Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dangerous Every-Day Situations

Violent situations can present themselves virtually anywhere in our lives.

They can happen at your home.  At work.  While you're in the mall.  Or while you're walking down the street after a dinner in a restaurant.

Certain situations present easier targets to assailants.  Criminals look for "targets of opportunity" - they want you in situations where they have an advantage.  Situations where the likelihood of their success is increased.

What are some of these situations?

They are generally characterized by you being alone.  Here are three examples to consider:

Parking lots.  You've just spent the day at the local mega-mall, and are calling it quits.  You are walking to your car with your arms full of bags and boxes.  You've parked way down at the end of the parking lot because it was nearly full when you arrived.

Criminals will often hide, crouched down between the cars, waiting for someone like you to return to their car.  What can you do?

When you reach your aisle, approach your car from one aisle away - looking between the cars as you proceed.  Walk past your car so that you can circle around the from the far side and approach the car from the rear (while still scanning between the cars you pass).

Before opening the car, peer through the windows to make sure no one is hidden in your vehicle.  As soon as you are in the car, lock the doors - even before you put the keys in the ignition.

Remember:  you are very vulnerable once you're seated, as you can no longer run from an attacker, and any screams or yells will be muffled by your car's interior.

Parks and trails.  You may like taking quiet walks in the neighborhood park, or walking your dog each morning or evening.  The shrubbery and trees in the parks and trails can present excellent hiding places for criminals.

Keep your head up, casually scanning the path in front of you.  Don't wear headphones while listening to music - they will effectively "blind" you to assailants approaching you from the rear.

Make sure there is plenty of natural sunlight - don't start too early in the morning or finish too late in the evening - so that you have the ability to adequately see into any bushes or trees in front of you. Don't plan your walks according to the clock - take them according to the availability of sunlight.

Abandoned homes/offices.  With our current economic conditions, more and more homes and commercial properties have been abandoned.  Real estate agents, home inspectors, repairmen, leasing agents and utility workers need to be aware that many of these properties have become occupied by squatters.

When first approaching such a building, walk the perimeter of the property looking for signs of a break-in.  Broken windows, missing door locks or handles, or tape covering locksets.

After opening a door, look inside for signs of someone living there.  Clothes, food, garbage, water, blankets.  Before entering, stop for a moment and listen for sounds of movement.  Call out and make it plain that you are entering the building ("Hello!  Is anyone here?").

If you hear or see any signs of the building being occupied when it should be empty, immediately return to your vehicle, lock the doors and call the police.

Do not attempt to remove or deal with anyone in the home by yourself.

With all of these and similar situations, always let someone know where you are and when they should expect you to return.  Always carry a cell phone and defensive tool with you at all times.  Take a friend whenever possible.

Recognizing these situations - along with knowing how to respond to protect yourself - are the keys to maintaining your safety.  There is no need to become a recluse, hiding in your home all day.  But knowing how a criminal thinks and what they look for in a victim may save your life.

Don't become a target of opportunity!

Safety Tip:  Have your self-defense tool with you at all times - in your hand if at all possible.  Consider taking a key ring pepper spray and attaching a short lanyard which you slip over your wrist.  It is unobtrusive, yet gives you immediate access to the spray should the situation demand its use.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Friday, April 11, 2014

Defensive Tactics

In almost any endeavor in life, whether we think about it or not, we use strategies and tactics.  Once we have a goal, we use strategies to develop a plan.  We then employ tactics to carry out the plan and achieve those goals.  Strategies and tactics go hand-in-hand.

Our Personal Safety goal might be, "Come out of any physical assault alive and unharmed".  Our strategy might be to take a Safety Awareness class, start a martial arts program, learn how to safely operate a handgun, Taser or Pepper Spray.  We then take that knowledge and use it if we find ourselves in a threatening situation.

Here are some strategies/tactics that should be part of every Personal Safety plan:

Avoidance - The Number One tactic to employ is avoidance.  We've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating:  The best way to survive an emergency is to not be there!

Be aware of your surroundings.  Trust your "gut" if something doesn't seem quite right.  Don't go into places that don't offer you multiple avenues of escape.  Use your head and think!  Your brain is your most effective weapon.

Use of Concealment/Cover -   Concealment provides a way of masking your presence.  Hiding behind a drape would conceal your location.  But, it does not offer you any physical protection.

Cover masks your presence AND provides you with a physical barrier between you and your assailant.  You need to consider the effectiveness of cover based upon the weapon of your attacker.

An automobile provides effective cover against an assailant with a baseball bat or a knife.  It is less useful against an attacker with a firearm.  If you are using an automobile for cover, try to crouch next to the engine compartment.

The metal of the body and the mass of the engine will give you your best protection.  See what a medium caliber (9mm) handgun round is able to do to a truck door.  Consider what a high-powered rifle round would do.

Moving - Whether you are spraying a pepper spray or firing a handgun, don't give your attacker a stationary target to which they can respond.  If at all possible, move during or immediately after you have responded to an attack.

Something to consider:  If you are facing someone with a handgun in their right hand, MOST will miss their shot to their left (your right).  If you move to your right, you may be helping their accuracy!  If it is safe, try to move to your left.

ALWAYS try to move towards cover.

Fighting "dirty" - Don't "play by the rules".  Your attacker surely won't.  Find their soft spots.  Eyes, throat, nose, groin, shins, feet.  You must fight to win.  Don't stop until the threat has stopped.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yoga: All Bent Out Of Shape

Almost every morning, I go through an exercise routine.  I focus on short, intense (20-30 minute) workouts, typically following a Convict Conditioning-style regiment:  Very little workout equipment, as would be the case if you happened to be in jail.  Lots of body-weight stuff (push-ups, lunges, squats, planks).

I start and end each workout by doing yoga.  After years of athletics when I was younger, my joints - and in particular, my back - need to be warmed up before I get going.

I actually got into yoga while playing football in high school.  In 10th grade, we had this coach who was big into stretching and yoga.  During pre-game warm-ups, the other team would be doing jumping jacks in cadence, and growling and being all tough.  We'd be in a big circle, focusing out thoughts, doing yoga!

They laughed and snickered.  And then got their asses kicked.  We went 9-1 that season.

Anyways, when playing football in college, the competition was bigger and meaner, and the chance for injury was much higher.  Being physically flexible, agile AND powerful (I was a D-lineman) was beneficial.  Yoga helped a lot.

I just started a new move called the Boat Pose.  I found an article about it, and decided to share.

Of course, be sure you're physically sound enough to do this, or any, workout.  If you hurt yourself, don't come whining to me.  Check with your doctor FIRST if you have any doubt.

No, smart ass, this isn't me!

Neat Yoga Moves: Remove Lethargy With This Neat Yoga Move

Neat Yoga Moves: Remove Lethargy With This Neat Yoga Move

By Heather Greaves

Imagine a yoga pose that can remove lethargy, stimulate the muscular, digestive, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems, and tone all the organs. This same pose can be used to help reduce nervous tension. When practiced at the end of a session and before the final resting pose, Shavasana, it can facilitate a deeper state of release. It can also energize body and mind when done before getting out of bed in the morning.
As usual there are a few names for one yoga pose. This one is called Boat Pose, Stretch Pose, Navasana, Naukasana. We are often encouraged to close our eyes when practicing in order to turn the mind inward. In this pose however the eyes are kept open throughout.
Begin lying on your back palms down, feet together. Be aware of the body breathing itself and when the breath becomes steady, inhale slowly and deeply, hold the breath and then flatten the back of the waist into the ground. Flattening the lower back before lifting the body avoids compression in the lumbar vertebrae. We'll get back to the breath later.
The second part of this neat yoga move is lifting the upper and then lower body off the floor no more than 6 inches (15 cm); in essence balancing on the buttocks. The arms are also lifted at the same level as the toes. Palms can be facing each other at the sides of the body, or over the thighs. Unless you need to place them under the buttocks to support the lower back. Let the heart lift the head. To keep the vertebrae in the neck safe bring the chin in towards the throat, not down or away from the throat. Your ears will move closer to your shoulders. Try lifting the chest and drawing your chin in as you sit to get a feel for the move. Leave a comfortable space in the throat. Finally lift both legs or one at a time.
As you balance on the buttocks, hold the breath counting mentally to 5, or longer if you can. If you like, tighten the whole body. You could include fists. Then exhale and return to the floor lowering your head carefully. Definitely you do not want a pounding head pain from crashing to the floor! Feel the whole body as you rest between repetitions. If the abdominal muscles are tense, extend them when you inhale. Then repeat the exercise 4 to 5 times.
If you are feeling tired, perhaps you can devote 1-3 minutes a day to this powerful pose and see whether it will remove lethargy.
Heather Greaves is an avid yoga student and the owner of Body Therapies Yoga Training. She organizes yoga and meditation retreats and workshops in Ontario and Barbados, and has been helping yoga enthusiasts learn to teach therapeutic yoga in a certified program. For more yoga tips or to sign up for our monthly newsletter visit http://www.yogatogo.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Heather_Greaves


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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Monday, April 7, 2014

GASP! Precious Metals Manipulated?

Most of us who buy precious metals have long believed that the "spot market" prices are being manipulated by various entities.  We're called paranoid, and anti-government, and all other sorts of names.

For me at least, it is like water on a duck's back.  The comments of the naysayers just rolls off my back.  I make all of my various investment decisions based upon logic and data.

For instance, when the government and Wall Street types say that increasing the amount of money in the economy (via Quantitative Easing) will have no effect on inflation, I know that to be untrue.  When you create more of something, those "things" currently in the market become less valuable.  This is true whether you're talking about bushels of wheat or dollars.

Yet, somehow, we've created nearly 4 trillion new dollars, and inflation stays flat.  How could that be?

Basic economics also tells us that when something is in high demand and low supply, prices increase.  It's basic market forces at play.  Yet, we see massive purchases of gold and silver - year after year after year - and prices for both metals drop.  Again, how could that be?

Not surprisingly, these are both tied together.  A weak dollar and strong precious metals put the US government at direct risk.  If the dollar were to ever lose so much of its value when compared to other world currencies, it would risk losing its one and only valuable role:  That of being the instrument of world trade.

The dollar - long since removed from the tangible backing of precious metals - is only valued because it is the currency used when countries buy goods from each other.  When Country X buys oil from Country Y, it's traded in dollars.  Or Country A buys wheat from Country B.  Foreign exchange (FX) as the global reserve currency is the only value possessed by the dollar.

If confidence in the dollar erodes and moves to another medium - say gold or silver - the dollar is no longer needed.  If dollars are worthless, our government would be unable to exert financial and political power throughout the world - we'd just be another France or Brazil or Japan.

So how can a government exert pressure on a commodity with worldwide demand?  Former US Treasury Assistant Secretary Paul Craig Roberts tells us what's going on -
In brief, Roberts, and his associate Dave Kranzler, assert that The Fed has had to resort to this practice in order to protect the value of the US dollar from its effective reduction in value through its Quantitative Easing policy. In order for the Fed to effectively support the reserve status of the U.S. dollar by pushing it higher when it starts to drop, it has also to prevent the price of gold from rising as this is seen globally as something of a bellwether for the dollar. If the gold price rises the dollar is seen as getting weaker and vice versa.
So what's the big deal?  Former Fed Head Bernanke told us gold isn't even money.  Well, the world disagrees -
Roberts and Kranzler avow that intervention in the gold market has been occurring for a long time, but that in the past several years this intervention has become more and more blatant and desperate through the fear that rising concerns about the dollar are causing countries like China and Russia, and others, to accumulate fewer dollars and more gold. The natural progression of this would see the dollar eventually lose its place as the global reserve currency and thus forfeit the huge trade advantages which come with this position.
What is so disgusting about all of this is that the Fed has had to enlist their Big Boy Banker Buddies on Wall Street to affect these engineered crashes on the precious metals markets.  Timing is everything...
So how did the Fed achieve this?  Roberts and Kranzler say that the Fed accomplishes it through its banking allies – said to be JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and others – implementing a series of gold price flash crashes by short selling huge amounts of gold futures into the COMEX market usually at times when trading is thin. These gold futures short sales trigger not only a sharp gold price decline directly, but also leads to stop-loss orders and margin calls coming in which hammer the price down further. The authors  illustrate the timings of these flash crashes in graphical format showing just how this was achieved during the month of March, and which brought the gold price down by around $80 an ounce.
Uhm, any questions now as to why the Fed bailed out the Too Big To Fail banks?  The Fed needs them to be their bag men.

Read the whole linked article, as well as the original article that goes into much more detail.

Then go buy precious metals.

Well, go buy precious metals if you:

  • Have an emergency cash reserve
  • No significant planned purchases (i.e., real estate)
  • A steady job
  • Other, liquid retirement resources

I tell the customers in my PM store that they should look at precious metals as the very bottom of their retirement resource bucket.  It is the stuff you want to touch last.

Why?  It IS volatile.  Manipulation does that sort of thing.  But, market fundamentals ALWAYS prevail.  The Ponzi Scheme our government is operating will eventually fail.  Maybe next year, maybe next decade.  They have a vested interest in keeping the lie alive, and they're a very creative bunch.

I personally started acquiring metals in 2005, because I believed it would all crash within 5 years.  Well, enter the "creative" Quantitative Easing series, and they've kept the corpse from stinking too badly.

There will be more moves along these lines, but it will eventually tip over.  All logic and math and history tell us this.

Precious metals also won't be paying you interest or a dividend.  BUT it will be preserving your capital.  And when this big ol' financial mess goes, "BOOM!", you'll be sitting pretty.

Buy what you can afford, and buy it over the counter for cash - it's no one's business what assets you own.  Buy a little bit each month, bury it in the backyard or put it in a fire safe for safekeeping,   Just keep it out of the banks.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Tale of Three Barters

I recently participated in 3 different barters, and I thought I'd share some insights into each of these, because each has lessons to be learned.  Each has subtle nuances that should be noted.

A quickee excerpt from my upcoming (July-ish) book on alternative economies -
BARTER and trade have been around as long as there have been communities. You would produce a good or service and exchange that for another good or service. You might supply some labor on a farm for a portion of the crop. You might own a pub and give someone a meal and bedding for cleaning up the place at night. You've got a fish, someone else has a chicken, and you swap. 
This is barter at its essence: Two people each have something the other wants, they negotiate terms and make the trade.
Barter depends on a concept called the, "coincidence of wants". Two people must each want what the other one has, and at the same time. This quandary is what resulted in the creation of money. 
In this book, the words "buy" or "sell" mean to make an exchange utilizing any available asset.  The asset could be skills, tangible goods or food, gold and silver, or cash - or a combination of any or all of them.  You need to break the mind-set that when buying or selling, you must use cash.  You don't!
I fight like a crazed banshee to NOT spend cash during a barter session.  It's not always possible, but it should be a goal.  Timing is a key component in being able to conserve cash.  The more time you have to consummate a deal - by coming up with alternatives - the less cash will need to be spent.

First deal - A good friend of mine just butchered a couple of hogs.  Big, fat bastards!  While they were being slaughtered, he texted me, asking if I wanted some of the fat to render down.  I declined his offer.

One of the Fat Bastards
Well, he went and did it anyway.  He texted me a couple days later saying he had 20 pounds of this prime fat wrapped and frozen, and he would drop it off at my store.

I texted him back saying he'd now be the happy recipient of an adult beverage I created.

You may be thinking, "Dumb ass!  He was giving you the fat for free - why'd you give him anything?"  A couple of reasons.

After I first declined his offer, I kick myself in the butt.  I've been trying to put together a wild pig hunt for the past few months.  Wild hogs have very little fat when compared to raised hogs.  I was going to need some fat to add to the sausage I intend on making from some of the wild pig (he didn't know this, though - he was just being a good guy).

The second reason is maintaining relationships.  That's THE MOST important reason.  He put a lot of time, effort and money into raising those hogs, and I wanted to recognize that effort with something that I created (and which he happens to like - a lot!).

If you get into the habit of always being on the taking end of a relationship, that relationship dies.  Pretty soon, you've got no friends, and no one to trade with - except for strangers.

Second deal - I had been out looking for some pistol cartridges I was running low on, and was shocked how much the price had increased since my last purchase.  Holy crap!  Seriously, these bad boys were more expensive than some of my rifle cartridges!

I've got another good friend who re-loads his own cartridges.  He had previously taught me how to load some rifle cartridges (to be used on the aforementioned wild hog hunt), so I figured I'd hit him up to see if we could cut some kind of deal for the pistol cartridges.

He said he had the correct dies, but did not have some part needed to further automate the process.  Opportunity!  I told him I'd pay for all of the cartridge components (obviously), plus the automation part for his press, plus some of that magic elixir I used for the pork fat deal, plus some of the extra brass and primers (he has a family member who also uses this caliber).

I'll get to hone my re-loading skills (under his supervision!), and produce the ammo I need.  He'll get a new part for his presses, brass and primers to make more of the rounds, and some adult beverage to keep him warm on those chilly nights.

Oh, and he'll get the pleasure of my company while I crank out the rounds (he's a regular visitor here so I'm poking him in the ribs!).

We both score a win on the deal.  That's important, once again, in keeping friendships, relationships and trading partners healthy.

Third deal - I hit the "garage sale circuit" in my local vicinity at least 3 weekends every month.  I've got a number of flags I've set up online using Feedly.com and other tools to help filter the sales for the ones most likely to have what I'm looking for.  I always flag for 'jewelry', but it may be tools, or Mason jars or whatever I want but don't need right this second.

Anyways I go to this one sale with jewelry, and used one of the most important techniques I discuss in the book -
I cannot stress strongly enough importance of finding out the other side's motivation - either why they want what you have, or why they no longer need what they now have. This is the key to a successful trade/negotiation.
It's the old saw - "You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth.  Use them in that proportion."  Look and listen.  And learn.  If you're running your mouth, you're going to miss clues that may help you put together a deal.

So I go to this garage sale, and just start chatting up the seller - a guy in his early 50's.  In passing, I ask, "So, what are you going to buy with all the millions you're making at your sale?"  He chuckles, and says he is going to buy some silver.  Morgan silver dollars to be precise.

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner!

Part of my preps for going on these little treasure hunts is arriving with plenty of cash and precious metals.  I have a couple hundred dollars in 1's, 5's, 10's and 20's spread out over several pockets (so I don't plead poverty during a deal, then pull out a wad of cash that would choke a horse).  I then have a portable gun safe secured in the car with a few thousand dollars in cash just in case a significant deal presents itself.

I also bring a full tube each of American Silver Eagles, Silver Canadian Maple Leafs, regular silver rounds, $20 face amount in junk silver... and a tube of Morgan Silver Dollars.

So, I stored this Morgan Motivation information away while I look through his stuff and kept chatting him up.  Sure enough, he had 3 pieces of gold jewelry he was selling.  I did a couple of "poor man's field tests" (I'm not ready to disclose that technique just yet) on the jewelry, and felt pretty confident it was real, how much it weighed and its value at the current spot price of gold.

I asked him how much he wanted, and having watched every episode of Pawn Stars, he tossed it back at me with a, "How much will you give me?  No one else has met my price yet."

I asked him if he'd be interested in trading his jewelry for some Morgans.  He then gave me another important piece of information.  "Hell yes!  This crap is from an old boyfriend of my wife."

I now know he wants what I have, and couldn't give a damn about the jewelry.  The, "my price hasn't been met" was a ruse.  We dickered back and forth on how many coins, and what his dollar amount was on the jewelry.

Let's just say that I did very well on the deal.  But in his eyes, so did he.  He got exactly what he wanted - a great start on a collection with coins that were in good shape, and all over 115 years old (he wanted all pre-1900 minted coins).

The key here is that I listened to what he wanted.  We would have probably come to a deal for the jewelry even if it had been all-cash, but instead I was able to conserve my cash and trade with precious metals at a steep discount.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Murder Weapons: Public Service Announcement

Click To Enlarge

People that actually use that gray goo between their ears understand that it's not the murder weapon that's important, it's the murderer.

Share this little fact with your mouth-breathing, assault weapon banning friends the next time they rant about the Evil Black Guns.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ladies: Own The Gun Buying Process

It's happened again.

I had another lady take my NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation class wanting to learn how to shoot a gun her husband had purchased.  These guns will be used for personal protection, and left in the house.  They'll be "nightstand guns" to be used when the husband is not home.

To date, none had been purchased to be used concealed on their person or in their purse (remember, we're in California - land of the "I May Issue A Permit If I Think You're Worthy Or Are A Political Contributor Or Hollywood Celebrity" CCW laws).

It's the same old story of ....

Wait.  Before I go further, let me get this out in the open, because it's important:

Men are stronger than women
Men are more likely to go to the range on a regular basis

Are there exceptions?  Of course.  But in general guys are bigger and stronger, and like to go to the range to shoot.  Women don't.  On this latter point, if you disagree, go to any range in America and count heads.  Neither of these points are a "knock"  - they are fact.

Anyways, back on track -  it seems like 90% of the time, the gun chosen by the husband is a horrible match for the wife.  Virtually every time, the husband buys a 5-shot, .38 special, ultra-light, heavy trigger/double-action-only revolver with no rear sight.

In other words, a Concealed Carry gun which takes a good deal of strength and skill to properly use.

Almost always, the wife has little to no experience with guns.  Most have never fired one before, and that's why they're taking my class.

Two weeks ago, this great lady took my class, and showed up with one of these -

It's a Smith and Wesson .38 Special "Bodyguard" model.  This, and similar models from Ruger or Taurus are what these ladies have generally been given.

I hate these guns.  At least for their intended users.

Here's why:  I'm good with the .38 Special caliber.  I'm even good with the 5-shot capacity.  Everything else sucks butt.

Double-action only/heavy triggers - The trigger pull on these things is horrendous.  Difficult, at best, even for someone with lots of experience shooting.  In the hands of a newbie or a shooter that won't be practicing on a regular basis, they're damned near impossible to use for self-defense.

To put this in perspective, when this student came to class, I asked her if she'd shot the gun before.  Yep.  How'd you do?  In 20 shots at 5 yards, she NEVER hit the target.  Not the bullseye, but the target! (I'm pleased to say that after her class, at 7 yards, she put 48 of her 50 shots onto the target, but they were EVERYWHERE.)

I've been unable to find the stats on the pounds needed for this trigger pull, but this reviewer made this observation -
We have all heard the expression, “there’s a lawyer attached to every bullet.” Smith & Wesson must feel that there’s also a lawyer attached to every trigger; they make their revolver triggers heavy enough to hoist an entire bench of lawyers with each pull. 
By making these guns double-action only, you take away the ability of the shooter to cock the gun and get off at least one well-aimed shot, even when laser sights are used.  Realistically, these types of guns are only effective in the 5-yard-or-less range.  Too close for my comfort.  Again, from the review above -
Clocking the BODYGUARD’s laser on target, I watched the little red dot jump by eight to ten inches with every trigger pull.
I'm assuming that you can do a trigger job on these guns to make the pull less onerous.  I recommend it to each and every lady that is stuck with one of these, but I haven't heard back from any, so I don't know if it worked out.

Ultra-light frame - The S&W above weighs in at 14 ounces, and is rated to take .38 Special +P ammo.  The Ruger LCR in the same caliber weighs even less.  That's WAY too much power for such a light gun, especially in weaker hands.  And having grips without finger grooves makes controlling the gun even more difficult.
I’m not recoil averse. I’ve never had a problem shooting Smith’s J-frame revolvers. But the BODYGUARD 38 was writing checks that my hand didn’t want to cash. Before a box of bullets went down the pipe, the BODYGUARD 38 began to sting the body electric. After running through a few boxes of standard .38Spl ammo, the web and pad between my thumb and forefinger told me too little mass behind too much power is too much.
Remember - these guns were purchased as nightstand guns, not something weighing down a holster or purse.  GET SOME MASS behind the gun.  Shots will be more accurate due to the decreased felt recoil of the gun, and the lower likelihood of flinching in anticipation of the recoil.

No rear sight - The way I train folks, I incorporate a combination/hybrid of point shooting and aimed fire.  Basically, out to 10 or 12 yards - depending upon your gun - you'll be inside the center of mass circle the instant your arms come to full extension and you pull the trigger.  A second or two more to line up the sights, and you're regularly inside the 9-ring.

Unless you're missing the rear sight, as is the case with this style of gun -
They typically have some sort of a "U" or "V" channel along the top of the barrel to align with your front sight, but that will only help with your side-to-side aim.  Unless you practice A LOT - knowing how much of the front sight is supposed to sit up on this channel - you can be high or low on your target by 8 or 9 inches when shooting at 10 or 12 yards.

Not acceptable.  And very frustrating to new, inexperienced shooters.  If they don't have confidence in their shooting abilities at the range, that uncertainty can translate into poor choices when confronted with a life-threatening situation.  I don't want to put a round through the wall and into my neighbor's home, so I'm not going to shoot.

Accept The Challenge

Hopefully, your goal when shooting the gun in self-defense is to stop the attacker as quickly as possible.  You do that by putting one or more shots on target.  If you can't hit the target, the gun is useless.

Accuracy and confidence is  accomplished by matching a gun to your specific physical strength, weaknesses and other physical attributes (such as hand size, disabilities, etc.).

So here are my recommendations:

Guys - back the hell off.  Don't buy them a gun YOU think is best for them.  You're usually wrong.

Ladies - Go read this post from 2012 ("Choosing The Right Gun For You").  Then go buy your own gun.  Part of the process of self-reliance is taking personal responsibility.  If you agree that you need a gun, then own the whole process.  Sure, part of that is asking for recommendations, even from your significant other, but the final choice must be yours.

Take an introductory class where you can use rental guns and learn about gun safety.  Follow the steps in the post above, get a gun, and then use it regularly.

Unlike riding a bike, shooting skills are perishable.  If you don't use 'em, you lose 'em.

I'm serious as a heart attack here.  Get thee to the range!

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Emergency Shelters

Most folks that are preppers know about the "Rule of 3's" -

>>You can live three minutes without air 
>>You can live three hours without shelter 
>>You can live three days without water 
>>You can live three weeks without food

How many people put a lot of thought into the second item - the one about shelter?  People may think about it, but few acquire the skills and equipment necessary to git 'er done.

What elements should a shelter possess?  The only "must have" requirement is that it protects you from the weather.  Many shelters also provide you with security from predators, but unless your camp is in the middle of a pack of wolves, your focus should generally be on protection from the weather.

Also, when thinking about types of shelters, don't think it only means a structure.  A poncho or garbage bag are shelters as well.  My BOB/GHB contains a number of large, heavy duty garbage bags, Mylar "emergency" blankets and light-duty tarps.  And LOTS of paracord.  These are all small, light and don't take up much space, but will at least give me some short-term shelter in an emergency situation.

There are a couple of scenarios for which we're making shelters.  The first are shelters that are designed to protect you from cold and wet.  Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 95F.  If you become wet and the weather is cold, your chances of survival drop significantly.

In these types of environments, we want shelters that keep us dry and provide for the retention of our body heat or external heat sources to keep us warm.

Trash bag poncho

10 things to know about building a natural shelter

Wilderness shelters

Emergency tarp shelter (video)

The second type of shelter are those designed to protect you from the heat.  Hyperthermia is the over-heating of your body, generally to temperatures between 100F to 104F.  You get so hot, your body's natural ability to cool itself fails.

So, we want to shield ourselves from the heat.  Since we all know that heat rises, this logically means that we want to stay low, as well as out of direct sunlight.

Shelter in the desert

One of the key things to note is that whenever possible, the part of the structure facing the sun will be more effective if it's insulated.  And remember, air is a good insulator.

So, if you've got a single tarp that is acting as a sun break, you'll see a 15F to 20F drop in temperature.  Set up two tarps - one over the other with an air space between them, and you can easily double the temperature drop.

Click To Enlarge
Also, don't forget natural structures, trees, caves, gullies, etc.

Lastly, know how to tie knots.  Check out this post ("All Tied Up In Knots") which also contains a link to an earlier post ("Knotty Problems").

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Let's Do the Swirl, Kids!

In my morning readings, I ran across a couple of articles that don't give me the warm-and-fuzzies.

First, one of the Too Big To Fail banks has once again, not passed a regulator-mandated 'Stress Test' -
The Federal Reserve dealt an embarrassing blow to Citigroup on Wednesday, attacking the bank’s financial projections for its sprawling operations and denying the bank’s plan to increase dividends and repurchase stock.
They've failed the test 2 out of the last 3 times the test has been done.

Long story short, banks must do periodic testing of their loan portfolios that show what either rising or dropping interest rates would do to their earnings.  Back in my banking days, we had to do the test assuming a 1-, 2- or 3-percent rise or drop in interest rates.

If you don't pass muster, they regulators can impose capital controls (tell you how you can spend your money) and require the bank make changes to how it does business.

While this is an important tool for regulators to use to judge the risk at a bank, it really is moot with  regards to the true stability of a bank.  As I've mentioned before, the key metric is the strength (valuation) of the assets securing your loans.  As we all know, those assets are grotesquely over-valued - as banks are now allowed to carry those loans on their books based upon their outstanding loan balance, and not the value of the underlying property securing the loans.

This is pure insanity, but the regulators know that if they didn't allow this, huge numbers of banks would be technically insolvent, and there would be runs on the banks.

The second story was yet another story about how our historic model of the federal government bailing out failed banks is coming to an end
Due to their sheer size, the economy can ill-afford for these institutions to be washed away in times of financial crisis, with critics fearing that the system has become dependent on taxpayer bailouts to keep the economy afloat.
The new research shows "it is improper to ask the taxpayer to underwrite the non-commercial banking operations of a complex bank holding company," Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told Reuters in an interview.
As the article correctly notes, this impending mess is due to the Federal Reserve and Congress allowing for the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 to be ignored.  This depression-era law required that commercial banks (protected by FDIC insurance) not be allowed to own investment banking operations (buying and selling stocks).  

One is old-time banking and savings, and the other is flat-out gambling.  In the early 1990's, Glass-Steagall was effectively eliminated, and the FDIC insurance covered banks that also gambled in the stock market.

After the 2008 crash, the law was changed, and the onus is now on YOU.  What the Fed is saying is, it's now against the law for the FDIC to bail-out the big banks, and you, the depositor (creditor, in the eyes of the government) are now left holding the bag if a bank goes teats-up, and it has insufficient assets to cover the liquidation.

Are you listening?  The powers that be are trying to tell you things are rocky.  Few are listening.

As I noted in a post a couple weeks ago, ("Got Savings?  Maybe not for long.") this freedom of banks to invest in stocks and bonds from around the world has made them vulnerable to economic shocks from anywhere in the world -
The world is one big, interconnected marketplace.  Our banks lend to their banks.  Their banks buy bonds in our banks.  All of them buy government bonds.  All of them are infected with the same malady.
It's like having sex with someone you just met.  "You don't look like you have herpes, but did your previous partners have herpes?"  Who's your bank's been sleeping with...?
It's not just our economy that can bring them down - it's economies from around the world.

Get educated, then act.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Freedom of Association and Liberty

I read this article, Unlearning Liberty to the Detriment of Us All, and it made me very sad.  Sulky, even.  We've lost so much in such a short period of time.
I’ve also witnessed firsthand the mob mentality from people of all sides and the wrongheaded belief that somehow people have a right not to be offended and be shielded from views that might cause them “distress” or “emotional harm.”
My standard definition of true liberty goes along the lines of, "I can do whatever I wish as long as I don't infringe upon the rights of others while doing so."  I can do what I want, say what I want and associate with whom I choose.  If I 'cross the line', we have laws - supposedly based upon the Constitution - that are put in place to settle disputes, such as when you think what I'm doing is infringing upon a right of yours.

Rights or privileges granted or prohibited in the Constitution may not be modified by the federal, state or local governments unless these rights or privileges are changed via the amendment process.

At the federal level, as long as the constitution does not specifically grant, guarantee or prohibit an action, the bulk of the "rule making" happens at the state and local government levels.  Here are a couple of examples to illustrate this point:

Consuming, growing and selling marijuana:  Since there is no specific mention of the federal government's ability to restrict the consumption or growing/manufacture of any product, they have no jurisdiction in the matter whatsoever.  Their only legal standing would be the ability to decide whether they wanted to restrict or encourage the sale of marijuana between states, with Indian tribes and with foreign countries, per the commerce clause.

Since there is no specific prohibition in the Constitution, then per the tenth amendment, the entirety of any power to regulate marijuana would fall upon the individual states.  It a state chose to not provide any regulation, then the individual citizen (or their elected local government) would have those powers.

Somehow, we have federal marijuana laws that make you a felon for producing, distributing, possessing or consuming this plant you can grow in your backyard.

This is an egregious infringement upon our liberty.

On the other side of the coin, we have the issue of owning and possessing a gun:  The second amendment specifically states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  So, unlike the marijuana example where there is no mention of a specific right, with guns, our Constitution specifically states that no level of government may place restrictions upon free individuals wishing to own and carry firearms.

Again, somehow we have laws - all the way down to the local level - that restrict access, possession and the ability to purchase firearms.

This, too, is an egregious infringement upon our liberty.

The idea behind the Constitution is that power should be local.  It grants specific, limited powers to the federal government.  And in case anyone is unclear on this concept, the framers included the aforementioned tenth amendment.

So, in theory, if I don't like a law that is passed by politicians, I can vote them out of office, and get someone in there that thinks as I do.  If not enough people agree with me, I have the freedom to go somewhere else.  I can choose with whom I associate.

I can easily move from town to town.  It's a bit more difficult to move from state to state, and is incredibly difficult to move out of the country.  The Constitution was crafted to give us the ability to easily associate with similarly thinking groups and individuals.  We have 50 states, and each is supposed to be its own sovereign entity empowered to establish its own degree of limitation or liberty within its borders.

If I think the marijuana laws are too loose in Alaska, Colorado, California or Washington, I can move to Utah.  And vice versa.

But when the federal government passes a law, I only realistically have the option to comply or not.  Be a law abiding citizen or not.  Even when the law is unconstitutional.

I can't realistically revoke my association with my nation.  So I'm stuck.

This whole idea of liberty and freedom of association is supposed to have one set of rules for government, and one set for individuals.

Governments, being of, by and for the people must serve all citizens.  Regardless of your gender, race, religious beliefs, physical and mental abilities, and economic standing, you have equal access, accommodation and service from your government.

Private citizens, on the other hand, are supposed to be able to associate with whomever they choose.

As we all know too well, neither of these rules is followed.  It's not even close.

Governments bestow preferential treatment based upon your race, gender, religious beliefs, physical and mental abilities and economic standing.  And they're not shy about publicizing this fact.

Governments - by using public resources which include my tax dollars - reduce my personal liberty when they decide to give those resources to others without my permission.

Governments then compel us to associate with others with whom we may not wish to associate.  If I own a private business, I may not say post a sign saying, "No disabled allowed!" or "No whites allowed!" or "No women allowed!".  Why not?  If I voluntarily choose to limit my customer base, what concern is that of the government?

In fact, if I were to be so stupid as to want to do this, I'd actually be opening up a market opportunity for someone else to fill and make money.  But then that would take effort on their part.  It's just better and easier to infringe on my rights of association.

BUT, if I'm a special-category person - tagged 'disadvantaged' by government - such as being female - I am granted super-citizen powers.  I see 'women only' gyms.  I see 'women only' gun classes, and 'women only' gun clubs, and 'women only' shooting excursions and 'women only' self-defense classes.  Why is this allowed?

Why is this intolerance tolerated?

And don't even get me started on the president's new program, "My Brother's Keeper".  Perhaps the most blatantly racist, special-interest program since the Civil War.  This was rich -
For decades, opportunity has disproportionately lagged behind for boys and young men of color – particularly in our African American and Latino communities.
The last time I looked, the president himself was a person of color.

Because of the color of my children's skin, they are not able to participate in - associate with - this government-sponsored program which is proudly featured on the website of the president of the United States.

By the way, this image - the 'No Whites Allowed' - is tied to a government elementary school in Colorado.  They had a tutoring program for 'children of color' only.  Maybe the president could borrow the image for his little program.

So, if you're special enough, the rules don't apply.  You can bar certain demographics from your business, and government will even create a special race- or gender- or economic-based program just for you.

Ain't America grand?

Accept The Challenge

I wrote earlier, "I can't realistically revoke my association with my nation.  So I'm stuck."

I've got one word for you:  Adapt.

At the federal level, nothing is going to change in the near future.  It's just not.  We have more 'takers' voting and since they figured out they can vote themselves our money, we've been screwed.  Our ONLY long-term hope is that our entire social and economic system collapses.  Cheery, huh?  I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs until that happens.

Right now, you can still vote with your feet.  This is the single most effective tactic you can employ.  You hurt the beast where it hurts the most - in the pocketbook.  You can move to states that still respect your personal liberty, and which are increasingly telling the federal government to shove it.

Check this out - Freedom In The 50 States - (move your cursor around on the map below for various rankings) -

I'm fortunate that all of the states I'm considering for relocation are in the top half of the freedom scale.  My current home state of California is only less free than New York.  Shocking, I know.

You can then better affect your state and local governments with liberty ideals.  You can make the state 'uncomfortable' for takers.

Nevada is a great example.  You can get welfare assistance, but only for a limited time.  Next door in California, the sky's the limit on getting free food, clothing, housing, education, cell phones, spending money, legal assistance - you name it, we've got it!  All, for the asking.

Soup's on, but I'll be gone!

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com