Survival Food: What to Do When the Government Finally Gives Up
Also Inside: The (Oh-So-Profitable) History of America in a Single Ticker… Honoring a Judge Who Deserved to Get Fired… and a Lifesaving Product That Hasn’t Let Me Down
The news is not good. West Coast Americans have long feared the earthquake that’s destined to come.
The big one.
We know the earth must shake. We know it will be bad. And now we know the folks in charge of keeping us safe are wholly unprepared.
It’s not us drawing that conclusion… it’s them. In fact, after one of the largest emergency drills in history, the best officials could do was kick off a $750,000 campaign to – get this – urge folks to protect themselves.
With the government and its multitude of agencies unable to perform, the folks in charge tossed up their hands and told citizens they’d be on their own when trouble struck.
Their advice? Have at least a couple weeks of food on hand. It’s with that idea in mind that we put pen to paper this month.
The idea for a large-scale exercise came after the devastating 2011 earthquake that rocked Japan and sent deadly radiation spewing across the Pacific.
It wasn’t just the loss of life or the underwhelming response to the crisis that caught attention. No, with Japan off the list, the Pacific Northwest was suddenly left as the only major subduction zone around the infamous “Ring of Fire” without a major earthquake in the last 50 years.
In fact, the last time the Cascadia zone “went off” was January 26, 1700.
It’s clear we may be due for a bit of a shake-up.
That’s why officials in the area wanted to test the region’s disaster response. For nearly two years, they planned the big event – a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake followed by, just as happened in Japan, a tsunami.
The experts involved in the drill say it’s not a matter of if… but when a quake like this will come.
We’ll cut right to the results.
Here’s what the recently released “after action report” of the event had to say…
The state’s current mindset and approach to disaster response is not suitable to a catastrophic scale incident.
That’s right… with more than two years to get ready for the event and under virtually ideal conditions, the government, its chosen agencies and their massive taxpayer-funded bank accounts failed to meet their goals.
We aren’t surprised.
We’ve seen how the sausage is made… and it’s not pretty.
The Best of Plans
Again, this drill occurred under dream circumstances. The players knew it was going to happen. They even knew the scenario.
Unlike in real emergencies that happen randomly, the folks in charge weren’t on vacation, their teams weren’t understaffed and they weren’t slaughtered by the element of surprise.
But perhaps the biggest difference between this event and a true mega-emergency is responders didn’t have the horrific mental fatigue of knowing that their families were dead or dying and their homes were destroyed.
In a real disaster, this has proven to be a game changer… even forcing many responders to quit and walk off the job.
But that wasn’t the case in the drill. The folks participating were excited to be there – they thought they could pass the test.
We give grand credit to the folks who put together the “after action report.” They took their job seriously and clearly learned from the incident.
Their review listed many areas of breakdown.
Staffing was a big one. Many of the agencies weren’t just understaffed; they were undertrained. As we’ve seen in one emergency after another, training responders how to adequately work with other agencies is critical.
In this case, teams fell far short of their mark.
Another area of failure was in taking the plan from theory to practice. Many agencies had plans on paper but had never bothered to test them out or train to them.
Again, it led to problems.
What’s worse is the plans seemed to make it difficult for folks to make impromptu decisions. One area of the report cited a “lack of adaptive solutions to implement lifesaving needs.”
One of the most important survival (and leadership) skills is the ability to adapt.
But, of course, communications failures were the standout in the review.
Participants weren’t sure who to listen to. They didn’t know who had authority and who didn’t. And they simply didn’t know how to talk with two agencies at once.
But there was a bright spot. When all else failed, amateur radio was there to fill in the gaps.
“Numerous jurisdictions utilized amateur radio effectively to coordinate in a communications-degraded environment,” the report said. “Amateur radio was a critical mechanism for backup communications.”
It’s more proof that we must not rely on the government.
The Loner Survivor
We don’t blame the folks for trying. In fact, we commend them for trying. After all, despite the flaws, they still save lives and keep countless folks protected.
But, ultimately, survival is up to us. In a real emergency, we’re all alone.
That’s exactly what the man in charge of the event concluded.
“Long term what we’re looking to build here in Western Washington is that sense of self-reliance that the government isn’t going to be here to help immediately,” said Robert Ezelle, director of the state’s Emergency Management Division. “We have to be prepared to take care of ourselves for a period of time.”
But we’ll up the ante.
Ezelle and his colleagues concluded that Americans must have at least two weeks of food on hand. We say that’s good… but it’s way short of the mark.
Just look at some of the figures.
In a real quake of this magnitude, the number of fatalities and folks in need is utterly staggering.
FEMA estimated that Washington state alone would suffer 8,440 fatalities and 12,114 injuries in the initial earthquake and tsunami. And it goes on to say those numbers do “not account for exposure, disease, dehydration, starvation, or follow on tsunamis and aftershocks.”
In all, the National Guard calculates 1,274,327 people would need food and water supplied to them. It figured 507,701 homes would be damaged or destroyed. And it counted on providing emergency shelter for 410,127 people.
It’s plain silly to think any agency can handle a disaster of that magnitude.
In several recent disasters – like the fires and hurricanes that ravaged the country this summer – numbers that equate to a mere fraction of this sort of scale caused havoc.
Again, we’d be ignorant to think any magical combination of bureaucracy can serve that many people.
In fact, we argue the very fact that the government is telling folks to prepare with two weeks of food is proof it knows it can’t get the job done.
We are sure the folks in charge would love to tell Americans to have many more preparations at hand… but that doesn’t send a good message the next time they try to raise our taxes or ask for our vote.
But we aren’t afraid to speak the facts. We’re not looking for any votes. The truth is if a big disaster strikes, you are on your own. That’s why we beg readers to be able to sustain themselves indefinitely.
It’s not hard. It just takes some simple Know-How. We start by detailing one important idea.
We lead this month’s issue with an article penned by my good friend and right-hand man at Manward, A.R. Moschina. He outlines everything it takes to grow food year-round, no matter where you live.
The rather ingenious method is cheap and simple, and it could save your life. I saw it in action last year as I explored several off-grid homesteads in remote stretches of Belize.
After that, I take the pen again and offer the details of a stock that every one of us should own. It’s the epitome of an American success story. And it’s poised to make its shareholders a lot of money over the next 12 months.
Plus, we add a new feature this month… a product review. Keeping with our survival theme, I take a look at a product I recently purchased that I now believe all of us should have on hand every day.
Bottom line… if this issue doesn’t save your life, it’s at least a very good read.
Secure Your Family’s Health in an Emergency With This Ultra-Cheap, Easy-to-Build Food System
by A.R. Moschina
What we’re about to share is essential Know-How for every man. It’s a way to grow a sustainable crop of food – anywhere – at virtually any scale.
Whether you live on a 2-acre microfarm or at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac, this simple trick can ensure you have a steady supply of vitamin-rich fruits and veggies at your disposal… no matter what’s happening outside your door.
What we’re talking about is hydroponic farming.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a method of growing plants without soil.
As the “hydro” in the name suggests, this is most often done in water.
The advantages of hydroponic farming over traditional farming are numerous. For one thing, you can grow anywhere: indoors, outdoors… even vertically. Because of this, hydroponic gardens yield more crops in less space.
Even better, those crops require only 10% of the water soaked up by field-grown plants.
Consider the system we lay out here as a jumping-off point. It can be scaled up (or down) to produce as much food as you need.
With tools and materials in hand, you should be up and running in less than an hour’s time.
And if you’re thrifty, the materials, minus the lighting rig (see note on Page 5), should cost you less than 10 bucks.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Aquarium bubbler/air pump
- Aquarium tubing (should come with bubbler)
- Net cups
- Rockwool cubes (aka “starter plugs”)
- A 1-gallon (or larger) plastic pail with lid.
You’ll also need a drill and an appropriately sized bit to make holes in the pail lid. The exact size will depend on the width of the net cups you’ll be using (and what you’re growing). For our purposes, we’re assuming 2-inch net cups and, thus, a 2-inch hole saw bit.
To get started, make evenly spaced 2-inch holes in the pail lid, along with one smaller hole for the aquarium tubing to feed through (see diagram below).
With holes made – and debris cleared – set your bubbler in the pail. Run the tubing up the side of the pail and out the small hole you made. This will allow for aeration, which is vital to healthy nutrient circulation. (As an added bonus, aeration in a hydroponic system helps your seedlings grow much faster than they would if they were planted in soil.)
Next, fill the pail with water. The water should be practically touching the lid.
With that all done, it’s time to focus on your actual plants…
Planting the Seeds of Your Survival
This is where the Rockwool cubes come in. Also known in the hydroponic growers’ world as “starter plugs,” they’re great for sucking up water, air and important nutrients, which are then pulled into your plants’ roots.
You’ll want to soak your Rockwool cubes in water for at least an hour before using.
Then, once the Rockwool is saturated, push a couple seeds into the center of each cube. Set a cube into each net cup.
Place the net cups into the 2-inch holes you drilled in the pail lid, as the third piece of our diagram shows.
Now plug in your bubbler and set the entire system beneath your lighting rig. You’ve just built your own miniature hydro-farm.
Depending on the types of plants you start with, seedlings should emerge within a matter of days. You’ll be harvesting your first crop of organic, healthy food in just a few weeks’ time.
It’s the perfect setup for anyone who wants to be prepared for the worst… yet lacks the outdoor space to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Heck, even if you have room on your property for an ample-sized garden, growing food indoors can provide added peace of mind.
In an emergency, you can’t count on the local grocer – or the government – to feed your family. Having access to a vitamin- and nutrient-rich food source could be key to your survival.
A few important points: 1. Certain plants are more finicky than others. In some cases, you may need to closely monitor the temperature and pH levels of the water you use. 2. Make sure you clean the pail, bubbler, tubing and net cups before you get started. 3. Keep the area surrounding your hydro-farm clean as well. Unwatched crops can attract pests, just as they would at a regular farm. (We recently created a full video tutorial of this process. To view it, go to facebook.com/ManwardPress/videos.)
A Note About Lighting
Unless you’re setting up in a greenhouse or sunroom, you’re going to need an artificial light source. You have several choices…
Some serious growers prefer high-intensity discharge HID lights, which use lots of electricity and generate a ton of heat. (The upside is that HID lights are powerful enough to grow a full range of produce, from leafy greens to hearty vegetables.) Or you could go with fluorescent lighting, which is cheaper to run but sufficient only if you’re growing lettuce or herbs.
In our view, LED is the way to go. You’ll pay more initially (roughly $100 to $150 for a small to medium-sized setup), but an LED grow lamp can provide adequate lighting to support everything from baby spinach to watermelon. Plus, LED bulbs are far gentler on your energy bill. The trick is to buy a grow lamp that contains both red and blue bulbs. That way you can plant virtually any crop you want.
You should be able to find all three of these options at your local hardware store or garden center. And when all else fails, there’s always Amazon.
Double Your Money Thanks to a Brilliant Acquisition
by Andy Snyder
The story that follows is the story of America. But it’s unlike anything you’ve read before.
It’s a stock recommendation that highlights our nation’s yearning to reward folks who possess an entrepreneurial spirit and an insatiable appetite for economic freedom.
Different from the typical history lesson… this one has the very real potential to make you rich.
The company I’m going to tell you about was once the largest bomb maker in the country. It supported America’s war efforts during the First World War by quickly retooling its factory floor and building the weapons that helped us win the war.
But long before that, Charles Smith started a business that specialized in “hardware specialties.” It was a one-man shop with a massive entrepreneurial spirit.
Charles launched the business in 1874 by making small parts for bicycles.
It didn’t take long before business was so brisk that he had to ask his sons to join.
As the nation transformed, so did their products. Soon, they were selling steel car frames to the nation’s budding auto industry. They had just about every major carmaker on their list of customers – Ford, Cadillac, Oldsmobile… you name it.
They were masters at all things metal.
The Smiths rarely got the credit for their transformative products. Instead, they were the ones working behind the scenes, putting hammer to steel to get the job done.
They pioneered new manufacturing techniques, found better, stronger ways to weld and even revolutionized the science behind beer kegs.
In fact, it’s that last innovation that has perhaps shaped A.O. Smith (AOS) into the company it is today.
The Power of Beer
Historians will be the first to tell you that beer had much to do with the direction of America’s history.
From the Pilgrims deciding to land at Plymouth Rock because they were nearly out of beer to James Madison’s proposal of a national brewery to ensure we never run short (think of it as a strategic reserve not for oil or gold… but for beer) to Henry Clay, the beer-drinking goat elected the mayor of Lajitas, Texas, in the late 1980s… beer means a lot to our country.
But for A.O. Smith, beer led to expansion into a massive new market.
Though the company wasn’t looking to start a brewery…
You see, its engineers had created a way to fuse glass to steel.
At first, the technology was used in kegs and brewery tanks. But in 1936 – just as modern plumbing codes came to America – the company found a whole new use for the idea.
It was perfect timing. As America’s middle class grew and suburbia crawled out of the nation’s cities like the ground-lifting roots of a maple tree, A.O. Smith quickly became the leader in glass-lined water heaters.
Some 80 years later, its technology quietly heats the water in nearly every home, apartment and building in America.
They may not be household names, but you’ve surely used the company’s products (most likely within the last hour).
It produces brands like…
- State Water Heaters
- American Water Heaters
- U.S. Craftmaster.
Water to Grow
Because of its ubiquitous and essential product lineup, A.O. Smith fits nicely in our Everyman Portfolio.
It’s a steadfast company with strong American operations that gets the majority of its revenues – roughly two-thirds – from right here in the States.
Like I said, the company’s main business is water heaters. It makes them in all shapes and sizes.
That may sound like a boring, staid business, but it’s anything but. Last year marked the seventh straight year of record-breaking sales – with revenue of more than $2.69 billion.
The growth comes from a variety of places.
New home construction is a big source, but so are renovations and efficiency upgrades. Remember, the fine folks in Washington recently mandated that water heaters must have an efficiency rating of 80% or more. This has created a surge in demand for the company’s energy efficient units. Its share of the market recently doubled, giving the company a lock on nearly half the nation’s commercial sales.
The growth has treated shareholders enormously well.
Over the last five years, the stock has surged by more than 330% (see the Appendix for a stunning visualization).
But we’re not in the business of investing by looking in the rearview mirror. That’s no way to get rich.
No, the reason I want you to buy shares of A.O. Smith right away is I’m convinced a recent deal is going to unleash a brand-new source of profits for the company.
It’s already grown its bottom line at a 24% annual clip over the last three years. But thanks to its recent entrance into a brand-new market, that figure is likely to grow even faster.
For generations, A.O. Smith has been a leader in designing and selling innovative water heaters. The strategy has worked quite well… and will continue to work quite well.
But there’s a brand-new opportunity on the horizon – one that could be at the center of our lives within the next few years.
We’ve written about it before. The quality of water across the world is on the decline. Here at home, local water sources are contaminated with pesticides, industrial chemicals and even pharmaceutical drugs like birth control.
It’s a major – and growing – issue (hence our product review that follows).
There’s no doubt that’s why the company is doing gangbusters business in China – particularly in the realm of water treatment. Last year’s 35% surge in the category’s sales to China is proof that the company is onto something big.
A.O. Smith has been working to meet Asia’s growing air and water filtering demands for nearly a decade.
In fact, the company is currently building a massive $65 million manufacturing plant in China to help ensure its recent double-digit sales growth continues well into the future. It’s scheduled to go online early next year.
It will allow the company to ramp up sales across Asia.
But there’s another reason filtering water is about to become very big business for A.O. Smith.
It’s the reason I’m convinced right now is the perfect time to grab shares of the company.
A Domestic Issue
A.O. Smith plunked down $87 million late last year to get its hands on Aquasana – a leading water filter manufacturer here in the U.S.
It wasn’t a huge expenditure. After all, our $10 billion company already has much of the technology it needs.
No, it merely wanted a brand and a foothold in the domestic market. And now that it has them, the company has a clear shot at the $2 billion (and growing) U.S. water treatment market.
“We believe the water quality needs for U.S. consumers are evolving as aging water infrastructure and consumer awareness highlight the increasing number of unhealthy drinking water situations,” the company’s CEO, Ajita Rajendra, recently said. “Acquiring Aquasana is a significant first step to bringing our industry-leading reverse osmosis water treatment technology and innovative product development capabilities to the large and growing U.S. market.”
I expect to see a speedy payback from this brilliant acquisition. We’re buying at the perfect time.
Just as America’s industrial sector has steadily moved from one chapter to the next, so has A.O. Smith.
Investors with the clarity to invest at the beginning of each of those new stories were rewarded handsomely.
Now it’s your turn.
I expect you’ll have the chance to more than double your money over the next 12 months.
A.O. Smith’s traditional water heater market is not going away. But it will get competition on the company’s future income statements.
Just as it went from bikes… to bombs… to car frames… to kegs… to water heaters… there’s a new sales generator under the company’s umbrellas.
We’re getting in at the very beginning of the next big chapter in the company’s history.
It’s American history unfolding in front of us.
Action to Take: Buy shares of A.O. Smith (NYSE: AOS) at market. Immediately enter a 25% trailing stop when you do.
This Must-Have Survival Technology Is a Winner
It’s no secret that the No. 1 asset in a survival situation is water. Without it, you’re dead in a few days. And you’re worthless in even less time.
Within 24 hours of your last drink, the volume of your blood begins to wane. From there, your blood pressure drops, your brain gets fuzzy and your ability to do any physical labor ceases.
You go delirious, then fall unconscious.
What’s worse, when it comes to water, it doesn’t take much to go from normal everyday routine to flat-out trouble.
In modern society, a minor disruption can quickly turn into a major issue.
On our farm, for example, a mere power outage means our well pump won’t run. Without our backup generator, we’d be in serious trouble even during a relatively short-term grid failure.
That’s why I’ve worked hard to ensure we have multiple sources of water.
Until recently, though, I didn’t have anything that was truly portable – at least not portable and easy to use. But earlier this year I bought a LifeStraw Go.
It’s a product you should know about.
But before we go on, I want to ensure that you understand I’m not getting compensated in any way for telling you about the product. The folks at LifeStraw aren’t aware of what I’m writing, and there’s nothing in it for me… except satisfied (safe) readers.
I simply like the product and think you will, too.
You may have seen LifeStraw’s products on TV or at local retailers. The company’s personal water filter put it on the map. It’s essentially a fat metal straw that a person sticks into a water source and sucks on.
As the water travels through the straw, the company’s 0.2-micron filter gets rid of just about anything that can harm a human. It claims to remove 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoan parasites. That’s more than enough to meet EPA standards for water filters.
The straw is a great way to filter remote sources of water. If you’re thirsty and near a stream or pond, just bend over and take a drink.
It’s far easier than traditional purification standards like boiling, using iodine tablets or adding bleach.
But there’s a downside.
To use the company’s main product, a person must be near water. They have to physically bend over, get their face next to the water and take a drink.
In an emergency, it certainly works. But it’s not ideal in anything but a short-term situation.
The LifeStraw Go overcomes that problem. And it does it in a simple – rather ingenious – way.
A Simple Addition
The company merely added a water bottle to the product. To the uninitiated, the Go looks like any ordinary water bottle. It’s about 9 inches tall and slightly more than 3 inches around, and it holds 23 ounces of water. Mine is green.
But here’s what makes it so different… and so useful. The company mounted its filter system in the bottle. That way every sip we take is filtered with the same high-tech filter.
I bought my LifeStraw Go on a trip to the Colorado mountains earlier this year. We went hiking well past the 10,000-foot level. Carrying water for the trek would have been possible but burdensome. Drinking unfiltered water would have been a gamble – with a nasty, lingering downside.
Instead, I relied on my Go. All I needed to do was fill it in the river, in a stream or even in one of the many springs we passed on the way up the mountain.
It was the simplest way to get safe water that I’ve ever used.
Essentially, I had all the water I could drink in a day… and never had to lug more than 2 pounds. When I got back to town after that first test run, I immediately bought another bottle. I was sold.
Again, Nearly Perfect
There are some downsides to the Go.
First, it’s not cheap. I got mine for $35, but I haven’t seen them that cheap since. Most often, they sell online and in stores for about $45.
Also, they do require an occasional replacement filter.
The company claims each filter treats at least 264 gallons of water. That means even if we refill the bottle twice each day, it will still last more than a year. New filters cost about $20.
The other problem I’ve run into in the months since I started using the bottle is it tends to leak when I drink out of it. It could be user error, but a drop or two of water tends to drip each time I drink from the bottle.
It’s certainly nothing that would keep me from using the potentially lifesaving device.
The LifeStraw Go has passed every test I’ve thrown at it. I’ve drunk many gallons of water from it over the past six months – and I’ve put some pretty nasty water through it.
It hasn’t failed me yet.
I recommend you have one and carry it with you wherever you go. It ensures you’ll never be short of water.
Man of Honor
Fighting the Beast That Feeds Him
We believe in marriage. And we believe – for the health of the family, the couple, their kids and society – that divorce should be an option of last resort.
We know that will fluff a few hackles for some of our readership.
But we also know very few men who would ever want to endure the tragedy of divorce again.
So the more we talk about it… the more folks we’ll reach.
We see lots of questions from men on the subject.
“When do I know it’s time?” they ask.
“The spark just isn’t there,” they say as they convince themselves they’ll be happier elsewhere.
Fortunately, despite the prevailing myths from the mainstream press, divorce rates are falling in this country.
Perhaps it’s because the current generation of newlyweds saw the damage and pain caused by their divorce-happy baby boomer parents. Perhaps it’s education. Or, just maybe, it’s thanks to men like Sir Paul Coleridge.
We’ll bet no readers have heard of the man. And if they have, they quickly forgot the name.
But we’re tipping our hat to the former British judge this month because of his efforts to protect the idea of marriage.
His fight was not easy. He was mired in controversy and ended up retiring shortly after receiving a formal reprimand for speaking out.
“I know how consoling and good a good marriage can be and how it gets better over the years and also how ghastly family breakdown can be,” he said at his retirement ceremony. “Something can and should be done to stem the tide of family breakdown. Family judges have a unique experience of this and therefore a unique contribution to make. We should not be afraid to speak out.”
We’ve long argued matters of the family must stay out of the court system at all costs. The black-and-white laws of the legal sphere are too rigid for things related to the pink hues of the heart.
It’s refreshing to hear a judge say the same thing.
Coleridge tells us that he saw misery day after day while on the bench and was helpless to do anything about it.
That’s because British and American courts follow the same antiquated framework known as adversarial litigation. The system is designed to pit one side against the other.
The side with the best argument – i.e., the highest-paid lawyer – wins.
Coleridge likened it to “gladiatorial wars of titans.”
It makes many divorces unnecessarily divisive… and expensive.
The current system was “designed in a wholly different era to deal with a wholly different society and way of life.”
The private sector, he argued, should step in. It’s far more innovative and would eliminate much of the bloodshed, time and cost of modern divorce.
The Power of Commitment
Many judges have said Coleridge was crazy for fighting the system that employed him. But he argued that somebody must be daring enough to stand up for the notion of family.
He often pointed to the effects of divorce on innocent, voiceless children.
If you’re not ready for children, he said, don’t have them.
He argued that too many parents were concerned with their rights to their children after their marriage failed.
Parents have no rights to their children, he said, stirring great controversy, “You only have responsibilities if you have them.”
He went on to argue that couples should have children only inside the bounds of a healthy marriage. He pointed to evidence published by his think tank, Marriage Foundation, that showed unmarried parents are twice as likely to break up as married parents.
The year the report was published, the percentage of babies born to unmarried mothers in England rose to a record 47.5%.
“There is this idea out there that it doesn’t make any difference whether you cohabit or marry, [to which I say] no it doesn’t – except that one tends to last and the other tends not to last,” he said. “And when you are considering what is best for children, stability is the name of the game.”
There’s just something about the relationship…
“Long-term results show that there is something different about being married,” he said. “It is more stable. People are bound together when they are married in a way that they are not if they are just living together.”
It’s a point to ponder.
We talk of our Connections often at Manward. Whether we side with him or not, it’s the ideas like the one Coleridge fought so hard for that prove just why they’re a critical part of our Triad.
Our relationships are often far richer and far deeper than we realize. Marriage is perhaps the most important Connection in our lives. And yet many folks these days don’t bother to stop and ponder its depths.
Coleridge’s research proves there’s something to the idea.
We may not agree with everything the wig-wearing judge has said. But we certainly tip our hat to a man who’s not afraid to risk his career for what he believes is right.
Judge Coleridge is a man of honor.
News That Scares Us
The Latest Victim in the Opioid War
There have been many depressing scenes during my law enforcement career – like the 4-year-old kid who, immediately upon seeing my uniform, put his hands in the air and said, “Don’t take my daddy.”
I didn’t take his daddy.
But the scene that stands out the most happened in the middle of the night in a quiet parking lot. “Let me see your hands,” I yelled as I approached the suspect truck. “Let me see your hands.”
The heavily tattooed young man in the passenger seat continued to shuffle with something between his legs.
I thought we were an instant away from a shootout.
That’s when the driver ran around the front of the truck and stood in front of me. “He’s high,” she said. “He’s too high to know what’s going on.”
He died a few weeks later – too high to live.
We’ve written at length about the nation’s opioid crisis. But now there’s even more news that scares us.
After nearly a decade in decline, the number of kids entering foster care is once again on the rise. In fact, compared with just a few years ago, an extra 30,000 kids are going into the system these days.
One county in Wisconsin, for example, recently told us it’s seen the number of parent-child separations surge to more than twice the long-term average over the last year.
Almost everybody who’s studying the situation blames the nation’s opioid crisis.
But what’s not reported in most of the statistics is the number of grandparents who are taking on the burden of parenting after one of their children falls victim to the opioid hypnosis.
It’s putting an unexpected burden on a generation of folks who never planned to start a family in their retirement years. Suddenly they’re adding diapers, school supplies and a slew of extra food to their shopping carts each week.
With virtually no choice, grandparents are forced to upend their lives.
As expected, many folks are putting their hands out, asking Uncle Sam to help with the bills. But there’s (rightfully) not much there. Many grandparents get less than $200 in assistance each month.
It’s another reminder that this crisis isn’t confined to the addicts. It affects all of us.
Our communities, our families and our government are all paying for a mess that, dare we say it, started with some liars looking to sell some pain pills.
We can’t turn back the clock and erase the crisis, but we can support those around us affected by it.
If you know anybody affected by opioids, consider it your duty to get them any help you can.
We’re all in this war together.
About the cover image:
Just over a century ago, San Francisco was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. An estimated 3,000 people died in what’s still considered one of our nation’s worst natural disasters. In this month’s cover image, you can see smoke billowing over the Mission District, the result of fires that burned for days after the initial quake due to ruptured gas mains. Though the government approved $1 million in relief supplies, it was ultimately San Francisco’s wealthy citizens and businesses that helped get citizens back on their feet. It took the city nearly a decade to rebuild.
Manward Tips to a Healthy Marriage:
- Understand that a man’s word is more than his word. It’s his actions. If you say you’re committed, you must stay committed.
- Marriage isn’t about feeling in love. It’s about loving someone enough to be utterly tolerant of their quirks… all of them.
- Trust. Always give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. The minute you don’t… tell them and then get help.
- Talk… a lot. Make it a priority above everything else.
- The only person you can change in this world is you. If you want your wife to change… you must change first.
- Marriage is no easier the second or third time around.
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