Worldview: 9-10

Sometimes, it seems like it was just yesterday. I remember sitting at my desk at work when the news the first plane hit broke. We were all clustered around the television when the second one did. A dozen military men, we all knew, even at that moment: we were at war.

In the next few days, the speculation in the circles I traveled in at the time was rampant, but many of us had a feeling: al Qaeda. The memory of the attack on the USS Cole was fresh enough that they were the first and most likely suspect. Who else would hijack planes as weapons? Yet we knew, whoever it was that did this to us, we were at war.

In the next weeks and months, our government confirmed that the attack was, indeed, carried out by al Qaeda, and our commander-in-chief dedicated us to rooting them out of Afghanistan and delivered a stern warning to the world: stand with us or stand against us. There was no middle ground. We were at war.

Except we weren’t.

A lot of people said in the days after 9-11 that everything changed, and in a way they were right. In the days since that horrible event, and unbelievable number of Americans have convinced themselves that everything but the truth is true.

Ivory tower academics and self-deluded pundits declare that America was to blame for what happened on 9-11. The news and the internet are full of journalists and talking heads insisting that our response to those events were overwrought, unjustified, even criminal. An entire segment of American society chose to respond to the recent death of Osama bin Laden by chiding Americans for celebrating the death of a bloodthirsty enemy.

In the ten years since 9-11, something has changed, something deep, sinister, and self-destructive. We now live in an era when a rapper can declare “Fuck the army troops” and claim gangsters are harder than combat veterans and people just shrug. We live in a society when reporters can write and say that the war in Afghanistan was an unjustified exercise in nation building, and most people believe that is true.

Instead of being at war with our enemy, we are at war with ourselves, and we seem very close to victory.

The sad fact of 9-11 ten years on is that, I believe, we have doomed ourselves to repeat history like we have so many times before. We have not learned anything. Instead, we have deceived ourselves into believing in a reality that never has been true, and it is almost inevitable that we will pay the price for that deception again.

For me, what remains ten years since 9-11 is the lingering thought that those of us who understood what changed that day must prepare ourselves and anyone who might listen for the eventuality of what may come next. We have to face the fact that things have changed and that someone has to be ready, even if everyone else believes it can’t possibly happen.

For those of us who get it, who understand what changed ten years ago, we cannot forget, we cannot tire, we cannot fail. Let’s roll.

DLH

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Readiness: Be ready now: A 5 week recap

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

If you have been following these posts for the past five weeks, you will have noticed that, if you followed the suggested plan, you will have the following things on hand for immediate readiness:

 

At worst, depending on what you decided to buy, you might have spent several hundred dollars, but in fact, you could buy everything on this list for a couple of hundred dollars if you are savvy about how you spend. If you followed this plan, then you are probably now more ready than as many as 90 percent of the people in the United States are right now at the time of this writing.

If you did not follow these posts or the plan they suggest, consider doing so now. It’s never too early to be ready, but when disaster strikes, it is far too late.

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact me about ways you can support this effort.

DLH

 

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Readiness Watch for the Week of 21 March 2011

Readiness Watch is a weekly publication intended to provide current, relevant, and actionable readiness information to people determined to be ready for whatever comes next, and especially for those people who are just starting their journey down the road to readiness. Readiness Watch will include observations, commentary, advice, links to resources, and related news.

I always welcome input from my readers, especially tips on information or ways to make this publication better. Feel free to contact me with information, advice, or tips or for ways you can support this effort.

Readiness Watch for the week of 21 March 2011

Previous Readiness Watch posts.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Food

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Food

  • Immediate: Buy at stockpile of ready to eat food. The fastest and (over time) cheapest way to stockpile ready to eat food is to buy case lots of MREs from one of the thousands of places that sell them. MREs, unlike most food you buy at the grocery, can last as long as ten years when stored in the proper environment. Here are some examples.
  • Intermediate: Decide how long you need to have food on hand for in the case of an extended emergency. How soon will you be able to grow your own food or get it from another source?
  • Long-term: Develop a plan for growing your own food or for procuring it from a source other than a grocery store. Can you grow it yourself? Can you trade skills or labor?

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact me about ways you can support this effort.

DLH

 

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Readiness Watch for the Week of 14 March 2011

Readiness Watch is a weekly publication intended to provide current, relevant, and actionable readiness information to people determined to be ready for whatever comes next, and especially for those people who are just starting their journey down the road to readiness. Readiness Watch will include observations, commentary, advice, links to resources, and related news.

I always welcome input from my readers, especially tips on information or ways to make this publication better. Feel free to contact me with information, advice, or tips or for ways you can support this effort.

Readiness Watch for the Week of 14 March 2011

Previous Readiness Watch posts.

DLH

 

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Planning

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Planning

  • Immediate: Discuss and write out plans for such emergencies can include what to do in the case of a fire, a natural disaster, or civil unrest. Immediate readiness plans should include such items as who is involved, what kind of resources will be involved, where those involved should meet, and where they should evacuate to, if necessary. Keep the plans simple, and share copies of what you wrote down with everyone involved.
  • Intermediate: Consider what resources you and those who depend on you will need to survive for an extended time without electricity or fuel. Can you weather such an extended shortage in place, or will you need to find a better location? What kind of supplies will you need to have on-hand? What can you get from the local area?
  • Long-term: What would it take to make your living situation independent from regular supplies of outside electricity and fuel? How can you provide for your basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) without depending on supplies from retail outlets?

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact me about ways you can support this effort.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: When will you be ready?

If an emergency were to happen today, what would you do? What if the power went out? What if you could not buy gas or groceries?

What is your plan?

We live in unsettled times. Riots aren’t just for the Middle East anymore. Financial uncertainty, inflation, and shortages of critical goods are spreading. History tells us that it is exactly at times like these that you need to be ready because disasters happen quickly.

You don’t have to listen to me. There are plenty of other people saying the same thing, but the message is the same. Get ready. Be ready. There is danger ahead.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: The looming currency collapse

UPDATE: For those who find the linked video too painful (that is badly done) to watch, if you browse away from it, then click “Stay on this page” from the resulting pop-up” it will take you to a transcript of the video.

I’m not much for investment research firms for the most part, so I am skeptical when they give advice for free or as part of a thinly veiled promo for a product or service they provide. It is with that skepticism that I viewed Porter Stansberry‘s apocalyptically titled “The End of America” video.

Most people find the subject of the video boring. Many people who actually watch it will see the video as a scare tactic designed to frighten them into using Stansberry’s products or services and will ignore its message.

I believe they will do so to their own detriment.

Whatever Stansberry might be selling, his analysis of the looming crisis with the American dollar and everything it could mean for our way of life is dead on. And, he only focuses on one narrow aspect of looming problems that threaten to create the perfect storm that could bring the American and world economy to its knees.

Again, it is easy to ignore what people like Stansberry or me are saying because it sounds so impossible, yet it is only impossible if one ignores the inevitable lessons history taught past nations and civilizations who thought the same things.

Now is the time, more immediate than ever before, for you to get ready. Get out of debt. Make sure you can provide for your own basic needs without the need for constant infusions of cash. If you live in a city, have a plan for how to get out and where you are going to go. Have supplies and means of self-defense on-hand.

I grant that I could be wrong and that these things may never come to pass. History is quirky that way. Yet, I cannot miss the fact that it can and does happen and that the United States is not exempt from that reality.

The signs are all there. Are you going to pay attention?

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Immediate readiness

The simplest part of immediate readiness is assembling a readiness kit. The government website Ready.gov has a good list for a basic kit, and a quick Google search can reveal hundreds of variations on the theme. That said, everyone’s kit is going to contain different things based on each person’s views, approach, and the kind of changes the person might be planning for. I tend to follow the advice presented by Laughing Wolf in his “Readiness Week” posts at the blog Blackfive because he has assembled quite a bit of information and experience all in one place. Whatever list someone might use, it should contain, as a minimum, the following:

  • Three gallons of water per person involved in the plan.
  • Enough preserved food to last each person involved in the plan for three days.
  • Flashlights and batteries (a hand crank radio with a built-in flashlight is really the better way to go).
  • A portable radio with batteries (a hand crank radio with a built-in flashlight is really the better way to go).
  • Weather appropriate clothing and footwear for each person.

In addition, some other things to consider as part of immediate readiness kits that do not always come up in lists:

  • A good quality multi-tool. I prefer multi-tools from Gerber, but brand is not so much of an issue as quality, but it needs to have pliers, a knife, and a flathead screwdriver as a minimum.
  • At least 100 feet of rope. I prefer military grade 550 cord because of its versatility.
  • A length of malleable wire (such as electric fence wire or steel ground wire). Wire can be used for all sorts of purposes, and even a short coil can prove to be infinitely useful.
  • A roll of duct tape.
  • A backpack big enough to hold all of your immediate readiness supplies.

The previous two lists are far from complete, but they are a good place to start. In my opinion, the best way to start an immediate readiness kit is to buy one of the ones someone else has already put together. There are as many kits as there are places that sell that kind of thing, but my personal preference right now is the Personal 72 Hour Emergency Kit with MREs from Emergency Essentials, to which I would add a Pocket Survival Pak (or a Pocket Survival Pak Plus when they become available), an emergency blanket, an emergency sleeping bag, a multi-tool, a 100 foot coil of 550 cord, a 100 foot coil of wire, and a roll of duct tape. My kits also tend to collect a variety of other things along the way, but pay attention to how much you put in the bag because they can get really heavy really quick.

I also take my kits one step farther by trying to stock one kit for each person in my house and another in my car, that way, even when I am away from home, I know I have at least a three day kit nearby. I also always carry a small pocket knife with me and will probably add some sort of survival key chain to the mix at some point so even if I cannot get to my kits, I am not without resources.

An important part of a complete immediate readiness plan is having an evacuation plan. Some sudden changes, like a natural disaster or a political upheaval, may require people to relocate, sometimes very suddenly and very quickly. Evacuation plans should include the following considerations:

  • Make sure there is enough fuel on hand for vehicles that may be used in an evacuation.
  • Make sure that some part of the readiness supplies are easily portable in case evacuation means walking.
  • If evacuation means walking, make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear available. This idea is especially important if you find yourself needing to evacuate from work where you might not be wearing walking appropriate clothing and shoes.
  • Make sure that portable readiness supplies include supplies to weather being outdoors, possibly for several days.
  • Establish several rally points at increasing distances from the sites of potential changes and discuss those rally points with anyone involved in your plan.

Immediate readiness can be a lot more complicated than these simple considerations depending on the specific events someone might plan for, but starting at this simple point is a good way to establish a baseline from which more complex plans can be built.

DLH

    Read more at my Readiness site...

    Readiness: An aside: who the hell is Dennis L Hitzeman and why is he lecturing me?

    At some point, someone is going to ask who the hell I am and why I think I can lecture other people on readiness.

    Frankly, I’m nobody more important than anyone else. My readiness experience is average and some of my qualifications are tenuous at best. A lot of what I am repeating here, I have learned from other far more qualified people, and to them we all owe a debt of gratitude.

    Yet, while I am not some sort of super-secret-squirrel-ninja-ranger survivalist, I am a halfway intelligent person who can read and learn and observe the world around me, and what I have read and learned and observed over the past several years leads me to believe that it is very likely that you are not ready for whatever comes next at all. In fact, I used to not be ready at all too, and frankly, I still have a very long way to go to be ready in the way I think being ready should work for everyone.

    So what makes me think I’m qualified to be saying what I am saying and doing what I am doing? Mostly, because I care enough to say something even as I do the something I say.

    Five years ago, I was part of the Ohio National Guard’s assistance task force to the state of Mississippi as part of the response to Hurricane Katrina. One of the images that sticks in my mind more than most is the clear difference between people who were as ready as they could be and the people who plainly weren’t.

    Among those memories was a sign tacked over the door of what was otherwise an innocuous ranch style house in Waveland, Mississippi. It read: “We’re fine and don’t need help. We are armed. Please help those who actually need it.”

    Later, I discovered that there were as many as 10 people in that house: its original residents and probably family, friends, or neighbors who banded together for common survival. As far as I know, those people never took more from the relief workers than some water and ice.

    That image and those people changed me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Then, just two years ago, the freak windstorm caused by Hurricane Ike knocked power out to the area I was living for almost two weeks. While not everyone lost power, many, many people did, and I was without power for ten days.

    So, I began planning in earnest and have learned quite a lot along the way. And what I have learned is that, even if I do manage to get ready the way I think I should be, in all likelihood you won’t be, and what good will that do me? I want everyone to be ready because, if we’re all ready, then even if something bad does happen it won’t be as bad as it could have been.

    Hence this blog. I may not be an expert and I may not know everything, but I do care enough to try to get you to think about something I think is very important. If I succeed, then we will all be better for it.

    DLH

    Read more at my Readiness site...