The latest posts from Surviving In Argentina
I bought this on your recommendation. It is light enough to counter any size and shape issue for EDC and is my go to, primarily for the battery options.
I tested the IR light with my unit and found no light emitted. Have you tested with yours? Let me know.
Thanks for your work. I have a long history with you and am glad to see some relatively speaking recent additions who have taken your ideas mainstream. Good for everyone. But you have the respect.
Last one - I recommend your listeners learn Spanish. I saw how the little I knew helped me in mediating court disputes in the inner cities. Spanish speakers are our neighbors. I recommend pimsleur.
The Streamlight Sidewinder II can use either AA, AAA or CR123A. That's versatility.
Hey Jon, glad you liked it.
No, the IR is not supposed to emit any visible light. You will see that there's some visible when you look at it through a camera like I do in the video review. Keep in mind that the IR LED is supposed to be used along with night vision gear.
The Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II has certain capabilities that, in my opinon, make it hands down the best survival and preparedness flashlight.
Its tough as nails, and bright enough for most tasks. You have the choice of LEDs, white, red, blue and IR, as well as strobe. All LEDs have four output modes up to 80 lumens. 80 lumens sounds pretty low, but it is comparable to other brands that claim 100-120 lumen output. The plain reflector also focuses the light a lot more, giving it greater throw and better practical use at longer distances.
So far it sounds as if there’s dozens of better lights out there, but what makes this one so special is that its capable of running on a single battery cell, either AA, AAA or CR123A, and it does so effectively without any glitches. This ability to practically eat any battery you come across is priceless during emergencies and disasters, especially long term ones when you may find yourself scrounging for batteries.
This is a pure-breed military torch. Its dust proof, waterproof and even clicking the rubber mode to turn it on is silent (the clicky makes no click sound). Being tough as nails is a big advantage in my opinion.
The only disadvantage I see to the flashlight is that it’s a bit bulky (though vey light weight) and it doesn’t fit as well in smaller jean pockets. I did carry it as my EDC light for a few weeks, still do every once in a while, but it does feel blocky compared to the roll of mint sized Eagletac D25C that I carry more often. This is purely personal. As you say yourself, you can EDC this light with no problem if you feel like doing so.
If I could only have one, I feel the Sidewinder Compact II is the best light you can have when things go wrong.
This story has more than meets the eye. Suppose it was not just a single home invader, but three or four – and she was a resident of shot capacity limiting New York or another state banning those evil assault rifles that carry too many rounds? What if she – like many of us – wasn’t such good shot, under duress (and possible darkness), and missed with her six rounds? Then what? While she may have to abide by the round capacity laws, the criminal – who is already a criminal and thus doesn’t care – can carry a high capacity weapon on his side, making the law even more dangerous for the law abiding citizen – not safer.
- A family in TN had a man threaten to break their door down in the middle of the night. They went for their firearms and called for help. They called the police who responded remarkably fast, in just 4 minutes they were there. Unfortunately it took less than 4 minutes for the criminal to break their door down and come in their home, even after being shot at. This was a man determined to achieve his criminal actions.http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/15/Tennessee-Family-Uses-Firearms-To-Stop-Late-Night-Intruder
- A woman home alone in Oklahoma in the middle of the afternoon has a man kick her door in. She was quick enough to grab her revolver and the man upon seeing the revolver closed that door he just kicked in and turned tail. I bet she wishes she had more than 6 rounds available to her, I guess in NY she could have had seven. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/13/Oklahoma-Woman-Stops-Robbers-With-Her-Gun
- A man in Houston has a criminal shove a gun in his chest as he tries to get into his vehicle. Two nearby good Samaritans come to his defense and give chase to the criminal while they are being shot at. The victim a non-gun owner sure seemed thankful that these two men happened to have their carry permits issued to them. http://www.khou.com/news/local/Robbery-victim-wants-to-thank-Good-Samaritans-who-came-to-his-rescue–186572461.html. This story illustrates exactly how guns have been used in the citizenry’s responsibility to protect the innocent (see http://www.protectfreedom.com/2012/12/17/gun-control-and-the-second-amendment-need-to-find-harmony/ for one writer’s take on this).
Sen. Diane Feinstein, who wants “Mr. and Mrs. America” to “turn in” their guns,(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=blXkl9YVoHo#t=2s where she states this ) admitted to availing herself of concealed carry for her own protection at one point – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B1EObqM9Z0s#t=2s . Of course, our aforementioned gun control nut NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg has armed bodyguards at all times, and, in personal communication with a friend and neighbor who is a recently retired senior staff member from the Illinois State Police, he noted that at least up to 2009 when he retired, Bill Ayers, the leftist, Obama crypto-crony who was co-founder of the communist Weather Underground (that conducted bombings of public buildings, including police stations, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Pentagon), whenever he was in a classroom teaching at Univ. of Illinois Chicago, was always assigned to have armed state police in his classroom for protection. It’s just you, dear reader,that are left to your own (unarmed) devices when you are threatened.
And let’s not forget the ever-hypocritical gun controller Michael Moore, who also maintains armed bodyguards, one of whom was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon at New York’s JFK airport back in 2005. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144921,00.html#ixzz2FnQC65J3 . Yes, this is the selfsame Mikey Moore who owned shared of Haliburton (see Peter Schweizer’s book Do As I Say, Not as I Do: Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy) and has both an extremely expensive penthouse in NY, as well as a massive, multimillion dollar mansion on Torch Lake, MI., as seen below.
“When asked what the likely outcome would have been at Aurora and Newtown had a legally armed civilian been there, 80 percent said there would have been fewer casualties; 6.2 percent said it would have prevented casualties altogether. Only 5.5 percent thought it would have led to greater loss of life.
When asked what could be done to prevent future mass public shootings, the most popular answer — picked by 28.8 percent – was for more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians. More aggressive institutionalization of the mentally ill was the choice of 19.6 percent. More armed guards were favored by 15.8 percent. Of course, none of these solutions are acceptable to the gun grabbers. Improved background checks were in fourth place, the choice of 14 percent of the respondents, followed by longer prison terms when guns are used in violent crimes (7.9 percent). What did the law-enforcement professionals have to say about about the left’s favorite solutions? A meager 1.5 percent put tighter limits on weapons sales at the top of their list. While legislative restrictions on “assault weapons” and larger magazines didn’t even get a nod from one out of 100 of the boys and girls in blue, it was the choice of .9 percent.
When it comes to making the public safer, including our children, “the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility” has the right answer: Get more arms in the right hands. And do a better job of getting the truly crazy off the streets.” (Cited from http://personalliberty.com/2013/04/19/a-huge-defeat-for-the-gun-grabbers/)
I have been following you blog and videos for a couple of years now. Also, I am reading your new book and enjoying it immensely. I would like to add that I loved your first book too.
I have a couple of nagging questions and I am hoping you might be able to answer them. First, I notice that you never mention the financial markets in Argentina. When Argentina had its' financial collapse over a decade ago, were there ANY areas that thrived? Or was it too risky to be in the markets? I hear people recommend this stock, bond etc. as being a good form of protection against financial collapse, however, I tend to be very skeptical. I have purchased some gold/ silver, but is there anything else you recommend (especially in the financial markets). Please understand, I am not looking for a "hot stock pick", or a way to get rich, just added ways to protect myself.
Also, I have a question about ammunition. If a large economic event were to occur in the US, what is likely to happen to self defense ammunition (JHP's). Were they scarce in Argentina? Were they too expensive to buy? Did the government limit their use? The reason I ask is that I tend to favor the 9mm and the .45ACP and if hollow points are hard to find, I will eventually run out of my 9mm hollow points. Are the 9mm fmj's as bad as many people say? I figure that if it happens that they are hard to find, I can use .45 fmj's. What do you recommend?
Thank you for all of your no nonsense advice. It is truly appreciated.
Regarding your first question, the Argentine market did get hit because of the economic collapse of December 2001, but it wasn’t as serious as you would expect. In fact, if you look at the chart, it seems to have been doing rather well ever since. Here, he have to keep a couple things in mind.
First, the argentine stock market wasn’t that big to begin with. There was no bubble to burst, so the drop due to the crisis wasn’t as significant as you might expect. Second, you have to keep in mind that as you consider the rising graphic, you must take into account that after 2001 the Argentine peso is no longer pegged to the US dollar and in fact inflation is likely bringing that chart down much more than it would initially seem, especially these last few years. I’m not stock exchange savvy but for the most part its understood that the stock exchange in Argentina is small, messy and you’re more likely to end up losing money. My advice would be to go for land, brick and mortar. Real estate has always been considered a safe, stable investment when buying smart and not falling for some developer’s scam.
Regarding ammunition, you already know that when things get tough, ammo gets pretty scarce. This is especially true for the more common calibers such as 22LR, 9mm ad 45 ACP. In the case of Argentina ammo was hard to find at times and it sure was expensive. The problem was that premium JHP ammo for defense was expensive to import after the devaluation, so there wasn’t that much floating around. Still, with some patience and a bit of money you did find it, especially in the more common calibers.
My advice here is to have plenty of ammunition. Start buying as funds allow but try going for 1000 rounds of pistol ammo. 5000 rounds would be even better, but 1000 should do as your first goal to go for. I know ammo is expensive but there’s just no way around it: Without ammo a gun is just a fancy paperweight or a poor club. If you buy a box here and there it will eventually pile up. Make sure to keep your emergency supply and not use it. I would go for quality JHP, in the case of 9mm I like 124gr +P. FMJ is not as bad as it sounds though. Granted, stopping power is pretty bad compared to JHP, but ball ammo kills people every day. Indeed, hardball FMJ .45 is superior to FMJ 9mm, but 9mm hollow point premium ammo will perform better than FMJ 45. Just make sure to buy ammo now for a rainy day. Even with ten boxes of ammo, not many people go through 500 rounds of ammo in defensive shootings during their entire life. Heck, most people will go their entire lives without firing a single round in self-defense, few will go through 50 rounds, let alone 500 or 1000.
Knives have always been our quintessential survival tools and little has changed in that regard since man first picked up a sharp piece of rock. Everything from repairs and rescue operations to self-defense, a knife allows you to perform an endless amount of tasks. No one argues the usefulness of a blade. While a fixed blade knife is always preferable, the reality is that its impractical to carry one in your pocket. The key to having a knife with you when you need it is to carry one every day and here is where folding knives enter the equation.
The Kershaw Lifter
In a market saturated with great choices, the Kershaw Lifter has some interesting attributes. The first thing to catch your attention is its price. Currently its 18.99 on Amazon, although that’s likely to change soon. You don’t find many good folding knives for that money. The second thing you notice once you hold it is how solid and well put together it feels. The design is very appealing, esthetically pleasing. The blackwash finish looks rugged and functional, in harmony with the 3.5” recurred tanto blade
In spite of the small size, the Lifter fits the hand well.
Price. Not many good knives for under $20
Design. The recurved edge is one of the most effective shapes for slicing and the tanto style tip should be robust enough for most utility and defensive uses.
Ergonomics. The handle feels comfortable, the flipper works as an effective finger guard. The handle provides plenty of real estate for medium/large hands in spite of the small size.
Esthetics. It’s an interesting, fine looking knife that looks more expensive than it actually is.
Speed. The Speedsafe system deploys fast and smoothly after a short break-in period.
Locking system. The framelock is well executed, and it includes an overtravell stop which is more often seen in much more expensive knives.
Mystery steel. I’m not expecting high end steels for $20 but I’d still like to know what steel I’m getting even if when heat treated correctly, an ordinary steel should perform well enough.
Clip. The clip is intended for right handed pocket carry only.
If you’re looking for a sub $20 folder, give this one some though and consider some of the other, more traditional offerings by Kershaw in the Blackwash line. Should make some very nice Christmas presents too if you’re doing some early shopping.
Ebola, combined with dropping oil prices, have caused stock markets to drop around the world. With questions about the European economy and an uncertain American growth many are wondering if another economic crisis is just around the corner.
Opinion: Brace yourselves for another financial crash
(CNN) -- The stock market's recent jitters have made many investors wonder whether there's a new financial crisis just around the corner. Well, of course there isn't -- because we've never really left the last one.Ebola: Could virus's spread cause financial market turmoil?Financial crises of the scale of the 2007 crash only really end when their causes are unwound by debt repayment, bankruptcies, debt write-offs, and inflation.In the 1930s, there was plenty of all four. The end result was that US private debt fell by almost 100% of GDP from its deflation-spiked peak of 130% in 1933, to a low of 35% at the end of WWII.By comparison, the debt cutting we've been through so far in this crisis is trivial -- a fall of under 20% from a far higher peak of 175% in 2010.We're attempting an economic revival from a debt level that exceeds the worst level reached during the 1930s....
The spread of Ebola beyond West Africa could lead to turmoil on international financial markets on a greater scale than the SARS outbreak a decade ago, economists have warned.
Analysts at Barclays warned that the continued spread of the deadly virus would hit global growth and "have a significant impact on global financial markets"....Fears of global slowdown spark fall on European and US stockmarkets
Fears of a worldwide economic slowdown and anxiety about the spread of Ebola reverberated around stock markets Wednesday, driving shares around the world sharply down and pushing the price of oil to a four-year low.
After falls in London and New York on Wednesday, Asia extended the selloff in global equities on Thursday as heightened concerns about world economic growth sent Japanese stocks tumbling and U.S. Treasury yields down...
I was just looking through your site. Looks like there has not been much on ebola. You may recall I am a licensed healthcare person, although not a nurse. I have a personal intellectual interest in infectious diseases, so I get this email digest from the International Society for Infectious Disease.
http://www.promedmail.org/ They had a period when it seemed like no messages were going out, but they seem back in the game now.
As a result, I guess I have been following the ebola outbreak since pretty close to when it started. I also just have kept an eye out for other articles about it. I distinctly remembered in the summer reading that the people who purport to study this kind of thing were heavily implying that it could be transmitted by droplets. The CDC et al. always go out of their way to insist ebola is not airborne. That is technically true, but to the layperson I think they don’t make a distinction between droplet transmission and airborne. Already at the beginning of August, the health authorities were giving guidance that was clearly intended to avoid droplet transmission.
Anyway, you know the CDC now has been going on and on about we have such a great healthcare system in the US, etc etc. I think anyone who actually works in the industry would be quick to tell you differently- including me. Last winter we were constantly running short of simple masks during flu season. So it was not hard to figure that they would not have a good supply of space suits for ebola care.
Just because I have been keeping an eye out, I have seen a few memos go past in the work email since the start of the outbreak, but they all have been beyond superficial. There has been no education, no drills, no stocking up that I can see, no designating areas to care for suspected cases, nothing like that. The vague, ebola related emails were just mixed right in with employee parking spot winners and foolishness like that.
Just yesterday morning we got an email ‘[Our hospital] remains prepared to deal with Ebola’. It was almost like a pep talk for people who already worked there. The only substantive bit was to tell people to look at the FAQs on the CDC website. There was nothing like ‘personal protective equipment can be obtained from so-and-so’ or ‘please put any suspected ebola cases in room 2′ or anything that would be immediately useful.
So last night the emergency department had someone come in who fit the profile for a potential ebola case. Guess what? No one knew what do to. They were calling around to see if anyone knew what to do, looking on google to find out what kind of PPE they should be wearing and how to isolate the patient.
I was surprised to learn that the people working didn’t even know about the potential for infectious droplets, because I had thought that was already established back in the summer. So basically, it sounds like it was a big clusterf*k. This is at a community hospital, so maybe they didn’t think it would be a problem for them.
I am on the email list from another hospital I used to work at- i.e. a ‘big city hospital’, and they were doing a training session today on PPE apparently. It says ‘ebola overview, resources, donning and doffing of PPE’. I only got the email first thing this morning which leads me to believe it was probably put together at the last minute.
I personally have not heard of anyone, anywhere, saying anything like, ‘Wow, we have done so much training for ebola,’ or ‘wow, my hospital is really on top of this.’ Everyone is like, ‘What’s going on?’
Just thought you might be interested.
As you know I have a very practical, no-nonsense approach to modern survivalism. I especially try to keep a level headed attitude and avoid fear mongering. Having said that, I just cannot believe how irresponsibly ebola is being handled.
“NOT EASY TO CONTRACT” this is literally what cnn has to say about ebola. Of course then it goes on to say in the same video presentation that it is carried in bodily fluids, blood, saliva, tears, mucus, feces, urine, sweat, semen and vomit. How can we say on one hand that direct contact is needed to get infected, but on the same video clip they say that saliva and mucus carries ebola and it can get into your body through your nose, mouth and even your eyes. Cant anyone makes the elemental connection between saliva and the thousands of droplets flying after a patient sneezes or coughs? Just yesterday I saw CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta argue with ebola expert David Sanders. Sanders was explaining the possibility of ebola being spread through aerosol transmission (sneeze, cough, vomit) but Gupta cut him short claiming the chances of such a transmission were so small, it was not worth talking about while other things were more important…??? You’re talking about ebola, and you don’t think its important to learn how you can actually catch it? I can’t believe relatively smart grown persons are either a) so stupid b) so irresponsible. The only option left I see is that these claims we see on the press are very misguided attempted to keep people calm. In any case, it is very concerning to still see talking heads in the media claiming ebola can’t be transmitted in such a way.
Thanks for sharing your experience JM!
I recently found this bus ticket in one of my jackets. This is a minimum fee bus ticket from Buenos Aires back in 2011. Notice that is says "Subsidised by the National Estate". Today, that same minimum fee, one ride ticket paid in cash costs 6 pesos, an inflation of nearly 600% in 3 years.
Also notice how small the bus ticket is. As the economy got worse in Argentina, everything suffered "shrinkflation" so as to cut cost and expenses wherever possible or even hide inflation by making food and other consumable goods in smaller "new" packages and bottles. As months went by, bus tickets kept getting smaller and smaller, up to the point where it was hard to read them for some people.
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca, circa 4 BC – 65 AD
– James Madison, considered the father of the US Constitution
- Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
– Author unknown
– Doug Casey, financial columnist
– Anonymous internet wag
- From BrotherJohn.com
– Star Parker, African American writer and commentator
– Catholic Deacon Greg Kandra
– Bill Ayers, leftist activist and confidant of gun control happy Barack Obama, in A Strategy To Win, appearing in New Left Notes, September 12, 1969
| - HL Mencken
– Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334
http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/gun_politics_in_switzerland.” Switzerland which has had three times the gun ownership as, for example Germany, has also had a much lower murder rate. And statistics like this ring true throughout the world. A short 3 minute video is here, for those that wish to see a short report on the Swiss and their guns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WFUu7cfa7k&feature=player_embedded#t=22s
Chicago , IL
Houston , TX
Median HH income
% non-Hispanic White
Concealed carry gun law
# of gun stores
84 dedicated gun shops,
1500 places to buy guns
Homicides per 100k
high temp, F
2010s (three years): 14
But lurking behind the school shooting question is the issue of “never let a crisis go to waste,” per Rahm Emmanuel. Is it really guns, or is it rather the gun grabber agenda that is in the dock here? If the former, why no comment from the leftist media that every month after the Sandy Hook shooting, on average 40 juveniles will be murdered with something other than a rifle? Or doesn’t that meet with the agenda du jour? (And I’m just waiting to hear some leftist claim that rifles cause global warming!)
And finally, if gun grabbers are so “concerned for the kids,” why then this story that came out just after Sandy Hook:
Every now and then a knife comes out that provides outstanding value. The Cold Steel Bowie machete at 15 Usd was such a knife. So was the Spyderco Tenacious and the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival I reviewed some time ago. (Updated review coming up soon)
Now, Kershaw has recently released three high value knifes in their BlackWash series. The Design and esthetics are what you can come to expect from other knives of the same company but with an extra zero on the price tag. That black-oxide BlackWash finish looks great on all three models, each with their own character.
These’s knives are currently selling in Amazon at around 20 usd. Expect the prices to go up as soon as the videos and reviews start rolling. The price should really be around 30 usd. I already placed my order, will do the reviews as soon as possible.
If you’re looking to get a solid small/medium EDC blade that gets the job done seriously consider one of these three for 20 bucks while you can.
Question for Fernando: What happens to personal debts in an economic collapse? How do people make monthly payments on debts when the economy implodes?
You basically still have to pay. If you owe 1000 USD and the dollar devaluates you still have to pay 1000 USD. If the dollar collapses and a week later those 1000 USD are worthless or at least worth less, then you pay back in that worthless money and there’s a chance you may have benefited from the event by paying back for whatever you got with your money in currency that is now worth less, while the property, goods or capital you bought or invested it retains its value much better. Then again, laws may be passed so as to avoid further economic damage by which your debt is adjusted to inflation. This will be very much contract specific but as we all know laws are written with one hand and changed with the other. In any case, chances are that if you buy property, cars or other durable goods with that money and some time later the economy collapses, you probably benefit from it as long as you’re able to keep making the payments and the inflation adjustment (if there is one) isnt too bad.
- Tent town in USA
Same happened to others but the other way around.
They paid for the debt and a few weeks later realized that if they had waited they would have saved ¾ of their money.
People that got into debt in dollars for a house, machinery, they were lucky because since the problem was so big most debts were pesified, meaning they paid back at a 1 dollar =1.4 pesos rate or so if they had the debt in dollars, or simply paid back in pesos if the debt was contracted in pesos. Having debt in devaluated pesos was of course the most beneficial scenario given that their debt was suddenly reduced to 25% of the original amount.
Of course you no longer got paid in a currency that was 1 to1 with the USD, but yes, it was a sweet deal for some.
- Favela in Brazil
Regarding mortgages in Argentina, certain laws were implemented to stop people from losing their homes, but it just worked in a smaller percentages of the cases.
A law was passed, Ley 25.798, which gave you a year before you had to continue making your mortgage payments. The mortgage was updated to the current price of the property and monthly payments could not be greater than 25% of the family’s income. This only benefited those that had bought the property between January 2001 and September 2003, the property had to cost less than 100.000 USD or the equal amount converted to pesos and it had to be your only property, the one you live in. This of course meant that the law only benefited the lower income buyer, and only those that bought during that period of time. As for those not covered by this law, a thousand homes went under the hammer per month.
Here’s the link explaining all this but its in Spanish:
What happens if you cant make the payments? Accounts get frozen, and any money coming into your account is immediately taken to pay for those debts. You lose everything little by little and become poor or even fall below the poverty bracket into extreme poverty and indigence, losing it all and becoming homeless. That happened to hundreds of thousands. I know of several people that had to move back with their parents, other relatives of friends to live in their kitchens or living rooms for long periods of time, and those are the lucky ones. Those that didn’t have family to take them in, they ended up living on the streets.
What does all this mean?
Lets suppose for a minute that the United States collapses economically. If it does, then its not hard to see similar measures being taken: Maybe some of the poorest people that have debt may be able to benefit from some emergency law that buys them a bit more time, although it may be of little or no help in the end. The financial help or other extraordinary measures or laws passed to help the middle class would be even less. Ultimately you’re looking at the poor and middle class taking most of the financial damage, with a large chunk of the American society falling a few more steps of the social ladder into even deeper poverty.
Pretty much everyone is at risk and no one has his job fully warrantied against termination.
Bug Out Vehicle
A Bug Out vehicle is a form of transportation that allows you to reach a safe location during emergency situations. We can assume that for the most part driving will be done on roads and we will only go off-road when there’s no other choice. Still, since emergency scenarios can be very different from one another, the specific vehicle best suited for each will be different too. A person living in a rural area with poor roads and heavy snow during winters will appreciate having a 4WD/AWD BOV, while someone living in a dangerous country with serious crime problems, terrorist threats or war may greatly value armored protection. In spite of the differences, there are certain common traits you want to look for in a BOV:
Reliability: A car is of no use if it doesn’t run. How big it is or how powerful it is, it all comes in a distant second place to actually working. The BOV should have an excellent track record when it comes to reliability. The last thing you want to worry about when evacuating is mechanical problems. All motor vehicles have them, but some have them far more often than others. Having a reliable vehicle will also mean that your car is less likely to need repairs (saving money) when used on daily basis for commuting and driving around town.
Fuel Efficiency: While monster trucks and bomb-proof military vehicles may look great in post-apocalyptic movies, spending a small fortune in gas every month gets old fast and isn’t nearly as cool as you thought it would be when you realize how much money you could have saved with a more fuel efficient vehicle. Poor gas millage is usually the reason why most big BOV stay in the garage while a more efficient car is used for driving around. The theory here is that when disaster strikes, the person will be able to go back home, load up the BOV, and make a triumphal exit while the neighbors stare in awe with their jaws hanging, his sparkling off-road truck blinding them with sun reflecting off the manly stainless steel grill guard. The flaw in this theory is assuming that a person will somehow know when disaster will strike. There’s never a warning. That’s part of what disasters and emergencies are all about. This means that the vehicle used on daily basis will probably be the vehicle you will have with you when things go wrong. Last but not least, fuel efficiency is of great importance because it’s directly proportional to how much distance you can cover on any given amount of fuel you have or are able to procure.
Ease of Repair: The car should be easy to repair. Spare parts should be widely available and not too expensive. The car should be popular enough so that most car mechanics are familiar with the model.
4WD/AWD: If possible, the vehicle should have good ground clearance and 4WD/AWD so as to go off-road or over sidewalks, boulevards and debris should they ever be encountered. It will also make the vehicle more suited for dealing with snow storms and floods. In general, the more suited a vehicle is for off-road, the larger the engine and the more fuel it uses, defeating the purpose of having a car that makes the best use of the fuel available. Because of this reason, light off-road SUVs and AWD sedans may hit that sweet spot where the fuel economy isn’t that bad and it is still capable of limited off-roading if it’s ever needed.
The Honda CR-V was the #1 best-selling SUV in USA in 2012 with 281,652 units sold2. It was introduced in 1995, based on the successful Civic platform and it is still one of the best choices for those looking for a compact SUV. The CR-V has earned itself a solid reputation for reliability, versatility and quality of construction. Used Honda CR-Vs are affordable yet very reliable if one in good condition is purchased. While they are clearly oriented for light off-road use, they are still capable of dealing with realistic bugging out challenges such as snow and secondary dirt or gravel roads. Some Honda CR-V are 2WD, so make sure you are buying a four-wheel drive (4WD) model for better off-road performance. For those considering buying a new CR-V, Honda plans to use a common platform for its remodeled Civic, Accord and CR-V sport utility vehicle, which are slated to go on sale in 2015-173. Honda has a larger model called Pilot that has three rows of seats so as to seat eight people, improved off-road capability and it can wade through 19 inches of water.
Like Honda, Toyota enjoys a reputation of solid performance and reliability which is the main trait to look for in a BOV. The RAV4 was introduced in 1994 and was the first compact crossover. The Toyota RAV4 ended up in #4 with 171,877 units sold in USA in 2012, behind the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Equinox. The RAV4 competes directly with Honda’s CR-V. Both are popular choices and have similar traits. The Honda CR-V seems to have a better reliability record even if both vehicles are very reliable, while the RAV4 has a slight edge regarding fuel efficiency.
There’s a short body 3-door model RAV4 that could work well for those needing an even smaller vehicle.
Tip: There’s a 2008 Sport model that has a rear door without the externally mounted spare tire. This model uses run-flat tires, which are capable of resisting the effects of deflation when punctured. This can be a great advantage during car-jacking attempts and urban disasters.
The Toyota Hilux is an excellent option due to its legendary reliability. The reputation of the Hilux grew even more after the “Top Gear” TV show episodes where a beat up Hilux survived various torture tests including being washed out to sea, submerged in sea water for four hours, crashed into a tree, hit with a wrecking ball, set on fire and placed on top of a building that was later demolished with explosive charges. All they used to fix it and keep it running between tests was basic tools and supplies without using any spare parts.
The Toyota Hilux has been used all over the world doing all kinds of jobs, everything from farm pickup, off-roading vehicle, police patrol vehicles in South America and even as “technical” improvised fighting vehicles with a gun mounted on them.
The Toyota 4Runner available in USA is part of the Hilux family, sold in Japan under the name Hilux Surf. The fist 4Runner was little more than a camper version of the Hilux. The Toyota Highlander is the mid-size crossover SUV counterpart of the 4Runner. While less rugged, it is one of the most fuel efficient midsize SUVs.
If you need a bigger, more rugged vehicle, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a body-on –frame 4WD that has proven itself in some of the most extreme environments.
Chevrolet makes the best-selling Silverado pickup and the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe which is considered “king of police SUVs”. The lengthened wheelbase model of the Tahoe is available as the Chevrolet Suburban (station wagon-bodied version) which is favored by the FBI and presidential secret service. These are big, powerful vehicles but have poor fuel efficiency and therefore the effective range per gallon during an evacuation scenario is not that good. If you need a daily driver for long range commutes, this can be a deal-breaker too due to fuel costs.
Suzuki makes affordable vehicles known for their reliability. The Vitara is a solid and competent light-medium off-road vehicle even if it’s not that good on gas.
It is recommended to stay away from very old cars and restoration projects unless you are very knowledgeable and willing to do most of the work yourself. Like military surplus vehicles, old car restoration projects tend to cost more than what it’s worth, not only regarding money but time as well. If funds are somewhat limited, buying a used car of known reliability will cost less money than getting into a restoration project.
While vehicles that have certain characteristics that make them more suited for emergency scenarios are recommended, the reality is that the cost of driving around, maintenance and especially fuel efficiency, may ultimately decide the outcome of what vehicle you chose. If you have to drive long distances and do so on a tight budget, then a reliable vehicle with a significant priority on fuel efficiency may fit the bill. None the less, you can do so applying the same criteria: Prioritizing popular models which are easy to repair and find parts for and manufacturers of proven reliability. Some good options are the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Prius. Keep an eye out for Hatchback and Station Wagon variants. These can add flexibility and extra cargo space that can come in handy at times. Some station wagons models add an extra row of passenger seats.
Law enforcement agencies that are on a budget will sometimes chose more fuel efficient sedans and their choices are worth considering. Due to car pursuit training and post-collision reliability, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration is usually favored. RWD makes for a more robust layout which is more agile as well in the hands of an expert driver. The disadvantage is that RWD isn’t as popular as the more common front-wheel drive layout, it’s generally more expensive and there’s some loss of traction on snow, ice and sand.
If you can’t do without 4WD or AWD because of snow, ice or poor roads then there’s sedan models that could work for you. Subaru offers the Legacy and Outback as efficient AWD models.
These are just some of the cars recommended. If you have another vehicle in mind it is important to research how reliable it is, how common it is, the kind of realistic gas millage you can expect from it and if other owners have found problems with specific models.
Consumer Report is an excellent website for independent reviews. Also check vehicle reliability and fuel economy.
If you plan on towing a caravan or trailer as part of your Bug Out Plan you need to check the towing capacity of your particular vehicle. Not all cars are alike and even within the same models there are differences depending on the year in which each was manufactured. Your car manual book will have the towing capacity of your particular vehicle. The following websites show towing capacity for different models:
Once you narrow down you choice, read online reviews in forums and boards so as to get a better idea of what to expect from that vehicle and learn any weaknesses the specific model may have.
By LARRY NEUMEISTER - Yesterday
NEW YORK (AP) - A judge, calling civil contempt a rarity, ruled that
Argentina was in contempt of court on Monday for its open defiance of
his orders requiring that U.S. hedge funds holding Argentine bonds be
paid the roughly $1.5 billion they are owed if the majority of the
South American nation's bondholders are paid interest on their bonds.
U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa made the announcement after a
lawyer for U.S. hedge funds led by billionaire hedge fund investor
Paul Singer's NML Capital Ltd. argued that Argentina has openly defied
Griesa's court orders for more than a year. The judge reserved
decision on sanctions pending further proceedings.
"What we are talking about is proposals and changes and actions that
come from the executive branch of the Republic of Argentina," the
He said repeated efforts to avoid paying U.S. bondholders after their
bonds - unlike more than 90 percent of outstanding Argentina bonds -
were not traded for lesser-valued bonds in 2005 and 2010 was illegal
conduct that could no longer be ignored.
"The republic in various ways has sought to avoid, to not attend to,
almost to ignore this basic part of its financial obligations," the
He said Argentina had recently taken steps to attempt to remove a New
York bank as the custodian for bonds held by many of its bondholders
and transfer the financial obligations to a new trustee based in
New York-based lawyer Carmine Boccuzzi, representing Argentina, had
argued that a contempt finding was premature, saying Argentina
bondholders who accepted swaps for lesser-valued bonds after the
country defaulted on $100 billion of debt in 2001 had not been paid
interest, just as the judge intended.
Boccuzzi said the U.S. bondholders "want to punish Argentina. But
that's not appropriate."
"The republic did act responsibly," he said.
But he said paying the U.S. bondholders would require Argentina to pay
about $20 billion to other bondholders who were not part of the
"We're hamstrung," he said.
As he left the courtroom, he declined to comment.
A lawyer for the U.S. bondholders, Robert Cohen, urged the judge to
make the contempt finding and impose a $50,000 daily penalty on
Argentina. He said penalties should be stiff enough that Argentina
realizes it needs to change its behavior.
"It's hard to imagine how it could get worse," he said.
Before the hearing, lawyers for Argentina forwarded to the judge a
letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying the request
for a contempt-of-court finding was "completely absurd." Argentina
said such an order would be unlawful by international standards.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry said the judge's decision has no
practical effect "besides providing new elements to the defamatory
political and media campaign being carried out against Argentina by
the vulture funds." Argentine officials regularly refer to the U.S.
hedge funds that didn't swap their Argentine bonds at a discount as
This link takes you to “Sarajevo Survival Tools” a project cooperation between the Faculty of Electrical Engineering Sarajevo (ETF) and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The link is in English and if you navigate through the different exhibits you will first see short video intros and then the different objects, which you can click on to see pictures, read more information and watch a dedicated video of that object.
The website is a bit messy to navigate around but once you get used to it you see that its packed with real-world information of the tools made an used by people to survive during the siege. It’s well worth the time!
I enjoy reading your blog and have followed much of your advice.
Do you have a suggestion of a defensive tool that would be appropriate for a senior woman who lives in a country where a gun would not be the answer.
Knives would be too easily turned against me, and has you have pointed out, are very serious in a close fight and hard to defend against.
Thanks for any suggestions and would bet that other women would benefit.
Whenever possible I recommend having a handgun, but I do understand sometimes this is not possible, especially for defense out of your home.
As you correctly state, a knife requires a certain physical strength to be used effectively for defense. Women are more than capable of doing so but they are at a disadvantage compared to men when it comes to size and physical strength, and that difference can increase as years go by.
Knives can be very effective defensive tools, but some physical strength is required.
Defense for Seniors
The first line of defense here is the same no matter how old or young you are: Avoid confrontation whenever possible. Avoid dangerous areas and try not to wear expensive watches or jewelry in places where it may cause trouble.
When it comes to physically confronting attackers there’s a couple things to understand about a criminal’s psychology: Like any other living being, criminals don’t like getting killed or hurt. Put a gun to their face and they will not like it. More often than not they turn and flee. Something similar happens with knives, but we’ve already gone through the limitations of such a tool for some people. OC spray may not kill, but it does hurt and burn, another stimulus pretty much every living being tries to avoid. A criminal may not be as scared when facing OC spray, but a blast will burn his eyes and make it hard to breathe and see, giving you the time to escape or get help. As of recommended brands, Sabre Red has a well-deserved reputation for being effective. In places where pepper spray many not be legal, there may be other alternatives. In some cases you can still find spray that is intended for bears or dogs. These may be legal in your area and would work as well.
Still looking into what criminals don’t like, there’s one thing that doesn’t get discussed as much but it is very much true: Criminals don’t want attention while committing crimes. May that be trying to break into a house or mugging someone on the street, they don’t want people noticing them or approaching them during their criminal acts. Here’s where a small personal panic alarm may be very effective. The device produces a 130dB ear-piercing alarm when pulled from the keyring. This can be very effective when screaming or blowing a whistle isn’t possible due to being attacked or even frozen by panic.
Surefire E1D is a good option. The small Eagletac D25C that I favor works well too, with a mode that turns on on high with a strobe just one click away, yet unscrewing the head of the flashlight it enters the most commonly used modes for utility use.
Stun guns may be another option as well. The electric cracking can be intimidating as well as effective. Some models resemble tactical flashlights combining both the advantage of a tactical light and a stun gun in one tool.
Just days after getting it the rotor of the clip broke, with the phone dropping and almost losing it. After contacting Otterbox a new case was sent soon enough. Now, the hard plastic case cracked where it makes contact with the clip, fitting loosely and easily falling from the holster unless clipped on the other side. While I still believe Otterbox makes overall quality cases, for the price, they should have a product that holds up much better. I haven’t abused the case in any way, just normal use.
I wonder if buying this stuff over the internet gets official notice. I also wouldn't be surprised if a zealous prosecutor used your body armor against you after a home burglary gone bad. Wouldn't they try to convince a jury you were looking to have a shootout with the criminal?
I'm not opposed to body armor, I'm seriously asking questions and would love to hear other people's opinions.
I think that while you may come across a stupid prosecutor in the case of body armor, there should be no doubt: It literally catches a bullet that would probably kill you if it didn’t, so its clearly better to explain yourself while alive than avoid the possibility of explaining something that you are legally entitled to do anyway, and be dead.
You are right though about something. The second amendment covers guns, not armor, so regulations are very much possible. I’d get armor while I can and if anyone comes asking, which is highly unlikely, then there’s a chance you may have sold it by then, or lost it in a fishing trip.
I'm confused about the life-span of the soft vests. Kevlar, although it expires in 5 years or so, has been tested to be good many years later. There are complaints on the internet, however, about some of the laminated fabrics like Goldflex and Twaron delaminating.
If I convinced myself and my wife to get a vest, I wouldn't want something that's going bad in a few years. Especially if body armor is legally unavailable some time in the future.
Does anyone know where to get well built kevlar vests for a reasonable price?
Zylon is the material to be avoided. It has some serious failures and NIJ decertified all vests containing Zylon. Goldflex® is an aramid like Kevlar®, and makes for thinner (up to 35% thinner) yet effective vests. It tends to be more expensive than Kevlar as well, but due to being thinner and flexible its well suited for concealed armor. The debate on laminated or not is rather academic. No matter what brand name of aramid its made of, no vest is intended to take multiple shots in a same area anyway. If you’re lucky enough to survive getting shot a bunch of times, then count your blessing and buy a new vest.
1) True. Police officers wear their vests all the time. Lots of wear and tear, sweat and sunlight exposure. For the average person, you wont use and abuse a vest nearly as much and it will last decades if properly taken care of (avoid moisture, too much sunlight)
Don Williams said...
1) I think the 5 years refers to 5 years of police-like use --i.e worn constantly 8-10 hours per day soaked in perspiration and in contact with a 98.6 deg F human body. I would think that Intermittent use would extend that working life well out past 5 years.
2) To mimick such usages, the latest NIJ Testing protocol --NIJ 0101.06, adopted 2006 -- added a conditioning treatment to body armor in which it is tested for bullet resistance after 10 days of being tumbled in a
drum, 5 revolutions per minute for a total of 72,000 tumbles. At 80% humidity and 149 deg F.
3) Maybe Fernando would like to give his opinion/experience on some details of selection criteria for body armor. A lot of police get killed wearing body armor --as shown in the FBI report -- because crooks now know they are wearing it and go for head shots. So it seems to me it would be important to conceal the armor because it loses much value if an attacker can see you are wearing it.
4) On the other hand, level IIIA is not much thicker than level II and IIIA can stop some penetrating rounds like 357 Magnum in FMJ (level II just tests 357 in JSP), 38 super, 357 sig. I don't know if IIIA can stop the 7.62 Tokarov round but I would think it would do better than II.
5) In hot climates, however, Level II would probably be more easily concealed under hot weather light weight shirts. Some argue it is not as hot as IIIA but I wonder whether heat is more a matter of whether the sides are left open for ventilation. Some armor wraps around to cover the sides below the armpit but I would think that adds heat while the shoulder opening to the heart is left unprotected.
6) Level II vs IIIA is Tough decision -- like the 45 vs 9mm argument. One survey of USA police that I've seen indicated 41% of police use Level II and 35% use IIIA. No indication of whether the IIIA people are in the colder north and II people are in the South. Or if regular patrol police in uniform wear IIIA while undercover cops wear II since body armor is a tipoff that one is a policeman (US law bans convicted felons from owning body armor.)
3)There is a chance of getting shot in the head if armor is being visibly worn. My advice is to keep it concealed as much as you can so as to avoid just that as well as attracting unwanted attention in general.
4)IIIA would do better against all rounds including 7.62 Tokarov. The 7.62 Tokarov is a small, fast round that has a good chance of penetrating level II armor. When possible I would go for IIIA.
5)Armor can get really hot, but then again if you’re not a cop its no big deal and you can just suck it up when you consider its important to wear it. For everyday carry though, it can be an issue and its better to get armor that fits well but allows enough ventilation.
6)Most police officers are likely to go for II because it is still enough to stop the threats they are likely to come across while being less bulky and more comfortable to wear in general. Now as a civilian that isnt wearing armor every day you may not have such concerns.
Cristina Fernandez and George Soros
Of course, crime keeps getting worse non-stop. It was bad when I left, its even worse now if that’s possible. There’s daily murders as before, but more of them, and more start going unreported. There’s missing people, kidnappings, and very violent home invasions. Even when caught on tape committing an armed robbery, even when found and booked, criminals are still released that same day. Argentina has gone Mad Max.
Most of the country is no man’s land by now and even the “nice” gated communities are still very much vulnerable. In many cases, the developments in places like Nordelta are directly financed by Colombian drug cartels.
At this point and with the rapidly deteriorating currency and society alike there’s just no hope for Argentina.
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