I don’t know where people get the idea from that taking pictures of or looking at others without their permission is illegal. It isn’t. If it was, shooting the video below would be just as illegal as taking a picture of some random whore’s ass.

Still, this happens periodically. For some reason, some muscle head always decides that he is going to be a freelance cop and use force to defend some skank’s honor. It happened to me a few years ago.

In this case, someone grabbing me by the back of the neck is about to become a cautionary tale at someone else’s concealed carry class. At the very least, there will be a bar clearing discharge of some tactical spices, and there is a distinct possibility of you having a cool cast for the skank to sign later.

It’s Hot, Dammit

A local man was part of a landscaping crew, and wasn’t feeling well because he had used a little meth that morning. His coworkers told him to go take a break in the truck with the air conditioner running. He crawled in and passed out without starting the truck. That day, the heat index was 105 degF. Inside of that uncooled truck, it was much higher. An hour later, they went to check on him and found him unresponsive and covered in vomit, so they called 911. The ambulance crew rushed him to the ED, and he went into cardiac arrest during the trip to the hospital.

When he arrived at the hospital, his rectal temperature was 110 degrees F (43.3 C). We worked him for an hour and a half. I was in charge of getting fluids into him. I pressure infused 6 liters of refrigerated Normal Saline into him. He was covered in cold blankets and had a fan blowing on him. We finally got his rectal temp down to 100degF, and got pulses back. He wasn’t even 30 years old, and wound up dying later that day of the heat stroke that literally cooked his brain.

I saw Graybeard’s post about the hot days of summer, and I will second that. The people who live here know that anything needing to be done outside is best done before 11 am, when the thermometer typically breaks 90 deg. It isn’t the temperature, it’s the dew point. As of right now, the dew point here in Sector Ocho is 73 degF. Yeah, we do this every year. Here we are complaining about humidity from back in 2016.

The dew point temperature is the temperature at which the air can no longer hold all of its water vapor, and some of the water vapor must condense into liquid water. At 100% relative humidity, the dew point temperature and the air temperature are the same, and clouds or fog can begin to form. Dew point is the best indicator of comfort in a hot climate. Once the dew point of the air exceeds 66 degrees Fahrenheit or so, the air begins to feel hot and uncomfortably stuffy. The reason for this, is that your perspiration can not evaporate to cool you off.

The thermometer temperature and the dew point are used to calculate the heat index (feels like) temperature. Any heat index above 125 degrees is likely to produce heat stroke, which is deadly.

Here in Florida, there are 4 seasons:

Hot: March through May
F’ing Hot: June through mid September
Still Hot: Mid September through Mid November
Snow Bird: Mid November through February

When it’s hot, you get your outside work done in the morning, then stay in the air conditioning until at least 4:30 in the afternoon, when the afternoon thunderstorms come calling. That is what we do from mid June until about the middle of September.

Back to 45ACP or .40?

I began carrying 9mm several years ago because modern bullet design has made the difference in energy transfer between handgun rounds of different calibers virtually identical when striking internal organs, and I wanted the higher ammunition capacity of 9mm. However, with JKB over at Gunfreezone pointing out that increasing numbers of opponents are wearing body armor, that it is becoming necessary to aim for the pelvis. Shattering the pelvis in such a situation carries certain benefits: it immobilizes the target (a person with a shattered pelvis can’t stand, much less walk or run) and with the major arteries that are located there, bleeding out is a definite advantage.

The heavier bullets of .40S&W and .45ACP are better suited to shattering bone. I may be doing a bit of research into this to see if my choice of EDC needs to be updated. I might even take a real look at getting me a 10mm. Always good to have an excuse for a new gun…

PM Usefulness

There were a lot of comments in response to the PM post the other day, too many comments to address individually, so I figured I would make a post about it. Points made in comments are bold, my response follows.

Having PM’s will get you robbed or killed by government agents or criminals: Of course they can. Anything of value may get you robbed or killed by those who want to take it from you- food, ammo, guns, cash. People have been killing each other in order to take their stuff ever since Oog hit Org over the head with a rock and stole the rabbit he was eating. That’s why there are a couple of things you need to do:

  1. The number one thing about all prepping, or owning anything of value, is- don’t talk about what you have or ostentatiously flaunt it. You wouldn’t wear a Rolex into a bad neighborhood (unless you are hunting), so why would you flaunt your PM, ammo, or stored food collection?
  2. If critters notice what you have, that’s why you have guns. To keep critters from stealing your stuff.
  3. If we are at a point where government officials are stealing your PMs, they will steal anything else you have, as well.
  4. If things have degenerated to the point where there are roving bands of criminals wearing colander facemasks are raiding homesteads like a Mad Max movie, none of your preps or stored stuff is going to help you any more than PMs.
  5. I can hide 20 ounces of assorted gold coins/bars inside of an electrical box installed inside of the wall with room to spare. $40,000 inside of a 22 cubic inch box is a density that you can’t match with many other means of storing value.

You can’t eat/shoot/use PMs in a TEOTWAWKI situation, so you are better off hoarding beans/ammo/whatever: Being prepared for disasters isn’t just a binary choice between everything is fine and cannibalism. As I said in this post here, there are many things that fall between those two extremes, and this is what I said:

The most likely disaster that we are likely to affect is a personal one. A disaster that affects just you, or your family. A personal disaster may be something as small as a flat tire, or as personally destructive as cancer, or simply being laid off from your job. We cannot know what that disaster will be, but there is a pretty good chance that the best way to fix it will be… money.

A variation of the above claim is The government/grocers/car mechanics/whomever don’t accept PMs. While this is true, PMs are convertible into cash far more readily, at a larger fraction of their acquisition cost, and hold that value better than a jar full of dried beans or a cigar box full of cash.

Having PMs serves a number of purposes:

  • It allows me to save a significant amount of money ($15-16 thousand) that won’t lose value due to inflation.
  • It is difficult enough to get to that I am less likely to dip into my savings for all but emergencies.
  • I am far more likely to need money to deal with any given emergency than I am to need a week’s worth of freeze dried Mountain House. Does that mean storing emergency food is not a good idea? Of course not, but a 6 month emergency fund is far more important and more likely useful for preparedness.

There are people who fake/counterfeit PMs, and are so good at it that even central banks are fooled, so you are better off buying ammo. There are ways to detect fakes by looking at density and using “ringers” or gold analyzers. It can be done using magnetic properties, or even metal analyzers. For example, commenter Fido informs us about this analyzer that costs about as much as a one ounce coin. Using reputable dealers is also an excellent way of preventing yourself from being ripped off. If fake gold is so good that a central bank is fooled, then how would anyone know? If I buy and then sell such a fake, would the person I sell it to be any better equipped to detect the fake than I was? If not, then how does it matter? To the best of my knowledge, I have never bought a fake PM in the 15 years that I have been buying them. As far as being better served buying ammo, see my comments above.

The big problem here is that everyone in the prepping community likes planning for the day when you will be engaging in firefights and car chases through their neighborhood over the last can of baked beans and cans of canned butter, but few people like planning for the day when you are out of work for six months because you ruptured your Achilles tendon while playing tennis with the neighbor, a scenario that is a lot more likely than a scene from “One Second After.” In such a scenario, you can’t convert a case of baked beans or a few bricks of .40 ammo into your property tax payment as easily as you can a couple of quarter ounce Gold Eagles.

That is why you are better off setting up an emergency fund of at least 90 days’ expenses before you do any other prepping. Money is the single most useful prep you can invest in. I’ve been a prepper since 2003 or so. In that time, I have faced a lot of disasters, including hurricanes, job loss, car breakdowns, and even bankruptcy. Not once did I have to dig into the freeze dried foods or the ammo stash. In every one of them, having a couple of months worth of rent money was a life saver. Take the advice for what you paid for it- but there it is.

Fake PMs

Reader Larry asks:

With so many supposedly sophisticated people cheated by “fake gold bars” (gold on the surface tungsten underneath) and similar things, how do you protect yourself?

I personally use a Fisch gold detector for gold coins and I know that they work, even though they are expensive. Still, $300 is cheap when you consider what you stand to lose by buying even one fake coin. When it comes to bars, you can always measure the volume and weight, and use those values to calculate the density.

However, there are other methods. There are all sorts of fake coin detectors. They all work by measuring weight and volume. I recommend being careful. That is the main reason why I only buy PMs from reputable dealers. If you are in a SHTF scenario, make sure that you have a way of determining whether or not the PM coin someone is trying to hand you is a fake.

Preparing for Financial Disaster

One of the things that I have always blogged about is being ready for disasters. A disaster that involves the collapse of society is the one that preppers seem to find the most “sexy” and they spend their time planning on it- stockpiling guns, ammo, food, and the like. The thing with that is, it is also the disaster that we are least likely to experience.

The most likely disaster that we are likely to affect is a personal one. A disaster that affects just you, or your family. A personal disaster may be something as small as a flat tire, or as personally destructive as cancer, or simply being laid off from your job. We cannot know what that disaster will be, but there is a pretty good chance that the best way to fix it will be… money.

Even if that disaster is more widespread- say one that affects your neighborhood, your town, or even the entire county, whether it is a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, a wildfire, or a chemical spill, one thing that you are always going to need at some point is money.

That’s why it amazes me that 57% of Americans can’t even deal with an emergency that would cost them $1,000. Sure, stockpiling food, ammo, or some other piece of cool gear is more fun, but money is going to be your friend in most disasters at some point. Having $1000 in emergency cash is going to help you out of more disasters than that new ACOG or that second 1911. I know what you are thinking- “Divemedic, didn’t you say that the dollar is in trouble? If I stockpile too many dollars, aren’t I at risk of it becoming worthless?”

You sure are, but it is still important to have a reserve to get you through those personal disasters. The ideal emergency savings fund is to have at least three month’s expenses, but having a year’s worth gives you a level of financial independence that we are all looking for.

Here is what I did, and what I recommend. Put away a few bucks a week. For this example, let’s say that you have $4000 per month in expenses. Soon, you will have emergency funds if you follow this plan:

Have a week’s expenses available in the house in the event of an immediate problem. Not a week’s pay- a week’s expenses. In cash. Seal it in an envelope and squirrel it away somewhere. You can put it in the gun safe, or you can make a “poor man’s safe:” mount an add-on electrical box in the wall, and put a CATV or phone jack plate on it. You can hide the cash in the empty box. For less than $10, you have a place to hide things that thieves won’t look at twice. With $1000 in there, you have emergency cash that is readily at hand, likely won’t be stolen, and it puts you ahead of 57% of Americans. (EDITED TO ADD: I use mixed bills, so in an emergency I have change: 20 $1 bills, 10 $5 bills, 13 $10 bills, 10 $20 bills, 7 $100 bills /End Edit) Now you just have to forget it’s there and not touch it when you need a few bucks to pay for pizza. Self control. That money is for disasters, not as a slush fund.

Now that you don’t have to worry about a flat tire or a broken window. You have a cushion that will make sure that you don’t have to hock your wedding ring, your handgun, or have to go hungry just because of that flat tire. Just remember to replace it if you ever need to use it in an emergency.

Now that you have that emergency stash of a week’s cash on hand, you need to work on hitting a month’s cash. For that, we keep it in a savings account. We have a savings account at the local bank where we keep the rest of a month’s expenses, but we exclude it from being able to be touched with an ATM, so we have to go into the bank during banking hours to get it. That makes sure that we aren’t tempted to spend it for something that isn’t important. Ask your bank, they will tell you how to set it up that way. Putting that money in the local bank means that you have access to it within a day or two. Three week’s cash isn’t so large that we need to worry too much about inflation killing it. Sure, it doesn’t earn any interest to speak of, but it’s only $3000 or so. Not gonna break you. Now that money can be used for a bigger disaster. Your home’s air conditioner just broke, and now you can deal with it. You broke your arm and need to pay the doctor. Something like that is no longer the big problem that it would have been. So you have a week’s cash in the house, and three weeks in the bank. That’s your first month, and now you can deal with $4000 worth of disaster. You are now more prepared for financial catastrophe than 65% of Americans.

Once you are here, use all of your savings money to eliminate your credit card debt, if you have any. Credit cards charge such large interest amounts that they are poison to your financial future. Get rid of the balances on them before you go any further in saving for emergencies. Then start working on the second month of emergency money.

For your second month, you can put it somewhere that makes it less convenient for you to raid. If you have a large disaster, you can get to the money within a week or so, and you can seek out a place where you will get interest. I recommend an Internet bank like Ally, Synchrony, or Capital One. They are offering rates of 4 or 5 percent, and you can transfer the cash into your checking account within a couple of business days if you need it.

For your third month: You can start stockpiling precious metals. The problem with PMs is that you can’t buy and sell for what the metal is worth. The other party to such a transaction wants to make money on the deal, so there is a penalty to buying and selling, but that is an advantage. You see, we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to emergency savings when we spend it for something that isn’t a true emergency. If you lose a little when you sell a PM, you are less likely to be frivolous with your emergency fund.

So for that third month, silver rounds are a great choice. With silver running about $20-25 an ounce, stockpiling half and full ounce silver rounds is a good way to save. Buying a few of them at a time is relatively painless. There are 20 rounds to a tube. Six tubes of one ounce silver rounds, and four tubes of half ounce rounds will weigh in at 160 ounces (ten pounds). That’s $4000 of PM that you can convert to dollars at a slight loss, and if there is a TEOTWAWKI event, you have very tradeable silver “coins” that you can use for trade. If you need cash in dollars, you can sell the rounds (at a slight premium- say 10% off melt value) within a couple of hours or days. When you complete this, you will have an emergency fund that will carry you through an entire quarter without a job, or cover a pretty significant issue like “the house needs a new roof” without getting killed financially. This is a level of independence that three quarters of America don’t have.

Once you get to this point, all of your extra money should go to getting rid of car payments and other major expenses. You don’t have credit card balances, you have 90 days worth of emergency money, not get that monkey off your back. Do you really need a new car every two years? Pay that off, get rid of that monthly payment. It will be easier to save for the next step that way. It will also reduce your monthly expenses by quite a bit, and will allow you to stretch those emergency funds.

For month four, five, and six, we have less of a need for trade, and more of a need to store value. So gold is where you can store a bit of emergency money. Don’t get coins. The premium for coins means paying 5 percent more than if you buy gold bars. Larger bars mean less premium, so the key here is to keep larger bars to reduce the amount you lose while buying and selling, but still make them small enough to be useful for trade. Gold bars are concentrated wealth. They are easy to store or hide.

For month four, buy 5 two gram bars, 4 five gram bars, and a 1 ounce bar. That gives you some flexibility to cash out what you need without cashing out an entire month’s worth of gold. The best part is that together, they weigh only about 2 ounces.

For month five and six, buy a four of the one ounce bars. That is another $8,000 or so. Now you have almost $25,000 in emergency money. That’s enough to get you through half a year of having no money, and gives you a level of financial independence that gets you to the point where losing a job, a major illness, or a pretty significant disaster will not be the major problem that it would have been.

Now concentrate on paying off that house. Pay extra payments towards that mortgage. With no mortgage, your six month’s worth of funds is now a year’s worth, because your monthly expenses are minimal.

It also makes you more stable than 95% of the American public. You can do it with a minimum of heartache, and the peace of mind it gives you is incredible, and now you have “fuck you money” because your house is paid, you have a year’s living expenses in the bank, and you don’t have to worry about the money it will take to deal with most disasters.

Now, the disclaimer: I don’t advertise, and receive nothing for my reviews or articles. I have no relationship with any products, companies, or vendors that I review or recommend here, other than being a customer. If I ever *DO* have a financial interest, I will disclose it. Otherwise, I pay what you would pay. No discounts or other incentives here. I only post these things because I think that my readers would be interested