Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Look at “It Takes a Village” for Parallels

The book It Takes a Village, written by Hillary Clinton, easily comes to mind and begs the question about similarities and differences between her “village” and a 3CFortress. I wanted to see if her “village” can be compared to my 3CFortress. Ends up, it is worth taking a look to see if any parallels can be seen.

While Hillary is focusing on “raising a child” the book does have several points I can see as fitting in with the 3CFortress concept. The most obvious being a “village” can be considered one of the 3C’s…Community. As pointed out in earlier segments a 3CFortress crosses the line from something too small to being a series of large cities. However you scale it, the 3CFortress has to be self-sustaining.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Book

In the tenth anniversary edition introduction she talks about taking “long walks” with Bill. Hold that thought. Can you take a long walk where you live? Many places are just not set up for this as the original urban planning lost sight of its goal. I still list the challenge of walkability as a high hurdle towards the Walk, Walk, Walk part of your 3CFortress.

Still in the introduction she talks about the “core” of the book being about parents “important influences on the lives of their children”. In the 3CFortress this is true but you have to take it one step forward. No matter how great a parent you are, where you live has a tremendous influence over your ability to raise your child/children. When we moved to the Overland Park, KS/Kansas City, MO area in 1999 we faced several challenges about where to live and where our two children would go to school. When we compared Blue Valley School District and the Kansas City, MO school district the decision was obvious. We accepted living is a more expensive area just so our kids would have a quality education. It still came down to choosing one “living triangle” over another in order to raise our children the way we wanted. Granted, not everyone can afford decisions like this but the 3CFortress brings savings to the “living triangle” so that children can be raised in a better environment.

Let me step away from the village book for a moment to talk about whether or not the 3CFortress can work in a very small town up to a very large city. I’ve written about how a 3CFortress could work in Detroit. It can work, with the proper planning, in any major city. What has to happen is breaking the city down into sustainable units. Generally speaking, the Garden City size of fifty thousand can be a workable number. With that said I’ve lived and travelled through cities just under or over fifty thousand and they suffer from the urban sprawl and lack of urban planning just like a city of over one million. The living triangle is way out of whack and nowhere close to passing a walkability test.

“Children are not rugged individualists”. Couldn’t agree more but my take on this is how far does the children have to move in order to move from home to school and recreation? What is their living triangle? Being able to walk to any of these is a key point in how well the child can relate to their environment and grow into a productive and successful citizen. I don’t see where any “busing” students to school experiment worked and most are being dismantled. How can a student relate with others when they are bused over an hour to school? Just can’t see it. I remember being able to walk down to convenience stores (Ben Franklin) and a local grocery (IGA) and I think this is great. We need more of this, not more parents having to drive their kids to school and recreation.

“Everywhere we look children are under assault” and she goes on to mention several of the threats. Stop and think for a moment about why these threats have “skyrocketed” in current times. Could it be that your living triangle is out of whack? When we had (if we ever did) the Norman Rockwell idyllic family we did know our neighbors. We didn’t need a formal Neighborhood Watch program. You didn’t have to worry about your kids being out late, as you knew their friends and their parents. I submit that as you grow your “living triangle” it starts to present problems. In the security world we call it “situational awareness”. You can’t have that if you are unfamiliar or concerned with your local environment but can have that in a 3CFortress. A lot to be said for morals being lowered if you are not in your hometown (village) and if you wouldn’t want it on a billboard in your local town, would you be doing it?

For the parents raising children their living triangle size means a great deal on how their lives can be listed as successful, less stressful and more meaningful. The nightmare scenario is driving your kids to school (you don’t like or trust the bus), then driving an hour to work and back again in traffic, making sure one spouse (if you are not a single parent) can pick up the children at school and driving to a store or restaurant for the evening meal and/or driving at least one child to sports practice or games. When you are faced with a long living triangle are you really getting to know your co-workers, neighborhoods and those in your support net? Very doubtful!

At one point Hillary talks about teaching a child “to ride a bike”. This reminded me of another thing lost in most of our current environments. What good is it to teach a child to ride a bike if there is nowhere to ride it? If walking is a bit far then ride a bike. When is the last time you say a person riding a three-wheel bike to the local grocery store to pick up some items? If you saw that person today would you think them strange? Would they think they were secure in doing this or subject to someone knocking them off their bike and taking their items? Do bike lanes exist in your community or do you feel safe riding a bike to work or for recreation? If you can’t answer these questions in the positive then I say you need to look at the 3CFortress concept.

“Children…depend on a host of other ‘grown-ups’…who touch their lives directly and indirectly”. No doubt about children needing this but when you think about it don’t the rest of us depend on each other to make our village or 3CFortress environment a great place to grow up, work and play? Sure we do. Just like children needing “Adults police our streets” don’t we too? I can’t pin down when this broke down but “Political Correctness” comes to mind. Not being able to say that something doesn’t fit in should not bring on retribution for making that point. Not everything is good for the whole and we can’t rely on the local police or the rule of law to enforce social norms. Do you feel like you influence other children in your neighborhood? I’ll save how society is headed down the slippery slope for another time.

“For a child, the village must remain personal”. Beautiful. Just try to imagine if the parents could control everything in their village. Is everything in your village at a “personal” level? Can you name people in your village support net by name? What I will bring up at this point is whether or not your support net is personal by asking if you know the name of someone in your local grocery store? The manager? The butcher? Do you know who prepares the fresh fruit and vegetables or the name of the farm/farmer that supplies that store? In summary, going to the “Mall” took away a lot if not all of this “personal” level of doing business. The “Mall” concept is lacking on the personal level, not set up they way they were originally intended and is not part of a 3CFortress.

Let Us Build a Village Worthy of Our Children chapter. My translation would be, Let Us Build a Sustainable 3CFortress. Several great thoughts pop up in this chapter. She starts off talking about a trip to Northern Ireland, which I too have visited recently. After talking with a cab driver that grew up in West Belfast there is no doubt that living anywhere in Belfast is better since the peace treaty was signed. Yet some things seem like they will never change. She didn’t mention the “Peace Walls” put up by the British for ten months still up after many years. If you do make the trip to Belfast take the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour and while only a glimpse of the issues and times past it will leave you with a sense that some things can’t change. Let me be clear that a 3CFortress set up with a peace wall between another 3CFortress is not what I envision. Not even close as a village or any community behind any walls is really a castle. We know castles failed and any 3C built as a walled complex is not sustainable. The peace wall communities had gates but they shut down at night for security reasons. Does this sound like the village that Hillary is talking about or one that fits the 3CFortress concept? Walls don’t allow the community to thrive and grow together and ignores the base problems of what created a war zone environment in the first place.

“The village we build with them in mind will be a better place for us all.” Very true and the 3CFortress can be the “village” mentioned here. Besides focusing on how the child is raised the focus needs to be on a larger scale in order to benefit “us all”. Looking at all the risks and building a 3CFortress incorporating the benefits and strengths into a sustainable and successful environment into a workable plan is the way to go. Think about the acronym AdIOS.

“Whether or not you agree with me, I hope it promotes an honest conversation among us.” Exactly my point in writing this section is I hope to get a conversation going. I argue that it not only takes a village but to overcome the challenges of raising our children by making a 3CFortress plan and putting it into action. You are not able to do this by yourself. It will take the whole 3C, community, city or corporation united in the effort of building a 3CFortress.

Quick Tip on Hurricane season (June through November) preparation. Whenever you are looking at a risk you have to think about the probability that it will happen and what damage (impact) it could do. In the article, “HURRICANE LUCK WILL RUN OUT”, Protect America with structural security, by Roger Pielke, Jr. in USA TODAY, June 10, 2014 he points out that “the 1926 Miami storm would result in more than $180 billion in damage …almost twice the damage of Hurricane Katrina and nearly four times that of Sandy” were it to hit in 2014. Does this sound like something your 3C better prepare for…NOW? Will the state and Federal recovery be spot on or more like Katrina? Why would you want to wait and find out? Creating a 3CFortress plan will mitigate those risks by following your plan save the day. A proper plan will not only save the day but weeks and months afterwards as sustainability, continuity and survival are integral parts of that plan.

“When it does (hit), we will have no excuse not to be prepared”. Questions about “strong buildings” go back to 1933 so why haven’t we headed such warnings? There are cases where we have. I heard of a building (in Mississippi?) built to withstand 180 mph winds and it did survive Katrina. Forcing residents on the East Coast post-Sandy to raise their homes above the flood/storm surge levels drew many protests. Seems to emphasize that if we don’t learn from history we are bound to repeat it. Insurance companies and State/Federal governments are not going to be able to repeatedly pay out after disasters when hazard mitigation and preparing for the next one is possible. We need to take this beyond the individual building/residence level and make the 3CFortress a working concept.

Look Who’s Talking – Machiavelli. Well, in 1513 he was talking <smile>. Here is what he said:

  There is nothing more difficult to plan, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old system, and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one. – Machiavelli, 1513

The new system is the 3CFortress. The old system is retreats, urban planning and corporations, as we know them today. Should I count you as a “lukewarm defender” or advocate that can be counted on when the going gets dangerous?

Running a little long today but take a look at this article:

http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-people-who-could-help-save-detroit.html

What Do You Think? Do any of the ten people seem to be advocating anything like a 3CFortress approach? Could the 3CFortress concept rebuild Detroit from the ashes (current situation)?

Could The Kildaire Club be a 3CFortress?

Stayed at The K Club recently and what a great stay it was. Being the parents of the groom didn’t give us enough time to explore many 3CFortress concepts but that just means another trip is needed! Location is about 40 minutes from the Dublin airport.

The Kildaire (sometimes shown as “K”) Club, http://www.kclub.ie/, has the appearance of a 3CFortress. I used Windsor Castle as an example in an earlier post. The resort does have, obviously, the hotel component. It does have more than one eating area with one being in a golf building after the 18th hole. We had a BBQ at this location on Saturday evening. Afternoon tea was brilliant.

It doesn’t have permanent guests but cottages are nearby. The 3CFortress concept has permanent living as part of the basic or must have features. The other element is office space or a corporation as part of the main structure. Retail offices could be incorporated into a main building of this size or as a wing. Same for the medical and other optional features.

One plus is walking distance to hiking trails and three golf courses. Can’t beat being picked up at the front door by golf cart. With daylight extending to 10 PM or so it provided an opportunity to play with a very late in the day tee time. The gardens are not close to Powerscourt but cover enough ground that some of them could became a 3CFortress garden supplying some of the food needs in season.

It doesn’t have a bank facility on site but it did have something that could provide the residents a financial investment. Several rooms were devoted to beautiful pieces of art. Investing in art is a great way to build wealth outside of traditional methods. Displaying that art, with the proper security, can provide guests and visitors a nice way to spend some free time. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to do the tour and learn more. Yes, next time!

I was unable to determine where they get their food from but the city of Steffan is very close. Not close enough for walking but definitely an easy drive. Nearby is Castletown which would be included on a future visit.

I doubt The K Club is looking to adapt to a 3CFortress concept but it does show that an existing structure, with the right existing site, could be converted to a 3CFortress and provide continuity to the local city or some corporation.

New Threat: Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Asian Tiger, distinctive blank-and-white-striped coloration, mosquito is being reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to potentially cause immobilizing pain.

The disease is chikungunya and has no known cure. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. It can lead to severe joint pain making walking a pain in the…joints.

Amazing to read that this species didn’t make it to continental U.S. until 1985. They are aggressive and fly during the day. Can’t remember when I started seeing them but I know I will be a little more watchful next time. Is insect repellent in your Bug Out/In Bag?

Deaths are rare but medical attention may be required. The 3CFortress concept always includes a medical clinic of some kind, possibly a 24 hour Urgent Care facility. With other mosquito threats (West Nile) this is one to watch if you live in an area with standing water. Habitat extends from the Caribbean up to New York, Nebraska, Nevada and California. If temperatures, on average, are on the rise the habitat area could increase.

Add this to your threat list as appropriate for your area.

Reference for today’s post: USA TODAY Health “Officials warn of mosquito illness” by Aamer Madhani Weekend Edition, June 13-15, 2014. Easy to look up more information.

What’s Wrong con’t SIZE

Why small doesn’t work for bunkers, castles (manor houses) and retreats

Introduction

Staying with the thought of what’s wrong with the way things are, I want to talk about why “size” matters. Retreats, bunkers and for that matter castles are too small to sustain a 3CFortress even on its smallest scale.

What you are building has to be large enough to sustain a true community through a long-term crisis. I will get in to why anything on an individual or small site scale is not able to support itself. Sustainability and continuity, in terms of the long run, is what you have to plan for.

A Bunker Will Not Work

Several problems present themselves when the bunker option is selected. The first question you have to ask yourself is, “When do you enter the bunker?” Keeping this a simple question, when a tornado is approaching you head to the shelter. The tornado or severe storm is the trigger. Conditions in your house or place of business are threatened to where you need to move to a protected area.

When to enter the bunker decision gets a little tougher when you think about periods of economic turmoil. Your “living triangle” is about to be interrupted enough that you need to move to a protected area. Chances are this means leaving work so income goes to zero in this scenario. Problem is economic turmoil will last much longer than any storm. You listen on the radio and know that the storm has passed. What if you listen on the radio and the turmoil is ongoing. Only decision is, “Stay in the bunker”.

No problem, you say, as I have my bunker outfitted for one or two years with water, food and other survival items. Great, except for one thing. Have you thought about what it is like to be in a small space for a month, a year or more? Doesn’t sound like anything a reasonable man could endure let alone a family.

Being cooped up brings up more problems. Psychological issues come to mind. You might think you have a plan to deal with this but I can only ask you to rethink this. Think about prison solitary confinement, kidnap victims and Prisoner of War (POW) camps. Very few individuals make it through something like this without mental scars that stay with you for a lifetime.

The worst outcome in a bunker scenario is that you reach a point you can’t stay in the bunker another minute let alone another day. You emerge from the bunker at the worst possible time as the chaos is in full swing. Chances are that someone will now know you have supplies and will attempt to storm your bunker to take them.

Still think the bunker option is right for you, your family or your business?

A Castle or Large Manor House Will Not Work

Scaling up from the bunker the next step could be a large house, small neighborhood or something approaching a old-style castle. Historically, castles failed to change with the times and many fell into ruins. Some were converted into large manor houses but many of those failed to support themselves and/or the surrounding community.

Some of you might be thinking that when times get tough…the neighborhood will come together and support each other. How that is going to happen, long-term, for food and security means these are doomed if the crisis lasts more than 72 hours. Anyone that has been in the military knows how tough the night watch is. Do you have enough qualified watch standers that can take the stress of standing post and dealing with the rest of their life? What are your “Rules of Engagement”? Any security expert will tell you that even if you live in a gated community, security is going to be a very tough risk to manage for any length of time. Getting people you barely know to understand “deadly force” is not going to be easy if possible at all. It only takes one incident of a breach (allowing individuals onto the property) and not only is your security blown but your supplies will be compromised now placing your group at peril.

Let’s go back to the issue of supplies. I don’t see any house, castle or small neighborhood that planned for any pooling of supplies before the crisis. Most will be just like the local grocery store and have about three days of supplies on hand when the crisis starts. How are you going to handle those who didn’t plan ahead and are now at your door asking for help? This rates as one of the toughest questions of all time. Once the local populace is looking for supplies, in a growing desperate manner, and they figure out you have “it” then they will try to get what you have by violence. To those that think they have enough weapons and ammunition to hold off this horde I have to wonder if mentally you or anyone can really say they will pull the trigger when the situation gets deadly. After the first time, what about the next? Does your plan show how to deal with dead bodies on your property?

The place of business or where you work issue is still staring you in the face. Neighborhoods are set up for living but where you work is a place you need a vehicle to get to (now not possible) and to get groceries/food. The drawbridge example is a great visual as no one going to work means no income and no “Victory” gardens in the backyard means no food or water resupply is possible.

I see castles (or structures like them) as large bunkers. When the castle was attacked the response was get everyone in the castle and pull up the drawbridge. Everyone that is “in” is saved…for a while. If the castle was strong enough, and they did evolve to resist breaching, then they went into the siege scenario. Food rationing starts as what you have when the drawbridge comes up is what you have. These sieges, just like modern day crisis, can drag on as the invaders have the local environment available to their advantage. If the food could hold out then medical and disease becomes an even greater concern with not much positive to help solve the problem. Anyone getting sick, getting wounded or dealing with age (birth and death) will not have the best resources available to get them to the time of the drawbridge going back down (crisis over).

Shocking But So-called Survival Retreats Will Not Work

If you look at the survival retreats being built it is clear that they have not become big enough to overcome the castle or large manor homes problems discussed above. The scale has to get to the 3CFortress level or it will not be sustainable.

The main problem I have with “retreats” is the word just shows that you are heading in the wrong direction. Retreat, in military terms, is what happens when you are losing the battle. In order to live and fight another day you and others are moving away from the battle. Taking yourself out of the battle is a short-term solution. You may not be able to run away from it or the battle will keep coming to you where you decide to make your stand. If you are not living on the retreat compound then you have to get there with few gas stations (if any) open and checkpoints/obstacles along the way.

Several infrastructure concerns will keep the retreat from getting to the level that is needed for long-term continuity. Put another way, the group needs to have basic security, water, food, medical and supplies met and a reserve (contingency) in place. Who is the leader of the retreat? How does he/she handle all these needs? I don’t think any leader or one person can accomplish all this without a staff. The staff is a group that supports the leader in meeting all the demands placed on him/her.

Are you starting to see the problem of how big is big enough? The answer is to build it from the 3CFortress size and scale it up from there. Not being big enough, sustainable, makes any crisis more profound, perhaps deadly. You can’t hire more security. Getting a resupply may be problematic. If you are going to allow more in, what is the criteria? How do you enforce this? What if you need to remove someone from the property?

Here is a short list of “size” or scaling issues that have to be met for long-term continuity:

Security…Armed/Unarmed, Watch schedule with relief and time off, availability of weapons and ammunition (individual or group). No security plan, firmly in place, means all that you have is at risk of loss.

Water…enough for all members and more (if you plan to allow more in) to meet the sanitary and drinking (cooking) needs. Remember, you can’t live without water for more than three days.

Food…enough for all members but this need goes beyond having the supplies on paper. If the food is the freeze-dried variety do you have the water to reconstitute these meals? Many of the “dry” food are lacking in nutrients and can’t be 100% of the food. You have to have a variety if you are talking about the crisis lasting months. How is perishable food obtained and stored? Is the food grown nearby and able to be transported to the group? What is not grown locally has to be made up in supplies on hand. How is this all going to be prepared/cooked?

A place of work or way to generate income…as the situation drags on the barter system is one suggested solution and one that many retreats list as a way to “pay” for things you need. Take a hard look at the barter systems, manuals and articles on how this can work. It can work on an individual to individual level but what happens when you have larger needs/jobs that will require say ten of something in the barter “bank” or owe sheet that may takes months or years to earn/pay back? The list of who owes whom what just gets too complicated. It can’t be handled on an individual level.

I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg on problems with bunkers, castles and small retreats. Those problems are compounded when a crisis comes along that lasts more than 72 hours. If you don’t Adapt Improvise Overcome you won’t Survive and it is AdIOS my friend.

AdIOS – Adapt Improvise Overcome Survive

Talked about this in the book The Winning Way but it is an acronym that shows what you have to do or start doing so that you can continue to be in business after the crisis is finally over. Look for the specific section on AdIOS to read more.

Look Who’s Talking

Is anyone else concerned about size? I found an article in the Wall Street Journal by Marc Levinson BOOKSHELF “When Size Does Matter” A Bigger Prize by Margaret Heffernan, Friday, April 18, 2014. This taps in to exactly what I am presenting in the 3CFortress concept. She asked, “Question: Was the world better off before chain stores…?” If you wanted to be the local grocer you opened a shop and lived above the shop. This example is exactly what I see as the “face” of a 3CFortress. Imagine what the living triangle is for the person running this local grocery. It is dependent on the goods being grown locally but that is part of the 3CFortress as well.

When you compare a local grocer to Big Food they are not going to work on the same economies of scale. But the local grocer is not dependent on transportation and other costs that Big Food has to deal with. A medical needs issue does present itself when you think “snake oil” versus Big Pharma. Wisdom on how to manage all this is available yet needs to be a part of our daily lives before the crisis.

The real question is are we better off after Big Food saving us on our grocery bill and forcing most local grocers to make it with razor thin profit margins? I don’t think so and when a crisis hits all the Big Food issues come home to roost.

I haven’t touched on it much but finance and banking has to be local in the 3CFortress. She points out that the Savings and Loan crisis in 1980 created many local problems for individuals and businesses. More to come on this point, as you can’t talk about continuity or sustainability without a solid financial plan in place.

The point of this article was about the book “A Bigger Prize” and the need to do better than the competition. Looks like an interesting read that I will add to my reading list.

What Do You Think? Let me know and thanks for following along.

What is Wrong With The Way Things Are?

This is not only an introduction for this segment of the blog but really an intro to the whole 3CFortress concept and why we need to move forward with implementing a plan to get there.

My approach is to warn everyone that keeping the status quo and not preparing for a disaster or crisis can have fatal consequences. This is no exaggeration. Compounding the problem is the fact that complacency is rampant. Haven’t you heard it a million times lately? It can’t happen here. It can’t be that bad. Things are not so bad…and getting better all the time. Really? Deep down do you believe that? Are you able to separate the positivism from the negative information into wisdom about what to do?

If anything in your life demands some soul searching, then this is it. You’ve got to change the game plan. You need to take the path less taken. Time is wasting away and waiting for no one. The time to act is now to the point of being called urgent.

One thing I want to make very clear is the risks go beyond disasters and pandemics to include economic crisis where food, water or the supply system is disrupted for months. Super Storm Sandy, the Japanese tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster and Hurricane Katrina proved how close we are to the edge. Earthquakes and black/brown outs from the past are destined to repeat at some point. Think of the lives lost at the start but think more of the lives and businesses lost as the disruption went on and on.

Perhaps you have heard of the “working triangle” in the kitchen. This is the distance from the sink to the refrigerator to the stove (cook top). How long the distance is makes working in the kitchen a little tougher and longer to complete basic tasks.

What is the working triangle for your 3C’s (city, community, corporation)? How far does food have to move before it is in your local store or home? How far does the energy that makes the stove work have to come from? How far does it take for water to get to you and the wastewater to go when it leaves your place? Are there any points of weakness or vulnerability at any point on this route of movement? I bet there are several points that can or have been interrupted in a past disaster or crisis.

Obviously a disruption in the energy supply means not only does the stove not work, it means the refrigerator doesn’t either. Think about how long the food in your house will last if you don’t have refrigeration and a way to cook food that can’t be eaten raw. You might not have much at all in the way of raw or no cook food. The first priority is water but after a few days food is going to be a survival priority.

Think you can just run down to the store and stock up? Think again. Remember what is like just before a snowstorm or disaster. The shelves go bare very fast on key items and as many as 30 to 50 must have items. Most stores might have a three-day supply on hand. A run on the stores supplies means that goes to zero very fast. A disruption in the supply chain means the stores are not going to be replenished.

What happens next is not a pretty picture. Desperate people do desperate things. This sums up what is wrong with the way things are. If the local law enforcement can’t control the situation then martial law is not far from being implemented. But there is more…much more.

Back to the working triangle in the kitchen, let’s look at your “living triangle”. How far do you go in a day from home to work and recreation? Can you walk to all of these? Being able to walk is very doubtful to even one of these three locations. It is a fair assumption that the 3C’s of today require a personal vehicle to get to work and play. Public transportation has been on the decline for many years. Housing demanded a one bay then two bay garage. Upscale housing is now a minimum of three. Almost every hour of the day you see vehicles on the roads and highways. Contrast this with how many people you see walking in your community.

Thoreau said Simplify, Simplify, Simplify but I says Walk, Walk, Walk. Walk to work. Walk to recreation. Walk to the store. Recreation can be several different things such as the quick food restaurant or recreation/park. Any plan that doesn’t include walking to work or play is going to run into problems. This is not an easy task to overcome.

Beef is just one example of how the current supply chain is showing signs of trouble. Drought conditions forced the sale of stock, which flooded the market for a short time. But the drought continues, herd counts are lower and now beef prices are going up. Yet according to a USA TODAY article (June 6, 2014) the United States still exported 1.17 million metric tons in 2013.

If beef is in short supply then why are we still exporting it? Brazil exported 1.85 million metric tons (same reference) but I wonder how much was to the U.S. Are we importing beef from other countries? My only question would be why? What if we raised the beef (and pork and chickens) closer to the city or community? This would shorten the living triangle and make the supply chain less vulnerable.

We seem to be doing the same thing with oil. The shale oil fields are producing a bumper crop yet unleaded gas is currently $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon. Do you still remember one dollar a gallon? If the local gas stations were to run dry how long will it be until the next resupply? Longer than you think. The so-called experts would say there are not enough refineries. Sure but how much of the oil is exported and how much are we still importing? I don’t think I want to know. The bottom line is the price of gas is not going down any time soon. Availability, during a disaster or crisis is not going to be good for weeks if not longer. Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina proved this and a hurricane that hits refineries in the Gulf of Mexico would have nation wide consequences.

Converting more vehicles and systems to natural gas is projected to take years. Why we didn’t convert earlier is a good question especially since we have the largest supply of it in the world. The infrastructure build out has begun but is in its infancy. At times it seems like we are no better off than Ukraine in waiting for the supply to get to the community.

The United States has long been the breadbasket to the world. We export several different grains but a disturbing trend started in 2013. Coarse grain exports were down and imports up causing prices to go up. This trend is not expected to reverse and could grow worse. The number of U.S. agriculture dependent on irrigation is staggering. Major aquifers and water sources are being depleted. Is another Dust Bowl on the way?

Back to the living triangle is it more apparent that the length or distance that goods/supplies need to move to a local market is easily disrupted. Any regional disruption or shut down of the supply chain can become a national crisis. True we have never had to deal with a large nationwide crisis since the Oil Embargo of the 1970’s but the probability for this is increasing. Look at how long the Great Recession is taking to be resolved. Think back or look at the Spanish Influenza pandemic. No region, let along any community or corporation is set up to survive a months or years long crisis. In order to survive that long it will take a movement to a 3CFortress environment in order to preserve a way of life that everyone can live with.

What if no action is taken? Then you reap the whirlwind. You are at the mercy of what the government can provide. If you think about what the government has to offer I doubt you believe it is that they are “here to help”.

Several writers write on so-called FEMA camps being prepared for some future large-scale crisis. Whether or not these stories are true they bear some discussion. Imagine you are the President of the United States or some high-level government official. You’ve just been told that the National Grid is down. Estimated time to repair could be months for some regions. The food supply chain is in disarray and looting is overwhelming the local police and security forces. Water is not being moved through the system and the sewers are backed up. There is not enough fuel for people to relocate, even if they could find another place to go. Highways and roads are blocked with vehicles due to wrecks or running out of fuel.

The infamous question…What would you do if you were this government official? Do you have any choice but to relocate everyone to some centralized camp? Call it a FEMA camp or whatever but leaving people in their homes will mean several dead and injured putting more stress on critical systems. They have no way to fend for themselves if the regular living triangle of services is not available.

The normal response today is to request assistance when the state can’t handle the disaster. This process goes from the state governor to the President (and FEMA). This Public Assistance/Disaster Recovery process works and has worked for storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes affecting several counties in a state. Power can be restored and supplies brought in from other regions. Federal grants flow to the states and on to the counties or applicants. But what happens when the states are trying to handle their own issues or the Federal grant money is not available, as we know it today.

The 3CFortress is set up to support the city, community or corporation for the duration of the crisis. With the proper plan and set up it can enable everyone to continue living and working until the crisis is over. This is true continuity, survival. Stay tuned for a deeper discussion on how to do this.

Check It Out and Look Who’s Talking

I receive several financial and survival newsletters and they all include some dire predictions for the near future. Granted, some of the predictions, like food riots, seem to be a yearly guess since 2009. Keep in mind that the probability is high enough that at some point the risk(s) could happen.

Either way that this all plays out, it is clear the future for the 3C’s (city, community, corporate) is going to be a challenge at some point. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.

Quick Tip – Generators

Stuck trying to figure out how to fill the generator gap for your home or business? Several sites and articles cover the solar (expensive with long pay back), natural gas/propane, and diesel fuel options. If you want to run a few key appliances then a portable generator is a good option. Something to keep in mind is what are you willing to cut back on from your present day life. Most disasters include reduced availability of power and fuel options. Plan now or have plenty of no cook food ready with plenty of water.

The blog is growing and I thank those who are viewing and following the blog.

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