information on gathering and processing water so that it�s safe to drink. Primitive fire starting might seem like woods man survival only but when you need to turn that 3 gallon pot into a makeshift hibachi, those skills can come in handy.

Those are just the basics. You can build your library from there to suit your personal needs. Reloading, tracking, fishing, cabin building, RV repair, Medical manuals, canning, dehydrating, square foot gardening, hunting, tanning, crafts both modern and primitive, knot tying, anything you can think of to expand your knowledge and up the percentage of your survival should be on your shelves.

And let�s not forget about magazines too. They have wonderful articles on various homesteading/prepping/survival skills boiled down in easy to learn lessons.

They say knowledge is power. How powerful do you want to be?


Pet Bug Out Bags


Pet BOB (Bug Out Bag)


First Aid


The following has been gleamed from several different sources and put together into one article. It started as a favour to a friend, when she inquired as to what to carry in a BOB for animals and I just kept finding more and more information that I thought may be of use. I must have gone through atleast 20 to 30 web pages, trying to find any detailed information. The links to the sites werent kept as I never intended it for public use, but a few friends that recieved a copy thought it may be worth posting. I have no vetinary experience, so with any information obtained from the net, its advisable to double check it by printing off a copy and taking to your local vet (one that you trust). As with human doctors, youll get 10 different opinions from 10 different doctors. The one you trust is the one you deal with.

I just finished reading “Where there is no Pet Doctor” and sent a copy of the article to the author to see if he could double check the information before posting, as I never recieved a reply from the local vet clinics. I heard back within a day and he was kind enough to go over it and at the bottom of the page in the amendments section is his reply and recomendations. I highly recomend his book, youll see from his reply why I do. There is just no way you can begin to grasp what is needed for taking care of pets in an emergency from a short forum based article. It was meant more for an introduction, to get people interested enough to put together the relevant books and supplies to suit their own needs and not have to search all over the net to find what is needed.

BOB Contents

Polar Fleece Blankets(1 per animal)


Tinned Food

Dry Food


Collars with ID


Travel Bowls(Food and Water)

Can Opener


Kitty Litter

Litter Tray

Cat Carriers

Meds-Flea/Tick and Worming Paste. Make sure to include Heart Worm

Rope or chain with swivel attachment

Signs of canine illness

How to tell if your dog is sick

Owners who observe and handle their healthy dogs have a head start on recognizing early signs of illness in their pets. Those who know what a healthy pet acts, feels, and smells like can spot differences in behavior and bodies and determine whether a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Healthy dogs have a temperature of 101-102� F, a respiratory rate of 15-20 breaths per minute, and a heart rate of 80-120 beats per minute. They have pink mucous membranes (gums, inside of lips, tongue, inside of eyelids) and rapid capillary refill action in these areas. They have clean-smelling ears and skin and a full haircoat. Their skin is pliant, an indication of proper hydration, and their eyes are clear and bright.

If your puppy or dog shows any of the following signs, be prepared to call your veterinarian.

  • Eyes: swelling, discharge, redness, etc.
  • Nose: running, crusting, discharge, etc.
  • Ears: discharge, debris, odor, twitching, scratching, shaking, etc.
  • Coughing, gagging, sneezing, retching, or vomiting.
  • Irregular breathing, shortness of breath, prolonged or heavy panting, etc.
  • Intestinal activity
    • Color and consistency of bowel movement
    • Frequency of defecation
    • Bloody stool
    • Evidence of parasites, etc


  • Change in amout of food intake
  • Change in body weight
  • Change in water intake
  • Urine
    • Color
    • Frequency
    • Amount
    • Straining
    • Dribbling, etc.
  • Odor
    • Mouth?
    • Skin?
    • Ears?
    • Other?
  • Coat & skin
    • Wounds
    • Tumors
    • Hair loss
    • Dander
    • Color change
    • Biting
    • Scratching
    • Bite marks
    • Evidence of parasites
    • Licking, etc.
  • Behavior
    • Depression
    • Anxiety,
    • Fatigue
    • Lethargy
    • Sleepiness
    • Trembling
    • Stumbling
    • Falling, etc.

Noticing signs is half the battle; keeping a record helps the veterinarian make a diagnosis. Be sure to note when the symptom first appeared, and whether it has been intermittent, continuous, increasing in frequency, getting better, or getting worse bfore calling the veterinarian.

Dog Tip: First Aid Kits and Emergency Treatments

Dog Tip: First Aid Kits and Emergency Treatments

Those who have faced emergencies can tell you it is essential to get your first aid kit together and get familiar with first aid measures BEFORE you are confronted with an accident, emergency or sudden illness. Many situations require fast and correct action to prevent further injury, infection or death. So assemble a first aid kit now, so that you’ll be ready when your pet (or a human) needs immediate help.

Be sure to read through the First Aid Kit list that follows. It will give you an idea of the situations that can and do come up. Being prepared can keep a manageable incident from becoming health-threatening. It will reduce the chance of infection and further complications…reduce stress for everyone…cut recovery time…and empower you to effectively help. Being prepared can even make the difference between life and death.


Keep a first aid safety kit on hand at home and in your car. Take the one from your car with you when you travel with your pet.

Each kit should include the items listed. It might sound like a lot of stuff, but when an accident occurs, these items can help you save the health or life of an animal…or a human.

Waterproof Kit Container:�
Write on the container, in indelible ink, the phone numbers for your vet, the closest emergency animal hospital, and poison control hotlines. Also list your own name, address and phone numbers.

Recomended First Aid Kit Contents


First Aid Guides:
Animal first aid book, such as “The First Aid Companion For Dogs and Cats”, Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (http://www.doctordog.com/dogbook/dogch01.html),

Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (http://www.doctordog.com/catbook/catch01.html)

Where there is No pet Doctor a manual for Cruisers,Rvers and Backcountry Travellers by David W LaVigne

Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets by Donald R Strombeck

CPR instructions – download the online brochures listed later in this tipsheet.

Essential Vet and Contact Info:�
Prepare and make copies of a list including:�
Phone number for your vet, the closest emergency animal hospital, and poison control hotlines (such as the 2 listed in this tipsheet). �
Your own name, address and phone numbers. �
Your emergency contact person’s numbers, in case you are incapacitated.�
The name, age, breed, sex, identification (such as microchipping information), and any health problems (especially useful information if your petsitter or emergency contact needs to call an emergency medical service about your pet).

A copy of your pet vaccination records.�
Photo of each pet in case it is needed for ID or other purposes.

Kit Supplies:

Tweezers (flat slant tip instead of the rounded variety)�
Sterile needle (to remove splinters and tick heads)�
Turkey baster or bulb syringe (for flushing wounds, force feeding)�
10cc syringe with no needle (for administering medications)�
Tongue depressor to examine mouth

Rubber gloves�
Nail clippers�
Rectal thermometer (normal body temperature of dogs and cats is 100.5 to 102.5 F; take your pet’s temperature under normal conditions to get a baseline for comparison in case he gets sick or injured)�
Disposable safety razor (for shaving fur from around a wound)

Towel (at least 2)�
Paper towels�
Blanket (the compact thermal blanket works well; uses include keeping an injured animal from going into shock)�
Bandanna and/or nylon stocking (many uses, including muzzling or securing a torn earflap)�
Strips of cloth�
Dog booties or little socks (to cover wounded paws or to protect so you won’t need to treat)�

3×3 sterile gauze pads�
Rolled gauze (for bandaging, stabilizing joints, making a muzzle)�
Adhesive first aid tape (in narrow and wide widths)�
Cotton rolled�
Cotton balls �
Bandages (including self-clinging or vet wrap and waterproof types)�
Vet wrap, which sticks to itself but not fur.

Anti-bacterial wipes or pads�
Hot/cold pack�
Ice pack

Hydrogen peroxide 3% USP (to induce vomiting and to use on infected wounds; check the expiration date from time to time and keep only fresh solution in your kit)�
Activated charcoal tablets (effective in absorbing many toxics)

Betadine solution (a type of antiseptic iodine medicine for wounds to deter infection)�
Antibiotic ointment (such a Neosporin)�
Rubbing alcohol (apply on skin as body cooling agent to aid heat stroke or fever; helps break down oils; acts as a drying agent between toes and skin folds; but do not use on wounds as it can damage skin and is not an appropriate antiseptic)

Bag Balm (especially useful for treating paw pads)�
Petroleum jelly (helpful aid for taking temperature)�
Sterile saline eye solution (to flush out eye contaminants and wounds)�
Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing�
Eye ointment with no cortisone�
Epsom salt (mix 1 teaspoon in 2 cups of warm water for drawing out infection and bathing itchy paws and skin)�
Baking soda (good for soothing skin conditions)�
Styptic powder (to stop bleeding of torn toenails, etc.)

Milk of magnesia (for stomach upset and certain types of poison ingestion)�
Pepto Bismol (for stomach upset and some types of poison ingestion; do not give to cats)�
Benadryl (for bug bites and stings and other allergic reactions. Use plain Benadryl, not the other formulas.�
Gentle pet sedative such as Rescue Remedy (available at health food and some pet supply stores). Rescue Remedy is a Bach flower essence available in most health food stores. This gentle, natural stress reducing liquid can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue and irritation. Put a drop in your water bottle and in their water. To help prevent travel sickness, a common dosage is four drops in the mouth about ten hours before the trip, repeating every four hours as needed. For stressed or injured animals, rub a drop on their ear or put a drop on the towel in their crate or carrier. Flower essences can be used along with conventional medicine.

Aspirin (for dogs only, 1 tablet per 60 pounds; do not use acetaminophen or ibuprofen; do not give aspirin to cats; since aspirin and other pain relievers can be toxic to any pet, consult your vet and first aid books)

Can of soft pet food (can help reduce the effect of a poisoning)�
Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid such as Dawn (to clean contaminated skin or sticky substances)�
Plastic baggies

Muzzle (an injured or scared animal may try to bite) �
Nylon leash�
Pet crate or carrier (a safe, calming place for your pet and a safe way to transport)

Also have in your car:�
Bottled water�
Bowl or other container to use for water�
Spare leash

Other suggested items:�
Slicker brush�
Tick scoop (handy little device for removing ticks)�
Treats containing sugar (in case the animal experiences hypoglycemic or low glucose episode)�
Betadine Swab Sticks�
Panalog (a healing cream)�
Nexaban (a type of skin glue to glue a wound closed if necessary)�
Penlight (to see how the pupils respond to light; in normal animals, pupils decrease in size when exposed to light)�
5 inch hemostat, a clamp for blood vessels to stop bleeding

Liquid Ice offers a good way to treat pet injuries such as sprains, strains, swelling and bruising using cold and compression. The non-dyed, non-adhesive stretch cotton bandage is pre-soaked in a special menthol and alcohol solution. It is lightweight, does not restrict movement, and can be applied easily even to knees. No refrigeration necessary, and cold effects last longer than other cold treatments. www.fernovetsystems.com

* If you prefer to purchase a ready-made kit, good choices include:

Medi+ Pet Deluxe First Aid Kit

The Hiker First Aid Kit for Canines�

* If someone is taking care of your pet while you’re away: show them where you keep the first aid kit and vet records, your vet and emergency animal hospital info, how to contact you, and the name and phone number of a friend or relative in case you are unavailable. In addition, let your vet know in advance who you have authorized to take your pet to the vet in your absence, and that you will pay for any emergency visit.


* Hit by a car, hard falls or other high-impact injuries: Rush the animal to the closest animal hospital. First, place the dog on a firm surface, such as a plywood board. If a board is not available, place the animal in a blanket. Keep the animal as steady as possible to prevent further injury.

* Poisoning:
If there is any possibility that your pet came into contact with a poison, go to the vet immediately, since the onset of symptoms could be delayed a day or even two…and by then, it may be too late.

Call immediately, and have this info ready:�
** Your name, address and telephone number.�
** The type of the poisonous substance the pet was exposed to. Be as specific as possible about the substance, the amount ingested or contacted, the time since exposure, etc. Have the container/packaging available, because the label will identify the product’s active ingredients.�
** The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved.�
** The symptoms the animal is experiencing.

* Antifreeze poisoning:
If you suspect your pet may have ingested antifreeze, take him to the vet or emergency animal hospital immediately! Immediate treatment is essential to prevent a painful death. Initial signs include excessive thirst and urination, lack of coordination, weakness, nausea, tremors, vomiting, rapid breathing and heart rate, convulsions, diarrhea and paralysis. Not all signs may be evident. The final stages of poisoning are characterized by oral and gastric ulcers and renal failure, followed by death.

Ethylene glycol is the toxic component in antifreeze. Vets have a test kit to confirm the presence of the poison in the body. If positive, ethanol (vodka or wood grain alcohol) or a newer antidote will be administered intravenously. The goal is to prevent the ethylene glycol from metabolizing to its toxic components. Dialysis can be used to remove the ethylene glycol from the blood stream.

If you are delayed in getting to the animal hospital, it is often recommended to induce vomiting immediately. And some people have had success giving their dogs vodka or other alcohol orally, followed by water. The alcohol reportedly interferes with the body’s processing of the ethylene glycol before it fully metabolizes. However, it is imperative to first call a vet for guidance, and if your vet is not available, call your nearest emergency animal hospital and/or one of the phone hotlines listed in this tipsheet.

* When to induce vomiting:
For many types of poisoning, it is advised to induce vomiting, soon after ingestion before the chemical can do damage. These include ingestion of arsenic (in rat and mouse poisons), chocolate, insecticides, lead, matches, medications (except tranquilizers), plants, shampoo, shoe polish, slug and snail bait, strychnine and weed killers. However, unless you are stranded somewhere, induce vomiting only under the direction of a vet, physician or poison emergency hotline staff member. It is critical to properly identify the ingested substance.

To induce vomiting in pets, give the animal household hydrogen peroxide 3% USP by mouth, using a syringe (bulb or 10cc with no needle). Do not try to pour it down his throat. Instead, pull his lips away from the side of the mouth to make a pocket, in which you will deposit the liquid. It is suggested to use 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the animal’s weight, to a maximum of 3 to 4 tablespoons. Before dosing, first give the animal a little bread or other soft food so there is something to bring up along with the stomach contents. If he has not vomited after 15 minutes, repeat the dose of hydrogen peroxide one more time. After vomiting, some folks recommend giving the animal a teaspoon of Epson salts mixed in some water to help empty the intestine.

Activated charcoal is also used to induce vomiting in pets. It has the ability to absorb and deactivate many toxins, preventing the poisons from reaching the blood stream. Activated charcoal tablets also help when you don’t have access to a clean water supply. Mix a tablet of activated charcoal in 2 teaspoons of water. Give 1 teaspoon per 2 pounds body weight and follow with a pint of water.

While syrup of Ipecac been used to induce vomiting, a growing number of veterinarians, physicians and FDA/public health officials discourage its use for people and animals.

Do not feed salt water or mustard, or stick a finger down the throat; these methods are ineffective and potentially dangerous.

* When NOT to induce vomiting. Do not induce vomiting if the animal is lethargic, unconscious, convulsing, having a seizure or is in shock. Do not induce vomiting if the animal ingested an acidic or alkaline product such as drain cleaner, household cleansers and paint thinner. Caustic and corrosive substances can burn the throat and stomach on the way back up, compounding the injury. Also, do not induce vomiting for ingestion of tranquilizers, bones, sharp objects or petroleum products such as gasoline or lighter fluid.

* If the ingested substance was gasoline, kerosene, an acid or alkali, or a corrosive: Try to give the animal milk to dilute the toxin in the stomach.

* If you know the substance was an acid: First, rinse the mouth. Then feed the dog Milk of magnesia or Pepto Bismol using bulb syringe or eyedropper aimed the back of the mouth. Dose 2 teaspoons per 5 pounds of body weight. (For cats, 1 teaspoon Milk of magnesia per 5 pounds; do not give Pepto Bismol to cats.) This helps neutralize the chemicals and reduce the burn.

* If you know the substance was an akali: First, rinse the mouth. Then mix a tablespoon vinegar with a tablespoon of water and feed the mixture to your pet using a bulb syringe or eyedropper aimed at the back of the mouth. An alternate solution is 1 tablespoon lemon juice mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar. This helps neutralize the chemicals and reduce the burn.

Note: Since cats groom themselves, they can ingest poisons such as sprays that get on their fur. So be sure to wash the pet’s fur.

Remember, for any poisoning, get to the vet as soon as possible. Temporary first aid measures alone are not enough.

* Wounds: �
Be careful, since any animal in pain may try to bite. Muzzle your pet by using a strip of soft cloth, gauze, rope, necktie or nylon stocking. Gently wrap around the nose, under the chin and tie behind the ears. Do not obstruct breathing. A towel placed around the head will help control small pets.

Wash your hands if possible to avoid further contamination. Wear gloves if you have them. Carefully check the wound. Clip the fur back as needed to clear the area around the wound. Clean out debris using ample amounts of saline, balanced electrolyte solution or Betadine antibacterial scrub (or Betadine solution diluted with water to the color of tea). If these are not available, use regular water.

After irrigating the wound, apply antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to the wound.

Note: Do not pour hydrogen peroxide into an open wound; it is better for wounds that have become infected. Do not use alcohol on wounds, as it damages tissue and retards healing.

Wrap open wounds to keep them clean. Make sure bandages are not cutting off circulation; in most cases, it’s best to wrap lightly. Change bandages frequently to aid in healing, gently re-applying antibiotic ointment as needed.

As soon as you finish treating the wound, loosen or remove the muzzle. Bite wounds often become infected, so call your veterinarian, who may dispense prescription antibiotics.

Another home remedy for treating wounds: mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water and soak to draw out infection.

If the Wound is Bleeding:�
Place clean gauze or fabric over the wound and apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. For serious bleeding, hold the pressure for at least 10 straight minutes, since continually releasing the pressure to check the wound will hamper clotting. When bleeding stops, continue with the steps in the previous section.

Avoid tourniquets unless absolutely necessary. If you must apply one, consider this information from http://www.dog.com/vet/firstaid/01.html:�
Apply a tourniquet between the heart and the wound if the bleeding is coming from an artery and on the side away from the heart if it is coming from a vein. Arterial blood is bright red, tends to spurt out with significant force, and pulses with each heart beat as it bleeds. Venous blood (blood from a vein) is dark red and may flow rapidly but does not actually spurt or pulse. Because venous blood is on its way back to the heart from the rest of the body, the tourniquet is applied below or “distal to” the wound, i.e., if the wound is on a leg, the tourniquet is applied on the side closer to the foot. Make the tourniquet just tight enough to stop most of the bleeding. Loosen it every 10 to 15 minutes for 5 to 10 seconds to allow the blood to circulate again into the extremity. You can use almost any cloth, rope, sock, or stocking as a tourniquet, as long as it is long enough to go around the extremity and be tied securely.

* Puncture Wounds:�
Clean the wound and the surrounding skin with an antibacterial solution such as Betadine, applying by dabbing with a gauze pad. Use warm damp compresses for puncture wounds, since you want to delay formation of a scab that could seal the infection in under the skin. This will also increase blood flow to the wound area, which aids healing. It is recommended not to bandage over puncture wounds.

* Paw Treatment:�
A home remedy for treating paw pad and other wounds: mix iodine and water to the point at which it looks like tea. Add some Epsom salt to clean out the wound and bandage it with gauze. You can also apply Bag Balm to help chaffed and injured paws heal. Put on a dog bootie or small sock to protect injured paw pads.

* Burns (chemical, electrical, or heat): �
Symptoms include singed fur, blistering, swelling, redness of skin. Flush burns immediately with lots of cool, running water. Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not place an ice pack directly on the skin. Instead, wrap the pack in a light towel or cloth.

Neutralize acid on skin by rinsing with a solution of baking soda and water. Neutralize alkali substances with a weak vinegar-water solution. Blot dry, apply antibiotic ointment and tape gauze dressing loosely around the affected area. Olive oil can also be applied.

Brush off any dry chemicals that are on the skin. Beware, water may activate some dry chemicals. Call your veterinarian immediately.

Treating burns: trim fur and dab antibiotic ointment. For wounds larger than quarter, wrap in wet towels and go to vet to avert risk of infection.

* Choking: �
Signs include pawing at the mouth, gagging, gasping, breathing difficulty, odd neck posture, abnormal gum color (blue, gray, white), unconsciousness. Open the mouth and try to pull out the tongue to check for an obstruction. Sweep inside with a finger if you cannot see anything. If you see or feel the object, remove it if you can do this without causing throat trauma.

If you can’t clear the airway or the animal is struggling, hold the pet upside down by his back legs if you can. Or use a Heimlich-type maneuver and push up with your fist held under the animal’s belly, just behind the ribcage. Do not apply too much force or you can injure the animal. Go to the vet ASAP.

* Drowning:�
To resuscitate, place your pet on a flat surface, open his mouth, pull the tongue forward, and clear away any debris in his mouth. If he is still in distress, hold him by his hind legs and gently swing him back and forth in an attempt to clear the water from his lungs and stomach. If the pet is too large to lift, place him on his side and press upward on his midsection or abdomen. If necessary, perform the Heimlich-like maneuver described in the “Choking” section, and take him to the nearest vet.

* Electrocution: �
Signs include panting, breathing difficulty, a burn across the lips and tongue, and/or unconscious. It can happen if the pet chews on a power cord. Before touching the animal, turn off power to the outlet and then unplug the cord. Next, if the animal is conscious, rinse his mouth with cold water. Then perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation if the pet is not breathing but does have a pulse…or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if he is not breathing and has no pulse. See instructions for these life-saving techniques in the online brochures listed in the next section.

Wrap the pet in a blanket to help prevent shock, and take him to the vet immediately (you could perform resuscitation in the car if someone else drives). Go to the vet even if your pet seems OK, since electrocution can lead to serious internal problems that may not be evident for awhile. Also, check the mouth for lesions for 3 weeks.

* The ABC’s — Airway, Breathing, Circulation: �
If your pet is not breathing but does have a pulse, you need to perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation immediately. If your pet is not breathing and has no pulse, you must perform CPR immediately. Here are web links to essential life-saving brochures about rescue breathing and pet CPR. Print out 2 copies for your home and car travel kit so you will be ready in an emergency situation:�
http://members.aol.com/henryhbk/acpr.html http://www.rescuecritters.com/cpr.html

* Insect Bites and Stings: �
Remove stinger with tweezers or by gently scraping away with a plastic card. Bathe the area with a solution of baking soda and water, then apply ice packs (lined with a towel or cloth) for 5 minutes at a time. Some people treat stings with Benadryl. Typical dosages: for cats and dogs under 30 pounds, give 10 mg…dogs 30 to 50 pounds, give 25 mg…dogs over 50 pounds, give 50 mg. For more Insect/Skin Remedies, see the link listed at the end.

Stings and bites can cause severe reactions. If there is major swelling, or the animal seems disoriented, sick or has trouble moving or breathing, go to the vet immediately.

Benadryl is good for bee stings, insect bites and other allergic reactions. Use plain Benadryl, not the other formulas.

* Itching, Poison Ivy, Rashes:�
A good tip for soothing human as well as pet skin is to apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the affected areas. Also, mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water to bathe itchy paws and skin.

* Foxtails:�
These barbed seeds from dried grasses and weeds can be easily inhaled by dogs. They can lodge between toes and in ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth and throat, and can even travel through orifices deeper into body, causing infections and abscesses. Check your dog thoroughly after hiking for foxtails, ticks, etc. If your dog is frantically pawing his nose, ears or eyes, shaking or rubbing his head, sneezing for long periods, biting at his anus or has blood coming from his nose, take him to a vet.

* Shock: �
Symptoms include irregular breathing and dilated pupils. Shock can occur due to a serious injury or fright. Keep the animal gently restrained, quiet and warm, with the lower body elevated. Call your veterinarian immediately.

* Heat Stroke Prevention and Treatment:�
To protect your pet from heat stroke, review the Summer Health and Safety tipsheet on the PAW website. Heat stroke can be brought on by activity as well as confinement outside in the heat, and the effects can be devastating. Be aware of the signs of heat stroke:

** Excessive panting �
** Labored breathing that may signal upper airway obstruction �
** Bright red mucous membranes in the gums or eyes and/or bright red tongue�
** Lethargy and weakness �
** High body temperature �
** Collapsing and seizures, even coma

If you notice any of these signs, get your pet inside and place a cool, wet towel over him or submerge him in cool or lukewarm water. Do not use ice, which can damage skin.

Take your pet’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. If the animal’s temperature exceeds 105 F, get medical attention at once.

Provide drinking water, but do not force an animal to drink. You can apply rubbing alcohol on the skin as a cooling agent.

FYI, dogs cool themselves by panting; this draws air over the moist membranes of the nose and tongue and cools by evaporation. But panting works only for short periods. Prolonged panting endangers the metabolic system. In addition, high humidity interferes with the ability of panting to cool the body.

* This information is not a substitute for veterinary care. Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately for any potentially serious injury, condition or illness.

* A great gift idea for any pet owner: A first aid book and kit would make a thoughtful, creative and invaluable gift. Pick up the kit contents the same time you buy them for your own kits for your home and car.


Hi�� #%&*

Glad you read my book. Hope you found it

useful. Looked over your recommended info. Don’t agree with

everything but do disagree strongly with a few things. You omitted heartwrom preventative (for both dogs and

cats); should top the list for anybody in avoiding that problem. Don’t advise razor trimming of wounds by amateurs –

difficult enough for professionals to do and not further contaminate the wound;

will make a mess of the wound. No Bag Balm – people smear it on everything and it’s

useless; use Neosporin or Panolog. Hydrogen peroxide is no longer recommended for

inducing vomiting although many vets still do recommned it. You should at least

warn of the significant possibility of causing gastric ulcers and stomach injury

by giving oral H2O2. That is the reason it is no longer recommended in human or

veterinary emergency medicine. That and the fact that if often does not work.

Time wasted that could be spent getting to the vet.Epsom salts never belong in or on an open wound –

thus the phrase ‘rubbing salt into a wound’?; good for soft tissue swelling ONLY

if no exposure of tissue.Your tourniquet info is wrong! Tourniquet (though not

recommended) should go between the wound and the heart; thus it is PROXIMAL to

the wound, not distal; wound on leg, the tourniquet goes ABOVE (proximal to) the

wound. Take out all the crap about the ciruculation – just confuses your

issue.One item I didn’t see in your list was ‘Quik-Clot’ –

a little package containing a topical sponge-type product very useful in

stopping major bleeding in emergency situation. Check it out. They can use the

human product.Don’t mean to be too critical. Hope you find this

info useful.

Dr Dave

First Aid Guidance:
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/firstaid.html (Feline First Aid)

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation, and Checking Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC)�
Print these life-saving brochures to have on hand!�

Another tipsheet on CPR for Pets:


Life-Threatening Traumatic Injuries:


Lacerations, Bandaging and Splinting:

Insect Bites and Stings, Skin Conditions and Treatment:

Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes – Prevention and Treatment:

Plants Poisonous to Pets:

Tips for Pet Safety and Pet-Safe Homes:

Safer, Less Toxic Alternatives to Everyday Household Products:

Summer Health and Safety Guide:

Pets in Hot Cars:
Flyers available from the Humane Society of the United States at 202-452-1100.�





My Bug Out Bag Update PT-1 Intro

Over the years I have ended up with so much gear that I decided to cut back and sell off much of it to fund other projects and to finish off my existing preps. For instance my knife collection has been cut by ��s, along with many of my other interests, such as archery. Anything that wasn�t being used on a regular basis or couldn�t fit into existing equipment requirements was to go. Continue reading “My Bug Out Bag Update PT-1 Intro”

Bug Out Bag Update PT – 2 (The Bags)

My Bug out bags mainly consisted of using multiple cheap roller style bags from the local Army Disposal shop and separating clothing, tactical, food and equipment into various separate sized packs, making them easier for storage, locating gear and loading into a 4WD vehicle. I�ve now rehashed those bags to carrying clothing etc and upgraded to a 511 Cams Outbound bag to carry all my gear in the one large pack and keeping it permanently stored inside my vehicle, now that my bus is close to being finished. The main reason for this is that the bottom compartment of the Cams bag can be used for discreetly packing my tactical equipment in the case of being searched while on the move when evacuating an area. My larger Sierra One Sniper 50 liter pack I�m in the process of trading or selling. Not that it isn�t a well-designed or constructed bag, it�s just that fully loaded I can no longer carry it any distance. It�s now part of the upgrade on dispersing equipment I can no longer use. If deciding to carry a pack any distance on foot, this is the largest size I�d recommend for a BOB. The Snug Pack Sleeka Force at 35 liters makes a great day bag for hiking but not quite large enough for a 72 hour BOB. This will either be used in my second vehicle or on my third means of transportation but most likely be stored within a 44 gallon drum that has been made into a cache container with a second 60 liter plastic barrel and a screw top lid inserted within, insulated material placed between the 2 inches of remaining wall space for added protection. I haven�t been able to make up my mind as yet, too many projects on hand at one time. But it�s too nice, not to use in some sort of manner. Lots of ideas on this front but they may require some form of modification to carrier systems to properly incorporate its use. The Spur Tropical 45 liter pack would be my first choice in a grab and go bag if I had to part with my primary equipment and leave in minimal time with minimal gear. Light enough to be incorporated with a 511 molle vest and with decent back support that is comfortable for long distance trekking. This small pack contains the minimal contents that everything 72 hour bag should have. I�ll go into exact contents in later posts. But this bag does contain food in the way of MRE�s and additional food bars etc. Since my primary plan is vehicle based my main food stores are contained within insulated containers to prolong shelf life. Therefore the larger Cams bag only holds equipment. The smaller 45 liter pack is part of my plan B. I always have a plan A and plan B and try for a plan C. Tactically I usually have a plan D,E and F as well. Always try for primary, secondary and tertiary plans to cover every function, location and dispersal of assets and plan for as many contingencies as possible that budget, time, health and ability can provide. � � 511 Cams Outbound Roller Bag http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYyckDK2ydE Snug Pack Sleeka Force 35 liter http://www.snugpak.com/index.php?MenuID=93-103&ItemID=128 Platatac Spur Tropical 45 liters http://www.platatac.com/short-range/plat-a-tac-spur-tropical-pack-multicam/w1/i1205386_1023950/ Sierra One Sniper Pack 50 liters http://www.platatac.com/short-range/plat-a-tac-sierra-one-sniper-pack-dpm-only/w1/i1155563_1023950/

The Urban Survival Homestead

The Urban Survival Homestead � Whether you live in the city, the suburbs or the country anyone with a house, an apartment or even a mobile home can have an urban survival homestead. My lot is in the middle of the city on just under a � acre lot.

So why do I want to make my house (or Apartment, Condo, Mobile Home, Etc) into a Survival homestead and not have a dedicated survival retreat in the woods on 5 acres with a freshwater well, 15 year food supply, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, defensive bunkers, solar power system, backup generators and more? Because I, like many people, don’t have the financial resources for all that great stuff. So I will be surviving in place where I currently live and can afford.

So what goes into building a survival homestead? It’s pretty easy to figure out. Take everything that you do and use everyday and figure out how you can do the same within reason if you broke all ties to the outside world.

So lets look at what we need to comfortable survive some rough circumstances or a SHTF event.

#1 Food � Food storage is a great idea, canned foods, vacuum packed foods and more are available. But I also want to look into more long term sustainability such as Survival Gardening, Raising my own Meat Rabbits, Raising Chickens for eggs, and raising Quail for meat and eggs.

#2 Water � Everyone needs to drink, So we will look into different, low-cost methods of water storage, collection and purification. Also we need a system of pumping water from one point to another.

#3 Shelter � My house is my shelter and always will be, But we need to look into ways of making it into a survival homestead. This may include reinforcing the structure and/or modifying it to suit my families needs in a long term situation.

#4 Ability to cook � Right now I have a natural gas stove, a propane grill and a good old electric microwave, but how will my family prepare our food if a long term SHTF event occurs? I can store about 3-4 months worth of propane for the grill but what can I do for the long term?

#5 Ability to wash � So the water department is no longer? How can we shower and bath, brush our teeth and clean our cloths? We will look into water storage and pumping systems, as well as purification.

#6 Waste Disposal � The toilets work great now and the Garbage man comes twice a week. But what if that stops? We are going to look into ways of waste disposal on a � acre urban lot.

#7 Environmental Comfort � My house, in South Florida has a great Air Conditioner. The AC takes a ton of electricity to run. So we have to figure alternative ways of cooling the house, because a solar power system that will run the AC is way too expensive to consider, Generators are great but the gas runs out eventually.

#8 Entertainment � Video games, Movies, toys, etc. How can we keep ourselves and children entertained if we have months or even years of staying in the house?

#9 Some type of electricity- While it is absolutely possible to go without electricity, who really wants to? We are going to look at Alternative Energy solutions that are low cost including small solar power systems, small battery banks, and wind turbine generators.

In the series of articles to follow, I will show you how I am creating my Urban Survival Homestead. This will include the survival garden, raising quail for meat and eggs, raising chickens for eggs, earth worm composting, raising rabbits for meat, as well as water storage and collection, alternative energy solutions on a budget and more.

Questions or Comments Email me: urbanevasion.com@gmail.com

Thanks, Brent

Combat Handgun Practice

Combat Handgun Practice

“By practising for both speed and accuracy, you can develop important hand gunning skills while enjoying your shooting.”

By Michael KAY

When you go to the range to practice, do you see how fast you can fire using the target as a backdrop, or do you carefully place each shot, striving for a tight group? To acquire the skills needed in a defensive situation you have to do a little of both. The key in defensive shooting is not to see how accurately you can fire a handgun, but how quickly you can fire it accurately. To develop effective defensive skills, you should practice gun movement and quick firing while maintaining sight alignment. Sound difficult? It is at first, but by rehearsing a few basic drills, your skills will greatly improve.

GENERAL SHOOTING TIPS: The act of firing a rifle, pistol, shotgun or other firearm accurately is made up of a combination of the following skills. Mastering these skills, and repeating them as consistently as possible, each and every time you fire your gun, forms the foundation of accurate shooting.

ATTITUDE: The attitude you take to the shooting range will largely be reflected in your shooting. If you have convinced yourself, “I’ll never be able to shoot any better than I do right now”, chances are you’ll never get any better. However, if each day you go to the shooting range, you say to yourself, “Today I’m going to shoot more accurately and more consistently than I ever have before”, pretty soon you’ll notice you’re shooting more accurately and more consistently! Simply put, the more positive your attitude is about shooting, the better your shooting will become. Imagine yourself shooting nothing but bull’s-eyes, and before you know it, you will be doing just that.

EQUIPMENT: Your equipment should be in good repair, functional and above all else, clean. Even as you shoot, you should maintain a certain level of cleanliness. Don’t be afraid to clean the bore and chamber of your rifle or pistol after every couple of shoots to maintain consistent functioning and accuracy. Firearm items, such as screws, sights, scopes or rings should be tightly secured. Rifle and pistol barrels should be free from obstructions and kept away from contact with other objects. Simply resting the barrel of your rifle on a support (such as a universal bipod) can influence the direction of your shot. Ammunition should be clean and undamaged. Whenever possible, use high quality (match grade) ammunition. During any particular practice session, you should try to use ammunition that is from the same manufacturer and of the same type (i.e. bullet weight and design). Ammunition from the same box or closely produced boxes is ideal. Always remember that consistency is the key to accurate shooting.

BODY POSITION: Whether you are firing a rifle or pistol, you’ll want to maintain a body position that affords you two things. First, and most importantly is comfort. Few can consistently fire accurate shots while in a position that is uncomfortable. Second, is support. Your position should allow your bones and muscles (i.e. your body) to provide proper support for your weapon. If you are firing a pistol, this may be no more than holding your arms out in front of you. While firing a rifle may involve the use of a bench or other stationary supports. Don’t be afraid to try different positions until you hit on one (or more) that work well for you.

GRIP: How you hold your rifle, pistol or shotgun can directly effect how accurately you shoot. A grip that is too loose, will not afford the stability needed while firing a high powered weapon, while a grip that is too tight, may tend to influence your shoots or restrict an otherwise smooth trigger pull. An even, unhindered grip works best. When firing a pistol, your free hand should support, not grip your firing hand. For rifles, your free hand should steady or support the forearm or buttstock of the weapon. Once you find a grip that works well, be consistent about it.

BREATHING: Controlling your breathing goes along way towards increasing your accuracy. The act of breathing (inhaling and exhaling) actually moves your body enough to keep you from getting a really steady sight picture. By momentarily holding your breath, just before you take your final aim and squeeze the trigger, you’ll remove that extra shaking associated with breathing. However, don’t make the mistake of holding your breath too long, as oxygen deprivation can set in and introduce blurry vision or additional body shaking. The best breathing method involves taking one or two full breaths, then releasing the air and holding your breath momentarily as you squeeze off a shot. You may find other methods also work well, don’t be affair to use the method that works best for you. But again, be consistent about it.

SIGHT PICTURE: Sight picture is very important to accurate shooting, after all, if you can’t see it clearly, aiming will be very difficult, if not impossible. Additionally, if you aren’t seeing your target in the same way each time, you’ll have greater difficulty hitting the same spot with each successive shot. Therefore, the two most important aspects of sight picture are clarity and consistency. The picture you see, whether through a scope or with iron sights, should be clear and sharp. Concentrate on a specific point, don’t just aim “at the target” select a very small location on the target and aim at that spot. When using a scope, your sight picture should be round and without dark “half moon” areas. For iron sights, your target and sighting post should be aligned and in focus. Sometimes looking away briefly and then looking back before taking final aim will help to refocus things. Being consistent about your sight picture is equally important. Whether you decide to shoot with one eye closed, or both eyes open, be consistent about it, don’t change midstream. Did I mention consistency is the key?

TRIGGER PULL: Pulling the trigger should be the only motion involved in firing your weapon, and as such, it must be smooth and precise. Pulling the trigger should not effect (i.e. move in any way) any part of the gun other than the trigger. Sloppy or inconsistent trigger pull will cause more inaccuracy than any other aspect of shooting. When pulling the trigger, you should use the tip of your finger (not the body of it) because this is the most sensitive part available to you and pull the trigger straight back. Pulling at an angle, even slightly, can change your point of aim prior to firing. Dry firing (i.e. pulling the trigger without a live round in the chamber) is beyond a doubt the best exercise for increasing your accuracy. Practice this over and over, until you can squeeze the trigger without moving your gun at all. Balancing a dim (or other small object) on the barrel as you dry fire will enhance your ability to keep the weapon still while pulling the trigger. Note: the firing pins on many weapons can be damaged by dry firing, contact your local gunsmith or gun store for plastic dummy rounds that will protect the firing pin while dry firing your gun.

FOLLOW THROUGH: The instant the trigger is completely pulled, the hammer is released. The time between the hammer being released and striking the firing pin (firing the chambered round) is called lock time. Any movement, such as letting up on the trigger, relaxing your grip or anticipating recoil, during this lock time, can greatly effect accuracy. Some guns have quicker lock times than others, but regardless, you should concentrate on following though with each and every shot you fire. No movement should occur until well after the bullet penetrates its target. Only then should you let up on the trigger, adjust your grip or change your sight picture.

CONSISTENCY: The more consistent you are in your shooting, the more accurate you’ll become. Without a doubt, consistency is the key to accuracy. The closer you can come to providing the exact same conditions for each shot, right down to the cleanliness and temperature of your barrel, the more accurate your shooting will be. Become consistent and you’ll become accurate.

DEFENSIVE HANDGUN PRACTICE: After you have become confident with your ability to fire a handgun safely, concentrate on sight alignment. When you raise your gun to fire, the front sight should be centred in the notch of the rear sight, and they should be even across the top. If your sights use a three-dot system, the dots should be lined up evenly. You should see the top half of the target through the sights. When firing at the target, the sights should remain in focus and the target should be a blur. Aim for the “centre of mass” and fire two shots, focusing on the front sight the entire time you are shooting. The most common error a shooter makes is to lower the gun after each shot to check the hits. This bad habit results in erratic or low shots. Keep your eyes focused on the front sight as you recover from recoil. Do not be concerned where your shots are landing at first, as long as you are hitting the target. After you have finished the shot string, look at the target to evaluate your hits. It your shots are falling within an eight-inch group at 15 yards, you are doing fine.

To develop effective defensive skills, incorporate gun movement and quick firing while maintaining sight alignment during target practice. If your shots are grouping off centre by about an inch, do not be concerned. The sights on pistols are not always precise to every shooter’s eye sight and aim. If they are adjustable, you can move them so that your hits are centred. If they are fixed sights, you can work with a gunsmith to correct them or simply leave them be if the problem isn’t too severe. As you practice this shooting drill, you will find your hits falling in smaller, closer groups. At this point you should speed up the time between shots, being careful to keep the front sight in focus. Begin the drill with arms relaxed and the gun in your hands. Bring the gun up to eye level, quickly align the sights on the target and fire two shots


Lower the gun after you have finished firing and assess the target. Make sure you are following through with each shot. This means making sure your sights remain on target and your arms locked in place until you are through firing.

In a defensive situation you do not want to lower your gun until the target has retreated or dropped out of the sight picture. You may find at first that your hits are not even close together, and maybe off the target altogether. There are two causes for this. When you shoot quickly, you often do not settle into a good sight picture or stop gun movement before firing the next shot. Continued practice will remedy this. The more serious problem is the flinch. It is usually caused by snatching the trigger or pulling the gun down in anticipation of recoil. If you think you are flinching, practice pulling the trigger with your gun unloaded (known as dry firing). Alternate practising with a dry gun and with live ammunition. Take breaks in between drills and allow yourself to relax.

To vary your drills, add a second target. Fire one shot at the left target, then quickly move to the right target and fire one shot. Repeat this several times and then reverse the order. Change the number of shots fired on each. For instance, fire one shot on the first and two on the second, then two on each. Gradually work these drills into your practice sessions and, when you have become skilled at them, begin your practice with them. Start cold, with your gun on the table, muzzle facing down range.

Grasping the gun firmly, raise it to eye level, focus on the sights and fire like your life depended on it. After a few trial runs, use the remaining time at the range to work on the areas where you are weakest. Keep in mind what you are practising for, but make it enjoyable too. Be confident you are developing skills that will be invaluable in a true defensive situation.

� Copyright Michael KAY 1997.

The Face of the Enemy

The Face of the Enemy.

There are two sides to the gun ownership argument hunting and self-defense. I have and will further argue that the amount “gun crime” is relatively small and remains unchanged over the decades despite changes in the “gun control laws” and within society itself. In these few paragraphs let us look more at the public perception of crime; what makes a criminal tick and how citizen ownership of firearms can reduce the criminal misuse of firearms.

Are you afraid of criminals? YES. Then your fears are justified. If you haven’t been confronted by a criminal yet, you don’t know just how justified you are. To understand the criminal mind, try this purely hypothetical experiment. Take a human embryo; breed it in a ghetto environment where the only people who are successful and enjoy creature comforts seem to be the pimps and the drug dealers and the armed robbers. Give that child only a half a chance of getting even the most menial job in a world where the only cheap entertainment is TV and videos, where the upper middle-class life-style this child can only hope to partake of through criminal enterprise is glorified. What do you expect to end up with? Somebody that lives by their animal instincts!

You’re born with intelligence, but not with ethics if crime has become the recognized avenue for success because most of the others are effectively choked off, then it will become ethically acceptable to that organism. When that human organism commits a crime, throw it into a prison system where a whole different dimension of life exists, a world of predatory animals who dwell within a hierarchy based on who is the strongest, the most vicious, the most ruthless a world inhabited by those whose stock-in-trade is crime. These people can teach that young and malleable young organism how to make a hundred thousand a year dealing dope, or a thousand dollars an hour stealing cars or burglarizing homes. Our young organism, if he has a quick mind, can learn enough to pursue his new trade in a couple of weeks, but there’s no one out there who would fund him through trade school for a couple of years to learn a middle-class skill acceptable to middle-class society.

In the seething world behind the prison walls, there is one criterion only: “Look out for Number One, and everybody else can go to hell”. If you don’t, they’ll bash you to steal a few packs of cigarettes or worse rape you and move themselves another step up in the food chain hierarchy of prison life. This is the culture and the habitat where criminals breed. They regard human beings who conform to society as a resource, to be harvested like corn or complacent livestock for their bounty. See them in their prison environment, and you can’t help but feel sorry for them. There isn’t one of them who won’t seem like a victim to you when you talk to him in the visiting room, because there isn’t one of them who aren�t a victim.

Call it genetic defect, call it society, but something victimized them and robbed them of the rich sensitivities law-abiding citizens enjoy. But sympathizing with a criminal in the prison visiting room is like sympathizing with the timber wolf caged inside its bars at the Zoo. It’s safe enough there, but you don’t want to meet either of them in their natural habitat. Veteran prison officers and cops will tell you, “Look, save your sympathy. They’re animals”. You respond with outrage and think the guards and cops must be animals themselves for feeling that way about other people. You’d be stupid. Crims themselves will shrug and tell you, “You act like an animal if you’re treated like one”. But I don’t think of them as animals. Spend time with animals and you can learn to relate with them. To most of you, criminals are as alien as supernatural beings. The best analogy is with werewolves. We all know that werewolves are mythical creatures that exist only in the minds of the scriptwriters, they make you tingle with excitement in the movie theatre, but you don’t have to fear that one is going to bite you on the way home.

Most people still feel that way about violent criminals; until they meet one, they simply don’t exist. You might say I believe in werewolves. If so, it’s because I’ve met them. One of them just sits there across the desk in the prison office and says, “I’ve always maintained my innocence”. His eyes are slate-gray, and he has learned to stare people down like Kipling’s Mowgli staring down the wolf pack, and he can’t keep a mocking hint of a sneer off his face when he speaks of the crime he was convicted for. One senior officer at the prison where he is serving his life term says of him, “He’s a model prisoner. We’ve never had any trouble with him, and we probably never will. He’s bright and articulate. And he is possibly the single most dangerous human being in this institution”. He says, he was setup and railroaded on circumstantial evidence.

The police think he’s a psychopathic killer who is so good at covering up his hideous murders that they’ll never convict him for more than the one. He’s bright and engaging and informative to talk to, and when I’m alone in an interview room with him, I keep my hands free and my chair back from the desk so I can move fast, just as if a strange Doberman had walked into the room. The kinds of werewolves I’ve met carry their fangs in their belts or their pockets (almost never in holsters, so they can ditch their weapons immediately with no evidence attached to their persons). They react less to full moons than to bellies full of alcohol or a couple of days doing speed or three weeks without sex or three days without money.

Psychiatrists call them sociopath. Sociopaths don�t really care about other people one-way or the other. They see people as a resource, as food as it were. They will steal your belongings the way you devour an apple, feeling good afterward having sated their appetite, and with absolutely no regard for the feelings of the apple tree that grew the bounty and left it where it could be harvested. Being a sociopath isn’t necessarily bad. There are times when society deliberately trains sociopath since they can serve extremely useful functions. If a conglomerate has just taken over a marginally profitable firm and has to clear out a lot of deadwood, they’ll send in a personnel executive who can be ruthless about firing people who don’t produce. He hasn’t spent fifteen years at work and at play with the people he’s firing, and if it occurs to him that this loss of their jobs will be the most shattering act in their lives short of the death of a child or parent or spouse, he sloughs it off. He is doing it impersonally, for the greater good of the corporation.

In wartime, every soldier on the battlefield has been taught that the enemy is subhuman or nonhuman, a target to be destroyed in return for recognition (medals, favored assignments, and promotions for those producing the highest body count). The tragedy of the foreigner’s death, of the widowhood of his wife, and the orphaning of his children, is ignored. The soldier kills wholesale for the greater good of his unit, and is rewarded by his own survival and that of his nation. That soldier’s own generals will send him to die, because they know that there is a certain “acceptable casualty rate” when the death of one’s own compatriots is accompanied by strategic victory. The general sends his men to die for the greater good of the service, and the head of state that commands the general endorses this act for the greater good and survival of his government and his society. The dead soldiers on their own side are ciphers. The dead soldiers on the other side are body count and victory, with tangible rewards in terms of national riches and security and of forestalling the advances of Communism/Capitalist Imperialism (pick one).

In corporate head-rollings, the suffering jobless disappear from sight, and all that remains is the relief and good feelings of those who still have their jobs and are still occupationally alive. The sociopath outlaw who commits crime against another person feels those same justifications. He does it for the greater good of himself; the suffering of his victims doesn’t concern him. He is isolated from it. He feels he has his own problems that drove him to this life-style; the agony he causes for others is simply their problem. The average person could not identify with murdering for profit. The sociopath criminal will do so with no more compunction than the manager of your local MacDonald’s makes his order for the week’s hamburger. Each is doing what he perceives his job to be, and if some living thing dies for it, that is a problem for the thing that dies, not for him.

Consider another one of the “model prisoners” a young man who we will call “Ronnie”. Ronnie is around twenty-nine, a congenial person with a raffish air about him. Everybody who chats with him likes him. Ronnie is in a maximum-security prison where he’s going to be for quite some time, because Ronnie has done a lot of sociopath things in his life. Ronnie tells me about how he makes his living as a professional burglar, home invader and car thief when he’s “outside the walls”. I asked Ronnie what he would do if he faced an ARMED homeowner. “If neither of us had drawn yet, I’d draw and shoot him. If I had my gun out and he went for his, I’d kill him. If he had the drop on me, I’d wait till he turned away, and then I’d pull my gun and shoot him”. “What if, I asked, the homeowner didn’t give him an opening”? “I’d let the coppers come and take me back to prison”, he said. “I’m not stupid enough to get myself killed”.

If Ronnie comes into my house when I’m there, he’ll either threaten me with death or actually kill me, since I�m sure won’t be inviting him over for a drink. And if I ever come home and find Ronnie there, I will violate every one of societies rules and, if I could, shoot him down on sight. He is the wolf, and I am the shepherd. It is one thing to grieve for the loss of natural ecology for arctic and timber wolves, and quite another to be responsible for the sheep that they kill. Timber wolves are wild and free and they love their families, and if you could get to know them you’d like them. All that is true of Ronnie, too. I feel sorry for the wolves in the zoo and for Ronnie in prison. But I know that their instinct is to kill my sheep, and if they try to, I’ll destroy them, just as they would me if they got the drop on me first. Pogo said, “We have seen the enemy, and they is us”. That’s something that crosses every citizen’s mind when he gets bitten by someone like Ronnie and decides that it isn’t going to happen anymore. But we don’t wont to be like them.

Those who want to ban guns make the point that burglars and home invaders kill more homeowners than vice versa. That’s only because the criminals come in ready to kill anyone who messes with them, like Ronnie, and some of them have a bit of rogue leopard in them and kill just for fun Homeowners, by contrast, don’t kill unless they have absolutely no choice. When a Ronnie runs, they don’t shoot him in the back, the way Ronnie might do to them. Ronnie isn’t afraid of silver bullets or garlic or anything else except either two Dobermans at once, or a gun held on him that doesn’t waver and that he knows is going to go off if he turns mean.

These predatory people don’t think like you. They aren’t people like you. They are a different breed. Talk to doctors and psychiatrists and lawyers and parole officers. These are all people who understand the criminal mind. They’ll be reluctant to talk about the full depths of what they know until they know you a lot better, because they think you’ll say, “Come on, there really aren’t beings like you’re describing except on TV and in the movies”.

But if you could look into the list of registered holders of pistol-carrying permits for a city like New York you’ll find that their doctors and psychiatrists, probation officers, judges and lawyers, are among the highest occupational categories of people who carry guns for self-defense where it is permitted by law. This is because they work every day with the sort of people we are talking about. They have seen the face of the enemy and they are indeed frightened. They arm themselves with guns/guards/dogs/alarms because they also know what fends off the sociopath werewolves from their city’s streets.

Call a guard dog breeder, in any city, any state and any country and ask him how many of his clients are doctors and lawyers and judges. It’s not just because they can afford the money.

Those of us who have dealt with hardened criminals know them better than anyone else. We also, even more than the bleeding heart pseudo penologists, understand just what a rotten hand they were dealt even before they got to prison, let alone after they got out again, too. I’ve spent a lot of time researching them. I can empathize with the wolves and the werewolves, however. They follow their nature, the dark animal side that resides in us all, the way they were bred, then into an environment and a shape they didn’t choose for themselves. They are predatory and carnivorous and protective of their own. They are in effect a slave to their genes. But if one of them gets out of his cage and comes after me or mine, I know that the only effective way to stop him is to shoot him. I know that, and the wolf knows that, and if the wolf senses that it’s going to go down that way, it’s probably not going to come after me or mine at all.

� Copyright Michael KAY 1997.