The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog

Well, I need to get a safe.

Son #2 is fascinated by the "boom booms" and likes to go exploring for them. They're all stored in a safe/secure fashion, but having the toddler trying to get into gun cases is no good. There's nothing he can do with 'em if he does get to 'em, but its the principle of the thing.

And, of course, lots of other good things about having a safe.

So, a bit about what I'm looking for:

I've got a couple handgun safes, but need something for the long guns. 12-24 in terms of capacity. My long gun collection isn't that big and not growing that quickly, and I don't have space for a giant 100-gun, walk-in safe just yet.

Looking to spend somewhere in the ballpark of $1K.

We've historically moved around a fair bit. We own our home now, are more settled and have no imminent plans to move, but I'd put the chances of us moving within the next 3-5 years somewhere at 50-75%. And moving a 700lb safe would be a challenge.

For those who have moved with a conventional safe--how big of a deal is it? We could move across town or across the country.

Conventional safe, I'm looking at the AmSec safes - SF and FV lines. We've got a couple dealers 'round these parts.

But, the move deal has me a bit worried, which leads me to look at the modular safes - some assembly required.

Zanotti has been around a long time. They're a bit more than I want to pay, and the wait time is a bummer.

SnapSafe is another option I've come across new on the market. They're a bit less expensive, seem to be ready to order. A 7 gauge Titan would probably be the one I'd go with.

As far as I'm aware, those are the two main players in modular safes these days. If you know of another company making these things, let me know.

So--that's where I'm at. Looking for recommendations from the many who have been there, done that--fire away!

And, I'm not opposed to less conventional options - quality gun cabinet, for example, or something else.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: September 19, 2014, 1:55 am

The old food storage adage "store what you eat" is often thrown by the wayside in favor of stocking up on exotic, styrofoamy tasting freeze dried foods and #10 cans of pricey, no-name bulk goods. Who really eats most of that stuff in their day to day diet?

But, that doesn't have to be the case. You can package up familiar dry non-perishables foods for long term storage with minimal tools and inexpensive mylar bags.

What the heck is mylar? It's one of those wonder materials developed by NASA back in the crazy 60s. It protects the food from harmful light, and when sealed correctly, keeps the food in a dry, oxygen free environment--essentially the same conditions found inside a well sealed #10 can. Mylar has been used for food packaging for many years, and is well known amongst food storage aficionados.

Packaging up your own foods in mylar bags is a dead simple process. And, because you know exactly what's getting packaged up, there's no need to wonder about the initial quality of the food, no doubts about whether the family will like it, and no trouble to rotate it into your daily life.

And, you can save a ton of money doing it yourself. Hit up Costco or grocery store sales, buy your favorite foods cheap, package them up and stack 'em deep.

For this tutorial, I'm packaging up a family favorite sugar-y breakfast cereal, but mylar bags are suitable for most any shelf stable dried good...rice, beans, wheat, flour, sugar, oats, pastas, baking ingredients, dry mixes--you name it.

All right, let's get down to it. Here's what you'll need:

  • Dry, shelf stable food to store (in our case, two 16-ounce boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch bought on sale with a coupon - about $2/box)
  • Oxygen absorbers
  • Mylar bags
  • Some means of sealing the mylar bags - I am using the awesome HotJaws hand sealer but many have had good luck with a clothes iron or flat iron set on high heat
  • Labels - I'm using 4x2 in. labels from Avery
  • And a printer for printing out your label
I am using 1 gallon, 5 mil weight mylar bags and 300cc oxygen absorbers purchased from Amazon. They seem to be high quality and are well reviewed and fairly priced. They arrived on my doorstep the day after I ordered them, too.

5 gallon bags are another choice and commonly used for those big food storage buckets, but I think the smaller gallon sizes give you an easier-to-use package and keeps the food to manageable quantities. Too much food and it can go stale before you eat it all.

The 1 gallon sizes are also better for socking away smaller purchases of food - those $5-10 extra you grab at the store. And, they're also a good size for giving away to friends/family/neighbors in a pinch.

Packaging up your food is pretty simple. Start by, well, putting the food into your bag.

You'll want to do some shaking to get it packaged down in there. This is both bags worth of cereal, which was just a little too much. I ended up scooping out about 1/2 cup full out to give enough room to comfortably seal the bag.

You'll want to avoid getting the inside edge dirty with crumbs - that can interfere with getting a good seal.

Next, fold/press the edge of the bag to get it ready to seal.

Then, get your HotJaws or iron hot n' ready and start sealing the bag.

So - why buy a specialty tool like the HotJaws versus a regular ol' clothes iron or flat iron?

While many, many people have successfully used irons to seal up mylar, I've read several sources that recommend against it. Something about difficulty getting the right heat and pressure to do the job correctly.

I'm not exactly sure what amount of truth there is to this, but there is a certainly a level of uncertainty out there.

On the other hand, the HotJaws is purpose-built for sealing mylar and does an awesome job of it.

It's dead simple to use, seals the mylar beautifully, and leaves no doubt about whether or not you've got a good seal on the bag. It's also a pretty tough little unit, something that should work for decades to come.

And look how nice that seal looks...

Like a bag of chips! Very cool.

I bought the HotJaws to test out, knowing I could return it if it didn't impress. At this point, you'd have to pry this thing from my cold, dead hands to get it from me.

At this point, you don't want to seal the bag all the way. Try to squeeze as much air out as you can, then add your oxygen absorber.

Pop that little dude in there. Then finish up the seal.

Sealed inside the mylar bag, the oxygen absorber will gradually absorb all of the oxygen inside of the package. Often, it will give the bag quasi-vacuum sealed look, with the whole package becoming stiffer and sucking down around the food storage. If you toss an extra absorber or two inside, that vacuum seal effect will become even more pronounced--not usually necessary, though.

If, after a day or so, it looks like the O2 absorber isn't working, open up the bag, toss in a new one and re-seal.

It's best to use the oxygen absorber quickly after opening the package they come in. If you're not going to use 'em all up at one time, you'll want to store them in an air tight container--I've found that a 1 pint canning jar is often recommended and what I personally use.

So, that's it - the bag is sealed up.

Give the seal quick visual inspection to ensure it's good. Pretty simple, huh? 

Now you'll want to label it - contents, when you packaged it, maybe cooking directions.

You can scribble on the  mylar bag with a Sharpie, but printing out some labels doesn't take a whole lot of time and gives your stored food a clean, professional-ish looking finish.

I'm using 4x2 inch shipping labels here--if you wanted to add more info, like cooking instructions, you might want to step up to a bigger size category.

Get your labels, load them in the printer.

Then we'll need to download a template that matches the size you're using. I am using a free Microsoft Word template from these guys, but there are many other sources for free labels and different software.

You can also download product logos with a quick Google search. For generic products, some clip art can add a bit o' flair.

Open up your label template, paste/insert your logo and then type in your text. I've been doing name, weight, and month/year packed.

It should look something like below:

Microsoft Word can have an odd way of handling images, so you'll probably need to play with the size and the settings found in Picture Tools to get it to look right. For Position, I choose "Position in Top Center with Square Text Wrapping" (see above).

And for Wrap Text, I choose "Tight."

Fill up the page with as many labels as you need and then print 'em out! The printed labels are trickier than the actual packaging of your food, but it's worth it.

Pay no attention to that other label...an unrelated side project ;)

And then apply the label to your sealed mylar bag. See how good that looks! Classy.

Take a moment to bask in your success and greatness. When the machines arise and we're bartering food amidst the ruins of the modern world, one of these bags would make you a veritable survivalist king or queen. And now, friend, it is you who will wear that apocalyptic crown.

With your food successfully packaged, store it away some place safe and temperature controlled. The mylar doesn't protect your food from high temps, so avoid 'em. Some folks box their bags up, others put them in Rubbermaid-style totes or 5 gallon buckets for an level of added protection and easier stacking.

Materials Cost: Around $5 ($4 and change for the cereal, $0.60 for the mylar bag and O2 absorber and $0.04 for the label). Not bad for brand name cereal.

How long will food stored like this last? Well, I've got two answers.

First, it depends. There are many variables at play in how long your food will last - what you're storing, the temperature its kept at, how well the bag is sealed, etc. Properly sealed and stored, something like white rice should last 25 to 30 years or more. I'm anticipating a bag o' breakfast cereal would last something like 5+ years, though this will likely get rotated well before then.

The second answer? I'm not a food scientist and I don't know how long your food will last. You'll need to do your own research, trial and experimentation. Shelf life charts are but a Google search away, but even these can be educated guesses at best.

Now, another question you might be dying to ask: Why am I putting back sugary breakfast cereal for food storage?

It's a familiar, family favorite comfort food that can be prepared by simply adding milk--fresh, powdered or otherwise. Or eaten dry as a snack. It's something that my family will be happy to eat, whether that's by rotating it out, if we need to eat it during tight times, or if we're cracking it open after some kind of disaster.

Yep, cereal is a mixed bag nutritionally, and its light, fluffy form factor is also a downside. A 1 gallon mylar bag will hold 4-ish pounds of pasta or six-ish pounds of rice, but only 2 pounds of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Not the best bang for your storage space.

No, cereal is not something I'd recommend as a pillar of your food storage plan, but having some set aside might serve as a convenient morale booster in tough times.

There you have it - a little bit of added know-how for your adventures in food storage and preparedness. Hopefully, this can open up some options, save some cash and help you store up your family's favorite foods for when they may need them the most.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: September 9, 2014, 3:03 am

Well, that bucket 'o Fruit Loops inspired me to get some mylar bags and start doing a better job packaging up some of the food we have set aside for mid/long term storage.

I've been planning on buying up some #10 cans of food, but the cost savings and better ability to stock up on familiar products/brands led me to give the mylar bags a try.

The bags I'm using are these 5 mil weight ones. They're good quality and a nice, durable weight.

Of course, if you're going to repackage your foods, you might as well do it right with some nice looking branded labels. Helps with the picky eaters, looks much better than some poorly scrawled Sharpie writing.

Anyways, I've got some more baggin' to do over the weekend...and, I've gotta go hit up the stores for some o' that bulk cereal. I'll get a Pinterest-worthy DIY post up soon.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: September 5, 2014, 10:24 pm

A 6 gallon bucket of generic Fruit Loops? Now that's survivin' the apocalypse in style. Thrown down some of that powdered milk and bro, you got yourself a mean bowl of cereal.

Emergency Essentials recently added these and they are honesty fairly tempting. Normal food can be a big psychological deal when dealing with tough times...especially for kiddos.

There's 100+ servings in one of these buckets, which is the equivalent to about 5 big boxes of cereal. We'd get a month of breakfasts for the family out of one of these pretty easily, but we have little kids. If you had a couple teenagers roaming the pantry, expect to get a long weekend out of one of these.

Not sure on shelf life - none is specified. 5-ish years plus would be my guess. They are mylar'd up with oxygen absorbers, and normal cereal shelf life is around a year to a year and a half, and that's in cardboard with crappy packaging.

For those who prefer slightly less dye and sugar in their breakfast cereals, they've got generic Cheerios and Frosted Flakes as well.

You could certainly DIY these up for less, especially with sales and buying generic. Add your own bucket, mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and you'd be good to go. Figure $15 in cereal, $5 bucket, $2 bag/oxygen absorbers (1 gallon sizes are appealing for a variety of reasons) and you could DIY up one of these cereal buckets for under $25. But, there's also something to be said about letting someone else do the work and do it right the first time, especially if you only want a bucket or two to put back.

Next question: When will they be getting generic Captain Crunch?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: September 3, 2014, 7:00 pm
Let's hope that your survival never depends on your ability to catch game with little more than a blade, cordage and natural materials. But if it does, here are five of the best primitive traps, as shown on YouTube.

And by best, I mean functional but easy to make. This kind of survival is a calories game - you want to take in more than you expend. Many trap designs require intricate whittling and a lot of time to build. Why spend 2 hours of whittling when you can get the same results with 10 minutes of work? Trapping, especially primitive trapping, is often a numbers game - the more traps you have, the better your odds of catching something. 2 hours for 1 trap or 2 hours for a dozen traps?

Also - primitive trapping isn't something that most of us practice a whole lot. Simpler designs that you can remember and execute independently are preferable to complex designs that you can't, or only partially can.

1. Treadle Snare

Dave Canterbury runs through the basic treadle trap/snare in this video, plus several variations on the design using a similar trigger system. This variety of trap requires only cordage and can be built without tools. Size can be adjusted up or down depending on the target game.

2. Two-Stick Deadfall

From Sigma 3 Survival School. I made a variation of this trap when I was all of 14-ish - used a bucket instead of a rock to make it a live trap. Didn't think it had a chance of working...but, next morning, found that it had caught a rabbit. Mr. Bunny dug out and lived. Super simple to make.

3. Treadle Deadfall

More treadle action from Dave C., this time as a deadfall. Here's another design - different trigger and angle, same idea. Prey steps on the treadle, trap is triggered, weight crushes prey.

4. Heavy Deadfall

Here's an example of a heavy/weighted deadfall for catching larger game. The simple trigger can be used as a treadle or covered in bait, as shown. The deadfall/weight shown is a bit complicated, but does provide an ample platform for adding weight. A simpler trap would simply rely on a large log or two, as shown here.

5. Twitch Up Snare

Though Rob from Sigma 3 uses wire in this set (wire being always preferable - picture wire is popular), you could use whatever cordage you had on hand. Slightly different trigger system, still fairly simple, using a bait stick.

There you have it! Those are my five picks for primitive traps. Simple and quick to make with minimal resources.

Did I miss one of your favorites? Disagree with one of these choices? Let me know!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: September 2, 2014, 4:00 pm
Had a good day with the family. Ate some good food, got some relaxing and playing with the kiddos in.

Hope you enjoyed some quality R&R today, or at least got paid well if you had to work.

I've been doing some poking around at Labor Day sales, but haven't bought anything...yet. No screamin' deals, but some solid discounts. PSA has/had $.30/round XM193, most of the dealers have 10%-ish discounts on their stuff. The kind of discounts that are tempting, but still resistible unless you had an imminent purchase anyways.

As a reminder, both leather patches and stickers are in-stock at the moment. And, the Survivalist Garage Sale still has a few items up for grabs...the status is current as of this posting. I need to do some digging and add a few things to the trade blanket.

Thanks go out to the tribe for your support, readership and commentary. It'd be a lonely place without you guys, so I'm glad you stop by!

I'm queuing up some good material for this coming week, so look forward to that coming down the pipeline.

- Alex
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: September 2, 2014, 12:32 am
For those that missed it, we've got the awesome Bomb Rider leather morale patches back in stock. Get 'em while they're available!


As a follow up to the last installment of Outside the Box, a couple notable uses for the ubiquitous 2L pop/soda bottle that didn't get covered in the comments.

Fish Trap

Via Black Scout Survival

A scavenger's take on the basket fish trap. Easy to make, set and forget. Small fish aren't exactly a filling meal, but they work well for catching larger game.

MRE Heater Bomb

MRE heater(s) + water + a 2L bottle = loud boom. Don't try at home, kiddos. More of a distraction device than a weapon, though certainly not something you want to blow up in your face.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 28, 2014, 2:03 am
As mentioned, clearing out some excess, unused gear. Payment via PayPal; barter a possibility. All prices include US shipping via USPS - small things will go First Class, larger things will go priority. And I'll likely toss in some free swag/surprises, too. Sorry, no International shipping.

Happy to combine shipping if you buy multiple items to save some moola.

If you want an item, say so in the comments and shoot me an e-mail at teotwawki.blog@gmail.com with the item name in the subject line.

Edit: Status is current as for 9/1/2014

And now, welcome to Barter Town...

Tactical Nylon Gear

HSGI Pistol Tacos in MultiCam with a 3-finger Raven Concealement Moduloader to allow for belt carry. The Moduloader was upgraded to the paddle attachment. More details on the Moduloader at RCS. Asking $SOLD.

PIG Drop-Slider mk 2 (bungee) single point sling in Coyote Brown, with HK attachment. $30 shipped.

Gun Gear

Older, non-matched wood stock set for Mossberg shotguns. Stock has a 13"-ish LOP. Stock needs to be refinished or at least lacquered. $22 shipped. No bolt included for attaching the stock.

GG&G Mossberg 500 QD front sling attachment. $7 shipped.


(top) Esee Izula II (black) with AZ Welk kydex sheath, plus original sheath. Knife has seen a little use, still in excellent condition. Has been stropped to touch up the edge. The sheath is awesome and comes with a mini-TekLok for belt attachment. SOLD

(bottom) Bradley Mayhem balisong. Awesome bali in great shape. Have box and papers. I don't think they make these anymore. $SOLD.

Roger's Belt Hatchet. Made by Iron Hammer Armory, with the Domari Nolo (booo!) logo on one side. I've added some camo form to help with the grip. Has seen some use, shows wear. Asking $45 shipped.

That's all for now - will be adding more later!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 23, 2014, 5:24 pm

Shop & Survivalist Garage Sale
Leather patches are enroute - should be here within the next couple of days. Those who are waiting won't have to wait much longer. Edit: They're back in stock and glorious!

I'm also kicking around the idea of a 'survivalist's garage sale' of sorts. Made it happen!

I figure I might as well give the tribe a crack at the loot before flipping it over to fleabay. Comment if you'd be interested.

On the survivalism front...
As I blogged a few weeks back, our primary goal at the moment is rebuilding our emergency fund. A portion of that money is allocated towards food storage and Rawles-style tangibles (we have both - this is adding to the stores), a portion is allocated to cash and money in the savings account.

All of that depends on having the leftover money to do so, which in turn depends on having and sticking to a budget.

Budgeting is one of the secrets to preparedness...you won't have the funds to do a whole heck of a lot without it. Increasing your income is another one of those secrets, but that's another topic.

We are generally fairly mediocre at sticking to a budget, and there are always things that can sneak up on ya and decimate your budget for the month. Not that we blow through it by hundreds of dollars, but there's often an extra trip to the store/Costco that bumps us over. TEOTWAWKI Wife has gotten pretty serious about getting our food bill in under budget this month, which will be a big help.

Sticking to our budget, we should be able to make some good progress in the emergency fund/tangibles/food storage front. I've got us getting to where I want us to be (for now) by spring of next year.

Along the way, I'm planning on doing some variety of 'food storage' series here to track our progress when we get things rolling. I'll write up a separate post on that topic.

Production from the garden has slowed, which is probably a good thing. I'm pretty sick of tomatoes at the moment and the garden never really yielded enough to break out the canning gear.

Reloading has been put on the backburner for the moment, in part because I haven't been able to get to the range, and in part due to focusing time on the fam/kiddos. I need to test out my test loads before doing some larger scale production runs, and they're ready n' waiting for me to shoot up.
Otherwise, I'm culling through some of the unused/unallocated gear that we've got kicking around (see above 'survivalist garage sale') and intend to plow those funds back into the emergency fund and gear.

That's about it from me at the moment. Now it's your turn. What are you working on? Let us know in the comments section below!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 23, 2014, 12:06 pm

And while we're distracted by the antics in Ferguson...

In Iraq, ISIS has been massacring Christians

Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, is the "first cradle of Christianity in Iraq," Habash said.

But after Islamic militants seized the city on June 10, Arabic letters with a chilling ultimatum were left at the homes of Iraqi Christians.

"The letter said that if you don't convert or if you don't pay, there is a sword between you and us, meaning execution." 
ISIS has been targeting Christians specifically and slaughtering them in horrific ways...crucifixion, be-headings, murdering whole families - done out of pure hatred and for shock value. We're only hearing bits and pieces reported back by the media.

They're also massacring other non-Muslim minorities:

Militants in northern Iraq have massacred at least 80 men from the Yazidi faith in a village and abducted women and children, reports say.

"He told me that the Islamic State had spent five days trying to persuade villagers to convert to Islam and that a long lecture was delivered about the subject today," said the villager.  

"He then said the men were gathered and shot dead. The women and girls were probably taken to [the city of] Tal Afar because that is where the foreign fighters are."


U.S. forces are launching airstrikes in Iraq to help loosen ISIS' hold on the northern part of the country...

U.S. airstrikes helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces retake the unstable Mosul dam. The Kurdish Peshmerga are the best, most organized fighting force in Iraq. And they have cool technicals, too.
Hope they can push ISIS back, quickly.

And as of last week, Max Velocity is trying to get a trip to Kurdistan together to roll in and kick some ass.

And civil war still rages in in Ukraine...

On Monday, Ukrainian officials said a refugee convoy of several vehicles was displaying white flags as it traveled through an area where intense fighting had taken place. The buses were hit by rockets and mortars, the officials said, leaving some of the occupants, including women and children, to burn to death. The officials said dozens of people who had left the besieged rebel-held city of Luhansk were killed, though an exact death toll wasn't available. Source.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 19, 2014, 4:39 am
With the happenings in Ferguson top o' mind, a few things to think about...

The police officer (Darren Wilson), whether it is determined to be a good shoot or not, has pretty much had his life thrown in the blender. He's had to bug out from his home, take the family and into hiding while the shooting is investigated. He's been the target of hacking attacks, had personal info dumped onto the 'web and received who knows how many death threats. If at the end of this, he's cleared of wrong doing, he'll still have to live his life as a pariah.

A private citizen could face similar circumstances (see: Zimmerman), and without whatever protection/resources available to a police officer in a situation like this. Your name and info would be out in the media within hours. You'd potentially be in police custody while your family freaks out at home.

"Kids"? Matching red a coincidence?

While we've seen store owners standing guard over their businesses with ARs and AKs in hand (or both, in this guy's case), more have left their businesses to be looted, trashed and burned.


Your initial reaction might be to question why these shop owners wouldn't take up arms like the others to protect their businesses and livelihood?

But, take a step back. If you were to shoot a looter or two trying to loot your store, how quickly might you find yourself the target of violent backlash and legal action? Violence against you and your family, potential jail time (state laws vary wildly on using force to protect property), thousands in legal fees...not pretty.

Naa, that's is why you get good insurance. Shut it down, board it up, take pictures of your inventory/equipment and set up some web cams. Call the cops if/when the looters start smashing and grabbing. Record the call, just in case.

If there's no threat to your life or the safety of customers...let 'em torch the place. Then, the insurance company will cut you a check and you can set up shop somewhere safer and less riot prone...Avoid the potential violence, threats, legal entanglement, and get paid to relocate elsewhere. Smart move.

Finally, if you've got friends/family who are (still) oblivious to how quickly the thin veneer of law & order can fracture, here's (another) wake up call.

Not two or three weeks ago, my wife and I had a long chat with a friend about prepping, gun ownership, etc. A good chunk of that was talking about what happened post-Katrina--the rampant looting, lawlessness and general lack of police intervention for many days afterwards--as an example of what has happened in the U.S. in recent history. That seemed to be news to her.

Many people are just too busy working and raising their families to pay a whole lot of attention to what's happening elsewhere. A well timed nudge can be helpful.

Now it's your turn--have the current events caused you to re-think any of your plans or change priorities?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 19, 2014, 2:42 am
8/18 Update: National Guard has been called out to assist in quelling the violence.

A preliminary autopsy requested by the family of Mike Brown has found he was shot 6 times, all shots fired from the front and at a distance, not that he was shot in the back while fleeing or shot in the back of the head at close range as some have alleged.

There are at least two other autopsies being performed (one ordered by Holder/DOJ), forensics and other details we're all still waiting on.

Ridiculous but not too surprising cluster going on in the welcoming town of Ferguson, MO these days.

Cop shoots thug - he was stopped for stopping traffic by walking down the middle of the street and then resisted arrest, probably went for the officer's handgun and ended up shot dead.

Whether it was a good shoot, accidental shooting or a bad shoot...we don't know at this point. Officer is put on admin leave, shooting being investigated. If he murdered the kid, he should deservedly face the consequences.

Bored, bitter and entitled within the community see this as an excuse to freak out, riot, smash and loot themselves some free liquor and candy.

No one is particularly surprised by this...we've seen it before. There are gangs of bored criminal types just looking for an excuse to loot and plunder.

One of their buddies gets shot? Lootin' time!

Of course, the riot cops show up to protect local businesses and law abiding citizens. That's their job. Tear gas, rubber bullets...yep, if you're NOT looting and smashing, you don't usually have to worry about those hazards.

Enter the media. By and large, the media in this country sucks. They dislike the police, the military and to an extent, America and what it stands for. They don't understand any of them.

Reporters have a handful of standard themes that they report about the military or law enforcement - and abuse of power is their favorite.

They're in it for ratings. They're in it for money. Officer shoots suspected robber during struggle doesn't do much for the ratings. Cop executes church-going young man in broad daylight sure does.

So, media takes the side of the looters. They take the word of this dude (friend of the thug who was shot edited: and admitted accomplice in the robbery that happened minutes before)...

Over that of the local law enforcement. And make the situation worse.

Don't get me wrong. From accounts, it sounds like the police have handled things badly. But you go into a community of hundreds of pissed off, entitled thugs rioting, throwing rocks, and then you try to keep your cool.

So, media reports about abuse of power. Interweb and D.C. freak out. Riot cops get pulled back.

Highway patrol (???) gets pulled in. Cops seem to be ordered to stay away from the mobs, letting them run amok to avoid 'inciting' anything more.

Realizing that the police are no longer around, the looters goes back to looting...

via Reuters.
And business owners and law abiding citizens are largely left to defend themselves. We've seen this before.

From the local news station:

A reporter from the [local] station tweeted that police cars were seen driving past some of the stores being looted and did not respond. It rained in Ferguson Friday night and protesters could be seen outside until 6 a.m.

Two store owners, standing outside their business holding guns, told Fox2Now.com that when they called 911, they were sent from one police agency to another, and got no response.

One of the owners, with a large black gun resting on his shoulder, told the station that police were lined up blocks from the looting, and did not engage looters making off with large boxes from these stores.

"There's no police," he said. "We trusted the police to keep it peaceful; they didn't do their job."

Anyone surprised by this? Frustrating? Yes. Surprising? No. We've seen it more than a few times.

The situation is just more evidence of what happens rapidly when law and order break down, and one of the many reasons why law abiding citizens should be well armed to protect their family and property.

You can't count on the cops. This is a few days of some intermittent rioting, casual looting and racial tension. Doesn't take much imagination to think about what things would be like were the situation worse.

8/16 Update:

Here's some photos and story of what happened Friday night.

Apparently two groups amongst the crowds in Ferguson. Peaceful protestors and looters. Looting breaks out, peaceful protestors try to stand in front of/protect local businesses. Pretty cool.

Lots of stories of looters turning violent. Chasing reporters. Threatening to get guns and come back to fight their way through lines of protestors protecting shops.

State of emergency and a midnight to 5am curfew declared tonight. We'll see what how well that works.

And, sounds like it's not going to go over very well.

"Imposing this curfew is justification now for more people to be murder! Watch it's gonna happen! People are going die."

8/17 Update:

Most of the crowd dispersed peacefully last night, but a group stuck around to tangle with the police and defy the curfew.

After multiple warnings from police, they ended up getting the tear gas treatment. Shots fired from the crowd. One person apparently shot and in critical condition...and this person was not shot by police. (Update: Apparently the person shot Saturday night was a reporter, shot by one of the protestors).

From the local news:

One person shot, a police car hit by gun-fire, and seven arrests as police enforced the governor’s new curfew.   Police fired smoke bombs and tear gas at protesters who didn’t want to leave after the midnight curfew rolled around.  Police got reports of people on the roof at Red’s Barbecue.  Then they saw a man in the street with a gun and they found a man shot in the neck, critically hurt.  That is when the SWAT Team came in.

Police tried to move back the crowd with smoke bombs and tear gas to try to get to the shooting victim.  By the time police got to the scene near Red’s the victim was already gone.  He was taken to the hospital in a private car.
Authorities arrested seven people for failing to disperse the area around.  At around 1am it appeared that police had removed all of the protesters.

Meanwhile, a family friend of the police officer calls into a radio show with what she claims is the officer's side of things:


And a taped account from the scene has emerged that seems to confirm this story. Still all conjecture, but makes more sense than the random execution in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses.


Groups of protestors continue to flock to Ferguson. Mobs continue to destroy their own community. Violence breaking out elsewhere. We'll see what tonight holds, but over the past couple of days have sent race relations back a couple decades over this madness.

Meanwhile, Obama is, of course, on vacation...

And some truth, sanity and hilarity for your evening:

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 16, 2014, 4:21 pm
Oh the old 2 liter...so common, so overlooked.

So many possibilities.

Continuing this series where we examine common household items to and brainstorm useful survival and contingency uses for them, it's the soda bottle, found in stores, recycling bins and trash piles across the globe.

Yep, the container part is obvious and quite useful. They pretty darn good containers. Many folks recycle 2 liters for use storing emergency water or staple foods. They tend to hold up to some decent abuse, too.

But, soda bottles can do more than that...time for a knowledge share amongst the T-Blog tribe. Let's see what ya got.

I'll go first. Well, really, I'll flip over something I'd seen, forgotten and then had blog amigo EdWood remind me of when he shared on the Libre MX Facebook page (in Spanish but good pictures).

Civil unrest...riots in the streets. Cops are blasting the mobs with tear gas galore. Thick clouds of the noxious fumes are rolling over the area. You just want to get home without choking to death on your own phlegm.

Take your N95 mask (or soaked cloth...I've seen vinegar, lemon juice recommended, water is better than nothing), some duct tape or scavenged foam rubber, cordage and a scavenged 2L or other similarly sized plastic bottle. A little bit of craft work and you have yourself an improvised gas mask.

Complete instructions here.

Note that this is clearly an improvised, last-ditch kind of thing and your results will vary. If you have a high likelihood of dealing with tear gas or worse, get a real mask.

Now, let's see what creative, nefarious and useful uses you can come up with or track down for the good ol' 2 liter bottle.

Links to pictures, instructionals, YouTube videos encouraged. E-mail me if you've got original images or instructions you'd like to share.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 14, 2014, 1:20 am
Stickers are back up and ready for order - head over to our store to get 'em!

Slight increase ($0.50) in shipping costs per order to better cover our expenses.

Found a minor problem with the new patches (not the leather ones - those are coming, these are more conventional vinyl ones) - my fault, no less. So, those are not going to be sold, but will be offered as freebies to contest winners and such.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 12, 2014, 12:59 am
Few quick blurbs for those who are standing by...

The shop will be re-stocked with goods tomorrow evening. Stickers, some new patches...good stuff. Stay tuned.

The 'book' version of You Took Away Tomorrow is taking shape, but slower than I'd like. It's a significant, end-to-end re-write - essentially a brand new book. I'm not going to throw down any timelines at this point, but it's still definitely in the works.

...and, we'll get another contest rolling here in the near future. Got a couple ideas for fun ones.

Thanks all for your readership and support!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 10, 2014, 11:21 pm
Image courtesy Max Velocity Tactical

Those who have been following MVT should be aware of Max's 'thermal poncho' concept, which pairs a tarp with a thermal blanket to provide shelter, increased visual concealment and--the key--concealment from thermal optics, like those used by many modern military vehicles. Thermal can be a tricky thing to hide from otherwise.

Max has been working on bringing the Shield to market for a long while, and it looks like it's finally here. They're made by hand in the U.S. of A and priced accordingly, and I'd wager they'll be a bit of a wait to get your hands on one.

Max specs the weight of a kryloned Shield at 2.5 pounds, which is ok given the multipurpose nature. You'd be in that rough neighborhood a sil-nylon tarp and one of the re-usable casualty/space blankets, which would be an alternative.

Now, should you be concerned about enemies with thermal (U.S. forces gone bad, foreign forces, etc.) trying to hunt n' kill you? That's up to you to you to decide.

If you're fall into that camp, check Max's site for more info about the MVT Shield.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 9, 2014, 8:35 pm
I've written about having an emergency fund/financial safety net in the past. We've been working on building up ours, and had made decent progress.

Over the past few months, we've been hit by more than a couple less-than-planned for expenses. Nothing abnormal - just a series of fairly large bills that we couldn't have foreseen this time last year.

By the end of the month, those less planned expenses will have pretty much wiped out a good chunk of our emergency fund.

While it sucks to see the fund significantly drained, it's been a blessing to have the reserves to handle these expenses. If not, we'd be forced to take out debt for stupid stuff, borrow money family, maybe raid some of the retirement fund. Stress and worry where the cash was going to come from.

We haven't had to do any of that. We've been able to financially handle the costs as they come in. It's been frustrating, because it's a challenge to put money away in the first place. It's meant vacations not taken, meals not eaten out, purchases not made and so on. You know the drill.

So, it is time to start replenishing the emergency fund.

In my opinion and experience, having some kind of emergency financial reserves set aside is one of the most prudent and practical real life preparations you can make. If you don't have 'em, start setting something aside. Large or small...be consistent and it can add up quickly.

Anyone else have their emergency fund come in handy recently?

Edited to add: Along similar lines - folks often forget the power of  contingency currency putting together bags, kits and so on. A handgun, a good blade and a couple thousand bucks can solve a lot of problems...
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 7, 2014, 11:23 pm

Creative problem solving with limited resources. Finding uncommon uses for common items. A useful exercise and valuable knowledge.

Take the humble safety pin. What unconventional purposes can it be used for?

Let's see what the tribe can come up with.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 5, 2014, 2:16 am

On the occasions that I do get out to the range, I have a bad habit of just plinking away with the couple hundred rounds that I've brought. Here, Travis Haley shows an excellent 'warm up' using 100 rounds and focusing in the on the shooting fundamentals.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: August 4, 2014, 7:13 pm

Testing out Brite Strike APALS as an ultra-compact, low cost emergency light source and beacon. Built in weatherproof adhesive strip allows you to stick 'em where you need 'em. Switch allows you to move through flashing and constant on, and shut the thing off to save it for another day. They're flat versus round, which lets the slip more easily into the tight spaces of small kits.

At $3-$5 a pop and with 80+ hours of useful life, these are a great option for contingency kits or for marking/signalling purposes. Available in a variety of colors, including IR.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: July 30, 2014, 2:40 am

Yeeehaw! Sign me up for this one.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: July 28, 2014, 4:35 am

Not available for public consumption, but footage of the new, long awaited Mad Max movie debuted at Comic-Con and has folks raving. Crazy, intense, channeling the aesthetics of the original trilogy...here's a snippet from one viewer's description:

At one point, muzzled Max, chained to the back of Hoult’s car, watches in awe as trucks and cars get swirled up into a flaming dust storm, exploding and sending bodies flying every which way. The shot is unflinching, the violence unforgiving; the scene seems to be on the edge of ending at every turn, but it just keeps going, getting more and more brutal and loud, until Hoult finally cuts the tension:

“What a lovely day,” he shouts. “What a lovely day!”

Write-ups with some spoilers are out there (see: MTV, iO9) if you're interested. Folks are going nuts about the footage, which is pretty frickin' great news.

They also released some promo posters, which I'm not in love with.

Only the mad survive!

BTW, Max looks to have added some new weapons to his arsenal (AK mags, pistol mags added to the outfit), but still has the old, iconic sawed off double.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: July 27, 2014, 12:52 am

Trailer for the new season of TWD dropped at Comic-Con. Looks like Team Rick is teaming up with the scam artist cannies from Terminus.

I'm going to guess that's a match that doesn't last...

Share your speculation about what we're seeing in the trailer in the comments.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: July 26, 2014, 11:59 pm

Doug Marcaida demonstrating possibilities with the karambit - impact striking to dynamic deployment of the blade. We're big fans of the k-bit in various forms and Marcaida is one of the best edged weapons dudes in the world...good stuff.

Maintaining situational awareness and elevator tactics from Tony Blauer. Good one to watch - elevators are a common site for criminal attacks.

NRA's Media Lab with Dom Raso has been some fun viewing. Dom takes scenes from action movies and does the whole Mythbusters - 'would this work' deal. For the record on this specific episode - plausible. Jerry Miculek could do it.

Speaking of Jerry, this is one I've been wanting to share for a while. Jerry quick scopes a friggin' grape faster than most people can clear their holster.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: July 26, 2014, 1:14 am

Via Edpoint. If you're not following Ed, you should be.

BTW, more swag restock is incoming. Stickers will be here in about a week, leather patches a couple weeks after that.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: July 25, 2014, 1:57 am

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