Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
Right now there are riots in Jerusalem, wildfires bearing down on Los Angeles and unannounced missiles launching out of North Korea. The world is a powder keg and all it takes is one spark to set it off — which is why it’s more important than ever to be prepared.
Help me help you get ready for whatever may come. Send your preparedness questions to SPYfeedback@LFB.org. Because by the time the match is lit, it will be too late.
In the meantime, take a look at this week’s mailbag, which features questions on picking locks, staying fit at any age, evacuating from urban areas and digging tunnels.
Here we go…
I lost the keys to the rear gate of my Ford wagon; I hope your lock pick kit will get me in. Will it?
— George H.
Unfortunately, George, most car door locks are nearly impossible to pick without destroying the lock.
However, if you purchase my Escape & Evasion Training Lock and Lock Pick Set, you’ll also receive the following 10-piece set of covert jiggler keys, which can open the doors on some older-model vehicles.
These jiggler keys are made of durable stainless steel and work on both pin tumbler and wafer locks. I recommend trying them first because trying to pick the lock with traditional lock-picking tools will only damage your vehicle and won’t put you any closer to unlocking it.
I purchased the lock pick and training lock set. I tried to follow the video but I failed to open the training lock. I looked closely at which tumblers opened and which was closed. Of the seven tumblers, numbers five and six would not open all the way. I spent over one hour trying and gave up. The pick could go all the way down to the end so the tumblers appear to be open — but it is not, as the lock will not open. Please advise me as to what to do or send me some detailed instructions. Thanks.
— Melvin T.
Lock picking is a handy skill to have and a fairly easy one to learn. To open a standard lock, you’ll need two tools: a tension wrench and an L-rake. The L-rake is designed to push the cylinder pins into the correct position. The tension wrench is used to apply pressure to the lock. Once the lock is picked, the wrench turns the lock, opening the door.
All that being said, I realize it’s easier to demonstrate this skill visually, which is why I’ve prepared a special report complete with illustrations and detailed instructions to teach this valuable skill.
If you did not purchase this report along with your E&E Training Lock and Lock Pick Set, simply call our customer service team at (844) 449-6514 to order a copy and have it rushed straight to your door.
I am 76 years old now and despite my efforts to remain fit, I can see that my physical capabilities are slowly deteriorating. Surely I cannot run as fast or as far as I could 10–12 years ago. Cade talks about doing more today than yesterday. Good in theory and easy when you are 20–30 or so — maybe even up to 50–60. But gee, now I am more concerned just about not deteriorating quite as fast!
— Brooks M.
When trying to remain fit, Brooks, the most important thing is to always give 100% and make sure you’re doing your best.
To develop your physical toughness, Cade suggests answering the following four questions every day (all answers should be yes):
- Did I physically challenge my body today?
- Did I elevate my heart rate and breathing today?
- Did I exercise longer or faster today than yesterday?
- Will I exercise longer or faster tomorrow than I did today?
The bottom line is as we all age, we do slow down. But I know plenty of people in their 70s and 80s who still work out daily. Sure, they might not be able to do as much as they used to, but they’re still in relatively good shape and giving it their all every day.
Thanks for the publication! One subject that personally interests me: What about actions a 60-plus family of two can take for protection when they live in the midst of a 15 million-population jammed urban area? I have always said that if the LA area were ordered evacuated, lines of cars and walking wounded would still be progressing at the end of the week after the evacuation order. So likely it will be bunker at home. What defensive and survival items, etc., would be essential?
— Jason S.
Unless you are able to evacuate ahead of time (basically before the evacuation has even been ordered) you are absolutely right that it will be difficult for that many people to leave the city safely within a reasonable amount of time.
If you plan to stay put during an emergency, I recommend stockpiling at least 30 days’ worth of food and water. Ideally, you should try to build up a year’s supply of food, but at the bare minimum, you should have enough for 30 days.
Of course, you should also have a generator (one that’s either propane- or solar-powered) and other basic emergency supplies such as flashlights, plenty of extra batteries, a survival radio, a first-aid kit and any medications you might need.
As far as home defense goes, I strongly recommend making sure you also have guns and ammunition on hand. In a true disaster, the AR-15 is my home defense weapon of choice.
Do you have any information on the hand-diggingof tunnels, mine shafts, wells or root cellars?
— Karl B.
I have to be honest, Karl, digging a tunnel without heavy equipment can be difficult and usually takes a long time.
Ideally, you want to dig your tunnel into the side of a hill or embankment, and you need to make sure you have at least twice as much dirt above the tunnel as the height of the tunnel itself. For instance, a three-foot high tunnel should have a minimum of six feet of dirt above it to reduce the chances of a collapse.
As you dig your tunnel, use two-by-fours to hold up pieces of plywood on the tunnel’s ceiling to provide extra support. The fact is digging a tunnel can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, so I advise using extreme caution when doing so.