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Thursday, January 30, 2014

10 Other People You Shouldn't Talk To After A Self-Defense Shooting

One of the many benefits of having a Second Call Defense membership is the education they provide.  Videos, seminars and newsletters.  All, good stuff.

The thing I like the most about this is that it keeps the topic of protecting yourself after a defensive shooting, "top of mind."  In all of my pistol, pepper spray/stun gun, and safety awareness classes, I stress putting yourself - mentally - in a bad situation, and determining how you'll get out of it.  Visualizing the situation, if you will.

For instance, in our pepper spray class, we go over 7 different scenarios at the end of the class.  From road rage, to date rape, to someone breaking into your house while you're there.  The idea is to pre-plan your actions instead of panicking and being caught as the proverbial, "deer in the headlights."

What you do after a defensive shooting can literally change your life.  Make the wrong choices, and you can lose everything.  Financially, you will be responsible for your legal defense bills and any civil penalties.  Lose your case, and you can lose your liberty and the right to keep and bear arms for the rest of your life.

Sobering stuff.

After a defensive shooting, most folks may know to limit their information to the 911 operator and the police.  I want to stress, "may know."  From Second Call Defense's latest newsletter, my commentary on ten other folks you want to keep out of the conversation -

Your spouse - even though they can't be compelled to testify against you, if they freely provide the information, it can be used against you.  "He told me he shot the dirty piece of crap as he walked through the door.  Just shot him dead!"  Think how that could be spun by a prosecutor during your trial.

Your child - just like a spouse, only with less of a filter.

Your friends - your BFF will be contacted, and under threat of criminal prosecution, they MUST testify about what you told them.

Your neighbors - these folks have no "skin in the game."  You happen to live nearby.  Big deal.  As the newsletter noted, 'And it's even less likely that they'll go to any length to protect you when faced with an investigator using words like "murder" or "homicide."'

Your co-worker - again, no skin in the game.  Worse, they're very likely to tell everyone at work what you told them so they have that self-important aura of , "I'm cool because I talked with someone charged with murder." 

A witness - talking to a witness of your actions can only lead to bad things.  The police will ask them if there was any contact between you and the witness.  If the answer is 'yes' - and their statement is beneficial for you - their testimony can be undercut in court by implying you pressured them to testify as they did.

Your doctor - no problem, because of doctor/patient confidentiality, right?  Wrong.  That only extends to the treatment they give you, NOT to the events that led up to the treatment.

Your nurse - ditto to your doctor.

A paramedic - if you're being examined on-scene or being transported, just because this person is saving your life doesn't mean they're your friend.  Like friends, neighbors and co-workers, they've got no skin in the game, and will testify to everything you say.

Your social media world - if you post your story on social media without your defense attorney first approving what you're saying, you're probably too stupid to own a firearm.  Seriously, whatever you post can and will be used as a lawful statement - even as a confession.  Step away from the keyboard!

The list seems pretty inclusive.  Any ideas for others that shouldn't be included in your calling plan?  Your defense attorney is the only person to whom you give all of the details.

Got one on retainer yet?

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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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

No Bueno

First off, I want to state that I don't view, "vigilantes" as necessarily a bad thing.  Vigilantes appear when governments that are paid to provide protection and - more importantly - to uphold the rule of law, don't do their jobs.  Governments and their compliant media cohorts affix a negative connotation to vigilantes, as the vigilantes are doing the job expected of the government.  And governments don't like competition.

You may have heard about the groups of Mexican citizens that have formed vigilante groups to fight against local drug cartels.  The make-up of these groups has been reported as diversely as being made up of local citizens tired of the death and destruction wrought by the cartels, to rival cartels banding together to fight the big dog in the region.

Whoever these people are, they grew quickly.  One group started this, and it spread across an entire state of Mexico.  Way cool.

It appears as though it is more likely that these groups are made up of common folk, as the local and federal Mexican governments have signed a truce of sorts -
The Mexican government has signed an agreement with the vigilante groups that spread across the western state of Michoacan to fight drug traffickers, opening the way for the organizations to gain legal status.
That last part is a bit troubling.  It seems counter-intuitive.  These vigilantes are upholding the law, but are doing so illegally.  If they gain legal status, then they're just a part of the corrupt, ineffective government that caused them to organize in the first place.  If things are "all good" now, why doesn't the government just come in and do their expected job?
“These corps are temporary and will be under the command of the authority established under the applicable legal regulations,” the Government Secretariat said in a statement. 
Self-defense group leaders will have to submit membership lists, which will be evaluated and registered by the Defense Secretariat, to join the corps.
Yeah, that whole list thing... no bueno.  I'm sure that the upstanding, competent government bureaucrats that are evaluating the lists will make sure that the lists don't fall into the hands of the powerful drug cartels.

None of these guys will suddenly go missing.  Piles of heads - not attached to bodies - won't suddenly start showing up all over Michoacan.

Naw, corruption, pay-offs and extortion of government officials NEVER happens in Mexico.

At least that's what the Mexican government says, so it must be true.

A lesson to be learned here:  In Mexico, you are allowed to own either a .22LR gun or a .38spl gun.  That's it.  One gun only, and limited amounts of ammunition.

These vigilantes have much more than that.  The pictures I've seen show them with ARs, AKs and other such similar weapons.

If they had followed their governments "reasonable" gun laws, at best, it would have taken much longer to achieve what they've done and make themselves safe.  At worse, they'd be slaughtered like sheep because they'd have been outgunned.

I'm just sayin'...

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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.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Traipses

Hey, still working on the cute logo, but you can now follow us on Twitter - - lots of great stuff on self-defense, money, politics, and the like.  Go on.... click it and follow us.... you know you want to.....

Need more reason?....

It was just last week that we discussed the reasoning behind keeping all but the bare minimum of your money OUT OF your bank -
So, if you know with metaphysical certitude that the bits and bytes that represent your wealth are at risk and will be violated, why would you keep anything other than the very bare minimum (bills that must be paid with a check or electronically) in a bank?
That post's focus (at the bottom of the post) was on the insecurity of electronic banking systems.  In it, though, I touched on the confiscation angle - bail-ins - and how they'll just snatch up your money as they please, thank-you-very-much.

Now, we've got HSBC - which in 2012 was the world's largest bank - telling folks they can't withdraw their money unless they've got good reason -
“When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for,” he said.
After the PR ass-kicking they took, HSBC is now saying it was all a big misunderstanding, it was for customer safety, there was poor training, and blah, blah, blah.  Maybe that's true.

It's also irrelevant.

Let this sink into your brain:  If your bank doesn't want to give you your money, they have the power to turn you away.  Plain and simple.

What are you going to do when they say, "No"?  Stomp your feet and pitch a fit?  How do you think THAT will end?

After the Target credit card debacle, we saw Chase Bank limit ATM and debit card withdrawals.  You want to spend more than $400?  Tough shit!  We control the purse strings, not you, you silly little boy!

How much control over your life do you want to willingly give away?

Remember:  You don't own it unless you can hold it...

Revenge of the killer bees?....

I've got a customer at my PM store that produces and sells honey.  Seriously, until you've tasted real, right from the hive, unprocessed honey, you have no idea what you're missing.

I used to be able to buy his end-of-season stock at a great discount by buying a dozen or so half-gallon jars of the stuff.  No more.  He sells out each year now before season end.

Anyways, he was in the store, and we were talking about fake bullion, and he brought up fake honey.

WTF?  Fake honey?  Yep.  It seems that US markets are flooded with stuff that looks like honey, but really has no honey in it.  Who knew?

Apparently, the folks over at Survival Magazine did ("Real or Fake Honey?  How to tell the difference.").

Click here for an infographic that gives you steps for authenticating your honey in you own "home laboratory".


In virtually all of my handgun classes, I get asked about how to choose a holster.  For my FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation class, the classroom materials from the NRA includes a booklet on the subject.  Pretty good stuff.

Inside The Waistband (IWB) holsters are one of the considerations.  This article gives a good overview on how to select one.
Just as taking the time out to choose the right gun is important, it’s just as important to choose the right IWB holster for your needs. IWB holsters, or inside the waistband holsters, provide users with a quick and easy way of carrying their firearms in a concealed manner in a position that is easy to draw from. There are numerous variables involved in selecting the right holster, but you can find a great IWB holster as long as you follow some key guidelines.
Too many people stop after the purchase.  What they neglect to do is to practice drawing from the holster.  This can give a Concealed Carry holder a false sense of security.  Hey, I gotta gun, I'm safe.

Not so much.

Drawing from a concealed holster, be it an IWB, appendix carry, shoulder carry or ankle carry is much different than drawing from an unimpeded, outside the waistband holster.  You MUST practice on a regular basis.

This past weekend, I had a private lesson with a woman that is going to Alaska for a few months, where she'll be out in the bush quite a bit.  We were working on gun selection, and I asked her about holsters.

She hadn't thought about it at all.

I told her that in my PM store, I practice ten draws every morning I'm in the store.  I want to make sure the gun is properly positioned, my clothing doesn't need to be adjusted and that my draw stroke is, "butter smooth."

I figure that if I have to draw, I don't want to be thinking about the mechanics of presenting the gun.  I want my brain power focused on the situation and how I'm going to ensure my customers and I aren't harmed by some dirtball.

Like many things in life, certain skills are perishable.  Shooting well, and drawing from a holster are just two of them.

This should be interesting...

Duck Dynasty is in the House!
Willie Robertson, one of the stars of TV's "Duck Dynasty" and a representative of the family's mainstream Christian values, will be in the House gallery Tuesday night for President Obama's State of the Union address, the guest of Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister.
I'm putting my money that Fox will acknowledge he's there - maybe even interview him.  The MSM mouth-breathers will either totally ignore him, or use it as an opportunity to further denigrate him, his father, and their beliefs.

I'm guessing it will be the latter.

Gawd, I hope he comes dressed in cammo...

Huh?  In California?!

How did some common sense sneak its way into California?
An interesting lawsuit went to non-jury trial in a Los Angeles court room yesterday; nine public school students, with the support of an educational non-profit called “Students Matter,” are suing the state of California over teacher tenure laws and other protections, which they argue prevent school administrators from removing dysfunctional teachers from the system.
The idea of tenure is a good one, when used as originally intended.  It was designed for teachers of controversial subjects.  Politics, religion, philosophy, etc., where the head of a school would fire a teacher for espousing views contrary to theirs.  Controversial ideas need to be brought out in the open so they can be discussed, challenged and considered.

Instead, tenure morphed into a Job For Life guarantee.  Put in the requisite number of years, and you become a Teflon Teacher - little can be done to remove you regardless of your actions - or inaction.

Try getting that kind of guarantee in the private, non-union sector.  The don't exist.  Why would you reward someone solely on the basis of their time-in-job?

This attitude is another reason why unions - outside of those in government - continue to decline in membership.

Back in my banking days, I had a number of major unions as customers.  Including certain California unions that represented teachers.

These guys play rough.  They will throw TONS of dollars at this to get it defeated.  If they lose in court, they'll get their buddies in Sacramento to write new laws in their favor.

Same ol', same ol'...

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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Preps For California Gun Owners

Flag of the Late, Great State of California
If you're like me - a California gun owner - you need to pay attention to what's going on in our fair state (more like fare state with our tax structure).  The move to ban semi-automatic pistols is in full swing.

A bunch of years ago, the state - in its infinite wisdom to promote a safe and secure state  - decided that not all pistols were worthy of sale in California.  Manufacturers had to submit their guns for testing to make sure they met the standards set by some gun-grabber in Sacramento.

Fine.  The manufacturers submitted their guns, and they got on The List.  Make it on The List, and your guns could be sold to all lowly state citizens.

To further safeguard the life and liberty of our citizens, in 2007, the state then decided that we'd all be safer if all semi-autos imprinted the gun's serial number on each and every spent cartridge.  Supposedly, this would help law enforcement catch the bad guys (Yeah, like they use registered guns).

The problem was, the technology to do this microstamping didn't exist.  The genius' in Sacramento knew this, so they put it in the law that as soon as the technology was certified as viable, the law would kick in.

Apparently, in the opinion of the soft-heads in Sacramento, it's now viable, so our state attorney general blessed it, and in mid-2013, the law fell into place.  The effect was that any new gun, or a current one that has a "material upgrade," needed to incorporate this new microstamping technology to be included on The List.

Just after the law kicked in, Ruger made a change to their SR-22.  It's a small, fun semi-auto that shoots .22LR cartridges.  They made some minor change to the slide.

Banned, Evil Plinker In California
Well, Sacramento considered it a major change, and told Ruger it needed the microstamping technology if it wanted the gun to remain on The List.

Ruger told Sacramento to pound sand -
Ruger® SR22® pistol no longer certified for sale in California. 
Effective July 26, 2013, the Ruger SR22 pistol (Model Number 3600) was removed from the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale in California and, as a result, these pistols may not be legally sold there. This decision was due solely to a routine manufacturing change to the slide (unrelated to the function or performance of the pistol) that, under the law in California, may require re-testing. We are continuing to manufacture and ship SR22 pistols as before, though not for sale in California. 
Anticipating your question, we do not know when the SR22 pistol will again be available in California, but we will advise you when it is.
- Ruger Firearms
God Bless them.

Since then, other manufacturers have done the same thing -

Sorry, California Glockaholics: No Glock 41 or Glock 42 for you.

Smith & Wesson to Sell Fewer Guns in Calif. Over Microstamping Law

Way cool.  The Big Three have told California to shove it.

What does this mean to Californian gun owners and buyers?  It depends.

If you want the newest, safest models of semi-autos, you're not gonna get them in this state.  And don't think that you can get around it by buying the gun online and having it shipped here.  The local FFL that takes delivery must certify that the gun is on The List before they can hand it over.

Good luck getting your money back from the out-of-state seller.  Maybe the FFL will let you witness the gun's destruction as is required by California law.

What if you own an older model semi-auto that was on The List when you bought it?  I asked the gun range where I taught a class this weekend that very question.

If the gun is still on The List when you want to sell it, no problem.  If it has come off the list - like the SR22 has come off - you can either turn it over to the state for them to destroy or you can try and sell it to an out-of-state buyer via your local FFL (you can do outgoing sales of banned guns, but not incoming purchases).

Can I see a show of hands from anyone that thinks that guns not on The List will see a marked price drop when being sold by someone in California?  Kinda got ya by the short-hairs, don't they?

Can I see another show of hands from anyone that thinks this trend will soon be applied to all guns sold in California?

Oh, and guns sold and used by law enforcement are not included in this requirement to make The List.  Does that mean that - per California law - those guns are unsafe?  If so, and a LEO uses one, should they and their departments be held liable for using an unsafe weapon?

BTW, if Ruger, S&W or Glock continue to sell guns to California LEOs, they'll never sell another one to me.

Accept The Challenge

Get out while you can.  At least be starting the process.

Our legislature does not want you with guns.  Period.  In their eyes, you're not able to understand their use and purpose.  Only government employees have that ability.

Gun owners as a group, I'd guess, are less likely to be Takers - those on some sort of public assistance.  If we all pick up our toys and go elsewhere, the loud sucking sound coming from the state coffers will be heard loud and clear.  Stay here, and you're giving your financial support to their ideals.

Everyone left here will be safe, though.  And impoverished.

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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

OpSec and Constitutional FAIL

Douche Bagus Grandus
I remember this idiot when he first appeared on the Doomsday Preppers TV show.  A total DB.

Pompous ass was the phrase that came to mind.  A dim-witted pompous ass, actually.

He fancied himself smarter than all those around him.  That's a big, red flag in my book.  It's great to discuss what you know, and to teach others, but when you become a self-appointed "high priest"  of a particular issue, you usually end up losing.

When you incorporate immorality into your plans - theft - well, you usually get what you deserve.

The core of his prepping plan was to jack up other preppers and take their supplies -
He also bragged for the camera about his plans to raid and loot other doomsday preppers' supplies when the end times came. "All your shiny AR's your high powered .308 rifles, your 50,000 rounds of ammo are all going to be ours", Smith warned.
Molon Labe ("Come and take them") is the first phrase that comes to mind.  But that wouldn't be an issue for me, as I don't advertise details of my preps, nor their locations.

His biggest failure, though, was simply the act of going on TV and exposing his plan.  His Operational Security was blown.

Oh, and one other thing.  The fact that he handled and shot guns on the show as a convicted felon.

For God's Sake, what's wrong with these people?  It's like the Youtube idiots that commit a crime, record it and post it for all the world to see.  Hey soft-head, law enforcement has access to Youtube and cable TV stations, too.

The whole, "fifteen minutes of fame" crap makes the job of law enforcement a whole lot easier.

Here's where I'm gonna get some grief.

I've got a big problem with our laws regarding felons and guns.  If you're a convicted felon, in most states, you can no longer own, possess or be in the presence of firearms.  For the rest of your life.

Once again, I appear to have missed the article or amendment in the Constitution that allows for this.  While you're incarcerated, that's great.  In addition to housing you in prison, society also takes on the burden of clothing, feeding and protecting you.

When you're released - after having paid your debt to society - how can ALL of your rights not be re-instituted?  If society says you can't have a gun, does society then still bear the burden of protecting your life?

Of course not.

I can hear the whines now.  "He's a convicted felon, and he forfeits those rights as a result of his actions."

Really?  Where's that in the Constitution?  You know, the "play book" for American law.

"If he's a murderer/rapist/robber and has a gun, he'll just use it to kill/rape/rob again."

If he's a hardened criminal, laws saying he can't have a gun are irrelevant.  As soon as he's out and on the prowl again, he'll get his gun and do his deeds.

It's just like, "gun free zone" laws.  They've yet to stop a single insane person from shooting up a school.  What they do accomplish is to make those zones indefensible against law breakers.

It's "feel good" legislation that does nothing more than put the lives of people at risk.

Sentencing is what will stop further damage to society by these criminals.  Use a gun, go to prison.  Each successive criminal act gets successively longer sentences.  Taking guns out of the hands of good citizens - or those who committed crimes but have paid their debt to society - does exactly ZERO in making our society safer.  In fact, just the opposite.

And isn't public safety the purpose of our laws?

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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

All Tied Up In Knots

I've been brushing up on my knots.  I was snooping around the Internet and found this post titled, "Essential Knots for Survival."  It's a post on some knots needed for making a lean-to in a bamboo forest(?).

Don't scoff!

No, I don't see myself in a field of bamboo anytime soon, but the knots this guy demonstrates are pretty damned impressive.  My only problem is, I don't see a regular use for them.  If you don't use them regularly, you're not going to practice them.  If you don't practice them, you'll forget how to make them!

I think his demonstration video on the Pipe Hitch (securing the rope to the bamboo stalks) is excellent, but would be seldom used.  The Pile Hitch, on the other hand is simple to use and secure.  I can see using it to secure a ridgepole for a shelter.

I did a post a number of years back on knots ("Knotty Problems").  In it, I discussed and provided links on how to make and use the five knots I use - and practice - the most:  Square knot, Bowline, Trucker's Hitch, Trilene Knot and Surgeon's Loop.

I've got an update for it.  I rarely use the Bowline any more.  If I need a secure loop, I use the Surgeon's Loop.  Brain-dead easy to make, and it never fails.

I've also added a knot:  the Tautline Hitch.  I have no idea how I left it off the original list, as I use it a lot.

Photo credit:
In the original article, I noted that I almost exclusively used to learn and perfect knots.  I now use at least as much, if not more.

Accept The Challenge

It's amazing how often knots are needed.  A run to the dumps needs a secured load.  Pitch a tent, and you need to ensure it won't come down on your head.  Fishing, fishing and more fishing.

I have a monthly alert on my calendar that says, "Practice knots."  It's a handy reminder to take a quick run through the knots I want to stay proficient with, but haven't used in a while.  I spend perhaps a half hour going through them.

Like most skills, knot tying is a perishable one.  Practice makes proficient!

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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Toss-Up

Sweet irony....

I saw this pic over at Act Well Your Part and had to share...

The former Arizona congresscritter is the new poster-girl for the anti-gun soft-heads since she was shot by some insane asshole.  Seems ol' Gabby liked to sling some lead - with an Evil Black Gun, no less - just like the rest of us.

Your tax dollars at work...

The real scary part is that I believe the target she's using is one of those developed for law enforcement.  You know, to help desensitize them towards shooting kids, pregnant women, and the like.

If you stop by the company's site, you can also buy some "Pink Mist" reactive blood packs.  They let our LEOs know when they've gotten a kill shot.  Hey, for a buck and a quarter... such a deal!  Gotta keep those elite, paramilitary troops sharp.

Problem is, it seems as though EVERY cop on the street is decked out as an elite, paramilitary troop.

If you can't hold it, you don't really own it...

Last week, I did a post ("Precious Manipulations") where I noted -
Germany asked for their gold to be returned from the NY Federal Reserve bank, and they got permission to view their gold (LOL!) in the vaults.  And were then told they'll get it over the next 7 years!  WTF?
We've got 1500 tons of their gold, and France has 374 tons.  Germany's plan for last year was to repatriate all of the gold held in Paris, and 300 tons held at the NY Federal Reserve, for a total of 674 tons.

How'd that work out?
Bloomberg reports on a Bundesbank announcement that only 37 tonnes of Germany’s gold reserves were repatriated in 2013, and only 5 tonnes of that came from the New York Fed.
Thirty-seven tons out of an expected 674 tons?!  About 5 1/2 percent of what they expected - and only 1.7% of what was expected from the NY Fed.  It's not like they were even asking for everything all at once.  The 674 tons was only about a third of the amount they "own".
German newspaper Die Welt asks “Why is this so difficult?”

Holy crap, do some simple math.  The amount of "paper gold" exceeds the amount of known real gold by a ratio of 92:1.

Looks like Germany might be holding the proverbial Paper Bag...

Back to Winco...

I'm bummed.  I was supposed to go hunting for wild pigs this past weekend.  We had to cancel because there ain't no pigs!

Porkus Ripyurassupiss
With the drought we're in the middle of here in northern California, the pigs have supposedly moved towards a local lake near where we were going to hunt.  The boaters tend to get nervous when rifles are pointed in their direction!  We'll wait for the next rain, then hit the spot a week or so after that.

As a back-up, I was going to use my Family Card (it's like using the Race Card - trying to get something for nothing).  I've got a brother-in-law who used to be the Fire Chief down in central California at the Fort Hunter-Liggett Army base - a place with a great reputation for hogs.  Same story - none to be found.

I picked up some sausage hooks for my smoker in anticipation of baggin' a boar.  I think I'll head to Winco to pick up some pork butt and try out a couple of recipes before I bag a hogzilla...

Save me.  Again...

I clicked on one of those Instant Polls that was about the big Target credit card hack.

I just want to puke.  Seventy-nine percent (the total of the second and third options) of the people taking the poll are saying one thing:  I don't want to take responsibility.  Or more accurately, "I want someone else to take responsibility for me."

I've mentioned before that I was in banking for over 30 years.  A good chunk of those years was running IT departments, up to and including as the Chief Information Officer.  I know security, especially when applied to financial transactions.  So take this bit of insight if you'd like:

You're an idiot if you think your private, highly personal data is immune from attack.

In fact, if you don't expect your data and dollars to be corrupted multiple times in your lifetime, you need to put down the bong and play the Slappy Game -

So, if you know with metaphysical certitude that the bits and bytes that represent your wealth are at risk and will be violated, why would you keep anything other than the very bare minimum (bills that must be paid with a check or electronically) in a bank?

Some reasons -

  • It's too hard.  Hey, I think there's a Matlock Marathon on the tube today!
  • The 0.35% interest rate on my 12-month CD is just too good to let go
  • If the government wants to know how I earn and spend every dime I've got, well, that's OK by me
  • Only drug dealers and criminals use cash.  That's what the government says!
  • I don't know who to ask for permission to buy a small fire safe for my house.  Oooo, look... kittens!
  • The US will never do a "bail in" like what happened in Cyprus, even though the Dodd-Frank law now makes, "bail-outs" illegal.  No, they'd never do that.
  • A safe deposit box should be good enough.  No one in the world but me can have access.

As one of my morning radio show hosts says, "Stupid should hurt."  It will, soon enough...

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.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Buyer Beware

In my Precious Metals (PM) store, we're seeing more and more counterfeits.  A few years back, it started with common silver rounds (private mint 1oz silver coins) and bars.  It's now running rampant, and is moving into some of the higher priced numismatic (collectible) coins.

For example, about 2 months ago, a guy came into the store with a graded, certified 1916-D dime.  It was graded as MS 63.  In English, it means that this dime - the most valuable of modern-era dimes - was graded to be a Mint State (MS) 63 (out of a scale from 1 to 70).  Anything in the 60's range is Mint State, and this means the coin is uncirculated - it never made it into someone's pocket to be spent.  This is a VERY rare coin - somewhere in the vicinity of $15,000-$17,000!
A $15,000 Dime!
My partner who was in the store when the dime came in, asked some questions of the seller and did some diagnostics on the coin.

Where'd you get the coin?  My grandfather died and left it for me (red flag - with the number of grandpa's that have died and left stuff to their grandkids who come into our store, there should be no one alive in California over the age of 60!)

How much are you looking to get for the coin?  I know it's worth 15 grand or so, but I'm heading to Vegas tomorrow, and want fast cash.  I'll take $7000 for it. (WOOP!  WOOP!  WOOP!  Red flag, sirens, fireworks.  The wholesale buy price for this coin would be ten to twelve thousand.  A seller might take a haircut of a few hundred dollars - maybe a thousand bucks.  But for his asking price to be a minimum of $3000 below the low end - especially when he knows the retail value - signals trouble.)

My partner looked more closely at the coin, and COUNTERFEIT fairly bit him in the ass.

The coin was clearly a circulated coin - somewhere in the 30 to 40 grade range.  And, as indicated on the picture above, it was graded FB.  This stands for "full bands".  On the reverse of the Mercury dime is a tall bundle of wheat that is banded in 3 places.  "Full Bands" means you can see the separation between the individual bands that are binding the wheat stalks.

When a coin is highly circulated, these bands get rubbed down, because they are one of the high points on the reverse of the coin.  Each different coin type has its own Achilles Heel.  This is the weakness of the Mercury dime, and when it's in Full Band condition, the price skyrockets.

The bands on this coin were smooth as a baby's butt.

So, he had a coin which was clearly a circulated coin, in a certified holder (from one of the two grading companies that we trust), saying it was an uncirculated coin in pristine condition.  That tells you just one thing:

The certification and slab were counterfeits.

If you come to that determination, you can also assume that the dime itself could have been altered.  Say, a 1916 dime from the Philadelphia mint (a very common dime that comes out with no mint mark) where a bogus mint mark was added to the coin.

Needless to say, we passed on the coin.

How do you protect yourself?  Personally, I'd stay away from upper-level numismatics, unless you yourself are able to evaluate and authenticate the coin in question.  With regards to the dime in question, if my partner hadn't known what to look for, we could have taken a HUGE hit.

One of the big grading companies (PCGS, the other is NGC) is coming out with a new case (called a 'slab' in the industry) that is more tamper-resistant and includes a hologram for security purposes.  I'm sure the other companies will be coming out with something similar, but I'm not holding my breath that it won't take counterfeiters little time to start producing knock-offs of these as well.

Coins like the one above are kind of in this "middle earth" ground.  They're more expensive than bullion, but they're not earth-shaker coins where the sale makes the newspapers.  Lately, we've been seeing dimes, nickels, silver dollars and gold pieces selling for millions of dollars.

The mega-big-bucks guys are still out there, but the people that go for the coins in the $5,000 to $50,000 range have dwindled.  Significantly.  I don't know that there is sufficient demand to keep prices up.

One of the private bullion mints, Sunshine Mint, has come out with rounds and bars with a new security feature.  You pass a special decoder card over the coin, and you can read, "valid" on it.

I still recommend going with bullion.  In our store, we use a device called a Fisch tester.  We purchased a complete set - for north of $500 - about 2 years ago.  Well worth the price.  It has already caught 4 gold coins that were counterfeits.  At $1300 or so a coin (higher when we first bought it), it paid for itself with the first catch.

It authenticates the weight, diameter and thickness of the coin.  A counterfeiter can fake two of those, but not all three without using real gold or silver.  For instance, you can have a coin that weighs exactly 1 ounce, and is the perfect diameter.  But, unless it's gold or silver, it will need to be significantly thicker due to the lower density of counterfeiter metals such as lead, pewter or nickel.

We've got a couple of gold customers who only pay after they see us put their coins through the tester.  Smart.

If you don't want to put out that kind of money, junk silver is another great way to fight this.  Ninety percent silver coins are individually too small in value and aren't worth the trouble to counterfeit.  Couple that with some of the lowest premiums over spot silver prices, and it makes them a tough combination to beat.

Accept The Challenge

If you're going to buy numismatic coins, PLEASE get educated first.  Trust no one other than yourself.  Trust someone else and you can very easily end up like this guy who came into our store... after paying DOUBLE what he should have.

At least those coins were real.

Think of numismatic coins as works of art.  The market is driven by folks who want rare things.  Some folks - maybe you - like the thrill and prestige of owning something very rare.  To each their own.

God Bless Them, because I sell to them each and every day.  But for my money, I like investments based upon intrinsic value.  Bullion and numismatics can both cost you, or make you, a bundle.   Just know what you're getting into before you buy.

This post ("Entering The PM Pool") has links to a half dozen articles I've written to get you on sound footing before you buy.  Read 'em.

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.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Flung Spaghetti

Another one bites the dust...

Barry's been busy -
You see, there have 9 top level military leaders and commanders fired or relieved of duty since April. Is Obama preparing things for some sort of big event?
The rumor is, he's giving senior military members a litmus test:  Would you fire on American citizens?  Answer in the negative, and you're out.

I've seen nothing to substantiate this rumor (other than lots of sites reporting it, which means exactly nothing), but when members of the MSM start noticing this stuff, maybe there are some legs to this.

Watch and listen...

More Barry news...

It seems as though someone, FINALLY, has called him on some of his extra-constitutional activities -
The court heard arguments Monday in a politically charged dispute over the president's power to temporarily fill top-level posts when the Senate is in recess. The justices heard more than 90 minutes of arguments in a case that centers on appointments Obama made in 2012 to the National Labor Relations Board.
The Administration wanted to pack the NLRB with a bunch of pro-union activists.  The Senate was having none of it, and wouldn't give him a vote.  They then used the rules of the Senate, and kept themselves from officially going into recess.

As you hopefully know, if the Senate is in recess, the President can make 1-year appointments to key positions without their approval.  The Senate wouldn't go into official recess, so Barry just said, "Make it so!" and made the appointments anyways.

The Supremes are taking up the matter of whether the Senate gets to decide when it's in recess, or if the High Priest of Pennsylvania Avenue gets to make that call.

Seriously, why hasn't the impeachment process started?

Holy crap... (h/t Wirecutter at Knuckledraggin My Life Away)

That's what you look like just before you die after a violent beating.  By police officers.
Thomas, 37, died five days after a violent confrontation with six officers in July 2011. A surveillance camera at the busy transit center where the incident unfolded captured him screaming for his father again and again and begging for air as the police kneed him, jolted him with an electric stun gun and used the blunt end to strike him around the face and head.
Ready to projectile vomit?
"Police officers are very unusual kinds of defendants because ... they are seen as acting not in their own interests but acting to protect the public at large, the very people sitting on their jury," Rosenthal said. 
Jurors are willing to forgive lapses in judgment rather than put an officer "in the cage with the same people that officer has spent his life arresting," he said.
...[B]ut acting to protect the public at large...  Perhaps the 6 heros who beat his ass could have found a way to protect him a little less thoroughly.

Practice makes, uhm, imperfect...

Some guy has a grudge, and decides to avenge his grievances by tossing a Molotov Cocktail.  Five times.
The aspiring arsonist could not for the life of him aim a Molotov cocktail through a window on the 2600 block of North Frankford Avenue in the city's Richmond neighborhood Jan. 9 at 2:10 a.m., police said.
You've got to click the link and watch the video.  What's he got the gasoline in?  A steel Thermos bottle?

Now I can sleep at night...

We need ANOTHER law for this?  The First Amendment isn't enough?  Color of Authority laws are insufficient?
But some of the most interesting action happened on the sidelines, where negotiators agreed to strict rules to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from targeting groups for ideological scrutiny, and specifically banning the agency from targeting citizens “for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment.”
I read somewhere else that the [in]Justice Department isn't going to bring charges against anyone for the IRS/Tea Party scandal.  Well there's a shock.

At least now we've got another law to protect our Constitutional rights that can be ignored and abused, where the perpetrators go unpunished.

Pardon me.  I seem to have misplaced my flag and copy of the Pledge of Allegiance...

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.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Precious Manipulations

For my precious metals business, 2013 was a real head-scratcher.  We - and the rest of the world - saw the price of gold drop by 28%.  Silver's loss was even greater.

Logic says this is all backwards.  Every single economic action and indicator pointed towards the exact opposite "reaction".  Gold and silver should have soared in price.  The dollar was devalued by at least another trillion dollars via Quantitative Easing.  Physical gold shipments to China, India, Russia and others broke all kinds of records.  The US mint, once again, had to limit shipments of gold and silver Eagles at points throughout the year because demand out-stripped supply.

Germany asked for their gold to be returned from the NY Federal Reserve bank, and they got permission to view their gold (LOL!) in the vaults.  And were then told they'll get it over the next 7 years!  WTF?

Why not just crate up their gold, and have it shipped?

Clearly, there's a disconnect between supply and demand, with demand outstripping physical supplies.  Yet gold posted its first loss in 12 years.  How the hell could that have happened?

Many people have asked that question.  Robert Barone has some ideas -
The answer lies in leverage and hypothecation, the modus operandi of Wall Street, London and financiers worldwide. The paper gold market, the one that trades the ETFs such as GLD, is 92 times bigger than the physical supply of gold, according to Hathaway. 
Think about that. It means that each physical ounce of gold that actually exists has been loaned, pledged and reloaned 92 times on average. Each holder in the paper gold market thinks that the ounce of paper gold held in the brokerage account is backed by an ounce of real gold. But, there are, on average, 92 others who apparently have a claim on the same real physical ounce.
Oh.  Crap.  Wonder what would happen if they all said, "Show me the REAL money" at the same time.

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times:  If you can't hold it, you don't really own it.  Speculation - not economics - is driving the price of precious metals.  More now than ever.

What does that mean to the small, private individual that either holds PMs or is considering it?

Expect the unexpected.  Prices may soar, or they may crash.  For now, the standard economics of it are largely irrelevant.  The Big Dogs of the investment world are driving prices now.  Those "dogs" include major investors and hedge funds, and world governments.

Governments, in particular, have a vested interest in keeping down the price of gold.  Gold is the anti-fiat currency.  Confidence in gold is a lack of confidence in government funny-money, and that's not good for TPTB.

The thing is, economics, eventually, win out.  Always have, always will.  Some unforeseen event - a Black Swan, if you will - pokes it's beak into the markets, and real economics come into play.

The problem is, it's impossible to predict when this will happen.  It may be tomorrow, it may not happen in your lifetime.

The Soviet Union was able to prop up its communist/socialist economy for 70 years before real economics kicked in.  Then, it crumbled before our very eyes.  Similar things appear to be happening in the once super-heated Chinese economy.

Here at home, no one with the power to change things dares to attempt to fix our national debt, Social Security and Medicare problems.  None want to leave any fingerprints at the scene of the crime.  Like the house of cards it is, if you try to fix the base, it all comes a-tumblin' down.  These problems cannot be fixed by any means other than a crash.  It's mathematically impossible.

We'll keep devaluing the dollar to pay for these "entitlement" programs.  Other nations are following a similar path, so in relative terms, the dollar is maintaining its value to other currencies.  We're the tallest midget in the circus, so to speak.

But it will eventually end.  We'll go the way of every other hyper-inflated currency, and then only tangible, real money will be worth a damn.

Hopefully, that outcome won't include - as it did in Germany after the Weimar Republic financial crash - a charismatic individual coming to power with promises of riches and equality for all subjects.  I mean citizens, of course.

Naw, that'd never happen here.

Accept The Challenge

Precious metals, IMO, should be a part of everyone's wealth bucket.  Be it 5% or 50%, PMs provide stability and maintain purchasing power during turbulent economic times.

Like now.

My recommendations, as before:

  • Pay off your debt first.  Debt kills.
  • Build a cash (fiat) fund for emergencies where you need cash right now.
  • If you're looking to buy a long-term asset, such as real property or something automotive, contribute to that fund
  • THEN, buy some precious metals.  Consider them to be the "401(k) of last resort".  Liquidate fiat currency-based savings first
  • PLEASE, don't go, "All In".  I see this all the time in our store.  People have done all of their reading, saved a ton of bucks, and then like a roulette wheel gambler, put it all on red.  Some times it works, some times it doesn't.  I recommend a planned purchase schedule.  $5000 over three months, or $1000 a month for a year.  Whatever you can afford.  Something where you start a planned, conservative investment portfolio.
  • If at all possible, buy from a local coin or bullion dealer, and pay in cash.  (No, I'm not feathering my own bed.  I don't sell online, nor have I mentioned the name of my PM store for those of you in Nor. Cal)  No one - federal, state or local government officials - needs to know what you've got.  Buying locally will almost certainly cost you a few bucks extra, but I believe that the anonymity is worth the price of admission.  YMMV.  Buy online, and at least 3 entities know you bought precious metals - the online PM store, the credit card company and the delivery company.  Way too many people for my liking.

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.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Five "A's" Of Self-Defense

In my various Safety Awareness classes, I've got a set of rules, so to speak, that I teach my students.  Each group or trainer has their own "gig" and emphasizes different points and priorities.

It's similar to the various Firearms Safety Rules.  The NRA has their three primary rules.  Another organization may have 4 rules, some use ten or more.  Regardless, they are all trying to impress different ways of being safe with a firearm.

I found this article, ("The Five “A’s” of Self-Defense") that I thought I'd share.

Acceptance - Coming to grips with the fact that you CAN be assaulted.  Too many folks are simply unwilling to accept this premise.  Somehow, they feel that because they, "live in a good neighborhood" or have nice friends, they're somehow immune to an attack.  Not so.

Awareness - ALWAYS keeping your head on a swivel when you're out in public.  Pay attention to folks that are paying attention to you!

Avoidance - I've noted here before that the best place to be during an emergency is... somewhere else!  Keep abreast of what's going on in your local area.  Are any protests being planned?  How about a big-news trial verdict - especially those with racial overtones.  And, of course, stay away from areas or neighborhoods with high crime rates.  Why ask for trouble?

Action - Sometimes, despite your best intentions and planning, danger still finds you.  ALWAYS have a plan for defending yourself.  If you can, carry a handgun, pepper spray, stun gun or some other defensive tool that can allow you to come out unharmed if a larger, stronger or numerically superior group attacks you.  As it says at the top of this page, "YOU are responsible" for your own personal safety.

Aftermath - I tell all of my students - whether they be in a gun, pepper spray or stun gun class - expect to be arrested if you've hurt or killed someone in self-defense.  Even if that incident happens in your own home.  The police see someone dead or harmed, and they MUST investigate what happened.  If you've got it in your head that you're going to be arrested, you're less likely to resist the police, and end up being charged for other infractions.

Accept The Challenge

It's all about planning and preparation.  Caught unaware or unprepared, you are more likely to make mistakes and use poor judgement.

Run through scenarios that could happen BEFORE they happen.  What will you do if someone grabs you from behind?  From the front?  Busts into your home?  Runs you off the road?  Pulls a gun?  Pulls a knife?  Are you alone or with others?  Any kids around?  What is on your person or nearby to act as a weapon?  Where are the exits?  The choke-points?

Think through your steps before you're forced to enact them.

Financial Disclosure:  I'm now part of a group that provides financial protection to folks that use a firearm for self-defense.  Click here for more information.  If you decide to get a membership, I will receive ongoing compensation for this.

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.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In Jail, or In An Urn

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
- Thomas Jefferson (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria)

Choices.  We've all got a lot of them to make.  Christopher Entzminger-Joyner made one that saved his life.  The state agrees that he acted in self-defense.

And now he's going to prison ("Norwalk man gets two years for self-defense shooting") -
A Norwalk man who shot three men while trying to defend himself from local gang members in South Norwalk, and was subsequently picked up with a pistol while out on bond, was sentenced Tuesday to two years in jail. 
Christopher Entzminger-Joyner, 22, of Taylor Avenue, pleaded guilty in November to illegal discharge of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.
Read the whole article.  It's going to make you sick.  Christopher, a 22 year old black male - who had no previous entanglements with the law - gets jumped, and defends himself with a gun.  An American citizen of majority age chose - twice - to retain the tools necessary to ensure his personal safety, and he's going to prison for those choices.

How do you think that's gonna turn out?  Is previously-clean record Christopher going to "learn his lesson" and become a better person, or is he going to come out as damaged goods?

Wow, that's a tough call.  Not.

He's going to become another young black man with a prison record for gun charges.  What are his chances of finding a job, a wife, having kids and becoming a contributing member of society?  Zero.  They're gone.

Of course, we will never know if he'd have chosen that path anyways, but now - because he chose to ignore Connecticut law and save his own life - we know with almost perfect certainty that this path is gone.

Accept The Challenge

As I noted in an earlier post, a friend of mine had to make the same choice -
Let that sink in:  Her affirmative act of acquiring and possessing the means to save her own life would have instead resulted in her forfeiting her liberty. 
Leslie followed the letter of the law, and ended up dead.
It's the old saw, "I'd rather be tried by twelve than carried by six."  How did this country become so messed up that this is a choice we must make?  Self-defense or prison?

I can say that I, for one, am never without a weapon that can be used to save my life.  I'm more fortunate than most of my fellow Californians, in that I have a personal and (more importantly) professional life that allows me to legally have a gun with me at almost all times, even though my county will not bless me a CCW permit.  Granted many times when traveling, the gun is in a locked container, but it is always within arm's length away, and can be in my hand and loaded in just a few seconds (Yes... I practice this.  Often).

And when I'm in areas where my safety, "Spidey-sense" is going off, I willfully break the law and have the gun out of the case and loaded.  I'm simply not going to die and burden my family with choosing between a coffin or an urn for my burial.

Ain't gonna happen.  At least not because the State said I couldn't protect myself.

What are YOU gonna do, fellow Californians?  Fellow Americans?

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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday's Charlie Foxtrot

Thank God we're not European (h/t The Woodpile Report),,,

It seems that the European Commission has power over something called, "Plant Reproductive Material Law" -
It will be illegal to grow, reproduce, or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been been tested and approved by the government, more specifically the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”
Let THAT sink in:  If you can stick it in the ground and grow it, but some Eruo-crat hasn't blessed the seed, you'll got to jail.  Those crazy, crazy Euros.  It's like they think they have god-powers over nature.  At least we free Americans don't have to put up with crap like that.

I spoke too soon...

Oops.  Perhaps like some totalitarian flu bug, it appears as though this god-power has wafted "across the pond" and resides here as well.  In our Supreme Court, no less -
The second case being called to attention is Bowman v. Monsanto.  An Indiana farmer named Vernon Bowman was sued by agri-giant and seed-modifier Monsanto for purchasing seeds from a grain elevator and planting them in his fields.  Monsanto claimed that planting those seeds violated the corporation’s patent rights over them, since they were genetically-modified and considered Monsanto’s intellectual property.  Since Bowman “replicated” the company’s intellectual property [uh, no, he planted them - like you're supposed to do with seeds ...ed], he was sued for nearly $85,000.00 in damages.  Bowman contended that existing patent law did not cover life forms, and that he had broken no laws.  “If they don’t want me to go to the elevator and buy that grain, then Congress should pass a law saying you can’t do it,” said Bowman.
The Supreme Court took up the Bowman case, and disappointingly sided 9-0 with Monsanto.  Rather than accurately declaring that the 120-year-old patent law did not offer any legal coverage of self-replicating seeds as they reproduce in perpetuity, the court made a landmark decision and changed the mechanics of patent law forever without an act of Congress.  This was the very definition of legislating from the bench, and gives corporations the leverage they need to punish consumers for “breaking” laws that don’t really accurately cover modern technologies like genetically-modified lifeforms and computer software.
Suggestion:  Buy your heirloom seeds now (if you haven't already done so).  Kick that GMO crap to the curb.

I'm not tryin' to be a dick here (pun intended)...

This just rubs me the wrong way.

It's about a self-defense class.  THAT I love.  What chaps my ass is that it was, "created specifically for the female defender".  What the hell does that mean?  You've got to have breasts and ovaries for the techniques to work?

"Look into my cleavage... you're feeling weak...."

I'm guessing it's all about techniques for smaller, weaker defenders to deploy against larger, stronger attackers.  Hey, there's always some guy bigger than you, and I'm sure they work just as well on smaller, weaker attackers.

Why the need to self-segregate?  Men need not apply.

I think I'll develop a shooting class limited to anyone who can pee standing up without dropping their drawers.

Let's see... Prozac or Zoloft...

Hiding from it won't make it go away.  Here are, "11 Nasty Trends That Will Test America's Resilience."

Things in the economy are still crappy, regardless of what Barry and His Merry Band of DC Thieves tells you.  The best thing out there right now is the stock market, but it's a game of Musical Chairs.  Last one standing loses his lunch money.

Stocks have soared because there's nowhere else to put your money (that's not overtly manipulated, like precious metals).  Bonds interest rates have been purposely held down by the Federal Reserve since (it seems like) Truman was in office.  When bond yields increase, money will gush from stocks into bonds like a tsunami.

There's no there there with stocks.  Earnings are either being driven by international sales, or by domestic cuts.  As in people.  For Gods sake, last week's, "first time unemployment claims" was down - to ONLY 338,000 THAT WEEK, and the stock market reacted like it just got a hit of Viagra.

Folks, get that second stream of income up and running.  Now.  What's the worst that can happen?  You've got some extra cash in the bank?

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.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Road Trip Preps

I just returned from a road trip to scout for properties outside of the late great state of California.

Since this trip started in California, I basically had to head east for the trip (I won't be moving to the socialist-leaning Oregon - the eastern half of the state would be a wonderful option, but all of the political power is in the western part of the state - it's become more of a northern annex of California).

So, I had to prepare for mountains (Sierra Nevadas) and lots of arid desert that is punctuated with towns here and there.  Twenty-plus miles between civilization is not uncommon.  In short, lots of geographically diverse space to cross, and it could suck badly if you broke down in one of the dead zones.

This article gives suggestions on "15 things that should be in your vehicle during winter" is a good start.
Some of these supplies may save your life.
  1. A shovel
  2. Windshield scraper and small broom
  3. Flashlight
  4. Battery powered radio with extra batteries
  5. Food and Water for 3 days
  6. Extra winter layers – hats, socks and mittens
  7. First aid kit with pocket knife
  8. Any necessary medications
  9. blanket(s) and/or bivvy bags
  10. Tow chain or paracord
  11. Road salt and sand
  12. Booster cables
  13. Emergency flares
  14. Fluorescent distress flag
  15. Snow chains
Aside from the road salt, sand and snow chains, my car's Get Home Bag contains all of those items for two adults for three days.

Things I have in addition to these listed items include:

  • A pistol with 50 round of ammo, holster and mag pouch
  • An AR7 survival rifle (a break-downable .22LR rifle) and 50 round of ammo
  • Three means to make fire:  Bic lighter, strike-anywhere matches, magnesium fire starter bar; plus Vaseline-soaked cotton balls and dryer lint for tinder.
  • A means to purify more water.  I have three additional means:  purification tablets, a Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter and hiking pot/fire to boil
  • A small ax.
  • A fixed blade and folding knife.
  • A multi-tool
  • An 8x10 foot tarp
  • Two cans of, "fix a flat"
  • Mobile phones
  • A 100 yd roll of 550 paracord (I know it was listed in the first list, but I want to make the point that I WAY over-do it with cordage.  So many uses.)
  • Roll of duct tape

Obviously, gear only gets you part of the way there.  You need to know how to use it.  So, skills needed include:

  • How to change a flat tire
  • How to start a fire
  • How to build a shelter with the tarp (including knot knowledge) and local materials
  • How to find water in arid locations
  • How to accurately shoot both of the firearms
  • Basic first aid
  • How to stop profuse bleeding

Accept The Challenge

If you breakdown in BFE, how well are you going to fare?  Are you alone, or with others?  How many?  What ages and skill sets do they possess?  What skills do you possess to keep your name out of the local news reports about, "a body was recovered"...?

The Rule of Threes is one of those things you should keep at the front of your mind:

You can live...

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter (obviously during extreme heat or cold weather - and I consider fire to be a form of shelter)
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

Prepare and develop skills accordingly...

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.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chicken Feed

I'm off for a road trip to another state in search for property that does not contain a California zip code.  My wife and I have narrowed the areas in this state where we'll consider moving, and now we're fine-tuning the search to the district and neighborhood level.

Exciting times!

One of the considerations is the ability of the property to support us with food.  Water and land for vegetables, fruit trees and berries, and enough space to have a few meat animals.  Chickens and rabbits will most likely be on the menu!

Having never raised either of these, I'm obviously curious to understand the cost of raising these animals specifically to be slaughtered (plus eggs from the hens).

This article ("Cost of raising chickens in 2014") offers a glimpse into the ongoing costs of raising chickens and other fowl.  Quite interesting stuff.

I've read a number of books on raising chickens and rabbits, but this is the first, "real time" cost estimates I've seen.

For those of you with chickens, do these numbers seem reasonable?

For me, cost is only part of the reason we'll be raising meat animals.  The primary reason will be for self-sufficiency.  Chickens will cost $100 a pound if the local Safeway has its supply chain interrupted!

On a related note, my wild pig hunt has been rescheduled.  We're heading into the wilds in northern Sonoma county in late January.  Wild pigs in California have no bag limit, and no season.  Take 'em when you want, and as many as you want.  Most land owners consider them to be vermin.

The young man that's obtained access to this land has indicated we're welcome to hunt there as often as we'd like.  We'll see how this first hunt turns out, but if all is good, the pork aisle at the local supermarket may never see me again!

Accept The Challenge

If, for whatever reason, your local supermarket is unable to obtain food to sell, what would you do?  How would you provide for yourself and your family if we had a disruption of 3 months?  6 months?  Two years?

Could you provide for yourself, or would you become a ward of the state?  A FEMA camp "guest"?

No problem.  It looks like they have plenty of space left.

Skills and the proper resources will keep you alive and free.

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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Life Saving Safety Awareness

Happy New Years, folks.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but the rat-bastard maggot that murdered one of my weekend employees ("Deadly Words") was arrested in Las Vegas in early December.  They just extradited his sorry ass back to Yolo County where the murder occurred.

Sadly, my wish that he would resist arrest was not granted.

There are a bunch of things that could have taken place that might have saved her life.  In the original article, I discussed a couple of these things.  Like ignoring California gun laws against personal preservation and life.

This article by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault ("What We Talk About When We Talk About Trigger Warnings") discusses how focusing on pre-defined violence trigger may actually put you at risk.
Because of the diversity of experiences, literally anything can be a trigger. Peaceful lakes, or green valleys, the sound of a meditation bell or empowering songs or the scent of lavender can all be triggering depending on one’s experience. We simply cannot impose our concept of what may provoke a distressing response on others.
Amen to that.  Any kind of assault - sexual or otherwise - can be difficult to predict.  Look at this clearly race-based, "Knock Out Game" (aka Polar Bear Hunting), and how it is random, other than the race of the attacker and the victim.

Every video I've seen usually has a man or woman who is alone being attacked by the coward.  That's mistake number one.  Number two is not paying attention to your surroundings.  Like it or not, we're all vulnerable to attack at any time of the day or night.  Keeping your Safety Awareness basics engaged can help to keep you unharmed.

Check out these three newsletters from our archives on the subject:

Personal Safety While "On The Road" - Part 1
Personal Safety While "On The Road" - Part 2
No Victims Here!  What's in a Personal Safety Plan?

Accept The Challenge

  • Don't put yourself in a situation where you're likely to become a victim.
  • As the Great And Powerful Ol' Remus reminds us, "Stay away from crowds".
  • Never leave home - NEVER - without some way of defending yourself against stronger or numerically superior criminals.
  • Never give up.
  • The best place to be when an emergency happens is somewhere else.

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.