“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein

In my first attempt at this, I used the terms Prepper and Prepping. I should not have, though I think material aspects of those are covered by what I am doing. Dad worked on Apollo and then Apollo-Soyuz and Skylab. We lived in Seabrook with all the other NASA/JPL/IBM engineers and astronauts that worked at the Johnson Space Center. I thought it was normal to play in the display J-2 rocket engine and wander around when the NASA staff were making the displays for the little museum they had going on before they made it a paid public theme park. My choices for reading were what dad had in the bookshelves, which was a set of Great Books of the Western World, the whole set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a mess of Niven, Heinlein, Clarke, Pournelle, Asimov, and others.

Heinlein always struck a chord in me, a resonance that with words expressed with the same impact that having grandparents who lived a lot of that self-reliant and ultimately satisfying life. Let us approach this from that lens, rather than all the connotations that come with Preppers and Prepping. Homesteading is probably the best term for it, in that Prepping requires that you are preparing for some great calamitous event, whereas I am coming from a point of just living life and solving problems in as self-sufficient manner as possible. This includes being prepared for disaster and mayhem, but as part of life.

Because of a reference in some of the comments about a rant on body armor from 2015, I read the entire archived thread that was referenced. First off, it is my life, and I will use whatever means I have in order to defend it. I will even extend that to those around me, whether they deserve it or not. That is my reasoning for having and carrying a pistol. My military gear is for just that (and mainly for working around the property, which happens a lot more than Mad Max bad guy gangs tooling around the nucular (sic) wastelands causing rape and mayhem). I camp with my hammock, poncho, poncho liners, carry everything in the same ruck (and same loadout) that I could live out of indefinitely if need be. Something that was brought up in that thread, to death, was the rights v. the person’s irrational fear of the use of body armor making his guns less effective, so BAN IT, BAN IT ALL TO HELL!!11!eleventyone!!

Don’t care. I shoot, a lot. It is one of the things that my TBIs didn’t scramble so badly that I can’t do it anymore, unlike doing artwork without great concentration or pain, or thinking about each step consciously at some level. I can still do it, and I do it well. I have also been very lucky in that on most of the ranges that I shoot on, there is a good possibility of getting hit with debris, the shorn jacket of a bullet, the odd nail in a stump that gets hit at just the wrong angle, and I have gotten away with at worst minor cuts.

There is also the fact that its intended use for protection in armed conflict. I have it for that reason, should I ever need it. However, I find that the only use for it so far, has been range safety. I have Rx Oakley and Wiley-X specs because I value my failing eyesight. I value what is left of my scrambled brain, so I have an ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet, Ballistic) high cut helmet. It clears the Peltor active ear protection, I can wear it all day, and it is WAAAAY more comfortable than the PASGT helmets you saw from Panama, Gulf War 1, Bosnia, and the opening years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

I have a simple plate carrier that I use, any Berry-compliant (every bit of it made in the USA, to include all components) carrier will do, but my beater carrier is a Shellback Tactical Banshee with medium SAPI rifle plates front and back, with Level IIIA Aramid (Kevlar) soft inserts on the sides. It also works great for carrying 4 extra magazines, a first aid trauma kit, flashlight, and hydration kit. I also have their Banshee 2 with the 3d air mesh lining if I ever had to wear it for days-weeks at a time. Crye Precision and TYR Tactical make the best tactigucci stuff out there, but these work for me, without the several-months wait. Aftermarket is one place where they really surpass the .mil plates and carriers, but you pay for it. NIJ 2006 is the latest standard, and is more stringent than the .mil requirements for Level IV and Level IV Special Purpose plates.

That all said and done, it’s getting to be time for proper gear. Boardshorts, t-shirt, flip-flops, the body boards, and the wetsuit. Almost time to rent a house on Topsail Island or the OBX before the waves die down for the summer. Next installment: reloading equipment and water purification.

Don, Always 11H1P, but now just Professional Beach Bum.