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Monthly Archives: January 2014

6 Rules of Gun SafetyThere are four rules of gun safety that are universally taught. You’ll find them on every reputable gun blog. Before I discuss those four, there are two I’d like to add, making this The Approaching Day Prepper 6 Rules of Gun Safety. Let’s get right into them.

Rule 1 – Get enough training to be proficient and keep your skills current.
If you choose to own a gun, be sure to receive proper training in how to use it. Proper training means more than the first ten-hour basic instruction course. All that a basic class will really qualify you to do is to shoot very slowly at a stationary paper target. Start there, and then take additional courses that teach you how to use your gun in  realistic situations and give you practice doing it. These classes will give you training that you probably can’t get at your range, as most ranges only let you do what a basic class teaches you to do — that is, to shoot at a stationary paper target. Advanced classes will give you practice shooting while moving, from behind cover or concealment, in kneeling or prone positions, and while drawing from a holster.

Yes, I hope and pray that I never need to use a gun to protect myself or someone else, but if I do, I’m certain that those first ten hours of training weren’t nearly enough to make me competent to use one in a life-or-death situation, which is the very thing that I wanted to learn to use a gun for. On-going training and practice are essential.

Rule 2 – Never mix guns with drugs or alcohol.
Guns are lethal weapons. There is no place for the use of drugs or alcohol with handling firearms, and by “drugs”  I even include over-the-counter medications. One effect of drugs and alcohol is that they impair our judgment and actions. Another effect is that they make us unaware of that impairment. Don’t risk killing or maiming yourself or another person. A few months ago, I had a range date set with Phil and a friend of ours. The friend had come a long way to go shooting us. I hadn’t taken any medications or alcohol, but was experiencing dizziness or vertigo similar to what you might experience after a few drinks. I decided to stay home. My presence on the firing line would have been a danger to me and my friends. We knew someone who had an annual Fourth of July shooting party at his house. He called it “Fireworks – Firearms – Fire Water.” A dangerous combo. We stayed home.

Rule 3 – Always assume all guns are always loaded.
Even if you know you unloaded it before you put it away, when you get it out again check to be sure it’s not loaded. Then check again. Even if you’ve been assured by the person handing you a gun that it’s not loaded, check for yourself to be sure it’s not loaded. Then check again. Even if you watched someone check the gun before handing it to you, check to see that it’s not loaded before handling it. Then check again. The huge percentage of gun accidents occur because someone thought the gun wasn’t loaded.

Always treat any gun you pick up as if it’s loaded. Is the gun loaded? The answer is always “yes.” Even after you’ve double-checked that the gun is unloaded, never do anything with it that you wouldn’t do with a loaded gun. Always treat every gun as if were always loaded.

Rule 4 – Never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
That means never pointing a gun at another person you’re not willing to kill. Even an unloaded gun. (Because as we just learned above, you should assume all guns are always loaded. ) It’s a habit you never want to reinforce. It also means not pointing your gun at your TV unless you’re ready to shell out for a new one.

Stated another way, always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction is away from people, animals, personal property, and objects that could cause a ricochet. This is especially important as you move, as you load and unload your gun, and as you check the gun for a malfunction. (We see more people at the range who lose all concept of where their muzzle is pointing while they try to figure out a malfunction than at any other time when they’re handling a gun.)

What this means is that any time a gun is in your hand, you must be very conscious of where it is pointed. Yes, even if it’s unloaded, which it NEVER is. (See Rule #3.) Once you have the gun pointed in a safe direction, you must keep it pointed in a safe direction, even if you are moving or you look away or turn your body a different direction. People have a tendency to sweep the muzzle over vulnerable people and property when they move even the slightest bit. Developing good habits with an unloaded gun will carry into good habits when the gun is loaded.

Rule 5 – Always keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
Don’t put your finger inside the trigger guard until you are looking at your target and ready to shoot. A bad habit to develop is slipping your finger onto the trigger as you approach your target. For newbies especially, keep your finger off the trigger! Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you are looking at your target and ready to shoot.

Don’t get lax, thinking that the safety is on so there’s no harm in having your finger on the trigger. First, it only develops bad habits. Second, don’t rely on the mechanical safety. It could fail. Better to develop the habit of keeping your finger away from the trigger until your target is in sight and you are ready to shoot.

Rule 6 – Know your target and what’s beyond it.
Bullets can travel a long way. Depending on your caliber, gun, and conditions, it could travel one or two miles. It’s not enough to know what your target is. What is your bullet going to hit if it misses the target or goes through the target? Know what’s beyond your target before you pull the trigger. In conjunction with Rule #4 (never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy), pointing your gun up in the air is NOT a safe direction. What’s your target? What’s beyond it? If the trigger is pulled while the gun in pointed in the air, either intentionally or by accident, the bullet will land somewhere. You just don’t know what — or who — it will land on.

The purpose of the rules are to reinforce behaviors that will become automatic so that you don’t accidentally shoot something you don’t want to shoot. Don’t handle your guns until you have them burned into your memory, and make them a priority in your first training sessions…and always.

We’ve signed up for the Survival Summit and are really looking forward to it. Twenty-nine (at last count) survival and off-grid self-reliance experts will be giving workshops throughout the week. The best part – it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE! Yes, they will offer the recorded workshops for sale but if you watch while they’re available during the Summit they are free.

And OK, maybe free isn’t the best part. In fact, I’m guessing it isn’t. I’m guessing the best part will be all the great info we’ll get. But free means it’s no-risk to check it out.

When all is said and done, they will have provided more than 37 hours of survival training. Here’s how it works: Each day, about five workshops will be uploaded and made available to those registered for the Summit. You have 24 hours to watch the videos for free. They will then take them down and upload another five for the next day. So each day five new workshops are uploaded and available for viewing free during that 24-hour period. Throughout the Summit you’ll have the opportunity to purchase any you miss or want to have for future reference. I don’t know but I’m guessing they’ll offer the entire package at a great price.

So, sorry for the late info on this, but click on the link above or below and register today so you don’t miss any of the workshops. Oh – not sure you’ll like the topics available? Well, the topics range from  growing your own food to personal protection to fuel, housing and more. Check out the Schedule tab after you click on the link.

Enjoy!

I think you can see by our track record here at TADPrepper that we don’t promote products just for the sake of the small commission we get from our advertisers. But when we find a deal that we are eager to take advantage of ourselves, we always want to let you know about it, too.

We have found just such a deal.

This weekend only, from Jan 17 – Jan 20, 2014, Auguson Farms is having an up to 40% off sale on their 6-gallon pails of long-term storage food. Not all of their six-gallon pails are at 40% off, but they are all deeply discounted for this weekend only. We jumped on it, buying some staples such as salt and sugar that we didn’t have a significant quantity of, and adding to our supply of other basic foods like rice and beans.

I don’t get suckered by ads. “40% off ” sounds like a good come-on, but 40% off of what? So I did some comparison shopping at other food storage companies to see how Auguson’s sale prices compared with other vendors that I’ve bought from in the past. Blew ’em away. No contest. But I’ve done enough online shopping to know that great prices are often diminished by horrible shipping fees. Not this time. I bought six 6-gallon pails of very heavy food and was charged only $15 for shipping. Auguson’s site lets you check your shipping cost for everything in your shopping cart before you actually authorize the purchase. I like that.

So I took this for what it was — an outstanding opportunity to store a lot of food for a very low price. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this short sale. With the escalating price of food, this might be the best deal you see for a very long time.

2014 Prepper Calendar
The holidays have come and gone…most of us have gotten back into the real world despite the crazy weather we’re having across the country. It’s time to think about 2014. Some people take a mini-retreat in December to do this, but that just doesn’t happen for most of us. So I want to encourage you to do some planning this week. Find a little bit of time to think ahead toward all that 2014 holds and set your priorities for the coming year. And be sure that part of that planning includes your prepping efforts.

Phil and I did it Sunday evening and we are really glad we did. Phil is by nature a non-planner, so when I suggested we actually use this calendar I created as a result of my blog about Living from a Prepper Perspective…well, let’s just say it was one of those “yes dear” moments. He was gracious enough because he’s a great guy, but in his heart of hearts he felt like he was about to swallow some horrible-but-good-for-you medicine. Before we were done, however, he was a believer. He agreed that the whole experience was positive. And we were all done in just about 30 minutes.

We started by listing all the things we wanted to accomplish, buy, or learn in the area of prepping in 2014. We know that our list is greater than our ability for the most part, but making the list allowed us to put things into three categories based on their cost in terms of time, effort, and money.

  • Easy-Peasy – These are tasks or items that are simple enough, we just haven’t gotten around to doing them or buying them. They are things that are affordable on our “every day” budget. We expect we’ll be able to buy these items out of disposable income some time during the year.
  • Requires Moderate Planning/Effort – These are tasks that are outside of our every day budget but do-able if we plan for them. They’re also tasks that might require more than a few hours to accomplish. Requiring more time means they’re not going to fit into my week without planning for them. This is the category that will get the most attention on our calendar because they’re the things we can do if we’re aware of when they need to be done, how long they’ll take to do,  and make room in our schedule to include them. Without the planning they probably won’t happen. That makes them the tasks and purchases that will benefit the most from using a calendar.
  • Wish List – Our wish list holds items that are so expensive they would keep us from doing much of anything else. Phil and I have two things in this category and we agree that buying the long list of other things is more important to us at this time. Still, putting these expensive things on our list will help keep us focused should we receive unexpected income throughout the year. It will also be a reminder each time we’re tempted to splurge on something else. We can make an informed decision about splurging or saving, instead of just letting impulse reign. Splurging is good sometimes. Other times it’s just squandering the resources God has given us, and derailing the plans that we made in a more rational moment. But I digress.

So, with our freshly made to-do and to-buy lists in hand, we pulled out the 2014 Prepper Planning Calendar (which you can download below) and began to slot things that are time sensitive into their appropriate months. For example, we want to plant more raised-bed gardens this year. That means we need to build them in April so we can plant in May. We also want to build a cold frame to extend our growing season. That got scheduled for late July or early August. After we put all the time sensitive tasks into our planning calendar, we slotted other tasks and purchases in other months, balancing both the time commitment and budget as well as we could.

After just half an hour or so, we had our 2014 Prepping Planning Calendar completed. Even better than that, we both felt a greater peace and confidence in our ability to accomplish more in the coming year without blowing our schedule or budget.

  • Our to-do list and spending plan for the entire year is on paper so I don’t have to remember it any more. (Phil will be glad that I don’t have to ask him yet again when we need to build the cold frame.)
  • We have a balanced plan for spending our time, effort, and money throughout the year that takes into consideration seasonal fluctuations in our availability and finances. If our income or our schedule changes, we can easily adjust the schedule.
  • We don’t have this overwhelming pile of prepper “need to’s” looming in front of us all the time. Phil and I each have one goal for January. That’s do-able. We’ve both begun to make progress on those goals. Instead of feeling overwhelmed at all we have to do over the course of the whole year, we’re feeling a sense of forward progress. That leads to more accomplishment. Feeling overwhelmed only leads to binging on cookies on the couch in front of the TV. (But again, I digress.)

I’m guessing your weeks are something like mine…Mondays quickly become Wednesdays, and then Wednesdays becomes Fridays. We step into Saturday with a list of errands and then celebrate the Lord’s Day. Before we can blink it’s Monday all over again, and yet another week has gone by without me doing those prepper tasks I had hoped to accomplish. Our prepper calendar will help us move forward instead of just spinning our wheels.

I’m looking forward to 2014. It is a year that holds the promise of many things. I anticipate that it will have its ups and downs but I’ve learned that in both we can experience God’s blessings. Let me encourage you to spend a little time thinking about 2014. You can use this calendar to document your prepper plans. There are pages for each month…more or less. You’ll find that the pages don’t strictly follow calendar months – why waste a whole row if there are only two days in a week during that month? To provide more space for writing you’ll find some days from the previous or following months on your calendar page. You’ll also find pages to do the initial planning.

You can download your calendar below. Don’t be surprised if after entering your email address it seems that the blog has reloaded. Simply scroll down to the point and you’ll be able to download the calendar. Enjoy your planning time, friends! And here’s to a prosperous, healthy, and productive year in prepping.

Enter your email address to download The Approaching Day Prepper 2014 Prepper Calendar

USA flagHas the world always been as fragile as it is right now? It seems like we’re on the tipping point for disaster in any of a number of areas: worldwide economic concerns, nuclear threats from the rogue nations of North Korea and Iran, ecological disasters, extreme weather, earthquakes and volcanic activity — the list goes on and on.

One of the purposes of this website is to alert our readers to potential threats that could trigger bigger problems. We don’t want to be alarmists. We prefer a calm faith based on a saving relationship with a loving God. But with so many potential threats, we feel it’s just common sense to be prepared to face a significant disruption of our current way of life. To me, that’s what prepping is all about.

When I survey the landscape of potential threats, one that stands out to me is the global lack of competent, sane leadership. The Bible clearly describes a future in which the world will be united under the strong leadership of one man, the Antichrist. While we’ve been seeing the world moving in the direction of a worldwide government and banking system, what kind of event will eventually trigger the acceptance of a globally unified governing system? Economic collapse seems like a likely contender, but along with it (and indeed, probably the leading contributor to it) is the lack of leadership in the world. People are starved for a strong leader.

What we’re seeing on a worldwide scale is that the good intentions of government leaders are backfiring on them. The solutions that they propose and enact only serve to make the problems worse. One obvious case in point is the bungled implementation of the Affordable Helthcare Act. It was pushed through as a means to provide lower cost health insurance so that more people could be insured. The results have been the opposite of the stated intentions — insurance rates are skyrocketing and more people will be uninsured than ever before.

But I digress.

What prompted this blog was an editorial in the New York Times written by the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Great Britain, entitled Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone. The Saudis have been waiting patiently for coherent, consistent, and competent policies from America to bring stability to their region in the face of mounting problems in Syria and Iran. They have waited as long as they can. Now they’re planning to “go it alone.”

For my entire life (and I’m no spring chicken) America has been the leader of the free world. Our leadership has crumbled. Some think it’s because of our fragmentation as a nation. We are a house divided, with nearly every important vote virtually split at close to 50-50 with no clear majority. Author and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza has speculated in his book and movie Obama’s America, that this is all part of President Obama’s master plan to weaken America:

America as we know it—wealthy, powerful, assertive—is not what Obama wants. He wants a smaller America, a poorer America, an America unable to exert its will, an America happy to be one power among many, an America in decline so that other nations might rise—all in the name of global fairness. To Obama, the hated “one percent” isn’t just wealthy Americas; it is America itself. In Obama’s view, America needs to be taken down a notch.

While it certainly seems to me that this is precisely the direction America is headed in, I’m not entirely convinced that President Obama is smart enough or powerful enough to pull off such a colossal undertaking. Perhaps instead of attributing these “accomplishments” to a diabolical master plan to dismantle American power, we should apply Occam’s Razor and say that a simpler explanation for an event or phenomena is more likely to be the real cause than a complex explanation — namely a lack of competent leadership.

Whichever of these explanations you choose to pin the blame on for the direction our nation is headed, one thing is clear: We can’t depend on the government to help us. There will be no personal “bail-out” for you or me. We need to put our faith and trust in God, become more self-sufficient, and less dependent on government-based financial programs. For many of us, that will require a major shift of worldview and focus. Have you been counting on Social Security and Medicare to carry you through your retirement? You might want to come up with a new Plan A. Does a retirement check from a military or teaching career or other public service position make up a large portion of your income? It might not always be there for you. What are you doing now to prepare for it?

Aristotle sagely noted that nature abhors a vacuum. Something will always fill the void. That something isn’t always good. Faced with a worldwide vacuum of leadership, I propose that you and I step up to become leaders in our own households. We might not have much say about the direction that our nation or the world is going in, but we can take positive action right now to put our own household in a better position to thrive in a time of chaos.

Like the folks at Nike say, just do it.

As we step into 2014, what are you thinking about prepping? How are you thinking about prepping? It seems a great time for each of us to review how we approach the world differently because of our preparedness mindset.

Awareness
Awareness means different things depending on where you are on the prepping continuum. For beginners, it means becoming aware of the need to prep. It’s that first knock on the door of your consciousness that gets your attention. When you open the door, it says “Hey, things might not always be as they are now. What do you need to do to get ready?” If you haven’t reached awareness yet, check out our Why Prep page – you’ll find a compilation of our blogs on that subject. If you’ve just reached awareness and are wondering where to begin, check out our blog Getting Started with Prepping – How Do I Begin?

For more experienced preppers, awareness goes beyond the initial insight of the general need to prepare for a game-changing event. Awareness becomes being vigilant – always alert to what’s going on around you locally, nationally, and globally. It means monitoring shifts in political, economic, social, and environmental conditions. As preppers, we learn to be observant in every situation, thinking ahead to how we might need to adapt to new realities.

Determination
Having come to an understanding that the world is in fact changing – that it will not go on the same as it is right now and may become a more challenging place to live – we’ve decided that we will take steps today that will position us to survive – even thrive – in a new and less friendly environment. We’re deciding today that we won’t be victims – people who need to be rescued by someone else. And I hope you’re like me and not planning on just being a “sole survivor,” but also being one who helps others survive as well.

Emergency ChecklistIntentionality
Preppers plan for the future. We live today as if tomorrow may be different. There are two parts to that sentence.

  • “We live today…” – Our approach to prepping isn’t so future-focused that we fail to live for today. Enjoy the day! Don’t miss it. Don’t race ahead of today. God has given it to you and put things into it for your pleasure. Don’t let them go by without appreciating them.
  • “…as if tomorrow may be different” – While enjoying the blessings of today, we are also gathering things and learning skills we might need in that different world. That means planning how we use our time and finances for future benefit. It means being proactive instead of just reactive. It means living intentionally.

Readiness
No one can be prepared for everything, but we can all do something today that will make us better prepared for tomorrow. Our goal is to take measures to ensure that not only are we are able to survive, but we can also help others in an emergency. So we live our lives differently from those who haven’t yet become aware.  We buy and store water, food and other necessities. We intentionally buy things we might never use in our everyday lives (our manually-operated grain mill comes to mind – will I ever use it to grind wheat if nothing happens? I don’t think so). We determine to learn skills we don’t absolutely require for survival today, but which might become indispensable in the days to come. (We took up raised-bed gardening, not because we were looking for an excuse to do more yard work, but because it’s part of our prepping. Canning comes next.)

So as preppers, we live aware that tomorrow may be different from today, determined to live as well as we can in that day and ready for whatever that tomorrow looks like. That sounds wise to me. That’s a lifestyle I can be happy with today and tomorrow.

I’m aware, though, that I often get distracted by bright shiny objects – whatever new and interesting thing crosses my path in a given day or week. To help keep ourselves on track, we’re preparing a 2014 Prepper’s Calendar. Watch for it early next week.