Monday, January 27, 2020

How to protect yourself from the Wuhan Coronavirus

By Timothy Gamble

How to protect yourself from the Wuhan Coronavirus:

Coronaviruses, including the Wunan Coronavirus, can be spread person-to-person, or through contaminated food or surfaces. This makes avoiding contact with infected or potentially infected people, along with strong hygeine and sanitation practices, extremely important in stopping the spread of the disease.

The CDC and WHO give the following general advice for protecting against Coronaviruses:
  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid contact with thse who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces (click link for disinfectants page on Amazon). 
  • If you are sick, avoid contact with others.
  • Stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.
  •  Do not prepare food for others if you have a
    Coronavirus, or if you may have come into contact with someone with a Coronavirus.
Wearing medical facemasks in public can help prevent catching or spreading Coronaviruses, but simply avoiding infected people and thoroughly washing your hands often are the most effective measures to take.  

Availability of Medical Facemasks:

In the United States, there have been news reports of medical facemasks selling out fast at retailers and on Amazon. My local Wal-mart was sold out last week, but has since restocked. Some facemasks have been restocked and once again available on Amazon. Expect availability to be sporadic as increased news coverage causes increased demand. 
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Saturday, January 25, 2020

9 Specific Ways to Defend the Second Amendment

By Timothy Gamble 

With a pro-second amendment President appointing pro-second amendment judges at the federal level, the gun grabbers have refocused their efforts on the state level. Democrats in Virginia, Illinois, California, and Washington state, among others, are pushing major gun control legislation this year. Far from giving up, the gun grabbers have become extremely motivated out of a sense of desperation. We need to be equally motivated to protect our second amendment rights.


Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

1) Know Your Rights - All people have a natural (God-given) right right to self-defense. This unalienable (God-given) right is recognized and guaranteed by the second amendment to U.S. Constitution. Guns are a very useful, even necessary, tool of self-defense. They are also great for hunting, providing food, recreation through shooting sports, and collecting. But their primary function, as enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, is for self-defense, against both bad people and bad governments. We have a God-given right to self-defense, and the tools needed to defend ourselves.

"If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed." --Exodus 22:2

Jesus advised his disciples to arm themselves in view of likely persecution. -- See the article on self-defense, by Fr. John Whiteford, which includes a discussion of Luke 22:35-38, along with other passages

If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him.” --Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin

Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church (2264)

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." --Thomas Jefferson

"What is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." --George Mason (the Father of the Bill of Rights)

Action Steps:

A) Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
B) Get a "pocket copy" of both (various organizations often give away such copies).
C) Read the article "The Six Things Americans Should Know About the Second Amendment" by Richard W. Stevens.
D) Check out the Biblical Self-Defense website.
E) Read my article Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Worship, to understand that important difference and how progressives try to water-down our rights.
F) Check out the book Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense by by Massad Ayoob.
G) Learn the laws of your state and locality regarding firearms, self-defense, and concealed-carry & open-carry. Your local gun store should be able to help with this step.

2) Work to Change Unconstitutional Laws and Excessive Regulations

Many states and localities have already passed legislation that violates the second amendment and/or otherwise restricts the inalienable right to self-defense. We must work diligently to change these laws and to prevent new restrictions. This will take some time, effort, and awareness. The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance. 

Action Steps:

A) Know the positions of political candidates regarding guns and self-defense. Do not vote for candidates that do not fully support the second amendment or that favor restrictions on guns and self-defense. This is especially important in state and local elections!
B) Vote for and otherwise support candidates at that respect the second amendment and promise to resist gun bans and excessive regulations.
C) It is as important to hold local and state level officials accountable, as it is to hold federal level politicians accountable. 
D) Make your voice heard. Pressure your politicians at all levels to be pro-second amendment, and to resist gun control efforts. Most moderate (non-ideological) politicians end up voting in the direction they feel the greatest pressure. We have to make sure we out-pressure the progressives (they are good at this, and have the support of the main stream media). We have to be better. Write, call, email, and visit your elected officials often. Attend town halls. Write newspaper editorials. Be outspoken. Here's how to contact federal, state, and local governemnt officials: click this link. 
E) Many gun rights organizations (see below) provide legislative alerts and suggested actions to take. Join their email lists and/or follow them on social media to stay informed of these opportunities.

3) What about civil disobedience?

Civil disobedience of unjust and/or unconstitutional laws is legitimate and may be necessary at some point. However, the penalties for breaking gun laws are often quite severe, so please think long and hard before breaking them. The negative consequences may not only affect you, but also your family. I do NOT recommend civil disobedience at this point. If you do get into trouble, either through civil disobedience or just accidentally, seek legal help from a law firm friendly to the second amendment. For help:

Gun Rights Attorneys
Website: https://gunrightsattorneys.com/
   Listings by State: https://gunrightsattorneys.com/attorneys/

NRA Attorney Referrals
**The NRA keeps a list of attorneys who have identified themselves as willing to consider firearm related cases. This list is available free of charge to NRA members only. For assistance in obtaining a referral from the NRA, please call (703) 267-1161. To join the NRA, visit their website


4)  Join Forces with Others Defending the Second Amendment

A) National Rifle Association (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
B) Gun Owners Association (TwitterWebsite, YouTube)
C) National Association for Gun Rights (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
D) The Second Amendment Foundation (Twitter, Website, Facebook)
E) Law Enforcement Alliance of America (Website)

F) Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (This group appears to have folded or merged a larger organization. If anyone has more information, please leave it in the comments section.) 

5) If you are in Law Enforcement or the Military, please consider joining Oath Keepers.  Even if you're not, you can support them by joining as an associate member. You can also sign up for their free email list.

Website: https://www.oathkeepers.org/  

6) Know the Facts

Several politicians and activists have been caught reciting facts and statistics that were highly distorted and, in several cases, completely made-up. Opponents of the second amendment have no qualms about lying to get their way. It is crucial that we know the real facts and statistics so that we cannot be mislead, and so that we can correct the record and prevent others from being mislead. Here are two resources to help you learn the facts:

A) Gun Facts Website
B) Gun Facts 6.2 (link will download a .pdf of a 119 page book)

7) Promote Gun Ownership
 
Own guns and enjoy them. Encourage others to own guns, and to pursue hunting and shooting hobbies. The more people who own and enjoy guns, the harder it will be for progressives to take our guns away. Invite a gun-wary friend, neighbor, or co-worker to go hunting or shooting with you. Get to them before the progressives do.


8) Schools and Zero-Tolerance

Schools have enacted zero-tolerance policies that go way beyond banning the actual weapons from schools. School kids have, and are, getting suspended, expelled, and sometimes arrested for such absurdities as merely using the word "gun" in a paper, drawing a picture of a gun on paper, having a green plastic army man with a gun, biting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun, having a toy "bubble gun" that looks nothing like a real gun, and even holding their fore-finger and thumb into a gun shape while playing on the playground (no more playing cowboys and indians, or even cops and robbers).


School officials understand the difference between a half-eaten pop tart that is sort of in the shape of a gun and a real gun. They intentionally overreact to such an incredible extent not to discourage guns on campus, but to instill a deep-seated fear of guns into students. Progressives know that if the current generation of students are afraid of guns, it will be easier to ban guns once they grow up.  


Fight these absurd zero-tolerance rules in your kids' schools. Stand up to administrators who think your kid should be arrested for biting a potato-chip in such a way that it vaguely resembles a gun. Most importantly, make sure you are voting for school board members who respect the second amendment, as well as the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.


Teach your kids to respect guns, not to fear them. Teach them how to use guns safely. Take team shooting and hunting. Check out the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program for kids.


9) Men, Take Your Women Shooting

There is an easy and fun way to protect the future of the second amendment over the long-term: Men, take your wives and girlfriends shooting. The more women who get into hunting and other shooting sports, the more secure the second amendment will be in the future.

Think about it. Wherever Mothers go, there go their children. The more that children are exposed to responsible gun ownership, and the safe & fun use of guns, the less fearful they will be of guns, despite the anti-gun indoctrination in our schools.

The long-term future of the second amendment is being determined in the fight for the hearts and minds of children. The anti-gun activists know that the more fearful they can make children of guns while they are young, the more fearful they will be when they grow up. Fearful adults - who will be voters, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, school administrators, teachers, and in other positions of influence - will be easier to convince to do away with the second amendment and accept complete gun confiscation (the ultimate goal of gun control).

The best and easiest way to stop the intentional spread of the fear of guns into children is to get their mothers into guns. Take your wife or girlfriend to the shooting range. Take them hunting. Get them into guns. And the message will seep down to their children.

Suggestions:

I'm not a woman, but I do have some common sense suggestions for how to get your wife or girlfriend into shooting: Be patient. Make it fun. Don't be a jerk, talk down to her, or make it into some macho thing. Don't take over and try to make decisions for her. Let other people help - you're probably the wrong person to teach her how to shoot, no matter how good you are. Take a class together. Don't take her shooting or hunting, instead go shooting or hunting together (an important difference). Let her progress at her own pace.


I would love to get suggestions from women on how to get women into shooting sports. Please leave suggestions in the comments section below. 


Some Female-Specific Resources

Shoot Like a Girl (website promoting women in shooting sports)

A Girl and a Gun (website promoting women in shooting sports)

Women and Guns (website)

Concealed Carry for Women (book)

Personal Defense for Women (book)

Guns for Women: Patriot Nurse's Favorite Rifles!  (You Tube video)

Get Your Girl Into Guns! - Women and shooting (You Tube video) 

NRA's Women's Programs (website)
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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.

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Sweden Distributes ‘Prepare for War’ Booklet to All Swedes - Here's What It Advises

By Timothy Gamble (May 22, 2018)

https://www.msb.se/Upload/Forebyggande/Krisberedskap/Krisberedskapsveckan/Fakta%20om%20broschyren%20Om%20krisen%20eller%20Kriget%20kommer/If%20crises%20or%20war%20comes.pdf
Sweden is distributing a "Be Prepared for War" booklet to all 4.8 million Swedish households, urging all Swedes to be prepared for war or other major crisis in the near future. The 20-page booklet, entitled Om krisen eller kriget kommer (English: If Crisis or War Comes), explains how people can secure basic needs such as food, water, heat, and communications, explains what various warning signals mean, when and where to seek bomb shelters, and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defense," among other topics. 

The reason for the booklet's distribution appears to be Russia's recent repeated violations of Sweden's airspace and territorial waters (which have Sweden seriously considering joining NATO). But there has also been some speculation that the Swedish government may be growing concerned about a possible internal insurrection by Muslim migrants. Whatever the reason, I thought it would be interesting to examine what advice the Swedish government is giving it people. You can download a copy of the English version by clicking here (opens as a .pdf).

The booklet consists of three main parts: a) Emergency Preparedness, emphasizing household preparations, b) Total Defense, explaining military and civil defense, including the duty of Swedish citizen's to contribute to the nations defense, and c) Warning Systems, explaining what various warning signals means, and when/where to find bomb shelters and other safe spaces.

What would you do if your everyday life was turned upside down?  The intro section includes this question, and gives the answer: "In just a short time, your everyday life can become problematic: 
  • The heating stops working. 
  • It becomes difficult to prepare and store food. 
  • The shops may run out of food and other goods. 
  • There is no water coming from the taps or the toilet. 
  • It is not possible to fill up your car. 
  • Payment cards and cash machines do not work. 
  • Mobile networks and the internet do not work. 
  • Public transport and other means of transport are at a standstill. 
  • It becomes difficult to obtain medicines and medical equipment."
Of course, this is only just a short list of the many difficulties that may arise during a war or other major crisis, but the point they are trying to make is that people need to start thinking through the possible ramifications of a societal breakdown for whatever reason. Most folks just aren't ready for the conveniences of modern life to disappear. 


Be on the lookout for false information. The booklet also expresses concern over false information being spread, either through unfounded rumors or as part of intentional misinformation campaigns. It gives this advice: "The best protection against false information and hostile propaganda is to critically appraise the source:
  • Is this factual information or opinion? 
  • What is the aim of this information? 
  • Who has put this out? 
  • Is the source trustworthy? 
  • Is this information available somewhere else?
  • Is this information new or old and why is it out there at this precise moment?"
A big concern about misinformation is that it's "aim may be to reduce our resilience and willingness to defend ourselves." At one point in the booklet, it states: "If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false."

Home Preparedness Tips.  The booklet also gives various tips on home preparedness, mainly regarding food, water, warmth, and communications. "Your prerequisites and needs vary, for example, depending on whether you live in the countryside or in a built-up area, in a ho use or in an apartment. Here are some general home preparedness tips.  Use that which is appropriate for you and those close to you. It is a good idea to share certain things and borrow from one another."  It is interesting to see that they suggest cooperation (community) as a survival tactic. Specific recommendations can be found in the booklet if you download a copy, or in the two illustrations below.




The booklet also gives a website, Dinsäkerhet.se, where folks can get more detailed information.  The website isn't in English, but several videos on the website have English subtitles. I'll include these videos below. 

Emergency Preparedness - Food




Emergency Preparedness - Communications

 
 

 Emergency Preparedness - Water



Emergency Preparedness - Warmth


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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.
 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Statement on Self-Defense and the Use of Force

By Timothy Gamble

This statement reflects my views on Self-Defense and the Use of Force, prayerfully developed over many years of consideration. I do not seek to prove these views to the reader, but rather hope the reader will investigate the many sources given in the footnotes, should they have questions about why I hold these views. 

For the purposes of the following statement, I define self-defense as "the use of force, including potentially deadly force, as a last resort to protect oneself or others from the threat of imminent harm." This definition therefore excludes the use of force solely for personal gain, or out of a desire for revenge or vengeance. Also notice some key words of that definition - "last resort", "protect", and "imminent harm" - that suggest there are limitations upon the use of force in self-defense. Self-defense is not an excuse for the unlimited use of violence.  


Statement on Self-Defense and the Use of Force

I strongly believe in the unalienable right of self-defense, including the defense of others. It is a biblical concept, which can be proved with numerous passages from both the Old and New Testaments. (see footnotes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8)

I strongly support the Second Amendment. We have the right to possess the tools of self-defense, including guns and knives. (see footnotes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,)   

I reject retaliation, revenge, and vengeance, because God's Word makes it clear that such belongs to the Lord, not man. (see footnotes 1, 6)

I reject unwise and inappropriate use of force in self-defense. This includes being too quick to anger, and lacking self-control. Defensive force should only be used as a last resort. "Employing potentially lethal force out of anger, hatred, jealously, or revenge is always wrong and is condemned by Scripture." (see footnote 7)

I reject unprovoked aggression (the initiation of force without just cause). Aggression (force) is necessary, and ethical, in some circumstances to protect ourselves (or others) from actions or threats against our lives, freedoms, rights, or property. 

I reject the concept of absolute pacifism (the idea that force should never be used under any circumstances, even in self-defense or defense of others). I consider refusing to help defend those in legitimate need, when you have the ability to do so, to be a potentially immoral and cowardly act, because it suggests that life isn't worth defending.

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Footnotes

1) See the website Biblical Self-Defense for a lengthy examination of dozens of Old and New Testament passages on self-defense.

2)
See the article Self-Defense by Fr. John Whiteford on the Orthodox Christianity website. 
 
3) A book on the subject of biblical self-defense that may be of interest is Stand Your Ground: The Biblical Foundation For Self-Defense, by Steve Jones.

4) The article The Six Things Americans Should Know About the Second Amendment, by Richard W. Stevens, contains an examination of self-defense within a Judeo-Christian framework.

5) See The Bill of Rights, particularly the Second Amendment, and parts of my article Fight Back! -- Defending the Second Amendment.

6) See the page Revenge and Retaliation on the Knowing Jesus website for 37 verses on retaliation, revenge, and vengeance belonging to God, not people.

7) Quote is from The Biblical View of Self-Defense, on the Biblical Self-Defense website.


8) Watch the five minute video, Do Not Murder, by Dennis Prager. 
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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.

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

Trees for Long-Term Survival

By Timothy Gamble (May 11, 2018)

I found this poster, promoting the usefulness of trees for long-term sustainability and survival, on a UK website/blog more than 10 years ago.  The website went dark soon after, and I have no further information on its origins.


I love this poster because it reflects the usefulness and neccessity of trees. It has been said that trees can provide everything that human civilization needs (except for minerals/metals that must be derived from the Earth) to survive indefinately. Watch Patrick Moore's five-minute Prager Univesity video Trees Are The Answer for more on the usefulness of trees. Even though I am far from a liberal "tree-hugger," I've long promoted within the survivalist community the usefullness of trees. 

My Forest Gardening series of articles published on my website have been quite well-received. If you don't know what Forest Gardening is, check out my Introduction to Forest Gardening. Its a concept for preppers, survivalists, and homesteaders to seriously consider. Even if you don't want to get into Forest Gardening (it does take a lot of work and time to set-up), I hope you will at least plant a few fruit or nut trees on your property. My receent article Tips For Planting Fruit Trres & Common Mistakes will help guide you through this process.  
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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, January 18, 2020

Reclaiming Masculinity - Teach Your Sons

By Timothy Gamble

There is a crisis in America and the West today, and it has nothing to do with so-called "toxic masculinity" - a fake, misleading term that actually describes the lack of traditional masculinity in most men these days. This lack of masculinity has lead to the breakdown in marriage and family, leading to many of modern society's problems. A reclaiming of traditional masculinity is needed to successfully address those problems. But how do we reclaim traditional masculinity? 

First, we must stop treating masculinity as bad. The ideal of masculinity used to be one of faith, courage, strength, integrity, leadership, responsibility, discipline, and self-reliance. That ideal has been dismissed, ridiculed, and actively discouraged for generations now, mocked as somehow "toxic." Today, boys are treated as broken girls, needing to be cured of their natural masculinity. This must stop. We must once again embrace and teach to our boys (and ourselves, frankly) the very positive aspects of traditional masculinity. In this article, I want to suggest one resource that may help.
 
https://amzn.to/34EjuQX
The Daniel Boone television series from the late 1950s and early 1960s, starring Fess Parker, is a fantastic resource for learning about positive traditional masculinity.  Not the weak, selfish, bumbling mockery of manhood typically depicted on TV today, Daniel Boone is portrayed as a real American hero, and a man of faith, courage, and integrity. Steadfast in his love for his wife and son, Boone is looked up to as a protector, provider, and leader of both his family and his community.  He is definitely shown as being a man strong of character, will, and determination, who doesn't give up or run away when the going gets tough.  

Not only is Daniel Boone a good role model of real masculinity, but there are many moments in the series in which Boone teaches his son, Israel, various life lessons as he guides him towards manhood. Throughout the series, Boone faces many challenges and dilemmas, which he overcomes with faith, wisdom, hard work, and strength, without compromising his values and beliefs. These situations provide excellent opportunities for men to engage in discussions with their sons. 

https://amzn.to/34EjuQXUnlike current television, there is no political correctness or leftist ideology marring Daniel Boone. Guns are shown in a positive light - as tools of protection and provision. There are no sex scenes and no mocking of Christianity or traditional values. Also, there are no LGBT characters or agenda, unlike most current shows and movies. I suggest all Fathers watch this series with their sons. (And, yes, Mothers and daughters can watch this, too, so no fake outrage please.) The Inspiration Network (INSP) airs the series a couple of times a week, usually in the very early morning hours (2 or 3 am) on Sunday, so check your local times and set your DVR. The entire series is also available on DVD from Amazon.

You may also be interested in my previous article in this series Reclaiming Masculinity - Skills Every Real Man Should Have.
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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, January 16, 2020

Operational Security (OPSEC) - Part 3: Countermeasures

By Timothy Gamble (April 11, 2018)

This is part 3 of my Operational Security (OPSEC) article. Part one defined operational security and described the five-step process used in OPSEC. Part two gave a practical example of how millions are unintentionally revealing critical information. This final part gives practical tips and countermeasures folks can take to protect their information. 

Tips and Countermeasures

1- The first and most important part of protecting your critical information is to make sure that everyone in your family/group understands what information to protect. You cannot do OPSEC without clearly defining to everyone involved what critical information needs to be protected. See Part one for the five-step process to accomplish this goal.

2- Next, make a thorough and honest assessment of all the possible ways you are leaking critical information, especially to the bad guys who are actively looking for it and start taking countermeasures.

3- Public, and even private, conversations, can be overheard. Be aware of your surroundings and topics of conversations. Even off-hand remarks can reveal critical information. Make sure your conversations are really private before discussing critical information. 

4- Be aware how certain information may reveal other information. For example, that "First Baptist Church" bumper sticker reveals not only your church membership, but also tells the bad guys you're probably not at home on Sunday mornings.Think through what the bad guys may able able to deduce from seemingly innocent information you do give out. 

5- Shred/burn (instead of throwing away) all unneeded paper that may reveal critical information, including bills, shopping receipts, insurance papers, bank statements, tax records, pay stubs, ATM receipts  & other financial documents, pre-approved credit card & loan applications, prescription labels & info, expired passports and driver's licenses, among many others. A good article on what to keep and how long is How Long to Keep Documents & What to Shred by Elizabeth Larkin.  


The general rule is anything with the following information should be shred: account numbers, birth dates, maiden names, passwords and pins, signatures, and social security numbers." -- Elizabeth Larkin

6- Children, especially young children, tell EVERYTHING to their friends, schoolmates, teachers, neighbors, and other parents (even if you've told them not to). Be especially aware of what you reveal to them, and remember that they do have ears and overhear a lot more than you might think. Remind them often that privacy is important and that they shouldn't share certain information with others. There have been many news stories in recent years of schools quizzing students about their home life, including asking about topics such as the parent's political views and if there are guns in the home. Tell your kids to answer "I don't know, you'll have to ask mommy and daddy about that" and to tell you who was asking those type questions. Review this with them often (they quickly forget).

7- careful of what trash & recyclables you leave at the curb. Even empty boxes may reveal to those nosy neighbors what, and how much, you are buying. Options to roadside recycling include taking the boxes to the recycling center yourself, or even burning them or using them in composting or sheet mulching. Remember to shred/burn critical papers.

8- Be cautious in your use of social media, email, text messaging, and the Internet. Realize that if you are emitting electronically, your use is being monitored, logged and stored. NEVER use electronics to commit illegal acts, make threats, stalk or harass others (you shouldn't be doing these things anyway). When surfing the Internet, avoid the "Red Light Districts" (adult sites, illicit drug sites, or other sites used for illegal/unethical activities), as visiting those sites greatly increases your chances for computer viruses, phishing attacks, ransomware, and attracting the attention of both the bad guys and law enforcement. 

9- Never give away a password to  any account to anyone EVER!!! 

10- Keep all software up-to-date. This is especially true for your anti-virus and firewall software (they stop automatically updating after the free trial period is up), but is also true for your operating system, drivers, etc. Out-of-date software likely have multiple security issues.

11- Rethink your use of social media. Keep only those accounts you really use often or need professionally (I recently deleted my Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ accounts). Avoid oversharing or giving away critical information. Especially avoid giving away your schedule or travel plans (lets the bad guys know when you are not home). Don’t post personal information (real friends already know your workplace, school, home address, phone number, etc.- don’t  broadcast it to strangers).

12- How to Delete a Google+ Account https://www.wikihow.com/Delete-a-Google%2B-Account 

13- How to Download and Delete Your Entire Google Search History http://www.maketecheasier.com/download-delete-goog...

14- How to delete everything Google knows about you https://www.expressvpn.com/internet-privacy/how-to...

16- How to Permanently Delete a Facebook Account https://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account

17- How to Delete an Instagram Account https://www.wikihow.com/Delete-an-Instagram-Account

18- Want an privacy-sensitive alternative search engine to Google, Yahoo, or Bing? I suggest StartPage https://www.startpage.com/ or Duck-Duck-Go https://duckduckgo.com/

19- Concerned about Microsoft's recent announcement that they will ban "offense language" and begin monitoring private accounts (Office, Skype, and other Microsoft products)? Looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office? I use Apache Open Office https://www.openoffice.org/ Its free and works great!

20- Want a good alternative web browser to Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Google Chrome?  Try Mozilla Firefox https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/. It can be enhanced with a number of privacy-protecting add-ons, including HTTPS Everywhere and Ghostery, among others (go to the add-ons page after installing Firefox).

21- Delete cookies regularly or disable the use of cookies through your browser. You can “whitelist” cookies from sites you need/trust while still blocking all others. There are also several Firefox add-ons, such as Self-Destructing Cookies, that will do this for you. 

22- Never use the “remember me” function on websites, even from your own laptop or device. 

23- Be mindful of you use of affinity cards, credit/debit/checking cards, and even modern library cards, as they all collect and log data about you and your habits. This information may then be used by the company, shared with its vendors, sold to other companies, or stolen by company employees or outside hackers. It could also be obtained by the government (even without a warrant in many cases). 

Obviously, this list barely scratches the surface of the many countermeasures you can take to keep critical information out of the hands of bad guys and others (corporations, government) who don't need it. My hope is that it will give you plenty of "food for thought" and even many practical ideas for protecting your critical information.
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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.     

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Operational Security (OPSEC) - Part 2: Practical Considerations

By Timothy Gamble (April 3, 2018)

This is part 2 of my Operational Security (OPSEC) article. If you missed part 1, click here to read it

How do the bad guys get our critical information?  The answer is we give it to them, most often without realizing it. For one example of how we might give away our information, take a look at the back-end of the cars in the next parking lot you visit. Chances are that most are covered with bumper stickers, window decals, family stick figures, parking passes, and car magnets that reveal a lot of information to nosy neighbors and potential bad guys.


Take those family stick figures that are so popular today. Folks, justifiably proud of their families, put them on their back windows as representations of their family. But think about what it potentially reveals to bad guys:  number of family members, their sex and approximate ages, even what pets you have. Many of these stick figures often also show the interests of the family: Dad holding a fishing rod, Mom swinging a tennis racket, a young boy holding a baseball bat, an older girl wearing a cheerleader outfit.  And look, the family has two cats, but no dog. The bad guys now have a real good idea of the make up of that family, including many of their interests. 

But it doesn't stop there. That parking sticker reveals where you work. This bumper sticker reveals where you attend church (which, in turn, reveals something about your religious beliefs). Another bumper sticker reveals where your honor student attends school (which, in turn, reveals the general location of where you live). That Bass Masters window decal (along with the stick figure of Dad holding the fishing rod) shows that Dad is really into fishing. And look, there are two car magnets - one a yellow ribbon saying "Support Our Troops" and the other a red, white and blue ribbon saying "God Bless America." Hmmm... This family is patriotic and probably conservative. Bumper stickers and window decals can also reveal political affiliation and ideology, even who we voted for in the last election. Favorite sports teams, causes we support, what groups we belong to, and other interests can also be revealed. Quite a database of private information to put on public display without a second thought.

I'm as guilty of this as anyone. A quick glance at the back of my vehicle reveals a NRA sticker and a GOA sticker, broadcasting to the world that I support the Second Amendment, and am most likely a gun owner and a conservative. The "Freedom From Government" bumper sticker pretty much confirms me as very conservative politically, as does the "Jim DeMint for Senate" sticker. (Wow, that's old. I'm surprised its still readable.) I even have a "Survival Resources" sticker, revealing the fact that I am a survivalist. And the Alumni Association decal reveals my education level, and from what college I graduated. Quite a profile can be built on me by glancing at my vehicle's back end. What do your vehicles say about you?  

Tim, are you really saying we shouldn't have any stickers or decals on our cars? Nope. I'm not saying that at all. What I am saying is that we need to be mindful of what information we are giving away without realizing it. It doesn't matter if the information is being given away on the back of our vehicles, on social media, in our trash, through public conversations, or however. 

I said in part one of this article "The first and most important part of protecting your critical information is to make sure that everyone in your family/group understands what information to protect." If you don't understand what to protect, you're not going to be able to do OPSEC. If you haven't already done this, I highly suggest you sit down with your spouse and/or group members and make a conscious decision about what critical information you want to keep protected. What exactly you consider critical information will depend on your own personal circumstances and concerns, but part one of this article will help you think through this step.

Once you decide what information is critical to protect, then you can examine the back of your vehicle, your use of social media, what paperwork you just toss away without shredding, and other ways you may be giving that information away without realizing it.  Follow this up by taking countermeasures to protect this critical information (part three of this article). 

In closing, I will say that, like most things in life, OPSEC will be about balance. Unless you want to become a hermit on a remote deserted island, it is unrealistic and impossible to perfectly protect every possible scrap of information. The OPSEC process described in part one is designed to help you come up with a realistic plan to protect truly critical information. You have to decide for yourself what information to protect and what steps are reasonable to take given your circumstances. 

As for me, this exercise has made me decide to remove several stickers and decals from my vehicle. I'll keep the NRA and GOA stickers because it is important to me to show my support of the Second Amendment, but the others will be removed today.
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column. 

On Social Media: 

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Operational Security (OPSEC) - Part 1: Theory and Overview

By Timothy Gamble (March 31, 2018)

World War II Operational Security poster
The following article is intended as an overview of Operational Security (OPSEC) as it relates to preppers and survivalists. It is a simplified version of the OPSEC training that is provided to the military, national security agencies, government officials, and government contractors. I say simplified for two reasons:
  • I've tried to remove most of the jargon, acronyms, and buzzwords of the military/government training
  • My aim is to protect against  nosy neighbors, local bureaucrats, and everyday criminals, rather than enemy-nations and terrorist organizations.
If you want the flavor of military OPSEC training, I suggest starting with the Operational Security (OPSEC) page of the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity website.

What is Operational Security?  In two words: Information protection. In more words: Keeping critical information away from those who do not need to know it, or who may seek to use it against you in some way. OPSEC seeks to protect both your privacy and your security. 

The definition begs some questions. What is critical information? Who does, and doesn't. need to know that information? Who may seek to use that information against you, and how? How can you protect that information from those people who shouldn't have it?

OPSEC attempts to answer these questions through a five step process.

1- Identify Critical Information - Answers the questions: What information do we need to protect? What do we want to keep private?What information could be used against us in some way? 

Examples of potentially critical information for preppers and survivalists include financial information, social security numbers, passwords and PINs, medical information, political & religious affiliation, membership in certain organizations (NRA, GOA, OathKeepers, prepper/survivalist groups, tea party groups, etc.), gun ownership, presence of valuable items in the home (guns, gold, silver, cash, tools, electronics, etc.), and purchases of large amounts of food and other supplies. It also may include certain plans (when & where to "bug out", home security measures, personal security measures, etc.). What exactly you consider critical information will depend on your own personal circumstances and concerns.

2- Identify Potential Threats - Answers the question: Who really needs to know this information? Everyone else doesn't need to know this information, and represent a potential threat to abuse or misuse the information, or unwittingly reveal the information to those who might.   


Every neighborhood has at least one Gladys Kravitz.
Examples of potential threats: Identity thieves, criminals, local bureaucrats, school officials, nosy neighbors, and untrustworthy family, friends, co-workers, etc. Even politicians and the government at all levels are potential threats (look at the recent misuse of the IRS and DOJ to go after tea party groups and other political enemies of Obama; doctors being encouraged to ask patients about guns in the home; schools questioning students about their parent's political views, gun ownership, and other private information).

3- Identify Vulnerabilities - Answers the question: How do potential threats get our critical information?  The answer is we give it to them, most often without realizing it. 

Examples of how we give away our critical information:
  • Public conversations can be overheard by anyone nearby.
  • Private conversations can be revealed, accidentally or on-purpose, by anyone involved.
  • Our trash/recyclables can reveal our purchases, financial and medical information, even the supplies we are stockpiling.
  • Nearby neighbors can physically see much of our activities and preparations. 
  • Children, especially young children, tell EVERYTHING to their friends, schoolmates, teachers, neighbors, and other parents (even if you've told them not to).
  • Social media and over-sharing online, even if you are "hiding" behind a screen name or other fake identity (sorry, you are never really hidden online).
  • Smart phones & cell phones  - all calls and texts are logged, and its crazy easy for folks with the technology & know-how to hack or track your phones even when they are in airplane mode or turned off completely.
  • Gmail, hotmail/outlook, yahoo mail, and all other free (and many paid) email services log and archive all email and will cooperate with authorities when asked to provide your information to them. It is also fairly easy to hack into most email accounts.
  • Other technology - affinity cards, credit/debit cards, even modern library cards - log all activity, which is then available to the company (for their use or even resell), government officials with warrants (and sometimes without), and even hackers.
4- Assess the Risks -Answers the questions: What critical information is most important to protect? What threats are the most active? What vulnerabilities are the most likely to reveal critical information?

Not all information is equal. Some critical information is more critical than other critical information - meaning it can more easily or effectively be used against you. Not all threats and vulnerabilities are equal - some are greater than others. Risk assessment involves a subjective analysis of importance of critical information and the likelihood that it can become compromised. Most of the time and effort of OPSEC should be aimed at protecting the most important information against the most realistic threats.

5- Apply Countermeasures - Answers the question: How can the bad guys be stopped from getting our information? This is probably why you came to this article, but you do need to understand all the prior information before you can figure out what countermeasures to take. This is because:

The first and most important part of protecting your critical information is to make sure that everyone in your family/group understands what information to protect. Share this critical information on a "need to know basis" only. Even within your family/group, not everyone needs to know everything. This doesn't mean that you don't trust your family or group members. Rather, the less people that know something, the less chance of it accidentally being revealed. 

If you have children in your family, you need to talk to them about not sharing certain information with non-family members. Teach them to respond to questions, even from teachers and other authority figures, about the family's finances, religion, or politics by responding "I don't know," and "You'll have to ask Mommy or Daddy about that." Young children will need to be reminded of this often. Be careful about what information you share with and around your children (they do have ears).

Additional countermeasures may include:
  • Avoid public conversations or comments about critical information. This includes phone conversations in public. 
  • Shredding/burning of receipts, bills, and documents after they are no longer needed.
  • Be careful of what trash & recyclables you leave at the curb. Even empty boxes may reveal to those nosy neighbors what, and how much. 
  • Cautious use of social media, email, and text messaging. Realize that if you are emitting electronically, your use is being monitored, logged and stored.
  • Wise computer use (no illegal activities; keep your operating system and other programs up-to-date; use firewalls, antivirus, and anti-malware programs; use privacy search engines such as Duck-Duck-Go and StartPage instead of Google, Bing, or Yahoo...). 
  • Always take basic home, office, travel, and personal security precautions.
  • Limit affinity cards. These can be great ways to get special deals, but it comes at the cost of allowing the company to collect information on you. This information may be used by the company, shared with its vendors, sold to other companies, or stolen by company employees or outside hackers. It could also be obtained by the government. 
This list only scratches the surface of the OPSEC countermeasures you can take.  I will expand on this list in several future articles. 
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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.