What Did You Prep This Week?

Walk With God

My walk with God has gotten better this week. I was able to start attending a Wednesday night Men’s study group. We made it to Sunday School for the first time in weeks and I was much better in my daily prayer time and Bible study. I feel this is going in the right direction.

Self Defense/Hunting

I bought a new DeSantis Nemesis holster for the LCR. The previous one was encrusted with drywall dust and crud from carrying it while working in the house and the yard while cleaning up after the flood.

Supplies/Gear

We didn’t buy any supplies or gear this week. We wouldn’t have any place to store it if we did since all the closets, cabinets and pantry are ripped out. I did pick up a really nice heavy duty prybar. We didn’t buy it. I found it in my yard after the trash guys came by so I don’t know if one of them left it or they found it and left it aside for me.

Finances

We are still saving all we can, but it is to recover from a rainy day not for a rainy day.

Fitness/Health

With the trash pile gone and the tear out done on the house I did not get as much exercise as I had been getting before but it was still more that what I was getting before Harvey.

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

God Bless

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Freedom Of Speech: I do not think it means what you think it means…

There is a lot of talk in my country these days about freedom of speech and I really don’t think a lot of people really understand what that actually means…

The First Amendment to the US Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Note: Yes, I excluded the clauses on religion and the press as those would be whole other conversations.)

In very simple terms, the US government is not allowed, by the document that governs it, to make laws to prevent people from speaking their minds. That has happened, historically and recently, in this nation and is a grave concern for those of us who really do care about our freedoms.

There is no law punishing football players from kneeling during the National Anthem or preventing them from doing so. There has been no violation of their Constitutional rights. The National Football League has rules and regulations in place (but not enforced) that prohibit this. If they did so that would not be a violation of the First Amendment because the players voluntarily joined the organization and have agreed, by signing contracts, to abide by those rules. The only twist on that is that the NFL has been granted immunity from anti-trust laws, creating a monopoly, but that too is another topic of discussion.

What the First Amendment does not do (although many think it does) is protect us from the consequences of exercising the right to free speech. If a player or team decides to exercise their rights and kneel during the National Anthem and other people also exercise their rights by criticizing them or making fun of them no one’s rights have been violated. If Americans, offended by the kneeling, refuse to watch the games, buy merchandise, burn merchandise, etc. are not infringing on the rights of the players and coaches. They are exercising their own freedom of speech.

Unless the government passes a law or uses its existing authority to stifle freedom of speech no violation of the Constitution has occurred.

This example goes both ways folks.

If pro-racist, Pro-Trump or Pro-Conservative expressions of free speech create a backlash from the Left it is not a violation of the First Amendment.

God bless.

Lessons Learned From Hurricane Harvey: Loss Of Focus On Security

One of the more interesting things that happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey (for me anyway) was that I totally lost focus on security. During the hurricane nothing changed but afterwards…

Once the house flooded personal security became even less than an afterthought. It wasn’t even on my mind. Looking back on it, I went well over a week without carrying a firearm. My situational awareness was essentially non-existent. My whole focus was on the work that needed to be done and security needs never even crossed my mind. All of this despite the fact that first-responders were otherwise occupied and there were numerous reports of looters around.

The lesson here is that in the event of a disaster it is really easy to get distracted from a critical area of concern despite the fact that it was even more important at that time than any other time.

God bless.

What Did You Prep This Week(ish)?

So, in reality this mostly stuff purchased as part of the cleanup from the flooding we received during Hurricane Harvey but to try and return to a bit of normalcy I am trying to get back to my regular update schedule.

Walk With God

While the help we have received from other has strengthened my faith and I know that I have been strengthened by God through all this my prayer life and Bible study have been hit or miss. Most days I get back to my daughter’s house too tired to do much besides eat a few bites and head to bed. He has been very good to us through this trying time and He deserves better…

Self Defense/Hunting

I bought some 9mm bullets from Rocky Mountain Reloading. These are engraved with a logo from a book I have read and the proceeds go towards the Houston Food Bank and assisting with Hurricane Harvey recovery. A couple of the guys who have helped me will get some reloads using these bullets as a  thank you.

Supplies/Gear

I have bought a done of gear over the last few weeks including a drywall saw, gloves, masks, totes/tubs, a circular saw, two wet/dry vacuums, half a dozen utility knives and another pry bar. To be honest most of this was purchased for use during the clean up but much of it will be packed for the next emergency/disaster.

Finances

We are saving as much money as possible but this is to be able to make repairs and very little will remain in savings after all is said and done.

Fitness/Health

I have definitely been getting lots of exercise. I am constantly sore these days.

We are very concerned about drywall dust. Wonderful Wife has already come down with bronchitis and this dust is the probable cause. Based on that we are likely to remain at my daughter’s for quite some time.

I made a trip in to the doctor a couple weeks ago so he could check a rash on my leg. That was nothing to worry about but I did go ahead and get a tetanus shot while I was in. I am covered in scrapes and small cuts and I have been paying special attention to keeping those covered and treated with topical antibiotics. There was some nasty stuff in that water…

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

God Bless

Darn It Ruger, Why Now?

Apparently while my world was under water (OK, only partially underwater) Ruger made an announcement; they released a Ruger American Rifle Ranch Model (say that three times fast) chambered in 7.62×39 (link).

Like the other Ranch Models it features a picatinny rail and a short (16 inch) barrel that comes threaded from the factory for mounting either a suppressor or muzzle device. Like the other Ruger American rifles it features a polymer stock and free floated barrel. For the really cool part, this rifle uses the same magazines as Ruger’s Mini-30 so magazines can be had in 5, 10 and 20 rounds sizes.

I’m looking at tens of thousands of dollars for repairs on the house but I really want one of these little rifles!

Darn it, Ruger!

God Bless…

Avoiding The Kaboom

One of the concerns I had when adding a 300 Blackout upper to my inventory of firearms was the possibility of a kaboom. Since the 300 and 5.56 rounds are so closely related and use so many of the same components it is possible that a round will enter into the chamber far enough that it is able to be fired resulting in some rather unpleasant results for the AR and, potentially, for the shooter.

The safest way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to only bring one or the other to the range on any given day. I plan on following this rule as much as possible but even with this approach there is still some chance of a mismatch. As a secondary measure many companies make and sell bands and other markers for magazines that help flag possible mistakes. These are a bit pricey ($10 a pop) and may not work on all magazines so I started to look for other options. For a good bit less money I think I have found a pretty good solution. A package of electrical tape in various colors is about $7.

A band of red electrical tape on the magazine (for me) means 300 Blackout. I have also used a paint pen to mark the magazine to further ensure that it is clear what caliber is to be loaded in what magazines. 

Here are three different types of magazines (one PMAG, one aluminum GI magazine and an ETS magazine) and the tape seems to work pretty well on each one. I don’t know how durable this is going to be in the long term especially with the high humidity here on the Gulf Coast but, hey, it’s worth a shot.

I also decided to go ahead and mark my 7.62×39 magazines (with yellow) to ensure there is no mix-up there either. Now, I just need to figure out how to mark the uppers to match.

God bless

Lessons Learned From Hurricane Harvey: Preparedness

Based on my experiences during Hurricane Harvey I have identified a good bit of stuff (gear) that I wish I had, had more of, or lost. I thought I would share it with you to help you in your preparedness planning.

Good Raingear – I do believe I was wet for about five days straight. Most of that time I wasn’t just wet, I was soaked. Being wet all the time really drained me. I had a cheap set of raingear in my emergency supplies and I did end up pulling it out only to find that it really didn’t fit and wasn’t durable. It was coming apart by day two. I did (finally) drag out my rain boots and they helped a lot but they were a little snug. They survived the flood but I will be replacing them with a pair that fit a little better. Of course, even the best raingear is useless in water up to your chest…

Electric Pump – I borrowed one from a friend after my pool pump failed at the most inopportune time. Now, I want my own. It can be used for the pool but could also be used for siphoning fuel or other drainage needs.

Wet/Dry Vac – These were essential in both the early stages of cleanup as well as later in the process as well. Initially they were used to help remove water from the house. Later for cleaning up drywall dust and debris. I have already purchased one but my need to replace it before this is all over. I am also thinking about having a spare. If you buy one or have one you might want to think about an extra filter and extra bags. I went though the one bag that came with the unit on day one and we’re waiting on spares to arrive. The filter has been cleaned several times already and is looking a little worse for wear. A spare for that is on order as well.

Shop Broom(s) – Another item that is essential for initial cleanup as well as clean up of the demolition. I had one at the start of this but it has been “donated” to someone else in need. I’ll buy a couple when I get around to replacing it.

Prybars – I had two but one’s gone. They are essential items for tearing out what need to be torn out. I have one in my get home bag that is narrower and better designed to get into things. The ones we found useful are wider and much better suited to this kind of work. I have already ordered a replacement for the one that walked away.

Utility (or drywall) Knives – I had several of these around the house before the flood hit. Couldn’t find but one afterwards. They weren’t swept away they were in boxes and drawers that were moved to the garage or another part of the house and can’t be found. I have bought a couple more and an extra pack of blades. I’ll add a few more when I can as there never seemed to be enough to go around.

Headlamps -Yes, they look goofy but those little headlamps on elastic bands were one of the most useful items I had on hand. Just, please, remember to turn them off when talking to someone. Nothing worse that staring into an “interrogation lamp” when having a chat about what needs to be done next.

Storage Locations

All of our emergency gear and many of our emergency supplies were stored downstairs. Partly this was because I was more concerned about wind damage or a tree falling than flooding and this was also partly due to available storage locations. Regardless this was a bad idea.

All of it was downstairs and at risk of flooding and loss. Although much of it was in waterproof containers, those containers floated around making it hard to locate them. The tubs are black making them difficult to find in the dark or low light. Folks helping us out moved them and re-approprated the tubs for other uses.

The bottom line is that these items should probably be staged in multiple locations and in more visible containers. A lot of what we needed couldn’t be found until days later so really think through where and how you store your gear and supplies.

Although I prepared a get home bag for Wonderful Wife she wasn’t familiar with it or what was in it. She took it with her on her stay at work but didn’t open it. There was a lot that could have made her stay away from home more pleasant and comfortable.

Want To Have Items

Disaster Capable Vehicle – I have a Honda Civic be cause it is cost effective transportation. It it not terribly well suited for getting around during a disaster. I would really like to have a vehicle that is better equipped for high water and rough terrain. Based on what we are currently facing in terms of rebuilding that will NOT be added to the short list of things to buy in the near future.

Better Communications -My cell was soaked on several occasions and started having some serious issues communicating. The cellular network was overloaded and in many cases close to failure. It would be nice to have another communications mechanism for a disaster. I have been meaning to invest in some shortwave walkie talkies but haven’t done so. These would be a very good idea.

A Drone – It would have been nice to be able to scout the level of flooding nearby without risking my vehicle or safety. While the wind and rain were too strong for drones to fly during most of the time. It would still be cool. This is another time that I would like to have but is not high on the old priority list.

I hope my experiences and observations help a little with you preparedness efforts.

God Bless!