Homelessness and Military Veterans

by Chris Vegvary

One thing I can’t understand is why there are so many military veterans out there without homes. Not just without homes, but living out there on the streets, struggling for survival, sleeping in parks or trash or wherever they can find that’s warm enough to keep them alive for the night. I just don’t get it. I’m all for equality among people and everything, but these people have served in the military and then kind of just discarded by anyone in a position to really do anything to stop it from happening. Honey Boo-Boo gets a reality TV show and becomes a celebrity for being whatever it is they’re supposed to be, but meanwhile, there’s a Vietnam veteran that got his legs blown off wheeling himself around on the sidewalk asking for change because he doesn’t have anything. Is anyone else disgusted by this?

I’ve never been homeless, but I know people who have been, and I’ve been told it’s not fun. I don’t need to go through something like that to know it’s not a good experience, and I think that probably goes for almost everyone else out there in the world. So why do we ignore the people who have helped keep the country (and by extension, us) safe when they’re asking for help? Yeah, you can throw them a little bit of change as you walk by on your way to wherever it is you’re in a hurry to, but that change is only going to go so far.

Luckily, cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake City are joining in on a plan to end homelessness among veterans. I lived in Phoenix, and while Arizona seems to have its share of problems (corrupt police officers and officials, high crime rate, etc.), this is a step in the right direction. I’ve never been to Salt Lake City and know nothing about the place, but I’m glad they’re stepping up and doing something about this issue that’s been going on probably since the beginning of war, I’m sure.

This blog isn’t intended to be a guilt trip, but an eye-opener. However, if you do feel a twinge of guilt as you look over all these words, then maybe you have a reason for it. Why not give a little extra change (or a couple dollar-dollar bills, y’all) to the next veteran you see on the side of the road holding a sign asking for help? They helped you, whether you realize it or not, and I’d say it’s about time to start repaying the favor in some way. Let’s get everyone out there a home. I know it can be done, but the naysayers will tell us it can’t. Anything can be done, but it’s a matter of whether people are willing to get up off their lazy asses and actually do something instead of sitting there and telling everyone why it won’t work.

Isn't it time we've gone in to get U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban?

by Mike Giordan
Our Marines have a famous saying. Leave No Man Behind!
U.S.Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been held by some Taliban terrorists for more than 4 years. You can clearly see in this recent photograph that his health is deteriorating and he's only 26!

So Bergdahl is in the Army. Does that mean we leave him behind? HELL NO! It's time we pulled a rescue mission like the good old days. If our military can sneak in and get Bin Laden, surely we can find and rescue a U.S. military soldier. I know there were those who say he deserted and deserves what he gets, but that may just be rumors. Without proof, he's still a U.S. soldier and we should get him back. We can figure out the truth after he is retrieved. I mean, there are also rumors that he is now a Taliban, and that he hates the U.S. Nobody really knows - whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Take for instance the rumor that Bergdahl was teaching his captors how to make bombs. The Pentagon has disproved that rumor. So maybe, these other rumors are also lies. Either way, the man is still a U.S. citizen and he should be rescued.  
 I'm sure some will say that these terrorists will eventually let him go. They did agree to let him go last June -  if we released several of their important Guantanamo Bay prisoners. We all know that's not going to happen, so there he sits, never knowing if this is his last day alive. 

If, and it's probably a big if, our military were to rescue Bergdahl, it would send a clear message to terrorists around the globe that the U.S., not just the Marines, leaves NO man behind! This single mission could help decrease the likelihood of this kind of thing from happening again. What is happening to this country?

We used to rescue soldiers and even civilians that were held hostage. These days it seems like it's left up to the families of the victims to try to find a way to rescue their loved ones, and these families do not have the resources that our government has. Wake up America! Rescue this guy already!

Another benefit to this rescue, and it's a big one, is the return of patriotism to this country. I remember 9-11 and the patriotism that this country had after the attacks! In my lifetime, I never saw Democrats, Republicans, Independents and even Liberals ALL display their flags! For the first time in my life we seemed to be a UNITED America! 

UPDATE - This was written months ago and a lot has come out and changed since I wrote this. The big news as I'm sure everyone knows is that he has been traded for some high level terrorists. Also 4 of our men died trying to save this guy. Seems to me that Obama would rather free terrorists to save a guy who it now seems was a deserter. Still, until his day in court, we should not condemn him. Seems to me though that the President was wrong in making a trade. The future harm the released terrorists will surely do far outweighs the actions of the President. I still think if we rescued this guy there would have been less casualties than the 4 men who lost their lives and all the other Americans who may die because of the release of the terrorists that were traded. Since when did America trade with terrorists and for that matter one for five???
What ever happened to BRAVERY? Us going in and rescuing this guy.... for all we know this guy wasn't worth saving - but again, let's not pass that judgement until there is a trial and a verdict.

Camping Tools – What I Would Bring

by Chris Vegvary

As you may know from one of my previous blogs (entitled “Is Camping Fun?”), I’m not big on camping. I believe I’ve been camping a total of three or four times in my life, but I’m not really sure. What I am sure of is that I didn’t like it one bit. Turns out I like technology too much to just go off the grid for a couple of days out in the wilderness. Chances are that I won’t be going camping again anytime soon, but if there is ever a possibility that I may have to, I’ve made a list of the things I’d like to bring along with me.

For starters, I have no idea how to start a fire, and I imagine I’d have no luck in making one by rubbing two sticks together, no matter how long I tried. Therefore, I’d probably want to take something like this Swedish Firesteel Scout, which is good for three thousand strikes and works for starting a fire in any weather. Some may consider this more survivalist or somehow “cheating” in some way, but guess what? If I need to start a fire real quick, I’ll have that option, whereas we’ll see how long it takes you to rub two sticks together. Bring it.

You know what I don’t like at all? Insects. Especially the ones that bite and leave itchy red marks, and that is encountered a lot when you’re out camping. Don’t deny it, don’t tell me you love the thrill of nature or anything weird like that. Instead, I would say to you that you need to try some form or brand of insect repellant to keep the hungry little critters from devouring you throughout the day and night. You think it’s not worth it now? Wait until you wake up being carried off by some pretty serious-looking ants the size of club bouncers, then come talk to me about not wanting to keep bugs away. It’s a real eye-opener.

Lastly, but not leastly, I want to know where I’m going at all times. People like myself aren’t going to know where the crap to look for the North Star, or how to use the sun to tell which direction I’m going. Getting lost in the woods is not appealing to me, what with all the…you know, nature and whatnot. Also, I like to know what time it is. However can I combine the two to make something that will tell me the time as well as which direction I’m headed? Oh, how about BOOM: here’s a military field watch with a compass attached to it. Were you expecting THAT? Of course you were, you’re always two steps ahead of me.

So while I don’t foresee any possible future where I’ll be camping anytime in the near future, I realize that it could happen, and if so, I want to be prepared for it. Hopefully, if you’re like me and have no idea what to bring on a camping trip, this article may have helped you to be ready for whatever comes. Just remember to keep the bugs away.

Military Clothing for Cold Weather

by Chris Vegvary

If you’re like me, you don’t really care where your clothing comes from, as long as it’s clean (and in most cases, new), fits well, and keeps you warm when you need to be. Unfortunately for those of us with thin blood, winter is here and that means cold weather. While this is all going on out there in the world, I figured it might help if you took a look at some military clothing to help you out during these cold times.

First things first: you want a decent jacket that’s going to help you keep warm when you’re out in the snow. I submit to you that this snorkel parka can help do the job, what with its water-repellent nylon shell a fur trim hood. Not too shabby, I’d say, and it’s something I’d rather have than my current jacket. Warm enough, but too large for me. With this, the snow melting on you would just turn to water and roll off the jacket, which is more than enough reason for me to want one.

Next up, I would say you probably want a good pair of gloves. I don’t know about you, but when my hands get cold, I find it hard to function, especially if I have to drive or anything. With that in mind, and the possibility of having to thrust your hand into some snow in order to open a vehicle door, for example, I would go with the Seal Skinz Chillblocker Gloves, which not only provide protection from the cold with many layers, but they are also waterproof. Not too shabby if you happen to drop your keys into a snow mound or something of the like.

But in order to keep most of your body heat in, a jacket and gloves might not be enough. Sure, there’s snow boots and snow pants, but even that might prove to be less than you want. When it gets cold, you want to wear as many layers as you can. I suppose that actually depends on the situation you’re in, but you might consider wearing something thermal. In that case, I would recommend these selections of military thermal underwear to really help keep in the warmth.

While that stuff in itself might not be enough to keep you warm, in particular, well…at least it’s a start. It’s military clothing, but the items I’ve listed seem warm enough and water-resistant enough, and if I had the money to spend, you can bet that’s how I’d be dressing this winter. While I’ll have to make do with what I have, if you can spend the extra money, it would probably be worth it this winter, what with the temperature being -20 degrees in some places. Just saying.

Survival Items: What You Might Need – Part 5

by Chris Vegvary

What kind of survivalist are you? Do you think that the supposedly pending apocalypse will come from nuclear devastation of some kind, or do you believe it might start with a zombie attack? Whatever you believe in terms of how it’s all going to end, you’re going to need the gear to help you survive the aftermath. There are many items to consider, and in this article, we’ll consider a survival situation and what you might need in that instance.

Alright, this time aliens have invaded the Earth. After a devastating air assault, followed by a ground assault to wipe out any remaining resistance, the world is pretty much done at this point. However, you and probably some other have survived. Do you have a kerosene lamp with plenty of fuel and extra wicks? Hopefully you read this article in time and prepared for the worst. It’s likely the alien attacks will have wiped out all or most forms of communication, as well as electrical devices, meaning no lights and no heat.

What if there is also some kind of biological contagion released in the air? It’s possible that this contagion spreads quickly, causing its victims to either die a slow, painful death, or possibly mutate into horrific creatures. Either way, you don’t want to catch it. There’s one way to make sure that doesn’t happen: get yourself a gas mask and some extra filters for it. The last thing you want when leading the rebellion against the aliens is to end up falling prey to their nasty future weapons, and all possibilities should be considered. We don’t want to underestimate them, that’s what got us in this situation in the first place.

Since electronics won’t work due to no electricity, it’s possible that the aliens’ attacks did not corrupt every single electronic device on the planet. Clinging to that hope, you’ve kept items like your cellphone and maybe an iPod handy so that the world will have some form of music in the future, despite what your preferences regarding that may be. You’ll have no way to charge any devices, though, right? Wrong, I tell you. With this solar charger, all you’ll need to get all that stuff working again is the sun. The only issue will arise if they have already thought that far ahead, and either wipe out any chance of electronics working across the globe, or they block out the sun. Either way is terrifying.

Now you’re a little better prepared in case this horrible future ever comes to pass. But if we plan now, maybe we won’t need to stock up on these kinds of items. It’s always good to be prepared, so I would think that if aliens DO attack anytime in the near future, you’re going to be ready to lead us all to a brighter tomorrow by surviving the apocalypse and wasting some alien scum.

Survival Items: What You Might Need – Part 4

by Chris Vegvary

What kind of survivalist are you? Do you think that the supposedly pending apocalypse will come from nuclear devastation of some kind, or do you believe it might start with a zombie attack? Whatever you believe in terms of how it’s all going to end, you’re going to need the gear to help you survive the aftermath. There are many items to consider, and in this article, we’ll consider a survival situation and what you might need in that instance.

Let’s say that this time around, there’s been a massive flood that wipes out most, if not all, land out there. For some reason or another (maybe you were in a boat or something), you were lucky enough to get away from the rising tide and survive. Not only that, but you were able to get some of your survival gear, which in this case includes a plastic matchbox full of wooden, “strike anywhere” matches. Not that they’ll necessarily help you out in this event, seeing as all land could be submerged underwater at this point, but there’s always a possibility. Let me put it this way: you’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I mean, it’s the end of the world here, right?

You know what else might be good in this situation? Some waterproof clothing. The last thing you want in a world full of water is to go around wearing something wet. While you’ll always be out there among the water now that the world works that way, there are ways of making it easier on you. Consider, if you will, this pair of Sealskinz Waterproof All Season Socks to keep the water from soaking your feet, hence, keeping you from being colder than you no doubt already are. It may not be the first thing you think of, but I’m confident that something like this will help out in this horrifying watery new world.

While there are many things out there to consider in this situation, it might also be prudent to keep a journal of your thoughts through these dreary apocalyptic days. But let’s keep in mind that you may be on a rickety boat or raft, and no matter how much you write, the water eventually soaks your notebook, making it all a waste of effort. Ah ha, though…you thought ahead and brought a whole bunch of pens and whatnot, but you also got a waterproof notebook so that this end-of-the-world scenario can be ever so slightly less bleak.

No matter how you look at it, the end of the world is going to be a bad thing. Rioting, looting, murder, and worse…what can we do? We can consider many, if not at some point eventually ALL, of the possibilities that may lie ahead. This may not be what you’re looking for, but hopefully it helps you in some small way to prepare.

Survival Items: What You Might Need – Part 3

by Chris Vegvary

What kind of survivalist are you? Do you think that the supposedly pending apocalypse will come from nuclear devastation of some kind, or do you believe it might start with a zombie attack? Whatever you believe in terms of how it’s all going to end, you’re going to need the gear to help you survive the aftermath. There are many items to consider, and in this article, we’ll consider a survival situation and what you might need in that instance.

A hole has opened up in the earth, and strange, Lovecraft-ian monsters are pouring out from another dimension. Think In the Mouth of Madness, or Stephen King’s The Mist. Chances of survival in a situation like that may not be very high, but there are ways to increase your odds. For instance, here you can find a Camper’s Sure Pak, which comes with twelve meals and a flameless ration heater so you can stay warm. Be sure to stock up on rations, because without food, you’re going to have to go out in search of some, and you risk being attacked by giant tentacled creatures or other desperate survivors.

You may run out of electricity fairly quickly, especially if these monsters are smart and disable power grids and such. It’s a possibility we can’t rule out, and we have to be as prepared as we can be. Luckily, there’s such a thing as a wind-up flashlight that might just come in handy for this type of situation. It can provide eight minutes of light per charge, but again, stock up on these, because if you break one…well, you’re probably not going to want to let it get broken. Running past creatures in the dark is not fun.

Let’s say you don’t have a flashlight that works, not even a wind-up one. You need to see what’s going on out there in the dark, maybe you even need to see something that’s a good distance away, but you’ve got no way to see anything without a flashlight, right? Wrong. While you could simply go out there without a source of light and just hope for the best, it’s not recommended, because you may get torn apart or eaten (or both). Stay low and stay hidden, and pull out your night-vision binoculars to get the view you need without exposing your position to the beasts.

This may not be a likely scenario, but you can’t really discount anything when it comes to the end of the world. We know that if it happens, it’s going to be devastating, but hopefully I’ve imparted even the slightest bit of wisdom to anyone who will listen, regardless of whether any of this stuff comes to pass or not. Don’t thank me…I feel like it’s my job to help.