issue 138 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #138

“Closing wounds” article

The article in the latest Issue #137, Sept/Oct BHM, “Closing wounds in a remote setting,” left out one very important treatment that all people who live in remote areas should be aware of. That is the use of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) for treating cuts and gashes. I have had amazing results treating wounds that normally would have required stitches. Eight months ago, I accidently ran a inch long metal staple thru the fleshy part of my hand, between the thumb and the forefinger. The staple went in under the skin and came out about a half inch away. After pulling the staple out, I treated the wound with DMSO and covered it with a gauze pad. Three times a day, I would remove the gauze and reapply DMSO. After three days, I no longer needed the gauze pad and after ten days, the wound was completely healed, leaving no scar. DMSO was the only substance that I used to treat the wound.

DMSO has several properties that make it ideal for treating such wounds. First, it is an antiseptic and will kill any bacteria in the wound. Second, it is an anti-inflammatory (there was no swelling or even redness associated with the above injury). Third, it is a fungicide. And fourth, it increases the permeability of cells so that healing takes place much more quickly (roughly half the normal healing time).

Yes, I know that DMSO has not been approved for human use. At one time, DMSO was considered as a means of getting vaccines into the bloodstream without using needles. Dissolve the vaccine in DMSO and apply it to the skin. DMSO will carry the vaccine into the bloodstream. For this reason, when using DMSO, it is important to not have toxic substances such as pesticides on your skin. DMSO will carry them into your bloodstream as well …

Ken Young
Petrolia, California

The commercial solvent Dimethyl sulfoxide, also known as DMSO, has anti-inflammatory effects and is, indeed, FDA approved for use in the case of bladder conditions such as interstital cystitis.

The remainder of the reader’s claims are less well-documented in medical studies, although you will see many testimonials to its effectiveness for everything from infections to cancer. Even these studies refer to medical grade DMSO, which is available only by prescription. Almost all DMSO available to the public is industrial grade, including most veterinary DMSO and products sold on the Internet. These may not be safe for medical use. Do not try DMSO without consulting a physician.

Your reader is correct in saying that it is a powerful transdermal agent, which means it can carry anything that touches it through your skin and into your body. That includes pesticides, alcohol, or almost anything else that touches your skin. It also, invariably, causes a garlic-like taste in the mouth, and even a foul odor from the skin itself.

With regards to the reader’s stapling injury, this is a puncture wound that, over the 3 and 10 day period that is mentioned, would likely have healed in a healthy individual during that time. Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment or simply keeping the wound clean would likely have had the same effect as the DMSO. Beware any “cure-all” claims, as they are probably not backed by strong medical evidence. A less controversial treatment would use MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), a by-product of DMSO that is also unproven but less likely to cause side effects.

Many horse liniments are entirely made of herbal ingredients, and many of these are relatively safe for human use without DMSO. — Joe Alton, M.D.

The BHM Appleseed shoot

Thank you BHM and the RWVA for hosting the Appleseed in Brookings, OR on August 4-5. My wife and I have wanted to attend an Appleseed since reading about it in BHM back in 2009 and 2010. When we saw this one on the back cover of the July/August, 2012 issue of BHM, we knew it was time. Despite the six-hour drive to get there, it was well worth it!

My wife suggested we stop by the BHM office when we pulled into Gold Beach Thursday afternoon because she figured everyone would be setting things up on Friday. Good call on her part. When we pulled up, Massad Ayoob was standing out front. He was so down to earth and a pleasure to speak with. Then Dave came out! Then Philip and Carol Wiley with the RWVA. Carol was going to be our shoot boss! We spent a good half-hour sharing stories, until my wife said, “Enough, it’s after 5:00 — let these folks go home.” I was so excited to have the chance to meet everyone that my wife didn’t think she would be able to get me to calm down that night.

On Friday, Jeff Ferguson gave us a tour of your offices. They are every bit as practical as the magazine. After a great time with Jeff and the acquisition of considerable reading material, we walked around town. It was a pleasure to get to speak with Massad again when we met while perusing goods at the local sporting goods store.

Then Saturday and Sunday the Appleseed. What a thrill to spend the weekend on a grassy hillside with about seventy-five patriotic Americans! Massad was right when he wrote that the shooting was good but the history was the best part. With incredible passion, the RWVA members told the stories of the real people — who made astounding sacrifices — to free us from British oppression. Those stories should be mandatory curriculum in our schools.

As for the shooting, there was so much to learn. While I am no expert, I kind of figured I knew what I was doing. Not so at all. My wife actually picked things up faster than I did — so much so that she shot the best score between the two of us on Sunday (believe me, everyone including her Grandma knew it by the following afternoon). And my wife had wondered if she would be comfortable? She absolutely loved it! If anyone has any doubts about Appleseed, they shouldn’t. Safety is the number one rule and everyone was willing to help each other with any need that came up. We are so committed that we have already signed up for an Appleseed closer to home in November. Oh yeah, congratulations to Robby and the dozen or so others who made it to Rifleman! It was also so nice to meet Annie.

Sorry, got kind of long. Thank you for publishing a magazine that provides so much useful information for those of us trying to be self-reliant and live free. You practice what you write and stand up in the face of the politically correct but Constitutionally incorrect mindset that is eroding our freedoms. If you sponsor another Appleseed next year, we will again make the six-hour drive to be there!

Scott & Sheri White
Lewiston, California

BHM’s targeted readership

I wanted to let you know that I have read a number of different magazines that cover roughly the same content/concepts as BHM, but none are as good as yours! I find others too “yuppified,” too commercial, too mainstream for people playing, not feeling), too wacky out-there (!), & most recently too dumb!

I was very excited lately to peruse a copy of a fairly similar magazine and then quite deeply disappointed by its content. The articles were poorly written, repetitive, & covered no new ground. Worse, they seemed written for — forgive me — a fairly dumb readership. Also the layout was unclear & unhelpful. BHM seems targeted at an intelligent, knowledgeable, committed, serious, but fun & actually happy readership. Much more enjoyable & much more worth my time. I’ve been a subscriber for a few years & always look forward to each issue! Thank you so much for putting out this great magazine & keep up the good work!

Tristesse Gaian
Sacramento, California

Public employee unions

John, After reading your article about Public Employee Unions (Issue #137, Sept/Oct), I feel compelled to respond. My response is not in disagreement with your opinion or logic — only a commentary. After more than 28 years of service with a large municipal Fire Department, I have witnessed evolutionary change, caused by public employee unions gaining the right to collectively bargain and the right to binding arbitration to settle disputes. The bottom line is this; better wages, better safety equipment, better working conditions, and a better retirement plan attract a better employee.

When I began my career in the fire service, strikes, and the violence associated with them, were common among Fire unions in the U.S. This was a direct result of public employee unions not being recognized as a legal entity. In other words, there was no way to settle disagreements in a “gentleman’s fashion.” With the recognition of public employee unions as a legal entity, a mandate to collectively bargain and the requirement of binding arbitration to settle disputes, Fire union strikes and their associated violence are a thing of the past.

When you or I, our friends, neighbors, or family dial 911, these men (and women) are our last hope for salvation when my home is on fire in the middle of the night and a loved one is trapped inside, when my father is experiencing chest pains, when my daughter has suffered a traumatic injury, when I am trapped and entangled in my vehicle that has run off the road on some dark and lonely highway. Ask yourself; do I want help to come from a disgruntled, low paid employee (who really just couldn’t find any other job) or do I want the person responding to my emergency to be a highly motivated, skilled, educated, physically-fit, well-adjusted risk taker? I know which person I would choose!

As a direct result of collective bargaining laws (legal recognition of public employee unions), the fire service in the United States today attracts the brightest and best young men and women. These young people are top performers, highly educated, multi-skilled, and quick to learn. They have to be, the competition is fierce! In my Municipality, it is not unusual for thousands of young people to compete for just a handful of job openings every few years.

Is the pay good? Are the benefits good? Not as lucrative as some would believe. You must keep in mind that as a Firefighter/Medic your life is statistically shorter than most — and your career even shorter. In most Fire Departments, there’s not much room at the top for management, most positions are working positions (as it should be). Career-ending traumatic injuries and accidental death are endemic, due to the nature of the work.

In my mind, collective bargaining for Municipal Fire Unions (a Public Employee Union, by definition) is a GOOD thing for the communities which they serve.

Just remember — 6 minutes. That is how long the human brain can survive without oxygen. If you were to stop breathing, do you want the best, highly-motivated, dedicated men and women responding to help you — or- just whoever the City/County could hire to do the job cheaply?

John Vansant
Retired Fire Apparatus Operator
Kansas City, Missouri

First, let me say that of all the public employees, the ones I have the most respect for are firefighters. I think they are braver and more willing to make the ultimate sacrifice than almost anyone else. Frankly, I think firefighters are crazy, and I love them for that. But I don’t think firefighters do it for the money. And money doesn’t always get you the best and the brightest; often it just gets you people who want more money. I’ve lived in communities where the firefighters not only aren’t unionized, they aren’t even paid. I hope you’re not denigrating these volunteer firefighters as not being among the best and the brightest just because they’re working for nothing.

It’s also worth noting that governors and other politicians, all over the country, are raising retirement ages as well as cutting and capping benefits, not because they’re trying to drive away the best and the brightest but because the “best and the brightest” asked for too much and are breaking the system. — John

Turn poor into capitalists?

Good grief, I was stunned to read this article in your magazine (“Turn the poor into capitalists,” Issue 137, Sept/Oct 2012). Have you not heard of the sub-prime loan programs and the aftermath of that? Why in the world do you think free homes would be valued or that recipients would be able to maintain them? Even Habitat for Humanity expects homeowners to provide sweat-equity. Perhaps the plan was for the homes to be sold by the new owner which would provide cash to the seller? I just don’t get it.

Norma Campbell
Clark, Missouri

I didn’t say my plan would be for everyone. Applicants would have to be screened. More important is that what we’re doing now isn’t working and we need a better approach and I think something along the lines of what the old Homestead Act offered would be worth considering.

Let me also add that the sub-prime loan programs were mismanaged because of the way Congress mandated they had to be run, and those mandates turned them into the “liar’s loan” programs. It didn’t have to be that way. So, I’ll admit it’s possible that a program that could turn some of the capable poor into capitalists could be mismanaged due to idiotic directions from Congress. — John

Jackie’s canning book

Thanks for all the help, I just finished canning meat for the first time! Your easy common sense approach was what a nervous first timer needed!

Aileen Bernesser
Cleveland, Ohio

BHM an unexpected gift

I came home today, four days after my 54th birthday, feeling so utterly defeated, so alone, tired, and completely at my wits end. I have been struggling to get my bills paid and although I’m not sinking anymore, I’m certainly not gaining very fast either. I do have work that I enjoy at a fair wage, but not very many hours per week, at this time. I know I’m not the only one in this situation. The new litter of piglets, born last Saturday, usually a cause of great joy, only brought about new doubts.

As I usually do, before I open the gate at the driveway, I checked the mailbox. I was so very surprised at the gift it contained. It was your Backwoods Home Magazine. It was like an unexpected visit from a dear and very welcomed friend. I could hardly wait to be done with milking the goats and feeding the pigs, rabbits and lambs, just so I could open the cover and read. Oh, and read I did. I had the pleasure of spending time with Dave, John, Jackie, Patrice, David, everyone!

I was so “hungry” for something positive that I read the whole magazine, cover to cover in just a couple of hours. I sincerely cannot thank you enough. I was unable to renew my subscription, and yet, you sent it anyway! I am so grateful. Thank you very, very much. I feel my inner strength and resolve returning. I will be OK. I will make Maggie’s Queso blanco cheese and Jackie’s pickles, especially the eggs. The little piglets in the pen? They will be OK, too, and they will taste good!

Deb Graybeal
Burlingame, Kansas

Renewing subscription

I am glad to renew my subscription to BHM for 2 years, and I’m sure I’ll keep on as long as you publish. We have dropped almost all of our other magazine subscriptions but you have so much good usable information we’ll keep this one going. I’ve kept every issue so far and look back at them when a project comes up and I remember a story. Keep up the good work!

Tom and Cindy Hollingsworth
Steubenville, Ohio

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