It seems like everyday we hear about an “accidental” shooting. I consider these incidents of careless misuse that are avoidable. A true firearm accident is when there is some kind of failure or malfunction of firearm, round or equipment. What many people call accidents aren’t really accidents, the actions are deliberate, but the results may be undesirable. A problem with firearm purchasing is that anyone can buy them without any knowledge of how to use them. Even with the knowledge, many people ignore basic safety measures.
The 4 Rules of Firearm Safety
Always treat the gun as if it’s loaded
Never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy
Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it
Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
Following those rules all but guarantees you will never have an incident of careless misuse. Properly storing firearms eliminates others from misusing them. Over the past few months, young children shot themselves and others after finding improperly stored firearms. One child found the gun on a bed, another on the backseat in a car and yet another found one in the glove compartment of mom’s car while in the grocery store’s parking lot.
Don’t leave firearms unsecured in a car’s glove compartment. It’s a problem waiting to happen.
Teach Your Kids to Be Gun Safe
If you have children, you have to be extra cautious with firearms. Children are naturally curious and don’t fully understand the dangers of guns. I wanted to see what my kindergartner would do if she found a gun, so I gave her an unloaded and disabled Nerf gun. Almost immediately, the gun was pointed at Continue reading →
We call ourselves preppers and say that we are going to stock up on canned food and extra water. But are you really prepared if all of life’s luxuries are taken away? How will you prepare meals for you and your family if the gas and electric are suddenly unavailable? What will you do if the water supply becomes contaminated? Are you prepared to hunker down in your home and defend your family and your home in case of societal collapse? These are a few questions that will lead you to answers that show if you are indeed prepared for when SHTF.
Now, more than ever, it is important that everyone in your household has the skills and knowledge necessary to survive in a disaster or if they become separated from everyone else. This includes knowing self defense, how to start and take care of a garden, and first aid. We must make sure that everyone can contribute to the group’s survival should the need arise.
Firearms – Secure the firearms in your home based on the laws in your area. Each capable person in your home should have access to the firearms and know how to use them.
Firearms training – It is important that each person in your home get the training necessary to safely use them. Everyone must take safety training and practice using the firearms on a regular basis.
Hand-to-hand combat training and practice – It is also important that everyone learn and practice some sort of hand-to-hand combat. Everyone, including children Continue reading →
Gas gauge: Driving around on “E” saying, “I know my car” isn’t a plan.
When it comes to winter, things that we can get away with in warmer weather can be dangerous, if not deadly. Running out of gas is one of them. It is never fun, neither is watching the low fuel warning and hoping you can reach your destination or a gas station. Couple that with winter weather and it’s much worse. In clear weather, when out of fuel, you can probably safely make it to the side of the road. That may not be the case in winter weather. If you do make it to the side of the road, there is the danger of cars not seeing you or a car losing control and sliding into your car.
Waiting For Help
I once had electrical issues with a car and broke down about a ¼ mile from home. The car was able to get to the side of the road, but it was a tow away zone so I had to say with the car. I called AAA but because it was just after a storm, I had to wait hours for a tow truck. To make matters worse, I was very cold because I wasn’t dressed for the weather. Now imagine being in a similar situation, but instead, you ran out of fuel with your family, further from home and in the middle of the night. Are you comfortable waiting for help at the side of the road with your young children? Are you comfortable leaving your spouse and children in crappy weather while you try to get gas?
Always keep your gas tank at least half full. Having to stop in an emergency to get gas is nothing but an unnecessary delay.
Gas Tank Half Full
Always keep your gas tank at least half full. Running out of fuel is predictable and avoidable. Driving around on “E” saying, “I know my car” isn’t a plan, but it’s a great way to get into trouble. One of the keys to prepping is always being ready to leave at a moment’s notice, no matter the weather or situation. Having to stop in an emergency to get fuel is an unnecessary delay. When it’s time to GTFO, stopping for gas shouldn’t be part of it. There have been situations where drivers had to park where they stopped because of dangerous conditions. In these situations, you can at least have heat without too much worry about running out of gas. When sheltering in place, you can siphon the gas in the tank to power a generator or another car in an emergency. Fuel in the tank becomes a valuable resource in an emergency.
Have the mindset of a prepper, don’t just amass supplies. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary situations. The amount of gas in the tank can determine how long you survive. If you drive regularly, you’ll always need fuel (electric or gas). Get into the habit of getting fuel whether you think you “need” it or not. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it an not have it.
Every January, we make resolutions for the new year. Some of us want to lose weight, quit smoking, save more money or just generally have a better and more successful year than the last. By the middle of January, some of those resolutions are broken. By the end of February, they are all but a memory. It’s the same cycle every year and we are rarely successful. This is seen more frequently when it comes to prepping. How many times are we caught unprepared for the major storm that was forecasted weeks ago, and has been the lead-in story on the news every day?
Be Better, Do Better
We plan to be better prepared and try not to repeat previous fails, but often we find ourselves in the same situations wondering how we ended up here again. Once an event is over and we’ve recovered, all too often, we don’t take the lesson. This year, let’s resolve to be better preppers and be better prepared for whatever is thrown at us. It’s time to prep with purpose, be more practical and learn from mistakes. While it’s a good idea to be prepared to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, we should also be prepared to survive everyday life. Planning how to survive the apocalypse is meaningless if you can’t survive inclement weather, forsake your health or don’t have basic survival skills. Let this year be different by getting serious and smart about being prepared. Being almost prepared is still being unprepared.
Smart gun: Armatix iP1 Limited Edition Set (Image source: Armatix)
There is increasing talk about smart guns being sold in the US lead by New Jersey lawmakers. The main arguments used for the smart gun are to reduce accidents and suicides. The idea of a smart gun that can only he fired by an authorized person sounds great on paper, but there are many questions that make this idea not so smart.
What happens if it gets wet?
How do the electronics handle dust and dirt?
How is it known if the battery fails before the gun is needed?
Can the smart gun be disabled by an electromagnetic pulse?
How are software bugs dealt with?
And many more
Even with the unlikely guarantee of 100% reliability and none of the above will ever be an issue, there is one question without a satisfactory answer and it’s both the selling point and the biggest flaw of the smart gun. How will someone who’s trying to help me, bypass the security to save my life and possibly others? If it works the way it should, it’s not going to work for an unauthorized lawful user either.
Guns are mechanical and most common issues are easily fixed in the field. Mechanical things can stay in working order with regular cleaning and lubricating. This is true for current guns as well and machinery. High tech devices stop working randomly and require time to troubleshoot and test fixes (I just spent 2 days fixing a brand new, fresh out the box, Microsoft Surface Pro 4).
Introducing high technology to a mechanical process is great and is often welcomed when it makes things easier and more efficient. In some cases, it interferes with the process. Firearms fall into this category because of its purpose. Smart gun technology is designed to interrupt the mechanical process and adds a potential point of failure.
There are times when we don’t know our devices aren’t working right until we try to use a specific function. A smart gun failing will more than likely happen when the user is trying to defend himself, and there’s no tech support in a gunfight.
An Uber driver reportedly stopped a mass shooting when he shot and wounded the assailant before he could kill anyone. Two months later, Uber officially prohibited anyone using the service, both drivers and passengers, from having a firearm in the vehicle under the guise of making everyone feel “comfortable.” Days after that policy change, another driver shot and wounded a passenger who was allegedly choking him. That driver has since been removed from the service (fired). A month after that, another driver pulled a gun on the passenger who grabbed him and refused to leave the car. That driver too was removed.
Uber driver Edward Caban became frustrated with a drunk passenger when, after repeated attempts, the passenger failed to give a coherent destination or directions. Caban ended the ride and asked the passenger, Benjamin Golden, to get out of the car. Golden then proceeded to hit Caban in the head and face. The two struggled until Caban was able to retrieve pepper spray and give Golden a few sprays. Golden was arrested and charged with public intoxication and assault.
Caban was prepared for something like this happening and was able to meet force with force. Uber drivers are assaulted and abused on a regular basis, as well as some passengers. Companies like Uber and Lyft have policies that equate to gun-free zones that limit how drivers can defend themselves in their own cars. But as Caban shows, being in a gun-free zone doesn’t have to mean defenseless. Caban’s pepper spray was enough to stop the threat, which is the same end result we try to achieve with the use of a firearm.
It will be interesting to see Uber’s response to this as they have a track record of restricting and penalizing the victims.
As a mother of three children, who breastfed two of them, I consider myself pretty well versed in breastfeeding. I did not breastfeed my oldest at all. I received Enfamil in the hospital and did what any other new mother without background information would do. I sterilized bottles, filled them with formula and put cereal in the bottle to “help her sleep.” I wasn’t educated on the benefits of breastfeeding before I went in to give birth and the hospital didn’t offer any breastfeeding information. This was in the late 1990s and since then many policies and procedure in hospitals have changed.
Since that time, I have breastfed one child until two years old and currently breastfeeding a toddler. With both of these pregnancies, I researched and read medical articles and made sure that I had any and all the information I needed to successfully breastfeed. Both times, I was able to designate before giving birth that I did not want my babies to receive anything but breast milk. That included water and pacifiers. By this time in my life, I knew that breastfeeding is more than just a way to feed your children.
Honestly, breastfeeding is hard work. There are times when you are just tired. Tired of having milk come in, tired of having a baby hanging from your chest, tired of always having to make sure you are wearing something that can be lifted or unsnapped. However, all those feelings are ok and they eventually pass. Everyone has bad day. You keep going because you know that feeding your baby this way is the best thing for both of you.
As to the benefits of breastfeeding – first, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) all recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least the first 6 months. They also recommend that breastfeeding continue until the child is at least 2 years old or beyond if both mother and child wish to continue. Breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mother. Breastfeeding has been shown to protect against infections and illnesses, reduce infant mortality, and reduce the risk of ovarian and breast cancers. I have chosen to practice what is known as baby led weaning where I let the child decide when she is done breastfeeding. That is my choice. Naturally, you have to decide what is best for you and your family.
How does this tie into prepping? In an emergency, you might not have access to clean water to sterilize bottles, or to add to powdered formula. Infant formula has to be prepared a certain way or it will harm the baby. In an emergency, water would be used for cleaning and sterilization of bottles instead of consumption. Breastfeeding eliminates the need for bottles and sterilization. As long as you stay hydrated, your baby will be able to breastfeed and have its nutritional needs satisfied. Your baby will also have the comforting benefit of being close to you in the emergency, which will help to keep him or her calm.
Some quick facts about breastfeeding in an emergency:
Emergencies are often stressful. Although a woman may be under stress during an emergency, she can still breastfeed. This is where a support system in your family or others who are around can help. Providing the breastfeeding woman with a relaxing place (as relaxing as possible given the situation and/or environment) to breastfeed will help relieve some of the stress.
In a prolonged emergency or in a situation where food for the mother has not been available for a period of time, breastfeeding is still possible. A woman who is malnourished can still breastfeed. We may not have an emergency that puts us in a position where we are malnourished but it is important to know that breastfeeding is still possible when a woman is suffering from malnutrition.
In addition to being able to breastfeed even if she is malnourished, it is possible for a woman who has previously stopped breastfeeding to relactate and breastfeed again. If an emergency arises, a woman can latch the infant onto her breast and begin the process of relactation to feed the infant. This may become necessary if you are unsure of the safety of the water in the area or if you have a formula supply that will not last through the emergency.
There is a plethora of information on the internet about the benefits of breastfeeding. Some reputable organizations are United States Breastfeeding Committee (usbreastfeeding.org), La Leche League (lll.org) and Kelly Mom (kellymom.com.)
For any mother, breastfeeding is a powerful tool to have in an emergency.