issue 105 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #105

Survival kit suggestions

I read with interest Jeff Yago’s article (Issue #104, page 15) on building a survival pack for a vehicle. The only suggestion I would make is in regard to the storage and transport of emergency drinking water. The gallon jugs in which water is sold are pretty flimsy. Just driving home from market, some of my jugs will leak. If dropped, the light plastic jugs will pop their caps and “adios aqua.” I have found a way to cheaply handle long term transport of water.

I use empty plastic jugs that laundry bleach comes in. They are of stouter plastic and have screw caps. The bleach they hold is pretty nasty stuff so the jugs are built to take a bit of stress. Securing the jugs in the rear of the vehicle with a light bungy cord will prevent their tumbling and rolling around. Works good.

On other survival items, there are cheaper ways to go. I can buy a fancy short roll of toilet paper in a plastic container for 8 bucks. What I do is take a mostly depleted roll from the bathroom, press it sort of flat and drop it in a baggy… Carry several in case one gets wet. Also makes excellent tinder for starting fires.

Fires. Matches work good, but a couple of 99 cent disposable lighters work forever. Just don’t lay them on the dash board on a sunny desert day. My survival food is hyper-cheap and long-term. I carry a couple of boxes of cheap, unappetizing granola bars. They’re full of sugar and keep forever. I get the worst tasting I can find so I won’t consume them for recreational eating.

That about does it except for a couple of pair of reading glasses from the 99 cent store. Oh, yeah, my first aid kit consists of a pair of tweezers, a short roll of duct tape, and a few kotex pads. A pack of utility knife blades for a buck and that does it.

Living in the desert, I have to remind myself each fall to toss a coat in the back of my rig. Even out here it can get a wee cold… Oh, and don’t forget a little diarrhea medicine. And if serious about first aid, carry Vicodin; aspirin encourages bleeding. A little preparedness changes a disaster to an inconvenience…

Mike Dougherty
Baker, California

…Jeffrey has the right idea. His kit design is for one person and not for a family of four. First thing put the medical supplies in a first aid kit. Upgrade the six pack cooler to a bigger one"20x11x10 size. More room for food and cooking gear. …I change a little with Jeffrey’s viewpoint on his choice of food items. You have to think about your family and lifestyle. In a real situation, with a panicky woman and two screaming kids. Trying to feed them strange food in a car or truck is really hard. So it’s a good idea for looking at comfort foods: pork and beans, mac and cheese, chili, soups, ravioli, etc. If you have little ones also pack a pouch of powdered milk.

I hunt and fish and I carry fishing gear and something of 22. cal weapon with a box of 50 rounds. So I make sure to carry cooking oil in a small plastic soda bottle (but don’t use plastic water bottles, because of the thin walls). And a bag of pre-mixed pancake flour, about 3 cups worth. Coat and fry fish or rabbit. Make pancakes, stick bread, or bannock. My kit is a little more advanced than Jeffrey’s and I tell people to take a three-day car trip and live in the car to test the kit. Keep the stuff that works, throw out those that don’t and replace them with items that work.

I field tested my kit over 20 years in 12 states. So I know little tricks. An empty Nagene bottle to shake up drinks. If your car has a working cigarette lighter plug, get an immersion heater or car boiler for quick hot water. Run the engine for a few minutes to drive the heater unit in the cup. This will boil water fast. This is great during a snowstorm or a heavy rain. When you can’t use the Sterno"never use Sterno in the car or cab of the truck! To keep water hot, carry a small thermos. After a boil, pour the hot water into it for later. If possible, please have your readers write letters to Magic Stove (Canada) or Sterno (USA) to bring back the two-burner sheet metal stove for the 8-oz. cans. …It’s a pain to cook something and make coffee at the same time.

Alan N. Satow
Stockton, California

A joke is a joke

Response to a letter from Ms. Tasha-Rose Mirick (Issue No. 104, pg. 79)

Dear Ms. Mirick,

I recently read your letter to the editor of BHM in the Mar/April 07 issue. I, like you, consider myself a libertarian, humanitarian, earth-loving heathen. And I, like you, have occasionally found myself offended by jokes, articles, and points-of-view expressed in BHM.

However, I would suggest to you that you are entirely missing the point of a publication like BHM. One of the greatest things about it is that it allows folks to express their true minds without worrying about being politically correct, government/public censorship, etc. etc. You must realize and face the fact that many people will not agree with you on many issues, even when they share the same fundamental values and beliefs.

Also, I would invite you to, for Goodness’ sake, lighten up! Yes, I too believe that joking about the terrible treatment of Native Americans (and Irish, and Muslims, and everyone else) can be in bad taste"but that ‘being in bad taste’ is often what makes a joke a joke. When we can all laugh at ourselves"and this includes laughing at our mistakes (even when they were terrible, tragic mistakes) we will find that we all have an easier time getting along with one another. Humor is one of the best methods we have for setting a stage for intelligent discourse; you will never change someone’s mind through pleading, threats, or violence, but a good joke can lighten a situation and allow people to see a different point of view in a non-threatening manner. I hope you will not cancel your subscription to BHM. I think that you will often find yourself offended by what is printed in it; but hopefully you can learn to take the good advice and information BHM contains and live-and-let-live the rest. I think you will find it is well worth it. You may even have a laugh or two!

Cara Ebner
Grand Forks, North Dakota

I’ve been a subscriber for a few years now and love the magazine, just a quick note. Thank you for your honest response to the lady offended by the Irreverent Joke about the Cowboys and Muslims. It seems people in this country walk around looking for things to be offended by. They are all walking Raw Nerves. It was only a joke, everyone should lighten up and let a joke be a joke. This politically correct country is out of hand.

Glynn Griffith
LaPine, Oregon

“Stupid People” book

I just ordered a pre-publication copy of your essays for my as-yet-young-enough-to-be-malleable granddaughter. Great idea to put ’em into book form. Are you making the author circuit of talk shows, etc., to publicize it? Sell a bunch.

Vern Modeland
Flippin, Arkansas

No talk shows. I’m too nervous in front of an audience, even if hidden behind a microphone. My heart surgery is my new cover for declining interviews. Thank God it was good for something. " Dave

Way to go. I’ve been hoping for something (like your book) for a long time. I hope you sell a g-zillion of them (and I wouldn’t be surprised if you do).

…We expect to travel to my hometown, Columbia, Louisiana (Fall 2007) to (rent w/option) our own little piece of heaven. And, of course, from Seattle we’ll be coming right through Gold Beach. So it was always the plan to stop and visit you all…

Johnnie Kelley
Seattle, Washington

We’re always glad when visitors drop by. Please call ahead to make sure I’ll be in the office, as I often work out of my home office. I also hope I sell a g-zillion copies. That’ll make me a googolplex of dollars.
" Dave

Kudos to John Silveira

Kudos to John Silveira and kudos to the entire BHM family. John’s A+ articles and particularly his most recent essays have been so right on the mark.

It is astounding to me how easily “we the sheeple” are manipulated whether the issue be fluoridation, homeland insecurity, or even the illusion that the four letter word, “vote,” whether used as a noun or a verb, any longer has significance.

Well perhaps it does, and so kudos also to your readers because in their own ways they are living the American dream and leaving their mark in spite of our handler’s manipulations.

I often think of the old story, “Fahrenheit 451,” wherein the few remaining patriots were sequestered where they could enjoy a modicum of their “American Dream.” In such a place BHM would be just one of the treasures I would want around me.

Amos Musser
Salt Lake City, Utah

Heritage Berkshire pigs & the BHM Article Index

My husband and I enjoy your magazine so much that we fight over who gets to look at it first when it comes in the mail. We have gained so much knowledge from you and your readers, it is simply amazing. I have purchased all the back issues that have been available and would love to have all of them, if possible.

The main reason that I am writing is that we are trying to locate anyone who raises heritage Berkshire pigs. We have 2 sows and a boar, but were disappointed to find that the Association had bred the short, flat nose that the original Berkshire possessed out of it. All the ones that we have found look like all the other pigs. If any of your readers know of any of the old time Berkshire, we would love to hear from them. Our address is 723 CR 127, Carrollton, MS 38917, if they would like to drop us a line and let us know.

Laura Dunbar
Carrollton, Mississippi

For back issues, you’ll have to settle for the anthologies, because we are out of most back issues. The anthologies, by the way, are a much more usable set of books than the back issues themselves. For $6, we sell a 76-page Index that lists all articles by title, author, category, which issue it’s in, and which anthology it’s in. We also have a CD-ROM version of the Index that is in Excel. You can sort that one by any category, or you can do a “Find” with just a few words to locate an article or topic. It’s very handy, and we use it all the time ourselves here at the office to look up material from previous issues. The Index is free at our website,
" Dave

Thanks for the magazine

Howdy: Your mag is by far one of my all time favorites to receive. Could you change my name to just Thomas R. Okey – the Forrest part got divorced out last Feb. Oh well, some things change radically! Hopefully, you will not.

Your views come as close to mine that I hope you’re not in as much trouble as myself. Here’s a check for your whole sheebang deal.

I’m attempting to learn to use a computer again. This time at least I got a laptop, so I can shoot it in the yard not the bedroom.

Keep your powder dry.

Thomas R. Okey
Snowflake, Arizona

With the Whole Sheebang, by the way, we enclose a CD-ROM with the Excel copy of the Index. " Dave

Enjoy my copies and save every one unless it gets loan out. My husband holler about them at first, then after he pick them up and started reading them. It’s a fight who gets to read them first. Sure change his mind. Backwoods Home and Countryside are my two favorites. Always something good in them to use. We only have 58 acres, but most of it is woods. Have 2 horses, 1 milk cow, 9 Ole English Babydoll sheep, 40 guineas, 50 chickens, 8 ducks, and raise collies.

Hazel M. Atteberry
Jadwin, Missouri

Where is Claire Wolfe?

I was wondering why I haven’t seen Clair Wolfe’s column in the magazine for awhile now. I see that it’s been available on the site but I haven’t seen it in print. What gives?

Allen Foster
Northfield, New Hampshire

Claire Wolfe’s superb Hardyville series is more suited to the website (, as she writes a new installment every two weeks. We’ll premier a new type of column by her next issue. " Dave

Look to the past to solve modern energy woes

Jeffrey Yago’s excellent reality check on hydrogen powered cars brought to mind the parable of the greedy monkey who can’t extract his fistful of cookies from the narrow necked cookie jar: the search for transportation solutions must involve a new transportation paradigm, not just a new technology for an old paradigm. …Instead of searching for new ways to power cars, maybe we should look for new (or old!) ways to get around. Rebuilding our system of mass transit for both local and long distance travel should be obvious. Those of us living some distance from towns could get to the nearest line by using electric vehicles, since these vehicles are ideal for limited distances. Bicycling is well suited to many areas of the country, and would help with the epidemic of obesity and related diseases, and should be an option for many. Lest anybody think this is fantasy, it is reality in many parts of the world – including developed countries like the Netherlands….

Tom Kara
Norwood, Missouri

You’re going to like Claire Wolfe’s new column next issue. It talks about these very practical ideas, from her personal acquaintance with them.
" Dave

Writing articles for BHM

I always wanted to subscribe to Backwoods Home, but the money needed to go elsewhere. Someone gave me 3 copies that someone gave them (Third hand?). I really, really like Backwoods Home. I like Jackie Clay’s writing! I like the down to earth food and shelter way it is written. The print is bigger and easier for me to read.

I wonder if you pay money for articles written? I’ve had letters to Countryside published but they do not pay for articles that I know of. The letters to Countryside told how we “can” lard, how I skinned a pot bellied pig, and in 2005 some assorted tips.

N.V. Zahradnicek
Colome, South Dakota

Yes, we pay for articles. We’re always looking for people with good how-to information. I encourage you, or any other reader, to send us your tips on how to do things, especially when it comes to building things. Even a small article will earn you a writer’s fee. It doesn’t have to be professionally written, but the facts have to be accurate. We’re competent editors here who are easy to work with, and we’re willing to work with you, if necessary, to make sure your story works. Photos are important to most articles. And just this issue I’ve decided to raise writers’ payments as a way to attract more people with good information.
" Dave

The modern day ranch

In your article on “The modern day small family ranch” in Issue #103, you noted that they are using a lot of high tech on their ranch. Digital cameras to record information about the cattle, video sales, ID chips for the cattle and solar electricity, and, of course, four wheelers in place of horses. But they still haven’t gotten past the old low tech for keeping track of the cattle. I’d think that they would want to use a database. These days an off-the-shelf database program is reasonably cheap and it isn’t difficult to set up the tables to track the cows, calves, bulls, breeding herd and health. It is probably quicker, simpler and much less prone to errors to use a simple database. And no long rolls. It just strikes me that for all the high-tech, the ranch is still driven by the low tech, and needlessly so.

Joe Nikolai
Waldorf, Maryland

Thanks for helping someone on the “inside”

I am just writing to tell you how wonderful I think Backwoods Home Magazine is. And how impressed I am for what you did for Merrill Moon, Sterling, Colorado in Issue #104, March/April 2007.

I know what it is like to be put in a cage. For over four years your magazine has kept me going. I read each and every issue from front to back before ever letting anyone else read it. Yep I have to admit it is one thing I am real selfish about. I truly enjoy everything in the magazine, but Jackie Clay’s column is the one I enjoy the most. She is great and I am glad to see that you have people like her writing for your magazine.

But Dave my heart felt thanks to you for doing such a nice thing for Merril. It is not often people on the outside go out of their way to do nice things for people on the inside. Most people do not understand that most people on the inside are not bad people, they are people who are paying for bad choices. What you did is just one more reason I will always be a subscriber of Backwoods Home Magazine.

Zeldon Linn
Umatilla, Oregon

Born in a log cabin; father had gold claim

I am 83 plus years old and I was born in an old log cabin up Euchre Creek near Sixes, Oregon, I believe. My daughter is bringing me to your area this summer to see if we can find this spot. My grandfather, Samuel Montague, came there about 1914 and had a gold claim on property that is now National Forest. Would like to look that up also. I just received a copy of the newspaper of Gold Beach from Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce. I am looking forward to visiting you.

I am in the process of writing a story about the log cabin and my birth as I can remember the stories my mother told me about the place. It was a very old log cabin with rags poked in the cracks and Euchre Creek was just outside the door. I have my birth certificate and name of doctor who delivered me (after he stopped at several saloons along the way). Was about 25 miles from Gold Beach, I’m told. Very interesting!

Elizabeth Montague
Colville, Washington

A word on butter & guns

Such an interesting year"but I’m glad to be able to subscribe and look forward to another! I got thrown from the Harley in mid-September just after I’d unloaded the last bale into the barn and put the tractor away. $50K worth of plates, screws, and lag screw through the illium into the coccyx"and $2K to pay for it. The finale to the seven year curse…still I’m walking (after a fashion) warm (I can haul my own wood again (a bit at a time) and well fed…and thankful to those who scraped, carted, and patched me!

A word on butter: If you pasteurize the cream (170°) and then make the butter it really keeps without turning. The “buttermilk” that’s left makes great string or curdled (with vinegar) cheese that’s great in lasagna…umh!

A word on carrying guns: They tried to lock me up in Cincinatti for five years"but a note from my neighbor to the Grand Jury (he’s chief of police in a nearby city) got my pistol and me back home.

A word to Cheryl in Bowler: (Issue #104, Letters, page 81) look me up if you get up this way"you sound like my type of gal.

Daniel Siler
Poplar, Wisconsin

Marigolds deter deer

In the Nov/Dec 06 issue a reader asked how to keep deer from the garden. For 2 years I planted marigolds around the perimeter. The aroma is apparently so strong that it “masks” any and all other scents, thus the deer avoid the area as it is a danger zone. The proof of this successful method came in the late fall. Once the freezing temperatures killed off the marigolds, the beets and carrots still in the ground were hard to find after the deer came in and chewed off the tops. After 6 prior years of loss to midnight foraging, which relocating the garden closer to the house did not fix, the marigolds appear to be the answer, short of the fencing that Jackie spoke about. This past summer was the garden’s sabbatical; a couple of tomato plants grew of their own accord along with a few marigolds, still no deer problems…

David Anspacher
W. Coxsackie, New York

Passing on freedom ideas to children

Many thanks for the fine gift of your new book. I have read it and appreciate your viewpoint. While we don’t agree on all things, your basic ideas & standards for living are close to mine. My problem is passing these views on to children that don’t see the threat of big Govt.

Tim Welty
Lifetime Subscriber
Kerrville, Texas

You’re welcome. (As we do with all our new books, we sent a complimentary copy of Can America Be Saved from Stupid People to each of our 109 Lifetime Subscribers.) Passing on sensible ideas about freedom to children is as simple as talking about the ideas when the opportunity presents itself, such as commenting on a newscast when appropriate, or commenting on yet another assignment from school that promotes the socialist agenda. Children are obviously more interested in playing, but they hear and remember your ideas, and they store them away in their brains. Never shy away from seizing the opportunity to give your point of view to your children. It may not pay dividends immediately, but it will when they get older, and that’s when it matters. " Dave

Keeping our heads low to avoid government

My wife and I are avid readers of Backwoods Home and big fans of your very useful magazine and all the writers and contributors. We have never felt compelled to write until Mr. Silveira’s “Last Word” in issue number 102 (“Who’s Supposed to Protect Our Rights”). Quite frankly, while in total agreement, we felt rather offended by his accusatory and demeaning tone. Particularly his repetition of “Where were YOU when….”

Well, when Rico, Patriot Act, etc. were being passed we’ll tell you exactly where we were: On our remote, off the grid homestead, shutting our mouths, keeping our heads down, minding our own business, and proudly not getting involved. We have no desire to make ourselves a target for the next raid.

Please understand, it’s not that we don’t care because we greatly do. It’s just that we’re smart enough to realize that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it and neither can you, Mr. Silveira, or anyone else. All you do is waste your life trying to change something that simply can’t be changed. Worse, you just make yourself noticed as the next “anti-government militia member” or “terrorist sympathizer” or “enemy combatant.” Or whatever buzzword the bureaucrats and their professional murders (a.k.a. police officers) choose to come up with. Before you know it you’re the next one to have your door kicked down and a machine gun shoved in your face at 4 a.m.

If writing letters, making phone calls, joining protests, and voting actually changed anything, all these activities would have been made illegal a long time ago, which is precisely why we don’t participate in any of them. If we’re still not left alone then we will have a decision to make as a family (and it is quite apparent that the only two choices are to go down shooting or spend a significant portion of your life in prison. Forget about finding any justice in today’s courts.)

In the meantime, we are not going to do as Mr. Silveira suggests which is to gleefully set ourselves up to be the next obscure one paragraph newspaper story on the bottom of page 10D entitled, “Terrorist Compound Raided by Police” or some such nonsense.

Please don’t get the wrong idea. We love BHM and all the writers, particularly Mr. Silveira. But don’t harangue us over things that we can’t do anything about, especially when it is downright dangerous to try. Isn’t it nice living in the land of the free?

Andy and Debbie Joiner

Food for thought

Enjoy your articles on healthy recipes as we aren’t getting any younger and need and want to continue homesteading for another 27 years in these beautiful Pennsylvania Mountains.

Perhaps you don’t realize the encouragement you give us all with your points of view on politics. “Food for Thought” for sure! Many times! In these “wee hours” of early morning I often think where are we heading in this country of ours and how will the family survive. Although we are now grandparents (almost great-grand parents!!) I find sadness knowing that so many values and ideas are changing and gone for the next younger generation of America. I feel like a dinosaur in this fast paced crazy world many days. Just trying to keep our little homestead going and maybe hoping to stay secure for our children. As my grandson (now 21) said to me – as a child, “I always know you’ll be there Granny, things never change at your place, it’s safe – it’s home.” This kept me going in many a hard times. (They were a military family moving and living all over the world when he was growing up)

Well, enough said!! Again thank you! Looking forward to another 2 years of visits with you all.

Helena Di Maio
Millerton, Pennsylvania

Fudge from Mr. Fudge

Thank you very much for being you. After reading 1st copy Backwoods Home Mag. I liked your outlook and your person. I have many things in common with your life and outlook.

If I may update information of myself at 90+ years"I have had one great life. I had open heart valve replacement 20 years ago, lung operation 23 years ago… I have had 2 wives, the 1st for 27 years and I lost her to cancer at 51 years of age. I quit my job at American Motors in Wisconsin in ’67 to care for her. She passed on 1972.

I remarried in April 1972 to my lawyer’s (deceased) wife. After 25+ years of friendship she passed away Sept. 26, 2005. She broke her 1st hip in 2002. I took care of her until her demise in Sept 26, 2005 (She was 95.6 mo.). When I married her in 1972 she had never traveled at all – so I bought a 35′ 5th wheel and we traveled for over 9 years full time. I was very pleased to be able to do this as I had a good income of 1st mortgages on homes and business properties I owned. We traveled all USA, Canada and Alaska. Thousands of friends all over this area and most gone now – I wore out (3) 250 ¾-ton Fords and over 500,000 miles " a great experience.

I have had great variety of experiences and lot of good people around all our travels. I make FUDGE and give it away all my life. So I am known as “Mr. Fudge” everywhere I have been in over 60+ years. I have enclosed a sample for you to enjoy.

I have a 10+ acre part of a homestead in the Sabine National Forest of Texas of over a ½ million miles of area. My P.O is Shelbyville Tx. It is 17+ miles from my place, Center Tx. The nearest town is 30+ miles, 5000+ population. Nearest neighbor ¼ mile. I have 7 acres of garden, all organic. In this area I can have cool weather crops all year, all the firewood I need. I have an 80 year old wood stove that is in good shape as I have rebuilt it all the time – I buy parts & supplies from Lehman’s in Ohio, an Amish source of products. They have everything for non electric living.

I give hundreds of bags of food away all year to anyone who wants to share. Big garden makes good feeling for all people.

This gives a small sample of what I do now and I enjoy each and every day as it comes. This gives you a little idea of me. Thanks for enjoying the Stupid Page – I knew you would enjoy it. Thanks to John Silveira, your wife, and everyone.

Barney Bauer
Shelbyville, Texas

Delicious fudge, and thanks for the jokes for last issue. I divvied up the fudge among the staff. " Dave

Everyone benefits when politicians have gridlock

Hi Dave, I really enjoyed your editorial last month about Michael Medved spitting nails over “losertarians” costing the GOP the Senate majority.

As a registered “Big L” and a hardcore individual-liberty guy, I could not have been more pleased that the GOP lost the Senate. Why? One word: Gridlock. I believe a lot of Libertarians really like gridlock and are very happy to have it back.

I sure am. I love gridlock. Gridlock is a friend of liberty and an even better friend of our wallets. For the last six years, all three major seats of power have been in the hands of one party, and what did we get? A whole new federal bureaucracy created to do what the FBI was supposed to do, some important bits cut from the Bill of Rights, and the focused fury of our nation diverted from going after those Taliban bastards so that those neo-con Maoists could try out a few pie-in-the-sky nation-building theories in Iraq.

Now that the Rs have to get permission from the Ds before they do anything, it will be a lot harder for them to do stuff like that.

What I’m worried about is this: If the nation’s anger about the Iraq swindle hasn’t subsided by 2008, we could end up with the whole enchilada back in Democratic hands. Which, to my way of thinking, isn’t much better and might even be worse. Already we’ve seen Dems in our state, drunk with newfound power, putting on their Mommie Sam outfits and trying to tell us we can’t be trusted to let our kids ride their ATVs on our private property. In California, there’s a proposal to ban spanking. And, of course, there’s the city of Chicago, telling people they can’t have foie gras because it’s mean to ducks, and Texas wanting to make it a misdemeanor to blow off a parent-teacher conference. And that’s not even getting into what those guys think of the Second Amendment. Think what “good” things they could do for us if they had the Presidency too!

Finn J. John
Albany, Oregon

As of recent I have gained access to your magazine, which I consider to be a great written tool for folks who haven’t a clue to live anything other than a cookie cutter existence. Lots of sheep out there and lots of stupid folks who shouldn’t be allowed to breed. I like the fact you are not a political publication, but I have some views I’d like to share with you. I think the people of this country will witness another attack on this country before the 2008 election. The Democrats will use this to get into power and we will then see what government run wild will bring. The issue in front of them is guns but they won’t admit to it, but the speaker of the House and a few other communist bastards in the Senate have stated privately that after they gain power in 2008, gun control will be at the top of the list. I am not pleased with what the Republicans have done over the last 6 years, but I wish to make a point. Perhaps you will share it with your readers or not.

We are at a point now where we need to make a choice based not so much on our feelings but on fact. Fact one: we are a two party system. They are, as you know, Democrats and Republicans " period. Much as a person dislikes to vote for Republicans, I feel in the upcoming election we have no choice. It boils down to this. If you vote Democrat then you are for everything the party stands for. Gay rights, higher taxes, a weak military force, free abortion, medical care and coverage for illegal aliens, restrictive not intelligent environmental laws, total gun control, and others. I will not ever vote Democrat again after the last Bush Inaugural address when he mentioned the privatizing of Social Security and the Democrats booed him. That was a total lack of respect, and if they were smart enough to study the nations that have gone to a private system they would understand that it is one of the best moves this country could make.

The other choices we have to vote for anything from communist to green are a wasted vote"period. The choice before us is not to vote for what you want but for what you don’t want. If you desire the above mentioned platform goals then by all means vote Democrat and congratulate yourself for it. Smile when they take your guns and raise your taxes. My advice is not to waste your vote regardless if you don’t like the Republicans or not. Ross Perot brought you Clinton, which obtained a gun ban and the ground work for 9-11. Tough choices need to be made in this election. It, in my opinion, will be the turning point for America. Think long and hard on it. I am an American first. I fly the stars and bars on my house with pride, as my great grandfather and his brother fought for what they believed in. I also fly an American flag for it is what my father shed blood for and my brother died for. I cannot sit and watch a bunch of liberal communists take this country over.

Robert Geissler
Davenport, Washington

You essentially advocate voting for the lesser of two evils. It’s an old argument that has led to the country getting more and more screwed up. The Republicans keep going further and further to the left because they know people like you won’t hold them accountable. You’d settle for destroying our freedoms little by little, so it doesn’t hurt so much.
" Dave

More from Merrill Moon

First let me say thank you for the Subscription to BHM. (See Issue No. 104, Pg. 81) …when I came to page 81 I was shocked to see the words (In prison for six years for marijuana possession) I thought, hey someone else who I can relate to, then I saw my name. Wow! I feel truly famous and extremely grateful. I guess I’m bound by my word to purchase your magazine forever. I hope I don’t forget after smoking all that weed. Ha Ha!

I have two reasons for writing back. First to say thank you and the second is to inform your readers of some more injustice in the Great state of Colorado. I was due to go home in July of ’07. That was until I was charged with a new crime. Introduction of Dangerous Contraband for tobacco. First of all let’s just say not only do I not smoke cigarettes, but I was never caught with any tobacco and the guy who was told them he never met me. They say they have a confidential informant who told them I was the ring leader of the whole deal. So then they interview my wife after one of our weekly visits and after two hours of their so called Interview, she confessed. I finally was able to talk to her on the phone after being in the hole for 90 days. I asked her why she admitted to something she didn’t do. She then informed me they told her if she didn’t they would arrest her and take our eight month old daughter from her. As most people, she isn’t hip to our laws. To make a long story short, they offered me a 1 yr. deal to run consecutive to my six year sentence. I refused it. I’ve been through two court appointed lawyers due to the fact that they won’t do a damn thing to investigate the facts. And both have gone out of their way to make me take the deal. So now they have charged me as a Habitual offender. I’m now facing six more years. Are their any honest attorneys out there who do pro bono work? I’m desperate. I can’t wait to get out of here so I can run as far away from this country as I can. Hopefully our new governor, Bill Ritter, will change this state for the better. He says he will. Any lawyers who would like to help can reach me at PO 6000 Sterling CO 80751.

Merrill Moon #125321
Sterling, Colorado

Responses to the Metcalf/Bandy article

In the beginning, the Michigan Militia’s primary goal was to put the out-of-control federal government on notice that abuses of power such as occurred at Mt. Carmel in Waco, Texas, would not recur. It was our design to put a force upon the plain that would serve such notice. Within months of that April, 1994,

beginning, dozens of militia units formed across America. By 1995, the number of militia members in Michigan alone rose to nearly 20,000. Brad Metcalf was one of that number.

Brad was a devoted visionary who certainly recognized the need that patriots must be armed to withstand tyranny.

Brad did not know then that there were dangerous people surrounding him. Unfortunately, as the movement grew, so did the difficulty of controlling “wing nuts” who openly talked of theoretical covert actions. The fireside bragging of what “would be done” endangered those who were disciplined to say very little and to put nothing in writing.

Then too, there were those who joined who would inform on others to gain benefits with the government. Those who were already in trouble would bargain for “deals” in exchange for information about the militia.

The militia however was accomplishing its primary mission. As Brad said, a dangerous confrontation in Battle Creek was averted. So too was the situation with Freemen in Montana and the confrontation in West Texas with the Republic movement. The federals knew that the militia would be read and willing to oppose them. Consequently, there were no more Waco-like massacres. So the Clinton/Reno regime turned to more covert abuses under the color of law.

In order to support itself, the federal government conspired to destroy the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, thus creating the necessary public consent against the militia movement to stop it. Thought police began their roundup of anyone who merely talked about what they might do. Brad was a high value target. He was an extraordinary and dedicated patriot who was prepared. He had to be eliminated. His crime? There was none! But the federal regime had created its special courts with its purchased judges and laws and any talk of resisting tyranny would be stopped by selective charges of conspiracy. Twisted and uninformed juries acting in fear in the shadow of the events in Oklahoma City, were ready to believe federal prosecutors. The “fix” was in!

Within months after OKC, thousands of members quit due to employment or family pressures. Thousands of other fragmented into leaderless resistance cells. Still other became more vocal than ever before. But the informers were already in place and the strongest patriot resistors were identified for selective “processing.” The federal government could not afford to have such brave men as Brad Metcalf teaching and helping others to prepare.

I salute Brad Metcalf for his devotion to our collective dream. We all hoped and prayed that justice and the vision of the Founder would be instilled once again in the American people. He, together with many others, have and are paying the price of patriotism in the face of tyranny.

History may never reveal the truth of what the militia movement accomplished; or how many other “Wacos” it prevented; or to what extent the tyranny of the federal government was stopped or stalled. May history, however, remember men like Brad Metcalf.

Norman Olson, Founder
Michigan Militia

Your column in Backwoods Home Magazine, Issue #104 (“America, land of the free…ha, ha, ha!”) was right on.

Sadly the Matt Bandy horror story is just the tip of the iceberg.

The media-driven frenzy over horrible crimes like those inflicted on Jessica Lunsford, Megan Kanka, etc. has pushed public rage to the boiling point. Understandably so. However, few people realize how far-reaching and destructive the laws being passed as a result really are. As in the case of Matt Bandy, kids can end up victimized by laws that were supposed to protect them.

Here are a couple of eye openers:

In Wisconsin, 10-year-old Stephen T. was charged with sexual assault, in part because he “created a new rule for a game of capture-the-flag: the girls had to lift their shirts when the were captured,” according to the prosecutor, Diane Resch. Resch believes “this is just as wrong as adults playing these games with little kids.” Gimme a break! Stephen T. was placed on one year of in-home supervision, with psychological counseling, restitution, and community service"and the clincher: the judge ordered him to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample. A 10-year-old kid, for Pete’s sake!

A 17-year-old Georgia teen was convicted of “Aggravated Child Molestation” for having consensual relations with his 15-year-old girlfriend. Genarlow Wilson, a 3.2 GPA student and member of the football team with NO previous criminal history, is serving a 10-year-prison sentence and will have to register as a sex offender presumably for life when he gets out….

A. Durney
Basin, Wyoming

This letter is just a rant in response to your article (Issue No. 104, pg. 7) about the legal system in this last issue.

I am a probation officer in a large southern city. I worked for thirty years in engineering and management in private industry before I got “right sized.” Decided that I wanted to be a lawyer and that this would be a time and a good way to get my foot in the door. Before I started this job about a year ago I had some very set ideas about crime and criminals. Thought I had all of the answers to curing the crime problem in this country. Put the bad ones in jail for a long time. Execute the really bad ones. Sex offenders should be summarily castrated. Child sex offenders would be summarily castrated, with a dull hacksaw, then beaten to death, very slowly, with a baseball bat. Decriminalize drugs so that smoking a joint or taking a hit of crack would not be a crime. You get the idea.

Wish things were that simple. They aren’t. My present caseload is 112 probationers (we call them our clients, have to, it’s policy). These are people who have been given probation in lieu of serving time in state prison. Of that 112, 57 are directly drug related offenses. Possession of Marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, other drugs or drug paraphernalia, either for own use or resale. 47 of these are secondarily drug related. Stole a car to pay for drug habit. Robbed from employer to buy drugs. Faked a prescription to buy drugs, etc. The other 8 encompass a wide gamut of stuff. Peeing in public (public indecency), smacking a 17-year-old stepson (who really needed a good whipping) around, DUI 4th offense, etc. Let me give you a few examples of some of my clients. (Names have, of course, been changed)

June is a 36-year-old woman. She has been convicted for the sixth time for a drug related offense. All minor and non violent. She is on 5 years probation. As a condition of her probation she must be drug tested every month. She just failed her third monthly drug test. Cannabinoid metabolites very high, cocaine metabolites totally off the top of the scale. She was high as a kite when she came in for her monthly meeting with her probation officer (me). She knew she was going to be tested. June has four children, ranging in age from 21 to 7. None of their fathers are around. June also has three grandchildren that she knows of (she has a 19 year old son, so she is not real sure how many are out there), and her 15-year-old daughter is pregnant with her fourth grandchild. None of them ever got past tenth grade. June dropped out in the eighth grade and is functionally illiterate. Her IQ is very low, borderline mentally retarded. They all live together in a run down vermin invested house that I wouldn’t ask my dog to live in, and have to pay $175 per week rent for it. Most of them work at menial odd jobs making barely more than minimum wage.

Tom is 29, and on eight years probation for possession with intent to sell. He is the youngest of six surviving children. His two older brothers are in prison. His mother is in prison for making meth in their basement. His father did 20 years for homicide. His two sisters are both crack whores. One brother was killed in a fight when Tom was only sixteen. His identical twin brother was just arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and attempted murder. Tom was suspended from school for a week for fighting when he was in eighth grade. He never went back. Tom is very bright, has a steady job and just recently moved away from his family and into his girlfriend’s apartment. He is attending NA, AA and church regularly. He has almost completed his GED.

Pete just turned sixty, but looks 90. A veteran who lives on a small disability check, Pete’s drug of choice is alcohol. Thirty arrests and twenty-one convictions in the last 12 years. All misdemeanors. Pete lives mostly on the streets, and has been known to commit small crimes in plain view of the police just so he can get a warm bed and a few square meals once in a while. Pete says that he had a family, but he doesn’t know where they are now.

Ronnie has a master’s degree in marketing and a job with a six-figure income. Forty-five years old with a young trophy wife. He was caught with a half-pound of marijuana and a bunch of cocaine in his new Cadillac SUV. Said that he was going to a party and it was his turn to provide the “juice”. Pled down to simple possession, 11 months 29 days probation. Constantly cries and whines about what a pain the probation is. Having to report once a month and pay $45 in fees is killing him. Not to mention the stupid damn drug tests every month that are altering his lifestyle choices. If he makes it through probation his record will be expunged (cleared). Ronnie is just a rich asshole that thinks he is above the law. And honestly, he is probably right.

These may sound like stereotypes or fantasy people but they are as real as real gets.

Only two of my clients have college degrees. Very few even have high school diplomas. Many are functionally illiterate and have few if any coping skills. Most have bounced around from one unskilled job to the next for all of their lives. almost all of them have relatives that are in the system, often one or both parents. Virtually none of them have any kind of real support system, just their drinking or doping buddies. As a whole they just don’t get it. They don’t understand that life is more than hanging with your homies and drinking a 40 and smoking a blunt down on the corner. They don’t understand the richness and fullness that can come with a life of spirituality, hard work and family interaction. For the most part they have never really been a part of anything good. They have never had the experience of strong moral teachers, or have had anyone that expected them to make anything of their lives. They grew up with the expectation that they would be dropouts, bums, dopers and petty criminals. June will never make it. She just doesn’t have the cognitive ability to maintain a decent life (I filed a warrant for her arrest today), and her children and grandchildren are following along right after her. Tom may have a chance, if he can stay away from his family. Pete will be found in a gutter, dead, one cold winter morning.

And if you’re thinking about the typical racial stereotypes, you’re probably pretty close to right. June is Black, Tom is White, Pete is Native American and Ronnie is White. My caseload has 86 blacks, 21 whites, 1 Filipino, 2 Hispanics, 1 Laotian and 1 Native American. Blacks predominate in all of the caseloads. Not being racist, just truthful. If we think that our society is not segregated we are just kidding ourselves. There is an underclass that many of us can’t, or choose not to see. This underclass is mostly black, urban, undereducated and poor. It has values and mores that we simply can’t understand. Getting stoned is good. Education is bad. Having just enough to buy your next hit of crack, or bottle of MDD2020 is good. A savings account is bad. Multiple girlfriends with numerous offspring are good. A stable family is bad. A very large number of these people have about as much chance of making it in society as I do of winning the Alabama Lottery, and there ain’t one.

How do we fix this? Beats the s–t out of me. I don’t have a clue. We could legalize drugs, but that would only be a partial solution. We could send everybody that has an addiction to drug treatment, but the VERY BEST programs are only 20%-30% effective, and then only after a minimum of six months inpatient treatment. We could lock everybody away in prison, but at the present 37 of the 50 states have overcrowded prison systems. And if you knew how much it cost you to house a person in prison for a year, you would be furious.

The only real answer is to change our culture. And I am not talking about the culture that you and I, and most of the readers of BHM, see everyday. I am talking about the other culture. The one we turn away from. The one we pretend not to see. The one we are afraid of. Unless there is some way found to turn the underclass into a viable, functioning part of society we are in for years of struggle.

I have always been conservative with libertarian leanings, but now I just don’t know. Somehow we have got to find a way to deal with this problem. And at fifty years old, with multiple college degrees and a lifetime of experience, I am at a total loss. Got any ideas?

Name Withheld

Many of us know, or have known, people like this. They are not unique to our time, or to America. If anything, they have been more abundant in previous periods of history when most people had little education and few opportunities. There has never been an answer for them, and there is none now.

Well meaning people like you get caught up in thinking something can be done, so you get involved in a mammoth government system that arrests them, often imprisons them, then babysits them through life at great expense to the rest of us. Most of us who are getting along well enough in society avoid that part of American culture that produces the self-destructive people you write about. It is already a full-time job for us to provide for and raise our own families properly.

And what has this mammoth government system that you are a part of cost society? Not only has it frustrated your idealistic intentions by demonstrating to you that such a system cannot save people from their own mental deficiency or things like drugs, but it has made victims of normal people like Matt Bandy and Bradford Metcalf.

In a misguided attempt to save people like the ones on your probation list, or to wage war against terrorists, or against pedophiles, government wages a war against us all. Its simplistic laws, which are driven by people who think the world is black and white, open the door for opportunistic prosecutors to go after us all, for any perceived technical violations of laws ostensibly passed to get real bad people off the street.

You’re at a total loss as to what to do? Look at your own experience. A huge and powerful government bureaucracy trying to control everyone’s behavior doesn’t work? Not for the lost souls on your probation list, and certainly not for the likes of Bandy and Metcalf. Your original ideas about curing the “serious” crime problem are still correct, but you’ve been caught up in a system that isn’t going after “real” criminals. Get out of it and become a real lawyer and defend the likes of Bandy and Metcalf, or help pass laws that make sense, not ones that become traps for ordinary citizens. " Dave

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