Friday, June 26, 2020

9 Steps to Secure Your Current Assets Before the Next Economic Downturn

By Timothy Gamble

Your home. Your car. Your cash. Your job. These are important assets for you and your family. Assets that are at risk in an economic crisis. Here are some ideas to help you secure your current assets before the next economic crisis:

1) Make sure the banks and insurance companies you use are financially healthy. There are rating services you can use, such as Bauer Financial and BankRate for banks and credit unions, and A.M. Best Company, Inc for insurance companies.

2) Pay off your mortgage if possible, or at least refinance into a fixed rate. For most people, their home is their largest and most important financial asset. Yet, in 2009 over 3 million families lost their homes to foreclosure.  Don't be one of those in the next economic meltdown.

3) Pay off your vehicles, and anything else that you are making payments on that you don't want to lose. Can't pay off your vehicle anytime soon? Then trade down and get out from under that car payment. That clunker you own outright may look embarrassing, but it will be of more use to you than that shiny new car that gets towed away because you missed a payment. Same goes for other things that your making payments on that might get repossessed in a crisis.


4) Pay your taxes on time and in full. The government has given itself extraordinary powers to seize your paycheck, savings, investments, and property to collect back taxes.

5) Put a portion of your savings into silver, gold and/or other hard assets. How much? Depending on which personal finance "expert" is talking, anywhere from 5% to 20%. I lean on the high side of that range. Remember, certificates that say you own X amount of gold or silver being held for you by some bank or investment company will only be worth the paper they are printed on during a severe financial crisis. Take physical possession of your gold or silver before the crisis hits.

Note: Bitcoin is NOT a hard asset, and doesn't go in this category. There is nothing wrong with investing in crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. Just keep in mind that there is some risk involved, and crypto-currencies can go down to zero.

6) Guard against identity theft. Identity theft is a $20 billion dollar a year industry, and it will only increase as the economy worsens. Be careful with whom you share your personal information. Shred or burn financial documents instead of just throwing them away. Be especially careful online, and keep your antivirus software updated daily.

7) Take steps to protect your current job. Check out the article Fifteen Commandments of Keeping Your Job. Don't give your employer a reason to fire you.

8) Get ready now to look for a new job. Don't wait until you are fired. Keep your resume constantly up-to-date. Make sure you have updated contact info for all your references. Start networking now - you will be more likely to find a new job through a friend or colleague than from the classifieds or even employment services. Building a network is essential career advice, good times or bad. 

You my also be interested in my article What To Do BEFORE Losing Your Job.

9) Learn new skills. Realize you may have to find a new job in a different field from your current job. Or you may have to go into business for yourself. Prepare by learning new skills. Take some classes at a local community college. Take a marketing and/or public relations class (surprisingly useful to most jobs/careers). Learn to sell (read the book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham - considered a business classic). Brush up on your computer skills. Learn coding. Learn bookkeeping & accounting. Learn Spanish for the workplace. Consider learning a trade (electrician, plumber, welder, HVAC repair, etc.) as a back-up to your current career. The more you know, the more employable you will be. 

Don't wait until the next financial crisis hits to protect your assets. Start preparing now.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

THE Number-One, Top Long-Term Priority For Survival

By Timothy Gamble

Remember the near empty shelves at American grocery stores just weeks ago? Even the big-box stores like Wal-mart, with all their money and clout, were nearly out of food.  The stores are still not fully restocked.

The biggest long-term threat to our survival is hunger & starvation. It doesn't matter what event or events lead to disruptions in our food supply - pandemic, war, economic or political chaos, or whatever. The fact is our modern agricultural and just-in-time food distribution systems are precariously balanced, and the most  Americans are not prepared for wide-spread or long-lasting disruptions. What if the empty shelves don't start filling up again after only a few weeks? What if they go empty, and stay empty, for months next time?

The long-term answer really isn't food storage, though that does help in the short-term. Few people will realistically be able to store all the food they, their household, and their extended circle of family & friends, will need for the several years it may take for society to completely rebuild the agricultural system & food distribution infrastructure after a major SHTF event. You MUST be able to provide at least some food for yourself - gardening, horticulture, fruit & nut orchards, chickens for eggs & meat, goats for milk, cheese, butter & meat...

Your most important long-term goal is food production. Yes, even if you live in the city, there are things you can do. Here are some ideas:

Learn small plot gardening techniques. For city folks and suburbanites lucky enough to have a small yard, the good news is that you don't need a huge garden to grow a lot of food. If you have even a little bit of land, you can have gardening success. Check out my articles Small Plot Gardening Tips and Lasagna Gardening on this website.

I also recommend the books Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre and The Mini Farming Bible: The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre, both by Brett Markham. You'll be surprised how much you can grow on a small plot of land, even if its less than a quarter acre!

Do you live in an apartment or condo, and literally have no yard for even a tiny garden? No worries. There are still ways you can produce some of your own food. Consider container gardening indoors, and on windowsills, porches, and balconies. A lot food can be grown in containers, including all herbs, all lettuce varieties, all greens (spinach, collards, turnip, mustard, Swiss chard, etc.), tomatoes (both regular size and the mini ones), carrots, beets, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, squash, and zucchini. In fact, almost everything can be grown in containers. The only drawbacks are that container gardens need more frequent watering than regular gardens, and plant size is limited by the size of the containers you are using.

For some ideas and inspiration, watch these two You Tube videos

There are a number of books available on container gardening. One that I think is particularly good is The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers. 

Another idea is to consider joining, or starting, a community garden. This is a good option for people who live where the communists running their home owners' association won't let them have a garden. Community gardens are plots of land that are gardened collectively by a group of people. Each person or family may be assigned a particular plot within the larger piece of land, or the whole garden may be worked collectively. Rules vary. You can find more information and locations of community gardens in your area on the American Community Gardening Association website. If there is not a community garden in your area, that would make a perfect project for your church, synagogue, YMCA, or other civic organization.

Try Rooftop Gardening. Like its name sounds, rooftop gardening is simply gardening on rooftops, using containers (which can be quite large if the structure can support the weight). Rooftop gardening has become quite popular in recent years. You can find out more by searching "Rooftop Gardening" in your favorite search engine (I like Duck-Duck-Go, which respects your privacy, unlike Google or Bing).

Need to improve the soil in your yard or community garden? Having healthy soil is critical to productive gardening and raising crops. An excellent article, Build Better Garden Soil, by Harvey Ussery, is available for free on Mother Earth News website. You may also be interested in my article, Plants That Build Healthy Soils. which is available on this website.

I recently watched, and was quite impressed by, the Back to Eden documentary. Here's the blurb from their website: "Back to Eden Film shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive organic gardening methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The food growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi’s incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. Never, until now, have Paul’s organic gardening methods been documented and shared like this!" You can watch it on their website.
 
Another good gardening resource is Sunset Vegetable Gardening Illustrated.  Only 128 pages, this 1987 book is not currently in print, but you may be able to find one at a used book store. Heavily illustrated and easy-to-read, it covers all the basics, and then some. Beginners, especially, will find this book very useful. It also covers herbs and berries.

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On Social Media:



Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Spiritual Preparedness

By Timothy Gamble (August 13, 2019)

I've talked about this topic before, and I realize that some folks just aren't interested in it, but it is important. Here is what I want to share with my fellow preppers about Spiritual Preparedness:

I.)  Figure out your relationship with God.  This is the most important prep you can make, because the one SHTF event we are all guaranteed to face is our own death. Think about that for a moment. All the things we may be concerned about - an EMP attack, the collapse of the dollar, nuclear war, the Yellowstone super volcano, a worldwide pandemic, or whatever - may or may not happen in our lifetime, if it happens at all. But death is guaranteed to come for us all. We spend a lot of time and effort preparing for events that might not happen, so shouldn't we spend at least of little time and effort preparing for the one event that will happen? 

Not sure about God? I understand. It certainly took me a long time to figure out my relationship with God. I'm still figuring it out. My suggestions? Pray (a simple "God, if you exist, help me find you" will suffice for now). Read the Bible. Talk to a Bible-believing pastor or priest about your doubts. Make sure they don't compromise on the Bible being the inerrant Word of God. Too many modern (read: liberal) "pastors" and other "Christians" try to compromise with worldly ways by deciding that certain passages (the ones that they don't like or that make them uncomfortable) are irrelevant today. Run far from these fake believers.

II.)  All believers should pray daily. "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2). Prayer is the heart of our relationship with God. 

III.)  All believers should read/study the Bible daily. "It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’" (Matthew 4:4, in which Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3).

IV.)  Keep the Sabbath. God created for six days, then he rested on the seventh day. Later, He engraved this pattern of one day in seven for rest in His Commandments. Set aside the Sabbath as a Holy day of rest, family, and worship. Join with other believers in worship on a regular basis. Christianity isn't meant to be a "do-it-yourself" religion. Christians are meant to be a part of the Church, supporting, encouraging, and helping one another.

V.)  Men, be the spiritual leader of your family. Leaders lead by example. Set the example of regular Church attendance, daily prayer and Bible reading. and living by God's ways instead of worldly ways. Institute daily family devotionals. Pray for your family. Pray with your family. Read the Bible to your family. Better yet, read the Bible with your family. Take responsibility for raising your children to be godly men and women. 

A real men is steadfast in his love for his wife and family. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). We are to put our wife and family first - even to the point of being willing to die for them. This means to put them above ourselves, our career, our friends, and our hobbies. Above even our own egos. [Questions: Men, do you pray for your wife everyday? When is the last time you lead your wife in prayer?]

Commit to live God's way, rather than by the world's standards. Learn and obey His commandments and teachings. A line form an Orthodox prayer puts it wonderfully: "Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments." Don't compromise with modern world. Don't be embarrassed by accepting the authority of God's Word over the whim of public opinion as the standard for right and wrong. It won't be easy, but will be worth it!

Quick, can you name all Ten Commandments without looking them up? Do you know how Jesus' answer regarding the most important commandment fits in with the Ten Commandments? Hint: the first four tell us how to love God, the rest tell us how to love others.  
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column. 
  
On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Defining Dystopian Survival

By Timothy Gamble

What is Dystopian Survival? Dystopian Survival is my term for a new type of survivalism based on the realities of the changing modern world marked by rapid technological change, the centralization of  economic power and political authority into a small elite class, the loss of privacy and freedoms, and the decline of traditional Judeo-Christian and American values. I believe we are witnessing the slow death of the American Republic and Western Civilization as we have known it. Surviving these changes requires knowledge, skills, and attitudes that go well beyond the typical wilderness survival, homesteading, and stockpiling advice currently found in the prepper and survivalist community.

In science fiction, a dystopian world is typically presented as one in which a small class of elites use a combination of authoritarian government, powerful and wealthy corporations, and highly advanced technology, to rule over the common people. The world the elite create for themselves is one of extreme wealth, power, and privilege. It is created at the expense of a much larger underclass, who have slowly lost their personal freedoms, economic opportunities, and privacy rights. A deep network of unelected bureaucrats and corrupt politicians, financed by the deep pockets of the corporate elite, and often justified by a privelged academica, work diligently to entrench this new order into the regulations, laws and treaties governing their world. This results in a near Uptopia for the elites, and a growing Dystopia for the underclasses. Dystopia is rising.

Dystopian survival isn't like wilderness survival, or even disaster survival. The basics of survival may remain the same - air, water, and food that is safe, and the ability to deal with various threats - but the specifics are very different, and more complicated. In Dystopia, the threats to our survival include:
  • A Dysfunctional Healthcare System
  • A Dysfunctional Educational System
  • A Dysfunctional Jobs Market
  • Loss of Economic Opportunity and Mobility
  • Loss of Privacy
  • Restrictions on Our Freedoms
  • A Breakdown of Traditional Institutions (Marriage, Family, Church)
  • Identity Theft and Cyber Crimes
  • Terrorism and Active Shooter Situations
  • Political Turmoil & Police State Actions
  • Civil Unrest, including Riots & Looting
Notice any of these threats in the news lately? And this is only a partial list. Knowing how to build an emergency shelter or start a fire in the rain probably won't do you much good in most of those scenarios. Not that there is anything wrong with those skills. They are useful skills, and are worth learning. But there are many other skills that you will need in order to survive dystopia.

Also, there is another difference. In wilderness and disaster survival, we are dealing with a limited-time event. A hurricane or an earthquake happens quickly, then stops. Even getting lost in the woods has a finite end, when you (hopefully) get recused or otherwise find your way home again. Dystopia doesn't have a time-limit. It will go one for decades, generations, centuries... (Please check out my article Survivalist Myth? The Trigger Event, where I debunk the myth of sudden collapse scenario, after which order is quickly restored, the Republic saved, and our freedoms permanently preserved.)

Dystopian survival starts with awareness of potential problems and developing self-reliance, not only as individuals, but as families and communities. Building on this foundation of awareness and self-reliance, there are many other useful skills for surviving dystopia, including:

  • Situational Awareness & OODA Loop 
  • Operational Security/Privacy Protection 
  • Dealing with an Intrusive Government 
  • Dealing with busybody neighbors, landlords, etc. 
  • Being the Gray Man (fitting in and going unnoticed) 
  • Making yourself an unappealing target for bad guys (know how to not look like a victim
  • Life Mobility (the ability to pull up roots and move yourself and your family away from threats and towards opportunities)
  • Personal Mobility (your ability to walk, run, climb, dodge, and keep your balance)
  • Money Management & Personal Finance Skills 
  • Computer and Technology Skills (using technology to your benefit, while knowing and protecting yourself from the risks)
  • Self-Defense and Home-Defense Skills (more than just guns & ammo) 
  • Knowing what to do in an active shooter situation 
  • Knowing what to do if you get caught in a civil unrest or riot situation 
  • Health & Fitness 
  • Stealth and Alternative Medicine (you do not want to be dependent on the government/public healthcare system)
  • First Aid (including dealing with gunshot wounds and other severe trauma) 
  • Employability in an era of High Tech and Artificial Intelligence
This list is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg of needed skills. But, we need to do more than just prepare as individuals. the need to build self-reliant and resilient families and communities. We need to relocalize our economies and supply-chains.

All these things, and more, are what I mean my Dystopian Survival, and are the focus of this website. Please check out these articles for more on this concept:


!!!!! Dystopian Survival is now on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DystopianSurvival
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column. 
  
On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.

Friday, May 29, 2020

New Additions to Dystopian Survival and Why I have returned to Facebook.

Dystopian Survival now has a Facebook page and discussion group! You can find them at https://www.facebook.com/DystopianSurvival  Please check it out, Like our page, and join in the discussions! I'm still adjusting settings, and learning how to manage the group, and need people to join and start posting and sharing.

Surprised that I have returned to Facebook?  Me, too!  But after the current coronavirus lockdowns, I realize the importance of being able to stay in touch with people through a variety of digital means. And it is going to only get more important as time goes by...

Sure, Facebook and other Big Tech companies aren't perfect. They worry excessively over political correctness. They are certainly biased against conservatives, traditional Christians, and anyway with a non-Leftist worldview. And, their actions prove they don't really support Free Speech.

But, we are never going to change things from the outside. There simply aren't enough of us closing our accounts in protest to make even a small dent in their revenues. So, the only ones we are hurting by refusing to participate is ourselves.

Instead, I am choosing to use Facebook, Twitter, and other Big Tech, to spread my  ideas of self-reliance, preparedness, traditional values, and limited government. Sure, I will face shadow-banning and other forms of censorship along the way. Hopefully, I will also reach some people I otherwise wouldn't.

This doesn't mean I won't continue to support alt-tech like GAB, Minds, and others. I will continue to use those platforms. However, there is a certain amount of "preaching to the choir" with those sites, and the ability to reach a different audience is somewhat limited.





Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dystopian Survival: Special Gear, Skills, and Tactics for Modern Life

By Timothy Gamble

Although the term "urban" is most often used to specifically mean big cities, in truth most people live in urban areas. By this, I mean most of us live in and interact with "civilization." Few people today truly live in remote wilderness areas completely cut off from civilization. We are around other people, businesses, cars, roads, trains, stores, homes, apartments, power plants, power lines, and other aspects of civilization. We are all urban dwellers, including folks living in small towns or even out in the "boondocks." Because of this, our ideas of "survival" need to go beyond just wilderness survival, and include urban survival, even if you don't live in a mega-city.

So, what does urban survival look like? The following is a list, in no particular order, of some of the gear and skills that are useful for us urbanites, along with how they might be used for urban survival (their "tactical use"). Some of the gear listed should be part of your urban everyday carry (edc), while other gear should be part of your home survival gear, bug-out bag, or get-home bag. 

1) USB Key (also called a memory stick or flash drive). I consider this almost a must have in today's digital world, especially if you, like me, don't fully trust online cloud storage. It allows you to carry files between home, work, and school, as well as back-up copies of important documents and information you don't want to lose. You can even keep a photo log of expensive household items for insurance purposes in case of fire or theft.

I have a Gorilla Drive on my keychain (and a back-up in my bug-out bag that I regularly update). I keep a copies of my important personal papers and pictures on it (encrypted with this free and easy method), lists of family & friends, along with their contact and other information, maps & driving directions to assorted destinations I may need, music files (you gotta have some fun), and various videos and .pdf files relating to survival and prepping.

I've also installed the PortableApps Platform which allows me to carry mobile versions of various applications such as Firefox, Open Office, VLC media player,  and a .pdf reader, among others. Since it is on my keychain, it goes wherever I go.

2) Window Breaker / Seat Belt cutter. You should have one of these within easy reach in each of your vehicles. I have a Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops knife in the driver's door pocket of my vehicle, which has both a window breaker and seat belt cutter on it. Other folks may prefer a vehicle escape tool. Either way, a vehicle accident is one disaster many of us will face at some point, and we may need to extricate ourselves or someone else.
 
3) Water Key (aka Sillcock Key).  Water Keys will allow you emergency access to those recessed, knobless water spigots on the sides of commercial buildings, and at many parks and golf courses. Water is key (pun intended) in any survival situation, wilderness or urban, so keep one of these in your bug-out bag, and another in your vehicle or get-home bag.   

4) Personal Water Filter. Again, water is key, and it needs to be clean. A personal water filter is something you should have in you bug-out bag and in your get-home bag or car kit. There are many different ones available to choose from, so pick one that suits your needs and lifestyle.. A larger water filter for the home is also a must, of course.

5) Electrical Key (aka control panel key). Electrical keys look similar to water keys, except they open up most electrical cabinets and control panels, gas & water meters and shut-off systems,  train/bus/subway windows & doors, elevator control panels, and so forth. There are many different ones available, but the 11-in-1 key is the most versatile that I have found. A good item for your bug-out bag and get home bag.

6) Local Maps. You need to know your way around, and out of, your city. Remember, GPS and Google Maps might not be available in a disaster. Not just road maps, but also maps of rail lines and greenways in your city, would be useful, too. If you ever have to bug-out on foot, abandoned train tracks is your best option, instead of trying to hike along congested and dangerous roadways. 

7) Local Knowledge.  Okay, this isn't really a piece of gear, but you need to really know the city in which you live. Its more than just knowing the roads. You need to know where the bad neighborhoods and high crime areas of your city are, and how to avoid them. You also need to know people. Do you know an honest mechanic? A good and dependable plumber? A babysitter you can trust with your kids? Do you know your neighbors? Do you know your local elected officials? Do you know what their plans are for your city? Do you follow the local news, or maybe listen to a local talk radio show? Get to really know you city and its people. Build a network of people you trust, and who have reason to trust you.

8) General Tools.  Tools are wonderful inventions that allow us to do more than we could with just our hands. Everyone needs tools, even city folks. Here are some recommendations: 

A good pocket knife is something most folks should carry (mine is a Swiss Army Knife, but pick whatever best suits your life and needs.). A multitool is a great addition to anyone's EDC and I highly recommend getting one (I always carry my Leatherman on my belt). A multi-bit screwdriver is also quite handy, so carry one in your bag, briefcase, or EDC kit.  Make sure you have a precision screwdriver that fits the screws on your eyeglasses, sunglasses, and electronic gadgets. I've also found that a good pair of scissors is very useful to have on hand. Carry one in your briefcase or bag. 

Of course, you should a good tool kit at home, even if you live in a small apartment. For what to include, please see my article Basic Starter Tool Kit.

9) Handcuff Key. Check your local laws, but surprisingly these are legal most places. It's not just good cops that have access to handcuffs, but lots of people, good and bad. Having access to handcuff keys might come in handy some day.  It is, of course, illegal to hide them from law enforcement for the purpose of escape, so if you ever get legitimately arrested, immediately let the officer know you have one on you.

Consider keeping a universal handcuff key in your bug-out bag or even an EDC kit. You can also get "hidden" keys in survival bracelets, zipper pulls, and so on. Again, check the laws in your area.

10) Lock Picks. If you know how to use them, lock picks could come in quite handy at times. If you don't know how to use them, they won't do you any good, so learn. 

11) Useful Shoes. Not just shoes, but useful shoes. Shoes you can walk in, run in, climb in, and will protect your feet. So, not high heels, sandals, clogs, or flip flops. Not even wingtips. Sure, you may need these type shoes for work or fun, but you should always have a pair of more practical shoes with you for when you need them. Perhaps keep them in your car? Or a spare pair at work? I'm lucky enough to not have to dress up for work, so my everyday shoes are hiking shoes, which are a great compromise between athletic shoes and boots. Of course, I also have work boots at home for when I need them.

12) Other Items. There are, of course, lots of other items I could name that would come in handy in our urban environment, including a smart phone & a spare charger, power bar, cash & coins (there are still lots of uses for quarters), earloop face masks, an individual first aid kit, hand sanitizer and/or wet wipes, and so on....

13)  Modern Urban (Dystopian) Survival Skills.  I refer to modern urban survival as dystopian survival (see my article for more complete explaination). Dystopian survival starts with awareness of potential problems and developing self-reliance. Building on the foundation of awareness and self-reliance, there are many other useful skills for surviving dystopia, including:
  • Situational Awareness & OODA Loop 
  • Operational Security/Privacy Protection 
  • Dealing with an Intrusive Government 
  • Dealing with busybody neighbors, landlords, etc. 
  • Being the Gray Man (fitting in and going unnoticed) 
  • Making yourself an unappealing target for bad guys (know how to not look like a victim
  • Life Mobility (the ability to pull up roots and move yourself and your family away from threats and towards opportunities)
  • Personal Mobility (your ability to walk, run, climb, dodge, and keep your balance)
  • Money Management & Personal Finance Skills 
  • Computer and Technology Skills (using technology to your benefit, while knowing and protecting yourself from the risks)
  • Self-Defense and Home-Defense Skills (more than just guns & ammo) 
  • Knowing what to do in an active shooter situation 
  • Knowing what to do if you get caught in a civil unrest or riot situation 
  • Health & Fitness 
  • Stealth and Alternative Medicine (you do not want to be dependent on the government/public healthcare system)
  • First Aid (including dealing with gunshot wounds and other severe trauma) 
  • Employability in an era of High Tech and Artificial Intelligence
This list is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg of needed skills. If you have suggestions for other needed skills, just put them in the comments section below.

13) Cash!!!  Never underestimate to usefulness of money. Seriously, everyone should have a small stash of cash hidden at home for emergencies, as well a an emergency fund stashed at your local bank or credit union. The amounts will depend on your particular circumstances and concerns, of course, but I recommend at least a couple hundred dollars cash at home, and at least six months of living expenses in a savings account.

14) Home Security.  Take commonsense precautions to secure your home and vehicle. Find ways to make it more difficult for bad guys to break in. Keep doors
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and windows locked. Make use of steering wheel bars and door alarms. Have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to protect your family and home from fire. Install a steel security door. Consider a security system or a doorbell with camera and monitor. Consider owning a handgun or home defense shotgun (legally and safely, of course, and get well-trained!). The Shooter's Bible Guide to Home Defense may provide more information.


15) Personal Security.  Be smart when out in public. Pay attention to your surroundings. Be wary of people who look out-of-place, are loitering, seem to be paying close attention to you, or who act nervous. Shop in groups. Let people know where you are going and when to expect you back (VERY important). Keep your phone fully charged. Use well-light and highly visible parking spaces. Before getting out of a car or walking out of a building, look out a window first to identify possible dangers. Don't get so involved with your smart phone that you ignore your surroundings. Always be alert.

This article just scratches the surface of urban survival, but hopefully it has given you some ideas and some food for thought. Again, I urge you to check out my other articles on urban survival mentioned at the top of this article.

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Important Documents, and How To Secure Them

By Timothy Gamble (December 18, 2019)

Paperwork. Its the bane of modern civilization, and the more government we get (and we're always getting more government), the more paperwork we are required to keep up with. But, in order to function in modern society, we need that paperwork. It true now, it will be true during future any future crisis we may face, and it will be true even after a collapse. Despite the common prepper fantasy of a post-collapse world in which there is virtually no government (such a lovely dream), the truth is that even if the government totally collapses, a new government (probably worse than we have now) will form. And the first thing they will want to do is see our paperwork. You just wait and see.

In all seriousness, in modern life there are important documents that we need to keep up with, like it or not. This begs two questions: What are those important documents? and How do we best secure those documents so that we have them when we need them?

Important Documents you may need include:
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Death Certificates 
  • Wills, Powers-of-Attorney
  • Military discharge papers
  • Copies of credit cards, bank numbers, and other financial info
  • Contact information and account numbers for insurance, investment accounts, utilities, etc. 
  • Tax, insurance, and other financial records
  • Copies of driver's licenses and social security cards
  • Title & Registration information for your vehicles
  • Passports
  • Medical and immunization records
  • Health Insurance information
  • Pet Records (registration, vaccinations, etc.) 
  • Copies of your high school diploma and collage degrees
  • High School and College Transcripts
  • Contact information for family, friends, co-workers, etc.
  • Home and Property deeds
  • Mortgage information  
This is only a partial list of possible documents you may need to keep. There may be other documents you'll need depending on your own particular circumstances.  

You probably already have paper copies of most of these documents at home in desk drawers or a file cabinent. Your first action step is to collect everything together, look through what you have, and see if you are missing anything. If so, start collecting copies of the missing documents. 

Next, organize and store your important documents together in a secure place, probably in your home. A lockable, fire-proof safe, file cabinent, or ducument bag will work nicely. ROLOWAY makes a large-capacity document bag that is fire-proof (to 2000 degrees F), water-resistent, and lockable. It is currently available on Amazon. This is a great storage solution for most folks.


Copies of important documents should be included in your bug-out bag. These can be digitized and loaded on an encrypted USB memory stick (for a free and easy encryption method, see my article from February). I carry a USB memory stick on my key chain and a back-up in my bug-out bag. I personally like and use the rugged GorillaDrive menory sticks (I posted a review to my website). You could also put an encrypted copy of your documents on your smart phone.

However, in a SHTF situation, you may not have ready access to a computer, so it might be wise to have hard copies of some documents. I have two 9x6 clasp envelopes containing documents that fit easily in my bug-out bag without adding a lot of weight or taking up much room. Insert them in a plastic zip bag for waterproofing.  

In your bug-out bag, you don't have to have everything as paper copies. That would just take up too much room. For example, when I recently refinanced my home, the mortgage paperwork was over 160 pages long. No problem on a memory stick (the mortgage company emailed me the entire package as a .pdf), but I'm not lugging a hard copy of all that around with me in my bug-out bag. Instead, I just put the two-page summary (which has all the important numbers and information) in the 9x6 envelope I previously mentioned.

Keeping copies, paper or digital, of your important documents off-site (away from the originals) is a good idea. I recommend keeping a seperate set at your bug-out location if possible. Another possibility is keeping a set at work or a trusted relative or friend's place.

What about bank safe depost boxes? This could be an option for some people. Just remember a few things: First, you won't have 24/7 access to the documents, as banks are generally closed at night, and on weekends and holidays. Also, in many SHTF circumstances, banks may not open during normal business hours becuse of inclement weather, natural disasters, or "bank holidays" during financial disasters. Finally, if you are forced to suddenly bug-out it is doubtful you'll have time to swing by the bank to collect your documents, even if the bank is open.
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