Junkyard Dog is on Face Book


Now available at www.lulu.com

Now you can buy my book: "Dealing With Danger -- Be Prepared, Aware and Decisive"

My Book, Dealing With Danger is now available at Lulu.com. Also available at Amazon.com price $15.95

Available from Barnes & Noble as an e-reader Nook book price $ 8.99

Available for download on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks and on your computer with iTunes as an eReader book price $8.99
'dealing with danger: be prepared, aware and decisive' is Available on the iBookstore
It's an instructional book to show people how to develop a straightforward, but comprehensive mindset or mental attitude to be aware of their surroundings, make simple but effective plans, and know when to put them into action. You can read a preview of the book online. A lot of people say that we need to develop a warrior attitude, but that just doesn't work for everyone. In my book I'll show you, regardless of age, gender, background, physical ability, and especially attitude how to be better prepared to survive the bad events in life by becoming a junkyard dog. Just click here.

Retail price is $15.95 plus shipping & handling


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Be Competent

It is part of human nature to strive to be the best that we can be in some chosen field or occupation. People who are Number One, whether it is in sports or academic achievement or professional entertainment, are applauded by the rest of us.

That’s fine, but the problem is that very few people are number one at everything they do. And many people who are at the top of their game in one field fail dismally in other activities because they have put their lives into being the very best at one thing.

So often, society rewards us for being exceptional, for being number one in our chosen endeavor. Nobody remembers who finished second in any major race, competition or political election.

But in reality, in day-to-day life, isn’t it often the people who are “adequate but not exceptional” who are often the most useful because they are “adequate but not exceptional” in several different fields. In other words, the people who finish in second place are still finishers. They still accomplished their goal (or at least a major part of it).

On a sinking ship, an adequate swimmer is more likely to survive than a world class professional rock guitarist. When we talk about a mugging, a sixty-year-old retired police officer may well do better than a thirty-year-old dentist.

Most of us don’t have the ability to be number one in a single field. But in many aspects of life, being a good all-rounder actually makes us more useful for ourselves and other people.

I recently listened to a short piece of a radio interview with musician Billy Joel where he said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he knows how to play a piano, how to sing, how to write songs, how to record songs, how to perform in public, but that he did not consider himself to be really good at any of those skills. What he does consider himself to be is competent.

The dictionary defines competent as “… having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified; adequate but not exceptional.” Notice those three words: “suitable,” “sufficient,” and “adequate.” They define the person who has a wide range of skills that may not be complete, but will be enough to help them to survive a wide array of threatening situations.

If, for example, you can think on your feet quite well, run quite well, punch, kick, stab and shoot quite well, you are probably “adequate but not exceptional.” And if, on top of those skills, you are constantly aware of what is happening around you, and you have a good plan for how you will deal with specific threatening situations and which of your skills you will use and when to use them, then you are probably much closer to being number one as a survivor than most people around you.

When we think about surviving disasters, it would be nice if we were all experts of whatever disaster threatens our lives, but in reality, we are better off having a core set of skills and a highly developed survival mindset that allows us to be competent to deal with a variety of threatening situations that we cannot avoid.

You don’t necessarily have to be a champion boxer or cage fighter to survive a mugging. Of course it helps if you are, but many people survive knowing just a handful of fighting moves: kick, punch, block, throw etc, but what few moves they do know, they can do very well. In the same way, the average driver knows enough to avoid car accidents most of the time, without having to become a world class NASCAR or Grand Prix racer.

By all means, strive for excellence; be number one in your chosen field, but remember also that true survivors are likely to be competent in several different areas.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keep Your Credit Card Safe

Most people have at least one credit or debit card, and many people routinely carry them all.
The obvious problem is that if a person's wallet or purse is stolen or if all the cards are stolen it's a huge headache to inform the various credit card companies and banks and it may be too late to avoid incurring the charges that a thief runs up on those cards.

What is at least as bad is when the card owner does not realize for a long time that their card has been stolen. Thieves are now substituting similar-looking expired cards for the owner's original and it's likely the theft will go undetected until the next time the owner tries to use their card.

But there are ways for credit card owners to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this card switcheroo:

1. Every time you take your card out, look at the name on it to verify that it's your card and not some stolen or expired card.

2. Every time you hand your card to anyone, a store assistant, waiter or pizza delivery guy, check that the card they give back to you is indeed your card.

3. Don't leave your purse or wallet lying around where someone can switch your credit cards.

4. To minimize the effects of a theft, try to carry only one credit or debit card in your wallet or purse. If you need to carry more than one, then consider carrying the extra card in some other location such as in a money belt, in a secure pocket that can be buttoned, zippered or Velcro'd closed, or even punch a hole in one corner of the card, run a cord through the hole and carry it around your neck! (provided you can do it without breaking the card and losing it.)

5. Finally, always keep a photocopy of each credit and debit card in a secure location so that you can quickly contact the credit card company or bank that issues the card with details.

Sure, it's a pain to have to do all this, but as long as you have money or credit, someone is going to want to take it away from you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Lesson of the Japanese Tea Bowl

In Japan, drinking tea has been a carefully orchestrated ritual for centuries. The tea is served in a bowl, rather than a cup with a handle. If the tea is too hot to cradle the bowl in the palms of your hands, then it's too hot to drink. Think of it as a warning system to stop the tea drinker from scalding their mouth.

Here in the west, w
e go to the local Starbucks or similar coffee place and drink tea and coffee from mugs and cups with handles or get it to go in a paper cup with an insulating cardboard sleeve, or our own insulated container with a lid.

Most of us have scalded ourselves at some time or another with that first hasty sip from a cup containing near-boiling liquid. Why? Because we have circumvented the Japanese warning system. By insulting and protecting our hand with a mug handle or a protective sleeve, instead of our hand being the first thing to be scalded, it's our mouth.

We insulate ourselves from an early warning system in other ways too. Any time we are out in public and we are listening to music through stereo ear pieces, or we are texting while driving and not watching where we are going, we risk becoming a victim of an attack or an accident.

Don't insulate your senses from what is around you. Remember the lesson of the Japanese tea bowl.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book Signing Today!

Today is a big day for the Junkyard Dog. I'll be signing copies of my book, "Dealing with Danger" at Borders Books, Flatirons Mall, Broomfield, Colorado at 1pm. The book is $15.95 and you can also order it online at www.lulu.com and also at www.amazon.com . You can also check my website www.junkyard-dog.net for more details.

The next book signing is also at Borders in Broomfield on Saturday, June 26th at 1pm.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to look around you and be aware of your surroundings!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What Did the Times Square Bomber Really Hope to Accomplish?

Readers of this blog and my book Dealing With Danger -- Be Prepared, Aware and Decisive will know that I preach the concept of always being aware of what is going on around us and making a point to question what we see in relation to how it might affect us personally. In this way, we can act in time to avoid a lot a bad things that may be coming our way.

The NYPD officer who first noticed something wrong with the parked Nissan Pathfinder and correctly and decisively invoked the plan to evacuate Times Square is a hero. He did everything right that was within his control.

But it seems to me that many officials including the Mayor are deluding themselves that somehow, they dodged the bullet because they are so smart and the terrorists are so stupid.

Underestimating your enemy is a very dangerous thing to do.

General Custer did it at the Little Big Horn, and the Indians wiped out his command.

Do we really know what the true goal of alleged terrorist bomber Faisal Jahzad was when he built his car bomb and placed it in New York's Times Square?
Here is a man who appears to have connections to radical terrorist groups, and who is educated and intelligent. But according to statements made in New York, he built a bomb that was "amateurish".

We cannot rule out the possibility that the main purpose of planting the device was not to create an explosion, but to learn how security forces would respond to such a threat. It is not inconceivable that, as in other parts of the world such as the middle east, the larger plan would be to attract police into the area by planting a small device and then trigger a much larger bomb.

The most important lesson we can learn from this incident is that if we really want to know what our enemies have in store for us, we must look at what they are already doing successfully in other parts of the world. Terrorists swap ideas and training amongst different groups. Whatever works in Iraq or Afghanistan, Beirut or Israel will eventually be tried in the USA and the UK.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Three Little Words That Can Be So Dangerous

Readers of this blog know that we examine various things that people can do to either avoid or deal with all kinds of threats to their well-being: violent crime, dangerous weather conditions, terrorism. etc.

Over the years I've had conversations with lots of people about various scenarios concerned with these types of incident. When I talk with people who are just beginning to realize that they need to take responsibility for their own safety and come up with simple but effective plans before anything bad happens, I often hear them blithely state some one-line plan that may at best address just one small slice of the problem. In other words, a lot of people don't really think through the entire scope of the problem before coming up with their plan.

For example, problem: violent mugging; solution: shoot everybody.
Problem: natural disaster--hurricane, earthquake, volcano; solution: leave town.

There is never any mention of a plan, never any mention of determining the exact criteria to enact the plan, never any thought about the possible outcomes.

When forced to think about how they would deal with a life-threatening disaster, many otherwise rational people seem to treat it like the script to a Hollywood disaster movie where common sense and adherence to the law go out the window and are replaced with a superhuman capability to "wing it."

It used to take me a while to detect some people's ability to dive head first into Hollywood Reality at the first mention of a disaster scenario, and their preference for relying on horsepower and cool equipment instead of planning and logic.

But I finally figured it out.

Any conversation about disaster preparedness that includes the phrase, "Well, I'll just ... " is a waste of everybody's time.

"Well, I'll just shoot the bad guys."; "Well, I'll just fire up the 4x4 and head for the hills."; "Well, I'll just dial 911." (You and everybody else in town.)

"Well, I'll just ..." One of the three great examples of not thinking things through, along with "Officer, I've only had two beers." and "Honey, I don't know how that lipstick got there."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How Your Car's GPS System Might Make you a Crime Victim

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have become so popular as a means of navigating while driving, but like most things, there are pros and cons to having one.

There are basically two types of GPS used in cars and other vehicles: The portable system that attaches to the inside of the windshield with a rubber suction cup, and plugs into the cigarette lighter, and the built-in system that comes with the vehicle from the factory.

Security conscious drivers remove the portable system from it's suction cup windshield mount when they leave the vehicle and either take it with them or hide it somewhere in the car. Unfortunately, thieves look for that tell-tale ring left on the inside of the windshield by the suction cup, and often break into the vehicle, expecting to find the GPS unit stuffed under the front seat. This happened to a couple of friends of mine in Austin, Texas a few weeks ago. The cost: replacement of one broken side window and a GPS unit. So, the lesson learned here is to regularly clean the ring left by the suction cup off the inside of the windshield.

Car owners with an installed GPS system should be aware that all the information in that system: owner's name, home address, bank, friends names and addresses, etc. stays with the vehicle when it is sold. Car dealers are under no obligation to delete that personal information before selling the car. Since identity theft is so comonplace, it pays to remember to delete all information from the GPS before selling the car. I'd even go one further and say only input the minimum amount of information necessary, because you never know who else might access it: car thief, valet parking attendant, mechanic, etc.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Kind of a Survivor Are You?

Here's an interesting little survey from The Survivors Club. I'm not sure how much it actually tells us about ourselves, but I do think it prompts us to question how we would handle specific threats and emergencies.

So for that reason alone, I took the survey. It only takes a couple of minutes. Click here to go to the survey. You may be surprised what you find out about yourself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Those Pesky Spring Snowstorms!

It's snowing hard in my part of the world. Big, fluffy, wet flakes that have brought visibility down to a couple of hundred yards--less in some places. This is the type of storm that produces enough heavy, wet snow to bring down branches, and in some cases entire trees. And when that happens, quite often power lines come down too.

The forecast is for 6 - 12 inches of snow over the next 24 hours. It's not uncommon for entire neighborhoods to be without power for several days when weather like this hits.

But there are some simple preparations that most people can make in case the power goes out for an extended period:

It's a good idea to make a run to the store before the storm hits and pick up some food that doesn't require heat to prepare. Maybe a few extra batteries for flashlights would be a good idea too. Keep in mind that candles burn the oxygen out of the air in a confined space, and that they should never be left unattended because of the risk of fire.

This is a good time to stay inside and eat nutritious food, to help stay warm and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Close off rooms that aren't needed and put newspaper or similar material at the base of doors to keep the cold out. Painter's masking tape is pretty good for temporarily sealing drafts from cracks around doors and windows, and if it isn't left on for days, it won't peel off the paint when it's taken off. Be very careful using any kind of heater that produces a flame and in all circumstances make sure that there is adequate ventilation. People die from carbon monoxide poisoning when they light a fire without having sufficient ventilation to remove the fumes, so it is vital to have a constant supply of fresh air into the living area.

It may be necessary during the course of the storm to go outside to check that ventilation ducts have not been choked with snow, preventing fresh air from getting into the building.

An extra layer or two of clothing is, of course a simple way to stay warmer, but don't forget that pets may also need an extra blanket to help them stay warm.

Be careful of walking under trees that have a heavy blanket of snow on them that may cause branches to snap off and fall.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Save the Data, Survive the Disaster

Readers of the blog will know we deal with preparing for disasters in time to either avoid or deal with them. But what happens in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster?

How do we pick up the pieces and begin the task of trying to restore our lives to the way they were before the storm, the flood, the attack?

Businesses as well as individuals keep so much information in electronic form that it's worth playing the "what if?" game and asking ourselves: "What if my computer files were all lost? How would I recover that important information? Is it even possible for me to recover that important information?"

A second "what if" game to play is to pretend you're trying to hack into your own computer. What passwords would you need, where would you look to find backup discs containing software applications and sensitive information: bank accounts, investment info, social security numbers, personal papers, medical information, etc. if it becomes obvious where you've hidden these things, it may be obvious to a hacker or a burglar too.

Data can only be recovered if it exists. That means taking regular backups of computer files and then making sure those backups are stored in a safe place. The goal is to be able to resume operation of any computer-based activities that are important to us from running a business, to storing family photographs or simply playing our favorite computer games. The criterion is that if you have something on your computer that would upset you if it suddenly no longer existed, then that data and software needs to be backed up regularly.

Here are a few things that can be done to make a catastrophic loss easier to cope with:

1. Make a list of all software license numbers and keys, security passwords and any other information needed to restore software onto a computer and put that list in a secure place where no unauthorized people can get to it.

2. Make security passwords complicated (a mix of alpha and numeric characters, both upper and lowercase). The longer and more complex the password, the tougher it is for hackers to figure out what it is. Use a different password for each application and change them all frequently. Do not share passwords with others.

3. Ideally, make two backups of both data and application software packages; one backup to stay in a secure location away from home or place of business, and the other to be available in a secure location on site.

There are other things that can be done to improve security, including hiring a professional service to manage data storage. But either way, somehow, data and information needs to be secured.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Disaster Preparedness for Animals

We've all seen disasters on the TV news such as hurricanes, tornados, flooding, and earthquakes. Much attention (and rightly so) is given to the suffering and deaths of people, but what about the animals involved? What can people do to care for their pets in a crisis?

Here are a few guidelines:

Every household needs a basic plan to cope with natural disasters and possible evacuations. The plan should include taking pets along if the owners have to evacuate their homes. Some people may just turn their pets loose to fend for themselves in a disaster, but not only is this not in the animal's best interests, but it may cause a problem for someone else. It's better to try to take pets along in the event of an evacuation.

However, except for service animals, most emergency shelters don't accept pets. As part of the overall emergency plan, it's worth checking with local hotels to see which ones allow owners with their pets and where there are pet boarding services that may be outside of the disaster area.

If pets are to be boarded, the facility will first want to check that all vaccinations are up to date, so remember to bring the animal's veterinary records along too.

Pets will also need to wear indentification tags with contact information such as a phone number in case they are lost.

Assemble a disaster kit for pets that includes food, water, medication (if any) can opener, litter box and information on name, address, medical and behavioral issues.

For most of us, our pets are part of the family. Why wouldn't we take a few simple steps to look after them in an emergency?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thinking of Buying a Gun? Take a Class First

A few days ago, along with three other instructors I taught the NRA Personal Protection in the Home class. This 12 hour class is available across the country and teaches people the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship, firearms safety, and state laws regarding use of deadly force for self-defense.

In the two decades that I've been an instructor, a total of three students have taken the entire class and then told me that they appreciated the information and that it helped them to decide that owning a firearm for self-defense was not for them.

That's OK.

My job as an instructor is to give students the information they need to make an informed decision for themselves, not to convince people to acquire a gun.

Let's recognize that most people, including police officers, go through their entire lives armed, but never have to use a gun to defend themselves. We can liken this to the sailor who spends his entire career at sea wearing a life preserver that he never needs unless he falls overboard. But when that police officer does need his gun to stop a criminal, when that sailor does fall overboard, when that armed citizen does get into a confrontation that he cannot avoid, that is when that additional level of security may be needed.

Some people buy a gun and simply stick it in a bedroom drawer and think they are safer.

They aren't.

Using a firearm in self-defense is like taking part in a NASCAR race: It all happens very quickly; It's dangerous and people sometimes die; Only people who have trained properly and who practice regularly are likely to have a chance of surviving, let alone winning.

The National Rifle Association sponsors basic classes across the country. Contact the NRA to find local instructors.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Simple Way to Avoid Check Fraud

Every year companies and individuals lose millions of dollars to check fraud. Thieves steal checks from mailboxes, change the payee name and then cash the check.

Think of it as getting mugged, but without the threats and physical violence (and without the opportunity to inflict an appropriate violent response to the mugger in self-defense either).

Thieves who commit check fraud first have to steal a check that has been issued by a person or a business or government entity. Next, the thief uses a common household chemical to wash the name of the payee and the dollar amount off the check, but leave the payer's signature in place. Then, the thief writes their own name, or the name of a fake business for which they have already opened a bank account, on the check, and adds whatever amount of money that they want to steal. The thief then takes the check to their bank and cashes it or pays it into their account.

But there is a very simple way that anyone who writes a check can prevent this type of theft. Simply buy a Uni-Ball 207 gel pen and use it to write checks. The special ink in the pen will not wash off when someone tries to tamper with the check.

While this is a great idea, it doesn't mean that we can be careless with where we leave our mail and our check books and credit cards. We need to be sure we keep financial material away from people who do not need to know our personal business.

Here are some links to stores that sell the Uni-Ball 207 pen. Before buying, make sure it actually says that it helps prevent check fraud. There is a message right on the packaging:



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Too Much Stuff to Bug Out With? Try Staging

As the Los Angeles area of California braces for the fourth large storm in the past few days, the threat of flooding and mud slides in residential areas is reaching critical mass. The mayor and emergency services are telling residents to be prepared to evacuate their homes, and that if a law enforcement officer shows up at their door and tells them to leave, they must leave! Residents are also being advised to have enough food, water, and other supplies on hand to survive for 72 hours away from home.

That's sound advice, but historically many residents have been reluctant to leave their homes and leave all the stuff they worked so hard to acquire to the fate of the weather. How do you pack 500 books, 1,000 DVDs and CDs, a coin collection, that Rembrandt painting, the gun collection, the spare ammunition, several decades worth of photographs, the Persian rug ... into the family SUV along with two kids and the dog?

You can't. And even if you could, do you want to leave all that valuable stuff locked up in a vehicle that may get broken into?

But what you can do is to prepare in advance of storm season and stage at least some of these items in a location outside of the danger zone. This could be at a friend or relative's home, it could be in a rent-by-the-month storage locker.

This solution isn't rocket science, but it does require some planning long before the storm clouds start gathering. It requires taking the time to determine a storage location and plan what needs to be transported there. The other part of the plan is knowing what can be left behind because it can be replaced fairly easily. And for those items, it also requires having a homeowners insurance policy that will cover the cost of replacing items damaged or lost.

We are lucky that modern technology can predict bad weather. it gives us the opportunity to plan, and prepare so that if that knock on the door comes, we can grab our personal bugout bag and get out of Dodge without having to worry about those items that are so important to us.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake that has devastated Haiti at the western end of the island of Hispaniola in the Carribean Sea has already killed thousands of people, and the after effects are likely to kill more.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Two thirds of the population relies on subsistence farming, and the country as a whole suffers from a shortage of potable water. These two factors alone will cause major problems over the next few weeks and months. I doubt that the country can support it's population without major contributions from the UN and surrounding nations.

As bad as this earthquake was, it is likely to be just the beginning of a bad run of luck for the people of this poor nation. In the short term, one of the most serious concerns will be finding enough clean drinking water for the survivors. In the 90 degree heat, the corpses of people killed in the earthquake are going to present a major health risk and possible contamination of drinking water unless they are removed quickly.

Along with a water shortage, Haiti has very few emergency resources. The nation's ambulance brigade and hospital system is woefully inadequate to deal with a nation-wide problem such as this. So, we can expect more fatalities from those already injured, and those people who will eventually die from their injuries sustained in the earthquake, and a combination of sickness and dehydration.

We are also likely to see that help from the outside will be too little and too late to save every person who survived the initial earthquake. And the great shame here is that the population had so little before the 'quake, and now has even less resources to look after itself. It has to rely on foreign governments and organizations.

The earthquake in Haiti has presented us with some valuable lessons that we'd be wise to learn. It's foolish to think that we in the United States are immune from these disasters--it's just that we have better resources to deal with them when they strike. But that doesn't mean that as individuals, we can sit back and expect emergency organizations to rush to our aid. New Orleans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that the people who took responsibility for their own survival had a greater chance of surviving than if they simply waited for help.

There are some simple things that almost anyone can do to increase their chances of surviving a natural disaster:
Be sure to have several days worth (or more) of drinking water available. Be sure to have several days worth of the type of food that needs very little preparation available. Keep a good first aid kit at home and another one in your vehicle. In case cell phone communications are unavailable--as they were immediately after 9/11--develop a plan with your family of where you will meet, and when, if you are not all together when disaster strikes. Identify the most likely events for where you are: earthquake, forest fire, flooding, terrorist attack, and then develop a simple plan for that eventuality and talk it through with your family, friends and neighbors.

After enduring decades of violence and oppression from dictators such as Papa Doc Duvalier, and Jean-Bertrande Aristide, hurricanes, poverty, AIDS, and illiteracy, you'd think that the law of averages would cut the Haitians a break. But as the song goes, "...if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all."

Please consider making a donation to the Red Cross or one of the other emergency aid organizations.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Bugout Box

Running away, escaping, or simply Bugging Out is often the smartest way to avoid a dangerous situation. People bug out of burning buildings, bar fights, even countries; many times with just the clothes on their back or whatever they can throw into a bag.

I'd like to save a discussion about bugout bags for another time. Today, I'd like to talk about how we can put together a bugout box.

A bugout box is intended to store all the important papers that most of us accumulate over time: Insurance policies, bank account information, educational certificates, military service records, last will and testament, list of firearms and their serial numbers (you do have the serial numbers stored in a safe place in case of loss or theft, don't you?), passports, photocopies of credit cards and driver's license...the list goes on. Imagine how difficult and time-consuming it would be to have to recreate all that information if it was ever lost or destroyed.

In the event you have to suddenly bug out of your home, having all those papers stored in a single box makes it easy to just grab them and go.

It's important to store the bugout box in a safe, dry place that is easily accessible. Ideally, that location is somewhere like a closet or cupboard that can be locked, that is not a location most people in the home need to access very frequently.

What you decide to put in the bugout box is up to you, but the criteria should be something like this: Documents that cannot be replaced easily (graduation papers, military discharge papers); Documents that you may need immediately if you have to bug out (driver's license, passport, homeowners insurance policy, check book, list of contacts such as insurance agent, family, friends, employer, family doctor, etc.); Documents that have intrinsic value (bearer bonds, stocks, money orders).

If you've ever watched TV news accounts of people who have lost their homes to fire, flood, or tornado, you may have noticed how many people value the family photo album above most other things. But most photo albums are too bulky to be included in a bugout box. The solution is to have all your important photos scanned onto a CD or even a memory stick. That way, a huge number of photos takes up almost no space at all in the bugout box. Check with your local office supplies and services store to see if they can do this for you.

The bugout box itself should be large enough accomodate standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, and should be made of some material such as plastic or metal so that it can withstand being bounced around. A cardboard grocery box is not a good idea. It may tear open under the weight of all those papers, it may disintegrate if it gets wet. A suitable box is tough, has a hinged lid, and some form of carry handle. You can find this type of box at office supply stores.

Finally, as you place important papers into your bugout box, make a checklist of items and leave that in the box where you can refer to it easily. As insurance policies and other similar papers come up for renewal, don't forget to remove the old version from the box and replace it with the latest copy.

Bugging out isn't fun. Why make it more difficult than it already is? A bugout box for your valuable papers makes a lot of sense.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Predictions for the Year (well, sort of)

Since the whole point of the Junkyard Dog philosophy is to be prepared, aware, and decisive, I thought now would be a good time to post a few personal predictions for the new year. As with most of the postings that will appear here, the idea is to get the reader to think about what may be coming down the road, to evaluate how it may affect their own situation and then devise a basic plan to deal with the problem. For our purposes, this is actually more important than accurately predicting the future, which is not something I can claim to do.

So, let's look at this posting as an exersize in playing the "what if" game.

As we examined in the previous post, I think terrorists will continue to probe security surrounding commercial flights. They will continue their efforts to bring down at least one commercial airliner, and if they are successful they will repeat the same drill in numerous other places. We have to remember that the purpose of a terrorist is to actually influence the actions and policies of governments by terrorizing the people under the control of those governments.
To the true terrorist, changing government policy is at least as important as a body count.

I haven't seen much from our security agencies to suggest that government-sponsored security measures, such as monitoring no-fly lists or screening passengers, are completely secure and effective. To be fair to the people actually charged with screening passengers, I'm sure they do the best they can, but the problem lies more with the politicians and bureaucrats who set policy and determine procedures. This means that as individual junkyard dogs, we must take up the slack. We must be observant, and question things that don't appear to be "right" and act decisively when it's approriate.

In 2009 we saw the most significant attack on US soil since September 11, 2001, when an islamist terrorist who is also a US Army officer opened fire in a crowded room at Fort Hood, Texas. There have been similar events before, but they seemed to have been conducted by angry, crazy people, such as the shootings at Columbine High School, or Virginia Tech. The Fort Hood shootings were motivated by ideology. We have to assume that terrorists will once again, try to copy their success at Fort Hood by staging other shootings, but let's not forget about the crazies either; getting shot by a crazy teenager is just as dangerous as getting shot by a terrorist. Fortunately, 48 of the 50 states allow some form of concealed or open carry of a handgun by law abiding civilian gun owners, and these citizens have a long history of successfully defending themselves from common criminals. (Just pick up any issue of the NRA's American Rifleman magazine and turn to the Armed Citizen column to read newspaper reports.) I think at some point, we will see armed citizens caught up in a terrorist shooting, and having to keep a lid on things until SWAT shows up.

As usual, nature will send us floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, hot weather, cold weather, and flooding. What is the most likely incident in your area? Are you prepared to either hunker down and ride out the storm, or bug out before the flood waters rise? A little sensible planning and preparation can go a long way.

I can almost predict one thing: whatever we think is going to happen, may happen, but the unexpected is almost a certainty. We have to constantly be looking around us, evaluating information, trying to find what is important and what isn't; and that is the real challenge.