Saturday, September 23, 2017

Facts are unimportant to BLM

Some NFL players who are part of BLM are demanding that the NFL declare that November is anti-cop month, because 300 people have been shot by police since 2016. There is a problem with that supposed "fact." Here is the quote from the letter that the players sent to the league:

Since 2016, police have shot over 300 men and women in this country. Some of the names and stories are familiar—Jordan Edwards, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, but hundreds of others are not,” 
There are a number of inaccuracies here:
1 Trayvon Martin was shot in 2012, not 2016.
2 He was shot by a private citizen in a case where the trial determined it was self defense, not by police.

When it is so easy to find lies in your letter, how can we trust anything else you have to say?

Chickens roosting

The mayor of San Diego in May denied that the city is a sanctuary city, but the mayor also refuses to allow the city's police to cooperate with Federal authorities who are attempting to enforce immigration laws. 

There has been an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Sand Diego. In case you are unaware, Hepatitis A is spread through the oral-fecal route, where a person who is infected uses the defecates, doesn't wash his hands, and then touches something that becomes coated for the next person to touch and eventually eat. It is an pandemic in third world countries, and when the inhabitants of those third world cesspools with inadequate sanitation come to the US, they bring it with them. Once it arrives in an area, the inhabitants who have the lowest level of cleanliness are at highest risk- the homeless, the poor, and illegal immigrants.

So now that the illegals who are in San Diego have brought the disease with them have caused an epidemic within the city, the city is crying to the Feds for help solving a situation that the city's officials have helped create. I hope the Feds say no, and force the city to deal with its own problems.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sandals

Last year, the wife and I decided to travel to Jamaica. We had never stayed at an all inclusive resort before, so we booked a week at Sandals Negril, Jamaica. It is an all inclusive resort, with everything being covered- food, lodging, transfer to and from the closest airport, alcohol, and unlimited use of the recreation facilities. The cost? $4,200.

We paid for it, and we also bought some extras, which were available for an extra fee:
- ATV ride in the jungle
- Candlelight dinner on the beach
- Couple's massage
- Breakfast in bed
- Champagne delivered to the room
and others. These extras cost in the neighborhood of another $1,000.

We never received many of the items for which we were charged extra, even after we complained to management.

Additionally, most of the amenities were centered around the beach, and  as a consequence, there was not much to do there after dark. Aside from sitting at one of the lounges (where there was no entertainment most nights) and getting drunk, or buying marijuana from the numerous people who were selling (we were not interested) there was little to do at night.

They have tried to silence us through legal intimidation. I can only say this: Sandals resorts are not a good value for the money, do not deliver what was promised or paid for, and will use legal intimidation tactics to silence negative reviews. Avoid them.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Road rage

So there was a group of motorcycle riding college students in Oklahoma who apparently cut off a man who was riding in his pickup truck with his wife and kids. Apparently, the man in the truck took this as a mortal insult, began a road rage argument, and called ahead to have some friends stop them in a roadside ambush.  One of the ambushers fired a shotgun in the air to get the bikers to stop.

The armed friends held part of the group at gunpoint and threatened to kill them, while the trucker beat one of the bikers, and the fat one pulled a knife on one of the bikers and threatened to cut his throat. Then, they stole a cell phone that was being used to film the incident. Here is video of the incident:





At 6:48, the Fat guy, who claimed to be part of the Hell's Angels, told them that losing the cell phone is the price you pay for doing the wrong thing. If you listen 7:44, the fat guy told one of the students: "You shouldn't even be up here, you don't live here. Go home." Then he says "I hope none of you plan on pursuing this with the law."

Well, the posted the video, which drew the attention of the cops. You can count the felonies yourself: Armed robbery, aggravated battery, brandishing, intimidating a witness, and more. I am sure there are dozens of crimes that could be charged here.

This is NOT how you handle a road rage incident. Even though there was an arrest made, the small town sheriff appears to be covering for his locals, and is refusing to make more than one arrest, or even release details. It is obvious that the police are engaged in a cover up.

Even if the motorcyclists were in the wrong, the locals escalated the issue, and then  committed robbery and battery. This goes WAY beyond self defense. This is how NOT to defend yourself from road rage.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Looting, display of a firearm, and curtilage: the law

If you have a generator outside during a power outage, how can you legally protect it? What law would allow you to point a firearm at a looter who is attempting to steal your stuff? In order to protect your survival equipment, it must be within 'curtilage' , according to Jon Gutmacher, the attorney who is the author of  FLORIDA FIREARMS Law, Use & Ownership

If you place your generator within your fenced yard, it becomes 'curtilage' meaning that it is a part of your house.  Read his opinion here. Here is the money quote:

As a general rule of thumb -- if you're concerned whether you can display your firearm  if you see someone who might be trying to steal it,  and it is not already inside a fenced area -- perhaps the quick solution is to erect a  temporary fence that attaches to the main dwelling house and surrounds the generator.  It must be at least 3 feet high, but can be as simple as using chain or heavy rope between short posts -- as a temporary fence.  You can even have an opening, although I think it legally smarter that any opening be closed when not attended.  Even if you can step over it -- as long as it is at least 3 feet high -- it's within "curtilage".  That way,  any unlawful entry into the gated area is a "burglary" and a forcible felony, and display of a firearm and a verbal threat should be totally lawful. 

If you live in Florida, owning and reading this book is a must. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Looting and security issues

During the storm, we began seeing reports of looting in south Florida. Some were reported by the local branches of the MSM, with video. Some, it turned out, were false. For example, this came out from one sheriff's office:

You may have seen a post on social media that citizens are being robbed at gunpoint in their homes by individuals posing as electric workers. Beware of internet/social media rumors, we have not received any calls regarding this. Utility workers will be out to do damage assessments as soon as it is safe to do so and AFTER the storm has passed. Right now there are three times the amount of deputies on the road to keep you safe during this storm.

A market in Tampa was looted by thieves who backed a stolen truck through the front of the store.

My wife returned to work today to find out that at least three homes of coworkers and students had been looted while the power was out.

The second powerless night at our home, we were sitting in the living room with all the doors and windows open for cooling, reading books by LED lantern when BOOM a loud report sounded outside, I told the Mrs to shut off the lights and, as I got up, BOOM a second report sounded. I grabbed my AR15, turned on the EOTech sight and ran outside to take cover by the car. My immediate thought was that a neighbor had caught some looters.

Then a third report, with a bright flash coming from one street over. About the time that registered, a starburst shell popped overhead. Fireworks. My wife logged into the Facebook Page for the neighborhood watch and complained. Shooting fireworks during a disaster with a blackout. The reason they gave? The guy said it was his wife's birthday. "Besides," he said, "the kids loved it." My wife told them that this was inappropriate with everything that was going on. She was answered with the following picture from the neighbor who was shooting the fireworks:
Some of my neighbors are ignorant assholes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tools to help you bug in, or "hunker down"

There are a few things that I had in the house that really made getting through the Hurricane with the level of safety and comfort that we had possible. Most of this stuff, you probably already have:

A set of Black and Decker 20v tools. Since they all use the same battery, buying these tools meant that I had plenty of batteries on hand. Having a bettery operated chainsaw meant that I could save the fuel for use in the generator:
  1. Cordless Drill
  2. Electric Chainsaw 
  3. Reciprocating Saw
A Fluke Multimeter: The fact that it measures true RMS, and allows you to check frequency is a good feature to have when measuring generator output. Besides, Fluke makes the best meters in the business, IMO.

A good set of screwdrivers, a pair of adjustable crescent wrenches, and a pair of Klein wire strippers.

A case of Chem lights: These are good for when you are in your safe room, and need long duration light without killing flashlight batteries.

A couple of these. Be careful, some of them are made by inferior companies. I know, because one of mine didn't hold a charge for more than an hour, even if it wasn't being used.

A cable bike lock, to secure your generator while it is outside running. I chained mine to the second car during the day, and when I shut it down at night, it went back into the garage.

A propane stove, and the adaptor to use it with full sized propane cylinders. Also, make sure you have at least two cylinders.

Good work gloves. Your hands are essential to survival, and an injury during a natural disaster means that you are now useless. I use mechanic's gloves from WalMart. They cost about $15, and are much better than gardening gloves or generic leather work gloves, because they are more comfortable and allow more dexterity.

Plenty of rechargeable batteries. While we ran the gennie during the day to cool down the freezer/refrigerator, we also watched TV and recharged batteries, and got cleanup done. These tools were vital to making that happen.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

To New Yorkers and other Northerners

During the power outage, I began following my local utility's page, because the page is giving updates throughout the day, informing customers when power in their area will be restored.

One customer went to the page, and rated them one star. In the comments, he began saying that the power workers here were stupid and lazy, and if this storm had happened in New York, power would already been restored. I pointed out to him that when Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, it was of Cat 1 strength, with winds of only 80 miles per hour and a storm surge of 4 feet.

Northerners in general, and New Yorkers in particular, have this condescending attitude that everything "up north" or "up in New York" is sooo much better than here, and that is largely attributed to the opinion most of them share that the people in the south are stupid, fat, lazy, uneducated hick rednecks who spend their days humping their cousins and lynching blacks.

Even my wife and her family, being from New York, agree that the loud mouth New Yorkers are wrong. To illustrate:

Compare the strength of Sandy to Irma.
Irma hit Florida with 142 mile per hour winds. Twice as many people lost power here as did in New York during Sandy.

By the time Irma got to this area it had been over land for almost 14 hours. We had sustained winds of 85 mph, and gusts to over 100 mph. That makes Irene in my area comparable in strength to Sandy in New York. The difference? We didn't demand that they call Irene a "Superstorm" and didn't freak out. Except for problems with fuel delivery, most restaurants and stores were open by Tuesday, as long as they had power.

Part of my neighborhood flooded. The only way a vehicle could get in or out was 2 feet underwater. We were on our own, and our flooding was far from the worst.

When winds finally died down to below 35 miles per hour, the utility crews were able to safely work. They reported that 65% of utility customers were in the dark. Within 24 hours, that was down to 50%. (They restore shelters, hospitals, fire stations, and other essential service areas first.) They then concentrate on repairs that will bring on the most customers the fastest. By 48 hours, only 45% were in the dark. Another 12 hours, and only 25% are still without power. They are now down to repairing outages affecting individual streets. They plan on having all customers restored by Midnight on Sunday the 17th, six days after the storm hit. Less than a week.

Compare that with Sandy:
 Sandy leaves millions without power for days or even weeks

Cleveland residents, who had almost no winds, complain that power was out from Sandy for days.

Even Manhattan, where sustained winds were less than 50 mph from Sandy, was without power for four days. The other boroughs, a week or more.

Millions without power in the outer boroughs for over a week.

So don't lecture me about how New York is better. I have lived through more hurricanes than I care to remember. I was a professional responder to nearly a dozen of them. If you don't like the way we handle them or the way we do things here, go back where you came from. We won't miss you.

If you like it here, listen to the people who live here you might learn our way is just as good, or even better. You might decide that you want to become one of us. We would love to have you. Heck, I married a New Yorker. I hold no grudges.

Remember: you joined us, we didn't join you.

Lessons learned

The electricity came back on at 4:30 this morning. The Hurricane Irma event now appears to be over, at least at my house. Wife goes back to work today. I go back Monday.

Here are the stats:
13.5 inches of rain
103 mph maximum wind gust
53 hours without electrical power

I didn't even have to dig into emergency food supplies.

Stored supplies used:
29 gallons of fuel (I only had 6 left)
2 cases bottled water
1 chem light (for light during the worst of the storm while we were taking cover in the safe room)
1/4 tank of propane

Damaged:
We lost a tree, with another small tree needing to be staked up.
The cable from the house to the satellite dish will need to be replaced.
The UPS powering the satellite system is dead and will need to be replaced.

One of the things I learned from past storms was that during the storm and the days immediately after the storm, it is easy to get cabin fever. You can't sit there and watch the news without driving yourself crazy. So we did during the pre-event checklist was record lots of programming for entertainment. While the gennie was on to refrigerate food, we watched movies and TV shows, and our Internet was up. At night, while the power was off (I didn't want to be the only house on the street that was lit up at night- that makes you a conspicuous target) I read books on the Kindle. She entertained herself with her Kindle Fire.

Next time, I will have more fuel for the generator. I also want to get some better window covers. Other than that, things went well for my preps.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tragic news

I just found out that, although my family weathered the storm, not all were so lucky. A firefighter that I worked with for several years passed away during the storm. Details just now are sketchy, but from the few facts I was able to gather, it appears that he was at home during the peak of Hurricane Irene and had some sort of medical emergency. When he was finally able to get to the Emergency Room several hours later, he was scheduled for emergency surgery, but by the time weather and road conditions allowed an on call surgeon to arrive, it was too late.

When he showed up for his first day at work at the age of 22, I remember that he was wearing a backpack. He is what you would call a very big man at 6'4" and 300 pounds. Someone asked him if he had brought a change of clothes, as firefighters are known to do. He replied that t wasn't clothes, but his lunch. His nickname was born. We called him lunchbox.

He just turned 35 years old, and leaves behind a wife and a 3 year old son. As you can imagine, his family is devastated.


Status and checklists

As I said before, I have a pretty comprehensive disaster plan, honed and adjusted after riding out or responding to more than a dozen disasters (10 hurricanes, 1 tornado outbreak, and the widespread brush fires of 1999)

It is organized into several sections, or phases:

Preparation (this is the normal, ongoing preps I am always taking)
Evacuation or pre-event
Shelter
Subsistence
Recovery

Pre-event was through Sunday.
Shelter was carried out from Sunday morning through Monday at first light.
Subsistence began yesterday at first light, and will continue until electrical power returns. This is the most tedious part of the storm process. The last time I had to do this was Hurricane Charley in 2004, and I was without power for 12 days.

I shut off the generator just after dark. We did a patrol of the area, and there are quite a few neighbors sitting in chairs on their driveways, enjoying the cool, post-hurricane weather. Eight other homes are continuing to operate generators at night, and two are living in RVs parked in their driveways. I have the only operating generator on my street of 14 houses.

This morning, I got up at 6 am (the eastern sky begins to lighten at about 6:45), refueled the generator, started it up and checked the freezer temp, which was up to 24 degrees. I fired up the propane stove and made breakfast burritos.

I took a quick ride to the closest three gas stations, but no luck on fuel. I have enough for two more days of running the generator at my current rate of consumption. After that, I will have to steal fuel from our second vehicle.

I am hoping to convince the wife to add a whole house gennie that runs on propane so I can install a 250 gallon tank, and maybe this storm will do the trick.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Status

The power went out at about 11:35 last night. The UPS that supports my Internet connection and security cameras died 45 minutes later. I patrolled the house by flashlight and chem light until dawn, then I went outside for a first light check. No damage to the house, but I did lose a tree. I managed to get in a pair of one hour naps. Some idiot caused a bit of excitement at 3 am, just when the winds were gusting to 100 mph, walking up my driveway with a flashlight. He left while I was deciding what to do about it.

Once the winds died down, we set up the generator, and we are currently on generator power. Word is, it will take up to two weeks for power to return. I plan on running the generator only to keep the refrigerator cold enough to protect my cold food. Doing that, I have fuel on hand for three days. After that, I will either need to find fuel, or rob it from my second vehicle.

For now, we are doing pretty well as far as damage and supplies are concerned.

Communications are normal. Phone is up, cell phones are up, Internet is up, and satellite TV is up using a backup cable from the house to the dish. The regular cable will need to be replaced.

Security: We are both armed, and the generator is chained to the car.

So all is well, and we are waiting for the power to return.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Looting, but otherwise good so far

We just began getting winds over 40 miles per hour. Monitoring the HAM and CB radio bands, as well as friends checking in, reports of looting all over the state, and the local area. Some are on social media, some by text, and some from the radio. Links are not available for all reports.

Fort Lauderdale:

Looters ransack a sporting goods store. It is caught on video by a news crew. 9 are arrested.


Miami:

Three different foot lockers are ransacked.

Orlando:

Looters enter a sporting goods store and begin stealing guns. A standoff ensues, the SWAT team is called, and reports I got are that the cops arrived with armored vehicles and then called for National Guard assistance.

Local to me:

Armed looters are posing as power company employees, and attempting to enter homes.

I have armed myself, and my security cameras are recording nonstop. So far, we have received 6 inches of rain, winds are sustained at 35 miles per hour, gusting to 47.

TV is out, power has gone out twice, but come back on within a couple of minutes.

We have about 18 more hours of this.

That didn't take long ...

Less than 2 hours after it began raining, we have received an inch and a half of rain. Then we lost our satellite TV. Not the signal though, as you might suspect. No, our receiver is claiming that it cannot communicate with the dish. That would seem to indicate a problem with the cable that runs between the house and the dish.

So no TV- but that is OK, we have Internet, power, and telephone. No real wind yet, just incessant light rain.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pre-event checklist complete

I have a disaster plan. Since I don't want to miss anything, I have checklists. The last steps on my checklist are scheduled to be completed 12 hours before the event and include:
1 Shut down the NAS that I am using as the household file server, take out the mirrored hard drives, and place one in the gun safe, the other in the BOV.
2 Place BOB in BOV.
3 Ensure safe room has flashlights, chem lights, and other items.
4 Take pictures of the inside and outside of the house, to use as "before" pictures, in the event an insurance claim needs to be made.
5 Check radio transmitters to ensure that emergency communications are operating.


I am as ready as I can be. The first rains that are a part of Irma hit me this afternoon. We got an inch of rain this afternoon. Winds have been relatively low so far, with the maximum so far being a gust to 25 mph. Tropical storm force winds are supposed to begin around 9 tomorrow morning. Right now, the NWS is saying we will see max winds of 90+ with gusts to 100+.

I will post periodically, as long as we have power and internet.

Selling your property can get you arrested

Not many Floridians know this, but when the Governor declared a state of emergency on September 4th in advance of Hurricane Irma's arrival, it immediately became a crime to sell your own property unless you have a business license. The law is 501.160, which reads (in part):

(9) Upon a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor, in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents, any person who offers goods and services for sale to the public during the duration of the emergency and who does not possess a business tax receipt under s.205.032 or s. 205.042 commits a misdemeanor of the second degree

If you are selling that property at a price that "grossly exceeds the average price at which the same or similar commodity was readily obtainable in the trade area during the 30 days immediately prior" to the emergency, you are guilty of price gouging. Even if you were offering the commodity for that price for the last two years, if your price is higher than your competitor, you have broken the law.

So instead, people are buying and hoarding the goods. This is an important lesson. In a real emergency, the next law to be passed will be one that allows the confiscation of hoarded goods. THAT is the most impactful part of the declaration in the Virgin Islands, IMO. People were up in arms about "gun confiscation" while missing that the declaration allows the government to take whatever they want.


The Adjutant General is authorized and directed to seize arms, ammunition, explosives, incendiary material and any other property that may be required by the military forces for the performance of this emergency mission (emphasis added)


Keep your prepping a secret, lest your neighbors vote to appropriate them for public (their) use.

Friday, September 8, 2017

No gouging, no gas. Or water. Or food.

Last week, I posted that Jon Stossel was explaining how price increases, called 'gouging' by people who don't understand the law of Supply and Demand, are a part of economics, and a good thing. If you read the comments, he was called greedy, and pretty much any other insulting name you can think of. Then public outcry and complaints silenced him when Fox pulled the article.

Then Irma approached Florida, where authorities reminded residents that  increasing prices during an emergency is illegal, provided a "price gouging" hotline where people can turn in merchants for raising prices, and proved him right.

There is no fuel to be had within 30 miles of my house, according to the fuel app, Gas Buddy. It's so bad the people fleeing the Hurricane are running out of gas while being stuck in the traffic of the mad dash away from its path. Whenever fuel does get delivered to a station, there is immediately a long line of people, who buy it all within an hour or two in a panic buying frenzy. I saw a man yesterday pull in and buy almost 400 gallons of gasoline. (He had a fuel tank on the back of his flatbed pickup, and was pulling a trailer with a fuel tank on it. Likely a farmer)

If price gouging laws were not in effect, gasoline would likely be around ten or more dollars a gallon right now. That's a good thing. Why? Because it would be VERY expensive to buy more fuel, which would cut down on people buying unneeded fuel for hoarding. More fuel would then be available for those who need it. Sure, Florida can claim that they stopped hoarding, but now there is no fuel for anyone at any price.

The same thing is happening with bottled water, plywood, batteries, food and other supplies. There is no bottled water to be had anywhere. People began offering water for sale on Amazon at $100 a case. Complaints rolled into the hotline, and Amazon pulled the listing. Now there isn't any water there, either. You showed them! They won't make money off of our disaster! Of course, people who have water now don't have an incentive to sell to those with a higher need, and now there is no water available at all, but at least the marked prices are reasonable...

EDIT: I just checked, and if you order water on Amazon at the regular price now, it will arrive at your door on September 21. At least the $100 water was for next day delivery.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Insanity

The people of this state are going crazy. Gasoline is nowhere to be found within 30 miles of my house. All of the stations are out. Mostly because of people like this:


Then you have people beating each other up over plywood. It is difficult to find food. Even the potato chips are sold out. Even Amazon is out of Mountain House. There is no bottled water anywhere.

I have all of that.

My storm preps consist of:
Cleaning up potential debris in the yard.
Filling Water Barrels for consumption, and bathtubs for toilet flushing.
Checking Backup Radio Communications (Base Station, 2 handhelds, 1 mobile radio)
Charge all rechargeable batteries.
Make sure electronic files are backed up to the cloud.

I will be spending most of the time until the storm hits watching TV, napping and making a sandwich. If you are properly prepared, hurricanes are no big deal. Almost boring, in fact. As a security precaution, I have asked my wife to avoid locations where people will be frantically searching for supplies.

What is scary is this: people are attacking others, and there isn't even a real emergency yet. Imagine how bad it will get in a REAL emergency.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Genius!


Appeasement

I served in the Navy for six years, an enlistment that began during the Reagan administration under Secretaries Lehman and Weinberger, and ended with the election of President Clinton. I served aboard an East Coast aircraft carrier for the majority of those six years.

Every time we deployed overseas, we carried nuclear weapons with us. Dozens of them, as did the majority of US Navy ships. At the peak if US Naval power, the Navy had over 5,700 nuclear warheads afloat at any particular moment. That number represents more warheads than the entire US stockpile today.

During the Bush administration, President George HW Bush issued the Presidential Nuclear Inititatives, or PNI. With that initiative, the US unilaterally disarmed its Navy. In 1992, the US surface Navy lost not only the ability to use nuclear weapons, it lost the capability to do it, as the 'W division' that was onboard the ships and trained to handle them was disbanded. Additionally, he withdrew all nuclear weapons from many overseas locations, including the removal of 100 nuclear warheads from South Korea. An extension of this initiative was an international agreement that prohibited North and South Korea from producing nuclear weapons.

I still think that it was a bad idea. Bush signed the PNI because he was hoping that the Russians would reduce their own nuclear stockpile, and North Koreans would abandon their own nuclear program. We all know that has not happened.

Even though the Russians have fewer warheads than they once did, we now see that North Korea has gone on to develop their own weapons, and now we have to face the fact that there is an unstable dictator in possession of nuclear weapons, with at least enough range to reach all of the US to the west of Colorado.

We learned nothing from Neville Chamberlain

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Convince or coerce?

Look this video, a discussion between some college aged American socialists and a man who actually lived under their proposed system in the USSR:



Some things I noticed in their attitude:


1 They don't want to reason or discuss anything with him. They just want to argue.
2 What happened in the USSR wasn't "True" socialism, except under Stalin. No matter that communism has failed every time it has been tried- THAT is just because they didn't do it "right" and that is because they weren't as smart as us.
3 Anyone who disagrees with them is a Nazi/fascist/ racist and will be properly disposed of by being thrown in a "labor camp" once they are in charge, if they live that long.

This is what we are up against. They are willing to kill and use force to achieve their goal. There is no reasoning with them. How do you stop them from wanting to load you into the boxcars? There is, I am afraid, only one way: you must use violence to stop them BEFORE they gain power.

Things are going to get ugly, one way or the other.