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


Monday, September 23, 2013

Is your car protected?

Is your car protected? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July and August are the two worst months for vehicle thefts in the USA. That's an interesting statistic, but it's worth remembering that a lot of cars and trucks are also stolen in the other ten months of the year.

It isn't just luxury vehicles that disappear. Some of the most likely vehicles to be stolen are similar to the 1994 Honda Accord, with the Dodge Charger being a firm favorite of car thieves.

There are various physical methods of securing a vehicle. First, the most obvious and simple to do is to wind up the windows and lock all the doors (and the trunk if there is one), even when leaving the vehicle for a very short period of time. People who gas up their car and then leave the keys in it while they go into the gas station convenience store are giving a passing thief a great opportunity to steal a car with a full tank of gas. With gas prices today, that's just adding insult to injury. There are other physical means of securing a vehicle, such as a locking clamp on the steering wheel, or fitting one of the many electronic devices to disable the ignition system or the block the supply of fuel to the engine.

Another good idea is to have the vehicle's VIN number etched into all the windows. This may deter thieves from stealing the car to resell it. Some police and Sherrif's departments offer this service, or can refer car owners to organisations that can help.

A thin polymer film can be applied on the inside of all the windows--similar to tinting, but stronger--that serves as physicaldeterrent to thieves smashing the glass and stealing valuables through the window. Be sure to get an appropriate product. Ordinary window tint isn't designed as a security feature.

Whenever possible, park in places where it's possible to keep a visual check on the vehicle. Don't expect neighbors or passers-by to prevent someone from stealing your car. We don't live in Mayberry any more. There are many more things to take into account when it comes to vehicle security; not least of which is what to do in a carjacking--someone tries to take the car while the driver and passenges are in it. The main thing to remember is that cars can be replaced, people cannot. Let's be sensible about this.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More information on electronic car keys

In my previous post about my problem with electronic car keys, I did not realise that the car will only start by pressing the button if the car keys are actually close to the car. So, it would not be possible for a thief to simply press the button and start the car if the keys were not present. Thanks to Andy for pointing this out. Of course, it still leaves the problem that if the doors cannot be locked due to an electrical fault in the system, any items can still be stolen from the vehicle. Thanks again, Andy for the correction.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Problems with Electronic Car Keys

I recently rented a car from one of the large car rental companies. It was a late model, mid-size auto with the usual keyless electronic door lock system. Inside, instead of the traditional key activated ignition, there was a button that you press to start the engine. I drove to my hotel, got out of the car and tried to lock all the doors with the key fob. The doors would not lock. I tried to lock them manually, but when one door locked, another unlocked. Finally, I called the 800 number for customer support and was advised that there was a fault in the system and that I’d have to return the car to the rental place and get a different vehicle, which is what I did.

The real problem was that since the ignition was activated by a button, and not with a key, anyone could have climbed into the driver’s seat, started the car and driven away. I admit, I’m not a big fan of electronic gizmos, and this is part of the reason. Why would a car designer not include some sort of manual override to insure that the vehicle is secure when the owner (or renter in my case)  is away?

In future, I’ll ask for a rental car with a standard keyed ignition. At least I’ll have improved the odds in my favor a little bit of not coming back to an empty parking space where my rental ought to be.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The American Flag

I am the American flag. The Stars and Stripes. Old Glory. I am thirteen stripes, seven red alternating with six white to represent the original 13 colonies, with a white star on a blue background for each state. The colors are also those of the British and French flags; two countries that, in their own way each contributed to the birth of a new American nation, the likes of which had never been seen before. Over the years, more and more stars have been added to me, but not one has ever been taken away.

I have been carried by troops in every war from the Revolutionary war, Civil war, the war to end all wars, the war after that one, Korea, Vietnam and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been carried by athletes, by mountaineers, skydivers, on suit lapels and leather motorcycle jackets; I’ve even been carried into space and planted on the Moon. I have been carried on seas and oceans around the world and to the bottom of Pearl Harbor. I have flown at the Olympics, The White House, every state Capitol in the Union, school graduations, Boy Scout camps and NASCAR races. I have been trodden underfoot or burned by foreign dissenters and enemies of my country as well as Americans expressing their opinions. I have lain, draped over the coffins of those who can no longer salute me. I have flown at half mast to signify respect and remembrance for those who can no longer carry me in their hearts or hands. 

There are many flags in the world, each with their own story, each one unique. But I am not them and they are not me; for I am the American Flag.

© copyright John Higgs, 2013 Distribution for non-commercial use only.

Monday, June 3, 2013

It's Tornado Season. Do You Have Plan?

The tornado that swept across parts of Oklahoma recently and that touched down in Moore, OK, a few miles from Oklamoma City, was an E4 strength tornado. E5 is the most powerful. The tornado was estimated to be between one and two miles wide. Tornados can be incredibly unpredictable and extremely destructive. The Oklahoma tornado killed at least 24 people and  destroyed homes and two schools, according to reports.

While escaping or bugging out to safety is often the preferred method of surviving a natural disaster, there isn't always time to get away from a tornado, and because it can move so quickly, it isn't always possible to outrun it. Last weekend's tornado that hit parts of Oklahoma City also brought a lot of rain. Many people who tried to either drive out of the storm or get home from work were stuck on clogged freeways. Being stuck in a traffic jam AND in the path of a tornado is a very dangerous situation. A car is not a safe shelter for a tornado, it can be picked up and carried a long way by the high winds.

Modern technology has provided many towns and cities with up to 15 minutes warning of a potential tornado strike. This doesn't sound like much, but it's better than it used to be and it gives many people enough time to seek shelter where they are.

I think that it's a good idea before the annual tornado season begins, to put together a simple bugout bag that contains items that would help a person to survive for a few days in the event of a tornado hitting their home or where they work.

However, there is an alternative to to escaping from a tornado, and that is to Shelter in Place (SIP). SIP is often a much safer alternative to trying to outrun a tornado. People have done it for decades. Often, they simply go into the cellar of their home and hide under something solid, such as a workbench or table. It may not be perfect, but it's quick and simple to do, and it doesn't involve escaping while carrying a bag of belongings and going outside into the path of the tornado.

Many public places such as airports and government buildings offer designated tornado shelters. These are also good places for people who are not at home to seek shelter, but you have to know where they are located BEFORE there is the threat of a tornado.

Survival always comes back to the same principles: Be AWARE of your surroundings, be PREPARED with a simple plan and a few items to survive a specific, predetermined disaster, and be able to DECIDE if or when to put the plan into action.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Writing my Bugout Book

I'm writing another book. It's about escaping or evacuating from dangerous situations, which is commonly called "bugging out." I think there are a lot of misconceptions about bugging out. It's become the reason for some people to buy a 4x4 vehicle and
fill it with water, ammo, and freeze dried rations. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that, in fact I think it's great that more people are considering the possibility of having to go somewhere else to avoid a dangerous event--whatever that event may be. It's just that there are a lot more mundane, but more likely events that can harm people than "The Big One."

By all means, prepare for a major catastrophe if your time and budget allows, but let's not forget the smaller, less exciting episodes that are more likely: A chemical spill on the expressway that forces people to leave their homes for a few hours; forest fire, house fire, home invasion, fire in the workplace, bomb scare or active shooter alert in a public place; flood or  hurricane warning.

More often than not, it's the small, familiar things that can be the most dangerous because we don't perceive them to be a threat until it's too late. One example is a stronger than normal wave surge or tide at the beach. Some people heed the lifeguard's warning to stay out of the water, but a few actually gravitate to the beach to see what's going on. One example of this was the huge earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011, which generated a tsunami wave that traveled across the Pacific Ocean to the California coast. Media outlets advised observers in California to stay away from the sea shore, but some people actually moved closer to the surf. One person died when they were swept out to sea. My bugout book is taking much longer to write than I anticipated, partly because it explores so many more attributes of bugging out than just packing a bugout bag for an emergency. I'll post updates on my progress from time to time ... 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Colorado Democrats Push Gun Bans in the Legislature

I spent Friday sitting in the gallery listening to the Colorado  Senate debating seven different gun bills. I had to leave while #6  (magazine ban over 15 rounds) was being debated, but the first five bills passed the committee along party lines with democrats voting for and republicans voting against. Interestingly, voice votes were (in my opinion and in the opinion of those sitting around me)  too close to call, but the Dem chairperson passed them anyway. The Assault Weapons Ban bill was held over until next week for debate. As the wording of the bill stands right now, it classifies all semi-auto rifles that use a detachable magazine (including .22 rimfire) as assault weapons. It bans any magazine over 15 rounds capacity, although the wording implies that any magazine that has a detacheable floorplate and that could accept an extender to increase the capacity over 15 rounds would also be banned. This means a de facto ban on any magazine with a removeable floorplate.

One win for the pro-freedom side: The magazine ban on tubular shotgun magazines was changed from a limit of 8 rounds, to a magazine length of 28 inches. Not surprisingly, the bill's author did not know that shotgun shells run in size from the short Aguila rounds to the 3 1/2 inch magnums     (2 3/4 and 3 inch lengths being the most popular.) A big "thank you" goes to gun rights activist and legal eagle David Kopel for helping her to rewrite that part of the bill and bring a tiny piece of common sense to a bad bill that will likely pass.

A big thank you goes to Colorado magazine manufacturer Magpul for supporting gun rights and standing firm on their comittment to leave the state if the magazine ban passes. Other local Colorado companies who supply Magpul testified that their businesses will be badly affected by Magpul leaving (further reducing employment and revenue in the state), but they all blamed the bill, and nobody blamed Magpul for their decision.

There was a long discussion about how  business and revenue in Colorado will be being adversly affected by the anti-gun bills. An Outdoors/hunting video production company stated they are pulling plans to video hunting in Colorado because the universal background check bill has such draconian requirements. They risk breaking the (proposed) law if a firearm is passed around from crew to presenters to hunters during filming! That's about a million dollars lost to the state, not including revenue from hotels, restaurants, gas stations etc. In fact, many out of state hunters could break the proposed backgound check law by carrying a rifle on the hunt that they borrowed from a friend or relative.

Yesterday, republican senators who made comments during their speeches about specific gun ban bills criticizing   the Democrats  for not standing up to the Mayor Bloomberg (New York)  initiated legislation were chastized by the Democrat Chair. So much for free speech!

Last week at the House Committee hearings, I heard a Magpul employee tearfully testify that if the bill passes she will have to decide between leaving Colorado and splitting up her family (two kids in college here)  or staying in Colorado and losing her job--her husband and another family member also work for Magpul. The reply from one of the Democrat female committee members was, "Talk to your employer." That was a nasty, egotistical comment for an elected official to make to a constituent.
We all know what happens when you give teenage boys whiskey and car keys. We are about to see what happens when you give left-wing politicians Bloomberg Kool-Aid and a majority in both Colorado legislatures.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Be Aware of Your Surroundings to the Best of Your Ability

I've long been a proponent of living in "Condition Yellow." In other words, being aware of one's surroundings: Walking, driving, travelling, standing at a bus stop, fishing at the local lake, walking around the supermarket, and just about any other occasion when we are out in a public place, we need to be aware of our surroundings. Our radar is running in a 360 degree circle, actively looking for something or someone approaching us that might turn out to be a threat to our security. This what it means to be in Condition Yellow. When we are in Condition White, it means we are UNaware of what is happening around us, and therefore we may become the victim of something nasty because we didn't get the warning to deal with or avoid it in time.

Today I was reminded that while we should strive to be in Condition Yellow 100 percent of our waking hours, it is not humanly possible. I was standing outside my house, concentrating on retrieving an item from my vehicle when a voice right behind me said, "Hi, John!"

I confess, I really jumped. Fortunately, it was a friend.

Does this mean that my system of awareness is faulty? No, not at all. What it does mean is that while we should strive every day to be completely aware of our surroundings, there are times when we get absorbed in what we're doing and we get surprised by things we didn't detect earlier. Nobody can live in Condition Yellow all the time. But by striving to reach that goal, we can greatly reduce our exposure to surprises. In other words, living in Condition Yellow to the best of our ability will reduce the chances of being surprised by some nasty event, but we cannot expect to reduce the odds to zero.

Monday, January 7, 2013

When the mall starts to flood, it's time to leave

Here's an interesting piece of video of water quickly flooding a shopping mall. How would you handle this?
First, regardless of what type of building we may be inside, it's always good to have a simple plan to get out quickly using an alternative exit from the one we came in by. A flood may be a bit unusual, but there are other reasons to want to escape from a location quickly: Fire, Riot, even a terrorist attack or a shooting may be the reason to get away quickly and safely.

When we walk into a mall, office building, airport, railroad station, restaurant, or any other public place, it's good to take a moment to identify where the emergency exits are located. Think also about other exits such as the delivery entrance at the rear of a supermarket and shopping mall, the kitchen entrance at a restaurant, the fire escape in an office building, etc.

Don't delay. If the situation looks bad, get out Now! You can always come back in if it turns out to be a false alarm.

Click here to watch the mall flooding and notice how quickly this happens. It doesn't leave much time to escape, so don't hang around filming it on your cell phone when you should be heading to higher ground.