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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Personal Safety and The Abyss

I was reading an article that was comparing murder rates in different countries.  They were trying to imply that because our murder rate by handgun was so much higher than the other country, CLEARLY, handguns were the reason for the murders.  Ban 'em all!

I knew this was garbage.  Societal problems cause murders, not the tools the murderers use.  So I went and found the overall murder rates (here).  If you look at the list, almost all of the 40+ countries with higher murder rates have outlawed the private ownership of handguns.

Kinda punches a hole in the ol' gun grabbers argument, no?

Anyways, I saw something that was interesting.  Just below the US is Argentina.  Here's the data I saw -

From left to right, the blue columns are for 2000, 2001, 2002, etc.  The last column on the right being the latest data that is available.

What interested me is that in Argentina in 2001, they saw a pretty significant spike in the murder rate.  Again in 2002.  Then it began a fairly steady decline.

Hmmmm.  What happened in Argentina in 2001 and 2002?  Oh, I remember:  It's when their economy imploded.

Considering that we are doing the exact same things that caused the Argentinian economy to crater, if you don't think violence will break out when the American "public safety net" gets shredded, you're not in touch with reality.

Get training or practice the skills you've acquired.  Now.

Want to stay up at night?

Take a look at this article ("John Williams:  Approaching The Abyss").  A friend of mine sent it to me.  It's an interview of the owner of  They're the guys that take the government financial statistics that have been doctored beyond recognition, and tell us what the numbers really mean (or should be).

Take the time to read and digest the whole thing.

A snippet -
Nevertheless, on a quarter-to quarter-basis, I think we'll see GDP down again in the third quarter. With the bulk of the reported GDP in the first half due to inventory building, the stage for renewed contraction has been set. By then we'll find the consensus pretty much in the camp that we're in a double-dip recession. The popular press will describe it as a double dip, but we never had a recovery. Actually, this is just a very protracted, very deep downturn that has had a pattern of falling off a cliff, bottoming out, having a little bit of bump due to stimulus and then turning down again. Sort of shaped like the path of a novice skier going down a jump for the first time. Speeding sharply down the hill, he goes up in the air and starts spinning wildly as he tries to figure out which end is up with his skis. Then he takes a pretty bad tumble. We're beginning to spin in the air.
Get your financial house in order.  Be prepared to take advantage of a sharp price decline (deflation) which will be followed by ugly, ugly price spikes (inflation).


Wow, the markets are being turned on their heads right now.  As I write this, the Dow is down over 230 points.  The Federal Reserve came out yesterday and said the economy might not be quite the bed of rose petals the administration is making it out to be.

Well, there's a shock!  Who'd a-thunk it?  Uhm, all of us that have two brain cells to rub together, that's who.

I'm sure the Plunge Protection Team is on stand-by.

I expected to see a huge up-tick in the price of gold.  Nope.  It is slightly down.  Why might that be?  From the front page of -

For some unfathomable reason, the dollar is getting stronger.  Well, not unfathomable, just one based on fairy tales, unicorns and cute little puppies.  I know, I know, this is based on the dollar's relative strength to other world fiat currencies.  But still, really?!

What I found very interesting is that most of that decline is being offset by people buying gold.  They're taking their money out of the stock market and putting it in to gold.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  Maybe some sanity is returning...

We've had a great start to our One Bucket Per Month Challenge.  Those of you still on the sidelines, get crackin'!  There's silver in them thar ideas!

Accept The Challenge

If you believe the pablum being fed to us about the economy by the administration, just move along.  I think there's a PeeWee's Playhouse marathon being run on PBS that you'd find more to your liking.

For the rest of you, it seems like things might be coming to a head.  I've been hoping that this serious downturn would wait for 2 more years, but it's beginning to look like things might decline more quickly.  Six months to a year?  I don't know.  I need to digest all of this for a bit.

Check and double-check your supplies.  When was the last time you rotated your food supplies?  When was the last time you checked the condition of your equipment?  Practiced your life saving skills lately?

I just did an inventory of my ammunition, and found - to my horror - that my usage has seriously exceeded my replacement, especially with my primary handgun round.  I will be correcting that in short order.

Get as "cash heavy" as you can.  With the upcoming deflationary price drops, this will be an excellent opportunity to stock up on the food, supplies and equipment you may not have had the chance to buy before.

Make your list, and start scanning Craigslist now.  Take a look at a post from back in March ("Efficient Use Of The Online Marketplace") and see how you can set up RSS feeds to track your wishlist.

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Ryan said...

Have a friend who got to what was a happy ammo number for him then a box here and a box there he had none.

I don't shoot out of my stored ammo. Especially since ammo in military ammo cans with good seals lasts basically forever.

If I am shooting a lot I will order a case and then shoot it up. Sometimes it comes out that I have a few hundred rounds of training ammo in a given caliber but that has little to do with the storage ammo I have.

In the grand scheme of things I should probably order a case to shoot (versus to store) and then use that to rotate out a case of older ammo. It is low on my list of concerns though.

Chief Instructor said...

I'm usually pretty good keeping track of my ammo, but it got past me recently. I've been shooting a lot lately and I got below my comfort level.

I've got stuff stashed away in "never touch" places, but this was my home supply.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any thoughts, information, pro/con knowledge on taser guns? They were so popular awhile back and now I never hear of them and am wondering why. I don't know of anyone having them but wouldn't they be good to have too?


Chief Instructor said...


I'm a big fan of Taser's, as long as you recognize their limitations. The carry and use laws vary in every state. For ANY type of non-lethal device, learn what's legal first.


They're expensive when compared to other non-lethal forms of protection, running around $300. The projectiles and batteries are expensive as well.

You must register the weapon with Taser International. They do a background check on you ($10) prior to giving you a code to enable the device.

The distance the probes fire is shorter than the Police version - 15 ft vs. 20 ft. In comparison, pepper spray is generally effective out to 10 feet if you're using the "stream" style of dispenser.

Once you fire and hit the target, you can set the device on the ground and escape. The electrical pulse will continue for 30 seconds.

If you miss your shot (both probes must hit to be effective), you can remove the spent probe shell, and the Taser becomes a 50k volt stun gun. Obviously, that would require direct contact with the bad guy. 50k is pretty weak compared to other stun guns, but it beats a blank.

You can hit the assailant anywhere on the body, and it will work. The other primary alternative - pepper spray - requires you to hit the assailant in the face with the spray.

All that being said, I (and my wife) personally carry pepper spray, because it is light and unobtrusive, and gives you multiple shots in case you have more than one bad guy after you.

Women: If you're going to use/carry pepper spray, be sure you don't have long finger/thumbnails that prevent you from fully depressing the dispersal button, and that you have the hand strength necessary to depress the button. In my class on this subject, these are the two primary reasons women select a Taser over pepper spray.

I hope this "brief" explanation helped!

suek said...

An interesting article to think about. Making the assumption that the author's speculations are will we in the US be affected on a day to day basis?

(Word verify...compst. That looks like compost to _me_!!)

Chief Instructor said...

Sue, that article was interesting. I just read another one from a different author that didn't refer to Sun Tzu, but discussed the exact same tactics.

If they do pull the cash, our dollar will be worthless. The only way we would be able to pay for all of our government programs would be to print more money. To abruptly discontinue the welfare state would cause nationwide rioting. I think they'd try the inflation route first. After that failed, it would be martial law.

In my personal plan, as soon as China indicates they're not buying any more of our debt, my PMs will suddenly disappear. Mandatory gold and silver "sales" to the government would start quite quickly.

suek said...

How about copper?

Chief Instructor said...

Sue, you can only realistically own copper on paper. Futures contracts and the like. It costs something like $3 per pound! Try hiding that!

suek said...

New roof in the offing, maybe???

Honestly, electricians in our area have a problem with new electric wiring being ripped out of new housing - well, they did when there _was_ new housing! It was being stripped out to sell for scrap.

Anonymous said...

Two points: 1)The U.S. keeps pretty good data on almost everything. Generally when you look for any statistics comparing the U.S. with the rest of the world there is no indication that the rest of the world does NOT keep good statistics. For example even 1st world countries like France consider a child who dies in the first 30 days after birth to have died in child birth. You can imagine what this little difference in recording data does for the life expectancy calculations. It is impossible to draw accurate conclusions using this type of data.

Chief Instructor said...

Sue, my brother and a very good friend of mine both own home inspection companies. They say the "stripping" is unreal. Electrical wiring, copper plumbing - whatever - all gets stripped. Same goes for anything made of aluminum.

The thing is, you have to have a truck load of the stuff to make any money. Tough times...

Anon, yep, unless the exact same methodology is used in gathering the stats, any comparisons will be skewed.

Look what's going on in Europe with the economic data. Greece was able to exclude their military expenditures from the annual budget numbers. They needed to get their deficit percentage down to remain a part of the EU, so they left out the military, as it was, "confidential information".