Friday, September 25, 2020

Advanced Urban Survival: Dealing with Government Intrusiveness

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published December 15, 2018)

There are several aspects of urban survival that are different from rural survival. In my Advanced Urban Survival article, I discussed challenges to survival created by population density and limited space availability. In this article, I discuss another important difference.

Government Intrusiveness 

A big problem for urban survivalists is government intrusiveness (as well as that of landlords and homeowners associations). No one has a moral right to prevent you from being self-reliant, practicing self-defense, or being prepared for an emergency. However, many politicians, bureaucrats, and other busybodies think they have that right, and in many urban areas they have given themselves the legal ability to do so. 

Local laws and regulations, taxes and fees, zoning restrictions, licensing and permitting procedures, homeowners association rules, and even difficult and intrusive landlords, can heavily impede your preparedness efforts.

You will have to be clever to work around the impediments they place in your way. Although I would never suggest anyone do anything illegal, there is a saying "Its easier to get forgiveness than permission." You have to obey the laws and rules whenever possible, but you don't have to sacrifice yourself to those laws and rules.  You have to decide where the lines are for yourself and your family.

This may be where OPSEC comes in - what they don't know, they can't complain about. Don't make your prepper activities obvious. I've written a three part series on OPSEC (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) you might want to read. Besides, once the infrastructure breaks down post-SHTF, there will be no one in charge to tell you to take down that clothesline or to not have some "pet" chickens.  Or, if there is anyone in charge, they'll be too involved with real problems to deal with your outlaw garden.  

Choose your battles wisely. Don't make everything a contest of wills between you and the authorities. They have rigged the game in their favor.
 
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Buddha Beads
If your city has banned guns, don't carry one. Instead, find other ways to defend yourself. Use situational awareness to avoid trouble. Use your local knowledge o avoid bad neighborhoods and dangerous areas. Be a gray man so that you don't stand out or make yourself a target. Take a class in non-lethal self-defense. Take up a martial art. Carry pepper-spray if it is legal in your area. Consider carrying a tactical pen or a self-defense necklace (aka Buddha Beads). Consider carrying a metal baseball bat in your vehicle. The authorities may be able to limit your options, but they cannot stop you from exercising your right to self-defense. 

Finally, let me politely suggest this, even though it upsets some people: If you find where you live too restrictive and controlled, consider moving elsewhere. You don't have to move to the deep country if you don't want, but perhaps you can find a less restrictive city or even a small town to your liking.

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Foundational Advice: Eliminate Debt and Build Savings

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published September 2, 2018)

Here is a bit of foundational advice for preppers and everyone else: Eliminate debt and build savings.  

We've all heard it before, but how many of us actually follow that advice? My gut feeling on the matter is that most folks, preppers or not, don't. It is difficult, takes time, and requires a certain amount of sacrifice. In other words, it isn't fun.
 
Yet, bad economic times are a part of most collapse scenarios that worry most preppers. And even if a full collapse never happens, can be certain of economic downturns and recessions in the future. Bad economic times are especially difficult for folks who live paycheck to paycheck (which is most of the middle class in America today),  are in debt up to their eyeballs, and have little or no savings.  Debt – whether personal, business or government – is bad for many reasons (I'll talk about those reasons below). So, my personal advice to you (and to me) is to make paying of debt and building your savings a major part of your prepper activities.

In your personal life, work quickly towards eliminating consumer debt – credit cards, car loans, payday loans, personal loans, and installment plans. This will mean you have to put yourself on a budget and stick with it. It will mean putting off major purchases, avoiding impulse purchases, and **gasp** denying yourself luxury items. It may mean taking bag lunches to work. Or selling your car to get out of the loan, buying an older model with cash, or perhaps making do with only one. Consider having a major yard sale to raise some money, or try to find a second job. It will take time and sacrifice to eliminate debt in your life, but the benefits will be more than worth it.

Building some emergency savings will have to be done at the same time. Yard sales are a great way to bring in extra cash to do this. So is a second job in the evenings or on the weekends. Put the money somewhere safe, such as an insured CD or money market account in a stable bank or credit union (do your own homework, or check with one of several companies that offer ratings on the soundness and safety of various financial institutions). Don't worry about getting the best possible interest rate. Safety and liquidity are the goals for your emergency savings, not growth.
Pro Tip: Check out Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps and read his the book Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money for more on getting out of debt.
Once your debt is paid off and you have accumulated some emergency savings, you can then turn your attention to saving for long-range goals. Use common sense, avoid overly-risky investments, and, if needed, seek professional advice of someone you can trust.

No investment is perfectly safe. Cash savings are subject to losing value to inflation. Stocks and mutual funds are subject to the ups and downs of the market. Land is subject to property taxes and eminent domain. Converting all your money to gold & silver and burying it in the backyard is subject to thieves. There are no guarantees in life. The best you can do is use reason and common sense, to remain vigilant, and to take responsibility for ensuring your own future.

Why pay off debt if we are headed towards high inflation?  It may be true that by waiting to pay off debt, you will be paying it off with cheaper dollars. However, there are other considerations. For one, debt puts you, your family, and your assets at risk. Pay off your debts now while you are employed and you run less risk of losing your home or other assets if you become unemployed later.

Debt can be very stressful, especially in difficult times, which can be a real detriment to your health and your ability to make calm decisions at a time when you most need both.
Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." (NKJV)
Another reason is that debt can shackle you to your current job and circumstances, when what is really needed at a time like this is freedom and flexibility.

Additionally, people tend not to realize how fast interest, late fees, and other penalties can add up. You may be paying off your debt later with cheaper dollars, but still end up paying more in real terms because of all the added interest and penalties.

Finally, debtor's prisons are a thing of the past, but depending on what a future collapse looks like, they could return in the future. This is partially true if the future collapse includes a true police-state phase in which the Constitution and Bill of Rights are suspended or done away with completely. 
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You may be interested in these other personal finance articles by Timothy Gamble:

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Two Keys to Preparedness

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published March 8, 2019) 

There are a lot of different aspects to preparedness - food, water, shelter, first aid & medical, sanitation & hygiene, and guns & ammo, just to name a few. But, in my opinion, there are two keys to preparedness, upon which everything else depends. The two keys to preparedness are 1) Awareness and 2) Self-Reliance.

1) Awareness - The first key is awareness, because without awareness, you will never even begin to prepare. Let's face it, most people just go about living their lives as if nothing bad will ever happen. They simply don't want to think about it (too depressing, too scary), or don't want to confront unpleasant possibilities (too hard). If they had a motto, it would be "Ignorance is Bliss." They just want to go through life playing Doodle Jump on their IPhone (until something bad happens that their not prepared for, and they are left wondering when the government help will get there.)

I'm going to assume, since you are reading this article, that you are at least somewhat aware, putting you ahead of 80% of your fellow citizens. But you may know others who aren't awake. You may have even tried to talk to them and wake them up. Most likely, you failed, They simply don't want to here it. But don't give up. There is still hope. Here are some tips for talking to them about preparedness without upsetting them or turning them off to the subject.

Here's what not to do:

   1- Avoid too much doom-and-gloom.
   2- Avoid jargon. acronyms and "military" talk.
   3- Avoid politics as much as possible.
   4- Put away the tin-foil hat.
   5- Don't nag. 


Here is what to do:

   1- Adopt a conversational tone.
   2- Emphasize building security and safety.
   3- Use personal experiences & real-life events.
   4- Remain calm.
   5- Use humor.


Still having trouble getting a spouse or friend to "wake up" to the potential dangers all around us and the need to prepare for those dangers? Survivor Jane has written a wonderful book that explains things in a non-threatening, non-agressive, non-paranoid, non-technical, and non-intimidating way: What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared.


2) Self-Reliance - One of my favorite subjects, and I've written a number of articles on it. My take on self-reliance boils down to these points:
  1. Assume responsibility for your own life. 
  2. Take the blame for your own life.
  3. Be informed. 
  4. Know where your going.
  5. Make your own decisions.
  6. Learn skills.
  7. Gain experience.
See my article What Exactly is Self-Reliance? for a deeper look at these seven points.

Self-reliance doesn't come naturally, anymore. It isn't taught in our schools, nor is it encouraged in our pop culture. In fact, the opposite is true. Personal responsibility and accountability are not politically correct virtues, and if you bring it up, you will likely be accused of being unfair at best, or bigoted at worst. Self-reliance is thought of as selfish or anti-social by many folks today, and even is mistrusted by government authorities (they want you reliant on them, not yourself). 

But, self-reliance is not anti-social or selfish. It does not mean shutting yourself off from your friends or community. It certainly doesn't mean heading for the hills and hiding, heavily armed, in a secret compound until after some dread doomsday comes to pass.

If you have ever listened to a flight attendant give emergency instructions, you may have noticed that they tell parents traveling with a child to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, before putting one on their child. The airlines don't say that because they hate children. Instead, they say that because if a parent is to help their child, they must first be able to do so. A parent unconscious from the lack of oxygen will be of absolutely no help to their child.

Likewise, we will be of little help to our family, friends and neighbors, if we are the ones in need of help ourselves. In fact, our own helplessness may make matters much worse for our community. Far from being selfish, building self-reliance may be one of the most generous things you can do. 


The Bottom Line:  If you are aware, and if you have built self-reliance, then you'll most probably will be okay, come what may...

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Prepper Do-Over! What would I do differently?

By Timothy Gamble (Originally January 8, 2019)

I grew up as a good ol' country boy/farm boy, so a lot of my prepper and survivalist knowledge, skills and mindset were instilled in me since birth. However, I didn't start to become a "prepper" and "survivalist" until about 2002. Since then, I've done a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. Here are some of the things I would do differently if I could go back to 2002 and start over:


1) I would place much greater emphasis on my health and fitness. Maybe its because I'm 17 years older now, or because of the health problems I've had over the last few years, but I finally realize how important - and fragile -our health and fitness really is. Developing and maintaining our health and fitness is really hard to do (you can't order it off of Amazon), takes time, and requires effort and sacrifice, but it is the most important prep we can make to survive whatever happens in our Earthly life.

2) I would make moving to a better location a much bigger priority. My current location is okay. It could be a lot worse, but it could also be a lot better. I had planned on moving, but the excuses of "family and finances" kept me where I'm at now. Then came the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. Then came my health problems over the last four years. And now its 2019 and I'm still not where I really want to be. Looking back, I could have moved in anytime in 2003 - 2007, and things would have worked out. My family would have adjusted, and I would have found work and paid the bills. And,most importantly, I would be in a much better situation now.

3) I would make my prepping more about building a self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle, rather than about reacting out of fear. What do I mean by this? In hindsight, I think it is a mistake to urgently prepare for this possible event or that that possible crisis, because in doing so we are chasing an ever-changing target. Back in my early days of prepping, peak oil was all the rage. Now, no one talks about it. And how many different times have folks claimed "Planet X" was just months away? I think many preppers get burned-out always chasing the next calamity that fails to occur. Simply emphasizing building a self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle for yourself and your family or group is a much better strategy, in my opinion.

4) Finally, I would place much greater emphasize on building tribe. This one is difficult for me to talk about, because I know I've failed at it, even though I knew it was important. Sure, I have relatives and friends, but honestly I am the only serious prepper among them, and we certainly are not coordinating our efforts. Building tribe - a close network of family and friends sharing and coordinating common values, beliefs, worldview, and goals - is extremely important, especially in the modern fragmented world, where even close relatives, biologically speaking, are rarely on the same page when it comes to important issues and goals. 
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The Prepper's Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster - Chapters 1-14: everyday disasters that have shorter-term effects: power outages, storms, injuries, and evacuations; Chapters 15-31: disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: economic collapse, long term power outages, and pandemics, to name a few; Chapters 32-56: the end of the world as we know it: providing food and water once supplies run out, security, retreat properties, and long-term plans.



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Monday, September 21, 2020

Workshop and DIY Safety

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published January 16, 2019)

Some folks are lucky enough to have an actual workshop separate from their house. Others have converted their garage or a spare room into a workshop. Apartment dwellers may only have a closet where they keep their tools, pulling them out and using them as and where needed. Regardless of where your work area is, here are some important safety tips and considerations:

1) Your workshop or work area should be well-light and well-ventilated.

2) Make sure your workshop or work area is not cluttered, and that you have enough room to work on your projects without tripping over or bumping into stuff.

3) Your workshop should be correctly wired (and up to code) for the power tools and equipment you are using.

4) Check all extension cords for fraying and other damage on a regular basis. Always use the correct extension cord for the power tool or equipment being used.

5) Have a well-stocked first aid kit in your workshop (or with you, if you are working away from your workshop). Make sure your first aid kit includes a tourniquet, burn kit, and eyewash bottle.

6) Have a fire/smoke/CO2 detector in your workshop. Check/change batteries on a regular basis.

7) Have an all-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher in your workshop.

8) Store your tools and equipment properly. Make sure items on shelves are secured so they won't accidentally fall off.

9) Read and keep the manufacturers instructions for correct and safe use of your tools and equipment, as well as the MSDS safety sheets for all chemicals and materials that you store or use.

10) Store all paints, oils, glues, cleaning fluids, and other chemicals in appropriate containers, and away from sources of flames and/or heat.

11) Keep sharp or dangerous objects out of reach of children and pets.

12) Store oily rags in an appropriate, safe container, and away from sources of flame, heat, or electricity.

13) Make sure all workbenches are sturdy and stable. Do not use an unbalanced workbench. Do not overload a workbench with too much weight.

14) When repairing or installing anything electric, make sure the power is off at the circuit breaker.

Safety/Protective Gear

15) Wear/use the appropriate safety gear for the task at hand. This gear may include:
Personal Behavior

16) Don't use power tools or equipment for the first time without proper instruction. Don't use tools and equipment that you don't know how to use.


17) Never use tools and equipment while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

18) Use the appropriate tool for the task. Don't try to make do. Don't use tools that are damaged. Only use tools and equipment how they were intended to be used.

19) Wear suitable shoes and clothing for the task (for example, no flip-flops or clogs). Remove dangling items (such as a scarf, necklace, etc.) before using power tools.

20) Lift heavy objects with your legs, not your back. Get help lifting objects too heavy for you to comfortably lift on your own.

21) Don't smoke or use candles around gas, oil, and other flammable materials.

22) Stay focused and pay attention to the task at hand. Don't get distracted.

23) Please, no practical jokes, running, or horseplay in the workshop or work area. This should go without saying, but many accidents do happen while workers are fooling around, goofing off, or otherwise behaving inappropriately for the situation.

NOTE: If possible, have a partner with you in case of accident while working. Always have a cell phone or other means of calling for help if needed.

Please take workshop and DIY safety seriously. Accidents can and do lead to property destruction, temporary or permanent injury, and even death.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, and is not meant to replace your own common sense. Your particular situation, equipment, and activities may require different or additional safety precautions.

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Winter Is Coming - Will You Be Ready?

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published Oct. 4, 2019)

Winter is coming. Really. It is, despite the hot weather at the moment. Now is the perfect time to get ready for winter's inevitability/  Here are some information and tips for winter survival:

The Anatomy of Body Heat

A major concern for winter survival is body heat. The human body needs to maintain the core temperature of 98.6° F (37° C). If it gets too low or too high for too long, it could be damaging or even fatal.  Most body heat is lost through the head, neck, hands, and wrists, but this is due to those areas being typically not as well-covered as the other areas of your body. If you were naked, you would lose body heat roughly equally throughout your body.  The hands and feet, especially the fingers and toes, as well as the ears and nose, are more vulnerable to frost bite due to their greater distance from your body core.

Wearing warm, dry socks, and appropriate shoes or boots is important during the winter. Warm gloves and head coverings (such as a wool toboggan or a full Balaclava) are also recommended in cold weather. You should keep a bag with extra socks, gloves and toboggans/Balaclavas in your vehicles, just in case.  A warm blanket also makes a good addition to your vehicle kit.  

Frostnip & Frostbite Symptoms & Treatment

Frostnip is a mild form of early frostbite. According to the WebMD website: "When it's cold out, exposed skin may get red or sore. This is called frostnip, and it’s an early warning sign of frostbite. If this happens, find warm shelter quickly."

According to the Mayo Clinic website: "Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Because of skin numbness, you may not realize you have frostbite until someone else points it out."

The symptoms of frostbite include:
  • Early on, cold skin and a prickly sensation (frostnip)
  • Numbness
  • Skin discoloration: red, white, bluish-white, or grayish-yellow
  • Hard skin and/or waxy-looking skin
  • Joint and muscle stiffness, causing clumsiness and difficulty using hands
  • In severe cases, blistering and peeling of skin after rewarming
For frostnip, the Mayo Clinic website recommends rewarming the skin and protecting it from further cold. Frostbite requires medical treatment, especially is the frostbite is severe or is accompanied by increasing pain, swelling, discharge, or fever.  While awaiting medical care, do not walk on frostbitten feet. You may take ibuprofen to reduce pain. 

NOTE: Frostbitten skin is easy to burn, so avoid direct contact with fire, heaters,  lamps, HOT water, and heating pads. While outside, you can warm hands by placing them under your arms. Inside, you can soak hands and feet in WARM (not hot) water.

Hypothermia

According to the Mayo Clinic website: "Get emergency medical help if you suspect hypothermia, a condition in which your body loses heat faster than it can be produced.  Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C)" 

Symptoms of hypothermia include:
  • Intense shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Drowsiness and loss of coordination
  • Confusion and/or memory loss
  • Unconsciousness
Hypothermia is a very serious condition. Seek medical help immediately if you suspect someone has hypothermia. In the meantime, here are the first aid recommendations from the Mayo Clinic website:
  • Gently move the person out of the cold. If going indoors isn't possible, protect the person from the wind, especially around the neck and head. Insulate the individual from the cold ground.
  • Gently remove wet clothing. Replace wet things with warm, dry coats or blankets.
  • If further warming is needed, do so gradually. For example, apply warm, dry compresses to the center of the body — neck, chest and groin. The CDC says another option is using an electric blanket, if available. If you use hot water bottles or a chemical hot pack, first wrap it in a towel before applying.
  • Offer the person warm, sweet, nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Begin CPR if the person shows no signs of life, such as breathing, coughing or movement.
  • Do not rewarm the person too quickly, such as with a heating lamp or hot bath.
  • Don't attempt to warm the arms and legs. Heating or massaging the limbs of someone in this condition can stress the heart and lungs.
  • Don't give the person alcohol or cigarettes. Alcohol hinders the rewarming process, and tobacco products interfere with circulation that is needed for rewarming.
Avoid hypothermia by wearing appropriate shoes, socks, clothing, gloves and head/neck coverings for the weather conditions. If you get wet, including heavy sweating, change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Avoid staying outside in cold weather for too long. Older folks, babies, young children, and folks with certain medical conditions (such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and hypothyroidism) are more susceptible to hypothermia. Keep a watchful eye on those folks.  

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter
  • Inspect your tires and make sure they are in good shape.
  • Inspect your wiper blades. Change them if needed.
  • Make sure the anti-freeze level is appropriate for your location (a local mechanic can help you with that if you don't know).
  • Inspect/test your battery, especially if it is more than four years old.
  • Check all fluids and catch up on any routine maintenance to prevent breakdowns (see my Prepper Auto Maintenance Schedule).  
Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including items such as some food and water, first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, extra oil, and jumper cables or battery starter. For winter, include extra gloves and head/neck coverings. A warm blanket is also a good idea, as is a power bar for your phone.

NOTE: Many folks get the shortest jumper cables possible in order to save a couple of bucks (if they have jumper cables at all). However, its not always possible to park both vehicles that close together. Jumper cables are not that expensive, so go ahead an spend a few extra bucks to get a set that will be long enough to actually be useful. I have a 16' set in both my vehicles. 

Other Winter Survival Tips

  • Inspect/clean your chimney and wood stove pipes.
  • If you use firewood, make sure you have enough to last you all winter.
  • Don't let fallen leaves pile up against your home (fire hazard).
  • Clean out gutters after the leaves stop falling (safety issue).
  • Turn off and/or cover outside faucets and watering systems.
  • Make sure your home food and water storage are topped off in case winter storms leave you homebound. Same goes for any medications you take.
  • Keep your gas tank topped off. Running out-of-gas is not a good idea in freezing weather.
  • Update your bug-out bag for winter: include dry socks & underwear, gloves, head/neck coverings, poncho, emergency or reflector blanket, cold weather sleeping bag/system, and make sure you have plenty of matches, lighters, and/or firestarters.
Oh yeah... Before I forget, here's one last tip: Don't eat the yellow snow. 
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Friday, September 18, 2020

The Three Ways of Self-Defense

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published February 14, 2019)

In the survivalist community, when we think of self-defense, we typically think of guns & ammo, knives, and other physical instruments of combat. In this article, however, I want to take a step back from that, and discuss self-defense from a broader perspective. There are actually three ways of self-defense, of which combat is only one.


Combat, stealth, and diplomacy are the three ways by which we can achieve the goal of protection from others.

Combat

Combat as a means of self-defense is obvious. This is the guns & ammo, knives, and blunt-force instruments (including our hands) that we can use to protect ourselves. It is defense measures such as body armor and gas masks. Its also the health, fitness, training, and tactics we need to effectively utilize these tools for self-defense.

Re-read that last line: "Its also the health, fitness, training, and tactics we need to effectively utilize these tools for self-defense."  This is the key part of the combat way of self-defense that is so often overlooked. I encourage everyone to take their health and fitness seriously. And please realize that "training and tactics" is more than an occasional Saturday afternoon target shooting at the gun range. Start taking defense shooting classes, and planning with your family or group how you will handle certain self-defense situations. (Also, see the book Retreat Security and Small Unit Tactics by David Kobler (Southern Prepper 1) and Mark Goodwin for more information regarding group self-defense.)

I am a firm supporter of our right to self-defense and the Second Amendment which guarantees us the tools of self-defense. Notice I said "guarantees" not "give us." Our right to self-defense comes from God, and cannot be legitimately taken away by any government or worldly authority. I strongly urge you to stand firm on our rights of self-defense.

Stealth

Stealth as a means of self-defense covers a wide range of topics such as situational awareness, operational security, being the "gray man", and not making yourself a tempting target for the bad guys.  

I've written an excellent article on Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop, and a three-part article on Operational Security (OPSEC). Be read those articles if you haven't already. 

Think of the "Gray Man" as urban camouflage. The gray man knows how to fit in with his city, especially among his neighbors and co-workers. He doesn't stand out as anything particularly special or noticeable. He and his house, vehicle, and family blend in with their community. They look and act like they belong, and don't draw unnecessary or unwanted attention.  

Also, know how to not look like a victim. This is somewhat similar to being the gray man, but not exactly. Don't make yourself a target by wearing expensive, flashy clothes & accessories, or driving an expensive car.  Don't make yourself a target by appearing easy prey - wear practical clothes and shoes, pay attention to your surroundings, and walk confidently, head up.  Know, and avoid, bad neighborhoods and dangerous areas. This includes parking in well-light, highly visible areas when out and about town. Travel and shop in groups whenever possible, and let people know where you're going and when to expect you back. Don't bury yourself in your smart phone or IPod. Practice situational awareness. 

Diplomacy

Diplomacy is the third way of self-defense. A way that many folks in the survivalist community may not even realize is a form of self-defense. Worse yet, some may look down on it as a weakness, because diplomacy involves compromise and working with others, instead of just doing things "my way, and only my way."

Think of it this way - if your goal is to protect yourself and your family or group from others, one way to do so is to turn your potential enemies into allies. This is not always possible, but when when it is, it will not only provide protection, but other benefits to everyone involved. 

Diplomacy is a lost art, if it ever was one, within the survivalist community. I don't remember ever reading an article or watching  video on diplomacy in my years as a survivalist. Maybe its because we tend to be staunch individualists, and not very trusting of others on top of that - which has a lot to do with why so many of us have so much trouble finding or forming community.

Diplomacy requires effective communications and tact, a willingness to consider the needs of others, the ability to compromise on non-essential aspects, and a desire to find and work towards common goals. It also means putting aside egos and pride in favor of doing what is in the best interest of all - not just ourselves.

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. -- Isaac Newton

The Bottom Line

Each of these three ways of self-defense has its proper time and place. None of these three ways is appropriate or effective in every situation. None will be 100% effective all the time. They are three tools in your self-defense toolbox, and it is up to you to choose "the right tool for the job." Commonsense and an even temperament are required.
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