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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Survivalism, gun laws discussed at Free State forum

True modern survivalists aren’t worried about the end of the world, according to Jack Spirko, host of the Survival Podcast, broadcast daily across the Internet.

Instead, they’re concerned with the next blizzard, snow storm or hurricane, and, unlike most, they’ll be ready when it comes, Spirko said Saturday during a presentation on preparing a “Bug Out” bag, a portable survivor kit. ...

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True modern survivalists aren’t worried about the end of the world, according to Jack Spirko, host of the Survival Podcast, broadcast daily across the Internet.

Instead, they’re concerned with the next blizzard, snow storm or hurricane, and, unlike most, they’ll be ready when it comes, Spirko said Saturday during a presentation on preparing a “Bug Out” bag, a portable survivor kit.

The broadcaster, a Texas native, made his presentation Saturday as part of the N.H. Liberty Forum. The four-day event, hosted by the Free State Project, which aims to bring 20,000 liberty activists to New Hampshire, drew more than 500 people from around the state and across the country to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua.

“First, let’s look at what (survivalism is), and it’s not this,” Spirko told his audience Saturday, presenting a picture of a man, in a tin foil hat, packing his bag.

“This guy’s bag will not keep you alive, I promise you,” Spirko said with a laugh. “It’s probably full of conspiracy theory books and DVDs, which are awful cool to look at. But, him and his cat, they are (slaves) of the zombie apocalypse.”

In his talk, one of dozens given delivered throughout the forum, Spirko took the audience through the basic elements of a full Bug Out bag.

The kit, also known as a 72-hour bag, is intended to help people survive the first three days after a disaster. While the hosts of Doomsday Preppers and other popular television shows focus their preparations economic collapses and terrorist attacks, among other man-made disasters. Spirko focused his talk on weather incidents and other natural disasters, encouraging his audience to pack basic elements like food, water and three days worth of clothing, among other items.

“And I don’t mean vacation clothes,” Spirko said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “Three days doesn’t mean three sets of shoes or maybe three sets of pants. ... We’re talking about just what you need to get by.”

Digging deeper, a full Bug Out bag should include a range of tools, including a knife, cord, Duct tape and a radio to reach others, Spirko. And, good survivalists know to pack other, less obvious, items as well.

“Alcohol. Yes, the kind you drink,” he said, drawing a laugh from the audience. “If nothing else, if you’re with somebody who’s really panicked, it will shut them up.”

Survival and preparedness were only some of the issues addressed throughout the forum, which ran Thursday through Sunday. Other speakers, ranging from artists to attorneys to entrepreneurs to political activists, addressed a variety of issues, including austere medicine and digital currency, among others.

“It’s all really good information, things you can use. ... I have my emergency bag with me every day,” Paul Burgholzer, a Goffstown resident, said after he left Spirko’s survivalist presentation. “You never know when your car will break down.”

Among other presenters, Seth Hipple, a Concord attorney, also presented a session on New Hampshire gun laws and other state regulations.

“In New Hampshire, you can buy a gun from a friend without a background check. You can then own that gun. ... You can strap it to your hip and you can carry it openly, all without having to answer any questions (from police),” Hipple told the crowd.

“It’s important to know these things,” added Joe Frazier, who came down from Canaan to attend the event. “If you let (the law) go, it just goes further and further and suddenly you don’t have any rights.”

Despite the concerns, New Hampshire’s record of limited government and individual freedoms came as music to the ears of many audience members, who came from out of state.

Seamus O’Scalaidhe, of Rockville, Md., has signed on to the Free State Project and plans to relocate to New Hampshire in coming years.

Once the project recruits 20,000 members, they will all move to New Hampshire, running for elected office and influencing local laws.

Currently, about 1,130 members live in the state, according to project organizers.

“New Hampshire is great. I think the majority of people here are libertarian to some level. They just want to be left alone,” said O’Scalaidhe, who signed up for the project at the beginning.

“It’s a perfect place for this kind of thing,” added Cathleen Converse, who arrived in Barnstead several years ago from South Carolina. “We came here to strengthen ourselves and our family. That’s the whole state, we believe in covering each other’s backs. That’s what we’re here doing.”

Jake Berry can be reached at 594-6402 or jberry@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Berry on Twitter (@Telegraph_JakeB).