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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Firearm Records

You should have a record of pretty much anything with a serial number, but for now I'll concentrate specifically firearms.

I know of several cases in which firearms were stolen in a burglary (one involved a personal friend - in his case, guns from his father and grandfather) and there were no descriptions or recorded serial numbers, which meant about zero chance of ever getting those guns back. This happens a lot, so don't let it happen to you.

Make records, and make copies. In these days of digital cameras and flash drives and writable CD/DVDs, there’s no reason not to use them. My suggestions on firearms:
  1. Make a list of important information for each firearm such as brand, model, serial number, other identifying marks or numbers, etc.
  2. Take a picture of each firearm. If there are identifying/proof features on both sides, take one of each side.
  3. Label each picture as to what it is. Either put the serial number in the picture name, or keep the list together with the pictures. Preferably both.
  4. Make a hard copy of the list to keep with the other media, just in case something happens to the electronic copies. Paper and ink are cheap. 
  5. Make at least two copies: one to keep with you, preferably in a fire-resistant storage box or safe, and one in a secure off-site location (with relatives, safety deposit box, whatever).
Flash drives or other re-writable media are great; you can update them at any time. Paper records will have to be printed again when things change; again, paper and ink are cheap.

Don’t store your only record on your computer! In fact, you shouldn't leave any copy on the computer; once you copy anything on it to the storage media, securely wipe the files on the PC (laptop, tablet, whatever), just to be safe in case of viruses.

These records are good for more than just theft; if there's a fire, or flood, or a small SMOD, you'll need to be able to show the insurance people just what you have. These directions will also work on other things, like your computer or TV or power tools. But if, for some reason, you don't have an inventory of everything, at least make one of your firearms.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #161 - We Are But Mad North-North-West


Erin's neighborhood was supposed to get its power restored this weekend. Now it's been pushed back until Tuesday next week.

  • Beth says it's always the right time to talk to children about firearms, and the new book "Safety On" by Yehuda Remer can help you with that.
  • A second suspect has been identified in a NW Charlotte homicide, and good news! He's not quite as awful as the suspect they have already charged!
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • To be, or not to be: that is the question. Or perhaps the question is "to stay, or not to stay." And when the hurricane blows southerly, Miguel knows a hawk from a handsaw.
  • Our Main Topic is the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that more Americans than ever have a gun in their homes.
  • Tiffany covers a few of the Every Day Carry travel considerations that aren't usually discussed in the average concealed carry permit class.
  • Erin left the hurricane behind. But she has preps in place, so why evacuate? She shares her thoughts on avoiding troubles as a valid prepping strategy.
  • The Joyce Foundation Shell Group, States United, has cooked up a “Video Game” to oppose concealed carry Reciprocity, and gets the reaction from alleged Real People™. Weer'd has the audio.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.


Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -

Why Evacuate When You Have Preps?
As I write this, I’m comfortably ensconced at Castello Sorrentino, enjoying the delightfully cool North Carolina weather. The reason I’m able to  enjoy it so much is because Hurricane Irma largely missed my part  of Florida, contenting herself with knocking down trees and power lines. This means I no longer have to worry about the safety of my family or the integrity of our house, and my evacuation has become a vacation. 

Despite all this, though. I’m still having trouble shaking the feeling that I am now 2 for 2 at being a gigantic pussy when it comes to hurricanes. After all, what kind of prepper am I if I chose not to reply upon those preps, but instead to run away at the first opportunity?

Friend of the show Josh made a great point last week when he posted this to the BCP Facebook group:
It occurs to me that training with a firearm and preparing for disasters are very similar.
In both cases you are gathering the tools and knowledge to handle a situation if it gets bad. In both cases your education tells you to leave the area as soon as it seems likely things actually will go bad.
And I believe this with 100% conviction. Just like concealed carriers 
believe "You win every gunfight you avoid", we preppers believe that we survive every disaster we aren’t present for. Sure, you might be able to out-draw or out-shoot a bad guy, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get through the experience unscathed. You might get hurt anyway, or be arrested and tried for murder by an overzealous prosecutor, or be harassed by the media and hated by your community. 

Similarly, if you rely on your preps to get you through a disaster you could have avoided, at the very least you’ve consumed those preps and need to replace them. Progressing up the scale of awful, take a moment to realize that “surviving a disaster” and “surviving a disaster unscathed” are two completely different things. If you’re crippled, but you lived, then technically you’ve survived…

Now I understand that there are some situations where people cannot evacuate. Perhaps you have a family member who cannot be moved, and evacuating without them would be the same as abandoning them. Perhaps you don’t have a car or the funds required to get out. Perhaps you have a job as an emergency responder, and it’s your duty to help those who didn’t leave. In all of these cases, I understand why you didn’t go, and I don’t fault you for your choice. 

But what gets me are the people who have the ability to leave but choose not to evacuate -- like my parents, who say “We evacuated once back in 2003. We were stuck in traffic, and the dogs were hot, and we couldn’t find a hotel that would take us and our pets. We’re just going to stay behind.”  To me, this is like saying “We’d rather risk death than be inconvenienced by an evacuation.” I don’t get this. I just DON’T. It’s like hearing the anti-vaccine folks talk and realize that they’re saying “Having a dead child is preferable to having one with autism.”

So I just leave at the first sign of impending doom, because the best prep is not gear, not training, but the ability to get yourself out of dangerous situations - and the best way to get out of dangerous situations is not to get into them in the first place. 

This is why I’m up here in North Carolina, enjoying lovely weather and power and internet, while my family are sweltering in summer Florida heat without air conditioning. 

Yup. They really saved themselves some inconvenience, didn’t they?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Post-Irma Erin

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
I realized that it's been a while since I posted a blog update on how I'm doing. I've been posting updates on Facebook, of course, but not everyone who reads this blog follows me there.

Short version: We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Long version: I left Florida on Friday shortly after noon, and after twelve hours of driving -- most of which seemed to be spent in stop-and-go traffic in South Carolina, regardless of which road (interstate, US road, state road, surface streets) I took -- I ended up in North Carolina to spend the weekend with partner in podcasting Sean Sorrentino. I did some dry fire practice with Sean, met some really cool people, and then left Tuesday morning because I feel that guests,like fish, begin to stink after three days.

However, power was still out at home. It's not scheduled to be restored until this weekend, and so I'd be bored silly while sweating my bits off if I returned -- and the condition of some of the roads in Florida was still iffy -- so I decided to head west and hang out with some people in Tennessee because they'd indicated they would be happy to host me. So right now I'm in eastern TN through the weekend, hopefully heading home on Saturday or Sunday.

I've been speaking to my family every day over dad's cellphone. Mom, dad, dogs, house, they're all fine, just bored and hot. They can't even take showers to cool off because while they have water pressure, there's no power to run the electric sewer pump, so they need to be careful or else they'll cause the buried septic tank to overflow, which happened back in 2003ish. Believe me, no power + Florida heat + sewage smell = YUCK.

The house didn't take any damage from Irma so far as we can tell, but all the food in the refrigerator has gone bad, and likely all the stuff in the freezer as well. Fortunately there's enough canned food to feed everyone in the house. Yay preps!

Dad is currently in the hospital right now, and trust me, that's a good thing. He's been fighting pneumonia for about 2 weeks, and just before Irma he was diagnosed with COPD. He also has a tendency to complain and get in mom's way, so him being out of the house is good for mom's sanity, and because he's in a place with air conditioning and medical attention, it's good for him as well.

So as these things go, we were remarkably lucky. I still maintain that bugging out was the right choice of action, because (if for no other reason) I'm comfortable and they're not.




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Prudent Prepping: New Recruits


The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Some people plan things well in advance, and some need a virtual kick in the pants to start preparing for emergencies. The recent hurricanes have been starting points for several conversations about prepping for the past two weeks.

Starting the Conversation
I never start with telling people that I'm a Prepper, but after talking about the local weather, the hurricanes, or the big earthquake in Mexico, I ask "What have you done to make yourself ready?" I usually hear that there has been little thought given to what could happen and how they will react.

One recent conversation started over lunch when I commented on the team logo on a sales rep's jacket. Their home state gets bad weather (snow, ice storms and tornadoes) and a comment was made about how scary earthquakes are and how freaked out having the building shake makes them feel. I was asked how I feel about earthquakes, and I said they don't bother me nearly as much as tornadoes, since you can't see earthquakes coming your way from the next county. It turns out that the rep's family had a 'storm room' all set up on the chance there was a bad storm. I asked the rep about any plans for a similar amount of preparation here, and was met with a blank state.

I gave them the link to the Get Home Bag posts here, with a suggestion to look at the First 72 Hours post at the top of any of my posts and then look up everyone else who writes here.

I also suggested a book I've had for a while:

The Disaster Preparedness Handbook
http://amzn.to/2eUORi5 
From the description:

"This is the essential guide every family should have, study, and keep handy, in case the unthinkable should occur. Shelter. First Aid. Protection.With this book you can outline your survival plan."


Information is broken down into easy-to-read sections, with a space to write your own notes provided. While this is not the most detailed book on disaster planning, it is enough information in small bites for a young person doing their very first solo living, so that making and following a plan will be doable.

I was surprised to see how excited the rep became reading the BCP posts. They mentioned that their family still in the Midwest were also concerned with earthquakes.When I see them either this week or next, I expect to pass this book on and hear which items have been purchased.

And that is how I influence friends to be prepared.

The Recap
  • I always have a calm answer to questions about prepping.
The Takeaway
If you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!


If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Monday, September 11, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #160 - Round and Round


Blood going round and round: Good.

Hurricanes going round and round: Bad.
  • Beth is on assignment and will return next week.
  • What kind of sicko breaks into rehab facilities and sexually assaults the patients? Sean takes a closer look.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • What do you do when a Category Five hurricane is barreling down on you? If you’re Miguel, you fret that you don’t have enough propane, because you’ve already used yours to smoke ribs and brisket.
  • Our Special Guest this week is Kelly Grayson, the Ambulance Driver, here to explain what lifesaving medical equipment lay rescuers should have in their kits… and more importantly, what they shouldn't have.
  • Tiffany’s back with her first after-action report on NRA’s Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You’re going to love her off-the-cuff interview with her Uber driver.
  • Unlike Miguel, Erin is evacuating Florida before Hurricane Irma arrives. On the eve of her departure, she gives us her thoughts on the bug-out process.
  • Weer'd talks about the Kellermann Study in nearly every episode. This week he finally gives that piece of anti-gun “Scientific” research the Patented Weer'd Fisk Treatment that it so richly deserves.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for Smuggler's Notch Litigation Wheat Whiskey.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

There is no Blue Collar Prepping Transcript this week because Erin recorded her segment extemporaneously and so there are no notes to transcribe. 

Bump Starting a Manual Transmission


When it comes to evacuating an in an emergency, you may be forced to use what's available instead of what you like. This can include everything from hitching a ride on a city bus, to carpooling, to just straight-up walking. Some people even have a perfectly prepared BOV ready to go, but even if you are ready in that way, life will happen, and at some point people will have to improvise. 

When you improvise, you sometimes have to use whatever is at hand, including cars that you had not planned to use because they have… issues. Sometimes these issues develop while you are on the road, and you have to get the vehicle moving again. 

As a note, this post focuses on manual transmission vehicles, since they are easier to get running in problematic circumstances, and will run even with problems that would cripple an automatic transmission vehicle.

Do you have the key?
If not, you have a whole other set of problems. Entire books have been written on this subject, and the best advice I can give in the space I have is for you to call a locksmith or read up on it elsewhere on the internet.

From personal experience, I recommend that you keep a spare copy of a key to any vehicle you own on a backup ring that you store somewhere safe.

Stick Shift Basics
If you can drive a stick shift, ignore this. Otherwise, this is a basic primer.

A stick shift is like the gears on your bicycle. There are a few safety features in modern transmissions (such as preventing you from going into reverse at high speed), but otherwise the mechanism is very similar. 

The clutch is just a way to unlock the chain so that you can change gears. It also allows the engine and/or wheels to spin freely.

How to Shift
  1. Make sure the parking brake is off and your foot is on the brake pedal. 
  2. Unless the clutch is broken, you will have to engage (press down on) the clutch in order to change into gear. 
  3. Engage first gear (upper left hand corner of the shift tree in most cars) with your left foot on the clutch to fully disengage the transmission. 
    • If you are unfamiliar with the vehicle, slowly raise and lower your left foot a few times on the clutch to try to find that point that it catches just a little bit. This is called a clutch point. 
  4. Make sure the transmission is fully disengaged and turn on the vehicle. 
  5. Take your foot off of the brake and push on the gas with your right foot until you can just hear the rumble of the engine. 
    • Take your foot off too slowly and the engine will not engage the transmission with enough force, and will stall out from the load. 
    • Take your foot off too quickly and you will get “Kangaroo Gas”, where the car will jump and then stop. 
    •  Thankfully, there is a fairly wide range of useful engine speeds, and it gets larger when you practice. 
  6. Slowly disengage the clutch as you engage the gas. As you bring your foot back, you will find that “clutch point” again as the transmission engages enough to move power between the engine and the wheels. (This is where most people have a problem when learning to drive, since they usually let off of the clutch too quickly. The engine is unable to handle the strain and it turns off.)
  7. Keep disengaging the clutch and slowly engaging the gas in order to increase power. 
  8. Changing gears is basically the same procedure, but going from one gear to another instead of from a stop. 
If you need further explanation, I have found this song a useful resource when teaching new drivers.



Bump Starting a Car
There are a lot of reasons a car may not start: the battery may be dead, the battery charging system may have problems, the starter may not work, the distributor may have issues… the list goes on. A surprising number of these can be bypassed by what is called “Bump starting” or “push starting” a car.

This works best on either a flat surface or a slight downward slope, and these techniques also work on most motorcycles and some scooters.

  1. Prep the car. Make sure that your emergency brake is off and that the keys are in the ignition and turned so that you can turn the wheels freely. 
  2. Fully engage the clutch and go into first gear, and make sure that you turn the key so that the electronics are engaged, but not the starter.
  3. Get up to speed. The more skilled you are at this, the easier it gets. I recommend that you be traveling at least 5-7 miles an hour. This is best accomplished by having someone else get out and push, even though I have learned how to push with one leg while operating pedals with the other.
    • As a note, have the lightest person drive if you can. Shaving 50-60 pounds off of the weight does not sound like it would make a huge difference with a several thousand pound vehicle, but often it does.
  4. Pop the clutch. When you are up to speed, release the clutch. The car should shake a bit, and the engine should start. Operate the vehicle from there as normal.

As always, don’t lick the wires, and don’t forget to practice.

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.