Jesse Math­ew­son is a con­tribut­ing author to the Sub­ur­ban Sur­vival blog.  He is an indi­vid­ual who believes in Lib­er­ty, Non-Aggres­sion, Self-Defense, Self-Own­er­ship and a Free Mar­ket with­out state inter­fer­ence it is Jesse’s firm belief that we should all be bet­ter stu­dents in life. His auto­dac­tic edu­ca­tion in Amer­i­can His­to­ry, World Reli­gious His­to­ry, Gov­ern­ment and accred­it­ed edu­ca­tion in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, Juve­nile Deviance and Drug Relat­ed offens­es and crime allows his phi­los­o­phy to be ever chang­ing. So be crit­i­cal, he will glad­ly attempt to respond to all intel­lec­tu­al and hon­est crit­i­cisms. Con­tact Jesse at how­ev­er, please under­stand that he receives sev­er­al hun­dred emails dai­ly and may not nec­es­sar­i­ly have the time to respond to them all.

Over the past decade or so since the big hype sur­round­ing Y2K, hun­dreds of new indus­tries have sprung up vir­tu­al­ly over night. Sur­vival gear, food, tools and more are pumped out by entre­pre­neurs tak­ing advan­tage of a very real fear of death that inhab­its much of human­i­ty. Inter­est­ing­ly, much of this indus­try is sup­port­ed by indi­vid­u­als who were urban or sub­ur­ban in their think­ing.

You would be hard pressed to find a sec­ond or third gen­er­a­tion farm/ ranch son or daugh­ter who has not already either expe­ri­enced mas­sive flood, storms or life and is not pre­pared in some fash­ion. The mod­ern guru’s of pre­pared­ness are those indi­vid­u­als who have the abil­i­ty to attract oth­ers like them­selves and seem as if they tru­ly know what they are doing. Most of them were orig­i­nal­ly urban or sub­ur­ban chil­dren and are type A per­son­al­i­ties which when you add a spoon­ful of what­ev­er fla­vor of reli­gion they pre­fer does­nt bode well except to their pock­et books.

Chief among these indi­vid­u­als is John Wes­ley Rawles, born in a Cal­i­for­nia city, raised as a nation­al­is­tic indi­vid­ual he touts his brief stay in the mil­i­tary as a Cap­tain as his sol­id back­ground. Of course, he has worked in oth­er fields after get­ting out of the mil­i­tary, how­ev­er, it should be not­ed that com­pa­nies who desire to gain mil­i­tary con­tracts reg­u­lar­ly buy and sell peo­ple like Rawles so as to present a pro-mil­i­tary pro­file when apply­ing for their share of stolen tax mon­ey. In many cas­es you do not have to have any real expe­ri­ence, a sim­ple set of bars will suf­fice for a well paid posi­tion as what­ev­er you desire regard­less of actu­al skill set.

Of course on the oth­er side of the sur­vival fence you have indi­vid­u­als like myself. Peo­ple who have lived through fires, storms, tor­na­does and floods. You have the indi­vid­u­als who instead of mak­ing spu­ri­ous claims to fame as a foun­da­tion for their career in flim-flam, have actu­al­ly lived through it. Or, as with the admin­is­tra­tor of the Sub­ur­ban Sur­vival Blog, have the courage to admit they do not have all the answers and are learn­ing as they go. Now it should be under­stood that my chief com­plaint with Rawles is his inflam­ma­to­ry reli­gious and sta­tist rhetoric. After that even a blind mon­key can even­tu­al­ly get some things right, if giv­en unlim­it­ed band­width and zom­bie like fol­low­ers.

How does any of this actu­al­ly apply to sur­viv­ing ver­sus liv­ing? Its sim­ple real­ly, peo­ple like Rawles want to see you change your entire life into a para­noid, reli­gious freak. Peo­ple like the Sub­ur­ban Sur­vival­ist sim­ply want to see you live, rather then strug­gle when events like the recent Hur­ri­cane in New York occur. I have had long argu­ments with Rawles, and he has patent­ly denied his right wing, over zeal­ous reli­gious approach to sta­tism and the Con­sti­tu­tion. Inter­est­ing­ly a 30 sec­ond google or bing search will turn up dozens of quotes from Rawles regard­ing his desire to see reli­gious sep­a­ra­tion and more.

How­ev­er, I con­tin­ue to get off top­ic, how does one live ver­sus sim­ply sur­vive? Using Occam’s Razor the sim­plest answer is usu­al­ly the right one. You live, life should not stop sim­ply because you desire to ensure your safe­ty and that of your fam­i­ly should a major nat­ur­al or man made event occur. One can eas­i­ly incor­po­rate sim­ple, yet ben­e­fi­cial skills and traits into their lives now with­out real­ly chang­ing any­thing, Obvi­ous­ly, being a gen­er­a­tional coun­try boy myself, liv­ing in a small town now, my habits learned as a youth have trans­lat­ed eas­i­ly into my life now. I do not rec­om­mend any­one live in high pop­u­la­tion den­si­ty areas, you are ask­ing for trou­ble regard­less. Sta­tis­ti­cal­ly some­thing neg­a­tive will even­tu­al­ly occur, to your­self or with­in your vicin­i­ty over the course of your life time.

Rawles and oth­ers would have you believe that you should sell every­thing, and move to the remotest moun­tains you can find. Myself and the Sur­bur­ban Sur­vival blog­ger would have you sim­ply live your life now, and add a bit at a time to your back­up sup­plies for the time when you will need it the most. The eas­i­est way to ensure you and your fam­i­ly live well is to add 5% on to every pur­chase and use the back of your linen clos­et, pantry and oth­er stor­age spaces to live. Most canned goods while less nutri­tion­al then fresh foods store for an aver­age of 5 years or more safe­ly. Rotate your stock, store heir­loom seeds and learn square foot gar­den­ing. Water can be stored in well rinsed plas­tic gal­lon milk con­tain­ers, as well as old syrup or food stor­age con­tain­ers.

Rawles and his fol­low­ers would have you believe that using stor­age con­tain­ers like this you will end up poi­son­ing your­self, yet, the real­i­ty is that while some issues have been seen with using con­tain­ers like this, it is extreme­ly long term, mean­ing you will die of old age long before you actu­al­ly see the affects of using these stor­age con­tain­ers. Local donut shops have food safe frost­ing buck­ets and will almost always be will­ing to sell them for a small price. I have amassed large amounts of these, and they work well to store dried foods, canned foods and even water for clean­ing and more. The ben­e­fit to using these is that they are easy to trans­port, seal well and are cheap.

Per­son­al­ly I detest Top Ramen noo­dles, how­ev­er, they can be had for lit­er­al­ly pen­nies on the dol­lar and if you use the noo­dles only and avoid the high sodi­um con­tent of the fla­vor pack­ag­ing they make a great easy, cheap filler that can turn a blah meal into some­thing almost four star. Your friends have told you about Cost­co’s deal on a one year sup­ply of food, and yet your bank­book can­not han­dle that stress. So buy an extra pound of rice, canned goods and more every time you get gro­ceries, and watch your year sup­ply add up quick­ly.

You should fig­ure out how much is actu­al­ly used per sit­ting on a stan­dard fam­i­ly meal for your imme­di­ate fam­i­ly, now add a min­i­mum of two more stom­ach­es and mul­ti­ply by two. Dur­ing a cri­sis humans eat more, and expend more ener­gy regard­less the lev­el of phys­i­cal expen­di­ture. A weeks food sup­ply for four peo­ple can quick­ly turn into three days with­out even real­iz­ing it. These are sim­ple things to remem­ber, addi­tion­al­ly what about per­son­al com­fort, hygiene and more. Do you have toi­let paper, paper tow­els, salt, pep­per, sham­poo, body soap, dish soap, fuel for cook­ing and more? Here is where things can get com­pli­cat­ed, if you let them.

Depend­ing on where you live you are already pre­pared for this. How­ev­er, some of us do not use propane for cook­ing or heat­ing. Some of us rely on nat­ur­al gas, so what should we do to pre­pare with­out let­ting our desire to be safe become our life? The same thing we do with food, when we pur­chase sup­plies for per­son­al hygiene and wash­ing clothes, buy an extra bot­tle or box every oth­er month. Remem­ber, clothes can be washed by hand in the bath­tub, dried by hang­ing them on the show­er  cur­tain rod and though stiffer then what you are used to, be clean and feel much bet­ter then sev­er­al day old cloth­ing against the skin. Wal­mart and oth­er big box stores sell par­ty buf­fet tray warm­ers that work well for small meals and more. These can be had for $1.50 to $3.00 apiece and last for two meals, buy four or five every time you go shop­ping and keep them sealed tight­ly, using the buck­ets you picked up for a small price at your local donut shop.

Propane cook stoves can be had for $35 to $125 dol­lars and work well for cook­ing, heat­ing water and even heat­ing the house if nec­es­sary. Using small propane bot­tles pur­chased at big box stores for $5 for two, with an aver­age life span of 4–8 hours depend­ing on use, these can also be stock­piled over time. Anoth­er less effi­cient but sim­ple approach to cook­ing, or heat­ing water is using a large card­board box, duck tape and alu­minum foil. While it may take a bit of adjust­ment, you can make a sim­ple solar oven that will func­tion well enough to at least pro­vide one warm meal a day which can make all the dif­fer­ence in the world. Oth­er avenues include small elec­tric hot­plates, solar pan­els, marine bat­ter­ies and more. A bit more expen­sive, but longer last­ing with less stor­age nec­es­sary.

What should you do about self defense, hunt­ing and more? The pri­ma­ry ques­tion should be, regard­less what I use is my use of this tool more a dan­ger to me then a ben­e­fit? Peo­ple like Rawles will tell you to train, and yet, they often leave out the specifics. Instead they are gear heads, spout­ing end­less amounts of dri­v­el about the ben­e­fits of one tool over anoth­er. With no real evi­dence sup­port­ing their asser­tions oth­er then some odd facts and even fic­tion they have gath­ered over time, they have con­vinced hun­dreds of peo­ple that own­ing a .45 cal­iber hand­gun and a .308 rifle makes them immune to the dan­gers of the world. For peo­ple like myself who spend count­less hours, hun­dreds of thou­sands of rounds and have thor­ough­ly test­ed and used dozens of var­i­ous firearms, his asser­tions are beyond false, they are dan­ger­ous to fol­low blind­ly.

For instance I know through per­son­al test­ing (500‑1000 each, of 7 major pop­u­lar self defense ammu­ni­tions) as well as read­i­ly avail­able and well doc­u­ment­ed test results that mod­ern 9mm Hol­low Point rounds gen­er­ate more ener­gy, bet­ter pen­e­tra­tion and are more reli­able then .45 cal­iber ammu­ni­tion. I also know that the measly and vast­ly under-rat­ed .223/5.56 cal­iber round is extreme­ly effec­tive from 0–500 yards. I know that to use it effec­tive­ly one must become a rifle­man, and not sim­ply some­one who humps a larg­er cal­iber rifle and assumes that makes them invin­ci­ble. I know that the actu­al odds of fac­ing down a griz­zly bear or moun­tain lion are so rare that car­ry­ing a firearm specif­i­cal­ly designed for that task will only hin­der you.

I know that com­mon dis­tances for game hunt­ing are between 100–300 yards, and that the vast­ly under­rat­ed .223/5.56 round will work quite effec­tive­ly in these dis­tances. I know that the most com­mon bat­tle­field dis­tances are between 25–150 yards and that the mod­ern mil­i­tary man trains more with regards to urban, house to house then for dis­tance fight­ing. I also know that the train­ing a mod­ern mil­i­tary man receives, espe­cial­ly peo­ple like Rawles, is less then effec­tive and pro­motes only the idea of invin­ci­bil­i­ty but does not actu­al­ly pro­mote effi­cien­cy. Last­ly, I know that the low­ly .22 long rifle is among the top rounds caus­ing firearms relat­ed deaths in the Unit­ed States and that aimed prop­er­ly against unar­mored tar­gets has as much a chance of one shot stop as does the vast­ly over­rat­ed .45 cal­iber hand­gun.

My per­son­al rec­om­men­da­tion for the low bud­get, low impact desire to pre­pare and live when faced with cat­a­stro­phe would be to pur­chase what you can afford with­out going into debt from the fol­low­ing cal­ibers and types. In hand­guns I high­ly rec­om­mend Glocks for the begin­ners, this is sim­ply because the ben­e­fits far out­weigh the sup­posed dis­ad­van­tages. Large mag­a­zine capac­i­ty, accu­rate, ease of use and they can be found in any of the major hand­gun cal­ibers. They are pop­u­lar firearms and easy for the begin­ner to learn to take apart and fix. This means that you will be able to find parts with­out even real­ly hav­ing to look if some­thing were to go wrong. I would per­son­al­ly rec­om­mend 9mm as a cal­iber and I would sug­gest using Speer Gold Dot or Rem­ing­ton green box hol­low point self defense ammu­ni­tion. For train­ing, almost any­thing will work, how­ev­er remem­ber, the 9mm gains its true ben­e­fits by using a sol­id self defense hol­low point round.

Next I would sug­gest either an AK in 5.45x39 or an AR in .223/5.56, for the AR I would high­ly sug­gest ensur­ing that it is mil­spec, and has a 1/9 twist, this allows the best cross over in com­mon bul­let weights. The AK, I would sug­gest a Roman­ian, or Cen­tu­ri­on build spend the extra mon­ey on one or the oth­er. Also, get a full stock, dont set­tle for the cool look­ing wire stocks, they real­ly dont do much to help you with accu­ra­cy. And con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, the AK and the AR can be more then accu­rate enough. Most shoot­ers I know tend to desire sub one inch groups at 100 yards, how­ev­er, this is off of a bench, with a ran­som rest and match grade ammu­ni­tion. The truth is that bat­tle­field accu­ra­cy, or a 3–4” group­ing at 100 yards off­hand is more then ade­quate.

Last­ly I would sug­gest that you pur­chase a sol­id .22 rifle, many peo­ple pro­mote the Ruger 10/22, and like the glock it is a proven plat­form with the ben­e­fit of being extreme­ly pro­lif­ic. I per­son­al­ly own Moss­berg 702 plinksters, being a low bud­get prep­per myself I have found that these are accu­rate, reli­able and inex­pen­sive. In fact you can often pur­chase two for the price of a Ruger 10/22 addi­tion­al fac­to­ry mag­a­zines will run $12–15 apiece, this alone makes them more cost effec­tive then the Ruger 10/22. Remem­ber, regard­less which firearms you pur­chase, you will want to have a min­i­mum of 10 mag­a­zines per firearm sim­ply because with use every­thing can fail.

So we have cov­ered food, fuel and firearms but what about shel­ter and trans­porta­tion? Shel­ter comes in many sizes, there is the shel­ter that also dou­bles as a fort, and the shel­ter that sim­ply gets you out of the ele­ments such as rain, wind and snow. Pur­chase an old­er boy scout hand­book, pre 1990’s, and you will find won­der­ful dia­grams, instruc­tions and ideas with regards to shel­ter, food and more. Pur­chase a sec­ond hand fam­i­ly sized tent and you solve your imme­di­ate prob­lem with regards to shel­ter should you find your­self away from your cas­tle or home. Sleep­ing bags should be pur­chased rang­ing from 10 to 20 degrees less then the low­est record­ed tem­per­a­ture in your local area. You can do this for around $25–45 a piece and get a nice sleep­ing bag.

Trans­porta­tion is also impor­tant, are you plan­ning on walk­ing 1000 miles or dri­ving, what is your phys­i­cal abil­i­ties, can you walk, will you be able to dri­ve? Unless every­one goes nuts at the same time a nor­mal car will func­tion quite well giv­en that there are paved roads around the entire nation. If you know that you will have issues walk­ing, buy a inex­pen­sive bicy­cle and get a lit­tle kid hauler trail­er for it. Remem­ber, the unit­ed states was beat­en in Viet­nam by bicy­cle rid­ing peo­ple wear­ing paja­mas. This means that you just because some­one says you should do it one way, does­nt make it by default cor­rect. Take your time, fig­ure out what it is you will need to do and remem­ber, buy an extra 5 gal­lons of gas a month. Every six months or so rotate that sup­ply as well, gaso­line can go bad through sit­ting.

Above all remem­ber, live! Go to the fam­i­ly bar­be­que’s, fre­quent your favorite eat­ing estab­lish­ment, watch a show or two and live! If you decide that you desire to remove your­self com­plete­ly from hav­ing a life and live only to sur­vive, then join Rawles and his mer­ry band of trav­el­ers. They will like­ly wel­come you, espe­cial­ly if you also believe in fairy tales and myths. How­ev­er, if you tru­ly want to live, to enjoy life and still impart a sense of readi­ness just in case. Try a dif­fer­ent approach and remem­ber, you can live, or you can sur­vive. Which do you pre­fer?

Free the mind and the body will fol­low!

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