Survival Book Review: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

Spoiler Alert! Bad things are closer than they appear.  By day three, all gasoline is gone, water is rare, and all Cyber Attack Book ReviewFEMA food has been distributed. Now the fun begins.  By day seven, the backup food supply is zeroed out, the vulnerable are dead, and the refugee migration has begun causing states to take border patrol into their own hands. It’s game on!  Or so writes Ted Koppel… and documented by mountains of data…and confirmed by a seemingly unlimited supply of informed sources in high places.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Karambit Knife

Numbers Don’t Lie

Although the formal documentation of an inevitable grid crash is like reading our premature obituary, all’s not lost. SHTF Book Review But that is only if America makes it to chapter 19.  The first 18 chapters in Lights Out put into perspective what is likely the largest and most logical threat that any and every survivalist, prepper, and ordinary person hoping to live through tomorrow should consume like a news story sent from the future.

I am an academic, first and foremost.  That is what pays the bills.  I live in a world of data driven decision making, statistics, and arguments whose value is only as good as its validity and reliability numbers.  Opinions are unacceptable unless backed up with footnotes, citations, and preferably experimental data. Which is exactly why Koppel’s book is so frightening.  He has the proof.  Sure, it’s in the form of triangulation, metadata, and small-scale testing, but when the pieces are combined into the whole picture, the image is undeniable.  And Crown Publishers of New York agreed or this vehicle of gloom would be just another self-published Amazon download.

For many, stocking up on survival gear and food and planning for darkness always carried a sense of urgency, but one that could be postponed when important life events intervened.  We can turn our deepest concerns on and off because there is no tangible evidence that TEOTWAWKI will arrive this particular afternoon except hearsay about some telegraph frying event 150 years ago.  But Koppel changed all that with a stroke of his pen. Using the same investigative prowess as he did in the past, Koppel leaves no stone unthrown. We are all guilty of seeding this disaster. We are all to blame for not preparing as we should. And we are all going to act like monsters after the first week.

When the electrons dry up, so will the photons, the hydrocarbons, and the carbohydrates.  Modern society is like a flying airplane.  All is well only when we’re flying.  The moment we stop flying and start falling, all hell will break loose and any bad situation will be made considerably worse through predictable human nature.

Facts Overrule Fiction

Unlike most prepper fiction, Koppel pulls no punches; the first word in chapter one is “Darkness.”  While is filled with self-published visions of the aftermath, this particular Lights Out frames the situation in the form of specific names, places, machines, and methods.  So much so that if this book was fiction, the FBI would have kicked the author’s door in arresting him on whatever trumped up charges would squeeze the leaks shut with a bang.  Instead Koppel methodically and not-so-slowly rips the veneer off the lack of governmental planning and punches the public in the face with an undeniable scenario that will scare even the most battle-hardened American into considering a self-reliant off-grid existence.

With chapter titles like AK-47s and EMPs, Extra Batteries, and The Ark Builders, it is clear that Koppel speaks the language of survivalists, and leaves little room for nuanced argument from armchair preppers.  If obsession about the End of (American) Days is the only thing providing credibility to those claiming preparedness, then the ride is over. Get up and face the music. TEOTWAWKI just went mainstream and Koppel is the new king in town.  No voting necessary.

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Koppel chronicles the downfall in painful detail to the point the uninformed could mistake this book for a terrorist instructional manual of some 268 pages.  But just because you didn’t know about all this doesn’t make us any safer. There were many who anticipated a plane crash into one or both World Trade Center towers.  But anticipation can also be perceived as guilt.  In the case of Lights Out, who cares who knows what. Nothing previous to yesterday matters. It’s all on the table now.  Everyone knows.  And CYA is out of the question with the clock ticking loudly.

Bug Out Love

As much as I love my Bug Out Bag, Koppel makes it clear that one survivor, or a family of survivors in my case will Cyberattack Bookjust be a few of the ten percent of lucky ones that are projected to still be walking around a month after the lights go out.  Playing out the math, the US population is 319 million.  Knock a zero off that and you got nothing left but the population of Florida spread out across 3.8 million square miles of Uncle Sam’s backyard instead of just the 66,000 of the Sunshine state.  And no matter how you slice up the land, that’s eight-and-half people per square mile, or reducing the entire US human density to just slightly more than my home planet of Montana.  While I might personally feel much more at home when traveling, most US citizens will be scared to death with the lack of folks walking around.  Now that I think about it, I will be terrified as well.  Just saying.

Stage Left

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath is a pile of chapters in three parts.  Part one is the bad stuff and the documentation making it real.  Part two is the mountain we have to climb.  It begins on page 91 of my “Uncorrected Proof-Not For Sale” advanced copy of the book.  But climbing mountains is what the US is good at, right?  Koppel spells out exactly what you need to do to get ahead of this impending disaster before those so-called “evil-doers” get the upper hand.  Unfortunately, in order for Ted’s technology manifesto to gain traction, and that’s Ted Koppel, not Ted Kaczynski (seriously, think about it), the very real possibility of this internet fairy tale coming true must be as plausible as it is scary before the mainstream gives a hoot, whether media or consumer.  Finally, part three is “Surviving the Aftermath,” and reads much like a confirmation of what drives me, this website, and your reading of it.

Breaking Bad is an exceptional TV show, and when Koppel compared Craig Kephart to DEA agent (actor) Hank Schrader, it was further confirmation that Mr. Koppel speaks our language.  Bridging the fuzzy line between acceptable thought and tinfoil conspiracy, Koppel ignores the background noise that dirties up the traditional apocalyptic arguments and instead focuses on the demands of the situation.  With the grid vulnerable to cyberattack and the results obvious, there is exactly one immediate outcome to talk about; total darkness and the immediate results.  If there is time left over, then discussion can address what will happen after one week in the dark.  After that, Koppel makes it clear in Part three (Surviving the Aftermath) that the playing field is not level.  It is heavily tilted in favor of certain groups such as the Mormons.  Having lived deep in LDS country, I can verify that much of their group preparation mentality is real.  Unfortunately, there is a bureaucracy, patriarchy and unfortunate tendency towards obesity and prescription meds that will present a greater than average challenge to survival over time.  Google it if you care. But as usual, I digress.

The Sin Eaters

As expected, Ted Koppel draws upon his childhood experiences.  And I don’t blame him.  Fathoming the unfathomable is not something we can do on demand.  Koppel is doing what I would expect a world-class reporter to do.  I feel bad about it, but understand it.  As though my own father was trying to make sense of this wildly crazy situation that humanity got itself into within just a few percent of its overall lifespan.  I didn’t expect anything less.  With a tear on my cheek, I have to move on to the next chapter of American evolution.  You see, so many aspects of human behavior are unsurprising.  We are civil until hungry.  We care about each other until we feel frightened. We follow the 10 Commandments until our children are crying.  Then we eat sin.  Maybe not you.  Maybe not me.  But most will.  And most are the concern.

It is clear throughout this book, and reality for that matter, that the Internet is a weapon as much as anything. Winding down this tome, Koppel lays blame on those who should know better.  I agree.  But there is some light behind where Koppel notes, “It also teaches us that there is value in the act of searching for answers.” So if Lights Out is not confirmation enough in your search for answers and thus why you are visiting us here at Survival Cache, then perhaps the 90 percent that won’t survive will ignore you.  That’s my plan.

Are We There Yet?

So just how did we arrive at this particular situation where we essentially strapped a bomb of our own making Ted Koppel's New Book Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermathupon the most vital and fragile mechanized system of modern society.  And now we wonder when some enemy of America will detonate the device through a handful of ones and zeros emailed to an unsecured computer somewhere.  Maybe that’s a simplification, but given the rampant incompetence that got us here, and the continued debate of method over risk, I don’t doubt that those same people will be throwing rocks at each other around the campfire.

In a nutshell, the trifecta of deregulation, profit over security, and voluntary standards laid the ground rules for this game.  The playing fields are the artisan one-of-a-kind custom-designed transformers sprinkled throughout thousands of exposed locations across the US.  And the players are everyone with a grudge and a computer whether rogue anarchist or suicidal nation-state.  The game clock stops ticking the moment the first domino falls with the cascade-effect pulling the rest of our grid over the cliff.

The F-Word

In the back of most American minds are semi-trucks loaded with supplies, and camo-clad weekend-warriors passing out food and water to an orderly and calm line of citizens.  And, in fact, that is the plan.  FEMA and DHS pretty much dialed in the rescue effort for a small to medium scale blackout of three days or less. After that, the millions of MREs will have been given to the millions of people.  The water tanks will be empty, the rent-a-cops will have gone home along with the professional gunslingers.  Oh, and the government officials overseeing this mess (and their families) will be safely tucked away in their assigned bunkers.

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Regarding who’s in charge, Ted Koppel tries desperately to report the facts without smirking, but the gross confusion, conflicting opinions, and utter misunderstanding of the magnitude of what could happen makes this collection of pages just as depressing as the state of the grid.  Even more maddening are appointed lawyers and politicians who spend billions of our taxpayer dollars on 72-hour-feel-good measures and potential photo-ops.  In reality, we must give thanks to FEMA for making it crystal clear that we will be on our own after the long weekend.  You’ve had your warning, so now prepare. How clear do you need it?

Say what you will about “Doomsday Preppers,” but the simple fact that nobody has to define the term means that the vernacular and thus society has acknowledged that the fringe has gone mainstream.  Shrugging off the right-wing militia stereotypes, so-called preppers are a booming industry where beans, bullets, and bandaids are hot sellers followed by knives, guns, and bug-out bags.  Koppel lists the ingredients of one particular $500 bug out bag as evidence of “the futility of prepackaged “instant preparedness.”” But a breath later Koppel offers that he and his bug out partner need a crank-powered radio more than a pair of walkie-talkies.  I’d take that as confirmation that Mr. Koppel has one of the finer bug out bags in the world–and knows how to use it.  Actions speak louder than words, right Ted?

Noah’s Arc

Noah and his kids spent sunny days building an ark for a scheduled outage of dry land.  He was not the first to Survival Bookprepare for armageddon and certainly not the last.  Who would have thought an entire Hollywood entertainment genre would spring up around the end of the world as we know it.  The arc of prepping is like a brilliant rainbow of different colors and scenarios beginning here, and ending somewhere in the future.  During that time, there will be a steep climb towards survival before coasting back to earth, the dust of society settling out, the pecking orders reestablished.

Koppel highlights the Mormon preps as a model to consider, but then admits in not so many words, that without the divinely established chain of command in the church hierarchy, managing the flock and it’s preps would be impossible (and still might actually be since the system has never been fully stress tested).  What I would really like to know, however, is how the several million Mormons scattered around the US will deal with the several hundred million hungry non-believers.  Although the terms “Mormon” and “Militia” appear together occasionally in history, what I can tell from Koppel’s writing is that there may or may not be a planned armed response to threats against Mormon preps.  Koppel prys but the clams at the top of the LDS food chain kept their shells shut tight.  Yet it’s impossible to believe that the particular tangent of prepping known as personal defense has escaped the prophet’s revelations.

First One To Panic Wins!

I can see a peaceful transition from light to dark as long as bellies are full and security is abundant.  Perhaps like camping in your home.  Neighbors are tossing the football in the empty street.  Barbecue grills are moved from backyard to driveway.  And kids deplete their cell phone batteries playing music.  Most of us have experienced a day or two or three of no local grid power.  And most of us rolled along just fine seeing light at the end of the tunnel through information and a grid-up not too far away.  The Mormons have it right for the first 72.  No doubt about it. But nine meals later, a whole new set of conditions will emerge that require specific near-military preps. 

At the apex of Noah’s Arc, islands of stability will emerge; “Islands” in Koppelease, include bunkers, compounds, floating forts, local FEMA camps, you name it as long is it’s small scale and caters to the individual and his clan. Relocation is part of most personal plans including mine and likely yours.  The rich have their SEAL guides, speedboats and helicopters.  The middle class have their bug out locations and buried caches. And the poor have their locked doors and duct tape.  Some rural communities might not notice much for a while, while major population centers will descend into chaos before the light bulbs cool.

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The advent of the Doomsday Prepper makes talk of such things acceptable if not routine.  It also plants the seeds of immediate reaction, conspiracy, and first-come-first-looted.  The plans Koppel highlights are based upon a degree of predictable human reaction. But if panic sets in immediately (prematurely?), traditional government responses will never gain the traction necessary to preserve the peace, let alone the pieces.  Who of us will stand still long enough to see how this shakes out when everyone else is racing off to the store or filling their tubs and sinks with water, or draining gas stations with hand pumps.  Before the first FEMA public service announcement is even drafted, civil and organized society will be little more than a textbook concept in yet unwritten history.

Bring It Off

If nothing else, Ted Koppel’s book Lights Out is a loss of innocence.  Giving a friendly nod the survivalists and A Review of Ted Koppel's New Book Lights Outpreppers as informed hobbyists, while tossing every accountable government official on the hot seat like a celebrity roast, Koppel fry’s us all with the pudding full of proof that 1) Something will happen, 2) Government agencies are woefully unprepared and even in denial, and 3) Much of the population has also chosen the path of the government meaning limited or no preparation and idealistic visions of FEMA assistance.

Koppel leans towards “Surviving the Aftermath” over preventing the disaster.  Given Ted’s street cred, I find that to be the most upsetting aspect of this book.  Koppel could have sugar-coated the situation leaving us a yellow brick road like so many other non-fiction authors of catastrophe have chosen.  But alas, Alea iacta est (The die is cast). The transformers are in place and vulnerable.  The enemies have been made.  And the internet has connected the two.  It’s only a matter of time.

Final Act

Lights Out draws upon what we believe we are as Americans. Otherwise it never would have been written. We are better than this.  We are vulnerable only if we act like it.  And since you are reading this review, Lights Out has not yet happened–especially since Koppel makes it clear with the last line of the book that “the Internet, among its many, many virtues, is also a weapon of mass destruction.”  While preppers will relish in “I told you so,” they should also be at the front lines of applying pressure on the government to change it’s ways, and upon society at large to prepare as individuals and in small groups so as not to add to the same problem we are already disgusted about creating.

Enemies believe America is only as good as its grid.  We believe that America is only as good as it’s people.  Ted Koppel’s Lights Out is the call to pick a side.

Photos By:
Robert Terrel
Leon Reed
Mariana Nik

32 thoughts on “Survival Book Review: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath”

  1. I am going to buy this book is it is available at our local bookstore today. If it is good then I'll be happy, but if it is bad then…well, I'm going to pout for three days and never read your articles again. I'll let you know, ready or not!

      • @Doc Montana: I don't know much about Romantic Subplots. I fought in the sexual revolution back in the 60's, got myself captured the first engagement, and have been washing dishes ever since. Now, on with the definitely non romantic book. Hastings, our only book store, had two copies left yesterday of which I bought one. It is definitely an eye opener. Not to spoil it for the next reader, but when Jeh Johnson is on record saying, "He's sure that FEMA has plenty of large backup transformers", then we have to know that the big difference between Little League and our Government is that Little League has adult leadership. After reading Part 1, the evidence proves that we are doomed beyond all hope, because all our government does is do committee studies, meetings, and then make plans with no action. Looking forward to reading Part 2 and 3 and highly recommend this book to anyone that is losing faith in prepping, because it will rekindle any dying embers you have left. thanks for your time and best to all and thanks for the great article and book.

  2. Thanks for reading JAS.

    The book would be a fun ride if it was fiction but the truth of the matter is that the reality of the situation is a real buzzkill for prepper storylines. Lights Out is proof it's time to prep if you haven't started yet. Koppel makes it OK to plan for a dark future and a sketch out a path for survival.

    Frankly, if nothing happens, then we haven't waited long enough. Koppel makes a watertight case that all of the vulnerable pieces and bad players are in place. Time is the only variable. This translates to a 100% certainty that something will happen, Anyone who needs more proof is probably a goner.

    Of course that's just my opinion.

    • Unfortunately, this is going to be the future. I am only amazed that some terrorist group has not already hit a couple of major sub-stations. Even if they only took out power to one major city, it would be one hell of a wake up call. I am also amazed they haven't hit one of our major theme parks. It would be so easy to set off a car bomb in the parking garage at any one of them and kill thousands.

    • Doc

      You are others on here, probably won't reply, dissapointing if you or others don't, I am not American , I am Australian, but have lived in the USA for years, so I understand Americans well, don't misunderstand me, I am not anti-American, I am very pro firearm and very strongly fundamentalist in mind seeing the word of God as basic to civilisation and human life, saying that I wish to say that far too many Americans forgot a collapse of the USA will impact vastly other western nations that are tied militarily to the USA, they are aslo tied by economy as well, far too often preppers and others in the USA forget about us outside the US who do as you do, have to say it, its not about you guys only, sorry to be harsh , but America is but one part of the whole, meaning Australians, New Zealanders, Brits, Germans, Russians, Poles, Fins, Swedes also prepare as well, sure numbers are smaller [ obviously] but never the less, hundreds of thousands prepare as you do, we can help you as you can help us, with ideas, suggestions, friendships and support, leave us out and we would not appreciate that, so don't become insular either. So how about someone chiming in [ Doc ] and writing how you would see Ted Koppels Book lights out impacting OTHER nations , that would be great to see, the basics are the same, so how about it ?

  3. great review mow that I have the RD version I dont have to read it LOL

    is this the same Ted Koppel Reporter or another or did I miss that ?

    • Hi JCMS,

      Yup, same guy. Most other reviews about this book spent gobs of words about Koppel's past works. Here's the scoop on him:

      The guy is a news god. He spent two years writing this book because he heard a rumor that FEMA and DHS had no plan for a cyberattack on our grid. After confirming the rumor as fact, he set out to publicize the situation.

      After reading the book, you will likely come to the same conclusion that the ship has sailed so it doesn't matter which particular berth you have on the Titanic. So now the key is personal planning for long term survival without power and WROL…at least for a while.

      • If I recall it was Ted Kopel that made the statement on national TV that they were 10 commandments not 10 suggestions.
        I always liked him but at that moment and since I have had a sincere respect for him it took an immense amount of courage and strength to make himself a dart board for a world at that time was very anti God.
        He placed his career and future at stake and he well knew the possible consequences, I hope his book becomes a best seller many times over.

  4. The government calls it COG (continuance of government) and it is their first priority! On the bright side for preppers, there are only so many resources available at any one time, and even if the average family only has 72 hours of food and water (many don't), then they'll be the ones out cutting each others throats for the last loaf of bread or gallon of milk! Most major food stores have daily deliveries, without them selves are emptied quite quickly! As for the military, how long will it stay viable when they no longer have resources such as food and water for themselves much less the hordes of desperate people who will be quickly and completely dependent on the soup line? And don't forget that the active military only comprises of about 2% of the nation's population, and the U.S. has very long national borders and a lot of enemies (and good-time friends) that will no doubt consider this a good time to act (read invade)! Good Luck! (we'll soon need it IMHO)

  5. Looks like I am going to have to get this book. However, as far as the survival mindset in general goes, I would like to point out that I originally trained as an archaeologist. This brought out some interesting points. Every civilization that we know of has collapsed. Except the current one. All governments that we know of have also collapsed. Except the current crop. Therefore, if you were a betting individual, where would you place your bet? It's not a question of if, the questions are when, how badly, and for how long?

    I have talked to some people who argued that a worst case scenario would see us dropping back to Civil War era technology. My personal bias is that may be optimistic for a worst case scenario. Civil War era technology, while quite robust in some respects, nevertheless could end up needing rather extensive trading networks to make it viable in some areas of the country/globe (hard to make good black powder firearms with no iron ore and/or sulfur available). Unfortunately I never did get into flint knapping, but that might be a skill that could be worthwhile to have in one's bag of tricks.

    • I doubt flint knapping will be required. We have metal everywhere and a blackout or even EMP won't change that. The kanppers did so due to lack of better materials. Natives in Greenland chipped pieces off iron meteorites to build their harpoons and fishhooks. Those in smaller equatorial islands made knives from meteoritic iron beating corners off meteorites with rocks after leaving them in a fire till red hot.

      Even farm fields have chunks of iron from broken plows, etc. that could be harvested. When Steve Arnold of Discovery TV's Meteorite Men was chasing a big one in Kansas, he found tons of scrap metal almost everywhere he searched for meteorites. Add to that bomb casings, railroad slag, and the endless piles of metal garbage, beer cans, car parts we've scattered across this planet.

      Gun parts? Maybe not so much. So metal-working tools will be necessary since building a lathe or bastard file out of hub caps will be a real chore.

  6. Well, Part 2 of the book fell kinda flat, and Part 3 was worthless. Just being honest with you. The book would have been much better if he had stuck with uncovering the silliness of government's planning for a grid failure. He spent way too much time on the Mormon Church, Wyoming, etc. But Part 1 was a good read. thanks

    • Keppel makes it clear that he is writing to a mainstream audience with no allusions of "trafficking in hysteria" as he likes to say. Part 1 is most like a thriller setting the stage for what will come. And he did a good job of beating that dead horse. But then further exploration of the government black hole does nothing useful. Blame was assigned, and then it was time to move on.

      The point is that since "Lights Out" or "L∅" as I like to write it, has yet to come, the next layer is to explore places and people who are more prepared than others. I get that many are fascinated with the Mormans and rural spaces when it comes to a major disasters. But then again Mr. Koppel did fail to mention that the LDS headquarters are in one of the US's biggest potential earthquake locations with the US's largest non-drinkable water supply.

      Parts 2 and 3 are a documentation of the situation beyond the transformers sprinkled with opinions. I believe it was written with the target audience of big city important folks who are deep into the workings of electronic society. I suspect that anyone reading this far into the comments section of a Survival Cache review either knows or could have thought of most of the doomsday content in the book. But think about this: a major American news anchor just wrote a bestseller mass-market book directly addressing exactly what you think about regularly. Which is exactly why preppers and survivalists are so critical about books like this. Ted treads on our turf. But we must be part of the solution now that the survival discussion has moved out of your basement and into the boardroom.

      Some peppers wanted a monopoly on information and relished in their belief that when the chips, survival victory will be theirs and theirs alone. Real American survival is a group effort and Ted is just doing his part. Popular prepare fiction uses character development, cliff hangers, and romance to fuel it's plot. Lights Out has no plot. It is a collection of related news stories presented as such. But there is still plenty of room for the more advanced survivalist to connect the dots and color outside the lines. Imagine what would happen if Mr. Koppel endorsed stockpiling weapons and ammo. Well, he sort of did but don't advertise that. I think most missed it.

      Just curious T2P, what hot topics do you think were absent from the book. Mormons and Wyoming are easy targets to point to for newbies. But imagine a companion book that helps the concerned to the next level. That's my idea, by the way. Buy his book. Get scared. Then buy my book. Get prepared.

  7. Why do you have to come on with this newbie stuff? It is no secret that the Mormon Church has been stockpiling food for decades. It's also no secret that Wyoming is in the middle of nowhere, and sparsely populated. And no I didn't miss his behind the scenes effort to get us to stockpile weapons and ammo. I was happily surprised that he used several Bible references, also. I didn't ask for cliff hangers and romance either. I was disappointed that he didn't address the race issue which will immediately come to the murderous forefront as soon as the lights go out. Koppel is not to blame, but it would be nice if just one Government official had admitted the stark truth that almost no one will survive when the grid goes down. Evidently Jeh Johnson has surrounded himself with lackeys instead of competent assistants. Very discouraging, since as we speak Iran is moving a fleet of their ships into the Atlantic. Remember they have been practicing for an emp attack against us with these very ships they are deploying. Anyway in closing, none of us has yet to grasp just how very very bad life will be after the lights go out. Best to you and God bless.

    • You've got a point. Maybe I am thinking the entry-level crowd is less adept than they are. But when talking about the collapse of the US just because some hacker pulls the collective plug, I get deer in the headlights.

      Koppel's work won't save us. But it will give the" informed" a heads-up that when the first indications of such an event are in play, we will have a 10-minute head start before the hoards pick up the scent.

      The scary truth is that when Koppel's work is active news, nothing matters but what you prepared for.

      • I think any community needs to cater to the newbie if not, then where are your new members from ?
        We all had to start somewhere, we do not need to make them feel unwelcome.

        At some time we were all new, I look for many more to join a life predicated on personal responsibility, I just hope they get prepped in time before a natural or man made disaster comes IMHO

      • The scary truth, is also the unbridled horror, because you are 1000% correct when you say, "Nothing matters but what we are prepared for," and if I may add, "Not only what we are prepared for, but morally speaking, what depths we are willing to sink to for continued survival." Not a pretty sight, is it? But always, best wishes, and appreciate your articles. PS: Do you think the downing of the Russian Airliner will be a game changer? Your thoughts, please.

        • I'd bet the airline crashed because of a tail failure. It's happened before and the particular Airbus in question did have a significant incident with it's tail years earlier.

          Boeing planes are massively overbuilt using a design philosophy for a decades-long service life and hundreds of thousands of cycles on the parts. Airbus, on the other hand, is more, well, disposable, if you will with less robust parts that are designed to be swapped out.

          My guess is shoddy repair to the damaged tail fatigued over time and caused a catastrophic failure during cruse flight at 33k feet.

          This crash will revive discussion about Air France 447 and American Airlines 587.

          Sad all the way around regardless. But we'll just have to wait and see.

          • Thanks, I was not aware of the mechanic problems with Airbus's products. Very said indeed, that people died such a horrifying death. thanks again

          • the Airbus is to my mind/opinion is the Ford Pinto of the air,
            If Boeing had that same record I doubt they would be in business

    • Hey wally, I have read David Crawford's book, 'Lights Out'. I would recommend it. I wondered the same thing about copyright, but I'm betting that when people search for one, they find the others too and Crawford gets some free advertising and then sales.

  8. Seems to me that being a "Mormon" and a lifelong "prepper", SOME of Koppel's comments are true, most are pure speculation at best in regards to the Mormons and Wyoming. Yes, one of the tenets of the LDS (Mormon) faith is self-reliance for PERSONAL "emergencies", illness, loss of job, etc, so you can NOT be an EBT card carrying FEMA-camp delegate. There is nothing wrong with self reliance at all for anyone who chooses to practice it. However, in the Utah Mormon "culture" there is a tendency to muddy the waters in actual preparation, while many LDS members are far more prepared than their neighbors are, many are woefully NOT prepared at all, and these will also become statistics. In the Bible, in the parable of the Bridegroom and the 10 Virgins, we see illustrated that fully 50% of the followers failed to prepare for the feast they KNEW was imminent and the door was closed to them. So it will be with my fellow LDS members who have willingly chosen to fail to prepare. My good decent neighbors who also prepare and are not LDS will be light years ahead of my fellow congregants. That IS as it should be. Those of us who choose to prepare to the best of our abilities regardless of religious affiliation can preach all day long to those who refuse to or are too lazy to prepare for the storms of life that surely come to all of us. Most of the time, that preaching falls on deaf ears. So be it. My like minded neighbors and I can sleep a whole lot better.

    • I'm with you on this. Just today I was considering what neighbors I'd want in my group if something were to happen. Had a decent number going but they'd be the ones who'd have gotten out of Denver first. Rats…

  9. I just finished this book and Doc your review is right on target having listen to Ted Koppel on Coast to Coast and watching him on the Charlie Rose show I wish main stream media would include him on their shows forget Keystone as a job creator fixing the power grid would employ many more and last longer that is what America needs before it's too late this book is a must read tell your congressmen to get their shit together.

  10. I will probably buy and read the book…as the subject matter (short-term disasters) fits within what I prep for. However…this country has had a number of =regional= blackouts–the one back in 2003 comes to mind. It lasted a couple of days in Ohio (where I was living) and there was surprisingly little disruption. I wasn't prepping back then–but I did have some water squirreled away, which is what we needed because that DID run out where I was. I now live in Iowa, and an ice storm left us without power for something like 30 hours a few years ago. Luckily we had a gas stove and a working fireplace ! I could see where things could get…Interesting…a week or two after the lights go out. but…three days ? Feeling skeptical about that.


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