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FEMA Follies, and Other Notes On Survival

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May 30, 2012

FEMA Follies, and Other Notes On Survival

By David E. Petzal

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t dwell on survival but I got a response to “More on Preppers,” post of May 4, that I think will interest you. It comes from a friend who did two tours in Vietnam as a Captain in Special Forces, and finished out his time in the Army Reserve. He wrote:

“This post reminds me of the time I worked with a dozen other Reserve officers on a project for FEMA.

“FEMA at the time was little better organized than a Boy Scout troop [maybe less organized, actually] and our project was to inspect all the supplies remaining in the in the basements of the Civil Defense shelters in the Bronx, New York City.

“In those supplies that still remained, we inventoried all the 30-plus-year-old cans of water and biscuits, dried-out and cracked rubber gas masks, and obsolete Radiac meters with their long-dead batteries. It was one of those waste-time projects that I thought only the military could dream up. I doubt that anyone really planned to replace the stuff.

“Subsequently, we were to write an evacuation plan for the orderly exodus of the of the city population in case of a nuclear attack.

“We were about a dozen active-duty veterans, ranging from Captain to Brigadier General, and represented all branches of the service. Each and every one of us knew there was no way such an evacuation was going to happen. Decades before Katrina, we knew the impossibility of rapidly providing food, fuel, and transportation for 8 million people. Only civilian bureaucrats could seriously envision a doomsday scenario in which all the Reservists, National Guardsmen, city police, and bus drivers would abandon their families and show up for stay-behind duty.

“We wrote the report and told FEMA of the strategic, logistic, and personnel requirements for the best plan we could devise. Then we followed with our assessment that it was a completely unworkable fantasy. I never heard another word about the plan.”

This reminds me very much of a scene in the BBC doomsday movie “Threads,” which dealt with a nuclear attack on Great Britain, in which an emergency administrator is frantically trying to contact his cohorts in the city of Sheffield. He can’t, because they’re all dead, as he himself soon will be. There is no water, no food, no electricity, no hospitals, and no one who can bring any kind of order. No help will be coming from outside Sheffield, because there is nothing left there, either.

During World War II, when Merchant Marine sailors went into lifeboats after their ships were torpedoed, many committed suicide after they were not rescued in a few days and it became apparent how awful their ordeal was going to be. I suspect the same thing would happen in the event of a major national disaster.

Many preppers, I think, operate on the premise that after a while things will get back to normal, and their exercise in survival will be just a diverting chapter in their lives. However, when the lights don’t come on, and it becomes apparent that they never will again, and that this is going to be the way it is forever, I think a great many of them will lose interest in sticking around--their granola hoard and home-made booby traps notwithstanding.

Comments (46)

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from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

That sums it up pretty well. Fantasize all you want. But the suck factor would be off the charts for sure...

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from larson014 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

its not about survival, (past 72 hours i guess) you have to prepare to live self sufficiently as much as possible, most of which is knowledge of primitive or even just pre industrial skills

just because the light don't turn back on is no reason to end your life or not prepare for that at all, 99.9999+% of human existence lived without electricity, and we seemed to survive without smartphones (oh my!) just fine...

as for the sailors, maybe if they had a barrel of water and a cache of food stored in the boats,as well as a sail for the life boat, maybe they could have persevered longer and perhaps been saved...

in short not being prepared = pretty much screwed

being prepared = better able to adapt and survive the new or changing conditions of the scenario.

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from dracphelan wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I think you are confusing preppers and survivalists. Preppers do things to prepare for the common disasters that hit families. Things like job loss, power outages, fire, storms, and the like. These are likely events that most people face at one time or another. As an example, my family has about 30 days of food and other supplies on hand. When I got laid off, that meant that we did not have to spend as much money as we normally did on day-to-day necessities.
It sounds like you have been watching that horrid show Doomsday Preppers. Check around and you will find out that the producers are intentionally choosing people (and making some out to be) who are nuts. Several preppers were asked to be on this show and turned them down when they found out what the producers wanted.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

My thoughts are pretty much the same to the original prepper post. Living in lovely Southern California it is irresponsible to not have an earthquake preparedness kit. Mine is a large rolling Rubbermaid garbage can with blankets, clothes, canned food, water, camp stove, cooking utensils a first aid kit, etc. It is also a good idea to have some cash and a firearm or two. My plan is to hunker down and stay alive for a couple of weeks if need be. If there is no help after two weeks I'm probably SOL but that's my plan and I think it is better than no plan.

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from Oryx wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Oddly enough, (or not) "prepping" is a bit of medical slang, in which a mildly irritating solution is introduced to the digestive tract, by way of mouth, which causes mild to moderate discomfort with the cleansing of the bowels. Usually, but not always, the energetic mode of exit involves the opposite end of the tract as the introduction. This is done prior to endoscopy procedures.

Those with more creativity today can draw all sorts of correlations to the doomsday chaps and dames. Much of the situations are similar.

There will probably be a lot of people disappointed when the end comes without running gun battles and zombies galore.

Ever heard the story about the frog and the hot water?

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Red Cross Disaster worker for Rita and Binghamton, NY Flood/USAF EWO Officer and Missile Launch Officer/Commander. Know something of this.

Many Emergency Response Org’s are very well organized and lead. I must say I’ve yet to see a badly run New York State Emergency-Disaster Response Office on the state or county level. Texas has outstanding disaster response AND did a successful major evac! However, the criterion is 96-hrs to get up and running. If help comes sooner; great! But the average person should count on it taking 96-hrs for receiving help.

Feds and FEMA work, but much of the leadership are politico appointees often out of their element *On the Line*. As a result these org’s fall back on an overly centralized, slow moving, bureaucracy as a safety net.

Post Nuclear Environment:

No one has a clear idea what will happen. I heard nuclear issues will be two-stages: initial exchange and then 45-60 days later from radioactive storage centers melt down results. That’s how long the battery operated auto cooling systems will work.

Frankly, I’ve lost track where these nuke storage facilities are. I might be down wind from *several*.

Hello, Chernobyl!!!!

Most experts predict major pandemics of typhus, cholera, typhoid, dysentery with small pox showing up in two-years. Again, expect most aid coming from state and local orgs.

Bottom-line: If you community survives, become very close with all your neighbors and become part of the group.

If you all survive for three-years and can deal with the major climate cooling, you just might be alright.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Just another sure sign that The End is near.....

Well, at least nearer than it was yesterday!

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

dracphelan;

What you said. There are a lot of scenarios that shut off the lights for a couple of weeks or a month or more. I for one want to be drinking clean water and using soft toilet paper while I wait for the lights to come back on. So I prepare.

As for doomsday, there is a reason why they call it that. Some of us will survive because we are lucky. The rest of us have to hope we live in a small, relatively self-sufficient town when the big one hits, and that we are not close to the target. You can NOT survive on the fish you catch or the deer you shoot. You can not just go hunting for the rest of your life. And the reason people used to live in things called "tribes" is that you absolutely, positively cannot survive all by yourself. You will need trustworthy people around you. Sound like a tall order? Well, it IS doomsday, after all...

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from country road wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Lots of great comments with which I agree. I want to be able to take care of myself and my family for a while, but I don't think I can stock up for the rest of our lives. Joining forces with others would be an absolute necessity. Also, I agree that at some point, it might not be worth the effort to keep on considering what the future might be. I hope never to find out.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

In survival situations (and I have been through quite a few!) I have found that a generous supply of common sense will outweigh all other "stuff" that can be stockpiled. Generally speaking (and remember I said "generally") I have also found the survivalists I have known to be in frightfully short supply when it comes to common sense. In my humble opinion, generally speaking, they will be the first to fold up ... in spite of their "stuff."

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

well, a nuclear attack changes things, because the ground essentially becomes unlivable, even if somehow you survive the blast.

if it's what scientists now call an "extinction" event, we'll probably not survive.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Glad DP mentioned the Merchant Marines. Now that we're into remembering the Greatest Generation, perhaps we can spare a thought for the Merchant Marines.

-They were often called cowards and draft dodgers, sometimes even by their loved ones, for not serving in combat units
-They were ridiculed by those very men in uniform they were transporting across the seas, or bringing supplies to
-When U-Boats attacked a convoy, the destroyer escorts usually zig-zagged to avoid getting hit, while the "civilian" ships were supposed to stay in formation
-When U-Boats attacked, they usually went after the civilian ships (predators [U-Boats] attacked prey, not other warships)
-When the convoy command finally gave the order to scatter (meaning the Navy guys couldn't defend them anymore), they steamed on, on their own, because they were still expected to arrive at the destination with the precious cargo
-they were exposed to the same, if not more, danger as those who served in the military
-they had no means to defend themselves
-although "cowards", they were always "engaged" in some action or another, whereas many military units and individuals, the "brave ones", survive the war without ever firing a shot or getting shot at

In WW2, the British Bomber Command had a casualty rate of 50%, the highest of any service in the Western Allies.

Merchant marine fleets usually suffered 67% (two-thirds) loss, often more.

And they were still considered "cowards" and draft dodgers.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I am perfectly bewildered by both preppers and suvivalists; Do I plan to survive a NATURAL disaster, or do I prep for a Nuclear strike? How about a Solar Flare?
I can see having supplies to deal with a Natural disaster, but surviving a Nuclear fallout, let alone surviving a ground zero-within-20 miles of GZ blast?!
Can someome plz help me see the LIGHT,before the BLAST?!

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago
from focusfront wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Ralph the Rifleman:

Yes to both and more besides. I know the odds of surviving (or wanting to survive) a nuclear holocaust are pretty slim, but however poor they are of surviving WITH preparation, they are nonexistent for surviving WITHOUT it.

As for the rest, having gone through a couple of pretty big hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you that there are times when the power goes off and stays off, when the tap water stops flowing, when the cell towers are down, when ALL the stores are closed (even the gas stations; they can't pump without electricity), and when emergency services don't respond (what fireman or cop will be at his post when his OWN family is in danger and needs him?). Should God forbid that ever happen to you, you'll be happy you have a couple of weeks of drinking water and easy to prepare food laid by. That loaded gun will also comfort you; remember, looters is a plural word.

And it doesn't take that much. If President Spendthrift makes it to another term, this country will be so insolvent that we will not be able to borrow money any more. As one who lived in a big city during a race riot, I don't care to find out what would happen in big cities if the welfare checks are a month late, or if the police, fire depts, etc. can't be paid.

How about if George Zimmerman walks? Could anything bad happen then?

Please note that none of this is goofy "What if Yellowstone Park blows up?" stuff. It has ALL happened within my lifetime and to me and mine. Those of you who drive on bald tires and don't carry a spare will still laugh at this post. Those of you with a sense of duty to your families may see it otherwise. Long live the Republic.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Just who was it that said the preppys was preparing for a" nuking".
I don't think there's a "preppy" out there preparing for any thing other than man's greed, and because I don't know where it's coming from, nor where the front lines are,"I'm preparing for me and my family to stay alive as long as i can".
And to "ORYX" no i have't, tell me.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

To "Safado".

I think that pretty much sums it up for all.
Or untll we get some direction.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Mark-1

yes, it has been featured in Nat Geo and Discovery as well. Life went on in Chernobyl, wildlife eventually came back. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were bombed, still have residents. In 1994 Hiroshima even hosted the Asian Games, a mini-Olympics of sort involving thousands of athletes.

So technically, nuked ground can be rehabilitated. I think it's just a question of people overcoming their fear and going back.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

O Garcia,

Those white papers surprised me, and saw tail end of the program on PBS. One item surprising me was some trees are resilient to nuke effects; others like pines die making way for grasslands.

Is it my imagination or do many environmental groups cherry-pick the Chernobyl aftermath?

Waiting for Bob Marshall to hit this subject on his blog.

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from String wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Saw some photos not long ago comparing Hiroshima and Detroit. Would rather live in Hiroshima!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Focusfront, I know this is going to be hard for you to wrap your head around (most folks are governed by their biological instincts and can't) but there are worse things than dying. Surviving a nuclear holocost would probably be at the top of that list.

Also on the list, letting someone else die so you can avoid putting yourself at risk. I know about that one. Yeah, I'm alive but almost daily I wish I'd taken the risk and tried to save that little girl forty years ago. It's not a fun way to live.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

"Cowards die many times before their deaths the valiant never taste of death but once" Wm Shakespeare, 'Julius Caesar'

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from Pig Pen wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I think its wise to have plans set for the "just in case" scenario to ensure the safety of loved ones, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

IMO, storing articles for barter should be considered along with storing food and water.

There will be those who give up, but there always are. There will also be those who want to strive forward and rebuild and keep on going. Humanity won't have to re-invent the wheel here, just figure out how to re-create whats already been done in the past.

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from Carl Huber wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I can see the sane preparedness for certain parts of the country. If your electricity is subject to wind storms and fallen trees. The purchase of a generator would not be out of the question. If you live in tornado alley. Maybe a really strong cellar might be in order. Florida hurricanes, maybe steel gates on the windows and hurricane proof roofs. But I have to say while on a trip to New Orleans to visit a cousin we had lunch. At the restaurant we saw an ocean going ship sail by. It's waterline was at eye level. It came to to mind what genius thought this was a good place to habitat.
PS He moved to Florida 18 months before Katrina.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

How long do the preppers think they can live in those shelters, a week a month a year??? If one of the scenarios does occur In most cases it would be a heck of a lot of years. Thermonuclear war would devestate the earth.the initial impact is only the start with radioactive paticles that will eventually kill you any way. the air you have to breath would cause radiation sickness. giant sunspots would incinerate everything Every tree shrub animal bird fish absolutely EVERYTHING.
An unstoppable disease would be your best chance of suvival if you happen to be immune to it which isn't likely. I have no ill will to the preppers and I wish them luck, but as for me I rather go quickly than suffer and watch my beloved family die

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

If I may paraphrase Shakespeare in a lighter vein, "a coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero maybe only 500."

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

If I had a way to store a couple hundred gallons of gasoline, id feel better.I have everything else I "need"!
FEMA - Fix Everything My A$$!

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Most of us are realistically prepping for what are expected to be temporary situations. Aftermaths of storms, earthquakes, disease etc. Economic collapse like what happened in the Great Depression. Also breakdown in law and order, even the collapse of the state (temporary, we expect some people to band together to form a new government, as people have done for millenia).

A pandemic will likely cause panic, then breakdown of law and order and anarchy. But we've been there before. Mankind survived the Black Death more than once, with far less medicine and far more superstition. Smallpox, the Spanish flu, we're still here. Disease itself is not totally insurmountable, unless the bug kills in a matter of say, hours.

A supervolcano like Yellowstone? A comet or meteor strike like the one that took out the dinosaurs? I suppose only those in nuclear subs will survive, but even they will have to catch and preserve a lot of fish, pronto.

A massive solar flare that instantly cooks the planet like a giant microwave? Future intelligent life forms, if any, will be studying our fossils and ruins.

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Ontario Honker:

With all due respect, I don't consider suicide to be a workable survival plan. Granted, if everybody really does empty their silos, everything on earth will die right down to the cockroaches. But what if a terrorist organization sets off a couple of nukes off shore and knocks out all the lights with an EMP?

And if you read my post you saw that what I prepare for is the temporary shutdowns, because there is no rule that says you are going to survive even a month of lights out and stay inside the house conditions if you haven't prepped. It may be hard for us all to get our heads around, but people died in Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina well after the storms passed. People die every time the lights go out in New York or Chicago. There's a lot more that can happen than complete nuclear holocaust. It's not that I can't conceive of a fate worse than death, because I can name a few. I'd just rather fail trying. That's all.

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from MReeder wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Gotta agree with Larsono14 and focusfront on this one. It's one thing to be so paranoid that you build your entire lifestyle around what you believe is impending Armageddon coming at you from all sides. That's just nuts. But so is suicide and despair in reaction to catastrophe. People have been through all kinds of hellacious scenarios during human beings' relatively brief time on this earth and managed not only to survive them but to triumph over them. If we're not any more adaptable than a whitetail deer then that's a pretty sorry commentary on the state of our species. I have no doubt that situations in the major urban centers would quickly devolve into something worse than Escape from LA, but there's a helluva lot of us living out here in flyover country with lots of room between cities who are not going to sit down and slit our wrists the first time the lights go out. It's a pretty safe bet that the last creatures left alive on earth will probably be cockroaches and coyotes, but I'm not ready to cede them the planet quite yet. At least not without a fight.

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from jr9893 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

they wont be better off than anybody else.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Don't have much to say about the preppers, but I am compelled to write this AM. I just opened my Field & Stream and read Dave's ode to the Remington 700, "A Bolt for the Ages", and it made my heart glad. I cannot believe the man who expresses such love for the Winchester Model 70 and all those Melvin Forbes ultralights actually wrote it. I am dumbfounded and filled with joy all at once.

Off to work with a smile on my face, a gleam in my eye and a bounce in my step. "The future, for the last 50 years, has been the Remington Model 700." Thanks Dave......

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

My sentiments exactly. The Remington 700 is not the best rifle around but it sure beats most in second place! Both of mine shoot extremely well without malfunction and believe me, they have been shot a lot.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

My Remington 722, 721, 600, XP, 78, 700s, & 7, are fine firearms...Dr.Ralph, F&S employee DEP gets paid, right David ? Boss F&S says David pen me a good Petzal on the 700 Rem for its anniversary the guy with BILLS and the pen is going to earn it. In 1946 before one of us got our hands on it to tell our friends we saved $30 bucks over the Winchester 70. Mike Walker was telling Remington there was a design flaw in the safety which made it more or less an interrupter(not a safety) but for 5.5 cents it could be a true safety. Remington decided it was to much and let Sportsmen, women, & children(17 and under) walk the woods and ranges with firearms without true safeties...hmmm. So in 1948 we got the gun and in 2007 it got a safety, all the property damage, injuries, deaths, people being told they pulled the trigger which caused the gun to go off, to cause the above accidents,lawsuits, could have been avoided in most cases for 5.5 cents before the gun was sold to the public. The design engineer Mike Walker seems honest to me so I don't doubt him.
So I agree with WAM this time 100% with no reservations that the Model 700 is not the best rifle, I own more Remington products than any other but when it comes to safeties that big stroke Weatherby would'nt travel that far without locking it up serious, reminds me of a .303 Jungle Carbine I had, huge movement and lock-up on the safety. And no I probably would'nt brought it up if my 600 had not blown a chunk of pine 7 or so feet off the ground as I checked to see if my saftey was working. It was my wife that brought me back to Earth that morning when she said,"was that you?" and I said,"no this #^&!er went off when I checked the (interrupter). I still can't bring myself to sell, there like family we just had a MOMENT thats all.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

My letter to Remington went into the, he must have pulled the trigger file or if its not from his lawyer then it was'nt sent file.
My appologies for breaking up the FEMA & Survival thread Mr. Petzal the Doc hit a nerve.

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from NWM wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I know a few folks that consider themselves "survivalists" and "preppers." However I wouldn't rely on them to survive the first hour of any event. They have very intricate plans and stock piles. However their every day systems, plumbing, sanitary, ventilation, don't work for crap. Their stock piles are, like the shelter mentioned in the Bronx, already many years old, not any good, and not rotated. One of them actually shared his detailed plans with me.

Incidentally, the one with the worst systems. And it seemed to me, that according to his plan, when tragedy struck, all of his dysfunctional systems were suddenly going to be perfectly functional.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Suicidal because of zip power and services? How do you expect to compromise and to work with the attitude?

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

You know the article was about the model 700 which came out in 1962, not about rifles made in the 40's. Mine was bought by my father in January of 1964 and has functioned flawlessly for 48 years. It will still shoot 1 1/2" groups at 200 yards with factory ammo. Happy 50th.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

To MReeder;
And then the coyote will eat the roach.

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from firedog11 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Actually kinda of surprised at some of the despairing comments written here especially by some I thought were more optimistic sorts. I have read several articles recently concerning natural disasters that have occured over time. The 1859 Carrington solar flare was powerful enough to enable telegraphers to turn off the external power and operate on solar power alone. There was a solar flare in the 1980's that knocked out portions of the Canadian power grid. A really massive flare like the 1859 event could possibly knock out the US power grid for over a decade. So being prepared really requires individuals prepping for the worst. Flyover country will probably survive, not sure about the country or the politic /economic system though.

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from GAsqhntr wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Survival requires a complete mental change. You have to adobt a reptilian brain. There will not be enough wildlife, even in the country, to support even 10% of the populaion. To survive, you will have to arm yourself an kill everyone you meet and take everything they have that you can use to survive. MOST RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE will not be able to make this change so the postdisaster world will be populated by people most of us do not want to live with. Our best survival plan is to restore constitutional government by voting out ALL encumbents and limiting ALL future office holders to ONE term. Freshmen congressmen make sense, reelected ones make NO sense. Freshman congressmen make no useless, stupid wars. Reelected ones always look mfor one to start to create jobs in their district. Do you want to PREVENT doisaster? Vote them ALL out!

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from 357 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

just all the more reason to rely on your self in situations like that.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Doc Ralph, Did'nt bring it up to cast a blight but working here at the Med.Ctr. watching 29yr.worth of folks get their MDs, PHds, MD/PHds, ect. I know better than to mince words with all y'all know quite a bits.
It was a word to the wise and if you fell within those parameters you were welcome to the info.
I was born the year before your REM but I didn't get this old thinking I knew everthing. All the books smarts in the world don't mean a thing if ya can't cross the street.
So you and your infallible 700 and the one in the article, best of luck in the future and all those who may come in contact with these TWO 700s you are safe(per Doc's word). This action is very familiar to me so I will keep an eye on their users 'cause it will happen again but sportsmen are my FRAT and I won't ever tell them you'll never die, I just keep hope that its from old age. Remington said a 17 million I'm sorry to one Texans foot and told others with property damage and up to death, you must have pulled the trigger. Just saying, now you can burn my house down

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Thanks for the info dtownley sorry if I came across as a know it all. I am not a doctor, I am not even a Ralph. I use the name because my favorite book was written by a guy who used that name even though he wasn't a doctor or a Ralph either. I have had several firearms malfunction, mainly because they get worn out or dirty or just put together wrong. I was unaware of the problems Remington has had and I don't blame you for being put off.

I have a worn out M-1 .30 caliber Carbine that spits out two or three bullets at a time whenever it gets hot. Stuff happens. Don't point your muzzle at anything you don't intend to kill.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Doc,I would only kick myself if I did'nt say what I knew that may stop a moment that could be costly to any of these gun folk.
I was caught off guard by the blast and knew where my wife was standing, she took it in stride but I talked her into her Model 7 & 700 Classic(when she was just my girlfriend I talked her into her MKV.240).
DEP & Remington are 100% correct in their statement that each act did not have to happen if the rules of safety had been followed.
Doc, I can't give up these Remington products either as I cut my teeth with Model 8 in .35 and there really isn't any game in N.America I would feel under gunned hunting with a rifle chambered in 7mm RM 175gr.Core Lokt its like biscuits & gravy.

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from elmer f. wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

yes, the term "survival" means just that. survive. not suffer for a few weeks, and go back to normal. it means fight every day to stay alive. it would not be a vacation exercise that you go back home from after 2 weeks in the wilderness. having your breakfast made for you by the camp cook. it would mean going out, and finding a lizard to eat if you were very lucky, so your body would not shut down! teenagers would be the first to call it quits. after a week, with no nintendo, cell phones, and tv to watch, and faced with actually working to stay alive. many of them would find a cliff to fall off from. the younger kids would do ok, so would those of us who lived just fine without facebook, the internet, cell phones, and all the rest of electo-stimulous that surrounds us today. the biggest problem we would face is the initial adjustment period, without enough supplies to hold out until crops started to come in. there would be a lot fewer animals in the woods for a while!

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from larson014 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

its not about survival, (past 72 hours i guess) you have to prepare to live self sufficiently as much as possible, most of which is knowledge of primitive or even just pre industrial skills

just because the light don't turn back on is no reason to end your life or not prepare for that at all, 99.9999+% of human existence lived without electricity, and we seemed to survive without smartphones (oh my!) just fine...

as for the sailors, maybe if they had a barrel of water and a cache of food stored in the boats,as well as a sail for the life boat, maybe they could have persevered longer and perhaps been saved...

in short not being prepared = pretty much screwed

being prepared = better able to adapt and survive the new or changing conditions of the scenario.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

My thoughts are pretty much the same to the original prepper post. Living in lovely Southern California it is irresponsible to not have an earthquake preparedness kit. Mine is a large rolling Rubbermaid garbage can with blankets, clothes, canned food, water, camp stove, cooking utensils a first aid kit, etc. It is also a good idea to have some cash and a firearm or two. My plan is to hunker down and stay alive for a couple of weeks if need be. If there is no help after two weeks I'm probably SOL but that's my plan and I think it is better than no plan.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Glad DP mentioned the Merchant Marines. Now that we're into remembering the Greatest Generation, perhaps we can spare a thought for the Merchant Marines.

-They were often called cowards and draft dodgers, sometimes even by their loved ones, for not serving in combat units
-They were ridiculed by those very men in uniform they were transporting across the seas, or bringing supplies to
-When U-Boats attacked a convoy, the destroyer escorts usually zig-zagged to avoid getting hit, while the "civilian" ships were supposed to stay in formation
-When U-Boats attacked, they usually went after the civilian ships (predators [U-Boats] attacked prey, not other warships)
-When the convoy command finally gave the order to scatter (meaning the Navy guys couldn't defend them anymore), they steamed on, on their own, because they were still expected to arrive at the destination with the precious cargo
-they were exposed to the same, if not more, danger as those who served in the military
-they had no means to defend themselves
-although "cowards", they were always "engaged" in some action or another, whereas many military units and individuals, the "brave ones", survive the war without ever firing a shot or getting shot at

In WW2, the British Bomber Command had a casualty rate of 50%, the highest of any service in the Western Allies.

Merchant marine fleets usually suffered 67% (two-thirds) loss, often more.

And they were still considered "cowards" and draft dodgers.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Red Cross Disaster worker for Rita and Binghamton, NY Flood/USAF EWO Officer and Missile Launch Officer/Commander. Know something of this.

Many Emergency Response Org’s are very well organized and lead. I must say I’ve yet to see a badly run New York State Emergency-Disaster Response Office on the state or county level. Texas has outstanding disaster response AND did a successful major evac! However, the criterion is 96-hrs to get up and running. If help comes sooner; great! But the average person should count on it taking 96-hrs for receiving help.

Feds and FEMA work, but much of the leadership are politico appointees often out of their element *On the Line*. As a result these org’s fall back on an overly centralized, slow moving, bureaucracy as a safety net.

Post Nuclear Environment:

No one has a clear idea what will happen. I heard nuclear issues will be two-stages: initial exchange and then 45-60 days later from radioactive storage centers melt down results. That’s how long the battery operated auto cooling systems will work.

Frankly, I’ve lost track where these nuke storage facilities are. I might be down wind from *several*.

Hello, Chernobyl!!!!

Most experts predict major pandemics of typhus, cholera, typhoid, dysentery with small pox showing up in two-years. Again, expect most aid coming from state and local orgs.

Bottom-line: If you community survives, become very close with all your neighbors and become part of the group.

If you all survive for three-years and can deal with the major climate cooling, you just might be alright.

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

dracphelan;

What you said. There are a lot of scenarios that shut off the lights for a couple of weeks or a month or more. I for one want to be drinking clean water and using soft toilet paper while I wait for the lights to come back on. So I prepare.

As for doomsday, there is a reason why they call it that. Some of us will survive because we are lucky. The rest of us have to hope we live in a small, relatively self-sufficient town when the big one hits, and that we are not close to the target. You can NOT survive on the fish you catch or the deer you shoot. You can not just go hunting for the rest of your life. And the reason people used to live in things called "tribes" is that you absolutely, positively cannot survive all by yourself. You will need trustworthy people around you. Sound like a tall order? Well, it IS doomsday, after all...

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Ralph the Rifleman:

Yes to both and more besides. I know the odds of surviving (or wanting to survive) a nuclear holocaust are pretty slim, but however poor they are of surviving WITH preparation, they are nonexistent for surviving WITHOUT it.

As for the rest, having gone through a couple of pretty big hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you that there are times when the power goes off and stays off, when the tap water stops flowing, when the cell towers are down, when ALL the stores are closed (even the gas stations; they can't pump without electricity), and when emergency services don't respond (what fireman or cop will be at his post when his OWN family is in danger and needs him?). Should God forbid that ever happen to you, you'll be happy you have a couple of weeks of drinking water and easy to prepare food laid by. That loaded gun will also comfort you; remember, looters is a plural word.

And it doesn't take that much. If President Spendthrift makes it to another term, this country will be so insolvent that we will not be able to borrow money any more. As one who lived in a big city during a race riot, I don't care to find out what would happen in big cities if the welfare checks are a month late, or if the police, fire depts, etc. can't be paid.

How about if George Zimmerman walks? Could anything bad happen then?

Please note that none of this is goofy "What if Yellowstone Park blows up?" stuff. It has ALL happened within my lifetime and to me and mine. Those of you who drive on bald tires and don't carry a spare will still laugh at this post. Those of you with a sense of duty to your families may see it otherwise. Long live the Republic.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

"Cowards die many times before their deaths the valiant never taste of death but once" Wm Shakespeare, 'Julius Caesar'

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from Pig Pen wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I think its wise to have plans set for the "just in case" scenario to ensure the safety of loved ones, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

IMO, storing articles for barter should be considered along with storing food and water.

There will be those who give up, but there always are. There will also be those who want to strive forward and rebuild and keep on going. Humanity won't have to re-invent the wheel here, just figure out how to re-create whats already been done in the past.

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from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

That sums it up pretty well. Fantasize all you want. But the suck factor would be off the charts for sure...

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from dracphelan wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I think you are confusing preppers and survivalists. Preppers do things to prepare for the common disasters that hit families. Things like job loss, power outages, fire, storms, and the like. These are likely events that most people face at one time or another. As an example, my family has about 30 days of food and other supplies on hand. When I got laid off, that meant that we did not have to spend as much money as we normally did on day-to-day necessities.
It sounds like you have been watching that horrid show Doomsday Preppers. Check around and you will find out that the producers are intentionally choosing people (and making some out to be) who are nuts. Several preppers were asked to be on this show and turned them down when they found out what the producers wanted.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I am perfectly bewildered by both preppers and suvivalists; Do I plan to survive a NATURAL disaster, or do I prep for a Nuclear strike? How about a Solar Flare?
I can see having supplies to deal with a Natural disaster, but surviving a Nuclear fallout, let alone surviving a ground zero-within-20 miles of GZ blast?!
Can someome plz help me see the LIGHT,before the BLAST?!

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

To "Safado".

I think that pretty much sums it up for all.
Or untll we get some direction.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Focusfront, I know this is going to be hard for you to wrap your head around (most folks are governed by their biological instincts and can't) but there are worse things than dying. Surviving a nuclear holocost would probably be at the top of that list.

Also on the list, letting someone else die so you can avoid putting yourself at risk. I know about that one. Yeah, I'm alive but almost daily I wish I'd taken the risk and tried to save that little girl forty years ago. It's not a fun way to live.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Don't have much to say about the preppers, but I am compelled to write this AM. I just opened my Field & Stream and read Dave's ode to the Remington 700, "A Bolt for the Ages", and it made my heart glad. I cannot believe the man who expresses such love for the Winchester Model 70 and all those Melvin Forbes ultralights actually wrote it. I am dumbfounded and filled with joy all at once.

Off to work with a smile on my face, a gleam in my eye and a bounce in my step. "The future, for the last 50 years, has been the Remington Model 700." Thanks Dave......

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from Oryx wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Oddly enough, (or not) "prepping" is a bit of medical slang, in which a mildly irritating solution is introduced to the digestive tract, by way of mouth, which causes mild to moderate discomfort with the cleansing of the bowels. Usually, but not always, the energetic mode of exit involves the opposite end of the tract as the introduction. This is done prior to endoscopy procedures.

Those with more creativity today can draw all sorts of correlations to the doomsday chaps and dames. Much of the situations are similar.

There will probably be a lot of people disappointed when the end comes without running gun battles and zombies galore.

Ever heard the story about the frog and the hot water?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Just another sure sign that The End is near.....

Well, at least nearer than it was yesterday!

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from country road wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Lots of great comments with which I agree. I want to be able to take care of myself and my family for a while, but I don't think I can stock up for the rest of our lives. Joining forces with others would be an absolute necessity. Also, I agree that at some point, it might not be worth the effort to keep on considering what the future might be. I hope never to find out.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

In survival situations (and I have been through quite a few!) I have found that a generous supply of common sense will outweigh all other "stuff" that can be stockpiled. Generally speaking (and remember I said "generally") I have also found the survivalists I have known to be in frightfully short supply when it comes to common sense. In my humble opinion, generally speaking, they will be the first to fold up ... in spite of their "stuff."

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

well, a nuclear attack changes things, because the ground essentially becomes unlivable, even if somehow you survive the blast.

if it's what scientists now call an "extinction" event, we'll probably not survive.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Just who was it that said the preppys was preparing for a" nuking".
I don't think there's a "preppy" out there preparing for any thing other than man's greed, and because I don't know where it's coming from, nor where the front lines are,"I'm preparing for me and my family to stay alive as long as i can".
And to "ORYX" no i have't, tell me.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Mark-1

yes, it has been featured in Nat Geo and Discovery as well. Life went on in Chernobyl, wildlife eventually came back. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were bombed, still have residents. In 1994 Hiroshima even hosted the Asian Games, a mini-Olympics of sort involving thousands of athletes.

So technically, nuked ground can be rehabilitated. I think it's just a question of people overcoming their fear and going back.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

O Garcia,

Those white papers surprised me, and saw tail end of the program on PBS. One item surprising me was some trees are resilient to nuke effects; others like pines die making way for grasslands.

Is it my imagination or do many environmental groups cherry-pick the Chernobyl aftermath?

Waiting for Bob Marshall to hit this subject on his blog.

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from String wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Saw some photos not long ago comparing Hiroshima and Detroit. Would rather live in Hiroshima!

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from Carl Huber wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I can see the sane preparedness for certain parts of the country. If your electricity is subject to wind storms and fallen trees. The purchase of a generator would not be out of the question. If you live in tornado alley. Maybe a really strong cellar might be in order. Florida hurricanes, maybe steel gates on the windows and hurricane proof roofs. But I have to say while on a trip to New Orleans to visit a cousin we had lunch. At the restaurant we saw an ocean going ship sail by. It's waterline was at eye level. It came to to mind what genius thought this was a good place to habitat.
PS He moved to Florida 18 months before Katrina.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

How long do the preppers think they can live in those shelters, a week a month a year??? If one of the scenarios does occur In most cases it would be a heck of a lot of years. Thermonuclear war would devestate the earth.the initial impact is only the start with radioactive paticles that will eventually kill you any way. the air you have to breath would cause radiation sickness. giant sunspots would incinerate everything Every tree shrub animal bird fish absolutely EVERYTHING.
An unstoppable disease would be your best chance of suvival if you happen to be immune to it which isn't likely. I have no ill will to the preppers and I wish them luck, but as for me I rather go quickly than suffer and watch my beloved family die

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

If I may paraphrase Shakespeare in a lighter vein, "a coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero maybe only 500."

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

If I had a way to store a couple hundred gallons of gasoline, id feel better.I have everything else I "need"!
FEMA - Fix Everything My A$$!

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Most of us are realistically prepping for what are expected to be temporary situations. Aftermaths of storms, earthquakes, disease etc. Economic collapse like what happened in the Great Depression. Also breakdown in law and order, even the collapse of the state (temporary, we expect some people to band together to form a new government, as people have done for millenia).

A pandemic will likely cause panic, then breakdown of law and order and anarchy. But we've been there before. Mankind survived the Black Death more than once, with far less medicine and far more superstition. Smallpox, the Spanish flu, we're still here. Disease itself is not totally insurmountable, unless the bug kills in a matter of say, hours.

A supervolcano like Yellowstone? A comet or meteor strike like the one that took out the dinosaurs? I suppose only those in nuclear subs will survive, but even they will have to catch and preserve a lot of fish, pronto.

A massive solar flare that instantly cooks the planet like a giant microwave? Future intelligent life forms, if any, will be studying our fossils and ruins.

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Ontario Honker:

With all due respect, I don't consider suicide to be a workable survival plan. Granted, if everybody really does empty their silos, everything on earth will die right down to the cockroaches. But what if a terrorist organization sets off a couple of nukes off shore and knocks out all the lights with an EMP?

And if you read my post you saw that what I prepare for is the temporary shutdowns, because there is no rule that says you are going to survive even a month of lights out and stay inside the house conditions if you haven't prepped. It may be hard for us all to get our heads around, but people died in Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina well after the storms passed. People die every time the lights go out in New York or Chicago. There's a lot more that can happen than complete nuclear holocaust. It's not that I can't conceive of a fate worse than death, because I can name a few. I'd just rather fail trying. That's all.

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from MReeder wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Gotta agree with Larsono14 and focusfront on this one. It's one thing to be so paranoid that you build your entire lifestyle around what you believe is impending Armageddon coming at you from all sides. That's just nuts. But so is suicide and despair in reaction to catastrophe. People have been through all kinds of hellacious scenarios during human beings' relatively brief time on this earth and managed not only to survive them but to triumph over them. If we're not any more adaptable than a whitetail deer then that's a pretty sorry commentary on the state of our species. I have no doubt that situations in the major urban centers would quickly devolve into something worse than Escape from LA, but there's a helluva lot of us living out here in flyover country with lots of room between cities who are not going to sit down and slit our wrists the first time the lights go out. It's a pretty safe bet that the last creatures left alive on earth will probably be cockroaches and coyotes, but I'm not ready to cede them the planet quite yet. At least not without a fight.

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from jr9893 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

they wont be better off than anybody else.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

My sentiments exactly. The Remington 700 is not the best rifle around but it sure beats most in second place! Both of mine shoot extremely well without malfunction and believe me, they have been shot a lot.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

My Remington 722, 721, 600, XP, 78, 700s, & 7, are fine firearms...Dr.Ralph, F&S employee DEP gets paid, right David ? Boss F&S says David pen me a good Petzal on the 700 Rem for its anniversary the guy with BILLS and the pen is going to earn it. In 1946 before one of us got our hands on it to tell our friends we saved $30 bucks over the Winchester 70. Mike Walker was telling Remington there was a design flaw in the safety which made it more or less an interrupter(not a safety) but for 5.5 cents it could be a true safety. Remington decided it was to much and let Sportsmen, women, & children(17 and under) walk the woods and ranges with firearms without true safeties...hmmm. So in 1948 we got the gun and in 2007 it got a safety, all the property damage, injuries, deaths, people being told they pulled the trigger which caused the gun to go off, to cause the above accidents,lawsuits, could have been avoided in most cases for 5.5 cents before the gun was sold to the public. The design engineer Mike Walker seems honest to me so I don't doubt him.
So I agree with WAM this time 100% with no reservations that the Model 700 is not the best rifle, I own more Remington products than any other but when it comes to safeties that big stroke Weatherby would'nt travel that far without locking it up serious, reminds me of a .303 Jungle Carbine I had, huge movement and lock-up on the safety. And no I probably would'nt brought it up if my 600 had not blown a chunk of pine 7 or so feet off the ground as I checked to see if my saftey was working. It was my wife that brought me back to Earth that morning when she said,"was that you?" and I said,"no this #^&!er went off when I checked the (interrupter). I still can't bring myself to sell, there like family we just had a MOMENT thats all.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

My letter to Remington went into the, he must have pulled the trigger file or if its not from his lawyer then it was'nt sent file.
My appologies for breaking up the FEMA & Survival thread Mr. Petzal the Doc hit a nerve.

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from NWM wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I know a few folks that consider themselves "survivalists" and "preppers." However I wouldn't rely on them to survive the first hour of any event. They have very intricate plans and stock piles. However their every day systems, plumbing, sanitary, ventilation, don't work for crap. Their stock piles are, like the shelter mentioned in the Bronx, already many years old, not any good, and not rotated. One of them actually shared his detailed plans with me.

Incidentally, the one with the worst systems. And it seemed to me, that according to his plan, when tragedy struck, all of his dysfunctional systems were suddenly going to be perfectly functional.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Suicidal because of zip power and services? How do you expect to compromise and to work with the attitude?

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

You know the article was about the model 700 which came out in 1962, not about rifles made in the 40's. Mine was bought by my father in January of 1964 and has functioned flawlessly for 48 years. It will still shoot 1 1/2" groups at 200 yards with factory ammo. Happy 50th.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

To MReeder;
And then the coyote will eat the roach.

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from firedog11 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Actually kinda of surprised at some of the despairing comments written here especially by some I thought were more optimistic sorts. I have read several articles recently concerning natural disasters that have occured over time. The 1859 Carrington solar flare was powerful enough to enable telegraphers to turn off the external power and operate on solar power alone. There was a solar flare in the 1980's that knocked out portions of the Canadian power grid. A really massive flare like the 1859 event could possibly knock out the US power grid for over a decade. So being prepared really requires individuals prepping for the worst. Flyover country will probably survive, not sure about the country or the politic /economic system though.

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from 357 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

just all the more reason to rely on your self in situations like that.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Doc Ralph, Did'nt bring it up to cast a blight but working here at the Med.Ctr. watching 29yr.worth of folks get their MDs, PHds, MD/PHds, ect. I know better than to mince words with all y'all know quite a bits.
It was a word to the wise and if you fell within those parameters you were welcome to the info.
I was born the year before your REM but I didn't get this old thinking I knew everthing. All the books smarts in the world don't mean a thing if ya can't cross the street.
So you and your infallible 700 and the one in the article, best of luck in the future and all those who may come in contact with these TWO 700s you are safe(per Doc's word). This action is very familiar to me so I will keep an eye on their users 'cause it will happen again but sportsmen are my FRAT and I won't ever tell them you'll never die, I just keep hope that its from old age. Remington said a 17 million I'm sorry to one Texans foot and told others with property damage and up to death, you must have pulled the trigger. Just saying, now you can burn my house down

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Thanks for the info dtownley sorry if I came across as a know it all. I am not a doctor, I am not even a Ralph. I use the name because my favorite book was written by a guy who used that name even though he wasn't a doctor or a Ralph either. I have had several firearms malfunction, mainly because they get worn out or dirty or just put together wrong. I was unaware of the problems Remington has had and I don't blame you for being put off.

I have a worn out M-1 .30 caliber Carbine that spits out two or three bullets at a time whenever it gets hot. Stuff happens. Don't point your muzzle at anything you don't intend to kill.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Doc,I would only kick myself if I did'nt say what I knew that may stop a moment that could be costly to any of these gun folk.
I was caught off guard by the blast and knew where my wife was standing, she took it in stride but I talked her into her Model 7 & 700 Classic(when she was just my girlfriend I talked her into her MKV.240).
DEP & Remington are 100% correct in their statement that each act did not have to happen if the rules of safety had been followed.
Doc, I can't give up these Remington products either as I cut my teeth with Model 8 in .35 and there really isn't any game in N.America I would feel under gunned hunting with a rifle chambered in 7mm RM 175gr.Core Lokt its like biscuits & gravy.

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from elmer f. wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

yes, the term "survival" means just that. survive. not suffer for a few weeks, and go back to normal. it means fight every day to stay alive. it would not be a vacation exercise that you go back home from after 2 weeks in the wilderness. having your breakfast made for you by the camp cook. it would mean going out, and finding a lizard to eat if you were very lucky, so your body would not shut down! teenagers would be the first to call it quits. after a week, with no nintendo, cell phones, and tv to watch, and faced with actually working to stay alive. many of them would find a cliff to fall off from. the younger kids would do ok, so would those of us who lived just fine without facebook, the internet, cell phones, and all the rest of electo-stimulous that surrounds us today. the biggest problem we would face is the initial adjustment period, without enough supplies to hold out until crops started to come in. there would be a lot fewer animals in the woods for a while!

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from GAsqhntr wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Survival requires a complete mental change. You have to adobt a reptilian brain. There will not be enough wildlife, even in the country, to support even 10% of the populaion. To survive, you will have to arm yourself an kill everyone you meet and take everything they have that you can use to survive. MOST RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE will not be able to make this change so the postdisaster world will be populated by people most of us do not want to live with. Our best survival plan is to restore constitutional government by voting out ALL encumbents and limiting ALL future office holders to ONE term. Freshmen congressmen make sense, reelected ones make NO sense. Freshman congressmen make no useless, stupid wars. Reelected ones always look mfor one to start to create jobs in their district. Do you want to PREVENT doisaster? Vote them ALL out!

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