About Robert Partain

Robert Partain spent 10 years on active duty in the Army as both a medic and a training NCO. He has published hundreds of articles on the internet as well as been published in print form. He currently resides in Alabama. Robert will explore the subject of concealed carry laws and other weapon related issues in society. Follow along as Robert brings his expertise and insight to the Patriot Surplus blog!

Can Soldiers March Faster and Longer?

Military Suit

Can Soldiers March Faster and Longer? This is a question that the Army is not only asking, but also actively working on as they develop new prototypes of soft suits that were designed by engineers at Harvard University. The suits will help soldiers to make longer marches and allow the soldiers to march faster without injury to certain muscles.

It is no secret that long marches and patrols can fatigue even the fittest soldiers. This is especially true when soldiers are carrying heavy loads or traveling over rough terrain, both of which are common in today’s military. Well, there may be a new “smart suit” on the horizon to help soldiers march faster, longer, and carry heavier loads.

Smart SuitThe prototypes are being developed and tested by Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. They are working with the Army as well as with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal is to develop a “smart suit” that incorporates a complex set of webbing straps that also contain muscle strain sensors and a microprocessor. In simple terms, the unit will mimic the leg muscles of the soldier thus requiring less energy to be expended by the soldier. The reduction in energy loss should allow the soldier to be able to march faster and longer than if he or she were not wearing the suit.

To date, the suit has been tested at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Tests included wearing full battle gear and were conducted on treadmills and a paved three-mile course with some rough terrain also on the course. As of October 2014, nine prototypes have been tested by the Army Research Laboratory. DARPA officials are currently overseeing what is being dubbed the Warrior Web program.

Testing includes measuring the soldier’s stride frequency and length. Measurements are also taken on how long the person’s foot is in contact with the ground. The amount of energy that is expended is also measured in order for testers to calculate how many calories are being used in various types of walking conditions. In addition, testers evaluate muscle activity in order to learn more on just how much work various muscles must use for various types of walking: uphill, downhill, smooth road, rough terrain, etc.

According to both the Army and DARPA, having a suit ready for field use is not far off. During the various phases of testing, the suit has been streamlined and is now easier to wear in terms of fit and comfort. The suit’s systems have also been streamlined, reducing weight and adding functionality. No specific date has been set for the suit’s full release to troops.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Will Same-Sex Couples Get VA Benefits?

With the historic Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriages in America comes renewed efforts to give VA benefits to eligible same-sex couples. The current call for action is coming from New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) as she presses the VA to grant full benefits to those who may be eligible for said benefits.

Sen. Shaheen has sent a letter to Robert McDonald, VA Secretary, in which she asks him to move as quickly as possible to set up and implement the “spirit of the Court’s decision” and to ensure and enact measures that eligible veterans are awarded the benefits that they are entitled to now. The onus behind her request is the current VA view that state laws restrict the VA from giving benefits to same-sex couples. Shaheen said in her letter that the current policy means some veterans are not getting all of the benefits that they should be getting simply because of where they reside and who they love.

Same Sex Marriage“This clear inequity has not only been an affront to thousands of men and women who have served our nation faithfully in uniform, it has also offended the basic principles of equality and fairness that are the foundation of our legal system,” the Senator added. With the court’s recent decision, Shaheen says Secretary McDonald should grant benefits immediately, no matter where the same-sex couples may live.

In March of this year, US Senators backed giving Social Security and VA benefits to same-sex couples within the budget bill. Even so, these votes were non-binding. In that measure, Social Security and VA benefits were desired for all: “legally married same-sex couples deserve equal treatment under the law regardless of where they live, but right now eligibility for spousal benefits provided under the Social Security Act and by the Department of Veterans Administration is determined by a residence standard. That means that legally married same-sex couples who move to a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage could be denied Social Security and veterans’ survivor benefits.”

Where all of this is headed is unclear at this point. Will Same-Sex Couples Get VA Benefits?

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Civilian PTSD: Treatment Options

PTSD Sad

As a group leader, it will be one of your responsibilities to watch your group members after a natural disaster or other traumatic event in order to monitor for emotional distress, also known as civilian PTSD. If you discover someone is having problems coping, the following treatments may be helpful.

Comfort and Support:

Natural disasters and other traumatic events can change everything in a person’s life. It can shatter a person’s sense of safety. As a group (or family) leader, it will be important that you be proactive in providing both support and comfort to those affected. Encourage those with you, including those affected if they are able, to join in. Even doing small things will be better than being passive.

Establish a Routine:

Leaders should establish a routine, as this can help all members of the group but will be especially helpful for those needing a sense of familiarity to return to their lives. Getting back into any type of normal routine will help those who are traumatized and feeling stressed or helpless. Routines can include anything from eating at certain times to doing school work (for kids who may be affected). Try to keep the mind occupied with positive tasks and conversations.

Depressed ManConnecting with Other People:

Often, civilians with PTSD will want to withdraw from other people and activities. This is not good. The person should be allowed some “alone” time, but they must get back into the group setting as soon as possible. Support from others in the group can go a long way in making this happen.

Acknowledge Their Feelings:

Just because you do not, or cannot, feel the same as the person affected does not mean that their feelings are not real. As a leader, you should acknowledge their feelings and let the person know that you are there for them and will help them in any way possible. Do not mock them and do not order them to “shake it off.” As the leader, it is up to you to be the strong one, and that often means sharing your strength with those who are weakened.

In Summary:

  • Give the affected time to heal and let them mourn their losses
  • Do not try to force or rush the healing process
  • Be as patient as you can be
  • Be ready for volatile emotions from the affected person
  • Do not judge their feelings
  • Be there for them

The amount of time it takes a person to recover from civilian PTSD varies from person to person. Your actions (if they are appropriate and correct) will go a long way in helping this person to get back onto his or her own feet.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Honey: A Valuable Prepper Commodity?

Honey

Preppers often wonder what other kinds of foods they should have on hand besides beans and rice. One of the best foods to have is honey, and there are some good reasons for this. Let’s look a little deeper at this little wonder.

You already know that people have been using honey for centuries. It was so important in the past that it is listed in the Bible many times as a reward. In later years, honey was found to have many beneficial properties besides tasting great. Its long history is just one piece of evidence that we should be looking more closely at this golden substance.

Honey JarAs we all know, honey comes from honey bees. They gather nectar from flowers and store this in their hives. Proteins and enzymes produced by the bee while it carries the nectar is what turns the nectar into honey after it has been placed in the honeycomb. The water evaporates and the substance thickens. Voila, honey.

Honey is packed with nutrition, which is why we are looking at it here. It contains a variety of sugars, including glucose and fructose. It also contains a fair amount of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphate. More often than not, it also contains some of the B vitamins. The exact chemistry of any honey will depend on the kind of flowers the nectar was taken from. Darker honey is thought to be more packed with nutrition than lighter honey which may be sweeter. Honey can be bought in the stores and this type of honey is normally pasteurized, making it very safe to eat and easy to store. Raw honey has more nutrients but may not store well for long periods of time.

Honey can be used to sweeten things, foods and drinks, but it can do a lot more than that. Good quality honey has some medicinal qualities that the old folks know well. It can be used as an anti-microbial agent to help prevent infections. It can also be used to treat minor burns. Honey is still used in other parts of the world as it was long ago, and it still works. Adding a bit of honey to tea or whiskey is a good way to soothe a sore throat. Many people swear it is good for treating stomach ulcers, and some believe it is effective against respiratory infections. Honey also contains anti-oxidants.

When stored correctly, honey has a very long shelf life. If it happens to crystallize because of cold, just heat it up. If times get really rough, honey will make a fantastic barter item. Don’t forget honey as you are gathering items for your food stockpile.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

New Airsoft Laws Are on the Way

Airsoft Rifle

Let’s start with a quick definition of what constitutes an airsoft gun. In general, airsoft guns use pressurized air to fire a variety of projectiles. These guns are normally very realistic looking and some are full-scale replicas of various types of powder guns. They can fire a 6 mm plastic pellet at 120 meters per second. To date, there are no federal laws that regulate airsoft guns other than the age requirement to buy one (you must be at least 18), but 22 states do have laws that regulate transfer, possession, and use of them. Most states allow minors to purchase and own these non-powder guns; 4 states consider the guns to be firearms, but only 3 states consider them to be “dangerous weapons.”

I bring all of this up because over the last few years these guns have been used for committing crimes, have resulted in people being shot (because others thought the person had a real gun), and are now considered by many medical professionals to be a major cause of eye injury (some very serious). For these reasons (and more), states are drafting (or considering drafting) new laws to regulate airsoft guns. The laws on the books right now vary from state to state, and airsoft owners should see what (if any) laws apply to their state.

Airsoft LawsOn a general level, most states will prosecute a person using an airsoft weapon to commit a crime. Just because the gun is not “real” will not always provide a valid defense; the person may be charged (and tried in court) as if the gun were authentic. Also, persons carrying a concealed airsoft gun may face problems with local police, including being “drawn down” on.

The following are some of the laws currently being enforced (by state/city):

  • Any and all replica guns (including airsoft types) are illegal in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA.
  • In New York City, airsoft guns and realistic-looking replica firearms must be marked with bright colors that can be seen by others. Brandishing these guns (in a threatening manner) is considered illegal.
  • In Michigan, purchase is legal but all realistic-looking replicas must have a bright orange tip on the barrel.
  • Minnesota has several laws: No one under the age of 14 may use any type of airsoft gun. In the city of Minneapolis, you cannot carry an airsoft gun unless it has an orange tip, and you cannot fire the gun inside the city limits. No one is allowed to carry any type of airsoft gun that has a laser attachment on it. Transporting of all airsoft guns must be within a concealed compartment and the gun must be unloaded.

With the rise in the use of airsoft guns during the commission of a crime, many states are drafting new airsoft gun laws in an effort to prevent further violence. Be sure you are up to date on the laws in your area.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

EMP and Your Radio

EMP

In the event of an EMP (Electro-Magnetic-Pulse), vast numbers of electronic devices will cease to operate. However, it may be possible for you to protect your AM/FM/shortwave from disaster. Because your radio is so important, it is equally important to protect it if possible.

To begin, an EMP can occur from nuclear explosions and from solar disruptions. These pulses can knock out the entire power grid and can damage some electronics. This, of course, might include your radios. There may be a way to protect your radio. I use “may be” because the following is theoretical in nature. It should work, but, it may not. Still, it is worth trying because loss of your emergency radio can be catastrophic.

Radio HandThe first thing to do is to wrap the radio with non-conductive material. Make sure that no metal is exposed. Materials you can use include plastic bags, cardboard, or a paper bag. Make the wrap snug. Next, wrap the device with aluminum foil. The entire device must be wrapped tightly with no openings. For double protection, repeat both steps (non-conductive wrap, another wrapping of aluminum foil). Lastly, place the device into a sturdy bag to protect the wrappings from being torn or ripped.

Why This Should Work:

What you have done is you created what is known as a Faraday cage. The idea is that the pulse will hit the foil and be directed around the device instead of going into the device. This prevents the pulse from damaging the radio’s electronic parts.

Another Option:

Many believe that we can protect our devices by putting them inside a metal can. Here is how it works: Line a metal trash can (that has a tight lid) with two layers of good quality cardboard. Make sure all the inside metal surfaces are covered, including the lid’s interior surface. Now, you can place and store your electronics inside. As added protection, you can wrap your radio as described above and then place the wrapped package into the can.

In theory, the above should work. One thing we do know is that if you do nothing at all, you can expect your radio (and other electronics) to be damaged. It is always better to do something rather than nothing.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Will Gun Owners Be Required To Carry Liability Insurance?

Insurance

If you drive a car in the United States, chances are very good that you are required to carry some level of liability insurance on that vehicle. If some in the US Congress have their way, you will need to buy liability insurance if you want to buy a firearm. In fact, you would have to buy this insurance “before” you are allowed to purchase your firearm.

The brainchild behind this proposed law is US House Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY). This is not her first attempt at gun control legislation, but it is her latest. In this new bill that she has introduced, most gun owners would be mandated to carry some level of liability insurance. The bill is known as The Firearm Risk Protection Act, and it was released in late May 2015. Under the bill, those wishing to purchase firearms would be required to first have liability insurance coverage. Those who do not have insurance would be subject to a $10,000 fine. Yes, $10,000.

FirearmsLaw enforcement officers and military service members would be exempt from the insurance requirement.

In a recent statement, Maloney said: “We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns. The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise.”

She went on to explain that often car insurance companies offer incentives to their customers for safe driving. This, she says, has led to a reduction in auto accidents. However, there are no such incentives being offered to gun owners. She believes that requiring gun owners to carry insurance would result in safer behaviors, reducing gun accidents and injuries.

Maloney said: “An insurance requirement would allow the free market to encourage cautious behavior and help save lives. Adequate liability coverage would also ensure that the victims of gun violence are fairly compensated when crimes or accidents occur.”

As mentioned above, Maloney is no stranger to gun legislation. She has twice supported or introduced legislation that would require gun sellers to first obtain a background check before selling guns in gun shows. She is considered one of the most aggressive gun control advocates in the current Congress.

The past legislation is known as The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act, and would require that anyone who is selling or transferring a firearm use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to do a check and then require that all sales and transfers be reported to the attorney general.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

More Gun Regulations on the Way?

Regulations

For years now, the Obama administration has made it clear that they want to impose more gun control laws on citizens as a way of reducing gun violence. According to their own documents, the administration is far from being finished with its plans on reforming gun laws. If given its own way, the Justice Department plans over a dozen more regulations to be enacted this year. This is according to the agency listing of “to do” before Obama leaves office.

These new regs would cover a variety of things including new rules for certain pistols (high-powered) all the way down to storage regulations for firearms. One of the top priorities is to develop new rules for gun ownership for those individuals who are considered mentally ill and for those who have domestic abuse convictions.

Gun LawThese two issues have been at the top of the list for gun safety advocates since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut three years ago. Keeping guns out of the hands of known dangerous persons is a top priority. Many gun supporters, however, see this as way of restricting gun ownership to many who should have the right to own firearms as they pose no danger to society. It is clear that both sides of this debate have valid arguments.

As for the new regulations, it has been reported that the Justice Department plans to release at least some of these new rules that would increase the number of criteria for individuals in order to meet the qualifications for legal gun ownership as well as better define who cannot own a gun legally. This is according to the list of rules known as the Unified Agenda that was recently released. This list of rules set down what various federal agencies are planning to work on or develop. The DOJ wants to continue implementing those executive orders that Pres. Obama signed after Sandy Hook but have yet to be put into force. Obama signed 23 orders after the tragedy, all of which, he said, would help reduce gun violence by keeping dangerous individuals from getting a hold of guns.

At the time of the shooting, Obama said: “If America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown.” He went on to say: “We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.” Gun control advocates and groups have since rallied around polices that (if implemented) would keep firearms from those with certain mental illnesses and most convicted domestic abusers. To date, the US Congress has blocked much of the President’s plans, but the DOJ is not giving up yet.

One regulation they want put back into action was proposed in 1998 with a rule that blocked those convicted of any form of domestic abuse from owning a firearm. This would include those convicted of misdemeanor abuse, which is the sticking point for gun supporters. According to counsel for the Gun Owners of America, M. Hammond: “That could be a person who spanked his kid, yelled at his wife, or slapped her husband.”

If the DOJ has its way, this rule would be finalized by November of this year.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Shelter In Place: Part 2

Students

To learn how to shelter in place at home or at work, see part one of this two part series.

At School:

(Note: Most schools already have an emergency plan in place and that plan should be followed if at all possible. If there is no policy, or if time or circumstance does not allow implementing that plan, use the following.)

  • Upon notification of a toxin emergency, close the facility and begin implementing existing plans (if plans are available).
  • Bring all people from the outside of the school into the school. This should include visitors.
  • If it can be done safely, provide someone to answer incoming calls from parents. This is best done if the shelter room (or rooms) have an existing landline phone.
  • If time allows, seal safe room doors, windows, and vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting. Focus sealing efforts to only safe rooms and not the whole school.
  • Because of the potential number of people needing to be sheltered, it may be necessary to have several safe rooms. Ideally, each room will have a means of communication, be above ground, and have no (or few) windows, doors, and vents. Large meeting rooms, storage closets, utility rooms, and gymnasiums without exterior windows are good sites.
  • Those with cell phones should be allowed to use them to contact parents or others to let them know where they are and that they are staying put until the emergency is over.
  • Have teachers or school employees lock all exterior doors, windows and other openings that lead into the school. If explosions are possible, close shades.
  • Turn off heating/AC units and any systems that exchange air from outside to inside.
  • Appoint someone to write down names of all who are present and to call the school’s emergency contact. Also, appoint someone to monitor radio broadcasts to stay aware of the situation.

Car ShelterIn Your Vehicle:

  • If you hear a shelter in place notice while driving, do the following:
  • If your present location is close to your home, workplace, or a public facility, go there and go inside. You will be safer inside a structure than you will be in your vehicle.
  • If you cannot get to one of these locations, pull over and park. If possible, park under a bridge, overpass, or other place that offers some overhead protection.
  • Once parked, turn off engine and close all windows and all vents. If you have duct tape with you, seal windows and cover vent holes.
  • Monitor your local radio stations for updates.
  • Remain in place until you are told it is safe or that evacuation orders are being implemented.

Note: In all of the above scenarios, it is important to monitor local an authority broadcast before, during, and after the emergency. They will have information that you will need to know.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Salt for Preppers

Salt Bag

Western cultures often take salt for granted, and why not? It is easy to buy, very inexpensive, and it makes food taste better. But, salt has other benefits that all preppers should know about. In the past, salt was so prized that it was often used to pay wages. Wars have been fought over it, including some battles in our own Civil War in Florida. Yes, salt does a lot more than make food taste better.

So, what is so important about salt?

SaltSalt is imperative for good health. We need to ingest a certain amount of salt every day. Normally, we get plenty of it, but if times get tough and stores are not open, we need to have our own supply of salt in storage to maintain good health. You may not know it, but your blood is almost 1 percent salt and salt is needed to keep your electrolytes balanced. Salt (sodium) cannot be made by the human body and must come from an outside source.

Sodium is also what causes the mouth to begin salivating when we eat, and it helps produce gastric juices for digestion. Nerves and muscles also require sodium in order to function properly. Sodium and chloride work together in many ways to keep cells healthy and to maintain the correct pH in the body.

For most people, 500 mg per day of salt is recommended. And if your food storage has salt in it, you can count that toward this minimum daily amount. Canned meats have a lot of salt, usually, while canned fruits have very little. As mentioned above, during good times getting salt is not a problem. It is those “other” times we need to plan for. Having salt in storage will help you stay healthy but can also be a good bartering item if it comes to that. Most people will not think to store salt. They just won’t.

Salt can also be used to preserve your meats. If you are not sure how to salt meat, get a book on the subject and learn how. This can be very important when it comes to feeding your family. Most people cannot eat a whole buck and will need to preserve some of that meat to keep it from spoiling. Salt can do that. Sealed salt has a very long life if you keep it dry. Store your bulk salt in a cool, dry place (inside a waterproof container is a good idea) and remember to check it occasionally.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.