Friday, January 29, 2010

Shoveling Snow-The Preperation

Before you can shovel snow, you must prepare, both physically and spiritually.

I think I'm ready, right after my nap......

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti, Part II, What Lessons Can We Learn?

So there is looting going on in Haiti, perhaps the dead are the lucky ones. People are living in glorified camps, protected from the weather only by bedsheets. People are being raped, murdered or even worse. Help is slowly arriving, from countries all over the world. The desire of good people to help is staggering, and restores my faith that most people are basically good.
But the situation also shows how tenable society is, and how quickly it can break down into lawlessness. What? It can't happen here? What about Katrina?
So what is the solution? Why being prepared of course. Here are a few things to think about.
1) Do you have 72 hour bags for you and your loved ones? Are they easy to grab when you need to leave in a hurry?
2) Do you keep your vehicles fueled up? Or do they get parked in the driveway with an 1/8 tank of fuel because you didn't want to spend the extra money? If you think about it, it's gasoline, it won't go to waste and you are going to use it anyways. I try and fill up when I reach a half tank.
3) Do you have flashlights stationed at strategic points around the house? I am bad for this one, simply because my son likes to play with them and drain all the batteries.
4) Food and water. How much do you have? How much can you grab in a hurry if you have to leave? Do you have a way to purify water when you no longer have clean water at your disposal? Without these things you will die. I am not saying that everyone needs a years worth of food and thirty days worth of water, but it would be nice.
5) Most importantly, do you have a plan for getting your family out of the house and to safety? Do all of your loved ones know this plan?

I would like people to think about the simple things that they can do to make life better for themselves in a natural disaster. Simply because you are responsible for yourself and your loved ones. Natural disasters happen everywhere, and most can be truly devastating. From tornadoes to earthquakes, all have the power to destroy things. Being prepared can help mitigate the loss.
A Quote from a Yahoo news story:
"We need so much. Food, clothes, we need everything. I don't know whose responsibility it is, but they need to give us something soon," said Sophia Eltime, a 29-year-old mother of two who has been living under a bedsheet with seven members of her extended family.
This really chaps my hide, whose responsibility is it? YOURS! I understand that you live in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, that is no excuse. Sitting around starving to death while you wait for somebody else to save you is no excuse. I am all for helping the victims, I am all for saving peoples lives, I am all for rebuilding Haiti. I am NOT for setting up another welfare mindset where people feel that they are entitled to something for nothing.
In conclusion, I feel that alot of this distress could have been avoided had people just been prepared. If most of them had three days worth of food, extra clothing, and other essential items, they would have been better off than they are now. Perhaps it may have even saved lives.

Those Who Came Before Us

Bitter over at Snowflake in Hell got me thinking with this quote:

If you ever find yourself in Western Mass, go spend a day in Amherst. It’s a town that has its own foreign policy and a weekly anti-war protest that was happening years before I ever arrived and we were years away from Iraq & Afghanistan. But if you spend part of that day at a bar on the outskirts of town, you’ll see the transition first hand. Go in around 4:30 and you’ll see blue collar workers coming in to have a drink after a hard day of work. They clear out by 7 and then the college kids come in and the hip hop comes on. Talking to some of the students, you’ll find they have no clue about who was sitting in their seat an hour before, nor do they have any interest. You could argue it’s that way with all kids, but the difference is that in Massachusetts, those kids stick around as part of elite liberal crowd and they never learn to care about the guy who was sitting in their seat an hour before.

When I was in the Army, I was stationed inside the Beltway at Ft. Myer, Va. A mile or so off post there was a little cafe in Arlington. The food was awesome, and I swear they had the best corned beef hash in three states. But that wasn't the true appeal of this cafe. The people were. At 6am you had blue collar workers having breakfast. 8am was suits and ties, all reading the New York Times. This process was repeated all day, every day. They were(or are) a 24 cafe, and it was a great place to go grab a bite at midnight if you felt so inclined. The people always got along, even to the point of the punk rocker having a discussion with a suit, or a soldier with a hippy. This was all normal behavior, and I enjoyed watching (and some time participating in) the discussions taking place around me. It never became heated, or overly loud, a respectful atmosphere was always around. And this was inside the beltway! Now, I wonder if all that has changed, or if I'm just not hanging out in the right places.


I was away on business all last week and was not going to way in on the disaster in Haiti (or as it seems to be called in the great white north, High-Tie, I swear I can't make this stuff up). As I watch the scenario unfold in front of me like a bad TV miniseries, I cannot help but think how bad things truly are on the ground. I know from personal experience that the news media will exaggerate and sensationalize anything to get better ratings. They also report the truth from a very narrow perspective, this is why I wanted to avoid posting on this subject.

The title of the Fox News story: U.S. Troops Land in Haiti as Thousands Flee Capital for Safety, makes it sound as if the capitol has turned into something out of a Mad Max movie with looters and motorcycle gangs roaming the streets.
People in one hillside Port-au-Prince district blocked off access to their street with cars and asked local young men to patrol for looters.
It has gotten to the point where people are taking care of themselves, their neighbors and their loved ones. To my mind, this is the way things should be, numbers protect you from looters, and the other nasty crimes that seem to follow these disasters around.
Violence added to complications in places. Medical relief workers said they were treating gunshot wounds in addition to broken bones and other quake-related injuries. Nighttime was especially perilous and locals were forming night brigades and machete-armed mobs to fight bandits across the capital.

"It gets too dangerous," said Remi Rollin, an armed private security guard hired by a shopkeeper to ward off looters. "After sunset, police shoot on sight."

In the sprawling Cite Soleil slum, gangsters are reassuming control after escaping from the city's notorious main penitentiary and police urge citizens to take justice into their own hands

These times truly do bring out the best, and worst in people. Some take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones, others give up and wait for help to arrive, becoming part of the problem instead of the solution.
The port remains blocked. Distribution of food, water and supplies from the city's lone airport to the needy are increasing but still remained a work in progress, frustrating many survivors who sleep in the streets and outdoor camps of tens of thousands.
Pockets of looting and violence also are hindering a slow improvement in getting aid to victims

Obviously the system that is in place is only margainaly effective. Is there a solution? At this point, there aren't many good ones, aid has to be sent as quickly as possible, and the good people must police themselves to insure that they can hold out until that aid arrives.
This says nothing of the rescue efforts that are still ongoing. There people buried under the rubble that may still be alive, and we should continue to look for them until no hope of survivors exists. We did the same thing after the twin towers collapsed and we should do the same here. Teams from all over the world have arrived to help search for survivors, together, they all hope to make a difference.

Our soldiers are currently on the ground, helping the people and attempting to restore order, my only hope is that there rules of engagement are not so strict that they are powerless.

All images came from yahoo and can be found here. Go look, there is alot of them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Latest Daydream

I have been daydreaming about a 7mm-08 rifle for a while now. What I wanted was a light, handy, bolt gun in 7mm-08. I was willing to spend the extra money and make install a detachable box magazine. I know that I talked about it a little when I was deliberating a scout rifle.
Texas has changed my ideas a little. First, Texas has no limit on magazine capacity while hunting. Second, hunting hogs at night is legal, and it would be nice to have something I could mount a flashlight on (Honestly, I have yet to decide if the idea of hunting at night is at odds with the sportsman side of me, but thats a different post).
So I am currently considering getting the new Remington R-25 in 7mm-08. I believe it is California legal with a four round magazine, so I can take it there if I want. It also will accept full capacity mags from DPMS (19 rounders). I can add rails to the free float tube for a flashlight. I think it would make a really good rifle to keep in the truck during hunting season.

Steve over at The Firearm Blog has a ton of details.
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