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.

 

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.

The Best .38 Special Ammunition For Self Defense

Smith & Wesson Model 36

I don’t think I have shared this before but if I did I apologize but it is very good information to have on hand if you carry a .38 Special for self-defense either has a primary or a backup.

Greg Ellifritz posted this article on this topic in September (Link)and I think it is good enough and valuable enough that I wanted to make sure I had passed it on.

In summary, here are the top rounds recomended and a link to some test results:

Speer Gold Dot 135 grain Hollowpoint (13.1″ penetration and expansion to .56 in bare gelatin)
Winchester Ranger 130 grain Bonded Hollowpoint (12.75″ penetration and expansion to .56 in bare gelatin)
Corbon DPX 110 grain copper Hollowpoint (13″ penetration and expansion to .52 in bare gelatin)

He also suggested considering the old standby 148 grain full wadcutter. Personally, I am very tempted to go with this round. The recoil is extremely mild and follow up shots are very quick. The accuracy has been awesome as well, shooting to point of aim consistently which you don’t always get from the other rounds recommended.

For the moment, I keep a small supply of them on hand for practice rounds and as a backup to pure self-defense rounds when traveling to parts of the US more restrictive gun laws. This is one of my favorite bullets to reload as well.

Anyway, if you carry a .38 Special take a look at it and maybe (like I have) bookmark it for future reference.

Take care and God bless

What Did You Prep This Month?

Walk With God

This aspect of my preparedness has become a bit routine; teaching Sunday School and then Church on Sundays, praying for my neighbors daily, Wednesday night Bible study (which I have missed twice this month due to work). I think it is good that these things have become routine but I think it might be time to shake things up a bit. I don’t know what that might be yet but I have a few ideas.

I don’t want this to become a routine without thought and contemplation…that’s too easy a trap to fall into.

Self Defense/Hunting

I like having a backup for my primary carry gun. That is currently a Ruger LCR in .38 Special so I have been keeping my eye out for one at a good price. A few weeks ago I found one in a pawn shop for a good price. It was perfectly clean and looked to have never been out to the range (that is no longer the case). So, just as I begin to contemplate switching to the P365 I have a backup for my LCR…

SIG P365

Speaking of the SIG P365, with the direction the country seems to be headed I wanted an option that packed a few more rounds than the LCR or the Glock 43. The P365 seems to be a pretty good choice for that and I found a decent deal on one locally so I added it to the safe. I will need to dump a lot more rounds through it before I am willing to bet my life on it.

As we head into the 2020 election cycle, I expect that the cycle of violence will continue to escalate but I also expect that gun and ammunition prices will start to head back up as well. So, while supply still exceeds demand and prices are low I plan to stock up a bit more aggressively on ammunition. I looked over my ammo inventory spreadsheet and upped the stock levels I want to maintain for  certain ammunition types that I feel are most at risk and that I use the most of.

Based on that I took advantage of the Black Friday sales and picked up 500 rounds of 9mm practice ammunition and another 20 rounds of .308 hunting ammo. I will be looking for additional sales prices and opportunities to stock up a little more than I had previously planned on doing.

Supplies/Gear

We continued restocking the emergency pantry and we are essentially done with just a few minor items to pick up in the next month or so.

While we were discussing ideas for Christmas gifts I mentioned to Wonderful Wife that I would like a vacuum sealer. I told her why I thought one would be a good idea and she got that look in her eye, the one that says “you idiot” without actually saying it out loud and then she told me to go buy one. I mumbled something about Christmas presents and she gave me another look and said that she liked the idea. They would be practical, helpful and save us money and times so we should have one and we should not wait for Christmas. I love this woman. Now, why didn’t I suggest it sooner?

Security

Nothing new here.

Finances

No real activity here. We just continued the usual investments in 401K and our Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

Fitness/Health

Once again a big old nothing in this section despite it being critically important for both of us to get serious about getting in shape…

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

Post Election Calm – Nevermind

Well, I guess I am actually 0 for 2 now. Because of the tone of most of the leftist speeches I watched on election night and the fact that there were few reports of violence I thought that maybe we had turned a corner and the threat of violence in this nation was reduced.

I was, quite obviously wrong.

Fox network personality Tucker Carlson had protesters show up at his home and according to reports they banged on windows and doors while chanting “We want you to know, we know where you sleep at night,” and “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!”

And protests are planned in Portland tonight…

Take care and God Bless.