2019 Preparedness Assessment (Part 2: Death)

“Wait? What? I thought the point of being prepared was to avoid death!”

-Anonymous

There is one disaster that is absolutely guaranteed hit to each and every one of us. We will all die…as will our loved ones.

Yes, that is depressing…but it is a cold, hard fact and since the probability of death is 100% I want to be prepared for  it. In fact, I am preparing for it in three different ways. First, I want to ensure that my passing will be as little of a burden, financially and logistically, on those I leave behind as possible. Second, I want to make sure that I “get right” with all the people around me. Finally, I want to make sure I am “right” with God.

1 – Finances and Logistics

I want to make sure that those I leave behind are able to focus on each other and not on funeral arrangements and the thousand bits administrivia that go with such a loss. To that end I have created a file with a statement from each of our financial accounts along with any needed login IDs and passwords. Each of my children and one of my son in laws know where this is stored and two of them know where the keys to it are. A backup copy of just the account information is kept on my desk (no passwords or IDs in that one!).

To make sure my grand children have a little leg up in life we have started savings accounts for each of them. We deposit money on a scheduled, monthly basis into their accounts. We also try to make additional deposits whenever we can and encourage them, their parents and other loved ones to make regular deposits as well. Additionally, each of my grandchildren and, now, each of my children receive a bit of precious metal for Christmas and each birthday during the year. So far, all we have been able to afford is silver but maybe one day we can give them a little gold as well.

Wonderful Wife and I are both covered by term life insurance policies through our employers to help financially should something happen to one or both of us.

There are some things that we still haven’t taken care of that are “on our list” and have been for far too long. First and foremost is a will to make sure that our “stuff” is divided ahead of time. It is amazing how often families are torn apart fighting over silly little keepsakes after a family member passes away.  Next on our list is to choose and purchase a burial plan. That way our funeral expenses will be covered. I have seen the pressure some funeral home employees can put on the survivors to purchase all sorts of elaborate and expensive stuff. Nothing sells flowers and fancy caskets like the guilt these folks can lay on folks already struggling with a loss. It’s disgusting and my family should not have to deal with that. My body will be dead and a pine box is no worse a container to be buried in than one fancied up with gold and silk. Most of those silly things cost more than my car did…

2 – “Getting Right” With Loved Ones

To paraphrase an old country song, will they know how much I loved them if tomorrow never comes? Never leave anything unsaid that needs to be said. Never leave anyone guessing about how you felt towards them. Period.

No one leaves the house without a hug and an I love you. Period.

Being prepared for this is the cheapest and most rewarding prep of all. That doesn’t always mean it is easy but it is simple.

3 – “Getting Right” With God

As most anyone who has read this blog knows, I am a Christian (seriously, just look at the title!). As such, I believe that the end of this mortal life is just the beginning of an eternal afterlife and that certain choices we make during our lives here on Earth determine the nature of that afterlife. We can choose to accept the gift of salvation and live eternally in His presence, or, choose permanent separation from God and godly things.

I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross in payment for my sins and, on the third day, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. He made this sacrifice for anyone who is willing to accept it. It is presented freely as a gift, a gift of forgiveness, of Grace. I have chosen to accept the gift of Grace, the undeserved forgiveness of our sins. Although I am made perfect in His sight (made clean) I am far from perfect. That’s kind of the point. I finally realized that I couldn’t be as good as I should be or as perfect as I should be. I realized I was a sinner and, finally, accepted his Grace instead. That’s not an excuse to give up resisting temptation and sin. In fact, by accepting it I commit strive even harder to be more like Him…every…single…day.

To me, this is the ultimate and most important bit of preparedness.

Take care and God bless

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2019 Preparedness Assessment (Part 1: Overview)

Once again this year (as I try and do every year) I am reassessing my preparedness plans and goals. Dollars, time and other resources are limited so I need to make sure I am still on track and prioritizing my efforts as efficiently as possible. Last year this assessment turned into a four part series. Let’s see how many posts I can milk this for this year…

The process is pretty straightforward.

1. Re-evaluate what scenarios or situations I am trying to be prepared for.

2. Assess what I need to do to prepare for these scenarios.

3. Identify any gaps I have in being prepared for those scenarios.

4. Work to close those gaps during the year.

Sounds pretty easy and straightforward right? Yeah well, actually it is. Being more prepared is not rocket science. In fact, for the most part, it is just basic, good old fashioned common sense. Our parents and grandparents would probably have laughed at us for making such a big deal about “prepping.” For them it just have just been a logical part of their everyday life. In fact, based on Aesop’s fable “The Ant And The Grasshopper” we can pretty well assume that being prepared for adversity has been a part of the human good sense for at least the last several thousand years. It is only in modern times that the majority of people scoff at the idea.

The situations/scenarios I am preparing for have not changed. Flood remains on the list this year. Despite our home not having been threatened by a flood nearly 20 years, Hurricane Harvey proved that the past, in some cases, is not a good indicator of the future. Despite billions being spent by several different government entities several heavy rains in the last few months have shown that we definitely seem to be more at risk than we have been previously so it remains on the list.

So what’s actually on my list?

Here it is:

1. Death

Man born of woman is short of days and full of trouble.

He blossoms like a flower, then withers; he flees like a shadow and does not last.

Job 4:1-2

While it may come as a surprise to some of you, we are all mortal. We will all shuffle off this mortal coil at some point. For those who do not believe in a higher power, I guess that means that we will just cease to exist and become worm food. As a Christian, my views are a little different than that and so the most important preparations I can make are for where I will spend eternity. That is why my I include my “Walk With God” as my most important preparation of all. Regardless of what you believe, death comes to us all and we need to be prepared for that fact.

2. Retirement

Some folks look forward to retirement. They can do that because the properly prepared for it ahead of time. For others retirement sneaks up behind them and bites them on one of any number of body parts and they end up as a burden on their families or eating dog food (cat food is way too expensive). I don’t think counting on Social Security counts as being prepared so we are doing what we can to prepare for retirement. Because we were poor for much of our marriage, Wonderful Wife and I are off to a late start on this. Recent expenditures to recover from the flood have been a setback to being more prepared in this area (our saving took a hit and we had to finance about $50K in home repairs).

3. Hurricane

I was arrogant and overconfident that I was prepared and ready when Hurricane Harvey blew through. I will be taking this much more seriously in 2019 and reassessing what I have prepared, where the gaps are and what I can do to be better prepared moving forward.

4. Flood

When the rain stopped from Hurricane Harvey I though we were good to go. Then I noticed the rising waters at the end of my street. The water rose for almost a day AFTER the rains stopped. Short of building a dam around my lot (the neighborhood association would NOT be pleased) and hoping I can pump water out faster than it comes down there is not much I can do to keep the waters out. The best we can do is make sure we protect what is most valuable and what cannot be replaced and have a plan for how to escape. We can also plan to make the recovery easier and quicker.

5. Financial Disruption

Things, like floods, happen and it takes money to recover. Four and a half years ago I was laid off and our savings carried us through. Personal financial disruptions happen everyday around this nation so we need to be prepared for them.

Those entrusted with spending other people’s money (our money) continue to be horrible stewards spending us further and further into debt. That will, at some point, cause some very serious economic impacts on the rest of us.  It is important to be prepared for if and when any of these begin to affect us.

We have seen a couple of years of strong economic growth over the last couple of years but that won’t continue. At some point that will start to swing the opposite way and I want to make sure we are prepared when it happens.

5. Social Disruption

For several years I have been talking about the potential of civil unrest or even another civil war. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that we are still headed down that path. Being aware of the probability of such occurrences and being ready for them remains a top goal for us.

Those are the scenarios we are preparing for. Next we’ll start looking at each of these scenarios in more detail and begin to share our plans for dealing with them.

Take care and God bless.

 

A Change In Perspective

On a recent range trip I finished what I wanted to accomplish pretty quickly and so I was just basically hanging out with a buddy. It was a good time and I got to shoot some cool guns I haven’t shot before including a Smith & Wesson target .22 from between the wars, a 1980’s era Colt 1911 and a surplus Beretta 92FS. I was also helping him dial in the red dot he had mounted on his new .44 Magnum Ruger. As I was hanging out I noticed a number of folks that needed a little assistance.

Some folks were obviously struggling with making accurate hits that some simple advice on stance, grip or technique could addressed.  Others were struggling with manipulating their firearms and could could also have benefited from a few helpful hints. Still others were having issues with their weapons; some that could have been fixed easily on the spot with something I had on hand and others for whom a recommendation on a good, honest gunsmith would have been a big help.

I see this all the time and in the past I would have been helping any of them who were willing to accept it. This time I was in no hurry to help and thinking back on it, I haven’t been overly eager to assist others at the range for a quite a while now.

I pondered this for a bit and I realized something that really disturbed me. I was subconsciously categorizing those around me at the range. Not as 1911 people or revolver people like I have all along. No, I was categorizing them as friend, foe or undetermined. To say it another way, I was weighing which would be most likely to be shooting at me or alongside of me when things turn ugly (uglier).

As the US heads further down the slope towards a violent split between the Left and Right I have already started thinking in terms of friend or foe. On the drive home I also realized I have started thinking of my neighbors in the same way. I have started to think of those who had Beto signs in their front yard as a possible source of risk to me and my family.

I doubt that many of them would attack me directly but I suspect (hopefully incorrectly) that they would be more than happy to point out the local conservatives to those might be willing to do so. I don’t know if this is founded in reality or in the propaganda spewed by partisan news media. Regardless, the fact that I have started looking at people this way is disturbing. I talked this over with a few folks and, apparently, I am not the only one thinking this way.

One buddy strongly suggested ignoring the feeling and remaining open to assist those anyone at the range. In his mind even if this was an Antifa soldier in training it would show him the better side of conservatives and gun people. I get that. I really do but I can’t help wondering how many Germans knew a Jew who had been kindly and helpful but turned on them anyway. I am sure there were some Hutus in Rwanda with positive experiences dealing with Tutsis but that didn’t stop the slaughter. I read an article by a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo who was close to people on both sides of the conflict but within days of the first minor skirmishes his friends had turned on him and he was on his own.

It is a scary time we live in and and increasingly tough time to love your neighbor as yourself…

God, I pray You would help heal the divisiveness in our nation. Help us to overcome our differences and join together as one nation, one people, under God.

Take care and God bless.

Three Inch .357 Magnum Ruger LCRx

Ruger has gone and done it again. They seem to be really good at waiting until I purchase something that is close to what I want and then releasing the exact thing I was wanting. On the flip side, maybe I am just not patient enough…

Three Inch Ruger LCRx in .357 Magnum

In this case I just purchased a short barreled LCRx in .357 Magnum after deciding that Ruger wouldn’t release a three inch version. Well, yesterday I received an email that they did indeed release a three inch .357 Magnum LCRx…Doh!

I probably won’t run out and drop the cash on this model immediately, since I just bought the snubbie version, but one may make it into the safe at some point in time. Now that Ruger has taken the plunge on a three inch .357 Magnum LCRx it is very possible that a 9mm or .327 Magnum version could follow at some point. Both of which would also be very high on my “I want” list!

Take care and God bless!

The Glock G43X

Glock G43x

It is apparently official (since I received an email on it this morning), Glock has released two new models including the much rumored G43X. The majority of the speculation on this handgun was that it would be a competitor to SIG’s P365.

Based on the specifications, that just really isn’t the case.

Like the P365, it has a opacity of 10+1 but it is larger than both the G43 and the P365 in every way. It is a quarter inch longer than the G43 and nearly an inch longer than the P365. It is also three quarters of an inch taller and will be significantly heavier when loaded with a full magazine.

Size-wise, this is more of a competitor to the Smith & Wesson Shield or Springfield XDs (although it is larger than the shield).

I will be interested to learn more about this pistol as details are released such as whether the magazines are compatible with the standard G43 (or anything else in Glock’s lineup).

Glock G48

Glock also announced the G48 which appears to be a Glock 19(ish) sized single stack pistol. The capacity on this pistol is also 10+1 so it may use the same magazines as the G43x. While the idea of a Glock with a thinner grip appeals to me (short, stubby fingers and all) I don’t know that I would be willing to trade off the extra capacity for a little thinner grip. Especially when the SIG P320 offers smaller grip frames that fit me very nicely without giving up any capacity…

Take care and God bless.

What Did You Prep This Month?

Walk With God

I completed three more rounds of praying for my 100 closest neighbors. Continued teaching Sunday School and attending church.

Self Defense/Hunting

We purchased 40 rounds of 7.62×39, 100 rounds of .22 LR, 80 rounds of 5.56/.223, 1200 rounds of 9mm, 200 rounds of .327 Federal Magnum, 150 rounds of .32 Long and 250 rounds of .44 Magnum. Yes, I was on a bit of a buying spree taking advantage of some seasonal sales and savings.

I sighted in my AR pistol and rifle. Due to time constraints I was only able to get it out to 50 yards. I will go back and take it out to 100 yards when time and the weather permit.

I bought two more magazines for SIG P365.

Deprimed and tumbled over a thousand rounds of empty brass I have been collecting including .38 Special, .327 Magnum, 300 BLK and .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .32 H&R Magnum, 9mm, .30-30, .308, 5.56, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, and .32 S&W Long. I bought a case gauge for reloading .327 Federal Magnum and did small test batch of .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum. All performed just fine. Purchased some Alliant No. 9 powder for to be able to load some particularly hot .327 Magnum and some .357 Magnum.

Performed a full inventory on all my ammo. Both what is in long term storage and what is on hand for ready use. Some of my counts were way off and purchase plans have been updated accordingly.

Supplies/Gear

Picked up another Eaton radio. This model includes the ability to receive AM/FM and Weather Band channels. It runs off batteries or the hand crank and can also be used to recharge electronic devices via a USB port.

Security

Nothing new here. I still need to sign on with a new security company.

Finances

Continued adding money into my 401k and Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

We store most of our liquid assets (cash and precious metals) off site in a secure location away from the house. Before the flood we moved almost everything there. In all the confusion we didn’t have a good inventory of what was where or what we had spent on repairs/recovery. So, we did an inventory on this as well. We spent less than what I thought but next year rebuilding this reserve will be a major focus.

Fitness/Health

No activity here…but come next month…

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

Take care and God Bless

The Police Have No Duty To Protect You

A judge in Florida, ruling on a case brought by Parkland school students, reaffirmed several previous legal precedents in ruling that the police had no responsibility to protect students. Again, this is nothing new. It falls in line with previous rulings by various courts including the Supreme Court of the United States.

In each case they have found that it is not the officer’s duty to protect any individual.

Most police officers do see this as their own personal duty and would do whatever they can (within the departmental restrictions) to “civilians.”

So, what does that mean or matter?

What this boils down to is simple; you are responsible for your own safety and protection. The state, the police, the school administrators, your boss…none of them are responsible for your safety. You are. If this is true in relatively good times what will happen during an economic collapse, a pandemic, a natural disaster or “civil unrest?”

Be trained, be equipped and be prepared to defend yourself and those you love…

Take care and God bless.