Are you Prepared?

Lead Exposure From Firearm Use Is a Lot More Common Than You Think May 27, 2017

For millions of Americans, shooting firearms is a satisfying hobby and a great way to exercise our unique rights. And the cornerstone of this activity is safety. The vast majority of gun owners know just how dangerous firearms can be, which is why they are so cautious around their firearms. Gun culture is steeped in safety and conscientiousness, and for good reason.

However, there’s one aspect of gun safety that is often overlooked. Most gun owners don’t concern themselves too much with the risks associated with lead exposure, and that’s not a euphemism for getting shot. It turns out that merely shooting a firearm can give you a tiny dose of lead. And when you shoot a lot, those doses add up.

In a standard bullet, a solid lead core wrapped in a copper jacket sits atop a stack of gunpowder and lead primer. When the gun fires, the primer ignites, the gunpowder lights, and some of the lead on the bullet boils. When the casing snaps out of the ejection port, lead particles trail behind it. As the bullet hurtles down the barrel of the gun, a shower of lead particles follows.

If a gun range isn’t ventilated well, lead dust collects on shooters’ clothing and hands and lingers in the air, where it can be inhaled. The more people shoot, the greater the risk of being exposed to dangerous amounts of lead. It becomes an occupational hazard for weapons instructors, police and defense personnel.

It can also put family members at risk. A 1-year-old boy in Connecticut was found to have high blood lead levels at a routine doctor’s visit. There were no lead paint or pipes in the child’s home. The exposure was traced to his father’s job as a maintenance worker at an indoor shooting range; the father cared for his son after work in lead-contaminated clothing, according to a 2015 report from the state public health department.

The people who are most vulnerable to lead exposure from firearms, are the gun range workers, especially if they work at indoor ranges with poor ventilation (which is more common than most people realize). Also at risk, are avid shooters, and people who work in professions that require them to frequently train with firearms, such as police officers and military personnel. However, some people think that the risk is overblown.

The issue of lead exposure and firearms is divisive, even the question of whether higher lead levels are unsafe. “Well, that’s their opinion,” says Larry Keane, the vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “We believe there are efforts by others that want to diminish people’s participation in shooting sports or exercise their second amendment rights. They put out or advocate positions that are unsupported by the evidence.”

That’s an understandable sentiment. Gun owners are used to having their hobby demonized and undermined by politicians and activists. It wouldn’t be a surprise if someday, anti-gun politicians latch on to this issue, and use it to regulate shooting ranges out of existence, or scare would-be gun owners.

However, the truth is there is a problem with lead exposure at gun ranges. Its a fact gun ranges are rarely inspected by OSHA, according to a Seattle Times investigation. They also found that in many cases, range owners were negligent and had poorly ventilated facilities. Or they were unaware of the hazard, which is understandable. Even though every shooter knows that their bullets contain lead, this issue isn’t really on the radar of the shooting community.

It’s also true that generally speaking, shooting firearms can increase your lead exposure, regardless of whether or not you shoot at a poorly ventilated indoor range. A recent examination of 36 previous studies that looked at the lead levels of avid shooters, found that just about every shooter has blood lead levels that are higher than what is considered safe by the CDC. If you use a firearm on a regular basis, you probably have more lead in your body than the average person.

So is this something that gun owners really need to worry about? In short, yes. No amount of lead is safe for the human body. Even in small amounts, it’s still going to do damage to you, and you may not have symptoms of lead poisoning right away. And these symptoms aren’t exactly telling. They include things like irritability, high blood pressure, joint pain, and poor memory. If you started suffering from those conditions, would you immediately assume that it was from using firearms?

However, we shouldn’t let this danger stop us from enjoying firearms. There are things we can do to mitigate the risk of lead exposure. The researchers who studied lead exposure among shooters, recommended changing your clothes after visiting a shooting range, and not smoking or eating at the range. Wearing gloves while shooting would probably also be a good idea. And most importantly, use ammunition that contains lead free primers.

Gun owners are already well known for being obsessed with safety, and taking every necessary precaution when handling firearms. It only makes sense that we stop ignoring this issue, and start protecting ourselves and our families from lead.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 27th, 2017
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7 Improvised Defense Weapons That Could Save Your Life May 25, 2017

This piece is designed to provide you with a few ideas to stimulate your creative thought processes.  We’re all Constitution-loving, survival-oriented preppers who are always preparing for every emergency.  The problem is that emergencies are not able to be “compressed” into a format: they arise.  You plan the best you can, but there’s an age-old military adage that summarizes the whole situation, in a nutshell, “No battle plan ever survives the first five minutes of combat completely intact.”

This is true, and places emphasis on the quality that made man the dominant species on this planet and enabled him to survive as long as he has: adaptability.  In this light, there will be a time when you will need to defend yourself and do not have a weapon readily available.  When such a situation presents itself, you must follow the advice of “Gunny Highway”/Clint Eastwood in the movie “Heartbreak Ridge,” advice that holds brevity and clarity:           

“You improvise, you adapt, you overcome.”

That is eloquence swathed in simplicity.  Yes.  Two hoodlums, for example, are coming over to you at night in the parking lot after work.  You can’t avoid them and get into your car before they’re on you.  One clicks open a knife.  It’s time to act.  The action has to take place in a split second.  Let’s say you’re unarmed – no firearms or blades, and you can’t escape.  What now?

7 Improvised Defense Weapons That Could Save Your Life

Common objects on your person may either be utilized or prepared beforehand and then utilized.  Let’s go through some of them you may have, and what to do with them:

  1. Keys: (this will take practice) – take three of them and slip them between your fingers with the keyed end (“blade”) facing out. Grip the rest in your fist and prepare to punch. An effective way to plan ahead for this encounter is if you attach a kubaton to your keychain.
  2. Pens: A good sturdy one made from metal is preferred; a plastic one may work, but you better strike effectively. Hold the pen one of two ways: gripped within your fist with the pen extruding from the bottom of your fist/hand, or with the pen between your middle and ring finger, the base on your palm and the point out from between the fingers.  “Method 1” is preferable because you can stab (a backhanded type of stab) with the pen, and still punch with the fist that holds it.  “Method 2” will take more precision as you strike for the vulnerable points.
  3. Belt: Use only if your pants won’t just fall down and they can stay on without the belt. Strip that belt off, and wrap it around your dominant hand and make a fist.  If you really know what you’re doing, you can wrap the knife hand of the attacker and disarm him.  You had better have practiced this unless you’re a really good athlete.
  4. Credit card/ATM card (handy): By “handy,” there’s no time to take it out of your wallet. You may keep a very rigid plastic card in your shirt pocket.  Hold the card tightly and the edge can be knife-like when striking an opponent…for a very effective strike.
  5. Jacket/windbreaker: Take it off and use it to shield you (in one hand as a shield) from the blade as you strike with the opposite hand. You can (if you’ve practiced) wrap up that blade-carrying hand of the opponent while you’re striking.
  6. Leatherman on that belt? Pull it out quickly, and in the manner of the pen (described in #2) hold it in the manner of “Method 1” where the pliers are extended past the bottom of your hand…to stab/strike in a backhanded method.
  7. Purse: Ladies, that handbag can be a lifesaver for you. Prep this beforehand: keep a 1-pound or ½ pound weight or little dumbbell in it.  Then no cop can get you for a concealed weapon.  You’ll even have a light workout during your day!  But when you swing that bag down and put a three-inch dent in your attacker’s head, you’ll be glad you put the weight in there.  Make sure your purse strap is strong enough to handle this action without losing your purse or snapping.

Now, of course, you should also look around (use your peripheral vision!  Don’t take your eyes off of or away from your attackers!) for boards, bricks, rocks, or anything else within your reach.  Do you have a car alarm?  Push that button and raise a ruckus.  I knew a woman once who was going to get jumped in this manner in the parking lot.  She didn’t have a car alarm, but she threw rocks at a couple of other cars before they closed on her and set off those car alarms.  Then she threw rocks at them and screamed, and others came to her aid.

The eyes and the face are your primary targets with the keys and pen.  Secondary are the sides of the neck and the throat: where the carotid and jugular are, and the airway respectively.  The face of the credit card: a slash maneuver. You’ll be surprised at how deeply into the flesh that card will slice.  Your objective is not to engage with them.  Your objective is to inflict the maximum amount of damage and pain on them and then break contact…get away…at the soonest possible moment.

Don’t let a pair “flank” you: if you must face one, try and step to his side so the other one is behind him…so your primary attacker is in between you and his buddy.  With these methods, you need to practice them to enable you to execute them.  It is different when the adrenaline is pumping and you’re faced with the threat.  Don’t be afraid to experiment; however, make sure your experiments and the “main event” are not the same thing.  The more practice, the more you will build your confidence and increase your chances for success should such a situation arise.  Hope it won’t, but if it does?  Go for the win.  JJ out.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 25th, 2017
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This Hidden Crises Could Leave Thousands of Households Without Drinking Water May 22, 2017

Most people expect a crisis to break out suddenly and with obviously devastating effects. In fact, when you hear words like “crisis” and “disaster,” you probably imagine quick, shocking events that leave a trail of bodies and destruction. However, it’s often the case that crisis will unfold at a snail pace. And when they do, most people don’t even notice what’s happening until it’s too late.

That certainly seems to be the case with America’s water supply, which appears to be a slow-motion train wreck unfurling before our eyes. A recent study from Michigan State University has made light of how expensive water has become in our country. The researchers who produced the paper projected the future costs of water and found that more than a third of American households may not be able to afford their water bills in just a few short years.

If water rates rise at projected amounts over the next five years, conservative projections estimate that the percentage of U.S. households who will find water bills unaffordable could triple from 11.9% to 35.6%. This is a concern due to the cascading economic impacts associated with widespread affordability issues; these issues mean that utility providers could have fewer customers over which to spread the large fixed costs of water service. Unaffordable water bills also impact customers for whom water services are affordable via higher water rates to recover the costs of services that go unpaid by lower income households.

It’s important to keep in mind that different cities may have different rules about how they treat households that can’t pay their bills. But it’s usually the case that if you can’t pay your water bill, the city will shut off your supply. Though the federal government will often help pay water bills for impoverished families, many households still slip through the cracks.  So we’re looking at the possibility of tens of thousands of Americans (and perhaps more than that) not having access to tap water in the very near future.

As for what’s going to cause water prices to spike, the researchers cited climate change and our crumbling infrastructure. However, the cost of repairing our water infrastructure is going to have a far more devastating effect on our utility bills over the next generation.

A variety of pressures ranging from climate change, to sanitation and water quality, to infrastructure upgrades, are placing increasing strain on water prices[8]. Estimates of the cost to replace aging infrastructure in the United States alone project over $1 trillion dollars are needed in the next 25 years to replace systems built circa World War II, which could triple the cost of household water bills

Another issue is the fact that many metropolitan areas are being hollowed out, as people pack their bags and move to the suburbs. This trend isn’t happening across the board, but in the cities where it is happening, it’s leave the remaining residents with increasingly expensive water bills.

A hidden pressure on urban water systems is slow or even declining population growth, which reduces the customer base over which the high fixed costs of water services are distributed, and places increasing pressure on household water bills. This is the case in Detroit where a declining population has left fewer customers to pay for water. Another critical issue is the suburbanization of people, which also leaves providers in core central city areas with fewer customers to pay for water services. This means that for cities across the United States, shrinking populations in particular metropolitan areas and in downtown areas, combined with other pressures on urban water systems, present a perilous future for water utilities and their customers.

You may be wondering how this is possible? If fewer people are consuming water from a given source, then there’s less demand for water in that area. Sure, the water companies aren’t receiving as much money, but they also don’t have to spend as much to deliver water, right?

Well, the infrastructure still needs to be revamped and repaired, and now they have fewer customers to pay for it. And perhaps more importantly, many of the cities that are facing population declines, also owe a ton of money to retired workers who are now collecting pensions. It’s likely that many of these water utility companies are publicly run, and face massive pension liabilities. Those costs will likely be placed on the remaining residents in these cities (the research paper makes no mention of this).

In any case, this isn’t just happening in large cities. It’s happening across the country. We have to face a startling new reality. Here in the United States; one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world, there may soon be tens of thousands of households that don’t have access to clean tap water. This state of affairs won’t be caused by a war or natural disasters. In this case, it seems that financial mismanagement is the real disaster. And how so many of these people are going to find clean drinking water once their taps are shut off, is an unsettling mystery.

Additional Resources:

Emergency Water Storage Ideas for Every Type of Disaster

How to Find and Purify Water Sources You Never Considered

Simple Ways to Purify Drinking Water in Emergencies

Survival Skills: How to Find Water In the Wild

Smart Survival: This is How You Find Water When There Is None To Be Found

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 22nd, 2017
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