Saturday, November 30, 2019

Six Hacks to Supercharge Your Health and Healing

By Timothy Gamble

In a dystopian future, which I believe we've already entered, healthcare will be almost prohibitively expensive, as well as rationed. Only the wealthy, powerful, and privileged will have access to the best healthcare. The rest of us will have to settle for the "scraps" that heatlthcare corporations and the government allow us to have, when they allow us to have it. Don't expect those scraps to be quick, timely, or of the same high-quality the elites get. 

One way to deal with this situation is to limit our need for the healthcare system. This means maximizing our health, and when we do get sick, trying to heal ourselves first, before throwing ourselves on the mercy of the system. And that is possible. The human body is meant to be a wonderful self-healing machine.

I am no doctor, and I cannot diagnose or treat anyone. But I do have experience of the medical system. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. My sister had MS before she succumbed to it a few years ago. I've dealt with my own health problems over the last five years - type 2 diabetes and severe diabetic retinopathy of my eyes. I've seen the healthcare system from the belly of the beast, and I've explored a variety of alternative options. In this article, I want to describe six hacks for supercharging our health and healing.
1- Stop digging a hole. What do you do if you've dug yourself into a hole? Stop digging and put down the shovel. This old joke is actually quite applicable to our health. The human body isn't meant to be sick. Although genetics can play a role in some diseases, even in those cases we have some control over our health. When we get sick, is tends to be because of years of bad habits (digging a hole) on our part. Some of the "shovels" we use are:
  • Smoking and using tobacco products
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Consuming too much sugar
  • Routinely not getting enough sleep
  • Leading a high-stress lifestyle
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Overeating or binge eating
  • Maintaining an unhealthy weight (high or low)
  • Poor dental hygiene (poor brushing, not flossing)
  • Living a couch-potato lifestyle 
  • Avoiding or putting of dealing with health issues
Ask yourself "What have I done to contribute to my illness?" Answer that question honestly, then stop doing those things. Your body cannot heal if you keep doing the same things that made you sick in the first place.

2- Sleep. Have you ever felt yourself getting sick, and thought "What I really need is a good night's sleep." You have no idea how accurate those words are. Sleep is important to health and healing. Your body's immune system, its ability to heal and repair itself, only operates at maximum efficiency when you are asleep. When you routinely fail to get enough sleep, you are not allowing your body time to heal. Adults really do need 8 hours of sleep each night. You might be able to "get by" on less, but from a health point of view, getting by is all you're doing. And just getting by will eventually catch up with you.

As a diabetic, I've spent almost five years closely monitoring my blood sugar levels. When I am having trouble getting enough sleep, it absolutely does show up in higher blood sugar levels (possibly due to higher levels of stress hormones, which are known to negatively impact blood sugar).

Getting enough sleep is one hack that will allow your body's natural healing to operate at maximum efficiency.

3- De-stress. The grinding, day-in and day-out, never-ending frustrations of dealing with traffic, long lines, stressful jobs, bad bosses, rude and toxic people, and a whole host of other things beyond our control, can cause many problems with our health. Stress can cause high blood pressure, increase stress hormones, lower testosterone, and negatively impact other hormone levels. In turn, each of those problems can contribute to additional health problems, in a cascading effect, similar to dominoes falling. 

Learning to manage stress well is an important health hack to master. Some ideas to manage stress include:
  • Prayer, Reading Scripture
  • Meditation, Deep Breathing Exercises
  • Quiet, calm hobbies you enjoy (reading, knitting, doing puzzles, arts & crafts, listening to music, etc.)
  • Physical Exercise (walking, running, swimming, biking, hiking, golfing, yoga, tai chi, gardening, yard work, etc.
Eliminating the source of the stress may also be necessary.  For example, if you have a high stress job, or a difficult boss, you may want to find a new job. If you love your job, but find the hour-long commute each way every day to be too stressful, perhaps its time to move nearer your job. 

Finally, if the stress gets too much for you, or you simply can't get a handle on it, talk to someone - a spouse, family member, or friend. Sometimes, simply talking about an issue helps reduce the stress. Local clergy (pastors, priests, rabbis) often will be able to refer you to local programs, support groups, and counselors that can help. If your stress is causing anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, here are a couple of important resources:

4- Physical activity. According to a study published in 2014, a lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases (source). Exercising on a regular basis has many health benefits, including:

  • Reducing stress and decreasing stress hormones
  • Decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety 
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity 
  • Increasing cardiovascular fitness
  • Raising testosterone levels
  • Improving weight management
  • Building and maintaining strong muscles and bones

Yes, this means that getting more physical activity on a consistent basis over time will help your body heal. Even if all you can do is to take a short walk around your neighborhood, doing so regularly will pay benefits to your ability to heal.  Start slowly, and increase your activity over time.

5- Nourishment. Your body needs resources to heal and repair itself. Look to sound nutrition to provide those resources. Unfortunately, this is a complicated area with lots of conflicting information. Based on my experiences, I have found the best diet for me is one with lots of good fats (eggs, fatty fish, avocados, cheese, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.), moderate in protein (non-fatty fish, chicken, turkey, beef, etc.), and healthy carbs (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, lettuce and salad greens, etc.), while avoiding all grains, white potatoes, and sugar as much as possible. And I drink plenty of water and unsweet teas (no fruit juice of any kind - way too much concentrated sugar).

I know this is the best diet for me because, for the past five years, I've carefully monitored my weight, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure, iron levels (I was also diagnosed as mildly anemic when I found out I was diabetic), energy levels, sleep habits, diet, and exercise.  Which brings up the final hack. 

6- Keep track. Get a notebook and start chronicling your journey to good health. More than just a food diary, also keep close track of your physical activity, weight, sleep habits, and stress levels. Track the effect they have how on you feel and your energy levels, as well as blood pressure, blood sugar, and any other health metrics you monitor. Try changing your diet, sleep habits, exercise routines, and so forth. Over time, you will start to see trends emerge. You'll learn what foods are good for you, and what foods are bad for you. You'll learn how much sleep and how much exercise you actually need to feel at your best. Feel free to share this notebook, and your observations, with your doctor. It can help your doctor make better diagnoses and improve treatment recommendations.

Please Note: I am in no way discouraging you from seeking professional medical help.  Early detection and treatment is extremely important for any disease, and the best way to achieve that is through regular medical checkups. This information is meant to supplement professional care.
Dr. Joseph Alton MD and nurse Amy Alton ARNP have written a couple of books that could be extremely useful in a dystopian world of expensive and rationed healthcare. Alton's Antibiotics and Infectious Disease, subtitled The Layman's Guide to Available Antibacterials in Austere Settings, is a simplified guide to using antibacterial and antifungal veterinary medications (such as fish antibiotics) in disaster, survival, and other austere settings where modern medicine is non-existent.
The Survival Medicine Handbook is THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way. If you had to deal with an injury or illness in a disaster, and their was no doctor, nurse, or paramedic around, would you know what to do?  This handbook is a 670 page detailed guide for those who want to be medically prepared for any disaster or austere setting where medical professionals are not available. 


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.

The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse

By Timothy Gamble (August 8, 2014)

Here is my review of Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre's first book, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. It is the same review (with a few typos corrected) I posted on after I read the book in 2013. 

Finally, someone has written a realistic survival guide for economic hard times. Unlike most survival guides (at least the ones I've seen) that give lots of wilderness survival tips & bushcraft ideas, and indulge in off-the-grid mountain retreat fantasies, this one gives practical, realistic advice for surviving an economic crisis while living in civilization, not hiding from it.

Based on his experiences having lived through the collapse of Argentina's economy and the socialist dictatorship that has since emerged, Fernando Aguirre doesn't rely on theories of what might happen, but gives lots of concrete examples of what actually happened during and after an economic collapse.

Because of the high crimes rates during and post-collapse, Aguirre gives over a good portion of his book to home security, situational awareness, and self-defense. There is even a section on defensive (and offensive) driving to avoid car jackings, roadblocks, and other dangers of the road.

He also talks about financial problems, such as Argentina's experiences with a shut-down of the banks and electronic financial transactions (think no ATMs or credit card/debit transactions), and the government imposed "corralito" in which the government froze and took over the people's bank accounts for about a year, only allowing very limited withdrawals. He also talks about the reality and dangers of bartering (smashing to pieces many survivalist theories of a new barter economy emerging and replacing fiat money), explains why cash is king even during an economic collapse, teaches the art of haggling, and raises interesting points on the importance of gold and silver (and how to use them).

He discusses many other issues, too - from EDC gear, bug-out bags, and food & water storage, to dogs, real estate, & jobs.

One key theme that runs throughout the book is the need to have the right mental attitude and toughness to survive.

What I like most about the book is that Aguirre backs up everything he says with examples from his own experiences and the experiences of others in Argentina that have lived through an economic collapse. This makes to book firmly entrenched in reality rather than theory, and makes it stand out as the best survival/prepping book I've ever read.

You can get  The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse on Amazon.

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.   

Book Review: Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook

By Timothy Gamble (August 8, 2014)
Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton is not a book detailing hard-core survival skills in the midst of a disaster or homesteading advice for surviving over a long-term economic crisis. Rather, it is a book about preparing ("prepping" as some would say) for temporary disruptions in the comforts of civilization.

What would you do if you could not buy any food at a restaurant or grocery store for a week or two? What if the seemingly endless supply of clean water from your local waterworks suddenly ceased for a few days? What if the local Wal-mart, Target and other big-box stores closed their doors? What if the Post Office, FedEx and UPS no longer delivered to your neighborhood? What if you had no gas for your car, and no one else did either, and you couldn't go to work, or shopping, or even to your doctor?

There are a hundred and one reasons why such a scenario might come to pass - from natural disasters to political & economic turmoil. Could you survive more than a day or two without all the comforts of civilization that we all take for granted? Peggy Layton's book will help you prepare for those difficult times.

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook covers preparing for short-term disasters, with detailed information and lists for everything from an emergency car kit, to a 72-hour emergency kit (aka "bug out" kit), to building stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Included in the book is a section on ideas for apartment dwellers and others with little storage space.

But the book is more than just lists of things to buy. Also discussed are how to obtain, store, organize, rotate and use the items. There is a recipe section for what do do with all that long-term food storage, along with information on how to use powdered milk, how to cook whole wheat, tips for using rice and so forth.

The thing that impressed me the most with this book it that it is very detailed without being overly-complicated (many other prepping books I've seen are either too general, lacking needed details, or way too complicated, and boring, for the average person).

The only problem I have with the book is the Resource Guide near the end. Because the book was written back in 2002, many of the web addresses and even physical addresses for the various stores and companies are out of date.

Here is the Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: Preparing for short-term emergencies

Chapter 2:  Storing water for emergency use

Chapter 3: Economics of long-term emergency storage

Chapter 4: Logistics of long-term emergency storage

Chapter 5: Building your stockpile of food & other necessities

Chapter 6: Obtaining food storage

Chapter 7: Implementing your food storage program

Chapter 8: Recipes using stored foods

Resource Guide


You can get Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook on Amazon.


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Forest Gardening - The Pawpaw Tree

By Timothy Gamble (August 12, 2010)

Looking for a native fruit tree to plant in your forest garden?  If you are in North America, let me suggest the Pawpaw.

The Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a small deciduous fruit tree most commonly found near creek banks and river bottoms in the understory of rich broadleaf forests of the eastern United States. It has the largest edible fruit native to North America, with a flavor somewhat similar to banana and mango. It is notable for having more protein than most other fruits.

"The fossil record indicates that the pawpaw's forebears established themselves in North America millions of years before the arrival of humans. The Native Americans were great lovers of the pawpaw and introduced it to European explorers: the DeSoto expedition of 1540 reported encountering tribes that cultivated the fruit. In 1736, Quaker botanists John Bartram and Peter Collinson arranged for specimens to be sent to England." -- The Pawpaw Foundation

The Pawpaw tree fits in as excellent understory tree in a large forest garden, or even as the main fruit tree in smaller forest gardens. The fruit is both tasty and highly nutritious, containing a surprising amount of protein. 

Another advantage of the Pawpaw is that it has few pests and requires little or no pesticides in its cultivation. In fact, its leaves, twigs, and bark contain natural insecticides known as acetogenins, which can be used to make an organic pesticide.

Pawpaw seeds also have these insecticidal properties. Native Americans dried and powdered them and applied the powder to children's heads to control lice, and today specialized shampoos for eliminating lice are made using compounds from pawpaw seeds.

Pawpaw flowers are pollinated by carrion beetles and blowflies, but have a weak scent which can limit production. Some growers place rotting meat near the trees to increase the blowfly population to help with pollination. 

The Pawpaw tree is the only larval host of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, so by planting Pawpaws you are helping the survival of the Zebra Swallowtail. 

According to The Pawpaw Foundation, "since 1900, numerous individuals, including the renowned botanist David Fairchild, have collected superior clones from the wild and worked at improving the pawpaw. Roughly a dozen named varieties exist; most notable are Sunflower, Overleese, and Taytwo."


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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Sociopolitical Situational Awareness - Protecting your Family From the State and Society

By Timothy Gamble
Most folks in the prepper and survivalist community have heard of situational awareness (its much more than just paying attention), but what is Sociopolitical Situational Awareness?

Sociopolitical simply means a combination of social and political factors. Situational awareness means paying attention to what is going on around you, knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings. The end goal for situational awareness is correct action.

Sociopolitical situational awareness, therefore, seeks to understand the social and political factors surrounding you and your family, assessing those factors in such a way as to take correct actions to protect you and your family from those potential dangers.

In today's society, we have extreme political correctness, an over-heated political scene, easily-enraged social justice warriors, and activist bureaucrats seemingly unaccountable to anyone. A large percentage of the population has been subverted to the point of perceiving traditional folks - conservatives, constitutionalists, Christians, and, yes, even preppers - as the enemy. If your political or religious beliefs are outside of approved progressive leftist ideology, you are seen as an enemy to be stopped at all costs. 

Religious and political persecution is very real these days. People who stand up for traditional and conservative values are losing their social media accounts, losing jobs, losing friends, and losing their reputations. They are increasingly being reported for "hate" speech and being charged with "hate" crimes. They are being harassed and even physically attacked for their religious and political beliefs. 

What can we do about this situation? One thing is to face the current reality. Being pro-life, pro-gun, pro-free speech, pro-traditional marriage, pro-borders, pro-America, pro-God, pro-Bible, pro-religion, and/or pro-Trump can be very dangerous these days. We need to be aware that our religious and political beliefs can get us in trouble, even if those beliefs were consider normal commonsense just a couple of decades ago. Then, we can take prudent steps to protect ourselves and our families.

Apply situational awareness not only to your physical surroundings, but to the social and political environment in which you live. If you don't fully understand situational awareness, please start by reading my article Survivalist's Guide to Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop.  It is a lot more than just paying attention.

Figure out the political and social dangers you face. How progressive is your local mayor and city council? What about your local sheriff? Is your city a sanctuary city? How restrictive are state and local gun laws? How liberal is your local school board? What about your city manager (a non-partisan position in theory, but in reality they have a political ideology)? Same goes for your kid's school principal and teachers.  

What about in your neighborhood? Do you have a Home Owners Association? How much power do they wield? Any busybody neighbors spying on you?

What about where you work? Any SJWs among your co-workers? How liberal are your bosses? What are your company's polices regarding everything from sexual harassment, to workplace discussions on politics and religion. 

Be aware that Big Brother is watching you, and your family. Under Obamacare, the government began pressuring doctors to ask their patients about guns in their homes. Recently, this attempt to turn doctors into something akin to a secret surveillance force has increased, with medical professionals being encouraged to report parents who refuse suggested vaccines and procedures for their children. Patients are being encouraged to tell their doctors about any mental health concerns they may have about themselves and other members of their family and household (chilling considering the big push for red flag laws). 

Schools, too, are being used to collect data on the private lives of students and their families. In recent years, both individual teachers and entire school systems have been caught asking students about their parents' religious and political opinions and affiliations, who their parents vote for, whether or not there are guns in the home, and even whether or not their parents are obeying local recycling regulations!

These are just some of the things you need to think about as you practice ssociopolitical situational awareness. Discuss with your spouse and children the importance of privacy. Explain that certain things are "family business" and not to be shared with outsiders. Discuss what and how much can be shared with non-family members, such as bosses, co-workers, doctors, and teachers. Discuss what should and should not be shared on social media. 

If you realize you are working for a very liberal, politically-correct company, you might want to consider working elsewhere. If you find yourself living in a highly liberal city or state, you may want to consider moving. If your kids' teacher is a SJW, get them out of there as soon as possible (move, homeschool,or private school). 

The Bottom Line: The political and social environment in which you live can be just as potentially dangerous as the physical environment in which you live. Threats to your safety come not only from thugs, muggers, and other bad guys, but from a large segment of "regular folks," including doctors, teachers, co-workers, and neighbors who have been brain-washed into considering traditional values, beliefs, and lifestyles as wrong. Apply situational awareness to the sociopolitical environment to realize and avoid these dangers.    

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.  

Survivalist's Guide to Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop

By Timothy Gamble (January 21, 2018)

Situational awareness is more than just paying attention to what is going on around you, though that is an important start. It means both knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings.

The end goal for situational awareness is correct action. The bridge from simply paying attention to taking correct action is the OODA-Loop. OODA Loop is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The Loop aspect is that one should be constantly looping through OODA since situations and circumstances change constantly. Credit for the OODA Loop goes to military strategist John Boyd. More on the OODA Loop later in this article.

What is Situational Awareness? 

Scott Stewart of defines situational awareness as "being aware of one's surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations." That is an okay definition as for as it goes, but is primarily limited to immediate (in both time and location), physical and external threats, and it doesn't talk about the end goal of correct action.

A better definition of situational awareness should incorporate the concept of "environmental scanning" from the business world (especially public relations). defines environmental scanning as "careful monitoring of an organization's internal and external environments for detecting early signs of opportunities and threats that may influence its current and future plans."

This definition looks for opportunities as well as threats. It expands the scope beyond the immediate, to include developing trends that may lead to future threats and opportunities. It includes not just danger from physical threats, but other threats (political, financial, etc.) as well. Finally, it adds the idea of not just looking at the external situation, but also the internal situation. 

What is the OODA Loop?

Original diagram by John Boyd. This graphic by Patrick Edwin Moran, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

As stated earlier, the OODA Loop is an acronym by
military strategist and Korean War veteran John Boyd. Presented above (click it for bigger image) is a flowchart of how OODA Loop works, and the following is a (simplistic) explanation of its main points:

   Observe: Paying attention to the environment in which we are operating, noting potential threats and opportunities, in order to quickly gain the knowledge and understanding we need for decision making. Key concept: Observing should be continual, as our environment is constantly changing. 

   Orient: The orient phase is where you apply your mental models to what you observe, in order to arrive at your understanding of your situation. Mental models are the way we understand the world; the system by which we think. This is perhaps the most complex, and critical, part of the OODA Loop. According to Boyd, it is not the one with the most information that wins, but rather it is the one with the best understanding of the information they have that wins.

Economist Richard J. Maybury explains models this way: "As we go through life, we build these very complex pictures in our minds of how the world works, and we are constantly referring back to them - matching incoming data against our models. That's how we make sense of things."

Many things contribute to the models we use - our family influences, cultural heritage, religious beliefs, education, training, personal experiences,  and so forth. The key to orienting our understanding is to develop many mental models and to constantly refine or improve those models in a process Boyd calls "destructive deduction" - the examining, tearing apart, and rebuilding of those models.  This process leads to improving your judgement.

   Decide - In the decision phase of the OODA Loop, you determine your best course of action based on your your judgement (using your mental models) of your observations.  For example, you might decide to continue walking down the street because you observe no potential dangers. Or you may decide to cross over to the other side or even go back based on your judgement that the two thuggish-looking men eyeing you as you approach are potentially dangerous. 

   Act - In the action phase, you do something (take an action) based on the decision you made using your judgment of your observations. That action may be continuing to do what you were doing, or it mifght mean taking a new or different action. 

This last phase of the OODA Loop is not the final phase (remember, the concept is OODA Loop, meaning you constantly loop through the phases). You may need to adjust your action based on changing circumstances. For example, when you cross the street to avoid those two thuggish-looking men, you may need to immediately take another action if they then cross the street, too, in order to intercept your path.

In order to emphasize the constant looping nature of the OODA Loop, Boyd would write "hypothesis" beside "Decision," and "test" beside "Act." Every decision is really your hypothesis of what is the best decision in a particular situation, and every action is really a test of that decision. 

A Mindset

Situational awareness is an attitude - a mindset. It is something you need to consciously do on a continuous basis as you go about your normal day-to-day activities. Make it a habit.

Realize that you need to be aware of your surroundings everywhere you go. Don't let your guard down just because you are somewhere you feel safe. Bad things don't just happen in bad neighborhoods, but can happen in good neighborhoods as well.

Know what is "normal" for where you are and what's going on around you (knowing what is "normal" is a mental model). Pay close attention to anything that is outside the expected normal. Observe what is going own around you, and evaluate it against what you would expect to be happening (your models).

Part of observing is being able to actually see what is going own. Physically position yourself to be able to see what is happening around you. This means seating with your back to a wall rather than turning your back on the room. It means seating where you can observe doors and windows. It means parking in a well-light, highly visible spot. It means avoiding dark alleys.

Don't get so focused on something that you tune out everything else going on around you. This is sometimes called focus-lock. Avoid so locking your focus on your smart phone, a conversation, the attractive lady in a mini-skirt that just walked by, or anything else to the point you aren't paying attention to anything else.

Micro and Macro

There are two types of situational awareness - the micro and the macro. Both are should be practiced. Micro looks at your immediate surroundings (your neighborhood, your workplace, the store you're in, the people around you, the parking lot, the road you're driving on, and so forth). Macro looks at the bigger picture, such as local, regional, national and international events that may affect you in some way.

   Micro: As you go about your day, maintain awareness of your physical surroundings. This is the people and activity where you are at the moment. Don't get so involved with your smart phone or anything else that you ignore what is going on around you. Stay aware of your immediate surroundings and any potential risks and threats. Are you parking in a highly visible, well-light location near the entrance to minimize chances of ambush & muggings?

Pay attention to the people around you and what they are doing. Is anyone acting suspicious or nervous? Is anyone loitering, or otherwise looks out-of-place? Are you making yourself a target by wearing expensive, flashy clothes & accessories, or driving an expensive car? Before getting out of a car or walking out of a building, do you look out a window first to identify possible dangers?

   Macro: Stay informed of the news (local, national, global). Know your elected officials in Washington, and keep up with what they are doing. Especially pay attention to the flow of money - who are their donors?, who benefits from their efforts?, how are they spending your money? How will any pending legislation affect you? Same goes for your elected officials on the state and local level.

Know your community and how it works: Who are its local politicians, important bureaucrats, community leaders? What are the local power & water sources? How well do you know the roads in and around your community? (hint: you shouldn't need GPS or google maps to find your way around where you live without getting lost.) Do you know the "bad areas" of town to avoid? Pay close attention to economic and business news. How well is your company and industry doing? (Layoffs are never really a surprise to those paying close attention.)  Do you know how safe & stable your bank and insurance companies are? Pay attention to their bottom lines and management shake-ups to avoid nasty surprises. 

How Might It Affect Me?

When looking for future threats, ask yourself:  How might it affect me?

For example, if you hear about a new shopping center to be built near your neighborhood, ask How will that new shopping center affect me? Answers might be positive - such as shorter shopping trips, more employment opportunities, and increased home value. And, the answers might  be negative, such as more traffic, higher crime, or more pollution.

Think about how the actions of the local government, such as annexations and changes in zoning laws, might affect you.

Also, consider the how changing economic conditions in your area might affect you. A local factory closing and laying off 100s of people might affect you in many ways, even if you don't work there. Think through how the actions of others (government, businesses, people) might affect you.

Don't Forget the Internal

We mostly think of threats coming from outside, but often threats come from within ourselves. How is your health - physical and emotional? Are you gaining weight? Losing fitness? Developing health problems? Developing addictions or bad habits? Notice your eyesight getting worse? Are you maintaining your current job skills?  Are you learning the new job skills you need? Are you sinking into credit card debt? When is the last time your went to the gun range? Are you as good a shot as you used to be? When is the last time you had a first aid refresher course? Situational awareness needs to include an honest appraisal of yourself.

Don't forget about your stuff. Be aware of any developing problems with your home or vehicle. Are you going to need a new roof anytime soon? Are the batteries in your smoke detector getting weak? Are your car's brakes starting to squeak?

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, November 26, 2019

A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End

By Timothy Gamble (March 28, 2015)

Observing the world around them, many folks have come to the conclusion that the End is near - the End of the dollar, the End of freedom, the End of Western Civilization, the End of the current economic and political systems, etc... Whether this is intentionally planned by the Elites or the inevitable result of decades of bad decisions & general incompetence, its easy to see why many feel this way...

So, how can we prepare? Here is a quick, no frills down & dirty guide to preparing for the End:

1) Stock up on food, water, cleaning & hygiene supplies, first aid supplies, medicine & medical supplies, flashlights, radios, batteries, tools, sturdy clothes & shoes, etc. The End will mean a massive disruption in the supply chain for goods and services. In other words, the shelves at Wal-mart, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, and your local grocery, hardware, and clothing stores will quickly be emptied, and likely will not be re-stocked for months, if ever. Stock up now for an extended period of time in which you will not be able to buy what you need.

2) Buy a gun and learn how to use it. Stock up on ammo. Chaos & violence will be a major feature of the End. And the police won't be there to protect you (and may even be a big part of the problem). The protection of yourself & your family will be - IS - your responsibility.

3) Stock up on fuel. Gasoline, diesel, oil, etc., will get EXTREMELY expensive, if it is available at all. Keep your tanks topped off, and store extra if you can do so SAFELY. Even a few 5-gallon gas cans full will be a tremendous help.

4) Find a relatively safe place to ride out the End. A big city or urban center probably won't be a safe place. Consider instead an out-of-the-way small town or rural area. You may want to go ahead and move there, or at least have a good bug-out plan and vehicle to get their as the End comes.

5) Turn your paper wealth into tangible wealth. Cash, stocks, bonds, etc. will become worthless, so turn them into real, tangible, wealth before the End. This means the food, guns, ammo and other supplies. It also means a home/homestead/land - somewhere relatively safe & productive to ride out the End. It may also mean buying gold, silver, and other tangible storehouses of wealth.

6) Figure out who you can really trust and depend on in a crisis. Crises bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Desperate people don't always make the best choices. How well do you know the people in your life? Build your team, community, tribe, network, or whatever you want to call it, now. Plan together now for what to do when the End gets here. Plan on how to safely communicate with each other.

7) Pay attention to the world around you. The timing of converting your paper wealth to real wealth is the real trick. Exactly when the End will come is uncertain. Could be next week, next month, next year... You will need some cash to pay bills and live off of until then, so don't go out and immediately get rid of ALL your cash. You still need it. You'll have to pay close attention to what is going on in the world around you. Get your economic and political news from a variety of sources, and think things through using commonsense and reason.

8) Learn as many skills as possible, and work on improving your health & fitness. While waiting for the End, be diligent in improving your health & fitness, and learning a variety of skills. Stop smoking now. Address any addictions you have. Start eating right. Build your strength & endurance. Learn first aid and CPR. Learn self-defense shooting, and other self-defense skills. Learn to garden, to preserve food, to hunt & fish, to sew, to maintain & repair your vehicles,

And that is the no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End. There are lots and lots of details that can be added. Lots of different strategies and tactics within this framework of preparing for the End. Your exact details will be determined by your own unique circumstances and personal concerns. Whatever you do, start getting ready NOW. Time may be running out.

Start taking responsibility for your own life now. Want a real life example of going through an economic collapse and political chaos? Fernando Aguirre explains his experiences during Argentina's 2001 economic and political collapse in his book, The Modern Survival Manual. Lots of details about what really happens in an economic and political collapse.



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Book Review: What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared

Review by Timothy Gamble
Survivor Jane is the author of a new survival and preparedness book, What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared, aimed especially at women (but can be useful for anyone). She is the proprietor of the website, and was featured on season 4, episode 5 of Doomsday Preppers.

This book tells you, as its name implies, what could possibly go wrong, and more importantly, what you can do about it. But what makes this book stand out from the many other preparedness and survival books on the market today is the style in which it is written, a much more conversational tone without the doom-and-gloom so common in other books of the genre (which often come across as lecturing their readers, rather than talking to them). She also uses less technical jargon and acronyms, fully explaining them when she does. She makes use of humor and personal experiences to make her points. This style makes her book less intimidating to those new to preparedness and survival. Coming from a woman's perspective, with a woman's tone, women might find it speaking to them in a way that is more natural and comfortable.

A quick look at the chapter titles gives an idea of the scope of the book:
  1. Disasters Come in All Size
  2. Mental Preparedness
  3. Self-Defense
  4. Survival Mindset
  5. Health and Hygiene
  6. Fitness
  7. Medical- First Aid
  8. Food
  9. Survival Gear
  10. Sustainable Living
  11. Finance
  12. Survival Skills
  13. The Government
One aspect I really like about Survivor Jane's book is that it covers several areas in detail that are often given little attention elsewhere. For example, mental preparedness is an area I find to almost always be mentioned, but rarely discussed, in most survival books. Typically, survival authors give a line (or, at most, a paragraph) stating that mental preparedness is important, then go on to completely ignore the subject for the rest of the book. In Survivor Jane's book, mental preparedness is given an entire chapter (ch. 2), or two if you count the closely related Survival Mindset (ch. 4).

The chapter on Self-Defense (ch. 3) thankfully goes beyond the typical guns & ammo (which are very useful, but are actually the last line of defense after the other lines have failed). She explains what can happen (knowing is the first step in preparing, as Survivor Jane notes). She gives some great ideas on improving your situational awareness (critical for self-defense). She discusses improvised weapons for when you don't have your gun for whatever reason. There is a section of cheap (or even free) ideas for improving your home security. And there is even a section on women disguising themselves as men for protection (something I had never thought of before reading it in her book).

This book makes a great general introduction to survival and preparedness. It is especially useful to those folks who might find typical survival and preparedness books uninteresting, intimidating, or otherwise difficult to understand. You can find What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? on Amazon in either paperback or kindle versions.

Other Books By Survivor Jane:


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The Good News About Nuclear Destruction

Timothy's Note: The following article is by Shane Copper for Physicians for Civil Defense. I am reprinting it here with permission in accordance with the terms of the copyright notice found at the end of this article. All links have been left intact..

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction 

By Shane Connor for Physicians for Civil Defense


Toshiharu Kano, third generation Japanese-American, author of Passport to Hiroshima reminded us recently;

"I am the last, closest to ground zero (800 meters from hypocenter), living survivor of Hiroshima atomic bomb of August 1945. Many of the tens of thousands of victims there tragically perished from an unfamiliarity of how to protect themselves from the unique effects of a nuclear bomb's flash, blast and radiation. As a US citizen living in middle America today I see a hauntingly similar vulnerability growing among the general public here ever since Civil Defense was discontinued after the Reagan Cold War era. The 'Good News About Nuclear Destruction' is that if all Americans were trained again in the Civil Defense basics of what to do and not do if nuclear weapons were ever unleashed again, we could instantly make all nukes 90% less lethal. Ideally, while I'd like to see a world free of nuclear weapons someday, in the meantime we should all embrace rejuvenating public Civil Defense to greatly minimize their lethality."

What possible 'good news' could there ever be about nuclear destruction coming to America, whether it is Dirty Bombs, Terrorist Nukes, or ICBM's from afar? 

In a word, they are all survivable for the vast majority of American families, IF they know what to do beforehand and have made even the most modest of preparations. 

Tragically, though, most Americans today won't give much credence to this good news, much less seek out such vital life-saving instruction, as they have been jaded by our culture's pervasive myths of nuclear un-survivability

Most people think that if nukes go off then everybody is going to die, or it'll be so bad they'll wish they had. That's why you hear such absurd comments as; "If it happens, I hope I'm at ground zero and go quickly."

This defeatist attitude was born as the disarmament movement ridiculed any competing alternatives to their ban-the-bomb agenda, like Civil Defense. The activists wanted all to think there was no surviving any nukes, disarmament was your only hope. The sound Civil Defense strategies of the 50's, 60's and 70's have been derided as being largely ineffective, or at worst a cruel joke. Since the supposed end of the Cold War in the 80's, most Americans saw neither a need to prepare, nor believed that preparation would do any good. Today, with growing prospects of nuclear terrorism, and nuclear saber rattling from rogue nations, we see emerging among the public either paralyzing fear or irrational denial. People can't even begin to envision effective preparations for ever surviving a nuclear attack. They think it totally futile, bordering on lunacy, to even try.

Ironically, the disarmament activists legacy, regardless their noble intent, has rendered millions of Americans even more vulnerable to perishing from nukes in the future.

The biggest surprise for most Americans, from the first flash of a nuke being unleashed, is that they will still be here, though ill-equipped to survive for long, if they don't know what to do, and not do, beforehand from that very first second of the initial flash onward.

For instance, many could readily survive the delayed blast wave via the old 'Duck & Cover' tactic, and that is very good news, IF they knew to do it quick as the flash appeared. Unfortunately, most don't, and even fewer know how to later survive the coming radioactive fallout which could eventually kill many times more than the blast. However, there is still more good news possible, as well over 90% of those potential casualties from fallout are avoidable, too, IF the public was pre-trained through an aggressive national Civil Defense educational program. Simple measures taken immediately after a nuclear detonation, by a pre-trained public, can prevent agonizing death and injury from radiation exposure.

The National Planning Scenario #1, an originally confidential internal 2004 study by the Department of Homeland Security, examined the effects of a terrorist nuke detonated in Washington, D.C.. They discovered that a 10 kiloton nuke, about 2/3rds the size of the Hiroshima bomb, detonated at ground level, would result in about 15,000 immediate deaths, and another 15,000 casualties from the blast, thermal flash and initial radiation release.1 As horrific as that is, and even without 'Duck & Cover', the surprising revelation here is that over 99% of the residents in the DC area will have just witnessed and survived their first nuclear explosion. Clearly, the good news is most people would survive that initial blast.

However, that study also soberly determined that as many as another 250,000 people could soon be at risk from lethal doses of radiation from the fallout drifting downwind towards them after the blast. (Another study, released in August 2006 by the Rand Corporation, looked at a terrorist 10 kiloton nuke arriving in a cargo container and being exploded in the Port of Long Beach, California. Over 150,000 people were estimated to be at risk downwind from fallout, again many more than from the initial blast itself.2

The good news here, that these much larger casualty numbers from radioactive fallout are largely avoidable, too, only applies to those pre-trained beforehand by a Civil Defense program in what they need to do before it arrives.

Today, lacking any meaningful Civil Defense program, millions of American families continue to be at risk and could perish needlessly for lack of essential knowledge that used to be taught at the grade school level.

The public at large, businesses and all our children's schools, urgently need to be instructed in Civil Defense basics again. Like how most can save themselves by immediately employing the 'Duck & Cover' tactic, rather than just allowing an impulsive rush to the nearest windows to see what that 'bright flash' was across town, just-in-time to be shredded by the glass imploding inward from that delayed shock wave blast.

Most also don't know, even when caught in the open, just lying flat, reduces by eight-fold the chances of being hit by debris from that brief, three second, tornado strength shock wave blast that, like lightning & thunder, could be delayed arriving anywhere from a couple seconds to 2 minutes after that initial flash.

Remember the February, 2013 Chelyabinsk Russia meteor air burst? 1,500 people were injured, most from the delayed shock wave exploding inward the window glass they were anxiously scanning the winter sky through trying to see what/where the bright flash was earlier. "A fourth-grade teacher in Chelyabinsk, Yulia Karbysheva, was hailed as a hero after saving 44 children from imploding window glass cuts. Despite not knowing the origin of the intense flash of light, Karbysheva thought it prudent to take precautionary measures by ordering her students to stay away from the room's windows and to perform a duck and cover maneuver. Karbysheva, who remained standing, was seriously lacerated when the blast arrived and window glass severed a tendon in one of her arms; however, none of her students, whom she ordered to hide under their desks, suffered cuts." 3

'Duck & Cover', while under appreciated by most Americans, has long been known as a simple and effective shock wave blast life-saver, even as early as Hiroshima (15 KT) and Nagasaki (22 KT).
"According to the 1946 book Hiroshima, in the days between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in Japan, one Hiroshima policeman went to Nagasaki to teach police about ducking after the atomic flash. As a result of this timely warning, not a single Nagasaki policeman died in the initial blast. Unfortunately, the general population was not warned of the heat/blast danger following an atomic flash because of the bomb's unknown nature. Many people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki died while searching the skies for the source of the brilliant flash." 4

Robert Trumbull - the New York Times Pacific and Asia war correspondent, 1941-79 who had been in Iwo Jima - documented more double-bombing survivors in his 1957 book Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Personal Experiences of Nine Men who Lived Through Both Atomic Bombings5. Two of their experiences and their ages on 9 August 1945: 

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, 29, Mitsubishi ship designer who died in 2010, aged 93 (Trumbull pp. 28 and 109): "'Suddenly there was a flash like the lighting of a huge magnesium flare,' Yamaguchi recalls. The young ship designer was so well drilled in air-raid precaution techniques that he reacted automatically. He flung his hands to his head, covering his eyes with his fingers and stopping his ears with his two thumbs. Simultaneously he dropped to the ground, face down. ... 'As I prostrated myself, there came a terrific explosion' ... [The left side of his face and arm facing the fireball were burned, and he returned to Nagasaki, experiencing the second nuclear explosion on the sixth-floor of the headquarters office of Mitsubishi.] Spelling out the danger of flying glass, he urged them to keep windows open during an air-raid alert, and at the instant of the flash to seize at once upon any shelter available ... the second A-bomb confirmed young Yamaguchi's words, exploding in a huge ball of fire about a mile away. Yamaguchi's lecture [just an hour earlier!] ... was not lost upon his colleagues. With the young designer's words still fresh in their minds, they leaped for the cover of desks and tables. 'As a result,' said Yamaguchi, 'my section staff suffered the least in that building. In other sections there was a heavy toll of serious injuries from flying glass'."
Masao Komatsu, 40, was hit by falling beam in a Hiroshima warehouse and was on board a train in Nagasaki when the bomb fell (Trumbull, p101): "...the interior of the coach was bathed in a stark, white light. Komatsu immediately dived for the floor. 'Get down!' he screamed at the other passengers. Some recovered sufficiently from the daze of the blinding light to react promptly to his warning. Seconds later came the deafening crack of the blast, and a shock wave that splintered all the windows on both sides of the train. The passengers who had not dived under the seats were slashed mercilessly from waist to head by glass flying at bullet speed."
While terrorist nukes would likely be smaller than the Hiroshima (15 KT) bomb, in a modern super power conflict today, the nukes would be larger, most in the 100 KT to 500 KT range. The unsurvivable 'ground zero' lethal zone of a 500 KT nuke airburst, would extend out to about 2.2 miles. The blast wave would arrive at that 2.2 mile marker about eight seconds after the flash and then continue on causing death or injury from there out to about 9 miles. Putting at grave risk then an additional over 15 times more souls than were already lost within that unsurvivable 2.2 mile ground zero radius. That's IF they don't know to 'Duck & Cover' in those 8 to 20+ seconds after the flash and before the blast wave arrived. In other words, with 'Duck & Cover' taught to and employed by all, there could be over 15 times fewer casualties from that blast wave!6
Clearly, prompt 'Duck & Cover', upon any bright flash suddenly appearing, is lifesaving good news everyone should be taught!

They need to also be taught, after the blast, attempting to outrun that downwind drift of the fallout is strongly discouraged. It only works if wind direction, speed, and distance from ground zero is known and assures plenty enough time to escape exposure in the open well before the fallout would arrive along their, likely clogged, route. They must also be taught, sheltering-in-place is usually the better option, as the radioactive fallout loses 90% of its lethal intensity in the first seven hours and 99% of it in two days. For those requiring sheltering from fallout, the majority would only need two or three days of full-time hunkering down, not weeks on end, before safely joining an evacuation, if even still necessary then.

That's more good news as an effective expedient fallout shelter can easily be improvised at home, school or work quickly, but, again, only IF the public had been trained beforehand in how to do so, as was begun in the 50's, 60's & 70's with our national Civil Defense program.
Unfortunately, our government today is doing little to promote nuclear preparedness and Civil Defense instruction among the general public. Regrettably, most of our politicians, like the public, are still captive to the same illusions that training and preparation of the public are ineffective and futile against a nuclear threat.

Bush administration Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, demonstrated this attitude in 2005 when he responded to the following question in USA Today;7
Q: In the last four years, the most horrific scenario - a nuclear attack - may be the least discussed. If there were to be a nuclear attack tomorrow by terrorists on an American city, how would it be handled?

A: In the area of a nuclear bomb, it's prevention, prevention, prevention. If a nuclear bomb goes off, you are not going to be able to protect against it. There's no city strong enough infrastructure-wise to withstand such a hit. No matter how you approach it, there'd be a huge loss of life. 

Mr. Chertoff failed to grasp that most of that "huge loss of life" could be avoided if those in the blast zone and downwind knew what to do beforehand. He only acknowledges that the infrastructure will be severely compromised -- too few first-responders responding. Civil Defense pre-training of the public is clearly the only hope for those in the blast zone and later in the fallout path. Of course, the government should try and prevent it happening first, but the answer he should have given to that question is; "preparation, preparation, preparation" of the public via training beforehand, for when prevention by the government might fail.

The Obama administration also failed to grasp that the single greatest force multiplier to reducing potential casualties, and greatly enhancing the effectiveness of first-responders, is a pre-trained public so that there will be far fewer casualties to later deal with. Spending millions to train and equip first-responders is good and necessary, but having millions fewer victims, by having also educated and trained the public beforehand, too, would be many magnitudes more effective in saving lives. Maybe the Trump administration will do better, but time is short.

The federal government needs to launch a national mass media, business supported, and school based effort, superseding our most ambitious public awareness campaigns like for AIDs, drug abuse, drunk driving, anti-smoking, etc. The effort should percolate down to every level of our society. Let's be clear - we are talking about the potential to save, or lose needlessly, many times more lives than those saved by all these other noble efforts combined!

Instead, Homeland Security continues with a focus primarily on...

#1 - Interdiction - Catching nuclear materials and terrorists beforehand and...

#2 - Continuity of Government (COG) and casualty response afterwards for when #1 fails
While the vital key component continues to be largely ignored...

#3 - Continuity of the Public while it's happening - via proven mass media Civil Defense training beforehand that would make the survival difference then for the vast majority of Americans affected by a nuclear event and on their own from that first initial flash & blast and through those critical first couple days of the highest radiation threat, before government response has arrived in force. 

This deadly oversight will persist until those crippling myths of nuclear un-survivability are banished by the good news that a trained and prepared public can, and ultimately has to, save themselves. More training of the public beforehand means less body bags required afterwards, it's that simple.

The tragic After Action Reports (AAR's), of an American city nuked today, would glaringly reveal then that the overwhelming majority of victims had perished needlessly for lack of this basic, easy to learn & employ, life-saving knowledge.

Re-launching Civil Defense training is an issue we hope & pray will come to the forefront on the political stage, with both parties vying to outdo each other proposing national Civil Defense public educational programs. We are not asking billions for provisioned public fallout shelters for all, like what already awaits many of our politicians. We are just asking for a comprehensive mass media, business, and school based re-release of the proven practical strategies of Civil Defense instruction, a modernized version of what we used to have here, and that had been embraced by the Chinese, Russians, Swiss and Israeli's.

There is no greater, nor more legitimate, primary responsibility of any government than to protect its citizens. And, no greater condemnation awaits that government that fails to, risking millions then perishing needlessly. We all need to demand renewed public Civil Defense training and the media needs to spotlight it by questioning officials and politicians, until the government corrects this easily avoidable, but fatal vulnerability.

In the meantime, though, don't wait around for the government to instruct and prepare your own family and community. Educate yourself today and begin establishing your own family nuclear survival preparations by reading the free nuke prep primer...

Then, post links to, or pass copies of, this 'Good News' article to friends, neighbors, relatives, fellow workers, churches and community organizations with a brief note attached saying simply: "We hope/pray we never need this, but just-in-case, keep it handy!" Few nowadays will find that approach alarmist and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how many are truly grateful.

Everyone should also forward copies to their local, state and federal elected representatives, as well as your own communities first-responders and local media, all to help spread this good news that's liberating American families from their paralyzing and potentially fatal myths of nuclear un-survivability!

Bottom Line: We could easily reduce by 90% the lethality of all Chinese, Russian, N Korean and Iranian missiles, and any terrorist nukes, too, quick as the public is trained up in blast & fallout Civil Defense basics again. And, that is very good news!

The mission of Physicians for Civil Defense is to save lives of first responders and the general public
in the event of disasters, especially terrorist attacks using dirty bombs or nuclear weapons.
If you'd like to help with tax-deductible contributions to expand our "Good News About Nuclear Destruction..."
billboard outreach across America, or find out how to do it in your own community as a public service,
contact Physicians for Civil Defense. 7/17/2014 Press Release here.
Together, we could save millions of American families from needlessly perishing in a future nuclear disaster!

Everyone is invited to copy, post, print, and distribute 'THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!' article anywhere, as long as they do so without charging anything for it. It must be reproduced in entirety, including this notice, and not be altered or edited. Easy print PDF version To contact the author with comments, e-mail: Shane Connor


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On Social Media:

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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.