TEOTWAWKI, and Triple Ought
by James Wesley, Rawles
News & Info
Triple Ought FAQ
About the Author
James Wesley, Rawles
Pulling Through Screenplay:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to the sorts of questions I get most often on Triple Ought and Patriots:
1.) "Is the novel available in hard copy form? Is it copyrighted?"
All editions of the novel are copyrighted. XLibris publishes the most recent edition. (Titled Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse.) The earliest draft editions (The Gray Nineties and Triple Ought) were made available over the Internet as shareware on several web sites. However, since XLibris now has exclusive distribution rights, I stopped distributing the drafts via the Internet.
Any reprinting of any edition of the novel for profit is expressly prohibited, and violations will be vigorously prosecuted. Any uploading of any edition to a BBS or to the Internet is now also expressly prohibited.
2.) "I already read Triple Ought. How are TEOTWAWKI and Patriots different?"
It is essentially the same story line, but it was greatly expanded and significantly re-written in TEOTWAWKI and Patriots. For example, there are several new characters, a new chapter describing in detail Doug's perilous journey from Colorado from Idaho, and a chapter devoted to the topic of low probability-of-intercept radio communications.
3.) "Do you really expect something this severe to happen?"
No. It could happen. But frankly, odds are that it won't be nearly so severe. I made the scenario in the novel a near "worst case" in order to make it more interesting reading, and as an opportunity to show the need for planning and preparedness in a variety of areas (first aid, food storage, faith, self-defense, communications, et cetera.)
4.) "What other books on survival do you recommend?"
There are several novels that I recommend to get yourself in the survival mindset, and to get you started drafting your "to do" and "to buy" lists. In terms of fiction books with survival themes, I recommend:
Lucifer's Hammer, by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (Classic nuke scenario)
Pulling Through by Dean Ing (a more modern nuke scenario + a mini nuke survival manual)
Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys (Total plague wipe out scenario)
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher (Massive crop disease/social breakdown scenario from the British perspective...)
Vandenberg by Oliver Lange (Invasion scenario)
Unintended Consequences by John Ross. (Small scale CW II scenario.) Due to its political incorrectness, it is hard to find in libraries. I highly recommend it (except for the kinky sex scenes, which detracted from an otherwise top-notch novel.)
In terms of non-fiction, here are 10 titles that I would recommend as initial "must reads" for anyone serious about active preparedness (listed in no particular order):
American Red Cross First Aid
Where There is No Doctor by David Werner
Where There is No Dentist by Murray Dickson
Emergency War Surgery (NATO handbook)
Survival Guns by Mel Tappan (The Janus Press, Rogue River, Oregon)
Tappan on Survival by Mel Tappan (The Janus Press, Rogue River, Oregon)
Encyclopedia of Country Living (Ninth edition), by Carla Emery (Sasquatch Books)
Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearny
The Ultimate Sniper by Maj. John L. Plaster
The Survivor (Four Volumes) by Kurt Saxon
Most of the above listed books and many others, including reprints of military manuals) are available through the book dealers listed in Appendix A (Links). Be advised that original printings of military manuals are often available at gun shows for a lot less money than buying reprints via mail order.
5.) "What will be worth more in a collapse, gold or ammunition?"
When I wrote the novel, I described common caliber factory loaded ammunition as the ultimate barter item. It has a lot of advantages:
A.) Nearly everyone will want/need it, and even most of those that don't will still trade it.
B.) Extremely long shelf life (50+ years) if stored in military ammo cans.
C.) Relatively compact per dollar (unlike toilet paper.)
D.) You can't defend yourself near as well with a Krugerrand.
A proviso: Only buy designated barter items after you have your family logistics squared away. Furthermore, only buy precious metals after you have your retreat completely set up and fully stocked. Unless you are in the upper 10% of per capita income and have been stocking a retreat for several years, odds are that you shouldn't be buying any precious metals beyond some junk silver coins for barter.
6.) "I have some precious metal coins. How do I know what they are worth now, and what they will eventually be worth for barter purposes?"
Here are some basic numbers that you should keep tucked away, both on your hard disk and in hard copy form:
Silver dollar bags ($1,000 face value) contain approximately 765 ounces of silver
Thus, if the "spot" price is $5.20/oz., a $1,000 bag would be worth $3,978, wholesale. (Or think of it as 3.97 times the face value of any single coin.) Small quantity purchases (less than $10 face value) get the buyer the worst rate (currently roughly 5.5 times face value.) Large purchases (multiple $1,000 bags) allow the best rate--roughly only 4 or 5% over the melt value (Presently about 4.18 x face value on "junk" silver dollars.)
90% .50/.25/.10 bags ($1,000 face value) contain approx. 715 ounces of silver
40% half dollar bags ($1,000 face value) contain approx. 296 ounces of silver
Useful Coin and Bullion Information:
Grams to pennyweights, multiply grams by .643
Pennyweights to grams, multiply pennyweights by 1.555
Grams to troy ounces, multiply grams by 0.32
Troy ounces to grams, multiply troy ounces by 31.103
Pennyweights to troy ounces, divide pennyweights by 20
Troy ounces to pennyweights, multiply troy ounces by 20
Grains to grams, multiply grains by .0648
Grams to grains, multiply grams by 15.432
Pennyweights to grains, multiply pennyweights by 24
Avoirdupois ounces to troy ounces, multiply avoirdupois ounces by .912
Troy ounces to avoirdupois ounces, multiply troy ounces by 1.097
Avoirdupois ounces to grams, multiply avoirdupois ounces by 28.35
Grams to Avoirdupois ounces, multiply grams by .035
Gold Purity Standards (by Karat):
24 K = 99.9% fine Pure Gold. Too weak for jewelry, but ideal for industrial use
23.5K = 97.92% fine
23 K = 95.83% fine
22.5K = 93.75% fine
22 K = 92.67% fine Some coin gold, though not that of the U.S., is 22K
21.6K = 90.00% fine The approximate purity of U.S. gold coins
21.5K = 89.58% fine
21 K = 87.50% fine
20.5K = 85.42% fine
20 K = 83.33% fine
19.5K = 81.25% fine
19 K = 79.17% fine
18.5K = 77.08% fine
18 K = 75.00% fine The highest grade of gold normally used in jewelry.
17.5K = 72.92% fine
17 K = 70.83% fine
16.5K = 68.75% fine
16 K = 66.67% fine 1/3 copper. This grade is commonly used in dental work.
15.5K = 64.58% fine
15 K = 62.50% fine
14.5K = 60.42% fine
14 K = 58.33% fine
13.5K = 56.25% fine
13 K = 54.17% fine
12.5K = 52.08% fine
12 K = 50.00% fine Half gold, half copper. Used extensively in low priced jewelry.
(Will show brownish tinge in reaction to Nitric Acid.)
11.5K = 47.92% fine The percentage of copper now exceeds that of gold.
11 K = 45.83% fine
10.5K = 43.75% fine
10 K = 41.67% fine Used in some low-grade jewelry such as class rings. Shows a
marked reaction to Nitric Acid.
9.5 K = 39.58% fine
9 K = 37.50% fine Not much more than one-third gold.
Silver Purity Standards:
.9999 fine "Pure Silver"
.9584 fine "Britannia Silver" Often used in manufacturing.
.9250 fine "Sterling Silver" Normally stamped "Sterling" or ".925"
.9000 fine "Coin Silver" Some antique items are marked "Dollar" or
"D" or ".900" or "Coin Silver" to indicate they were made from melted coins.
"German Silver" is +/- 97% base metal and only +/- 3% silver, and thus has no bullion value.
Exactly what silver or gold coins will bring you in barter will depend on the times. Immediately after a collapse, coins may not be worth much. As law and order is gradually restored, they will probably be worth more and more. The bottom line is the old legal maxim: "The value of a thing is what that thing will bring."
7.) "Which method of preserving food do you prefer?"
Most families should do their own wet pack canning and dehydrating. We also buy commercially canned (nitrogen packed) foods, some freeze dried foods, and some MREs (retort packaged.) As I will describe, some methods are more appropriate than others for certain foods.
For detailed tables on food shelf life in various packaging, see the Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course.
Nitrogen Packing is good for roughly 8-to-10 years for most foods, much longer for whole grains. I don't recommend storing flour. It only keeps two or three years. Whole wheat stores for 20+ years with 80% plus of its nutritional value. Buy whole grains and a hand wheat grinder.
I recommend buying commercially nitrogen packed cans only for the items that don't store well otherwise (e.g. dehydrated peas, powdered milk, peanut butter powder, TVP, and perhaps corn meal. (With the latter, again, it is generally better to grind your own.)
Some items (honey, whole grains, beans, and rice) you are better off buying in bulk and canning or otherwise "containerizing" yourself. Canned nitrogen packing of these items is ridiculously expensive, and there is very little advantage in storage life. Pack bulk grains and legumes in 5 gallon plastic buckets by yourself, and you will save a lot of money! Note: Make sure that you use oxygen absorbing packets available from Walton's (see list of suppliers in Appendix F) or the dry ice displacement method to kill all the bugs/larvae before you seal up each bucket. Also, keep in mind that if you buy a "one year supply" package from Nitro-Pack or whoever, 60 to 70% of the items will fall into the category I just described. In the case of the wheat, you are paying two to five times as much for the product because of the packaging. (My last wheat purchase was at $11.00 per hundred-weight, but it now costs three times as much. Of course, I had to re-pack it all in five gallon buckets...)
8.) "If you were going to buy a dependable factory-made bolt action rifle, what model would it be? What scope would you use? How much will it cost?"
I would recommend the Winchester Model 70 DBM (Detachable Box Magazine.) Ideal chamberings are either .308 or .30-06. If you install a double set trigger and have it glass bedded, it should drive tacks. If they now offer a synthetic stock option for that model, I would recommend shelling out the extra 50 bucks. Kevlar/Graphite stocks are practically indestructible and hold zero better than wood stocks (since they can't absorb moisture and swell like wood.) I would also HIGHLY recommend sending the barreled action off to Hollands of Oregon and having the muzzle threaded for a muzzle brake. Make sure that you specify 1/2 x 28 threads. That way you can use a long prong type flash hider on it when times get rough. A M16 flash hider works fine for a .223, but for a .308 or `06 a longer flash hider such as a DTA brand three prong or a M14 type is needed.
I've had muzzle threading done to both my .308 and my .30-06 bolt action. My wife ("The Memsahib") had her Valmet Hunter (semi-auto .308) done the same way. The muzzle brake looks low-key in peace time (You can claim that you are recoil shy, and that is why you had it installed), but then you can switch to the flash hider in less than a minute when things get terminal. By the way, you should extensively test your rifle in advance in both configurations. Switching from a muzzle brake to a flash hider could change the point of impact. The total package should be under $1000, even with a good scope.
If you can afford it, I would recommend buying a Trijicon scope with tritium lit cross hairs. They are about $200 more than a standard scope. It's the next best thing to a Starlight scope for night shooting. My wife and I have Trijicons on five of our rifles. We love them.
9.) "Why completely strip down a car just to make sure it's reliable?"
My long-time friend Ken _______ (on whom the Ken Layton character was fashioned) is a full time mechanic. He rebuilt both my 1968 Bronco and my 1968 Mustang. He categorically states that re- building the engine alone is not sufficient, particularly on a 25+ year old car or truck. Removing body panels is only necessary if you are in a coastal zone or road slating area and are worried about rust. Say, for example, that you want to put an old Land Rover 88 or 109 in shape for survival use. What is the point of a rebuilt engine if you have an ancient radiator, old starter, old alternator, old transmission, old springs, old everything? When Ken rebuilds a rig, he usually replaces or rebuilds everything except the differentials and the wiring harness. Some things (such as suspensions) are even stronger than the original. (My Bronco was rebuilt with 8 shock absorbers, for example) He re-built my Bronco 8 years ago, and I had NO problems afterwards.
BTW, my main problem with modern cars and trucks is NOT their reliability, which has been greatly improving in the last 10 years. (Late 70s/early 80s US cars and trucks were dreadful!) My concern with new cars is the fact that they have electronic ignition systems, which would be vulnerable to EMP in a nuke scenario...
10.) "Why do the charactersin your novel need so many guns and so many types?"
I believe in having different guns for different purposes, plus extra guns (and ammo) for barter. I foresee the need for PLENTY of guns for self defense, for big game hunting, for upland bird hunting, for blasting garden pests, et cetera. Also, with governments getting so grabby, it is nice to have redundant guns available to replace any that are seized by the government in the name of "public safety." I'll concede that one character in particular, ("Dan Fong") was totally overloaded on guns, but that is because his real life equivalent on whom the character was drawn, (my friend Dave ______) is really this way.
11.) "Isn't mobility preferable to a fixed retreat in a collapse scenario?"
One of my other main "messages" for the novel was that traveling roads (by vehicle or perhaps even on foot) in this sort of scenario will be nigh-on suicidal. Hence Doug Carlton's "Roads are for people who like to get ambushed" comment. I did my best to show that the "rescue trip" was ill-advised. I also (by describing the two roadblock ambushes) did my best to show the stupidity of cross-country travel in unfamiliar territory at anything faster than a snail's pace.
Please keep in mind that a "hold until relieved" bunker mentality is to be avoided, too. There is indeed a time for mobility. That is why I showed what happened to the Templars retreat in sharp contrast with what happened to Todd Gray's retreat.
12.) "What items would you recommend stocking for barter purposes?"
A large variety are described in the Barter Faire chapter of the novel. My personal favorites are:
.22 long rifle ammo
1 oz. bottles of military rifle bore cleaner
waterproof dufflebags ("dry bags")
semi-waterproof matches (from military rations)
military web gear (lots of folks will *suddenly* need pistol belts, holsters, magazine pouches, et cetera.)
Pre-1965 silver dimes
1 gallon cans of kerosene
1 pound packages of salt (may be worth plenty in inland areas)
Rolls of olive drab parachute cord
Rolls of olive drab duct tape
Spools of monofilament fishing line
Rolls of 10 mil "Visqueen" sheet plastic (for replacing windows, etc.)
I also respect the opinion of one gentleman with whom I've corresponded, who recommended the following:
Strike anywhere matches.
Rope & string.
Candle wax and wicking
Lastly, any supplies necessary for operating a home-based business. Some that you might consider are: leather crafting, small appliance repair, gun repair, locksmithing, et cetera. Every family should have at least one home-based business (preferably two!) that they can depend on in the event of an economic collapse.
13.) "Where could I get any kind of basic military or tactical training?"
Want to get paid (poorly) to take some next summer? If you are an undergraduate or just starting grad school (and under age 30), make an appointment with the PMS (Professor of Military Science) with your campus Army ROTC Department. They will send you to a six week ROTC "Basic Camp" at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where you will get lots of training on small arms (including M16, grenades, and light machineguns), land navigation, first aid, NBC protection, patrolling, et cetera. It only pays about $700 (plus two free pairs of combat boots) for six weeks, but is sure beats paying big bucks to take training from one of the major shhoting schools.
The neat thing is that there is no contractual commitment to signing up for ROTC. In fact, they often recommend Basic Camp for folks who aren't sure if ROTC is for them. At the end of the six weeks they know for certain (one way or another) if they want to stay with the program. I attended the camp at Fort Knox in 1981. Aside from the hot/humid weather, it was a blast!
If you aren't in college, I'd recommend taking courses at Front Sight.
14.) "How long can MRE rations be stored?"
A friend of mine had a round of correspondence with the U.S. Army's Natick Laboratories in Massachusetts, on the potential storage life of MREs. The data that they sent him was surprising! Here is the gist of it:
Degrees F Months of Storage (Years)Note 1: Figures above are based on date of pack, rather than inspection date.
Note 2: MREs near the end of their shelf life are considered safe to eat if:
A.) They are palatable to the taste.
B.) They do not show any signs of spoilage (such as swelled pouches.)
C.) They have been stored at moderate temperatures. (70F or below.)
Note 3: Not enough data has yet been collected on storage below 60 degrees F. However projections are that the 130 month figure will be extended.
Note 4: Time and temperature have a cumulative effect. For example: storage at 100 degrees F for 11 months and then moved to 70F, you would lose 1/2 of the 70F storage life.
Note 4: Avoid fluctuating temperatures in and out of freezing level.
Jim's Comments on MREs: The above cited figures are for palatabilty, not nutritive value. You should plan to supplement with a good quality double encapsulated multi-vitamin (such as VitaVim brand), good quality B-complex tablets, and 500 MG vitamin C tablets. Vitamins should be stored in a cool, DARK place for best shelf life. (Many tablets are light sensitive.) I recommend rotating your vitamins every two years. The bottom line is that most of the fat, carbohydrates, and protein will still be available in MREs, even after many years of storage, but the vitamins won't. Plan accordingly.
Because MREs and other emergency foods are relatively high in bulk and low in fiber, I also highly recommend storing a bulk fiber supplement with each case of MREs. Don't overlook this precaution!
16.) "Why do your write your name with a comma in the middle? (James Wesley, Rawles). I've only seen commas before when people write their names backwards, with their surname first, like on rosters."
I use the comma to make a distinction between my Christian name, and my family name. My Christian name (James Wesley) is my property. My family name (Rawles) is the common property of all those that share the Rawles bloodline, and our wives.
17.) "Where can I get non-hybrid seed for gardening?"
My favorite source is The Ark Institute. They sell very high quality open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds. They even offer the service of assembling a seed kit specially tailored to your climate zone.
I've reprinted the following from Coping with Turbulent Times newsletter, c/o III, Box 4630G SFA Sta., Nacogdoches, Texas 75962. $2 for a sample copy. I highly recommend getting a subscription to this excellent newsletter!
From issue 1-5 copyright 1995:
Seed Catalogs. Now's the time to start planning your garden as we discussed last issue. In order to save seeds to plant the next year we must use non- hybrid or open pollinated seeds. Most commercial seed dealers have non-hybrid as well as hybrid seeds. Hybrids must be indicated in the name or description in the catalog so it is easy to avoid them. However, there are suppliers who specialize in open pollinated varieties. These often are seeking to preserve and develop varieties that are no longer being carried in the major catalogs. By ordering from them instead of the big commercial dealers, we encourage the preservation of a wide range of varieties that are particularly suited for home gardeners. Here are some of the specialized sources:
Bountiful Gardens c/o Ecology Action, 5798 Ridgewood Road Willits, Calif. 95490
Their stock includes herbs and cover crops as well as vegetables. The catalog has very good descriptions. They also carry books and other materials on the biointensive gardening method. Catalog free.
Garden City Seeds, 625 Phillips Missoula, Mont. 59802
Carries vegetable seeds for northern climates.
Native Seeds/SEARCH, 2509 N. Campbell Ave. #325 Tucson, Ariz. 85719
Specializes in rediscovering, propagat ing, and distributing seeds of plants native to the Southwest. Catalog $1.00.
Redwood City Seed Company, P.O.Box 361 Redwood City, Calif. 94064
Offers a variety of unusual vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs with interesting background on them. Catalog $1.00.
Seed Savers Exchange, R.R. 3, Box 239 Decorah, Iowa 52101
Not a seed company, but puts gardeners who save heirloom vegetable seeds in touch with each other. Send a long stamped addressed envelope for information. (And I think $1 now.)
Seeds Blum, Idaho City Stage, Boise, Idaho 83706
Their catalog has many heirlooms and unusual vegetables with good descriptions, suggestions for planting, gardening tips, and information on seed saving. It is arranged by botanical family to help seed savers avoid unintended crossing of varieties. Catalog costs $3.
Seeds of Change, P.O.Box 15700 Santa Fe, New Mex. 87506
Just received this one and it's impressive. A wide variety of vegetables and herbs, including some unusual ones. Good descriptions and instructions from pre-planting to harvest. Several helpful articles (also some too environmentalist-preachy for my taste).
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, P.O.Box 158 North Garden Virginia 22959
Another good one - their catalog has very detailed descriptions, planting instructions, etc. Mostly open pollinated heirloom varieties. Many varieties are especially for the climates of the Mid-Atlantic region, but some are more widely adapted. It also carries some books. Catalog costs $3.
Territorial Seed Co., P.O.Box 157 Cottage Grove, Ore. 97424
Carries seeds primarily for the Pacific Northwest and similar climates. Catalog is free.
18.) Everyone seems to be selling gas masks, most of them suspiciously cheap, and it's hard to tell what's good and what's junk. Some specific questions:
1. Do gas masks in fact offer viable defense against these agents?
2. Do you sell them and if so, at what cost?
Masks are better suited to discrete chemical warfare (CW) attacks than weeks-long biological warfare (BW) attacks. They just aren't comfortable to wear for extended periods. And the filters eventually get sodden with moisture from your breath. Depending on your level of activity, they have to be changed every 10 to 20 hours.
I don't sell masks. Your best bet is Bob Griswald at Ready Made Resources. See the link under Food Storage in Appendix A.
For airborne bacteria, what you really need is an Israeli-style "sealed room" with an air pump and HEPA filter for the entire contained space. A positive overpressure for the room will overcome any minor leaks. Masks are just for short term use for when you have to be outside your shelter, or en route to your shelter at the onset of an attack. If you get U.S. masks (such as M40 series, make sure that you get BW/CW type filters rather than training filters, which only work with riot control agents. I don't have any experience with the Israeli masks, but I've heard that they are good, and they are certainly priced right.
For anything that is spread by personal contact, what you need is ISOLATION out in the boonies and "trespassers will be shot on sight" warning signs.
Stock up on antibiotics NOW, and keep them refrigerated. In the event of a BW terrorist attack, pharmacies will sell out overnight. Then, perhaps for just a few more days, your only other possible source will be vet clinics or feed stores that carry vet supplies. (You should research local ones in advance, just in case...) Also, be sure to read my article: Protecting Your Family from an Influenza Pandemic.