Archive for April, 2012


The internet is a wonderful thing….I will be the first one to admit it…I like, no let me say, LOVE the internet. Oh the things you can find on it for free! Information, friends, family, like minded individuals…it has revolutionized how people communicate, do business and make connections with others. No more need to go down to the local library to do research, no more hanging out at bars or going out on the town to find ‘that special love’ or make new friends. No more need to drive around town trying to find something that you need. Got someone who doesn’t answer the phone (like me lol!) or ‘never writes’…not a problem…shoot them an email. Networking has become a breeze…MySpace and Facebook, Linked In and don’t forget the dating sites, of which there are now even specialized ones aimed at like minded individuals such a preppers! In the 20 some old years that the internet has become widely available to the general public, it has changed our lives in ways that are so good and used to be unimaginable.

However, there is a darkside to the internet that is rarely discussed or I dare say even thought about…The  Craigslist murders, identity theft, pornography, and the very seeming anonymity of the internet which allows individuals to say and do things that in ‘the real world’ they might never say or do.

Everytime you log into the internet and do a search on a subject, your unique computer address is logged and attached and stored. Google has admitted to ‘red flagging’ and passing along the computer addresses to a certain government agency for certain search terms such as collapse, economic, human to animal, infection, and we can only guess at other terms.  For more information you can check these links out:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/12/27/42572.htm

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/04/fbi-twitter-data-mining

Basically, they are doing what is called data mining. They are looking for certain terms to identify potential threats, reasonable enough I suppose on the surface, but then they go ‘surfing’ on social media sites too looking for people and groups that may or may not fit a particular profile of a ‘threat’ such as domestic ‘extremism’ …if you would like to see more on their ‘terms’ you can find them here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/lexicon.pdf

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/dhs-risk-lexicon-2010.pdf

The above just gives you an overview of what they are looking at in order to identify potential risks…not a big deal on the surface, but if you really read it and do a bit of homework you might, with just a few strokes of the keyboard and posting something on facebook or another online forum get yourself looked at no matter how innocent your comment is.

And if you are a ‘prepper’ well, read the following article…

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/preppers-are-now-considered-to-be-potential-terrorists

If I really have your attention now, I dare you to google this phrase:

‘potential indicators of terrorist activities’ and see what you pull up…all kinds of potential indicators from tattoo shops to Costco to motel/hotels…

Okay, now I have covered that end of the darkside of the internet as related to government activities and what they are watching for just a tad bit which is just good knowledge to know…knowledge is power people.

In recent months, there have been cases in the news where people have been charged with crimes from stalking to harassment to extortion (making threats) using the internet and more specifically, facebook or other online forums. Which gets me to the REAL point of this article…the internet is not anonymous, it not ‘secure’, and its not PRIVATE!!! A few angry rants on Facebook or an online forum could be taken the wrong way by someone and then reported to the proper authorities and the next thing you know you got someone knocking at your door and you are looking at some sort of crazy charge simply for venting online or saying something that someone didn’t like. Maybe you have heard of that 15 year old who made a comment about Obama on facebook and wound up answering questions posed to him by the secret service? Or that woman who  was charged with manslaughter of a 15 year for comments made on facebook about the girl (who killed herself by the way), or the ex-boyfriend who ranted on facebook about his ex-girlfriend and almost got himself 5 years in jail…I could go on and on about cases where people have found themselves on the wrong side of the law because of rants and raves left on social media sites and in forums.

Another aspect is that employers are now looking online for YOU and what you say or do, hmm…your private life is no longer private once you post it people and if you post YOUR business online it is not private and they don’t need a search warrant because the internet, social media sites and forums are PUBLIC. That is what you to understand and know and wrap your brain around today. Just because you are sitting in the privacy of your home doesn’t make you anonymous, doesn’t make what you put ‘out there’ private and it is being looked at by who knows who. Criminals, law enforcement, employers, friends, family….if you post it, you own it, you did it, you said it, period…it is not private. And even if you DELETE it, or close the account or erase your computer or whatever, it is still out there somewhere in cyber space…forever….

I don’t say any of this to scare you, but to make you aware to make you think before you type or post a picture. The internet is just like the real world except even more so because anyone can find out what you have said or done with a few strokes of the keyboard, for good or bad purposes. Think before you speak used to be the saying, now it should be think before you type or upload that image…its called using your head and observing OPSEC. It’s not a Polly Anna world anymore and criminals can track you online, the officials can find you easy, or anyone else for that matter, again, for good or bad purposes. Heck, google earth shows your house right online! (which btw you can blur it out so they can’t see your home anymore).

I am not advocating pulling away from the internet, social media or from saying your opinion, but what I am trying to make a point about is to think first and then act. You wouldn’t go down to the local grocery store and post a sign that you are going to be out of town this weekend would you? Then why the heck would you post that for the world to see on Facebook or some online forum? You wouldn’t send pictures of your ‘fun’ weekend to your employer would you? Then why would you post it somewhere online? You wouldn’t make a list of every prep you have with your name, address and phone numbers and make copies and then go stand in the middle of the closest largest city and hand it out would you? They why would you tell everything online? And you certainly wouldn’t handwrite and hand deliver an angry rant about someone or something that happened expressing all your anger and thoughts about what you are thinking about doing (even though you never would) in person…then why the heck would you post something like that online for all to see?

We are all entitled to our opinions and to live our life the way we see fit, by the Constitution we are allowed the pursuit of happiness…but when we put it ‘out there’ (literally) we can open ourselves up to misunderstandings, criminals, predators and set balls in motion unintentionally. We, as Americans do still the right to free speech, but, as has been clarified by the courts, we can’t threaten or harm others with our speech…its one thing to think something and its another to ‘say’ it. Think before you type and upload.

I do believe in the saying, “see something, say something” especially when it comes to the erosion of civil or Constitutional rights or someone breaking the law, tyranny happens when good people ‘see’ but don’t speak up. However, “see something, say something” does not mean that I am allowed to use hate speech, make threats nor harm anyone in reporting what I am saying…think wisely and choose wisely in your words.

I am a big advocate for social networking and sharing ideas and knowledge and opinions, but in the right way, with security and safety kept in mind at all times. The internet is PUBLIC and the internet is FOREVER. Think before you type or upload and keep in mind that not everyone is like you…the internet is a tool, a tool that cuts both ways…lets keep it cutting safely eh? Lets share ideas and knowledge and come together for the common good. Let us share with each other in such a manner that is helpful, not harmful. Let us communicate our thoughts, opinions, knowledge and beliefs with calm, clarity, good intention and forethought. Let us USE the internet to help and support and uplift those that we may come into contact with even unintentionally. Let us not lead ourselves down a slippery slope when using the internet that may find us looking at the wrong end of a gun barrel or open ourselves up to a criminal or predator via the internet. Let us use the internet with safety, security and our future in our minds first and foremost…express yourself and share but be wise.

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Life altering event, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI….all things that in the end, mean the same thing…our life has changed and not in a good way and will most likely never go ‘back’ to the way that we knew it to be ‘before’.  The past year for me personally has been like a long, drawn out SHTF event…a series of events that culminated in a real, honest to God, NOT GOOD SHTF event. My life turned upside down and inside out for good.

While most of the world was rolling on at the end of January, I found myself dealing with law enforcement, the state, personal issues and facing life threatening, life altering, never to be the same again events. I truly did nothing wrong, (heck, I am so up tight about doing things right that you will rarely find me speeding or not paying a bill on time) but it was someone close to me who, unbeknownst to me, who was sticking his head up to get it mowed by ‘them’. He didn’t really do anything other than run his mouth (and I will say he RAN IT)…but the saying ‘loose lips sinks ships’ is apt here. And the Titanic went down.

Misunderstandings occurred, miscommunication happened, no one was stepping back or down, everyone was right and everyone else was wrong…things got out of hand…people got scared and people got angry. People over-reacted and people shied away or looked the other way. Communication either did or didn’t happened and not in a good way…it became a my-way or the highway type of deal…the ball rolled and gained speed and then the ball hit the wall and splat happened and oh my, what a mess…and here I sit on the otherside, my life changed, altered and forever different (hmm… I just realized as I finished writing these sentences just how much that sounds a lot like what is happening all over the country and world now for various reasons…a recipe for kaboom).

The actually event was horrible…never in a million years did I ever believe I would find myself on the wrong end of an assault rifle, my house gone through inch by inch, being asked tons of questions about things that I had no clue about or hadn’t given much thought to, personal property taken and what SHTF really is. I don’t want to say too much about ‘the event’ and what caused it, sometimes allowing sleeping dogs to go back to sleep is the best policy, but I have, in the past three months, learned a lot about the world we live in that previously, I had only theory and ideas about… I have learned a lot about power and influence of social media and the internet, law enforcement in my area (and trust me when I tell you I do believe they are still the good guys. All people involved were very polite, respectful and did things ‘right’. I have no issues with how anyone did their job and I cannot stress that enough to you), the judicial system, how much fear is truly out there in the world, power plays and my own reactions to life threatening/altering events. My life changed at the end of January to never be the same again. My perspective has changed and things will never be the same again. Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some things that have become crystal clear to me about the world we live in now such as knowing (and I mean KNOWING) what your friends and family are up to (transparency is very important), the good and bad of social media/the internet and other such goodies and nuggets of gold that I have found in the pile that I have been swimming through as of late.

Why am I writing this? Because there are lessons that should be shared with the world, conclusions that I have come to that should be shared and an underlying need to say to many, ‘you may THINK you are prepared’ but you never know how prepared you are until it happens to YOU.

Much is said and made of in the preparedness world about beans, bullets and band-aids. Many talk about making plans, thinking ‘what if’ and then making plans based upon ‘what if’. This is all well and good…but the truth is this…you never KNOW how you will react, what you will do, if you have done things ‘right’ and planned well until you are neck deep in the doo-doo and cannot ‘do’ anymore to ‘be ready’. Stop and think about that for a minute. It is like a hidden secret that many of us don’t want to face…the unknown factor if you will…YOU in the middle of ‘it’. We are all born with the fight/flight response and we all have a certain amount of resiliency available to us. We all have our own faith (or lack there of), sense of trust and individual constructs of the world (how we see and make sense of the world). Many of these things that I have just mentioned are developed over time and vary from person to person based upon our personal histories and backgrounds. And this is what I want you to think about while you are ‘preparing’. Take an inventory of yourself, take stock of those around you and take the time away from doing to go within and think about yourself, how you personally react to normal, run of the mill stresses and even some of the bigger ones (divorce, loss of job, etc.) How do your friends and family react to these things? Thought provoking yes? Let me say this…in ‘the big one’, the ‘big’ event, those things you see in yourself and others will be magnified tenfold.

Sometimes I think as people who are ‘preparing’ we get way too focused on the doing and having and ‘things’ that we loose our perspective on the most basic, most important element…US. Who WE are deep down inside. Our own strengths and weaknesses. Our own personal demons and angels. Ourselves, exactly who we are as an individual which will be the MOST important thing in any SHFT or TEOTWAWKI event. And then taking stock of who is around us will be next most important. All the plans and preps will be for nothing if you freeze or fall apart or go ballistic when it hits because you won’t be able to respond or respond appropriately. Again, ask any police officer or vet if this is a true statement. So first and foremost in all of your prepping is to know thyself and the others around you.

Knowing yourself and those around you…this is just as important as having beans, bullets and bandages in your preparedness kit. Just ask any combat vet, police officer or anyone else who has a ‘dangerous’ or high level of risk job about this and they will tell you the same…you never know until it happens, but the more you know the better off you will be, the safer you will be and the better able to respond you will be. If you know in your heart of hearts that you could never take another’s life, well, then by all means make sure you have a way to insulate yourself from having to do so. If you know that your husband can’t handle more than one thing at a time then accept it and adapt your plans. If you know or come to realize that Billy-Bob next door has an explosive personality and can’t even handle a dog taking a whiz on his grass, figure on him being one of ‘those’ that you may have to defend against. If you know that your son or daughter falls apart at the least little bit of change in plans…well, then make some of your now daily routines fit into a prepared/SHFT routine. Why? Why take a step back and take a look at yourself and others on a deeper level? Because what you don’t know or don’t want to see or accept can get you killed or into trouble that you don’t need and what you do know can be changed, adapted, molded or fixed so you and yours can survive and thrive.

I understand that you or nor I will never truly know what we are made of unless or until the something wicked this way comes arrives on our doorstep and doesn’t bother to knock. But like storing beans, bullets and band aids, we also have our ‘personal stores’ to take stock of and treat similarly to the material things we collect. We do not live in a bubble and all of our preps will be for nothing if we fall apart or someone we count on goes MIA.

I am okay, not untouched, not unchanged, but have found a new balance and perspective and am putting my life back together piece by piece…I have a new found respect, appreciation and insight into/for law enforcement, the judicial system and the power of the internet/social media. I also have a new found appreciation and respect for myself and my own strengths and resiliency, and where I am challenged personally. I have yet again, found holes in my own preparations for the changing world, but at the sametime, I have found new ways of doing things and new ways to prepare that I had never even thought about. A new awareness has become apart of me and new spoke of being prepared has been added, and for these things, I am grateful for the SHTF.