Category Archives: Community

An Apology to the Next Generation – Guest Post

Can repairing the moral fiber of our nation lead to the survival of America?

An Apology to the Next Generation

by J.V.

In March, 2013, the always-reliable CNS News reported that, per the most recent data available (2008) by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the U.S., which brought the number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. to 110,197,000. To put this in perspective, those 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. By way of contrast, there were 1,524,092 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the 2007-2008 school year, per the National Center for Education Statistics (this is ratio of STIs to bachelor’s degrees of 13:1, or 6:1 in the 15 – 24 year old age group); meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the number of people employed in the country actually declined by 2.9 million during that year. The report noted the number of workers that year dropped approximately a million (146,273,000 to 143,369), while the average in the post WWII era is an employment increase of 1.3 million per  year. In other words, the number of STIs for the most recent data far outstrips both the university degrees and the average job increase the US has historically seen.   While gun crime is down (much to the chagrin of the gun grabbers) – apparently bad people would rather steal your money via computer than via a gunpoint robbery –  the US prison population is now the largest in the world, both in absolute terms, as well as a percentage of overall population, with approximately one out of every 30 U.S. citizens somewhere in the penal system, if you include probation and similar in the totals.  According to the New York Times, with 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners, with 2.3 million behind bars; totalitarian China, which has four times the population, has 1.6 million in jail. There are 751 people in prison per 100,000 in population. No other nation comes close.

In fact, according to The Daily Crux, there are more black people in prison as a result of the drug war today than there were slaves in 1850.

I needn’t continue the litany of woes – you already have the broad outline, most likely, before even reading this. This real issue is the etiology of the problem. And despite the liberal handwringers who come up with yet more control-freak solutions as a “resolution”  such as having the police stop 10 year old girls selling lemonaide on the street corner (yes, literally), we were told the solution over 200 years ago, by someone who founded the whole system, John Adams, who simply wrote “Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Of course, this analysis is too simplistic and common-sensical for the average, “sophisticated” MSNBC viewer. But of course, history is replete with cultures that experienced systemic failure, due to ignoring the obvious. The fall of Rome, or the defeat of Montezuma by Cortez, are just two examples that litter history.

The decline of the American republic (no, not democracy) has a lineage that goes back to the very beginning  – writers will discuss the Whiskey Rebellion, the First Bank of the United States soon after that, some of Lincoln’s abuses, some wars of expansion, etc.,  but special un-merit goes to the 20th Century, with such un-luminaries as Woodrow Wilson and FDR. However, superceding them all, the top vote-getter for the Apollyon Award (this word, from the Greek Ἀπολλύων, meaning “the destroyer”) has to clearly be my own generation, the Saul Alinsky worshipping Baby Boomers – those who venerate safety over liberty, money over morals, and expedience over ethics.  It is our generation that, as CS Lewis put it, made “… men (and now boys) without chests (hearts, morals) and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate, then bid the geldings be fruitful.”  My Boomer generation is the one that maintains there are no absolutes, and then – in the words of Captain Louis Renault to Rick Blaine in the movie Casablanca –  they are “…shocked – SHOCKED – to find that gambling is going on in here.”

Is it any wonder that my generation is the generation where Jon Corzine “lost” $1.6 billion dollars? Where a Bernie Madoff could operate, undetected, for years? Where people simply wink at the utter scam/tragedy of Fast and Furious or BenghaziGate?

The declension in our society has – in my mind at least – a very specific time and date: Specifically, Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall show when he was first running for president – you can watch it here:

Lost to antiquity now, but this – for lack of a better word, antic – was a major turning point in his campaign at the time.  And here is the key point: Why in tarnation would people vote for someone just because he was (and I use this word sardonically) “groovy?”  That is a reason to vote for someone as the leader of a country?  But perhaps more importantly, the Bill Clinton era, when the Baby Boomers were in their prime, exemplifies the exact period when the very common retort to all the corruption in the Clinton administration was “ethics don’t matter anymore.”  I remember this phrase being repeated by leftists like a yogic mantra. And in fact, perhaps it was. You are now seeing the result of why ethics do, in fact, matter.

As a matter of fact, the answer to “ethics don’t matter anymore” is yes, they do (as opposed to the polar opposite, “Yes we can.”) This is not to minimize the very real failings of the first President Bush. That isn’t the point. The point is that my generation had no problems voting the future direction of their country based primarily on image. I am clearly not saying that image was not a factor in other elections; I am saying there was, in my observation, a sea change in the very basis whereby society conducted itself – and specifically, this period was where ethics became something just short of a parlour joke that the intellectual snobs (the same ones now living in gated communities) could sneer at.  I doubt George Washington could have won with the rabble you see on this YouTube video of the Arsenio Hall show. The sad fact is that mine is the same generation that said “It’s only sex” about Monica Lewinsky, when in fact it was about perjury by the highest lawgiver in the land. My generation is the one that said “It’s the economy, stupid,” when in fact the economy – as we are finding out now – is something that has at its very core trust (and if you don’t believe that, just go ask some Cypriot who had his bank savings “confiscated,” or perhaps someone who had their saving “re-hypothecated” by the Jon Corzine run MF Global….or perhaps you could go talk to someone who had their life savings evaporated by Enron’s lead financial whiz, Jeffery Skilling, whom Eric Holder is now attempting to let out of prison early). The rule of law, which was horribly damaged during the Clinton presidency, is the very basis on which we are able to conduct business.  As a matter of fact, the Baby Boomer generation, with their relative ethics, their self-absorption, their me-firstism, has – if I may put it graphically – urinated in the very well they – and the succeeding generations – have to drink out of.

The issue is not lack of morals, or the red herring of hypocrisy. I struggle myself, as do you – and every other human being on the planet. Rather, the real issue is that my generation refuses to admit that there is even a rational basis for ethics at all. Rather than admit we are – dare I even say it? – sinful (maybe I had better use “imperfect” than use such a linguistically anachronistic term), my generation has made an art of denying there even exists a yardstick by which to measure. We are indeed a generation that goes all-in for situational ethics (except, of course, for those occasions when it affects my pocketbook!) CS Lewis covered this whole issue admirably in his short book, The Abolition of Man, but unfortunately, this book today is little read, though that needn’t be true for you.

In sum, this is my apology to the next generation. It will no doubt be lost down the digital drain in which our culture is swirling.  It is my corporate admission that my generation, above all others perhaps, has illustrated exactly what the Bible warned about, “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature,” (Galations 6:8 in the perhaps soon-to-be-banned-as-hate-literature New Testament ), with the predictable result, as the Old Testament warned, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up ( Hosea 8:7).

Metanoia (you’ll have to look that word up, but I’ll help – see the definition here) is possible for you, the next generation. Don’t let it slip by – the hour is late.

Guest Post: Selfishness and Preparedness

A big thank you to J. Vanne for writing this post.

Selfishness and Preparedness

by J. Vanne

Picture Credit:

Recently, a small firestorm was ignited by Valerie Lucus-McEwen, a government Emergency Management employee,  who had the temerity to accuse preparedness types of “selfishness.” While your immediate reaction may be – as mine certainly was – “Are people really and truly this thoughtless?” – this question does deserve a proper answer, particularly as those who are easily influenced by the leftist media, or who believe the state really and actually is the omniscient, omnipotent savior of  our personal and corporate lives, are actually asking this question. So, let’s examine the issue:

First, many preparedness types have, as part of their goal, the intent of helping neighbors and family who were unable – or unwilling – to prepare. In my own case, part of what I have in mind is assisting a large group of mentally retarded and Down’s syndrome children that my church has taken under its wing. (A group the state would do no more than “warehouse” if it were under their direction!). Not all preppers feel this way, but I would bet my bottom can of stored tuna fish there is an exceedingly large percentage of preparedness types who feel similarly.

One significant point of observation – that has significant ramifications relative to preparedness – is that, in my experience, the non-prepper type is generally of a socialist orientation. Of course, as most of you know, this approach was tried – and found wanting – all the way back in the Pilgrim era. Many of you are aware that when the Pilgrims first arrived, they worked out of a communal system. The result was starvation and death. As this approach did not work, they then “privatized” their system – and of course flourished. You can easily research this history yourself, but if one has any experience with human nature, it is immediately apparent why this didn’t – and has never in history – worked. The issue is that human nature is imperfect and selfish, just as Adam Smith wrote about in the Wealth of Nations. A simple recognition of this basic aspect of human nature – and finding a way to work with this reality, rather than against it, provides the most good for the largest number of people – exactly as Smith wrote, and exactly as history has shown for anyone who has eyes to see. To do otherwise impoverishes people, and in times of crisis, will lead to otherwise avoidable deaths. Working with this reality of human nature, rather than against it, has brought the greatest good for people overall in both good periods of history, as well as difficult. And for those of you with Judeo-Christian worldviews, this issue is why Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called Communism “a Christian heresy” – viz., the Communist assumptions about human nature were completely off-base. Long story short, the question is: Is man perfectible (particularly with the best and brightest, such as Hilary, George Soros, Al Gore and Obama telling – nay, forcing – us what to do!), or are all men fallible, and the dictum of Lord Acton correct that absolute power corrupts absolutely correct. There is an unbridgeable divide between these two assumptions, and this divide makes itself manifest in the Hamlet-like “to prep or not to prep” debate.

The Fleet Street Letter put this matter perspicaciously a number of years ago, and is worth quoting at length:

There are two major traditions in Western political thought. The first is Aristotelian, logical, rational, centrist, mechanistic. You concentrate power and truth in the centre and apply it outward, shaping the world according to plan. This was the guiding principle of the Roman Empire. It evolved into the Holy Roman Empire and the Church of Rome. Except for Switzerland, it has dominated politics on the continent ever since. Most recently, it has morphed into the European Union. The principle is simple – smart people can figure out how to run things, and should be allowed to do so. This was the idea behind Hillary Clinton’s health care task force (and now ObamaCare), as well as Japan, Inc. and even Adolph Hitler’s National Socialist Germany. It has animated nearly every politician (each one  of whom, as Garrison Keilor notes about Lake Woebegone children, are above average) in this century. But there is another tradition that is much less well understood. It is the tradition of the Roman Republic… of English common law… of Adam Smith and Emmanuel Kant… of Austrian School economists such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek and of pre-Rooseveltian American. It is organic, rather than mechanistic – the tradition of tradition, based on the recognition that people, no matter how smart, cannot replace thousands of years of accumulated experience. Experience is embodied in the evolved systems of values, customs, rules and traditions that people use to order and give meaning to their lives. A free market and a free society allow people to express these preferences, as well as allowing the process of social and civil evolution to continue. This tradition, in other words, is neither liberal nor conservative in the modern sense, but anti-political. Indeed, it is often seen as “anti-intellectual” because it denies the authority of intellectuals to tell the rest of us what to do (through the political process).

Perhaps you, like I do, remember the “best and the brightest” who led the Vietnam war? How did that one work out? Or, if that news is too stale, perhaps you care to visit present day Detroit – which was the first city to adopt the socialist “Model Cities Program” in under Mayor Coleman Young a number of decades ago. Similarly, Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” was a quasi- socialist endeavour, which was intended to end poverty. You can judge for yourself what all those $9 trillion dollars spent on this “war” resulted in (hint: we now have just under 48 million on food stamps, up from 32 million when Obama took office, and with more poverty than ever).

The basic misunderstanding is, as Frederic Bastiat wrote in The Law,

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

There is yet another misunderstanding to clear up for those of Christian persuasion, as exemplified in the Book of Acts, 2:24, in the New Testament, which states about the early believers “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common.”  Dr. Jay Richards addresses this superbly in his book Money, Greed andf God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem by simply noting that the early Christians held things in common privately, voluntarily and without compulsion. This is light years away from the state forcing sharing, and under compulsion.

And one more important observation, that is applicable to the prepping community: When I donate my own money at present, I watch like a hawk where it is going, and what it is doing. When my money goes for taxes to “help” others –  for the few dollars that actually make it past the money sucking gauntlet of bureaucrats –  how much actually reaches its destination? Some research shows as little as 10% or so. As the saying goes, it is much better to teach someone to fish, rather than just gives them a fish for a day. And I can do a thousand times more, with a million times more love, for 1% of the money, that the government could ever dream of doing, if I were left with my own money to donate as I wish. Similarly, preparedness is most optimally left to the individual, not the state. I am clearly not saying there is no place at all for the state to assist. However, it should be ancillary and very secondary in function. To do otherwise is to set expectations that can only be dashed – exactly as was seen during hurricanes Katrina or Sandy.

So, how does this relate to preparedness with potential future catastrophic disasters?  In a collapse – whether it be Argentinian/Greek/Zimbabwe style, or EMP, or a global war, compassion must be personal and voluntary. Not only is it more effective, it is more ethical. And it is more ethical because it is more caring, more direct, and more efficient  In a collapse, there should be a voluntary exchange, and for those that are not prepared, there should be some type of assistance rendered by the one who has not prepared (it could be cooking, gardening; perhaps doing guard duty or carpentry). Where this is not possible, simple humanity and compassion should – and undoubtedly will be – the hallmark of many preppers.

In a serious collapse, there may well be a need to choose whom one would help, or not, but that is a decision that will be very personal. For myself – in contrast to the government representatives who so condescendingly accuse preppers such myself of being self-centred, I will indeed (as noted above) look to help the weak and helpless. You may object by saying  “A lot of good that will do – we should, as per people like Dr. Peter Singer, just let the weak die.” To which I reply “A society that only values those of utility is not a society worth keeping – and in fact, is precisely the type of society – with its abortions, euthanasia, etc. – that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Another point: I would be remiss not to mention in the context of this article is the very self-apparent fact that for every person who is prepared, that is one less mouth to feed in a real crisis. This needn’t be addressed further, as it is patently obvious, but is yet another reality that the debunkers always seem, somehow, to neglect to address, though it is staring them right in the face.  The regular silence by these debunkers is a stark testimony to what is either a lack of critical thinking, or a purposeful lack of honesty is examining the relative merits of preparedness.

God – or for the non-believer, nature herself – has written self-preservation into our very DNA.  Certainly, from a Judeo Christian perspective, each individual person has the right to self-preservation. The Bible is replete with laws allowing for self-defense in the Old Testament, and even in the New Testament – while unequivocally admonishing believers to be irenic and forgiving, also quotes Christ telling the disciples, for example in Luke 22:36, in preparation for when He is gone, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” There are historically several approaches to defense in the Bible – complete pacifism, the use of “police” force, and just war, but that is beyond the scope of this paper. Suffice to say, self-defense is well within the historical understanding of options for Christians in a violent world, although admittedly this can be a difficult issue to navigate, and there is a range of conclusions which sensible people can come to within the pale of faith. Similarly, I extend this self-defense conception into that of realm of preparedness. I think the extension is fair and reasonable, about which reasonable people can disagree in some areas.

Also, relative to preparedness and faith, clearly Proverbs 27:12 explicitly states  – and which passage many preparedness types are familiar with – A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”  In a world where well-regarded individuals like Dr. Lawrence Kotlikoff of Boston University state the total amount of unfunded liabilities – federal, state, municipal and corporate – are now a staggering $222 trillion, where the amount of derivatives (which Warren Buffet famously once called “financial weapons of mass destruction”) world-wide makes that amount look like a molehill, in a nation where people like Jon Corzine can “lose” $1.6 billion and simply walk away without a day in jail, where lives are lost during Fast and Furious and people just shrug their shoulders, or a in nation about which Billy Graham’s wife Ruth once said “If God doesn’t’ judge America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah,” is preparedness unwise?  Leftists may object, and that is their prerogative. However, if they wish not to prepare, then perhaps they ought to take to their own hearts and written commentary the one thing they forcefully invoke for everyone else in every other situation – tolerance. What business of theirs is it?

With all due respect to them, why is it our non-prepper friends, as exemplified by the written commentary of Ms. Lucus-McEwen noted above, why cannot they practice what they presumably preach about tolerance? Why must people like this actively vilify those with whom they disagree? (But of course, the answer is obvious – just as in the days of Imperial Rome, everyone but everyone must bow to the all-encompassing supremacy of the state. To do otherwise means crucifixion – 2,000 years ago, this was in the arena; today, it is the high tech lynching of a Clarence Thomas, the fashion execution of a Sarah Palin, or the just the “mere” thuggery against those of us who beg to disagree with big government by modern day Kristalnacht Alinsky ruffians.

The whole area of faith and preparedness admittedly needs much further and deeper exegesis – but hopefully this scratches the surface of the subject, and opens up additional conversation.

But even for the non-believer, one’s body is wired for self-preservation. And if nature is all that exists, logically one has no basis to “backtalk against one’s DNA,” which has written self-preservation into the body. From either a biblical or non-biblical perspective, self-preservation is an intrinsic “good.”  Why should preppers then be castigated?

One final – and extremely telling – point about “selfish preppers.” The woman who wrote this disparagingly of preppers was a government worker. This means she makes a good living off of private sector people such as myself. As a matter of fact, I cannot currently make adequate preparations for my family and I because I have to provide a “princessly” salary and retirement package for her (the average government worker may make a third more in salary than a private sector worker, and retires much, much earlier). But here is the kicker: If there is a disaster – it will mostly likely brought about by yet another miscalculation by the self-proclaimed “best and brightest,” (think Vietnam, the internet bubble, Long Term Capital Management, Jon Corzine, the housing bust, etc.). Do you know where these “important” people will go? To continuity of government shelters! In other words, if there is a miscalculation, and a nuclear war starts, or an EMP or biological attack starts, they are all set to retreat to specially built giant, lavishly equipped caverns – while you and I fend for ourselves, due to  a mess of their creation!  Any word from our “preppers are selfish” commentariat on that? Why not?. If nothing else in this article sinks home to you, this should make crystal clear the hypocrisy behind the prepper criticism. The truth is, just as we see with today’s cronyism in high places, as George Orwell so aptly noted, “In the socialist workers’ paradise, we’ll all be equal… only some of us (usually them!) will be ‘more equal’ than the others.” Just ask Nancy Pelosi why her Congress exempted themselves, their cronies and their districts from ObamaCare if you don’t believe that.

In sum, I prepare the same reason my all my forebears did each fall: I don’t know what the winter (of this this case, the future) will bring. While for believers, God has promised to be with us and sustain us, as the old saying goes, we can’t ask God to direct our steps if we are unwilling to move our feet.  I trust, and my feet move.

If you would like to write a guest post for The Prepared Ninja,


A Serious Gated Community!

Nothing says, “Parking Permit Required!” like two giant stone walls with gates around your neighborhood. This is exactly what is planned though for The Citadel, a concept community conceived by patriots and financed by the III Arms Company. Current plans have the community slated to be built in the mountains of Idaho or somewhere else in the region that James Wesley Rawles has dubbed, The American Redoubt. Stemming from an idea bounced around the liberty focused blogosphere in 2012, this community has quickly come to fruition with 20 acres already purchased in Benewah County, Idaho to house the relocated headquarters and factory of the III Arms Company.

A concept sketch of The Citadel community.

For many, this scenario makes a lot of sense while others are concerned that this type of community creates a giant target for the government. I see both sides of the argument but think that The Citadel will catch on. Especially if the federal government continues to move in the direction of current travel. While such communities may not be a perfect solution, at least there are groups looking for a solution. Below are some of the details about The Citadel…

What can I expect to find within the walls of The Citadel community?

The Citadel expects to offer the following features:

  • III Arms Factory
  • Curtain Walls & Towers, Main Gate
  • John Parker Town Green
  • Town Hall
  • Community Armory
  • Citadel Firearms Museum
  • Town Center – Retail/Commercial
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Medical Center
  • Retirement Facility
  • Citadel Schools/Boarding School
  • Library
  • Tourist Visitor Center
  • Houses/Townhomes/Condos
  • Canals/Lake/Ponds
  • Firearms/Archery Ranges
  • Sports Fields
  • Hotel
  • III Bank
  • Churches
  • Power/Biomass/Water Plant
  • Underground Shelter
  • Post Office
  • Fire House
  • Stockade/Jail
  • Grounds Building
  • Walking Trails
  • Orchards/Gardens/Parks
  • Outdoor Pavilions/Amphitheatre
  • Command & Control Center
  • Media Center
  • Airstrip/Helipad
  • Shuttle System/Parking Center

Who can live in this community?

Anyone who is willing to agree to the Patriot Agreement as outlined by the community’s organizers. In addition, the concept of the Citadel holds dear to the idea of Rightful Liberty, allowing for free practices without limit of race or religion.

How does this idea of Patriot communal living work?

Each home will be a lifetime lease instead of owned as personal property. The Citadel spells it out as a Patriot Disneyland:

One of the primary reasons for a lease paradigm versus private property inside the walls is our desire to make the community for Patriots only.

The model will be similar in many ways to that of Disneyland. It is walled, gated, private property with controlled access. People pay to enter and agree to the rules because they see value in doing so. It is all based on a voluntary agreement between the owners of the property and those who want to come inside. Millions of people visit Disneyland and interact peacefully. It’s exceptionally rare to hear of any serious problems. The key is that those people want to be there and understand what is expected of them. Surprisingly similar to what we are doing.

According to the Citadel website, each home will include:

Every Citadel home will come with a 2,500 gallon water tank, a one year supply of food for either 1 or 2 adults, 1 or 2 AR15-variant rifles and 1,000 rounds of ammunition per rifle, a generator, a composting toilet, a vault, a protective Safe Room.

The threats that the Citadel will be designed to combat are:

The Citadel is primarily designed to defend against a grid-down, economic collapse scenario. When most people ask this question they are thinking in terms of defending against violent action but there are other aspects to defending ourselves. Self-sufficiency in terms of food, water and energy are also a form of defense against a collapse scenario, so these are a major part of our plan.

The Citadel is not designed to withstand any direct .Mil or .Gov attack. Nor is the Citadel, in any manner, attempting to provoke any government entity.

What does living in The Citadel community cost?

According to the official Citadel Housing Cost Calculator, housing will run anywhere from $347 for a 600 square foot house on one acre outside of the walls all the way up to $6,998 for a 10,000 square foot house on one acre inside the walls. There are other options available such as a 300 square foot emergency micro-suite inside the walls for an additional cost of $250 a month.

The folks of the Citadel and III Arms Company have also come up with an answer for why this project will succeed while other similar concepts have failed previously:

Why Do You Think You Will Succeed Where Others Have Failed?

An effort such as this can have philosophical, social, economic, political and religious aspects that must be considered. Previous attempts have either ignored one or more of those aspects or not understood the consequences of the decisions that were made that affect them.

Our effort is based on Rightful Liberty which, as a live-and-let-live philosophy, makes us good neighbors. We feel no need to convert anyone to our way of thinking or try to control anyone else’s behavior, except to the extent needed to defend our Rightful Liberty. We have a base economic engine for the Citadel in the form of the III Arms Company that should provide initial financial support. We have the Patriot Agreement, a contract that clearly spells out our expectations of one another. We believe in the rule of law and have no interest in creating conflict with anyone. We will be an open community that encourages visitors and tourists. Most importantly, our efforts are based on voluntary action and voluntary association.

These factors should let us build a physical and social structure that will let us pursue our goal of a sustainable and defensible living space without the usual negative reactions that efforts like this often create.

It will be interesting to see how this Patriot community develops…

If you think living among fellow Patriots in the Citadel is for you, apply here.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that your holiday is filled with happiness, fun, food, and memories. 2012 has been a remarkable year with no shortage of things to complain about, but try to recall the good things that have come along as well. God bless you all on this day of giving thanks for all that we have been blessed with!

Rain Or Knee Pain? Predict The Weather!

A key driver of activity in life is weather. A baseball game, a military mission, the space shuttle launch, and school days throughout the country are all things that are impacted both negatively and positively every year by different weather factors. If there were to be a break down in communications from an EMP or some other catastrophic event that prevented weather forecasts from being disseminated to the general public, weather prediction skills will become invaluable. So what are some of the things to look for when trying to predict what the weather has in store? Clouds, geographical features, barometric pressure, animal behaviors, and folklore/traditional sayings can all be reliable guidelines to use to predict the weather in the absence of professional meteorological outlooks.


Clouds can be a good indicator of what the weather may be doing. If you can learn to identify the different types of clouds, you may be able to accurately predict specific types of weather that may be rolling your way soon. Different categories of clouds include:

AGL = Above Ground Level

Low Clouds (Under 6,500 Feet of Altitude)

Cumulus – Meaning heap in Latin, these clouds are typically the easiest to identify and are usually associated with fair weather but cumulus clouds are known to produce precipitation if they are very tall. If these clouds get bunched and large, it can result in heavy showers particularly when the weather is warm.

Stratus – The Latin word for blanket or layer, stratus clouds are low hanging clouds that are known for covering the entire sky like a blanket. Stratus clouds often produce rain and drizzle. Usually if they lift quickly in the morning it indicates that a decent day of weather is ahead.

Nimbostratus – These clouds are classified by the dark sheets that blot out the sun and are usually followed by extended precipitation (several hours) within a couple of hours.

Stratocumulus – Clouds that may produce light precipitation but usually dissipate by the end of the day and are identified by the low, rolling mass of thin, lumpy white to grey clouds that may cover the entire sky. 

Middle Clouds (6,500 to 20,000 Feet of Altitude)

Altocumulus – These clouds are patterned white to grey clouds that often appear in waves or are rippled and are larger than cirrocumulus clouds. Altocumulus are considered to be fair weather clouds and usually occur after storms.

Altostratus – Formless grey to bluish clouds, they will form a thin veil over the sun and moon. If they gradually darken and blot out the sun or moon, it is a sign that precipitation is on the way.

High Clouds (Over 20,000 Feet of Altitude)

Cirrus – Meaning curl in Latin, cirrus clouds reside high in the atmosphere in the very cold air because these clouds are made of ice crystals. Cirrus clouds are usually associated with fair weather but occasionally may also be an indicator that storms may be on their way.

Cirrocumulus – Clouds that appear in layers that look like either fish scales or rippled sand. Sometimes cirrocumulus also appear to look like rippled surface water on a pond or lake. These clouds are considered a sign of good weather and often clear out to blue sky.

Cirrostratus – These clouds are composed of ice particles and form a halo around the sun. When a sky filled with cirrus clouds darkens and the clouds turn to cirrostratus it is likely a sign of rain or snow to come depending on the temperature.

Towering Clouds (Up To 60,000 Feet of Altitude)

Swelling Cumulus – These flat-bottomed clouds with growing, cauliflower-like towers often form in the middle of the day and precede cumulonimbus clouds.

Cumulonimbus – Towering storm clouds that produce hail, thunder, strong winds, sleet, rain, lightning, and tornadoes. These clouds are characterized by a top that is often shaped like an anvil. If these clouds form early in the day it can mean that there are greater chances of severe weather.

Geographical Impact on Weather

  • Coastal regions typically have more moderate temperatures that inland regions, meaning that they generally are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • The air above urban areas is often warmer than in less developed/lower population dense areas. This can sometimes result in an artificial low pressure system.
  • Hilly regions generally have temperature shifts where warm air will move uphill during the day and downhill at night.
Barometric Pressure
  • The Nose Knows – The strength of scents often increase or decrease along with changes in barometric pressure. Plants will release their waste products in a low pressure atmosphere which generates a compost-like smell, indicating upcoming precipitation. Swamp gasses (marked by their unpleasant smells) are also released just before a storm as a result of low pressure in the atmosphere. The scents of some flowers are also very strong just before a rain.
  • The air bubbles in your coffee cup will ring to the outside of your cup when a low pressure system sets in. This is an indicator that rain is on the way.
  • Smoke from the campfire indicates approximate barometric pressure. If the smoke from the campfire hangs low to the ground (an indicator of low barometric pressure) than rain is likely to fall soon. If smoke from the campfire rises high (an indicator of high barometric pressure) then good weather is in the future.
  • While there is no scientific reasoning that I could find, it has been shown through various studies that people who suffer from joint and muscle pain can sense (usually through pain) when the barometric pressure is dropping. This is a sign of precipitation.
Animal Behaviors
  • Crickets can help you determine the temperature! Count the number of cricket chirps you hear in fourteen seconds and then add 40 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit. Example: 40 Chirps + 40 = 80 Degrees F / To determine the temperature in Celsius, count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by three, then add four to get the temperature.
  • Many animals ears are sensitive to low pressure systems. Wolves and dogs will become nervous before a storm and emit whines or howl-like sounds.
  • Seagulls and geese won’t often fly just prior to a storm. The thinner air associated with low pressure systems makes it harder for these birds to get airborne. Seagulls also will not fly typically fly at the coast if a storm is coming.
  • Birds flying high in the sky indicate fair weather (high pressure system).
  • Cows tend to group together when poor weather is on the way and they will typically lie down before a thunderstorm.
  • Ants will steepen the sides of their hills just before it rains.
Folklore/Traditional Sayings
  • “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morn, sailor’s take warn.” – A red sky at night during sunset (when looking toward the West) indicates a high pressure system with dry air that has stirred dust particles into the air which causes the sky to appear red. Typically the jet stream and prevailing front movements go from West to East meaning that the dry weather is headed toward you. A red sky in the morning (in the East with the rising sun) means that the dry air has already moved past you and a low pressure system is behind it (moving your way) bringing moisture with it.
  • “Long notice, expect it to last. Short notice, expect it to pass.” – If clouds take several days to build, extended rain is likely in the cards. If a storm system builds quickly, it is likely to dissipate quickly as well.
  • “Clear moon, frost soon.” – If the night sky is clear enough to see the moon as a result of no cloud cover, heat will be allowed to escape and the temperature could drop enough for frost to form in the morning.
Other Indicators
  • Lightning strike distance can be estimated by counting the number of seconds between the sight of the lightning and the sound of the thunder and then divide this number by five. This will give you the distance in miles that you are from the lightning strike. To determine the distance in kilometers, the process is the same except you divide the number of seconds by three instead of five.
  • Check the grass at sunrise. Dry grass at sunrise indicates clouds and/or strong breezes which can mean rain. Dew on the grass means that it probably won’t rain that day. (If it rained the night before, this method will not be reliable.)
  • Cloud cover on a Winter night translates to warmer weather because the cloud cover prevents heat radiation that would ordinarily occur and lower the temperature on a clear night.
  • The low cloud cover that is typically present right before rainfall also results in louder and more vibrant sounds as they are reflected and amplified off of the low clouds.
  • Wind Direction – Winds blowing from the East indicate an approaching storm front where winds out of the West generally indicate good weather. Strong winds from any direction indicate high pressure difference which can mean a possible storm front approaching.
  • If the sharp points on a half-moon are not clear, rain may be on the way (haze/low clouds distort images).
  • Humidity is most often felt when it is high but indicators of high humidity include frizzy hair, curled leaves on oak and maple trees, swollen wood doors, and salt in the shaker that is clumped together.
*Most of the weather prediction methods in this post are only tested/known/suspected to be effective in North America.
If there is anything that I missed or if there is something that you would like to add, please leave a comment in the comments section.
Sources for this post include: The United States Search and Rescue Task Force, The Happy Camper by Kevin Callan, Camping’s Top Secrets (2nd Ed.) by Cliff Jacobsen, and the University of Hawaii

DISCLAIMER: Nothing contained here should be taken as a replacement for professional meteorological weather prediction and should be done at your own risk. Predicting the weather for yourself is not an exact science and should be done for entertainment and the end of the world purposes only. The Prepared Ninja, its writers, staff, and affiliates strictly deny any endorsement of use of the methods outlined above.