Saturday, February 21, 2009

Low-Probability High-Consequence Events

This entry is for the more advanced reader.

The Basics
We all take basic precautions. We store some extra food, water and medicine. We have flashlights and radios and batteries. We employ prudent security measures. We have contact lists and plans to get home during emergencies. We learn to do things for ourselves. We carry “fire and steel” and other goodies that will help mitigate any problems that we could encounter as we go about our daily lives. Maybe we grow a vegetable garden. And by so doing, we are ahead of a large percentage of the population.

By taking these basic preparedness steps we are in a good position to handle any problems that are likely to come down the pike. If you are in this company - Congratulations, you will probably make it. You are prepared for what I call High to Medium Probability Events. Things like blizzards, floods, temporary breakdown of services caused by anything from a gas shortage to a Teamsters’ strike. Heck, you are even prepared for a terrorist attack that temporarily impacts on your life. You have stuff. It’s probably at home. And home is where you are going to stay come Hell or high water. If your home burns down due to a lighting strike – well, you’ve got insurance and family near by to stay with until you get a new house built. Again – Good Job – you will likely come through just fine anything thrown at you.

See, you will likely come through because you are prepared for likely events. You are miles ahead of your neighbors because they don’t even like to think about the things you are prepared for. You have accepted that those things are possible – even likely over the span of time and you have taken steps to mitigate any problems. Great. Do not allow yourself to become smug.

Just when you think you have it whickered – Murphy shows up. And he usually brings friends. I am speaking of - you got it: Low-Probability High-Consequence Events. WHAT IF nukes went off 300 miles up wind of your homestead and lethal fallout was rapidly approaching?

“But Joe, there are no nuclear targets there!”

WHAT IF the bad guys were aiming for something else and missed?

WHAT IF the 4th Mongolian Horde (Airborne) parachuted in 20 miles east of you and started moving west?

“That’s ridiculous, Joe!”

Uh, huh – tell that to the Georgians.
Or the Bosnians.
Or the Christians in Sudan.

WHAT IF your house burned down for a totally “normal” reason and, as you were watching the firemen save your foundation, TEOTWAWKI happened (pick your own scenario this time).

We don’t like thinking about those things, do we?
It makes all of the steps we have taken, all of the work we have done, all of the plans (most of us) have made kinda moot – doesn’t it?

In scenarios like these, we become like the sheeple we scoff at. THEY don’t want to consider some type of emergency where .gov does not come rescue them. They think planning for that is ridiculous. They really don’t think it’s ridiculous – they are afraid to embrace the monster. In cases like these – so are we.

Embrace the Monster
I encourage you to think about what would “rock your world” (that would be High Consequence) and think through how you would deal with it. I encourage you to take steps now to help mitigate what you would face.

This is where PACE planning comes in. Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. If it’s easier for you to think of it as Plans A through D that’s okay with me. Whenever you have a Plan A – develop a Plan B. When you have that set up, ask yourself, WHAT IF that didn’t work and take more steps along the path.

Do not rest on your laurels.
Can you prepare for everything? Probably not.

Can you prepare for more than you are prepared for now?
You know the answer.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lightening the Load

Before I attended the last BoB soirée I hefted my BoB and decided it was too heavy. I knew it was too heavy last year – I carried it okay but it just felt bad. Reminds me of a conversation from The 13th Warrior:

Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: (Ahmed is given a Viking sword) I cannot lift this.
Herger the Joyous: Grow stronger.

Well, I figured I’d do what “Eban” did with his sword and just lighten it up a bit.
I don’t have a scale but I know I removed several pounds of gear. Here’s what went away:

Pistol, Ammo, Earplugs and Waist Pack
I carry another pistol and spare mags anyway so I really don’t need this. I don’t think I’m going hunting while bugging out and if I absolutely have to kill a squirrel or other small furry critter I’ll do it with a full power round. I wear a combat harness (LCE) with two canteens, ammo pouches, K-Bar and first aid pack and have earplugs in the little pocket on the canteen pouches so I didn’t need another set. I kept a lot of EDC stuff in the waist pack along with the pistol but I would transfer it to my pockets anyway so the waist pack was really to tote the .22.

Knife Sharpener, Pocket Knife, 550 Cord Lanyard
So redundant. All my knives are sharp; they won’t get overly dull within the bug out parameters for which I designed the BoB; I’m constantly removing and replacing the EZ Lap sharpener from my BoB during hunting season (I like it and I use it a lot) and it’s heavy. The pocket knife has a cool saw and bottle opener – so does my Leatherman Super Tool. I have lots of cordage in the BoB – this little bit won’t be missed.

Vaseline Cotton Balls, Candle, Lighter, Heat Tabs
Redundant – I have plenty of each still in the BoB.

Canteen Cup, 2-Quart Canteen and Pouch, 1-Quart Canteen Pouch
I used to have these strapped to the outside of my ALICE. I have a bladder in my new ruck so I figured I could ditch the 2-Quart. I had some survival supplies tucked into the pouch but those were redundant to what I carry on my person anyway. I still carried the 1-Quart canteen but inside the BoB so I didn’t need the pouch. I carry a German mess kit so the cup was redundant – but I am fond of it – it’s been there and earned some T-shirts.

Sling Rope and Snap Link
I’m not going to do any Ranger assaults while bugging out. I don’t have a 120’ rope anywyay… 550 cord that I do carry is plenty strong enough. In the end, I put the snap link back in the BoB and used it to hang it from a tree to keep it off the ground and at a height that made it easy to get into and out of while camping. I’ll probably take it back out – I don’t need it to hang the BoB.

Lens Cleaner, Camo Stick, Fire Starter
I’ll just wipe my glasses off if they get foggy like everyone else does. I probably don’t need to camo up and if I do – I’ll don the head net in my LCE or use a bandana, or use mud, or… The fire starter is big and redundant.

Waterproof Bag, NOD, Compass, Constitution, Toilet Paper, Head Net, Spoon
The bag is durable and heavy – I replaced it with a large trash bag. The pouch contains a night vision device I got from Rob at JRH Enterprises and while it could prove very useful for bugging out, the actual chances I’ll use it while doing so are slim. I have given it a new home in some other contingency gear that I use more than my BoB anyway. The compass is rugged and heavy and makes a great flail weapon – I replaced it with a Silva. I could make a comment about how our Constitution is starting to resemble toilet paper and redundancy but I’ll just leave it at - they were redundant. Okay, I can't leave it...Have you read the Bill of Rights lately? .Gov is violating most of them. If you haven’t read your Constitution please do so – it is short and easy to understand. I have a head net in my LCE and a better choice would be a net with no eye holes – so you could use it as a dip net for minnows and such. I have one I carry in my USRSOG gear but I use it a lot so it is not in my BoB. The spoon was redundant.

Al Mar SERE Knife and Trash Bags
The bags were redundant. The knife is an old friend from “back in the day” but it’s heavy and redundant. Besides, now I can carry it around and use it instead of keeping it tucked away in my BoB.

Mini Maglite Holster and Camo Net
I carry my flashlight in a shirt pocket or in an outside pocket of the BoB and my ruck is already camo.

So there ya go – that’s what I removed before this last trip. I didn’t regret leaving any of it behind. Am I done? Is the BoB now perfect? No way. Like me, it is a Work in Progress.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. - Psalm 55:22


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America