Last week’s newsletter on firearms confiscations and FEMA camps created a firestorm of comments. It was interesting to see people passionately criticizing me for not taking the threat seriously enough while, at the same time, people on the other end of the spectrum said I was “fear mongering” by even talking about it. Good thing I’m not trying to make everyone happy. In any case, I appreciate the more than 200 comments that y’all submitted. It’s obvious that, regardless of the likelihood of either of these events happening, they are events that are top of mind for most preppers.
Before I get into my next topic, in light of the ongoing economic hard times, I’ll share an item of interest that asks an intriguing question: Can you really retire with just $10,000 in Savings?
The conventional wisdom says “no way.” But a Maryland doctor says not only is it possible… but if you meet 2 simple requirements, $10,000 in savings is all you need to live a rich retirement. See the full details of his unconventional plan, here:
Today, I want to share a letter with you from a reader who was in San Diego with his wife and baby son a few weeks ago when the power outage happened. I have always found a lot of value in reading real experiences. Keep in mind, that even though this outage was resolved quickly how quickly things broke down. Also, please note what a HUGE impact luck and mindset had on the overall situation. I’m not talking about blind luck here…but rather the kind of luck that happens when a person with a preparedness mindset encounters trouble.
I want to take a moment to thank you for your dedication to helping people
be prepared. I recently relocated to San Diego a few weeks ago with my wife
and 1 year old after my dad passed away to care for my mom who is 91 and I
am currently looking for work.
I have a story that may be of use to you. Here are some observations from a
The power went out county wide a little over three weeks ago for 12 hours,
although they were estimating it could take a couple of days to restore all
power and it was starting to get a little sketchy; thankfully it only lasted
My wife was getting nervous and I had thankfully filled up the gas tank
before the outage. I told her that if the power wasn’t back my the morning
I was going to force mom to go with us to Los Angeles as we had enough gas
to get there and have access to a bank. You see, when the power went out,
we were driving around applying for jobs, we were out of cash, with our one
year old in the car seat, in the middle of traffic, which was getting bumper
to bumper at 3 in the afternoon. on city streets. and then I noticed that as
we were leaving downtown San Diego heading to the next place I was going to
apply to that the traffic lights weren’t working. How funny I thought. Then
got to another traffic light, same thing, and then I looked at the horizon,
at a line of traffic lights, all out! I tuned in to the radio and there were
only two stations broadcasting, saying it was a city wide power outage.
They then corrected themselves and said were getting reports form all over,
It looks like its county wide.
I lived in San Diego years ago and know the roads and areas pretty well but
I was a little nervous because of all the traffic. So I told her we would
drive to a safe place and wait it out. As we were heading toward a better
area, she was getting more and more worried, saying it could take us hours
to get to your sisters’ place. We drove to the Mission Bay area and drove to
a Hyatt that I had stayed at in better financial times. My wife was getting
more nervous as traffic was getting heavier and there were more signs of
businesses shuttered. We pulled in and and I asked her to stay in the car
with the baby. The lights were out and I walked into a darkened lobby. The
desk clerks were cordial and I figured if it took using the last of the
credit available on my credit card I would make sure my wife and baby were
safe as we were 45 minutes away from the relative safety of my sisters’ apt
and it certainly appeared that as the freeway was starting to back up too
much for my comfort. I patiently waited my turn and was told that
management was not accepting any new reservations. I told them I wasn’t
looking for a reservation but a room for today. They again restated that
management was not accepting any reservations.
Another guest asked the clerk, what are your people doing in regards to
dinner? “Were going to do a barbeque as there is no power”, said the clerk,
“so you’re welcome to go the pool area and provide your room number and sign
for your meal since we can’t access the computers to bill you for your food
and drinks at this point.”
So here I am with my plan falling to pieces before my very eyes. I can’t
get a room, even though the hotel has a credit card imprint machine clearly
on the back table. We’re 30 minutes away from relative safety in good
traffic conditions, We’re out of water for the baby, for ourselves, and no
food in the car except some Ritz crackers and the baby formula. No cell
service, no atm access, no stores open, gas stations are closed, I returned
to the car and told my wife to get the baby and follow me. I checked my
weapon, got an extra clip from the trunk and walked with my wife to the pool
As she sat with the baby by the pool in a lounger, she said see if you can
find some milk for the baby so we don’t have to use the formula. I checked
my wallet and I had $7.00 in it. I hoped that they wouldn’t charge night
club prices for milk! I remembered paying 7 or 8 bucks for a bourbon and
coke years ago here. It was lively at the poolside bar, everyone was
ordering drinks and food, the wait staff and bartenders were frazzled
already and the power had been out for only an hour. They had milk but it
was only chocolate milk, and they only charged 3 bucks. Well, now’s a good
a time as any to introduce the baby to chocolate milk I thought. I gave the
guy a five and he wrote down on a stack of papers how much he charged and
gave me my change.
I headed back to my wife and we hung out at the pool for another hour or so.
She was getting tired of waiting and said, can’t we try and get home
somehow? I said we could but I didn’t want to hear any complaining if it
took awhile. She promised she would bite her lip if anything started coming
out of her mouth.
So we took a combination of streets and freeways and arrived at my sisters’
about an hour and a half later. I took a couple of candles and a couple of
flash lights from the trunk of the car and a gallon of water I had on
reserve and headed upstairs. Still no electricity, an electric stove to
cook on, no lights, no fans, so sandwiches for dinner and formula for the
baby. While She made sandwiches, I went to check on mom. She is 91, dad
passed away at age 93 a few weeks ago after 64 years of marriage and I was
concerned how she was taking things.
I am always amazed at her resilience. She had a candle lit, was having some
cold tea and chatting with the neighbor ladies in the apt complex. You see,
mom and dad were born and grew up in a communist country. They had seen much
adversity in their life and she wasn’t fazed a bit. Just in case I told her
that I felt it best to go to Los Angeles in the morning with her and my wife
and baby if the power didn’t come back on. She says “I’ve gone thru worse
than this, don’t worry”
Well, needless to say, the worrying didn’t stop anytime soon. Everyone
breathed a collective sigh of relief around 11 pm when the power came back
on in parts of the city, including my own, but I have a resolve now to not
be caught with my pants down as the saying goes. Thankfully, I had some
supplies that I brought with me from Oregon but I can certainly say I was
and still am woefully unprepared for a long term situation.
That will change soon. I would love to be able to purchase your program but
I am not able to right now. In the meantime, If you have a summary that I
can put to use so I can plan for when I have the wherewithal to make some
purchases, that would be most appreciated. If not, when I am gainfully
employed and can purchase the complete course, I will. My wife starts a new
job end of this week and we hope to get into an apt by the end of October
and I am going back for a second interview on Wednesday so there is a light
at the end of the tunnel.
God bless, Thank you again. I look forward to learning how to protect my
I took the liberty of bolding some of the statements that stood out to me the most:
- Always try to keep your gas tank ½ full. My friend, Victor Aguilar grew up in Communist East Europe and actually tops off his gas tank every day.
- One amazing thing is that in Southern California, only 2 radio stations were on the air after the power outage…despite an emphasis in recent years on having backup power supplies and generators. Regardless, being able to tune into those two stations provided valuable information about the size and scope of the outage.
- Know your AO (Area of Operations). Keep maps with you and/or memorize the main arteries and routes that you might need to travel. I find it valuable to identify and mark choke points and potential hazards on my maps so that I don’t have to rely on my memory in stressful situations.
- No plan survives the first contact intact with the real world. ALL plans fall apart to one degree or another. The value in planning is to get your mind wrapped around a situation and expose it to variables and twists when stress is low so that when the real thing happens, your mind is able to react and adapt quicker. And, if you’re lucky, your plan actually works perfectly 🙂
- Keeping food and water in your vehicle seems excessive…right up to the point where you’re hungry or thirsty.
- CA$H is king in a disaster situation…even worthless fiat Federal Reserve Notes. I LOVE silver rounds and junk silver, but it wouldn’t have gotten milk for the baby as easily as plain old “worthless” cash.
- Exposure to pain and discomfort is one of the best ways to help you become immune to the effects of pain and discomfort. While this isn’t true with extreme pain, it is true with minor pain, hunger, dealing with inconveniences, dealing with adversity, and being forced to adapt and overcome. Most people don’t like painful situations. Personally, I like to continually push myself so that the range of situations that I’m comfortable with is continually expanding. I’d rather have this guy’s 91 year old grandma with me in a disaster than a 20-something fitness nut with a weak mind.
- Be willing to continually adapt. This guy did great leading his family. He started off well simply by having SOME supplies in his car and having a full tank of gas. From there, he took his time making decisions and acted decisively once he made a decision. He did things to keep his wife calm in the storm, and kept his wits about him. He quickly identified his shortcomings and found alternatives rather than crying about them. Even if he did take a minute or two to have pity parties, he picked himself up and kept going. Did he make mistakes…of course…that’s life, and success normally isn’t an absence of mistakes, but it’s an indication of an ability to quickly respond to and fix mistakes when they happen.
I’m going to give this reader access to both the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course and my Fastest Way To Prepare Preparedness course. He’s already got a great mindset and these courses will be like pouring fuel on an already raging fire. To read more about these great courses and get signed up yourself, please go to:
Survive in Place: http://www.surviveinplace.com/a/newsletter6oct
Urban Survival Course: http://www.urbansurvivalguide.com
Fastest Way To Prepare: http://fastestwaytoprepare.com/
What are your thoughts on his experiences? What things do you see that he did RIGHT? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.
One thing that I’ve been keeping my eyes on this week is the “Occupy Wall Street” protests that are spreading out across the country. It’s been very interesting to watch. On one hand, I don’t like my money being taken by the government to bail out companies and I don’t like companies being able to buy legislation to stifle competition. On the other hand, I am an entrepreneur who loves free enterprise. I believe that profit and receiving fruit for your labor is healthy. I also don’t understand how these protestors think that destroying the value of everyday American’s retirement accounts is helpful.
To a large extent, I don’t think that a lot of them even think about the consequences of their actions and that they’re just enjoying the rush of being part of a crowd. Many are happy to be doing something more exciting than watching TV and playing video games, and being part of a “movement” that’s bigger than themselves…regardless of what the consequences of that movement may be.
Particularly troubling, though, was the announcement by the hacker group, “Anonymous” on Monday saying that they would take the NYSE website offline on October 10th. While this wouldn’t affect trading, this is like a boxer announcing his punch before throwing it because he’s so confident in his superiority and the inability of his opponent to do anything to stop him. If he pulls it off with advance warning, it’s a crushing blow to the spirit.
The other side of this is that several members of Anonymous have stated that the announcement was not really put out by Anonymous and merely an attempt to discredit Anonymous. There are so many ways that this could be twisted around that there’s no telling what is likely to happen on Monday.
In any case, it highlights the vulnerability of our country to hackers. In fact, a June 2011 survey by Juniper Networks of 583 companies found that 90% had been hacked one or more times in the last 12 months. 59% had multiple attacks. 41% had over $500,000 in damage. In other words, regardless of whether Anonymous does an attack on Monday, hackers and cyber terrorists are very real threats. They can shut down individual companies, affect markets, and even have the potential to cause power outages like what happened in San Diego.
Share your thoughts on the power outages, Occupy Wall Street, and Anonymous by commenting below. And if you have first hand accounts of preparedness or well written articles describing your experiences with a particular facet of preparedness and survival, I’d love to post them on the blog and put them in front of almost 80,000 other like-minded preppers.
God Bless & stay safe,