Where Not To Go

A recent Fark thread about zombies brought disaster preparedness to the fore in my mind.

Specifically, it made me think about locations that, at first glance, may seem to be an excellent place to flee to in a disaster, but are actually a very bad idea.

One of the prime examples is a big-box store, like Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. Here’s my analysis:

Pros

  1. Large, windowless building. Rolling metal shutters allow entrances to be secured. Doors only open outwards, and are made of steel.
  2. Substantial reserves of food and water.
  3. Large, flat roof makes it easy to observe (and by extension protect) the surrounding environs.
  4. Large steel racks of goods can be used for various other purposes, including elevated sleeping platforms and barriers.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? However, if there’s a major disaster, there’s numerous cons as well:

Cons

  1. Most people are poorly prepared for an emergency, and so will flock to such a store if a disaster is imminent1. They’ll probably head in even greater numbers to such a store during a disaster (witness all the looting that took place in New Orleans after Katrina, for example).
  2. These stores have huge amounts of perishable products (e.g. meats, milk, etc.) that will rapidly spoil if the power to their freezers is interrupted. One would need to quickly remove these products from the store and deposit them a suitable distance away before they spoil, particularly if one is going to remain there for more than a day or two. Spoiled food can attract predators and harbor diseases.
  3. Sanitation is a problem. While one can flush a toilet by pouring water into it (useful if the water service is out), this wastes considerable amount of water. It also assumes that the sewer system is still operational, which may not necessarily be the case. Big-box stores tend to be surrounded by enormous parking lots, and digging a latrine through asphalt is quite challenging.

While a big-box store may appear to be an attractive place to go during a disaster, I submit that it’s a bad idea.

To me, it makes much more sense to be reasonably prepared at home — a week or two of food and water per person doesn’t take up that much space and isn’t that expensive. Get a few other basic supplies2 , likeĀ  flashlights, batteries, a water filter, some means of starting a fire, a shovel/entrenching tool, toilet paper, some cash, a tent and some sleeping bags, and you’ll be set to ride out just about any plausible disaster until help arrives.

If an actual zombie attack occurs, we’ll be screwed anyway.

  1. They always seem to buy bread, milk, and eggs. Why? When faced with a natural disaster, “french toast” is not the first food that comes to mind. []
  2. Firearms and ammo are assumed. []

Taking Things for Granted

It is high praise for utility providers when we take them for granted; it means they’re doing their job of providing uninterrupted, excellent service. When I turn on my faucet, I expect and receive clean water. I expect that the water going down the drain to leave my apartment in a sanitary way, to be treated and disposed of somewhere else. I expect that when I turn on the light switch, electricity flows to my lamp.

Short of very brief, tolerable outages (e.g. there was a several hour long power outage at my apartment complex the other day, due to equipment failure with Tucson Electric Power. They evidently repaired or replaced the equipment and had it back on within a few hours.), such utilities are normally extremely reliable and it’s only natural that we adapt to their presence and take them for granted.

However, if one is preparing for an abnormal situation — a natural disaster or zombie attack, for example — one needs to realize that such utilities will likely be interrupted and plan accordingly.

More posts on related topics soon.

Man With A Gun

A man, openly armed with a Glock 19 and accompanied by a female friend, went to Lowes Home Improvement this evening.

He purchased a $4 tube of epoxy.

He and his friend then went to IHOP, where they had tasty pancakes.

When paying the bill, another patron waiting to be seated inquired if the man “was an officer”, to which the man replied, “no”. The other patron then asked if the man “just carried a pistol around”, to which the man replied, “Yes. It’s a free country.” The patron laughed pleasantly, said “That’s cool.” and the two bid each other good night.

No further incidents were noted.

News About Guns-In-Restaraunts

The Arizona Republic has a remarkably well-balanced, informative article about the subject.

Of course, they use the word “toting” in reference to the lawful carriage of arms, which always bugs me, but isn’t a huge deal.

Naturally, there’s an enormous amount of PSH in the comments, which is to be expected. Accusations abound about how strawmen gun-owners will get “extremely drunk” and shoot people, and at least one commenter has mentioned that he will avoid patronizing bars that don’t have “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” signs, as if that will somehow magically protect him. Several other commenters have mentioned how they will cease patronizing bars altogether.

Somehow, I suspect that business will carry on as usual.

I encourage readers to contact local establishments that post “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” signs and politely voice their opposition to the prohibition. If enough patrons bring it up, it may cause them to reconsider.

Awesome

Some restaurants and bars are posting signs prohibiting the lawful carriage of arms in anticipation of September 30th, whereby CCW holders can carry in such establishments in Arizona (you can find a list of such places above).

Some places, however, are doing the opposite: Joe’s BBQ in Wikieup, AZ is offering a 10% discount for anyone with a CCW. Simply show him your CCW permit and you’ll get the discount.

Very cool.

Although Joe’s place is a bit far from Tucson, I shall attempt to patronize such establishments in the future.

.380 For Sale

I was rummaging through my collection of ammo and stumbled across a box of Speer Gold Dot ammo in .380 Auto. The box contains 20 rounds.

I used to own a small Bersa Thunder .380 but sold it probably 2-3 years ago. Somehow, I managed to hang onto a box of Gold Dots for it.

As I don’t have a .380 pistol now, I’m looking to sell it. I’m willing to let it part for the original, still-affixed purchase price of $13.95.

If what I think is the lot number is correct, it’s lot number 23606.

The ammo looks to be in good shape. I’ve fired gobs of Gold Dots in the past, and they’re good stuff.

With quantities this small, a local buyer would be the best choice. Anyone in Tucson interested? If so, send me an email.

Compare & Contrast

California (according to a notice from Cabelas)

On Friday, Sept. 11, the California Assembly passed Assembly Bill 962, by a 44-31 vote.

Among other regulations, AB 962 would:

  • Ban all mail-order and Internet sales of handgun ammunition.
  • Prohibit the retail sale, the offer for sale or the display of handgun ammunition in a manner that allows ammunition to be accessible to a purchaser without assistance of a vendor or employee.
  • Require that the delivery or transfer of ownership of handgun ammunition occur in a face-to-face transaction, with the deliverer or transferor being provided bona fide evidence of identity of the purchaser or other transferee.

That evidence of identity, which must be legibly recorded at the time of delivery, includes:

  • The right thumbprint of the purchaser or transferee.
  • The date of the sale or other transaction.
  • The purchaser’s or transferee’s driver’s license or other identification number and the
  • state in which it was issued.
  • The brand, type and amount of ammunition sold or otherwise transferred.
  • The purchaser’s or transferee’s signature.
  • The name of the salesperson who processed the sale or other transaction.
  • The purchaser’s or transferee’s full residential address and telephone number.
  • The purchaser’s or transferee’s date of birth.

The bill is on the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, where it awaits his consideration. He will have until Oct. 11 to sign or veto the bill. If he does not veto the bill, it will become law.

Arizona

  • Don’t be a criminal.
  • Pick out the ammo you want, be it local or online.
  • Pay for ammo.
  • Receive ammo.

The other day, I was at the local gun shop perusing their wares. I overheard a conversation between a customer and the employee. Evidently the customer was a visitor from California, was spending a week or two here visiting friends, and wanted to pick up some ammo for the range. He inquired as to what restrictions exist for purchasing ammo, and whether or not he had to be an Arizona resident or show ID to buy ammo here. The employee considered this for a moment and said “Well, so long as you’re not a criminal and can pay for it, you can buy whatever you want.”

He looked rather amazed. After browsing for a bit, he picked up a few boxes of .380 and something else I didn’t see.

Who in their right mind actually thinks that the bills waiting for the governor would have any effect on crime? Prohibiting customers from handling boxes of ammo in the store will accomplish…what, exactly? Makes no sense at all.

For all the flaws that Arizona has (and no state is perfect), it’s still a rather free state, unlike our neighbor to the west.

BRILLIANT!

My friend and I were talking about Canadian Geese today. Specifically, we were discussing their violent eradication, as they are obnoxious honking shitbags.

He proposed the use of shotguns to shoot them. I countered that we needed to use miniguns. Thus, we came upon a brilliant compromise: shotgun miniguns.

Honestly, I’m surprised why nobody’s made one yet, particularly for close-in urban fighting where long range is not important.

Private