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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GorillaDrives are made from a special TPU compound with a metal loop, and are designed to be pressure/impact resistant (up to 250 psi), heat resistant (up to 225 degrees F), and water resistant (up to 65 feet). Although they list freeze resistance at 32 degrees F, mine did survive outside overnight in below freezing weather (mid 20s). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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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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Wedge Door Alarm
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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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.


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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Survival Basics...

By Timothy Gamble (July 29, 2019)

No matter how experienced we are, or how advanced our preparations, it never hurts to go back and review the basics. That is what this article is about - a review of the basics of survival.

Survival Basics

In any dangerous situation, our first goal is to survive. So, it is worth asking the question, what do we really need to survive? I've come up with a list of six items:
  • Air that is safe to breathe.
  • Water that is safe to drink.
  • Food that is safe to eat.
  • Protection from the elements.
  • Protection from physical threats.
  • Ability to deal with injuries and disease.

That's it. Those are the things we need in order to live. Of course, there are other things that would be nice to have, that would allow us to survive easier and with comfort, and even to thrive. But this article is about what we need to live - the basics of survival.

Now, lets take a deeper look at each of these basic necessities. 

Air that is safe to breathe.

Oxygen. Without it we can only survive for a few minutes. Luckily, its in the air all around us (unless we are under water or in outer space). But, it is not always safe to breathe. There are times that the air is so polluted it can be dangerous. Remember what the air was like in the vicinity of the  9/11 tragedy. And many large cities around the world have air so dirty from vehicle and industry exhaust that residents are often warned to stay inside and to wear masks if they must go out. Its not just pollution and smoke that can make air dangerous to breathe, but also biological and chemical agents. 

Consider your particular circumstances and concerns. Do you live in a place where serious air pollution is a problem? Or near factories or power plants that may  accidentally release chemicals, radiation, or other toxins into the air? If so, you may want to move to a safer location. Concerned about nuclear threats? Don't live near nuclear power plants or military targets. Concerned about pandemics (avoid high population densities) or biological warfare? Read up on nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) preparedness. 

At a minimum, I suggest everyone have several surgical masks (Here's what is currently available on Amazon) at home and the office, and in their bug-out bags, get-home bags, and vehicles. More committed survivalists may consider adding gas masks to their supplies for more complete NBC protection.

Water that is safe to drink.

We can only survive a couple of days at the most without water (and dying of thirst is a particularly miserable and painful way to die). Storing water is a top priority for survival, but water is incredibly bulky and heavy. We also need to have the ability to collect and treat water. Pollution, germs, parasites, and other toxins can make water unsafe to drink, so filtering and treating water we collect is extremely important. 

A personal water filter is something we should have in our bug-out bags and get-home bags or car kits. 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 a good idea, too. 

See my article Emergency Water Storage for a complete guide.

Food that is safe to eat.

The good news is that we can live many weeks, or even months if we are otherwise healthy, without food. The bad news is it won't be fun. And the lack of food will negatively impact our concentration, focus, physical coordination, reflexes, and energy-levels, as well as compromise our immune system. Not good in a survival situation, or any other situation for that matter. 

The typical recommendation from FEMA and similar groups is to have three days of food in our bug-out or survival packs, and two weeks worth of food at home. Both of these recommendations fall way short, in my opinion. Strive for at least one week's food in your bug-out bag. And at home, I would consider two month's worth of food storage to be the absolute minimum. Serious survivalists typically aim for at least one year or more worth of food. (Book Recommendation: Peggy Layton's Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook.) 

Protection from the elements. 

The elements - cold, heat, wind, rain, ice - can kill a healthy person in a matter of hours, or less, under certain conditions. Dry, warm clothing, gloves, blankets, rain gear, and some form of shelter aren't just nice to have in a survival situation, they can be critical. In addition to a change of clothes, try to include a sleeping bag and a tent with the bug-out bag. In the winter, I keep a large blanket and extra gloves and toboggans in my vehicles. Tarps also have many uses, including temporary shelter.

A Go-Time Life Bivy (available on Amazon) or other emergency sleeping bag/shelter may be a compact and low-weight alternative to include in your bug-out bag or to carry in your vehicle. 

Protection from physical threats.

Most likely, physical threats will come from our fellow man (desperate people do desperate things), but may also come from dangerous wildlife (bears, wolves, feral dogs, poisonous snakes). We need to have the ability to defend ourselves (guns & ammo being typically the most effective means, but certainly not the only means), and the training to do so effectively. Pay particular attention to the "training" part of that statement. That's something you have to do BEFORE you need it.

Ability to deal with injuries and disease.

This means both prevention and treatment. Proper equipment (gloves, work boots, safety glasses, etc.), as well as common sense, will go a long way to preventing many injuries.

First aid training and supplies are critical. Get training now, rather than trying to read a first aid manual while someone is bleeding out. We should include a small individual first aid kit as part of our every-day carry. A larger, more complete kit should be with the bug-out bag. A first aid kit can also be carried in our vehicles. Our homes and bug-out retreat (if we have one), should be fully stocked with first aid and medical supplies at all times.  

Don't forget about your prescription medications. Work with your doctor to get extra medication to include in your bug-out bags. Sometimes they can write 90-day prescriptions instead of the typical 30-day, or even authorize an early refill if you are "going out-of-town" for a few weeks (it all depends on what the medication is, what the state law is, and what your doctor is willing to do).
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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

My qualifications as a "Survival Expert"? It is a fair question.

I call it "The Question." Over the many years I've been writing on prepper and survivalist topics, I get The Question every so often. Usually, after I've written something that  someone didn't want to read, some bit of advice or opinion that they simply weren't ready to hear.  "Who the heck are you to give people advice?" they demand.  Often, it is not phrased so nicely. And I've come to realize what they actually mean is Who am I to have an opinion different than their opinion. LOL  In all seriousness, I think it is a fair question to ask about my qualifications to opine on these topics, so I am giving my "qualifications" in this article. 😎

Question:  You call yourself a "Survival Expert."  What  qualifies you as an expert?

Answer:  That is a fair question. I base my claim on a variety of factors, including:
  • I grew up in the rural South as a good ol' country boy.
  • I was literally a farm boy for much my childhood, living - and working - on my Grandfather's farm.
  • I was in scouting for seven years.
  • I am an avid lifelong outdoorsman - hunting, fishing, camping, hiking
  • I have been a avid gardener my entire adult life
  • I've been active in the prepper and survivalist community for more than 20 years.
  • I took my first primitive skills workshop in 1998, and have participated in many similar workshops since then
  • I've been researching and writing on prepper, survivalist, and homesteading topics for 15 years
  • I was the creator and moderator of the Yahoo Group, Surviving the End, from 2005 to 2009, which had over 1,000 active members at its height.
  • I ran a survival blog, Sustainable Future, from 2006-2010.
  • I ran a homesteading blog, Modern Victory Movement, from 2006-2011.
  • My main website, www.TimGamble.com, has featured preparedness, survivalist, and homesteading articles since 2010. It now features articles on current events, politics, and economics, particularly on issues of interest to preppers and survivalists.
  • This website, www.DystopianSurvival.com, was created last year as the new home of my preparedness and survivalist articles, with an eye to preparing for and surviving modern threats.
In  addition to the above experiences, I also have a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting (with a minor in Economics). Over the years, I have created and ran several small businesses. This combination of education and real world experience helps me to better analyze current events and understand potential threats.

My own personal experiences with major health issues over the last few years has given me additional insights into prepparedness, and empathy for those of us struggling with health issues during our preparedness journey.

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Ad: Father's Day is June 21.  Here is a neat gift idea for Dad: 14-in-1 Survival Kit - includes a survival knife, compass, survival blanket, flashlight, wire saw, emergency whistle, flint stone & scrapper, and 2 carabiners, among other survival tools. A cool and unique gift idea.


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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.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Personal/Family Preparedness Assessment


By Timothy Gamble (orginally publisshed December 7, 2017)

How prepared are you and your family for a disaster? Here are some questions and considerations to think about and discuss as you assess you and your family's preparedness:

Are you informed of the possible risks you and your family may face? Have you thought through all the possible risks you and your family may face? What natural or man-made disasters are likely for your area? What are your area's chances for earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or severe winter storms? Do you have any nearby nuclear facilities, power plants, or industrial sites that may pose special hazards? Are you near potential targets for a terrorist attack? What are your concern's for possible economic or political problems? Do you know your local community's warning systems, emergency plans, and evacuation routes?

(Check out my article Disaster Planning: Understanding Potential Disasters for more on understanding potential risks.)

Do you have a Disaster Preparedness Plan? Are your plans written down, with specific details? Or, are your plans mostly "in your head" with few concrete details? Have you shared your plan with everyone involved (spouse, children, other close family and friends) and gotten their feedback? A plan really isn't a plan until its been well-thought out, written down, reviewed by all concerned, adjusted, re-written, tested, and implemented.

Do you have a Family Communications Plan? Do you have an up-to-date list of family, friends, and other contacts? People move, phone numbers change, and email changes even more often - that list you put together five years ago is unlikely to still be current. Does everyone in your family have a list of important phone numbers? Do your kids know who to call next if they can't get you on the phone for some reason (perhaps Grandma, or Aunt Ida)? A disaster is unlikely to happen at a convenient and predictable time when everyone is together. Also, phones and Internet my be down during, and even after, a disaster. The situation wiull be chaotic and confused. More than just an address book or contact list with phone numbers. a communications plan let's everyone know how and when to get in touch with each other, and what to do if they cannot.

Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit at home? I'm not talking about a few band-aids, a bottle of aspirin, and a dried up tube of triple-antibiotic ointment scattered around your house, but rather a fully-stocked and well-organized kit. You shouldn't have to search through all your bathroom and kitchen drawers to find what you need in an emergency.

(Click here for a fairly comprehensive first aid kit (326 pieces) for about $35.)

Have you taken an actual first aid course recently? Having a first aid manual that you quickly skimmed through once right after you bought it doesn't count as training. Nor does your boy scout or girl scout training from 30 years ago. Believe me, you've forgoten much of what you learned way back then. Everyone in your family/group needs actual first aid training with refresher courses every so often.

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? Is it still within its expiration date? Does everyone know how to use it? Do you have a fire extinguisher n your vehicle?

(In addition to a regular fire extingusiher, I have several Fire Gone fire extinguishers in my home. They are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and work on Class A, B, and C fires.)

How quickly would you run out of water, if your water was unexpectedly cut-off for some reason? If you have your own well, assume the pump breaks for some reason and cannot be quickly replaced. Do you have enough stored water to last a week? Two weeks? Do you know how and where to collect water and how to purify water?

(The Lifestraw Family Water Filter can purify over 4,700 gallons of water, without the need for chemicals, for under $75.)

If you should not purchase any food at a store or restaurant for one week, would you have enough food stored at home to eat during that week? Expand that period to two weeks, then one month, then six-months. What holes do yu have in your food storage plan?

(My favorite food storage book: Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton.)

Gasoline can quickly disappear during a crisis. Check your vehicles' gas tanks at the moment. Are they full or near-full (good)? Or have you let them get down to near empty (bad)? Do you have any extra fuel safely stored for emergency use? How much? If you have a bug-out location, could you get there today without having to buy gas?

Do you have an alternative ( bug-out) location picked out if you must leave your home location for any reason during an emergency? Do you know how to get there without using GPS, google maps, or other internet-based resource? Do you know at least one alternative route to that location should the main route be blacked for some reason? Have you ore-positioned any supplies at your alternative location?

If your plans include producing your own food, are you already doing so? Did you grow a garden, raise chickens, go hunting, or go fishing, in the last year? Do you plan on doing so this year? Do you already have seeds for this coming year? Do you already have the tools you need? What if a collapse happens before you get your garden planted this year, and you cannot buy what you need?

Are your finances currently "in order?" How much credit card debt do you have? Do you have any auto-loans? Student loans? Other debt? Is your mortgage paid off? Are you spending less than you earn (are a saver), or more than you get (still in a debtor mentality)? Do you have an emergency fund? How many months worth of expenses is in your emergency savings account? Do you have any cash safely stored at home in case ATMs aren't working or their is a bank holiday declared? Do you have any savings in the form of tangibles (such as gold or silver)? Do you have possession of them (good), or are they stored for you by someone else (such as in  a bank safe-deposit box, or with a broker)? In a full collapse scenario, do you really think you can get a second-party to turn your gold or silver back over to you even if you have a certificate saying that you own it (answer: no)?


Are you and your spouse in agreement on your preparedness plans? Do you agree on what to do, where to go, when to go, how to get there, in an emergency?

Do you have any "special needs" folks in your family/group? Special needs individuals include many more than just the physically or mentally handicapped, and includes babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, folks with chronic illnesses (high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, MS, MD, cancer, etc.), and folks with mental illness and addictions (including tobacco or alcohol).

(Please see my article on Special Needs Prepping.) 

Have you planned for your pets and any livestock in an emergency? Do you have food, water, medical supplies stored for them?If you have to "bug out," what happens to your animals? Will you take them with you? How?

What is your current state of health and physical fitness? What is the current health and physical fitness of all the other members of your family/group? When was the last time you had a health exam? A dental exam? An eye exam? Do you have any issues that need to be addressed at the moment, such as dental issues or new glasses, that you have been putting off? How far can you walk, carrying your bug-out-bag (BOB) or survival kit? Is that just a guess, or have you actually tried walking that distance recently?

Have you made a list of the various skills of individual members of your family/group? What skills do you have covered by at least two members? What useful skills are missing from your group? Some of the many possible skills include leadership, advanced first aid, nursing, dental, and other medical, veterinary, auto mechanics, small engine repair, home repair/DIY skills, hunting, trapping, fishing, gardening, canning, sewing, animal husbandry, plumbing, woodworking, electrical work, carpentry, butchering (game & livestock), security/defense, ham radio operator, tinker (repair, sharpen, maintain knives & tools), and so forth... Make a list of the skills you want your group to have, make an (honest) assessment of the current skills within the group, then start filling in holes by seeking training or additional group members.

These are just a few of many, many possible questions you can ask yourself and your family/group to assess your true state of preparedness for whatever difficult times that may be ahead. I hope this list helps you get started an a through assessment of your plans.
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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.


Free Resource: Guide to Wilderness Medicine for Outdoor Professionals and First Responders

5-21-2020 - There is a free resource on the University of North Dakota (UND) website that I want to the attention of my readers. It is a introductory article article on wilderness medicine entitled Guide to Wilderness Medicine for Outdoor Professionals and First Responders (click the link to go to the article on the UND website). UND offers an online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. More information on the program can be found on their website.

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Ad:  The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way, by Dr. Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. For preppers and survivalists, this is the second medical book to buy after a good first aid handbook. LEVEL: Intermediate. I consider this a CORE BOOK for any survival library.


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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. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Mobility, Movement, and the Prepper

By Timothy Gamble

Mobility. It is our ability to move around. To walk. To run. To bend down and pick something up. To keep our balance. It is our endurance. Our agility. Our flexibility. Our reflexes. Mobility is important as we go about our daily lives. And our mobility is crucial in an emergency.

Yet, for many people , mobility is a challenge. Obesity, arthritis, chronic health conditions, joint problems, back problems, and a general lack physical fitness due to the modern sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, all combine to create a real mobility crisis in America. Don't believe me, just pay attention to people the next time you go to Wal-mart. It is not just those folks that have to use motorized carts to do their shopping. Many other folks use canes, or just limp or shuffle along slowly due to their physical ailments. This includes a surprising number of young people, too.

What can be done about this mobility crisis? Is there anything you can do if you are one of the ones having mobility problems? Happily, in most cases there are steps folks can take to improve their mobility. Here are some ways to consider:

1) Get moving. The first and most important thing to do to improve your mobility is to simply get moving. Be more physically active. Don't be discouraged if you can't do a lot - baby steps are fine at this point. Do what you can, and do it every day. You will slowly improve. Go for a walk. If you can't do a long walk, then do a short one. Just get moving. During this lockdown, my 79-year-old Mother spends 20 minutes every day walking from her room to the kitchen and back again (those rooms are on opposite ends of the house). On sunny days, she walks up and down the driveway for 20 minutes.

Other ways to be physically active and move more include gardening and yardwork, mowing the lawn with a push mower, running, hiking, swimming, riding a bicycle, dancing, yoga, and tai chi. You can find plenty of free yoga and tai chi videos, including beginner level, on You Tube. Start easy, and slowly add to your physical activity. The more you move, the easier it will get over time. But you HAVE TO move on a regular basis. The modern couch-potato lifestyle is killing you.

2) Get stretching. Stretching and flexibility exercises are not as glamorous and exciting as many other types of exercise. In fact, they can be downright boring. They are also very uncomfortable to do, especially when you are first starting out. Therefore, many people just don't do them. But that is a mistake. Stretching and flexibility exercises are a foundation that you do everyday. Even ten minutes a day will yield many benefits in a matter of only a few weeks. Don't know how to begin? Check out You Tube for many free videos on stretching, including beginner level videos. There re also a number of good articles on the web. Here are some resources to get you started:

3) Lose weight. I know. Easier said than done. But losing weight, even if just 5 or 10 pounds, will pay big dividends to your mobility. Less weight means less pressure and stress on your back, joints, and feet. Carrying less body weight will also help with your endurance. Carrying less weight, particularly in the torso, will help improve your breathing, and you will tire less easily. You don't need to be razor thin, but you do need to get rid of that pot belly. Eat right. Eat less. Get moving. The weight loss will follow.

4) Get fit. If you are doing the first three, you will make great strides in improving your overall fitness. Take advantage of the momentum you are creating in your life and start a regular exercise program. You don't need a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment. Sure, you could get an expensive bowflex machine, and they are great, but for most folks a more affordable option is a simple set of dumbbells or free weights.


Stretching exercises and calisthenics don't require special equipment, and can be done just about anywhere for free. Just remember the exercises you used to do in gym class back in your school days - jumping jacks, sit-ups, toe-touches, leg squats, windmills, push-ups, and so forth. You can also find lots of videos on You Tube with fitness exercises and workout programs, ranging from basic beginner videos to more advanced workouts.


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 Exercise balls aren't expensive (most are under $30, some under $20) and are a great for yoga, pilates, and other types of exercise, as well as helping improve your balance. You can simply sit on an exercise ball while you watch television or work on the computer. You'll work on your balance and burn a few more calories at the same time.    

Speaking of balance, walking around the house with a book on your head really does help. It'll improve your balance and your posture at the same time.

Exercise bands are another inexpensive option you can use.

5) Try supplements. Joint problems, including arthritis, can often be helped by nutritional supplements. One that I take everyday is a fish oil supplement providing omega 3's. Omega 3's are an essential fatty acid, and are considered important for heart, health, and joint function. My Mother also takes these and says she relieves it helps her shoulders and hips.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have long been popular for helping the joints. More recently, turmeric and curcumin have become very, very popular for joint health. 

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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.  

The Three Foundations of Self-Reliance

By Timothy Gamble (Janurary 4, 2015)

Your self-reliance, as well as any preparations to survive any future disasters or crisis, rests on a foundation made up of three aspects - the mental/emotional, the physical, and the financial. No matter how well-thought out your plans, how many skills you have acquired, or how much stuff you've stockpiled, without a solid foundation you will be in deep trouble, if not quickly dead, in any crisis.

The mental/emotional aspect is, in my opinion, the single most important aspect of being self-reliant and prepared. All you planning, skills, and stockpiles will be useless to you if you panic, freeze up, or otherwise "fall apart" during a disaster or crisis. You will make poor decisions (or no decisions) that will endanger yourself, and your family, if you cannot think in a crunch.

The ability to not panic, stay focused, and think clearly in any crisis is obviously crucial. But, how do you develop your abilities in this area? Here is a quick summary of my Prepper's Guide to Mental Health and Emotional Preparedness article (please read the full article for more details):

  1. Develop a healthy spirituality
  2. Reconnect with your spouse
  3. Reconnect with family, friends, & neighbors
  4. Weed out toxic people from your life
  5. Get rid of your addictions
  6. Relax, Life. Enjoy life.
  7. Reduce stress
  8. Connect/reconnect with the natural world
  9. Get enough sleep on a consistent basis
  10. Be a life-long learner

Most of these ideas revolve around building positive relationships in your life (with God, spouse, family, friends...) which will build you up, and getting rid of problems that drag you down (toxic people, addictions, unnecessary stress, poor sleep habits...).

Of these, I really consider ones relationship with God to be the most crucial. My relationship with God gives me great comfort, encouragement, strength, and purpose. I really do believe "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

           "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." -- Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

The physical aspect includes your health and fitness. I am constantly amazed at the number of so-called preppers who are quite overweight and badly out-of-shape. Many are still heavy smokers. Worse, they are often doing nothing about it. The excuses flow like beer at a frat party - genetics, bad knees, no time, too hard,I'll get around to it later, even "I'll live off my body fat long after those skinny people are dead."

Folks, ten years ago I topped out at over 330 pounds, and was badly out of shape. Today, I'm down to 210 pounds and in much better shape. I've still got work to do, but I am doing it. Health and fitness is, and will remain, a major area of focus for me.

Don't know where to start? Here are the basics:
  1. Stop smoking and/or abusing drugs and alcohol - Need help to stop smoking? Visit the CVS Quit Smoking website (scroll down the page to find the info) and/or the Quit Smoking webpage of the American Cancer Society. Need help with alcohol addiction? See the AA website. Drug addiction? See the Narcotics Anonymous website.
  2. Get adequate sleep on a consistent basis - Sleep is an often overlooked, yet extremely important, foundation to physical and mental health.
  3. Eat healthy - Generally speaking, try to avoid highly-processed, industrial foods. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, and poultry. I personally try to follow the Mediterranean diet (link is to a Mayo Clinic webpage) as closely as possible. 
  4. Be physically active everyday - most experts recommend at least one hour of moderate exercise per day. This doesn't have to be in a gym or exercise class. Walking, biking, jogging, swimming, yard work, and gardening all work just fine. 
  5. Visit you doctor and dentist on a regular basis - What constitutes "regular check-ups" depends on your age & health conditions and should be mutually decided on by you and your doctor.
Dr. Weil's book 8 Weeks to Optimum Health is a really good resource, in my opinion, and a program I followed with success.

            "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who
             is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 
             you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." --
             1 Corinthians 6:19-20


The financial aspect is also very important, and one some people unfortunately choose to ignore. In fact, I get the feeling some folks are hoping for an economic collapse that will end up being a financial reset for them, eliminating the debt they are already in. I seriously doubt it is going to happen that way. Besides, even if a complete economic collapse happens, we need to be able to pay our bills until then.

We all know the basics we should be doing financially. Spend less than you make. Get on a budget or spending plan. Avoid new debt. Pay off old debt. Reduce your expenses. Build some emergency savings. Get adequate insurance with a financially sound company. Improve your job skills and make yourself more employable.

All much easier said than done. Here is an article of mine to help you get started:

Financial Preparedness: Back to the Basics - A mega article crammed with information and details.

            "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." --
            Proverbs 22:7


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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.