Monday, 12 August 2013

By on August 12th, 2013 in personal, science kits

07:23 – I got email over the weekend from a long-time reader who, like more than a few of my readers, is becoming increasingly concerned about societal breakdown. He wants to store a year’s worth of food for him and his family, but they’re a young couple with a toddler and can’t afford to spend much. He looked at the emergency food page on Costco’s website and was horrified at how much it’d cost him to store a year’s worth of freeze-dried foods for his family.

I told him, in short, not to worry about buying expensive freeze-dried food. Instead, he should be buying canned and regular dry food. I told him to ignore the “best-by” dates on canned foods. We just bought some canned food at Costco that has a best-by date in 2015. The reality is that that canned food will be just fine–nutritionally and taste-wise–for at least 20 years, and probably much longer. I remember back in the late 60’s or early 70’s when they raised a riverboat that had sunk in 1865. Among the many items they recovered were numerous cans of food. Scientists evaluated that food for safety and nutritional value and found that it was still safe and still provided good nutrition. In some cases, the appearance and taste were a bit off, but not enough to make it inedible, particularly in an emergency. So those cases of canned pork and beans, vegetables, fruit, and so on from Costco are going to be fine for 20 years, minimum. About the only nutritional loss over the next 20 years or more is likely to be vitamins A and C. Big deal. Stock up on multivitamins and keep them in the freezer. Same deal on dry foods. Costco sells 20-pound bags of white rice in heavy plastic bags. I told him they’ll be fine 5, 10, and 20 years from now, even stored in the original heavy plastic bags. Same thing with stuff like dry beans, macaroni, and so on. Vegetable oil has among the shortest shelf-lives of common foods, and even it should be good for at least five years in an unopened container.

And, with a few exceptions, the same thing holds true for storing medicines for an emergency. I have, for example, some amoxicillin, metronidazole, sulfadimethoxine, and other antibiotics in the freezer. The expiration dates are mostly in 2014 or 2015. The truth is that all of those drugs will still be safe to use and effective 20 years or more from now. There may be a slight loss of potency, but not enough to matter. Same thing for the dozen or more other classes of drugs I have stored, from antihistamines to analgesics to antdiarrheals. Particularly when frozen, these drugs maintain potency for decades.

So, I suggested that each time they make a Costco run, they buy at least two at a time. If they’d ordinarily buy one bag of rice, buy two or three or four. If they’d ordinarily buy one case of canned corn or baked beans, buy two or three or four. Stick one of each in the pantry for current use, and the rest on the shelves in the basement. That avoids one mistake people often make, which is to buy emergency food that isn’t stuff they regularly eat. This way, they’re buying only stuff that they eat regularly, and they can cycle it through so that the new stuff they buy always goes into storage. Once they reach steady-state, they’ll have a year’s supply of food on the basement shelves, and they’ll be eating canned and dry food that averages a year old. Which will be indistinguishable–nutritionally or otherwise–from the same items immediately after purchase. And, of course, the other advantage is that if any of the food you purchase ends up being recalled for contamination or whatever, you won’t have eaten any of it yet.

Finally, he was worried because he hadn’t found much information about storing food for their dog. I told him not to worry about that, either. Dog food wasn’t even invented until something like 1935. Until then, dogs ate human food from their masters’ tables, and they got along just fine for 35,000 years. They were just as healthy and lived just as long on human food as they do on all this specially formulated dog food. In fact, I suspect that dogs still lament the invention of dog food, because every one I’ve ever known much preferred table scraps. And, having read about what goes into dog food, I can’t say I blame them.

I continue to be amazed by just how inexpensive decent scientific equipment can be nowadays. A couple weeks ago, I ordered a scale from Amazon with milligram (0.001 g) resolution and a 20 g capacity for twenty bucks and change. A little while ago, I ordered a pH meter from Amazon with 0.01 pH resolution and automatic temperature compensation for $105.

Barbara and I got a lot done over the weekend, including building another small batch of the CK01A chemistry kits. We’re in pretty good shape now on all of the kits except the CK01B chemistry kits, of which we have only five in stock. So today my first priority is to build some more of those. I have everything on hand to build another 13 of those, so that’s what I’ll do. Then it’ll be back to working on the next batch of 60 biology kits.

43 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 12 August 2013"

  1. CowboySlim says:

    Roger that on the dog food. I saw a 350 lb. customer at the vet buying a bag of that extremely expensive, scientifically compounded dog food. Didn’t make much sense to me. He should be sharing his food with his dog!

  2. OFD says:

    For all them canned goods stored in the basement, etc., I would also suggest making sure we have seasonings; rice, pasta, beans and spuds are pretty dull unless you kick them up a notch, so plenty of salt, pepper, Frank’s Hot Sauce, various herbs (which can be grown in a kitchen window or on a porch or whatever), sugar, honey, molasses, etc.

    Also, learn how to bake your own no-knead bread and have plenty of flour and cornmeal on hand. Kids love to do stuff like that, get them involved.

    Needless to say, I hope, a means of cooking would be nice; stuff straight out of the cans is doable but it’s nice if you can heat it up, too. Dump some Frank’s on there and Bob’s yer uncle!

  3. brad says:

    Just a minor comment about the canned goods: This does assume that the cans remain in good shape. However, if a can is somehow damaged, this quickly becomes obvious either as leakage or as swelling. Can’s can also rust – they need to be kept dry.

    I recall moving out of a house and discovering an entire stash of Campbell’s Soup that were many years old. One of the cans was obviously swollen. All of the others were fine – the ends were concave, no leakage.

    It may be necessary to repackage some dry goods; typical supermarket packaging is not necessarily proof against insects, and may also go brittle. Seems like every couple of years we find bugs in some package in our pantry – really annoying. Vac-packing is ideal, or else air-tight plastic containers.

  4. JLP says:

    There’s lots of info out there (some good, some bad) about stockpiling food, ammo, etc. What about stockpiling information? What do you guys recommend for the best how-to books for survival? What should a person know how to do to survive in a suburban environment if the grid goes down permanently? The few I come up with off the top of my head; making gunpowder, distilling spirits (as fuel), cleaning small animals, effective gardening, making basic pharmaceuticals. What else?

  5. Lynn McGuire says:

    Vac storage is absolutely necessary for food. A couple of years after my mother in law passed away, my wife was going to bake a cake at her father’s house for his birthday. She opened the flour bin and found a massive infestation of weevils. Nasty, nasty, nasty!

    So, how many guns do we need per person and what types?

    How much ammo do we need per person? I think that ammo will be useful as a trading tool if the economy crashes. I am thinking 10,000 rounds per gun.

  6. OFD says:

    One site I’ve found lots of useful info and intel:

    How many guns per person? How many persons know how to operate a firearm in your household? Your neighborhood? Your town? What sort of firearms? Should they be the same as what our cops and soldiers carry? What do you intend to use them for, hunting? Self-defense? Tactical infantry operations? Police/security patrols?

    We live in a lakeside village that is somewhat active during the summer months, but not overly so, and is dead quiet the rest of the year, three miles west of a town/city of 8k, itself just off an interstate and rail line. The lake itself was once a vital transportation line between Montreal and NYC and all points in between. In back of us is a town/state park and a wildlife refuge; between us and the “city” are dozens of square miles of flat farmland, the most fertile in New England. We live in a compact 200-year-old brick house among people who look, act and talk like us. I am an experienced and trained combat veteran of the military services, albeit forty years ago, and also a trained and experienced street cop and veteran of gritty night-time ‘hoods, albeit thirty years ago.

    I don’t see us forming up an infantry platoon or company in these parts anytime soon as some sort of militia unit and the time for that is a ways off anyway. If the economy tanks bad, our main threat is likely to be drive-by, drive-through goblins off the interstate or local meth-lab and crackhead yokels looking for smash-and-grab opportunities. A hungry neighbor may try to snatch our blueberries.

    We have a dog who at least barks when unfamiliar people are near the house; we have a combination of defensive devices that I know how to use but wife is still learning, and I would like to shore up our doors and windows as we go along here. Cheap timers on lights, radio and tee-vee. But best thing is neighbors who watch and notice any unusual bullshit going on around each others’ properties. And county sheriffs HQ is about a mile-and-a-half up the road with a state police barracks in the “city.”

    I’d say off the top of my head that a family unit with our situation can do OK with short carbine-level semi-auto rifles, at least .223, properly fitted with slings and maybe supplementary optical gear. I prefer .308, though. Outside of regular shooting practice I figure 1,000 rounds per weapon is good to have on hand. More for potential trading, reloading, etc. For now. 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotguns; I prefer pump-action for their simplicity and reliability; as always, YMMV. Again, slings and maybe optical devices and sidesaddle shot carriers. Several hundred rounds per shotgun. Handguns? Your mileage may mos def vary: I prefer revolvers, again for simplicity and reliability and it’s what I’m used to carrying and using. At least .38+P; the situation is that you’re using your handgun and shotgun defensively to get back to your rifle, which is preferable. A lot depends on your terrain, too; we’re among houses in an old, well-wooded neighborhood; I can’t have .308 rounds bouncing around out here. If you’re on a flat plain with lots of empty space around you, that’s different.

    All bets are off, however, if the regional and/or national situation turns really ugly, on the scale of Mad Max: Road Warrior or whatever; then we’re gonna want some kind of organized and useful defense force with heavier-duty weapons configs.

  7. Ray Thompson says:

    All bets are off, however, if the regional and/or national situation turns really ugly, on the scale of Mad Max

    In that case I would just as soon kiss my ass goodbye. I would not want to deal with that shit at my age.

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’d just look on the bright side; there are a lot of people I’ve always wanted to shoot.

  9. OFD says:

    I hear Ray on the age thing but I vote with Bob; plenty of SOB’s I wouldn’t mind shooting. Some traveling involved, though; no one around here.

  10. Lynn McGuire says:

    I can’t have .308 rounds bouncing around out here.

    No joke! We had a couple of idiots practicing with .30-06s about a mile away from an school. The target was lined up with the school playground. They ended up shooting two of the kids playing basketball.

    All bets are off, however, if the regional and/or national situation turns really ugly, on the scale of Mad Max: Road Warrior or whatever; then we’re gonna want some kind of organized and useful defense force with heavier-duty weapons configs.

    You are going to want a wall around your town!

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’d say off the top of my head that a family unit with our situation can do OK with short carbine-level semi-auto rifles, at least .223, properly fitted with slings and maybe supplementary optical gear. I prefer .308, though. Outside of regular shooting practice I figure 1,000 rounds per weapon is good to have on hand.

    For you or many of the regular participants here, yeah. But buying firearms and ammunition, stockpiling food, etc. is very costly. A lot of people get discouraged because they can’t afford what’s recommended, so they end up doing nothing at all. A lot of people are on very tight budgets.

    That’s what I was talking about last week in recommending a .22 rimfire with a couple bricks of .22 LR. That’s affordable for most people, and the .22 LR isn’t to be sneezed at as a defensive round. Same thing this morning. Lots of people can’t afford to spend thousands on freeze-dried, vacuum-packed food. So instead of discouraging them to the point they do nothing, I recommend stockpiling extra canned goods, dry goods, etc.

    So I might tell people to set their goal as a thousand rounds per rifle, but suggest they get started by buying the damned rifle and, say, 100 rounds to get started. The, the next time you have some spare funds, go buy a few cases of canned goods. Time after that, buy some other gear and another hundred rounds for your rifle, and so on.

  12. jim` says:

    I do what Bob says: have a stockpile of foods you eat regularly and just rotate it. I probably have enough for a few months, at least, and I don’t really plan for Armageddon. Legumes store well and are really high in protein, so hie thee off to an Indian grovery and get some lentils and chickpeas. While you’re at it, learn how to use a pressure cooker: uses far less fuel and the old-fashioned kind can be thrown on a campfire no problem. And don’t forget the detergent! Can you imagine life w/out modern detergents? A couple gallons of Dawn will keep you civilized for a good long time.

  13. Lynn McGuire says:

    That’s what I was talking about last week in recommending a .22 rimfire with a couple bricks of .22 LR. That’s affordable for most people, and the .22 LR isn’t to be sneezed at as a defensive round.

    A Ruger 10/22 is a fine, fine, fine semi-auto and has 25 shot / 50 shot banana magazines easily available for it.

  14. OFD says:

    “You are going to want a wall around your town!”

    No walls. Goblins can be easily picked off. If SWAT groups and infantry/armor fire teams hit us, we’re pretty much done for, although I reckon we’ll take some with us. Even more so with an air assault. A rag-tag army of mutant zombie cannibals can also be dealt with.

    Agreed with Bob on folks stocking up slowly and inexpensively; can’t recommend highly enough .22LR for learning firearms and handling most stuff around a property most of the time.

    “…learn how to use a pressure cooker…” R U NUTS??? People will start googling for the best buys, etc., and get visits from Fed SWAT teams now. Next you’ll be recommending b**kp**ks for bug-out gear.

    Agreed also on the Ruger 10-22; that baby can be fitted out six ways from Sunday for whatever purpose.

  15. DadCooks says:

    With ammo still being in short supply it is important to become a regular customer at several gun stores. Around my area if you have recently purchased a gun(s) from a gun store you will find that they hold back ammo for their regular customers. Don’t go in, buy a gun and expect to also walk out with 1000 rounds. They will sell you a couple of boxes with your gun purchase and then be receptive to you coming in every so often for a couple of more boxes.

    One of the gun stores in my area also has an indoor range. For the regular customers they always have whatever you need when you buy some range time.

    @OFD – thanks for that link, interesting/informative site.

  16. OFD says:

    “…it is important to become a regular customer at several gun stores.”

    Excellent advice; they remember their customers.

    In regard to the NC governor’s caper; the states will more and more start challenging the Fed leviathan but we shall see how good this works now in future such cases. My theory is that when push comes to shove, the Fed will again be held to supersede the states. Yes indeedy, we’re eventually heading to another civil war; not this year, not in five years, but somewhere down the road, possibly in our lifetimes. The country is radically and deeply split down the middle more and more each day.

  17. pcb_duffer says:

    [snip] What do you guys recommend for the best how-to books for survival? What should a person know how to do to survive in a suburban environment if the grid goes down permanently? [snip]

    I’d start with the old Foxfire series of books; Amazon has the whole collection. As I recall, it was a lot of information that my grandmothers, both born in the 19th century without running water, electricity, etc., knew by osmosis and teaching from their mothers. But little or none of that knowledge made its way into my skull.

  18. OFD says:

    I would not, however, care to be in a suburban, urban or even exurban environment if the Grid goes down and the store shelves go empty after the usual three-days-just-in-time inventory practice fails. And the large cities will be death-traps; people will be trying to get out and of course clog all the transportation arteries, etc. The store shelves WILL go empty after a few days if the Grid goes down, of course. So the armed forces will step in, Guard and Reserve at first, then active-duty, to move food and other supplies around but judging from the Fed efforts during recent large disasters, this has not worked out very well. Cops may be going around collecting all our weapons like they did in New Orleans, but that ain’t gonna cut any ice this time around in most of the country.

    I’m pretty sure that if all the power cuts out for a long time or permanently, we will see mass die-offs here in North America. How would a country of 330-million people, mostly concentrated on the coasts and in the large cities, be fed? What about the water supplies? Sure, easy to say today that the Grid will stay up no matter what; that the State has all its ducks lined up to prevent anything drastic happening to it. But we’ve seen simple mechanical failures bring it down before, several times, knocking out whole huge sections of the country. What about a major natural disaster? What if some terrorists figure out how to use EMP-type devices to shut stuff down? Or a variant of our own Stuxnet virus in the infrastructure?

    I’m not as confident in our systems; sure we have dedicated hard-working and altruistic utilities crews, engineers, scientists, technicians, etc. But how true will that be in three years? Ten years? What if it serves the State’s purposes to LEAVE power down in a major region for a while?

    Our main and pretty much only real threat up here is another major ice storm or blizzard that knocks out power and transportation for a week or longer. So our goal for now is to be ready for something like that, in the dead of winter. Then a month. Then six months and a year and ten years, if need be. Plus defend against goblins. Can’t hurt to be semper paratus, as the Coasties say.

  19. Lynn McGuire says:

    How would a country of 330-million people, mostly concentrated on the coasts and in the large cities, be fed?

    I have got someone else in another forum claiming that 79% of the USA population is now urban (he is claiming 2010 census). That is a staggering number if true and a total inversion in the last 100 years. Of course, with the number of people living off the government, that may be a true number. Urban to me means that somebody supplies your water and takes away your sewer. Rural means that you supply your own.

  20. OFD says:

    Then we is rural.

    Yeah, most of the population is in the cities and on the coasts. What happens when the you-know-what hits the fan? Where are they all gonna go? Who will provide food, water, sewage control, medical assistance, etc., etc. ? Clearly Our Nanny the Almighty State is not up to the task on even a much tinier scale.

  21. Rules of storage for preparation:

    1: Store what you use, use what you store.
    This means you buy extra of what you do use when it’s available cheap (on special if possible, or before the price goes up anyway).
    To an extent it also means that if you are going to store new stuff, you start incorporating it into your useage/diet first, THEN store bulk quantities. It’s no use storing the bulk quantities, then when the time comes finding that for whatever reason (allergy, gastric upset, just plain distasteful) it won’t be used.
    It also follows on the special herbs and spices suggestion. Food fatigue is a real problem. Same old same old day after day after week after month and people just lose their appetites and stop eating enough, even though there’s plenty of bulk available. You don’t just need bulk, you need VARIETY.

    2. Store in a cool dry dark place. This is one of the golden rules, subsidiary only to having stuff to store, and the stuff you’re storing being what you’ll use. Stuff almost certainly will last long if it isn’t exposed to heat, wet and light. This applies to almost everything, from food to ammo to metal tools and fasteners to… well, most everything.

    3. Prepare and store according to needs.
    You can live about three minutes without air.
    You can live about 3 hours without protection against extremes of temperature (freezing, or 50°C heat temperatures – less if there’s extreme heat conduction, like in freezing water). This means shelter against cold or hot winds, and source of heat (fire?) or shade and evaporative moisture.
    You can live about three days without water (less if shelter is inadequate).
    You can live about thirty days without food.
    * * * * * * * *
    So you provide for things in that sort of order, to whatever extent seems feasible.

    4. Preparation need not be for a major disaster, although all preparation will help towards any problem. When the SHTF, as they say, it might not be TEOTWAWKI (look them up if you don’t know them yet). The manure impacting the rotatory cooler might be a purely personal event, rather than more widespread. Or it might be local, or statewide, or regional, or national, or international. Or never.
    You might suffer a financial stress (say major car breakdown at the same time as utility bills and taxes and rent or mortgage come due). You might break a leg so you can’t earn sufficient income for months – or both. Or it could be a major power outage, or an icestorm, or a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a major EMP due to a solar coronal discharge (look it up) – happened not much over a century ago, but the same now would be much worse. Or it could be a pandemic, either natural or lab-grown. Or terrorist attack, or economic attack (say OPEC embargo), or major war, or who knows. My personal opinion is that the lesser problems are more likely, but preparation will always help get you through any of them. Even enough food for a couple of weeks (tuna, rice, onions, herbs and spices) could be enough to turn a personal disaster into just an inconvenience. And if nothing else ever happens, storing what you use when it’s cheap, then using it later, saves money – a return on investment far better than anything on the stock or commodity markets recently. An investment in tangible assets like rice, pasta, canned ham, tuna and mackerel, beans and corn and mushrooms and herbs and spices returns far more that some interest-bearing deposit.

    5. Cash is a preparation. One thing you should do is store some ready cash. Not a lot – it’s depreciating all the time – but when the EFT networks, the debit and credit cards and banks stop working, being able to pay cash can be priceless.

    6. Firearms. Have to be your decision, but they are a very useful tool. The .22 rimfire is enormously versatile. A brick, or even a packet, of .22LR, and even a single-shot rifle, is enough to start on, if you can’t do better. A self-loader like the Ruger 10-22 can throw enough lead to be a reasonable self-defence option until you can do better, and almost everyone can learn to shoot them. Unfortunately, the self-loader may be the worst firearm to learn on – people tend to blaze away until they get a result, reinforcing bad habits in the meantime, when the best practice is to aim carefully, fire ditto, then consider the result and amend action if necessary. In any case, the Ruger may not be the best option. It can take more to bring it to a respectable condition, with magazines and trigger jobs and sights and third-party stocks and decent barrels and what-all, than it costs to buy in the first place. There are other brands which will do better out of the box. There are also more accurate options – say CZ bolt-action – but they may not be able to throw as much lead as you may need in a desperation situation.
    I’d say an air-rifle should be carefully considered, simply because it’s cheap practice, and quiet. You can practice indoors with a pellet trap virtually any time, without travel, without weather, with scarcely any cost. Pick up a break-action Gamo, .177 calibre, with air-rifle scope (IMPORTANT – the racketing to-and-fro of an air-rifle spring will shake a conventional elephant-gun scope apart in just a few shots) from Walmart for nearly nothing. They would be a useful food-getter in urban areas too – quiet. Pigeons, head shots on park ducks, geese and guinea-fowl, squirrels and cats.
    Then you can get shotguns, handguns, and larger-calibre centre-fire rifles. I won’t talk about those – plenty has been said elsewhere, and some of it by me. I will say that the centre-fire long-gun options break into carbines with a reasonable range of 200 metres or so, like the AR in .223, the AK in 7.62x39mm, or a lever action 30-30. Beyond that are longer-distance rifles with a killing range up to at least 400 metres, starting with the 6mm/.243, the 6.5mm, 7mm, 7.62 rifles (not the AK one) and 7.92/8mm, and then on up.

  22. Miles_Teg says:

    Yesterday was cold and wet, not good for getting stuff done, so I prayed to St Al Gore again for some Global Warming ™. He told me in a vision that I had to sacrifice half a dozen kittens to get a nice day today. I did that and voila, today was pleasantly warm up till about 3 pm, no rain. Almost warm enough to go out and work on my suntan. Hope he doesn’t want more kitten sacrifices: the neighborhood cats are getting a bit wary of me.

  23. Miles_Teg says:

    On the food storage angle, I’ve been raiding a long neglected (about five years) cupboard for food and drinks. The cans of soup are just fine, taste great, looked okay, etc. The (diet) soft drink was all undrinkable and I decided not to take a chance on the beer: five years past its suggested best before date. It was almost a crime to pour out five cans of the nectar of heaven: Victoria Bitter.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    Lynn wrote:

    “So, how many guns do we need per person and what types?”

    Too many guns might make me a target so I’d settle for a couple of pistols (slabsides and XDM .40), a rifle and a couple of shotguns. 10k rounds for each to use, more to trade, assuming I could get them. The wife (if I had one) would have to have her own, of course.

  25. Ray Thompson says:

    The (diet) soft drink was all undrinkable

    That has nothing to do with storage.

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    USA census definition of urban and rural:

    For the definition see

    Neat, suburban is urban. That is how they get the numbers up. And not untrue.

  27. Lynn McGuire says:

    10k rounds for each to use, more to trade, assuming I could get them

    That is what I am thinking, 10K rounds of ammo per gun might be good number. Ammo might be useful as a trading mechanism in a future tense. Guns might be worth more than gold.

    A friend of mine’s 80+ year old dad passed away recently. They found a large buried area in his study in his house with a over a million dollars worth of gold one ounce bars and ammo. Lots of ammo. More ammo boxes than gold bars.

  28. Lynn McGuire says:

    Too many guns might make me a target so I’d settle for a couple of pistols (slabsides and XDM .40), a rifle and a couple of shotguns

    Sounds like you need a safe room. Saw one a couple of years ago in a new barndominium home in Rosharon. The shop and home were built in a 5,000 metal barn. The safe room was 15 ft by 15 ft and was concreted into the foundation with the A/C equipment on top. The door had steel bars in it with a electronic lock. Had about 60 rifles and shotguns in it on racks that I could see. Probably more in the cabinets. Had a bathroom in the corner.

  29. OFD says:

    I’d be curious as to what exactly the threat is that those folks are thinking of to have that sort of safe room installed. I tend to think that family, friends and neighbors will be more important if and when the time comes for that level of threat.

    As for ammo; folks should probably first stock up on what they need for the firearms they already own, and then maybe the more common varieties, like .223, .22LR, 30-06, 30-30, .38, 357 and 45ACP, for potential trade purposes. Also shotgun shells, of course, and then maybe whatever odd calibers they come across; in my case .41 Mag.

  30. Lynn McGuire says:

    I’d be curious as to what exactly the threat is that those folks are thinking of to have that sort of safe room installed. I tend to think that family, friends and neighbors will be more important if and when the time comes for that level of threat.

    Gator attack in this neck of the woods! Tornado. Hurricane. Zombies. I recommend everyone have a safe room if building a new house. It can be as small as a 4×6 closet although I prefer 15×15. Or 15×20.

  31. Dave B. says:

    I’d be curious as to what exactly the threat is that those folks are thinking of to have that sort of safe room installed. I tend to think that family, friends and neighbors will be more important if and when the time comes for that level of threat.

    I think it would be a handy thing to have a safe room to hang out in if you’re a victim of a home invasion. At least you’d have a place to hide until the cops get there. It would be even better to have one if the home invaders were the cops serving a warrant at your place when they should be at the meth lab next door. The only question then would be who do you wait for to save you from the cops?

  32. OFD says:

    “The only question then would be who do you wait for to save you from the cops?”

    That could be an interesting question; generally the morons arrive on-site at the wrong address and just keep going through with it no matter the evidence staring them in the face that they fucked up. While next door the real perps flush their shit and bail out safely.

    Whether or not one has a safe room, as this question has also occurred to me; what about keeping a list of phone numbers handy, of the local state police, FBI, and news media? Put them on speed dial on everyone’s cell and also rig all the cells for instant-on video capability and real-time streaming to a computer somewhere, preferably off-site. I only throw this out in the event that someone may live in an area where this thing could happen; I don’t see it as probable around here in the village….I better check on the other street in town with the same name, though….

  33. JLP says:

    I wouldn’t define where I live as urban. I would call my town “suburban light.” The big cities (Boston and Providence) are ~35 miles away north and south. We have plenty of forested areas and farms and such.

    I don’t believe in a catastrophic collapse, rather a steady decline in standard of living. Some things we take for granted will become occasionally unavailable and eventually stop coming at all. More and more reliance on local production as international (and interstate) commerce breaks down. Eventually a line will be crossed and I will all of a sudden find myself relying on my own garden and gun to feed me more often than the grocery store.

    I’m not trying to paint a pollyanna picture. The steady decline will be because of wars and riots and police actions etc. Many many will die but it will be spread out over decades. I may be unlucky and be one of the ones who don’t make it through these coming decades. But luck favors the prepared.

  34. OFD says:

    I’d forget about using the gun to hunt for food in the ‘burbs; tens of thousands of others will have the same idea and in no time the local wildlife will be gone. Local production, yes, but more on the lines of a return to small-scale agriculture, including livestock. Hunting will be for folks who really do live out in the genuinely rural and wilderness areas of the country, and even there the pressure may grow to be too much.

    I’d also favor the probability of gradual decline and shortages and occasional outbreaks of violence on the one hand; on the other any large-scale disaster or catastrophe can accelerate things very unpleasantly, as we saw in localized areas like New Orleans and in St. Louis a while back when they had a rare ice storm. Store shelves empty, looters out and about, and the cops virtually useless or aiding and abetting looters while confiscating firearms from citizens. The ones that didn’t actually abandon their posts and disappear. Now picture this in multiple urban areas simultaneously. The State will have little choice but to once again activate the military forces to maintain order and then we have another can of worms to deal with. Picture Europe between the world wars or just after The Good War.

  35. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I still expect a gradual slide into dystopia rather than any sudden collapse. But if you’re right, I expect the instinctively tribal nature of human societal organization will come to the fore, even in urban areas, but particularly in the exurbs and rural areas. You and your buddies and your buddies’ buddies and their buddies’ buddies will organize to keep order, block roads and bridges, protect farms, secure the local supermarkets and Costco and Wal*Mart against looting, make sure food is shared, set up group shelters, take care of the old folks and kids, ration fuel, shoot politicians, etc., etc. You’d establish ad hoc martial law.

  36. JLP says:

    Of that I have no doubt. My neighbors are locals with deep roots to the area just like me. We speak the same language (literally and figuratively) and would look out for each other. When I went to apply for my license to carry at the local PD the conversation was all about who we knew in common, who had married whose sister/brother/cousin, etc. It’s an interlaced community.

    If official law and order broke down unofficial law and order would take over and trouble makers would be dealt with appropriately. Probably along the lines of “shape up or ship out or get shot.”

  37. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    In the immortal words of Lysander Spooner, “That the government does not provide shoes does not mean that men go barefoot.”

    Of course, the government has been providing shoes for a long, long time now.

  38. OFD says:

    Well, Costco and Walmart will be gone, but I hope the rest of youse guys’ predictions hold up when and if the time comes; I suspect that they will, in the various ‘tribal’ areas, i.e., homogenous. What you’re describing is like unto the stories in James Howard Kunstler’s “World Made By Hand” and “The Witch of Hebron,” both set in ‘north-country’ Vampire State.

  39. SteveF says:

    The NY hill folk have their issues (I’m from there, mind, and most of my kin live there), but I’d rather live in a society governed by their values than in one governed by, say, graduates of Harvard and George Mason.

  40. OFD says:

    Ditto. But I understood Mason to be a relatively conservative school…?

  41. SteveF says:

    Brain cramp. I meant Georgetown.

    (Annoyingly, I first wrote Georgetown, then corrected that to George Mason. I’d complain about getting older, but I don’t think that’s it. I think I’m just getting stupider.) (Not that they’re exclusive.)

  42. OFD says:

    Nope, not exclusive, as I can heartily attest; older and wiser in a couple of regards, now useless, of course, but in the main, stupider. With accompanying memory loss of stuff from ten seconds ago, but paradoxically, crystal-clear, photographic quality for worthless shit of half a century or more ago.

    Georgetown went violently downhill fast, as Patrick J. Buchanan has lamented more than once. Mason has a rep as a decent conservative place, as does, for some reason, U. Virginia. There are maybe forty or fifty colleges in the U.S. worth going to, for whatever reasons, and that number is dwindling. My own BA in English Literature was done via distance-learning/external degree at the University of the State of New York’s Regents External Degree Program, May, 1989, at age 35. Then, having gotten older and stupider, I went on to an MA program in Woostuh, MA followed by a PhD caper at Rutgers in Nova Caesarea. I didn’t finish either of the latter two programs, due to family circumstances and an occasional nanosecond of lucidity.

    Most of the colleges and universities in the country will have gone belly-up in the next two or three decades, anyway, like newspapers, airlines, broadcast/cable tee-vee and commercial radio.

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