Archive for Selco

Old Guys…

old-man

 

My great uncle was a drinking man, he would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny or having problems with his speech.

When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.

He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.

Table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass he kept paper that says that government and state recognizes him as a member and organizer  of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).

Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grand parents, he never married, no kids.

Actually now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he need to do something.

He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects with ceiling.

Sometimes we kids sneak in the room, seeking for stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from shed for his never-ending stove fire.

He would gave us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.

Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “uhm” or “ahm” and stare in empty.

He did not go out very much, except his regular chess meetings in the local community hall.

It  was something like community hall, war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.

People call it “half leg” because several handicapped folks who were there all the time.

And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.

Place was big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them,  great uncle would sat down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.

They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forgot that I am even there.

In that time I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.

War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for socialistic society.

I was taught like that, in my young mind all was black and white.

Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit different picture about war and fighting and honor.

They talked about everything, but with heavy slang  and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and answer would be “yeah, fuck it, and how many bodies there”

Lot of that was not understandable for me, lot of head nodding,

One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it on that table:

Man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.

It was fascinating for me in that time.

What I understand from their story was this:

He and my great uncle were find themselves in some heavy fighting during the ww2 .

Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with lot of civilians who were running from German forces.

Sudden attack of Germans made chaos and they together with couple of guys got separated from the unit.

They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for couple of days.

They ate tree bark.

Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.

And then they stumble members of their unit.

Actually a pile of it.

On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.

Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.

They found couple of woman tied to the trees… Dead.

They quickly move away from there, scared.

Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.

They killed him with bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.

That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.

My great uncle died long time ago, he was heavy drinker too to the last breath.

On his funeral there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.

We never found his wartime machine gun “smajser” (mp 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to no one where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.

I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.

I do not remember him as an war hero, and I am sure he did not think about himself as an war hero.

He was scared often while he was in survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.

He was a survivalist.

 

Point of this article is (just like lot of my article) is memory of something, in this case memory of my great uncle.

And there is one more point, for you more important:

Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young, there is nothing like real life experience.

Be patient, best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.

It is better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.

Many years after my great uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fightings, piles of bodies…

It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Guys…

 

My great uncle was a drinking man, he would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny or having problems with his speech.

When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.

He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.

Table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass he kept paper that says that government and state recognizes him as a member and organizer  of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).

Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grand parents, he never married, no kids.

Actually now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he need to do something.

He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects with ceiling.

Sometimes we kids sneak in the room, seeking for stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from shed for his never-ending stove fire.

He would gave us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.

Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “uhm” or “ahm” and stare in empty.

He did not go out very much, except his regular chess meetings in the local community hall.

It  was something like community hall, war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.

People call it “half leg” because several handicapped folks who were there all the time.

And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.

Place was big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them,  great uncle would sat down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.

They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forgot that I am even there.

In that time I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.

War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for socialistic society.

I was taught like that, in my young mind all was black and white.

Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit different picture about war and fighting and honor.

They talked about everything, but with heavy slang  and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and answer would be “yeah, fuck it, and how many bodies there”

Lot of that was not understandable for me, lot of head nodding,

One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it on that table:

Man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.

It was fascinating for me in that time.

What I understand from their story was this:

He and my great uncle were find themselves in some heavy fighting during the ww2 .

Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with lot of civilians who were running from German forces.

Sudden attack of Germans made chaos and they together with couple of guys got separated from the unit.

They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for couple of days.

They ate tree bark.

Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.

And then they stumble members of their unit.

Actually a pile of it.

On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.

Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.

They found couple of woman tied to the trees… Dead.

They quickly move away from there, scared.

Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.

They killed him with bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.

That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.

My great uncle died long time ago, he was heavy drinker too to the last breath.

On his funeral there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.

We never found his wartime machine gun “smajser” (mp 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to no one where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.

I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.

I do not remember him as an war hero, and I am sure he did not think about himself as an war hero.

He was scared often while he was in survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.

He was a survivalist.

 

Point of this article is (just like lot of my article) is memory of something, in this case memory of my great uncle.

And there is one more point, for you more important:

Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young, there is nothing like real life experience.

Be patient, best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.

It is better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.

Many years after my great uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fightings, piles of bodies…

It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Guys…

 

My great uncle was a drinking man, he would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny or having problems with his speech.

When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.

He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.

Table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass he kept paper that says that government and state recognizes him as a member and organizer  of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).

Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grand parents, he never married, no kids.

Actually now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he need to do something.

He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects with ceiling.

Sometimes we kids sneak in the room, seeking for stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from shed for his never-ending stove fire.

He would gave us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.

Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “uhm” or “ahm” and stare in empty.

He did not go out very much, except his regular chess meetings in the local community hall.

It  was something like community hall, war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.

People call it “half leg” because several handicapped folks who were there all the time.

And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.

Place was big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them,  great uncle would sat down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.

They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forgot that I am even there.

In that time I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.

War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for socialistic society.

I was taught like that, in my young mind all was black and white.

Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit different picture about war and fighting and honor.

They talked about everything, but with heavy slang  and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and answer would be “yeah, fuck it, and how many bodies there”

Lot of that was not understandable for me, lot of head nodding,

One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it on that table:

Man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.

It was fascinating for me in that time.

What I understand from their story was this:

He and my great uncle were find themselves in some heavy fighting during the ww2 .

Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with lot of civilians who were running from German forces.

Sudden attack of Germans made chaos and they together with couple of guys got separated from the unit.

They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for couple of days.

They ate tree bark.

Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.

And then they stumble members of their unit.

Actually a pile of it.

On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.

Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.

They found couple of woman tied to the trees… Dead.

They quickly move away from there, scared.

Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.

They killed him with bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.

That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.

My great uncle died long time ago, he was heavy drinker too to the last breath.

On his funeral there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.

We never found his wartime machine gun “smajser” (mp 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to no one where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.

I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.

I do not remember him as an war hero, and I am sure he did not think about himself as an war hero.

He was scared often while he was in survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.

He was a survivalist.

 

Point of this article is (just like lot of my article) is memory of something, in this case memory of my great uncle.

And there is one more point, for you more important:

Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young, there is nothing like real life experience.

Be patient, best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.

It is better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.

Many years after my great uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fightings, piles of bodies…

It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers to Readers Questions (Part One)

question

 

I asked you in one of my previous posts what you would like to see or read here on blog and your answers were great, actually I did not expect so many comments and questions.

There are some comments and demands about topics that I already wrote here yes, and there are some new. Since number of questions is huge, I will every now and then, publish one post with my answers and comments on some of your questions.

Some questions will require an entire post alone.

So here are few:

Selco,

Respectfully, I would ask three questions:

  1. How did people most often arrive at the decision to give up, and stop surviving?
  2. How did others (family, group, squad) etc. handle that when became apparent?
  3. How was it most competently handled by the group when a member did that?

Regards.

Ivan

Thanks Ivan.

When you are thrown into a survival situation, decision to give up is not so much connected with the lack of food, safety, water, services etc.

Usually it is connected to the realization (of the person who is giving up) of the fact that there is no clear clue when all things will come back to normal (when he again gonna have food, water, security etc.)

When you go days into fighting, starving etc- surviving is a process where you push your body and mind more and more, and if you “look too far into distance” and there is no clear evidences that things will get better – your will can be crushed very easily.

You may conclude that “it is not worth it”, and then that’s it.

I know it is generalization but yes, you need not to look too far and to have high hopes, you just need to operate in your small circles and push day by day.

It was bad thing to see, and it happened, often. Good “cure” for it was that you need to find use or task for that person, you need to bring back a sense of purpose to them.

Easier way was to find job for them -taking care for food, watching for the kids, anything  that would make them feel useful.

If member of the group “ gave up” and if the group structure was ‘family’ then usually other members try to give some support or if that failed then just leave him alone in terms of duties and everything, nobody had too much time for psychological help in that days.

If group meant several people “bonded” together by chance or temporary need (no big and strong connections between them) then other, harder, measures were in place.

 

 

Thank you once again Selco for showing us that the positive side of humanity is always capable of returning and surviving.

What I have always wanted to really know is; what is it like to be in a SHTF situation when the UN troops are there?

What are the UN troops REALLY like?

How to best act / behave / handle UN troops?

I ask because I have heard both positive and very negative things about UN troops. I simply ask for the truth here.

Thanks Again !!!

GRA

 

You heard good GRA.

UN troops were patched together from the different Army contingents, so there were British contingents, Spanish contingent, Pakistani,  Portuguese, Dutch etc.

Looking at the big picture they did horrible job because they were under armed, desperately badly coordinated between different contingents and without clear cause and function and political support.

So in reality we had situation where two opposed local units are in the middle of fight and each unit is around 2000-3000 men strong with tanks and artillery and suddenly there is UN unit moving in with 5 APC’s and 50 men in order to make ceasefire, and of course everybody shoot at them or simply take their stuff and make hostages of them.

They did not have clear tasks, political will behind them and firepower.

On the local level, when it come to individual members of those UN forces, I have seen cases where they simply break the clear orders and attack some guys in order to save civilians.

So there were good people there, but horrible organization behind them.

They did save people, evacuate injured civilians or get shot while they tried to bring food in areas where people starved..

They smuggled food sometimes sell it to us for different kind of things (or services)… All different kind of things, but I like to think lot of people among them were trying to do good stuff.

When it comes to fighting capabilities I remember the British army as a tough guys.

Those were UN forces, they failed to make peace, later came International forces (US led) with clear will and duties and we all here were fed up with slaughtering already, and what was most important with huge amount of force, and by the shear amount of force they succeed to bring peace, it was philosophy of : “who ever keeps firing after this date will be leveled by us”.

And it worked.

How to handle UN troops?

Every “UN troops” deployments are doomed unless they are coming with HUGE amount of force and in great numbers, or they coming  into the region where any kind of will for resistance is crushed long time ago.

As an addition to your questions and since I am aware of other comments (and worries) about “UN forces on US soil” I really have to say my opinion- it is kind of fantasy.

Numbers in US, numbers of weapon in US make any kind of “UN troops coming to US to pacify us” simply and clearly impossible.

To “pacify” somebody you need force several times bigger then opponent, and you need it on the ground usually, and you need some kind (to some extent) will to be pacified.

 

I’d like to hear about how you bartered for things you needed.

What were valuable items for barter? Was the local currency still worth something?

Were foreign currencies used? What about gold or silver jewelry or coins?

How were you able to ensure your safety during barter transactions? What did you do if you found out you had been cheated?

Little L

I did write about this topic already, but since it is important topic (and one of the favorite on blogs and with lot of myths too) I will answer it in short.

First and most important is that nothing was pre-set, nothing was constant and that include basic factors like values of items, security of trade, rules of particular trade etc.

As the situation worsened more into the direction of real SHTF situation people started to appreciate (and look for) usable items, and when I say that, I mean items that solve your immediate problems.

So for example if you had precious artistic picture that in normal times is worth around 10 000 Euros you could not do to much with that in terms of trade because simply people did not care for that, they were hungry, wet, cold, dirty, without enough weapons and bullets.

Maybe you could find some war lord who had connections with outside (normal) world and he could maybe give you 20 cans of meat for that art because he know you are starving.

Or in other case he could simply take it from you (and maybe kill you or not) because he is warlord and you are nobody.

Now this is something that can be transferred also in terms of owning precious metals for SHTF.

When SHTF it will worth much less simply because you can not eat it, or you can not shoot from gold coin to someone, yes you can try to buy weapon with gold coins or food (at outrageous price, and with danger of getting killed) but what is the point? Why not store food and weapons in the first place?

Gold and silver jewelry or coins in form of small rings and necklasses as a temporary bribe in some situations works really cool, and as a stash when some kind of society jump back in (when SHTF ends) is good idea too.

But in the middle of SHTF I prefer more usable items.

In my case local currency worked in the beginning stage of SHTF, but it was very short period, then foreign currency jumped in (US dollars and German marks) and as situation worsen prices of things for marks and dollars went up very sharp, and also situations where you could buy something with it become rare-people started to trade.

Ensuring safety during transactions (trade) was problem, but common sense was to never go alone on trades (3 is good number) to trade with known people (returning trades) or to go to trade on confirmed information (you get information about trader from trusted person who already traded with him)

Of course very often you could only go in 3’s, all else was unknown, so you took the risk.

To have rumor (or information) about you that you are bad trader (cheater-you gave bad item to someone) was bad because rumor then goes around and no one want to trade with you.

Also revenges for bad trades were hard and sometimes final.

But for example it was not always about physical punishments, guy cheated me once with some things and I simply “spread” out information on correct places that he mixed plaster and similar things in his wheat (for trade), and soon he was simply “scammer” and nobody wanted to works with him.

By the way it was lie, his stuff was good, but it is an example of how things worked.

 

I hope these answers help? Let me know in the comments below if anything was of specific use or interest to you…?  I’ll be answering more of your questions in future posts!

 

 

 

 

Answers to Readers Questions (Part One)

question

 

I asked you in one of my previous posts what you would like to see or read here on blog and your answers were great, actually I did not expect so many comments and questions.

There are some comments and demands about topics that I already wrote here yes, and there are some new. Since number of questions is huge, I will every now and then, publish one post with my answers and comments on some of your questions.

Some questions will require an entire post alone.

So here are few:

Selco,

Respectfully, I would ask three questions:

  1. How did people most often arrive at the decision to give up, and stop surviving?
  2. How did others (family, group, squad) etc. handle that when became apparent?
  3. How was it most competently handled by the group when a member did that?

Regards.

Ivan

Thanks Ivan.

When you are thrown into a survival situation, decision to give up is not so much connected with the lack of food, safety, water, services etc.

Usually it is connected to the realization (of the person who is giving up) of the fact that there is no clear clue when all things will come back to normal (when he again gonna have food, water, security etc.)

When you go days into fighting, starving etc- surviving is a process where you push your body and mind more and more, and if you “look too far into distance” and there is no clear evidences that things will get better – your will can be crushed very easily.

You may conclude that “it is not worth it”, and then that’s it.

I know it is generalization but yes, you need not to look too far and to have high hopes, you just need to operate in your small circles and push day by day.

It was bad thing to see, and it happened, often. Good “cure” for it was that you need to find use or task for that person, you need to bring back a sense of purpose to them.

Easier way was to find job for them -taking care for food, watching for the kids, anything  that would make them feel useful.

If member of the group “ gave up” and if the group structure was ‘family’ then usually other members try to give some support or if that failed then just leave him alone in terms of duties and everything, nobody had too much time for psychological help in that days.

If group meant several people “bonded” together by chance or temporary need (no big and strong connections between them) then other, harder, measures were in place.

 

 

Thank you once again Selco for showing us that the positive side of humanity is always capable of returning and surviving.

What I have always wanted to really know is; what is it like to be in a SHTF situation when the UN troops are there?

What are the UN troops REALLY like?

How to best act / behave / handle UN troops?

I ask because I have heard both positive and very negative things about UN troops. I simply ask for the truth here.

Thanks Again !!!

GRA

 

You heard good GRA.

UN troops were patched together from the different Army contingents, so there were British contingents, Spanish contingent, Pakistani,  Portuguese, Dutch etc.

Looking at the big picture they did horrible job because they were under armed, desperately badly coordinated between different contingents and without clear cause and function and political support.

So in reality we had situation where two opposed local units are in the middle of fight and each unit is around 2000-3000 men strong with tanks and artillery and suddenly there is UN unit moving in with 5 APC’s and 50 men in order to make ceasefire, and of course everybody shoot at them or simply take their stuff and make hostages of them.

They did not have clear tasks, political will behind them and firepower.

On the local level, when it come to individual members of those UN forces, I have seen cases where they simply break the clear orders and attack some guys in order to save civilians.

So there were good people there, but horrible organization behind them.

They did save people, evacuate injured civilians or get shot while they tried to bring food in areas where people starved..

They smuggled food sometimes sell it to us for different kind of things (or services)… All different kind of things, but I like to think lot of people among them were trying to do good stuff.

When it comes to fighting capabilities I remember the British army as a tough guys.

Those were UN forces, they failed to make peace, later came International forces (US led) with clear will and duties and we all here were fed up with slaughtering already, and what was most important with huge amount of force, and by the shear amount of force they succeed to bring peace, it was philosophy of : “who ever keeps firing after this date will be leveled by us”.

And it worked.

How to handle UN troops?

Every “UN troops” deployments are doomed unless they are coming with HUGE amount of force and in great numbers, or they coming  into the region where any kind of will for resistance is crushed long time ago.

As an addition to your questions and since I am aware of other comments (and worries) about “UN forces on US soil” I really have to say my opinion- it is kind of fantasy.

Numbers in US, numbers of weapon in US make any kind of “UN troops coming to US to pacify us” simply and clearly impossible.

To “pacify” somebody you need force several times bigger then opponent, and you need it on the ground usually, and you need some kind (to some extent) will to be pacified.

 

I’d like to hear about how you bartered for things you needed.

What were valuable items for barter? Was the local currency still worth something?

Were foreign currencies used? What about gold or silver jewelry or coins?

How were you able to ensure your safety during barter transactions? What did you do if you found out you had been cheated?

Little L

I did write about this topic already, but since it is important topic (and one of the favorite on blogs and with lot of myths too) I will answer it in short.

First and most important is that nothing was pre-set, nothing was constant and that include basic factors like values of items, security of trade, rules of particular trade etc.

As the situation worsened more into the direction of real SHTF situation people started to appreciate (and look for) usable items, and when I say that, I mean items that solve your immediate problems.

So for example if you had precious artistic picture that in normal times is worth around 10 000 Euros you could not do to much with that in terms of trade because simply people did not care for that, they were hungry, wet, cold, dirty, without enough weapons and bullets.

Maybe you could find some war lord who had connections with outside (normal) world and he could maybe give you 20 cans of meat for that art because he know you are starving.

Or in other case he could simply take it from you (and maybe kill you or not) because he is warlord and you are nobody.

Now this is something that can be transferred also in terms of owning precious metals for SHTF.

When SHTF it will worth much less simply because you can not eat it, or you can not shoot from gold coin to someone, yes you can try to buy weapon with gold coins or food (at outrageous price, and with danger of getting killed) but what is the point? Why not store food and weapons in the first place?

Gold and silver jewelry or coins in form of small rings and necklasses as a temporary bribe in some situations works really cool, and as a stash when some kind of society jump back in (when SHTF ends) is good idea too.

But in the middle of SHTF I prefer more usable items.

In my case local currency worked in the beginning stage of SHTF, but it was very short period, then foreign currency jumped in (US dollars and German marks) and as situation worsen prices of things for marks and dollars went up very sharp, and also situations where you could buy something with it become rare-people started to trade.

Ensuring safety during transactions (trade) was problem, but common sense was to never go alone on trades (3 is good number) to trade with known people (returning trades) or to go to trade on confirmed information (you get information about trader from trusted person who already traded with him)

Of course very often you could only go in 3’s, all else was unknown, so you took the risk.

To have rumor (or information) about you that you are bad trader (cheater-you gave bad item to someone) was bad because rumor then goes around and no one want to trade with you.

Also revenges for bad trades were hard and sometimes final.

But for example it was not always about physical punishments, guy cheated me once with some things and I simply “spread” out information on correct places that he mixed plaster and similar things in his wheat (for trade), and soon he was simply “scammer” and nobody wanted to works with him.

By the way it was lie, his stuff was good, but it is an example of how things worked.

 

I hope these answers help? Let me know in the comments below if anything was of specific use or interest to you…?  I’ll be answering more of your questions in future posts!

 

 

 

 

Full Circle…?

defense

 

I wrote my first survival article-comment some 7 years ago, and I still remember why I wrote it, what “pushed” me to sit down and write it so people who read/discuss survival over the internet for years can read my opinion.

I was checking the survival forums to learn something about wilderness survival because I found I missing lot of knowledge there, and then I stumbled upon discussion about what real SHTF looks like and will look like in the future.

And simply there I realize how whole survival movement foundation is messed up, or built on the wrong perception.

It is like digging through a whole bunch of other people good skills and opinions (together with wrong ones of course) but completely misplaced and misguided.

After writing that first article years ago, I am still writing and trying to point out my view of things, and my way is learned through the experience of 4 years of civil war in a destroyed society.

I still do not know lot of things, I do not know how to operate 20 different weapons, I am not ex special forces member, I do not know how to survive in prolonged period in wilderness, and I am still learning lot of things from different kind of people, on internet and forums and in physical courses too.

But I know how I survived SHTF and how real SHTF looks like, and the real problem is that it definitely does not look like majority of preppers imagine it.

Over time, a lot of my articles are telling the story about same thing on different ways, and it might look like I am telling same story over and over, but again, I am writing from real experience and there are good reasons why I am pointing out the same things often.

So please allow me to address again some common misconception about SHTF.

Changing From “Before to Now”

Starting problem about SHTF misconception is that people have problems to imagine something that they are not experienced in, so if you have not experienced collapse of society you will “build” your opinion about it based on many things: other people experiences, books, movies, documentaries…

When you add to this a whole survival industry of selling things for “doomsday” you going to end up forming your opinion about how life in collapse will look like based on some weird things, and as an result your prepping and expectation may be completely wrong.

For example, you have been bombarded with information from internet that if you buy some product you’ll be not only safe when SHTF but also you’ll thrive and you gonna have something like best time of your life in the middle of collapse.

Now when you multiply this with many numbers (products) you end up buying peace of mind for yourself built on fact that someone wants to earn money from your fears.

And it is not biggest problem, real problem waking up one morning in the collapse realizing that you have whole bunch of things that simply do not work for your situation.

I like to use example that I have read long time ago, about transportation in city when SHTF. One guy offer idea of using skateboard in urban SHTF as transport, and lot of other folks commented that is good idea.

On first look it is great idea, no fuel, no cars or buses, so skateboard as a transport means looks good.

Only problem here is that probably man who mentioned it never experienced real urban SHTF so he can not know how useless idea it is.

Or to put it really short:

When SHTF city services will collapse, street are pretty soon simply full of everything, there are other people in the city too, because services are gone there are not enough resources and because of that other people will simply almost always mean possible danger, so point is to avoid people, or to be quiet when moving, so…

You need to stop to think in terms of normal times, you need change your priorities when SHTF, it is a different time.

For example moving fastest (or most comfortable) stops to be priority, new priority is to move safest (or quiet) or you need to stop to think about having coolest things but new priority is to have things that will work for your situation best.

Value Of The Things

Again it is about thinking in new terms, in the terms when SHTF, and those terms are completely different then in normal times.

I have kind of survival philosophy where my goal is to be ready to survive with as least things as possible, and it is like everything else based on my experienced SHTF.

What that means?

By developing and learning skills and techniques I am trying to be less depended on physical things.

In reality that does not mean that when SHTF I will immediately  bug out to the wilderness with knife only, no, I too have preps and things, stashes and plans, weapons, meds etc.

It means when times come I am READY  to leave all of that, EVERYTHING – all my possessions, and move away in split second if that means I will save my life.

Are you ready for that?

Are you gonna be able to leave all your preps that you were buying for years, all your fancy weapons, stashes of cans etc and run with what you have on you?

Or you gonna die in “blaze of glory” defending simple physical things?

Survival is about resilience, to move on and on, to overcome difficult situations and come back again.

Do not get attached on physical things, no matter how expensive they are, or how fancy they are, or even if people promised that you’ll “survive and thrive” if you own that things when SHTF.

Life is precious, things are just things.

Problem here is that survival movement today is built on the way that preppers are “forced” to believe that they can not survive if the do not own particular survival product, so as an result there is gonna be bunch of preppers get shot because they defending physical things that someone told them they really need to have when SHTF.

I was refugee more then once, I still remember the moment when all my possessions were an old Browning pistol with three rounds, T- shirt, boots (with wet socks inside) and pants that could stand on its own because of how dirty they were…

I have lost all my other physical possessions, everything was torched or taken away, If I stayed my life would be taken away too in a very painful way.

I run, and survived, and fought again for survival.

And you know what? I bought all the things again.

Things can be obtained again, life can not.

Sometimes you just have to move on and forget on physical things that are dear to you.

Faith

One of the topics that I’m most reluctant to discuss about because I find it really personal, but it is there, it is important, so some things need to be considered.

And I’ll be short here, because it is personal for me, and every one of you should think about it for itself.

Yes, there were times when I simply had to reach deep in myself and connect to something higher, to find some sense, to have faith in order to not lost my mind or kill myself because everything was falling apart around me.

So faith is important, or spirituality, or some kind of moral values-call it as you like.

You need to have something!

But problem here is that people often think if they are good folks by the nature, everybody else is good by default (until proven otherwise?).

Through my experience I adopt opinion that everybody is bad until proven different (even if I am good guy)

Or let me put it like this, in really bad times, when everything going to s…t you ll see more bad folks then good folks, so be prepared for that…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Circle…?

defense

 

I wrote my first survival article-comment some 7 years ago, and I still remember why I wrote it, what “pushed” me to sit down and write it so people who read/discuss survival over the internet for years can read my opinion.

I was checking the survival forums to learn something about wilderness survival because I found I missing lot of knowledge there, and then I stumbled upon discussion about what real SHTF looks like and will look like in the future.

And simply there I realize how whole survival movement foundation is messed up, or built on the wrong perception.

It is like digging through a whole bunch of other people good skills and opinions (together with wrong ones of course) but completely misplaced and misguided.

After writing that first article years ago, I am still writing and trying to point out my view of things, and my way is learned through the experience of 4 years of civil war in a destroyed society.

I still do not know lot of things, I do not know how to operate 20 different weapons, I am not ex special forces member, I do not know how to survive in prolonged period in wilderness, and I am still learning lot of things from different kind of people, on internet and forums and in physical courses too.

But I know how I survived SHTF and how real SHTF looks like, and the real problem is that it definitely does not look like majority of preppers imagine it.

Over time, a lot of my articles are telling the story about same thing on different ways, and it might look like I am telling same story over and over, but again, I am writing from real experience and there are good reasons why I am pointing out the same things often.

So please allow me to address again some common misconception about SHTF.

Changing From “Before to Now”

Starting problem about SHTF misconception is that people have problems to imagine something that they are not experienced in, so if you have not experienced collapse of society you will “build” your opinion about it based on many things: other people experiences, books, movies, documentaries…

When you add to this a whole survival industry of selling things for “doomsday” you going to end up forming your opinion about how life in collapse will look like based on some weird things, and as an result your prepping and expectation may be completely wrong.

For example, you have been bombarded with information from internet that if you buy some product you’ll be not only safe when SHTF but also you’ll thrive and you gonna have something like best time of your life in the middle of collapse.

Now when you multiply this with many numbers (products) you end up buying peace of mind for yourself built on fact that someone wants to earn money from your fears.

And it is not biggest problem, real problem waking up one morning in the collapse realizing that you have whole bunch of things that simply do not work for your situation.

I like to use example that I have read long time ago, about transportation in city when SHTF. One guy offer idea of using skateboard in urban SHTF as transport, and lot of other folks commented that is good idea.

On first look it is great idea, no fuel, no cars or buses, so skateboard as a transport means looks good.

Only problem here is that probably man who mentioned it never experienced real urban SHTF so he can not know how useless idea it is.

Or to put it really short:

When SHTF city services will collapse, street are pretty soon simply full of everything, there are other people in the city too, because services are gone there are not enough resources and because of that other people will simply almost always mean possible danger, so point is to avoid people, or to be quiet when moving, so…

You need to stop to think in terms of normal times, you need change your priorities when SHTF, it is a different time.

For example moving fastest (or most comfortable) stops to be priority, new priority is to move safest (or quiet) or you need to stop to think about having coolest things but new priority is to have things that will work for your situation best.

Value Of The Things

Again it is about thinking in new terms, in the terms when SHTF, and those terms are completely different then in normal times.

I have kind of survival philosophy where my goal is to be ready to survive with as least things as possible, and it is like everything else based on my experienced SHTF.

What that means?

By developing and learning skills and techniques I am trying to be less depended on physical things.

In reality that does not mean that when SHTF I will immediately  bug out to the wilderness with knife only, no, I too have preps and things, stashes and plans, weapons, meds etc.

It means when times come I am READY  to leave all of that, EVERYTHING – all my possessions, and move away in split second if that means I will save my life.

Are you ready for that?

Are you gonna be able to leave all your preps that you were buying for years, all your fancy weapons, stashes of cans etc and run with what you have on you?

Or you gonna die in “blaze of glory” defending simple physical things?

Survival is about resilience, to move on and on, to overcome difficult situations and come back again.

Do not get attached on physical things, no matter how expensive they are, or how fancy they are, or even if people promised that you’ll “survive and thrive” if you own that things when SHTF.

Life is precious, things are just things.

Problem here is that survival movement today is built on the way that preppers are “forced” to believe that they can not survive if the do not own particular survival product, so as an result there is gonna be bunch of preppers get shot because they defending physical things that someone told them they really need to have when SHTF.

I was refugee more then once, I still remember the moment when all my possessions were an old Browning pistol with three rounds, T- shirt, boots (with wet socks inside) and pants that could stand on its own because of how dirty they were…

I have lost all my other physical possessions, everything was torched or taken away, If I stayed my life would be taken away too in a very painful way.

I run, and survived, and fought again for survival.

And you know what? I bought all the things again.

Things can be obtained again, life can not.

Sometimes you just have to move on and forget on physical things that are dear to you.

Faith

One of the topics that I’m most reluctant to discuss about because I find it really personal, but it is there, it is important, so some things need to be considered.

And I’ll be short here, because it is personal for me, and every one of you should think about it for itself.

Yes, there were times when I simply had to reach deep in myself and connect to something higher, to find some sense, to have faith in order to not lost my mind or kill myself because everything was falling apart around me.

So faith is important, or spirituality, or some kind of moral values-call it as you like.

You need to have something!

But problem here is that people often think if they are good folks by the nature, everybody else is good by default (until proven otherwise?).

Through my experience I adopt opinion that everybody is bad until proven different (even if I am good guy)

Or let me put it like this, in really bad times, when everything going to s…t you ll see more bad folks then good folks, so be prepared for that…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skills And Training

target

I have just finished delivering another ‘Mile In My Shoes’ (MIMS) down here in the Balkans. As always it was a great event with many insights both for the students and me. Having finished the course I got to thinking more about training in the survival and preparedness community.

Learning real survival skills in the field is something that cannot be substituted with anything, but I see people often try to do that.

Another mistake in learning skills is because they are often (almost always) taken out of the context, or even more often, there is no context at all.

Somehow as a result, there is a whole bunch of people learning skills without mindset where and when to use it, or not to use it. (I agree it is better to have skills even without context than not to have them at all, but that sounds more like an excuse than a justification…)

Prepping is a BIG industry, and for lot of people it just needs to be “sugar coated” in order to be consumed.

 

Levels…

Two examples here:

When you say to me “SHTF” my first thought is partial or complete collapse of the system and its services, so my second thought is about (lack of) resources, and other people realizing that fact, my third thought is about fight with other people for the resources still left.

It is my thought when you say SHTF.

For some people when they heard “SHTF”  their first thought is let’s say ‘power shortage’ that’s going to last for about 12 hours, their second thought is that they need to be comfortable for those 12 hours (only) because after that government (system, services) will jump in and fix things.

For them SHTF is 12 hours without electricity…

Now what is clear here, I firmly believe that there will be event of complete (prolonged) missing of the system (law, medical services, food distribution chain…) and some of the reasons could be new pandemics, economic problems, ethnic race (religious) reasons, chaos, or simply some wide world event.

Important thing is that people believing in any of these two levels have a lot to learn, but the starting point should be different.

For example for the folks who think that it is impossible to meet anything more complicated then short disturbances in electrical supply there is no too much use in throwing to them war scenarios and tactical shooting course, because for them it is maybe going to be fun, but there is no context there for them, no understanding.

It is more use for them to read history books, speak with war veterans-to try to understand that shit (will) happens, even in most modern societies where similar things did not happen for generations.

That is start for them.

 

Skills and Using Skills In Context

 

Real danger here is not about learning skills (which is again great thing to do), it is about not understanding how to put it in correct context and real life situation.

If you putting skills learning into good, practical multi day courses of “basic primitive skills learning course” or “wilderness skills course” and play it like that it is perfectly good and useful.

But again there are courses (or books, publications, media, you tube videos) of “how to survive end of the days”, “austere medicine course” or simply “buy this and you will survive and thrive when SHTF” and inside are skills, and list of items to learn or buy without connection to real situations, it is not only scam (more or less) – it is quite dangerous.

What I am trying to explain is best to show through the example.

Let s say there is “where there is no doctor” or “austere medicine course”, and it is like “advanced” too.

In short part of the course goes like this:

-Students start with drinking coffee, and getting know each other

-It is nice, weather is fine, there are snacks and food available, all students feel really comfortable

-They are injuring a pig (or other good sized live animal) and then trying to stitch the pig, or stop the bleeding in different ways

– The pig does not survive and they learned something about stopping the bleeding, and they feel stronger (and disgusted) because of the amount of blood and screams and how ‘real’ the training was.

Good things here that students get some feeling about blood, and they learned something about bleeding and ways to stop it.

But bad thing here is that they been told that now they are ready for SHTF in terms of the bleeding and stopping it.

In reality they are not even close to be ready.

Preferable this is  how this part of the course should look:

-No coffee on the course

-No food that day

-Bad weather is preffered

-Students are divided in two groups

-Preferable one at least one student in each group should be slowed down (let say evil instructor will “somehow” cause one of the student to have serious case of diarrhea)

-Students (each group separately) are instructed to carry the pig 5 kilometers to a near mountain or a specified place using compass and map only

-Half way to the mountain they have been (each group) instructed to stab the pig, stop the bleeding and carry the pig to the mountain again (while pig is screaming)

-Groups should hide one from another

-Group who get first to the mountain top with alive pig is winner

 

Now this is very banal example, and it is here only to in terms of an example, but point here is to understand – there is no sense only from learning skills without putting (and testing) those skills in scenarios that need to be as close to real life as possible.

I mean, if we are learning about stopping bleeding on someone when serious SHTF do you really believe  that you ll be well fed, healthy, in good mental state, perfectly capable for that?

There is the huge probability that you’ll be in poor condition while you trying to stop someones bleeding, remember it is SHTF? Actually you may be in condition where you may not be able to stop someone s bleeding at all.

What is the point of testing yourself if you do not push yourself at least close to the limits while testing ?

It is much more important  after the some  course, book, or you tube clip to understand and realize that you are not yet ready, and to know your current limits than to be sure “you are ready for full SHTF” because your instructor told you that, or simply book saying you that, while clearly you are not.

If you know your current  limits you know what more to learn or practice or achieve, and that is good, I learn almost every day something, and in many fields there are unknown stuff for me and there is nothing wrong in that…

Remember “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

 

 

 

Skills And Training

target

I have just finished delivering another ‘Mile In My Shoes’ (MIMS) down here in the Balkans. As always it was a great event with many insights both for the students and me. Having finished the course I got to thinking more about training in the survival and preparedness community.

Learning real survival skills in the field is something that cannot be substituted with anything, but I see people often try to do that.

Another mistake in learning skills is because they are often (almost always) taken out of the context, or even more often, there is no context at all.

Somehow as a result, there is a whole bunch of people learning skills without mindset where and when to use it, or not to use it. (I agree it is better to have skills even without context than not to have them at all, but that sounds more like an excuse than a justification…)

Prepping is a BIG industry, and for lot of people it just needs to be “sugar coated” in order to be consumed.

 

Levels…

Two examples here:

When you say to me “SHTF” my first thought is partial or complete collapse of the system and its services, so my second thought is about (lack of) resources, and other people realizing that fact, my third thought is about fight with other people for the resources still left.

It is my thought when you say SHTF.

For some people when they heard “SHTF”  their first thought is let’s say ‘power shortage’ that’s going to last for about 12 hours, their second thought is that they need to be comfortable for those 12 hours (only) because after that government (system, services) will jump in and fix things.

For them SHTF is 12 hours without electricity…

Now what is clear here, I firmly believe that there will be event of complete (prolonged) missing of the system (law, medical services, food distribution chain…) and some of the reasons could be new pandemics, economic problems, ethnic race (religious) reasons, chaos, or simply some wide world event.

Important thing is that people believing in any of these two levels have a lot to learn, but the starting point should be different.

For example for the folks who think that it is impossible to meet anything more complicated then short disturbances in electrical supply there is no too much use in throwing to them war scenarios and tactical shooting course, because for them it is maybe going to be fun, but there is no context there for them, no understanding.

It is more use for them to read history books, speak with war veterans-to try to understand that shit (will) happens, even in most modern societies where similar things did not happen for generations.

That is start for them.

 

Skills and Using Skills In Context

 

Real danger here is not about learning skills (which is again great thing to do), it is about not understanding how to put it in correct context and real life situation.

If you putting skills learning into good, practical multi day courses of “basic primitive skills learning course” or “wilderness skills course” and play it like that it is perfectly good and useful.

But again there are courses (or books, publications, media, you tube videos) of “how to survive end of the days”, “austere medicine course” or simply “buy this and you will survive and thrive when SHTF” and inside are skills, and list of items to learn or buy without connection to real situations, it is not only scam (more or less) – it is quite dangerous.

What I am trying to explain is best to show through the example.

Let s say there is “where there is no doctor” or “austere medicine course”, and it is like “advanced” too.

In short part of the course goes like this:

-Students start with drinking coffee, and getting know each other

-It is nice, weather is fine, there are snacks and food available, all students feel really comfortable

-They are injuring a pig (or other good sized live animal) and then trying to stitch the pig, or stop the bleeding in different ways

– The pig does not survive and they learned something about stopping the bleeding, and they feel stronger (and disgusted) because of the amount of blood and screams and how ‘real’ the training was.

Good things here that students get some feeling about blood, and they learned something about bleeding and ways to stop it.

But bad thing here is that they been told that now they are ready for SHTF in terms of the bleeding and stopping it.

In reality they are not even close to be ready.

Preferable this is  how this part of the course should look:

-No coffee on the course

-No food that day

-Bad weather is preffered

-Students are divided in two groups

-Preferable one at least one student in each group should be slowed down (let say evil instructor will “somehow” cause one of the student to have serious case of diarrhea)

-Students (each group separately) are instructed to carry the pig 5 kilometers to a near mountain or a specified place using compass and map only

-Half way to the mountain they have been (each group) instructed to stab the pig, stop the bleeding and carry the pig to the mountain again (while pig is screaming)

-Groups should hide one from another

-Group who get first to the mountain top with alive pig is winner

 

Now this is very banal example, and it is here only to in terms of an example, but point here is to understand – there is no sense only from learning skills without putting (and testing) those skills in scenarios that need to be as close to real life as possible.

I mean, if we are learning about stopping bleeding on someone when serious SHTF do you really believe  that you ll be well fed, healthy, in good mental state, perfectly capable for that?

There is the huge probability that you’ll be in poor condition while you trying to stop someones bleeding, remember it is SHTF? Actually you may be in condition where you may not be able to stop someone s bleeding at all.

What is the point of testing yourself if you do not push yourself at least close to the limits while testing ?

It is much more important  after the some  course, book, or you tube clip to understand and realize that you are not yet ready, and to know your current limits than to be sure “you are ready for full SHTF” because your instructor told you that, or simply book saying you that, while clearly you are not.

If you know your current  limits you know what more to learn or practice or achieve, and that is good, I learn almost every day something, and in many fields there are unknown stuff for me and there is nothing wrong in that…

Remember “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

 

 

 

Under Pressure

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A month or two ago or so I made (promise to myself, and others too) a decision that I will write posts on my blog more often, because of a few reasons, first and most important is that you folks react positively on posts and want to read new posts more often, other reasons are simply because there are always good topics for writing, and I simply want to write more often.

But just like with lot of other good (and strong) decisions, very often real life jumps in and asks for all your time and attention. ‘Life pressure’ gets you and you are simply living day by day under it.

Pressure dictates all your actions because you have to live, and sometimes writing blog post is a fine luxury…

Point of this short intro. is that I have learnt, a long time ago, how to operate under the pressure, and it is simply about switching off some of your functions and pushing on and on, until you get again into the position of normal.

It is one of the most valuable lessons of surviving the SHTF, because if you do not do that when SHTF you will fail to operate properly and that will get you dead…

Anyway, now I (finally) have some time to write a post, I want too share with you this story:

 

The guy was about 45 years old when I met him. The SHTF maybe two months before that, and I met him while we were trying to make sense of some military power generator that we found in abandoned army storage.

It was hopeless attempt to make it useful, we did not had any clue about how that thing worked, what fuel it used, or even how to drag that beast to our home.

Even if we solved all that problems, starting it at home was like invitation for bad folks. But we did not know any of that in that moment.

That guy was something like “guy who knows stuff”, because decades ago he served in the Army and his duty was to operate that things, so he was there to explain to us what we actually found.

Generator was partially buried under rubble of collapsed roof and all kind of junk and we spent a lot of time to clean all that away, he helped us, and while he did that he was murmuring something all the time, like he is talking with someone, or arguing something with someone, I did not pay attention to that.

And then he started to explain to me what we have there, he talked slowly, I could see that he know that stuff.

But then he went quiet and turn his head like he carefully listening to something. My senses immediately go up, I crouched and look at him and whispered to him “what, WHAT”? because I thought he heard someone is coming, because then that could easily mean danger.

He raise his hand to me wanting me to be quiet, and I go quiet, then he kept his head in that position for couple of seconds then said to me ”all good man” then he continued with explanation about the generator.

Couple of minutes after that, he again go quiet, raise hand giving me sign to be quiet and turn his head like he is hearing something suspicious.

I started to sweat, something was moving in my guts and had feeling like we are gonna be jumped from someone there, I almost wanted the shooting to start just to have a target to break down the fear.

Then he continued and asked me ”you do not hear anything”?

I said “no man” actually I heard lot of things, water pouring somewhere inside, ruins tapping very slowly, probably from destroyed roof on some piece of broken glass, some piece of metal shivering somewhere in the wind, shots in distance, explosions somewhere far.

But I did not hear anything suspicious or I was not sure.

He said “ sorry man, I often hear things, now I hear someone calling my name”

At that moment I froze and  a tingling slowly went over my back.

Here we are in the middle of huge military complex, in almost pitch dark, all kind of noises that you have in destroyed buildings are there, probably other folks are somewhere scavenging for useful things, everyone have some kind of weapon, something smells awful-clearly there is corpses there,there is no law and punishment and I am sitting in middle of that with a psychopath…?

He was smoking a big, fat, handmade cigarette and when he “pull the smoke” I could see his face, it was completely peaceful, but all what I could think was did he have knife close to him?

I remember seeing that knife while it was still little bit light from dying day, it was on his belt, a big kitchen knife.

My friend was somewhere around scavenging, I was alone just then with this guy.

Guy continued “sometimes I hear music, but mostly I hear people calling me, usually I know and I am aware  it is only in my head, but from time to time, I just have to ask if someone else is hearing it, because it is so real and I know I am not crazy. I like when I hear music, usually there are my favourite songs”

I said, smartly” all good man, it happens” but in my head I was waiting for my friend to come back and I was thinking “fuck the generator, fuck the barracks, this dude is crazy…!”

Then guy said “yeah, forget it, you do not hear it” and continued with explanations.

My friend got back and we moved from there, anyway generator was junk.

I was angry at my friend because he connected us with that crazy dude, I yelled at him “ I almost shit myself there in pitch dark with him and voices in his head”

My friend said” oh, he is fine, do not worry. He is fine guy, he is electrical engineer, when war started militia imprisoned him a week, and beat him all the time for fun.

Every day they would bring him in front of the prison and put a blindfold on his eyes and make a firing squad and acted to the last moment like they gonna shoot him.

After one week they released him, but he then started to hear voices, he is genius, but with a bunch of people inside his head.”

After that story I just said “shit”

 

Months later, I was on the upper floor of my house, drinking and smoking, having a moment of some kind of weird personal peace.

Noises of explosions and gunfire were there, mostly in distance. The moment was fine for me.

And then I heard music, and it was one of my favorite songs actually.

My first thought was ” great, my favorite song!”

5 seconds after that I jumped like someone stabbed me, remembering thinking” oh God, I am losing my mind, oh no please…”

I run down, enter my house, scare my family and pull my relative out from the house asking him “do you hear it, do you fucking hear it man”?

He was angry on me because I pull him out violently, he said “do I hear what”?

“song, do you hear the song”?

He said “ yes, it is Drago man, they probably drunk there”

I was staring to him, not understanding what he is trying to say. Then slowly I realize things:

Drago was the nick name for Army Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) with speakers on it – propaganda vehicle. Usually they blow our brains out with propaganda all the time, public declares, calls to surrender, all kind of junk, sometimes patriotic junk songs, insults and threats what they gonna do to us all the time, but never good music.

It looks like someone in that APC get bored from propaganda and junk and finally put some good music, or simply he got stoned.

I asked him again “you hear it”?

He said “ yes man, I hear it, you are fine, you are just drunk”!

I repeated to my self “thank you , thank you, thank you, I am not get crazy”

 

Later, in next couple of months I met more folks who “lost it”. Couple of times I personally heard strange things, saw people that were not there, usually when times got really bad.

Pressure on human body, and particularly human mind in real SHTF is usually huge and you can expect weird things sometimes. Brain will play tricks with you, and sometimes you just can loose it.

Prepare not to loose it.

Just in case, in my physical courses, I point out often that real survival things and skills are tested best in cicrcumstances when you are scared, and when you think that you saw something that is not there or hear something.

I am trying to test you in those circumstances.

That usually means you are so overwhelmed with events, and pressure is at the highest level, and the real art is to perform perfect on that level.

It is up to you and your well prepare mindset are you gonna “loose it” or not.

In the shortest summary, you need to prepare Bullets, Beans, Bandaids and Brains (mindset).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under Pressure

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A month or two ago or so I made (promise to myself, and others too) a decision that I will write posts on my blog more often, because of a few reasons, first and most important is that you folks react positively on posts and want to read new posts more often, other reasons are simply because there are always good topics for writing, and I simply want to write more often.

But just like with lot of other good (and strong) decisions, very often real life jumps in and asks for all your time and attention. ‘Life pressure’ gets you and you are simply living day by day under it.

Pressure dictates all your actions because you have to live, and sometimes writing blog post is a fine luxury…

Point of this short intro. is that I have learnt, a long time ago, how to operate under the pressure, and it is simply about switching off some of your functions and pushing on and on, until you get again into the position of normal.

It is one of the most valuable lessons of surviving the SHTF, because if you do not do that when SHTF you will fail to operate properly and that will get you dead…

Anyway, now I (finally) have some time to write a post, I want too share with you this story:

 

The guy was about 45 years old when I met him. The SHTF maybe two months before that, and I met him while we were trying to make sense of some military power generator that we found in abandoned army storage.

It was hopeless attempt to make it useful, we did not had any clue about how that thing worked, what fuel it used, or even how to drag that beast to our home.

Even if we solved all that problems, starting it at home was like invitation for bad folks. But we did not know any of that in that moment.

That guy was something like “guy who knows stuff”, because decades ago he served in the Army and his duty was to operate that things, so he was there to explain to us what we actually found.

Generator was partially buried under rubble of collapsed roof and all kind of junk and we spent a lot of time to clean all that away, he helped us, and while he did that he was murmuring something all the time, like he is talking with someone, or arguing something with someone, I did not pay attention to that.

And then he started to explain to me what we have there, he talked slowly, I could see that he know that stuff.

But then he went quiet and turn his head like he carefully listening to something. My senses immediately go up, I crouched and look at him and whispered to him “what, WHAT”? because I thought he heard someone is coming, because then that could easily mean danger.

He raise his hand to me wanting me to be quiet, and I go quiet, then he kept his head in that position for couple of seconds then said to me ”all good man” then he continued with explanation about the generator.

Couple of minutes after that, he again go quiet, raise hand giving me sign to be quiet and turn his head like he is hearing something suspicious.

I started to sweat, something was moving in my guts and had feeling like we are gonna be jumped from someone there, I almost wanted the shooting to start just to have a target to break down the fear.

Then he continued and asked me ”you do not hear anything”?

I said “no man” actually I heard lot of things, water pouring somewhere inside, ruins tapping very slowly, probably from destroyed roof on some piece of broken glass, some piece of metal shivering somewhere in the wind, shots in distance, explosions somewhere far.

But I did not hear anything suspicious or I was not sure.

He said “ sorry man, I often hear things, now I hear someone calling my name”

At that moment I froze and  a tingling slowly went over my back.

Here we are in the middle of huge military complex, in almost pitch dark, all kind of noises that you have in destroyed buildings are there, probably other folks are somewhere scavenging for useful things, everyone have some kind of weapon, something smells awful-clearly there is corpses there,there is no law and punishment and I am sitting in middle of that with a psychopath…?

He was smoking a big, fat, handmade cigarette and when he “pull the smoke” I could see his face, it was completely peaceful, but all what I could think was did he have knife close to him?

I remember seeing that knife while it was still little bit light from dying day, it was on his belt, a big kitchen knife.

My friend was somewhere around scavenging, I was alone just then with this guy.

Guy continued “sometimes I hear music, but mostly I hear people calling me, usually I know and I am aware  it is only in my head, but from time to time, I just have to ask if someone else is hearing it, because it is so real and I know I am not crazy. I like when I hear music, usually there are my favourite songs”

I said, smartly” all good man, it happens” but in my head I was waiting for my friend to come back and I was thinking “fuck the generator, fuck the barracks, this dude is crazy…!”

Then guy said “yeah, forget it, you do not hear it” and continued with explanations.

My friend got back and we moved from there, anyway generator was junk.

I was angry at my friend because he connected us with that crazy dude, I yelled at him “ I almost shit myself there in pitch dark with him and voices in his head”

My friend said” oh, he is fine, do not worry. He is fine guy, he is electrical engineer, when war started militia imprisoned him a week, and beat him all the time for fun.

Every day they would bring him in front of the prison and put a blindfold on his eyes and make a firing squad and acted to the last moment like they gonna shoot him.

After one week they released him, but he then started to hear voices, he is genius, but with a bunch of people inside his head.”

After that story I just said “shit”

 

Months later, I was on the upper floor of my house, drinking and smoking, having a moment of some kind of weird personal peace.

Noises of explosions and gunfire were there, mostly in distance. The moment was fine for me.

And then I heard music, and it was one of my favorite songs actually.

My first thought was ” great, my favorite song!”

5 seconds after that I jumped like someone stabbed me, remembering thinking” oh God, I am losing my mind, oh no please…”

I run down, enter my house, scare my family and pull my relative out from the house asking him “do you hear it, do you fucking hear it man”?

He was angry on me because I pull him out violently, he said “do I hear what”?

“song, do you hear the song”?

He said “ yes, it is Drago man, they probably drunk there”

I was staring to him, not understanding what he is trying to say. Then slowly I realize things:

Drago was the nick name for Army Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) with speakers on it – propaganda vehicle. Usually they blow our brains out with propaganda all the time, public declares, calls to surrender, all kind of junk, sometimes patriotic junk songs, insults and threats what they gonna do to us all the time, but never good music.

It looks like someone in that APC get bored from propaganda and junk and finally put some good music, or simply he got stoned.

I asked him again “you hear it”?

He said “ yes man, I hear it, you are fine, you are just drunk”!

I repeated to my self “thank you , thank you, thank you, I am not get crazy”

 

Later, in next couple of months I met more folks who “lost it”. Couple of times I personally heard strange things, saw people that were not there, usually when times got really bad.

Pressure on human body, and particularly human mind in real SHTF is usually huge and you can expect weird things sometimes. Brain will play tricks with you, and sometimes you just can loose it.

Prepare not to loose it.

Just in case, in my physical courses, I point out often that real survival things and skills are tested best in cicrcumstances when you are scared, and when you think that you saw something that is not there or hear something.

I am trying to test you in those circumstances.

That usually means you are so overwhelmed with events, and pressure is at the highest level, and the real art is to perform perfect on that level.

It is up to you and your well prepare mindset are you gonna “loose it” or not.

In the shortest summary, you need to prepare Bullets, Beans, Bandaids and Brains (mindset).

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ordinary Day’

ordinary

 

A lot of people wonder what an ‘ordinary day’ was like during the SHTF. I was thinking on this and remembered this day. I think it is a good illustration and answers this question… It’s odd to say but we were often glad of ‘ordinary days’ when not to bad things happened…

 

Rain was falling down for days, and we all felt wet and soaked with it.

Moisture was in our pores, our clothes, and kinda in our heads too.

It was kind of weather that pushes down and back the smoke from your stove, back to your room instead of through the chimney.

Holes in our roof were plugged, more or less, in the way that we managed to “channel” leaks  into numerous pots and canisters, in order to keep ourselves dry and also to collect water.

Being dirty is bad, but being dirty and smelly during several days of rainy weather is simply awful.

We dried our clothes above the stove, evaporation of dirty clothes together with smell of dirty bodies, bad “tobacco” (we “discover” some new tree leaves which we used as a substitute for tobacco), handmade oil lamps  and tea boiling on stove (we called it sometimes ‘soup’, other times ‘tea’)  made a mixture of smells which simply added to the depression of the whole situation.

In days like that alcohol intake would go up high.

When weather was fine I liked to go on second floor, remove tarp and plywood “setup” from roof hole that was made with mortar shell few months before, sit under it, watch the blue sky and drink.

Other folks would say “he is up there again waiting for mortar shell to land on his head” but it was nice and peaceful to do it, and sometimes I just did not care.

Even that weird relaxation was out of the option because of the endless rain.

In days like that we were closest to animals as we could be.

We ate potatoes for days, we managed to get it through one UN convoy that somehow entered city month ago, and it was mess to get those bags of potatoes because while UN forces tried to organized some kind of delivery system- like small bag of potatoes to each family that show up-folks simply overrun them and started to fight each other over it.

Several people get killed then, but we managed to bring home quite a stash of it.

We were happy because of the potatoes, but few days later rumors exploded that potatoes that we get were poisoned, actually it was not for human use, it was meant for seed only, or something like that and apparently they were treated with very hard chemicals.

We continued to eat it, only difference was that we were not so happy anymore about it…

And then a trade chance came to us.

It was my turn to go to visit the guy who “had some stuff for sell-trade” or at least it was information that we get it.

Good thing about this guy was the fact that I knew him little bit prior SHTF, when SHTF he had strong connections and simply had interesting stuff from time to time. He was something like “trustful” trader, he kept his stuff in his house and did trades there, which usually meant either he is stupid or very protected, and he was not stupid.

“Gogo” was his nickname, and we felt good because we are going to trade with him, because his reputation was pretty big and he (we thought) could not afford too many bad stories about trading with him.

It was as safe a trade as it could be in those days.

My relative show me our possession for trade while we were preparing for trip-it was 10 packs of Kent cigarettes, and when I saw that, it was like I saw UFO landing in backyard, with aliens bringing to us food, water, candies, and safety, and flying me then to a rock concert.

In that period cigarettes were rare, sometimes impossible to find and we were even lucky to have tobacco-which was not actually tobacco but grinded “tree” of tobacco plant, or simply all kind of tree leafs that we experimented with.

White filters Kent cigarettes in that moment were something like wet dream of every smoker.

It was pleasure to even see them, to smoke them meant pure happiness.

On my question where he get it? He answered “from some mercenaries”, and I did not want to ask more, I did not care.

We started our way to Gogo’s house around midnight, because plan was to be at the most dangerous place around 0100hrs.

On our way back we would choose a different way.

That dangerous place was big opening between houses, some 100-150 meters of space where we are completely open to the near hill where Anti Aircraft gun and few m84 machine guns were located.

Those machine gun was nicknamed “sijac smrti” which translates from my language to English as a  “death seeder” or “death bringer” or similar, and when I first time heard that nickname my thoughts were:”oh c’mon-somebody is watching too many movies, it is bombastic nickname for ordinary weapon”

Later when I was targeted first time from that weapon, when they shoot at me, I correct myself and I thought something like” death seeder? It is more, much more, it is Satan, it is hell, it is pure horror…”

And much later I also realized it is more or less common nickname for some other similar weapons.

So I built pretty fast my respect for “sijac smrti”, that shit was way too fast and deadly. It sounded like whole bunch of small deaths flying directly to you while they screaming.

 

(years later, after my SHTF ended and all things go back to some kind of let s say normal, I was watching member of Serbian elite parachute unit, while he was trying to explain his battle experience to another guy.

He and his small unit were holding position in dense woods on some hill during NATO bombing of Serbia, it was on Kosovo, and they were attacked by Albanians, Albanians were much stronger by numbers, but poorly trained, as he said, and he and his comrades did pretty well, morale was high, they were tough guys.

And then he said airplanes came. He said planes were firing from cannons destroying the hundreds years old trees like simple matches and obliterating his unit.

But he said that was not scariest thing-pure horror was sounds of that planes and cannons while they firing down on them, while he was trying to explain that he opened his eyes wide and said” it was sound like there are 10 big cows is in the air flying to you and they are screaming because they are being slaughtered”

Other guy was watching him probably not understanding what is so scary about that sound to terrified big strong elite dude.

And I said to myself “Oh man, I know that horror”)

 

Anyway we came to that open space without too much problems.

Nobody know what kind of view they had there on the hill, but during the night they fired often, without real cause, on that opening, so it was matter of luck sometimes are you going to be shot.

And somehow it was a myth that it is safest to cross it around 0100hrs.

In that time it was many openings like that in the city with different weapon and different tactics for crossing it and different myths about it how to cross it safely.

Lot of folks find God and faith on openings like that while they run or crawl over it.

Of course lot of folks end up dead there too.

I have seen guys being shot dead there while they run as fast as they could, I saw some crazy dudes walking slowly there and nothing happened, some guys were wounded and screamed there for hours with their guts hanging out until they died…

No rules.

We sat down behind the wall next to the opening and I told my relative “ok give me the cigarettes”

He said “it is not smart, it is for trade”

I did not care, so he gave me one pack, I opened it and smoked a cigarette.

It was cool to smoke it, white paper cigarette with white filter, after long time of smoking trash tobacco in any kind of paper that we could get.

It smelled like perfume to me in that moment.

I finished it and told to him “ok I can die now if I need”

He answered to me “fuck you man”

We run across that space while rain was pouring down, nothing happens, not a single shot on us.

Gogo’s house was close by after that, and nothing dangerous happened until we came to his home.

After some guy show up to us at the yard, we were allowed to enter the house with weapon, which was good feeling but not necessary good sign, but when we saw Gogo he recognizes us, and after some casual conversation which includes people that we together know we started to feel better.

We entered small room, two of us and two of them, sat down and had a drink.

 

Rakija (A strong, locally brewed spirit) was available then, so it was not a surprise when he gave us two glasses with that drink.

Numerous different kinds of that drink were circulating around, most often it was pure poison, simple not finished product from destroyed distillery diluted with water, but his was soft and nice.

Room where we sat was something like weird version of display room for customers, so we could see all kind of different stuff around in bags or open cabinets.

I saw pack of beer, even couple bottles of coke, and room strangely smelled of coffee which was high luxury in that time, everything there was set up for turning your senses “to want stuff”.

Bags full of something were lying everywhere and steel cabinet from army barracks was locked in one corner.

After some chatting he put down his hand under the table and put “Zolja” (“wasp”) single use RPG on table and said to us “this is good stuff for you folks, and it is cheap”.

I take it and said to him” it is empty man, fired, useless”

He open his mouth laugh with joy and said” ok man ok, you know that and I know that, but how many idiots outside know that? You could paint water pipe in green and state it is RPG and 90 percent of folks would trust you in dark, this looks real man.  Just fill it with something, point that thing on someone and ask right question”

“Yea, and then I can be killed from the guy who know that weapon is fired long time ago, he could choke me slowly with his bare hands, no thanks”

He said “ok ok, I agree, but here is right one” and then he pull out brand new one, same type, not used.

We said no man, we do not need weapons right now.

He said “ok ok, I have this too, I sell a lot of these and everyone is satisfied man”

Than his buddy opened wood cabinet behind his head and gave him wooden box, size of shoes box, bit smaller.

I look at my relative and look back at me with short surprised expressions.

It was wooden engraved box, pretty common in households in this region prior the war, something that you would put as a display in your living room, and when you opened it there was small wooden bird with mechanism inside, mechanism was activated by opening box, and melody would start, like birds singing…

Is he trying to sell us wooden singing bird in middle of the civil war?

Then he opened the box and push it to me.

Wooden bird was not inside, box was full-maybe some 25 bottles-vials of Penicillin. It was pretty expensive stuff.

I took one bottle and check it, expiration dates were good, Serbian manufacturer, labels looked originally “glued” on bottles.

But on the top of the bottles some of those were missing small thin metal “cap” that is covering rubber sealed “plug”(trough that rubber Penicillin powder is being diluted and aspirated into syringe)

First thought was that some those of the bottles could be used and then filled with flour.

He noticed what I am checking and said “ yeah, some of the caps are missing man, it is being transported through some rough situations before they came to me, but they are good”

I said” cool stuff man, but we do not need it” It was bit suspicious stuff and way to expensive for us at that moment.

He asked finally what we want.

And I said” Meat man!”

He leave the room and get back with one can, and I know he finally meant business because he brought only one can, without showing how much he actually has of it.

He put it on table and said” I have it, it is “Konj“(horse).

In that time different kind of canned food was circulating around, lot of expired stuff, broken, spoiled…

But popular was “horse”.

Horse had good and bad sides, but more good then bad sides.

It was canned meat, stamped label on tin was saying only something like “help from EU” or “help from UNHCR” I do not remember exactly.

Funny thing was that under the marking “type of meat” was written “meat”. Just that: “meat”.

It was kind of partially cooked meat with huge amount of grease inside that looked like snow.

If we ate grease alone it induced bad cases of diarrhea, but you could use it for cooking, melt it and use like oil for lamp, or simply folks stated that it is good to put it in places where you have pain, like an ointment (“bad knees pain – horse grease, rifle butt to the head-horse grease…  😉 )

Meat alone did not had any particular taste, it was unrecognizable, and people simply after some time said it is horse meat because nobody had clue what exactly it is.

So that can was nicknamed “horse”.

There were attempts to call it “kangaroo” but “horse” just stuck to it.

Simply it was usable.

He asked what we have, and I take out one pack of “Kent” he said “nice” without too much enthusiasm but his buddy stand up and said “where you get these man? Cool”

And that moment I knew we gonna get good deal because they are interested, they just kinda “blinked”.

He said to his buddy ”sit down man and shut up, you smoked too much pot” (Use of cannabis was rampant during the war)

And he asked how much of these we have, I answered it depends how much horse he have and bargain started.

At the end, we agree that we gonna gave him 9 packs for 15 cans.

It was great deal for us, and probably cool deal for him, because he knew folks who will appreciate those cigarettes a lot I guess.

After setting up a deal, and after we exchanged stuff we chatted for a bit and he offered me a hand made cigarette.

He gave me a small tin box with hand rolled cigarettes.

And I looked into the box, it used to be small box for cigarillos I think and I looked at the box, I liked it very much.

We carried our tobacco in all kinds of different bags, boxes, foils or whatever, but that tin box simply was “laying” down in my hand so cool. It was foreign stuff clearly.

It somehow “clicked” and perfectly lay down in my hand when I took it.

I gave it back to him asked where he got that, and he clearly saw that I “blinked” this time.

He said ”offer something, it is nice box man”

I only had that one more pack of Kent, with missing cigarette inside (which I wanted originally to keep for myself)

I pull it out from my pocket, gave it to him, he said” ok, I’ll give the cigarette box for this pack”

It was outrageous price, and I could almost feel my relative sending thoughts to me like “you fucking idiot, pack of cigarettes for tin box? We could get more meat for that…”

But I liked the box.

Then Gogo said” wait the second, cigarettes are missing from the pack, it is opened”

I said” yes, but still man, only one is missing and this is Kent real cigarettes”

Then he open drawer from the desk and pull hammer from it, we almost jumped ready for fight, but he took hammer and hit the tin box.

Then he said “ ok, one cigarette is missing in your pack, box is little bit damaged on one end now, but still working, now it is fair deal, we need to keep our business in some rules, it is reputation man!”

I was looking at him, realizing that he kinda lost it, just like most of us did in that time.

But we make the deal done, and all went good.

We get home in one piece, we ate those cans mixed with herbs and potatoes. Older member of family was happy with grease on his knees for some time…

I had a lot of bitching because of that tin box trade, but I survived.

War ended and years go by, I lost tin cigarette box, Gogo moved to Canada, and I heard he is doing apartment decorating business, and sometimes play guitar in some clubs, and have drugs issues…

Then one year, me and my wife were doing big renovation in my old house, and in some box with all kind of mess she pull out that tin box and said to me” oh it is some box for cigarettes, we gonna throw it away or you need it?”

Then she opened it, and inside she read small words that I wrote long time ago “GOGO” and date of trade.

She asked me “what is it, who is Gogo? Is it man or woman”?

From all of the explanation that I could gave her somehow words that came from my mouth were “ Yep, I could have got maybe two horses instead of that box during the war if I were smart”

“you had horses during the war? You rode it? I thought this was city siege! Where in the world you got horses?” she said looking suspiciously at me. (she spent war years in Germany without too much clue how was it here in reality)

I said smartly” no no,I didn’t ride horses, we ate it, it was good stuff”

Then she look at me with horror stating “you killed and ate horses, how could you, they are beautiful animals”

And then finally I said” you know what, forget it, it is long story, just throw away that box, it is useless”

Still, for a week or so she had suspicious looks at me from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ordinary Day’

ordinary

 

A lot of people wonder what an ‘ordinary day’ was like during the SHTF. I was thinking on this and remembered this day. I think it is a good illustration and answers this question… It’s odd to say but we were often glad of ‘ordinary days’ when not to bad things happened…

 

Rain was falling down for days, and we all felt wet and soaked with it.

Moisture was in our pores, our clothes, and kinda in our heads too.

It was kind of weather that pushes down and back the smoke from your stove, back to your room instead of through the chimney.

Holes in our roof were plugged, more or less, in the way that we managed to “channel” leaks  into numerous pots and canisters, in order to keep ourselves dry and also to collect water.

Being dirty is bad, but being dirty and smelly during several days of rainy weather is simply awful.

We dried our clothes above the stove, evaporation of dirty clothes together with smell of dirty bodies, bad “tobacco” (we “discover” some new tree leaves which we used as a substitute for tobacco), handmade oil lamps  and tea boiling on stove (we called it sometimes ‘soup’, other times ‘tea’)  made a mixture of smells which simply added to the depression of the whole situation.

In days like that alcohol intake would go up high.

When weather was fine I liked to go on second floor, remove tarp and plywood “setup” from roof hole that was made with mortar shell few months before, sit under it, watch the blue sky and drink.

Other folks would say “he is up there again waiting for mortar shell to land on his head” but it was nice and peaceful to do it, and sometimes I just did not care.

Even that weird relaxation was out of the option because of the endless rain.

In days like that we were closest to animals as we could be.

We ate potatoes for days, we managed to get it through one UN convoy that somehow entered city month ago, and it was mess to get those bags of potatoes because while UN forces tried to organized some kind of delivery system- like small bag of potatoes to each family that show up-folks simply overrun them and started to fight each other over it.

Several people get killed then, but we managed to bring home quite a stash of it.

We were happy because of the potatoes, but few days later rumors exploded that potatoes that we get were poisoned, actually it was not for human use, it was meant for seed only, or something like that and apparently they were treated with very hard chemicals.

We continued to eat it, only difference was that we were not so happy anymore about it…

And then a trade chance came to us.

It was my turn to go to visit the guy who “had some stuff for sell-trade” or at least it was information that we get it.

Good thing about this guy was the fact that I knew him little bit prior SHTF, when SHTF he had strong connections and simply had interesting stuff from time to time. He was something like “trustful” trader, he kept his stuff in his house and did trades there, which usually meant either he is stupid or very protected, and he was not stupid.

“Gogo” was his nickname, and we felt good because we are going to trade with him, because his reputation was pretty big and he (we thought) could not afford too many bad stories about trading with him.

It was as safe a trade as it could be in those days.

My relative show me our possession for trade while we were preparing for trip-it was 10 packs of Kent cigarettes, and when I saw that, it was like I saw UFO landing in backyard, with aliens bringing to us food, water, candies, and safety, and flying me then to a rock concert.

In that period cigarettes were rare, sometimes impossible to find and we were even lucky to have tobacco-which was not actually tobacco but grinded “tree” of tobacco plant, or simply all kind of tree leafs that we experimented with.

White filters Kent cigarettes in that moment were something like wet dream of every smoker.

It was pleasure to even see them, to smoke them meant pure happiness.

On my question where he get it? He answered “from some mercenaries”, and I did not want to ask more, I did not care.

We started our way to Gogo’s house around midnight, because plan was to be at the most dangerous place around 0100hrs.

On our way back we would choose a different way.

That dangerous place was big opening between houses, some 100-150 meters of space where we are completely open to the near hill where Anti Aircraft gun and few m84 machine guns were located.

Those machine gun was nicknamed “sijac smrti” which translates from my language to English as a  “death seeder” or “death bringer” or similar, and when I first time heard that nickname my thoughts were:”oh c’mon-somebody is watching too many movies, it is bombastic nickname for ordinary weapon”

Later when I was targeted first time from that weapon, when they shoot at me, I correct myself and I thought something like” death seeder? It is more, much more, it is Satan, it is hell, it is pure horror…”

And much later I also realized it is more or less common nickname for some other similar weapons.

So I built pretty fast my respect for “sijac smrti”, that shit was way too fast and deadly. It sounded like whole bunch of small deaths flying directly to you while they screaming.

 

(years later, after my SHTF ended and all things go back to some kind of let s say normal, I was watching member of Serbian elite parachute unit, while he was trying to explain his battle experience to another guy.

He and his small unit were holding position in dense woods on some hill during NATO bombing of Serbia, it was on Kosovo, and they were attacked by Albanians, Albanians were much stronger by numbers, but poorly trained, as he said, and he and his comrades did pretty well, morale was high, they were tough guys.

And then he said airplanes came. He said planes were firing from cannons destroying the hundreds years old trees like simple matches and obliterating his unit.

But he said that was not scariest thing-pure horror was sounds of that planes and cannons while they firing down on them, while he was trying to explain that he opened his eyes wide and said” it was sound like there are 10 big cows is in the air flying to you and they are screaming because they are being slaughtered”

Other guy was watching him probably not understanding what is so scary about that sound to terrified big strong elite dude.

And I said to myself “Oh man, I know that horror”)

 

Anyway we came to that open space without too much problems.

Nobody know what kind of view they had there on the hill, but during the night they fired often, without real cause, on that opening, so it was matter of luck sometimes are you going to be shot.

And somehow it was a myth that it is safest to cross it around 0100hrs.

In that time it was many openings like that in the city with different weapon and different tactics for crossing it and different myths about it how to cross it safely.

Lot of folks find God and faith on openings like that while they run or crawl over it.

Of course lot of folks end up dead there too.

I have seen guys being shot dead there while they run as fast as they could, I saw some crazy dudes walking slowly there and nothing happened, some guys were wounded and screamed there for hours with their guts hanging out until they died…

No rules.

We sat down behind the wall next to the opening and I told my relative “ok give me the cigarettes”

He said “it is not smart, it is for trade”

I did not care, so he gave me one pack, I opened it and smoked a cigarette.

It was cool to smoke it, white paper cigarette with white filter, after long time of smoking trash tobacco in any kind of paper that we could get.

It smelled like perfume to me in that moment.

I finished it and told to him “ok I can die now if I need”

He answered to me “fuck you man”

We run across that space while rain was pouring down, nothing happens, not a single shot on us.

Gogo’s house was close by after that, and nothing dangerous happened until we came to his home.

After some guy show up to us at the yard, we were allowed to enter the house with weapon, which was good feeling but not necessary good sign, but when we saw Gogo he recognizes us, and after some casual conversation which includes people that we together know we started to feel better.

We entered small room, two of us and two of them, sat down and had a drink.

 

Rakija (A strong, locally brewed spirit) was available then, so it was not a surprise when he gave us two glasses with that drink.

Numerous different kinds of that drink were circulating around, most often it was pure poison, simple not finished product from destroyed distillery diluted with water, but his was soft and nice.

Room where we sat was something like weird version of display room for customers, so we could see all kind of different stuff around in bags or open cabinets.

I saw pack of beer, even couple bottles of coke, and room strangely smelled of coffee which was high luxury in that time, everything there was set up for turning your senses “to want stuff”.

Bags full of something were lying everywhere and steel cabinet from army barracks was locked in one corner.

After some chatting he put down his hand under the table and put “Zolja” (“wasp”) single use RPG on table and said to us “this is good stuff for you folks, and it is cheap”.

I take it and said to him” it is empty man, fired, useless”

He open his mouth laugh with joy and said” ok man ok, you know that and I know that, but how many idiots outside know that? You could paint water pipe in green and state it is RPG and 90 percent of folks would trust you in dark, this looks real man.  Just fill it with something, point that thing on someone and ask right question”

“Yea, and then I can be killed from the guy who know that weapon is fired long time ago, he could choke me slowly with his bare hands, no thanks”

He said “ok ok, I agree, but here is right one” and then he pull out brand new one, same type, not used.

We said no man, we do not need weapons right now.

He said “ok ok, I have this too, I sell a lot of these and everyone is satisfied man”

Than his buddy opened wood cabinet behind his head and gave him wooden box, size of shoes box, bit smaller.

I look at my relative and look back at me with short surprised expressions.

It was wooden engraved box, pretty common in households in this region prior the war, something that you would put as a display in your living room, and when you opened it there was small wooden bird with mechanism inside, mechanism was activated by opening box, and melody would start, like birds singing…

Is he trying to sell us wooden singing bird in middle of the civil war?

Then he opened the box and push it to me.

Wooden bird was not inside, box was full-maybe some 25 bottles-vials of Penicillin. It was pretty expensive stuff.

I took one bottle and check it, expiration dates were good, Serbian manufacturer, labels looked originally “glued” on bottles.

But on the top of the bottles some of those were missing small thin metal “cap” that is covering rubber sealed “plug”(trough that rubber Penicillin powder is being diluted and aspirated into syringe)

First thought was that some those of the bottles could be used and then filled with flour.

He noticed what I am checking and said “ yeah, some of the caps are missing man, it is being transported through some rough situations before they came to me, but they are good”

I said” cool stuff man, but we do not need it” It was bit suspicious stuff and way to expensive for us at that moment.

He asked finally what we want.

And I said” Meat man!”

He leave the room and get back with one can, and I know he finally meant business because he brought only one can, without showing how much he actually has of it.

He put it on table and said” I have it, it is “Konj“(horse).

In that time different kind of canned food was circulating around, lot of expired stuff, broken, spoiled…

But popular was “horse”.

Horse had good and bad sides, but more good then bad sides.

It was canned meat, stamped label on tin was saying only something like “help from EU” or “help from UNHCR” I do not remember exactly.

Funny thing was that under the marking “type of meat” was written “meat”. Just that: “meat”.

It was kind of partially cooked meat with huge amount of grease inside that looked like snow.

If we ate grease alone it induced bad cases of diarrhea, but you could use it for cooking, melt it and use like oil for lamp, or simply folks stated that it is good to put it in places where you have pain, like an ointment (“bad knees pain – horse grease, rifle butt to the head-horse grease…  😉 )

Meat alone did not had any particular taste, it was unrecognizable, and people simply after some time said it is horse meat because nobody had clue what exactly it is.

So that can was nicknamed “horse”.

There were attempts to call it “kangaroo” but “horse” just stuck to it.

Simply it was usable.

He asked what we have, and I take out one pack of “Kent” he said “nice” without too much enthusiasm but his buddy stand up and said “where you get these man? Cool”

And that moment I knew we gonna get good deal because they are interested, they just kinda “blinked”.

He said to his buddy ”sit down man and shut up, you smoked too much pot” (Use of cannabis was rampant during the war)

And he asked how much of these we have, I answered it depends how much horse he have and bargain started.

At the end, we agree that we gonna gave him 9 packs for 15 cans.

It was great deal for us, and probably cool deal for him, because he knew folks who will appreciate those cigarettes a lot I guess.

After setting up a deal, and after we exchanged stuff we chatted for a bit and he offered me a hand made cigarette.

He gave me a small tin box with hand rolled cigarettes.

And I looked into the box, it used to be small box for cigarillos I think and I looked at the box, I liked it very much.

We carried our tobacco in all kinds of different bags, boxes, foils or whatever, but that tin box simply was “laying” down in my hand so cool. It was foreign stuff clearly.

It somehow “clicked” and perfectly lay down in my hand when I took it.

I gave it back to him asked where he got that, and he clearly saw that I “blinked” this time.

He said ”offer something, it is nice box man”

I only had that one more pack of Kent, with missing cigarette inside (which I wanted originally to keep for myself)

I pull it out from my pocket, gave it to him, he said” ok, I’ll give the cigarette box for this pack”

It was outrageous price, and I could almost feel my relative sending thoughts to me like “you fucking idiot, pack of cigarettes for tin box? We could get more meat for that…”

But I liked the box.

Then Gogo said” wait the second, cigarettes are missing from the pack, it is opened”

I said” yes, but still man, only one is missing and this is Kent real cigarettes”

Then he open drawer from the desk and pull hammer from it, we almost jumped ready for fight, but he took hammer and hit the tin box.

Then he said “ ok, one cigarette is missing in your pack, box is little bit damaged on one end now, but still working, now it is fair deal, we need to keep our business in some rules, it is reputation man!”

I was looking at him, realizing that he kinda lost it, just like most of us did in that time.

But we make the deal done, and all went good.

We get home in one piece, we ate those cans mixed with herbs and potatoes. Older member of family was happy with grease on his knees for some time…

I had a lot of bitching because of that tin box trade, but I survived.

War ended and years go by, I lost tin cigarette box, Gogo moved to Canada, and I heard he is doing apartment decorating business, and sometimes play guitar in some clubs, and have drugs issues…

Then one year, me and my wife were doing big renovation in my old house, and in some box with all kind of mess she pull out that tin box and said to me” oh it is some box for cigarettes, we gonna throw it away or you need it?”

Then she opened it, and inside she read small words that I wrote long time ago “GOGO” and date of trade.

She asked me “what is it, who is Gogo? Is it man or woman”?

From all of the explanation that I could gave her somehow words that came from my mouth were “ Yep, I could have got maybe two horses instead of that box during the war if I were smart”

“you had horses during the war? You rode it? I thought this was city siege! Where in the world you got horses?” she said looking suspiciously at me. (she spent war years in Germany without too much clue how was it here in reality)

I said smartly” no no,I didn’t ride horses, we ate it, it was good stuff”

Then she look at me with horror stating “you killed and ate horses, how could you, they are beautiful animals”

And then finally I said” you know what, forget it, it is long story, just throw away that box, it is useless”

Still, for a week or so she had suspicious looks at me from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Thoughts on ‘Reality’ TV

on-air

 

A long time ago (years ago now) I wrote a blog post on something like a ‘review’ of one of the popular survival shows, and I kinda “crushed” that show because it was full of techniques that looked cool on TV but will get you killed in reality. Later I decided that I will not do anything like “show reviews” because it is industry that you cannot beat, that said, I have to say my piece again…!

I read a few days ago (maybe some of you read it too?) about the newest survival show that supposed to start. This time in Russia.

It is gonna be placed “on a large island in the Ob River, the seventh longest in the world, chasing a 100 million rouble ($1.7 million) prize on a nine month survival mission in winter temperatures as low as minus 50C.”

And he continues:” “Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”

And:The survival race on the island will be filmed and broadcast 24 hours a day on an internet TV channel, Pyatkovsky said.”

While I do understand how survival shows attract attention and earn good money, simply because they are interesting (I guess) to average folks who do not have chance to test there survival skills, I still do not understand amount of stupidity in majority of them and lack of common sense.

Does anyone have the thought that people are gonna die because they learned something the wrong way from those survival shows?

This newest Russian show I think beats them all, do they think it is game? Rape? Have we gone so deep down as a society and humanity that we throw in rape as an option in survival show? And we put it down in same level of “wrong” as an alcohol and smoking? (“Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”)

Anyway I do not have high hopes in survival shows when it comes to learning something, from the whole bunch of shows  there is couple of shows that are usable, and people in those shows do not run, jump too much, or do things the ‘hard way’ (when there is an clearly easier way).

People in good shows usually showing good survival techniques for survival, not fancy and dangerous that attract views and numbers (and earn a lot of money)

Also, “real survival shows” that are recorded and broadcasted all over the internet live are not real, people usually do not act real when they live all over internet. It is pure show, not survival, folks somehow tend to forget that.

One more interesting thing about this Russian survival show is that one of the possible contestant says:” I want to do something so mad and unforgettable so that people later say “do you remember that girl”… we only live once and we must make the best of our lives. I am ready”

Mad and unforgettable? Best of your lives? you are ready?

Some things can not be part of the game, not even in hints…

 

My friend told me a story long time ago, he was a part of small squad unit who gets ambushed in street and shelled with mortars.

House wall collapsed on him and he lost conciseness.

He woke up in the middle of the night, under the rubble of wall, alone if you do not count his fellow next to him- his buddy that had only torso, everything under his belly was gone ,he was dead of course.

Everything was peaceful, nobody else was there, his comrades from the squad were not to seen or heard.

 He started to try and dig himself out of the rubble when he heard noises of people approaching.

Group of some 20 enemy men, together with 5-6 women approached and entered house across the ruined house where he was lying.

Only thing that separated him not to be seen is partially destroyed wall with window opening on it and the fact that it was night.

Behind that opening he was lying under the rubble.

He said that armed men together with imprisoned women entered house leaving one guy in front of the house.

After some 20 minutes screams started from the house, together with laugh of the men, it was clear that they were torturing and raping women inside the house.

My friend said he heard comments like “bring her here” or “move her on table” and stuff like that, and then a few gunshots.

It continued like that for couple of hours. My friend tried to remove dirt and rubble from him, but it was impossible, piece of concrete wall was on his legs, and he was afraid to death to make too much noise, guy on guard in front of the house was standing maybe 10 -15 meters from him.

His mouth were full of pieces of dirt from wall and broken teeth, and he said that night he suddenly become man of faith-he prayed so hard not to cough, not to be heard, because he knows he would be shot to death-maybe tortured before.

Out of the couple of women he remembers one of them refused to “cooperate”, they gave extra attention to her, he said probably with a knife…

He had rifle next to him, and he said that he started to pray to God to give him a strength to shoot himself because he could not stand it anymore. But he did not have courage for that.

Then he wanted to use rifle to shoot the guard and to try to shoot at the others when they rush out, but he was even afraid for that because he would end up dead.

Then he cried silently.

 

He says he was listening to screams almost all night, he also said that he literally shit and piss in his pants out of the horror from the screams, and out of fear for his life.

Then he heard a couple more gunshots from the house. Guys went out from the house, and leave the area without noticing him.

He said everything went calm, only sound in that moment was very distant sound of jet planes very high (NATO coalition regularly had high attitude flights in order to maintain no flight zone above war territory)

Before he pass out, probably because shock and loss of blood, he said two thoughts formed in my head, first was “ I am coward” and second was “thank you God because I am alive”

 

He woke up couple of hours later in a British UN forces field hospital, their unit found him in the morning and took him inside an armored vehicle.

War ended, he took down his uniform and left rifle.

He married and got kid, he went through a serious drinking period, he “touched” some drugs too, he divorced, lost job. He become more or less a ‘not functional man’.

But he never forgets that night when “God gave him life again” but also when he realized that he is coward too. And what he did not say is that night actually destroyed his life.

 

Up to now, you probably realized that some of my articles are just memories, without clear message or point, it is up to you to draw point or see message.

It is like that with real life-often there is no sense and message, or there is different message for each one of you.

But real survival usually is not “Best of your lives” and you may conclude that you are simply not ready for some things.

 

Some things cannot be “played” before you experienced it in reality.

 

Do you think there are problems with these ‘Real’ Survival shows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

Some Thoughts on ‘Reality’ TV

on-air

 

A long time ago (years ago now) I wrote a blog post on something like a ‘review’ of one of the popular survival shows, and I kinda “crushed” that show because it was full of techniques that looked cool on TV but will get you killed in reality. Later I decided that I will not do anything like “show reviews” because it is industry that you cannot beat, that said, I have to say my piece again…!

I read a few days ago (maybe some of you read it too?) about the newest survival show that supposed to start. This time in Russia.

It is gonna be placed “on a large island in the Ob River, the seventh longest in the world, chasing a 100 million rouble ($1.7 million) prize on a nine month survival mission in winter temperatures as low as minus 50C.”

And he continues:” “Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”

And:The survival race on the island will be filmed and broadcast 24 hours a day on an internet TV channel, Pyatkovsky said.”

While I do understand how survival shows attract attention and earn good money, simply because they are interesting (I guess) to average folks who do not have chance to test there survival skills, I still do not understand amount of stupidity in majority of them and lack of common sense.

Does anyone have the thought that people are gonna die because they learned something the wrong way from those survival shows?

This newest Russian show I think beats them all, do they think it is game? Rape? Have we gone so deep down as a society and humanity that we throw in rape as an option in survival show? And we put it down in same level of “wrong” as an alcohol and smoking? (“Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”)

Anyway I do not have high hopes in survival shows when it comes to learning something, from the whole bunch of shows  there is couple of shows that are usable, and people in those shows do not run, jump too much, or do things the ‘hard way’ (when there is an clearly easier way).

People in good shows usually showing good survival techniques for survival, not fancy and dangerous that attract views and numbers (and earn a lot of money)

Also, “real survival shows” that are recorded and broadcasted all over the internet live are not real, people usually do not act real when they live all over internet. It is pure show, not survival, folks somehow tend to forget that.

One more interesting thing about this Russian survival show is that one of the possible contestant says:” I want to do something so mad and unforgettable so that people later say “do you remember that girl”… we only live once and we must make the best of our lives. I am ready”

Mad and unforgettable? Best of your lives? you are ready?

Some things can not be part of the game, not even in hints…

 

My friend told me a story long time ago, he was a part of small squad unit who gets ambushed in street and shelled with mortars.

House wall collapsed on him and he lost conciseness.

He woke up in the middle of the night, under the rubble of wall, alone if you do not count his fellow next to him- his buddy that had only torso, everything under his belly was gone ,he was dead of course.

Everything was peaceful, nobody else was there, his comrades from the squad were not to seen or heard.

 He started to try and dig himself out of the rubble when he heard noises of people approaching.

Group of some 20 enemy men, together with 5-6 women approached and entered house across the ruined house where he was lying.

Only thing that separated him not to be seen is partially destroyed wall with window opening on it and the fact that it was night.

Behind that opening he was lying under the rubble.

He said that armed men together with imprisoned women entered house leaving one guy in front of the house.

After some 20 minutes screams started from the house, together with laugh of the men, it was clear that they were torturing and raping women inside the house.

My friend said he heard comments like “bring her here” or “move her on table” and stuff like that, and then a few gunshots.

It continued like that for couple of hours. My friend tried to remove dirt and rubble from him, but it was impossible, piece of concrete wall was on his legs, and he was afraid to death to make too much noise, guy on guard in front of the house was standing maybe 10 -15 meters from him.

His mouth were full of pieces of dirt from wall and broken teeth, and he said that night he suddenly become man of faith-he prayed so hard not to cough, not to be heard, because he knows he would be shot to death-maybe tortured before.

Out of the couple of women he remembers one of them refused to “cooperate”, they gave extra attention to her, he said probably with a knife…

He had rifle next to him, and he said that he started to pray to God to give him a strength to shoot himself because he could not stand it anymore. But he did not have courage for that.

Then he wanted to use rifle to shoot the guard and to try to shoot at the others when they rush out, but he was even afraid for that because he would end up dead.

Then he cried silently.

 

He says he was listening to screams almost all night, he also said that he literally shit and piss in his pants out of the horror from the screams, and out of fear for his life.

Then he heard a couple more gunshots from the house. Guys went out from the house, and leave the area without noticing him.

He said everything went calm, only sound in that moment was very distant sound of jet planes very high (NATO coalition regularly had high attitude flights in order to maintain no flight zone above war territory)

Before he pass out, probably because shock and loss of blood, he said two thoughts formed in my head, first was “ I am coward” and second was “thank you God because I am alive”

 

He woke up couple of hours later in a British UN forces field hospital, their unit found him in the morning and took him inside an armored vehicle.

War ended, he took down his uniform and left rifle.

He married and got kid, he went through a serious drinking period, he “touched” some drugs too, he divorced, lost job. He become more or less a ‘not functional man’.

But he never forgets that night when “God gave him life again” but also when he realized that he is coward too. And what he did not say is that night actually destroyed his life.

 

Up to now, you probably realized that some of my articles are just memories, without clear message or point, it is up to you to draw point or see message.

It is like that with real life-often there is no sense and message, or there is different message for each one of you.

But real survival usually is not “Best of your lives” and you may conclude that you are simply not ready for some things.

 

Some things cannot be “played” before you experienced it in reality.

 

Do you think there are problems with these ‘Real’ Survival shows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

Some Thoughts On Food…

can

 

I just want to start by saying thanks for all the comments and suggestions on my recent question about ‘what Do You Think’. I’m going to go through the comments and choose some questions to answer in these coming weeks. I will highlight (as some people said in the comments) that a LOT of these questions are already answered, in a LOT of detail in my online courses.

I have two separate courses. ‘One Year in Hell’ which goes in to a lot of detail about how I survived in my city during war, and ‘Survival Bootcamp’ which is a great step by step guide in getting prepared. Both courses are popular, informative and unrivaled and, as always, I am giving it to you for the most affordable price I can. You can see more details of the courses and join here:

 

OK, today I’m going to look at something very specific. As you know I like looking at the aspects of survival mindset, and I find it most important when it comes to surviving hard situations in longer or shorter periods of time, but yes, I agree that you may have the mindset of a warrior or really hard survivalist but still some basics need to be covered.

Basics like food.

Food

Food is something that you cannot live without, and just like about any other basic survival topic a whole bunch of books are being written about it, what and how to store, prepare etc.

While I am not going to write book about food, I will mention few basic things that you need to consider, based on my SHTF experience.

Have What You Like to Eat?

Yes, it make sense to store food that you kinda like to eat. But on the other hand if you hate canned tuna, for example, and there is sudden huge discount of canned tuna why not buy it and store it, you can trade it, or simply (trust me) you will eat it if you have to.

Do not miss a great deal just because you do not like some food (or you think you do not like it)

Other point here is that SHTF is stress for your body (and mind), huge stress.

Your body will need food that is balanced and good (healthy) for you more then ever. So if you have wrong eating habits, eat too much unhealthy food, maybe it is about time to change your habits, learn some stuff, start to eat good food, and start to store it.

When SHTF you will need your maximum strength, and since you ‘are what you eat’ you can conclude that stuff in your pantry will have a big role in how tough you are going to be when SHTF.

What Food?

It is matter of being practical, or having common sense (again).

You are storing food for SHTF, so it make sense to think about few things that food needs to “cover”:

1. It needs to be in amounts big enough to cover your or your family needs over a certain period of time, so do some calculations in order to have clear picture what amount of food will get you through how long a period of time

2. Needs to be packaged in a way that gives you options to move it quickly or hide it in different places (small packaging, cans, vacuum sealed, MREs, sealed buckets, small packages of sugar,and similar packaging is preferable), that also gives you less chances of spoiling whole storage if something goes wrong (water, infestation etc.)

3. Preparation of the stored food preferably needs to be as simple as possible, not time consuming, and need to have as little impact as possible on your other resources (for example if you store food that needs a lot of time to be prepared and lot of wood to burn in order to make it ready for eating you are doing something wrong). MRE’s are a good example of foods that require ‘minimum’ preparation.

In lot of cases you will have just enough time to eat something quickly, not to spend a couple of hours to make complicated meals.

“Fancy” items

Yes and no. If you are preparing on a budget then forget about fancy items, stuff like junk food items, useless candy stuff and similar.

On the other hand if you covered your basics really good then why not. Have things that you can use for trade, because in any situation there are always going to be people with extra money (or resources) who will want to spend it on “fancy” things.

Also think about items that may be kind of “comfort food” for you and have some of that stored too. There will be days when piece of food like that will make a huge difference for you.

I just want to be clear, make sure you have all of the ‘basics’ well covered before you worry about adding ‘fancy’ items to your food supplies.

 “It Is All In Your Head”

 

But still, do not forget about mental aspect of everything.

Here is one small memory from the war, from the first period of “adapting” to it, it is not a pleasant memory, but I cannot erase it, let s try to use it here in order to make my point more understandable for you:

 I was visiting my buddy, his father had broken ribs as a result of being partially buried under the rubble after shell hit house.

After checking his ribs, and giving some advice, they offered me meal, and of course I took it.

Me and my buddy went out at the yard with two bowls of macaroni, we sit down in pitch dark with our backs to the house wall and we ate and look at the city with sporadic explosions and fires in it.

At the moment we had Czech 22 sniper rifle so we were trying to see something in dark, hopeless, but we simply were eating in the dark, chatting, scoping… some kind of weird SHTF break I guess.

It was hot summer weather, and when you close eyes and “catch” break between explosions and gunfire you could almost imagine barbecue and beer.

And then I felt something weird in my mouth, I was paralyzed for a second, then I moved to the corner of the yard in order not be visible when I lit my lighter, and I checked what exactly is in the bowl.

Bowl was almost empty, some macaroni were left there in water, but also together with that there were bunch of worms floating there.

I checked again, yes-bunch of small grey worms, was not sure but I could swear that some of them was still alive.

I felt immediate urge to throw up. I close my eyes and remembered that I did not eat whole day, that macaroni was my first and only meal that day, and I started to repeat to my self: “do not throw up, do not throw up, I need that full stomach, do not throw up…”

And in next second I throw up everything.

I walk to my friend and ask him “what the f… you gave me to eat, it is full of worms”?

He answered me:” I know man, all what I have is infested with it, it is like that for weeks, I do not mind, and I thought you not gonna notice it in a dark”

I was angry, for a moment, I felt urge to shoot him in the face, then I was angry at myself because I did not check the food.

And then minute later I was angry because I saw warms, I checked it, and now my stomach is empty.

Biggest “highlight” was that my stomach is empty.

It was in the let’s say “adapting” period of SHTF.

Later, I have learned to eat what was available. Expired food, infested food, raw food, weird food.

Over the time you simply want to fill your stomach with something, hunger gets into your pores somehow and you do not mind for some things.

Often I would intentionally go into the dark with my bowl, just not to check too much is there anything else inside.

I assure you, as the situation deteriorate, you will eat lot of stuff that you would not usually eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Thoughts On Food…

can

 

I just want to start by saying thanks for all the comments and suggestions on my recent question about ‘what Do You Think’. I’m going to go through the comments and choose some questions to answer in these coming weeks. I will highlight (as some people said in the comments) that a LOT of these questions are already answered, in a LOT of detail in my online courses.

I have two separate courses. ‘One Year in Hell’ which goes in to a lot of detail about how I survived in my city during war, and ‘Survival Bootcamp’ which is a great step by step guide in getting prepared. Both courses are popular, informative and unrivaled and, as always, I am giving it to you for the most affordable price I can. You can see more details of the courses and join here:

 

OK, today I’m going to look at something very specific. As you know I like looking at the aspects of survival mindset, and I find it most important when it comes to surviving hard situations in longer or shorter periods of time, but yes, I agree that you may have the mindset of a warrior or really hard survivalist but still some basics need to be covered.

Basics like food.

Food

Food is something that you cannot live without, and just like about any other basic survival topic a whole bunch of books are being written about it, what and how to store, prepare etc.

While I am not going to write book about food, I will mention few basic things that you need to consider, based on my SHTF experience.

Have What You Like to Eat?

Yes, it make sense to store food that you kinda like to eat. But on the other hand if you hate canned tuna, for example, and there is sudden huge discount of canned tuna why not buy it and store it, you can trade it, or simply (trust me) you will eat it if you have to.

Do not miss a great deal just because you do not like some food (or you think you do not like it)

Other point here is that SHTF is stress for your body (and mind), huge stress.

Your body will need food that is balanced and good (healthy) for you more then ever. So if you have wrong eating habits, eat too much unhealthy food, maybe it is about time to change your habits, learn some stuff, start to eat good food, and start to store it.

When SHTF you will need your maximum strength, and since you ‘are what you eat’ you can conclude that stuff in your pantry will have a big role in how tough you are going to be when SHTF.

What Food?

It is matter of being practical, or having common sense (again).

You are storing food for SHTF, so it make sense to think about few things that food needs to “cover”:

1. It needs to be in amounts big enough to cover your or your family needs over a certain period of time, so do some calculations in order to have clear picture what amount of food will get you through how long a period of time

2. Needs to be packaged in a way that gives you options to move it quickly or hide it in different places (small packaging, cans, vacuum sealed, MREs, sealed buckets, small packages of sugar,and similar packaging is preferable), that also gives you less chances of spoiling whole storage if something goes wrong (water, infestation etc.)

3. Preparation of the stored food preferably needs to be as simple as possible, not time consuming, and need to have as little impact as possible on your other resources (for example if you store food that needs a lot of time to be prepared and lot of wood to burn in order to make it ready for eating you are doing something wrong). MRE’s are a good example of foods that require ‘minimum’ preparation.

In lot of cases you will have just enough time to eat something quickly, not to spend a couple of hours to make complicated meals.

“Fancy” items

Yes and no. If you are preparing on a budget then forget about fancy items, stuff like junk food items, useless candy stuff and similar.

On the other hand if you covered your basics really good then why not. Have things that you can use for trade, because in any situation there are always going to be people with extra money (or resources) who will want to spend it on “fancy” things.

Also think about items that may be kind of “comfort food” for you and have some of that stored too. There will be days when piece of food like that will make a huge difference for you.

I just want to be clear, make sure you have all of the ‘basics’ well covered before you worry about adding ‘fancy’ items to your food supplies.

 “It Is All In Your Head”

 

But still, do not forget about mental aspect of everything.

Here is one small memory from the war, from the first period of “adapting” to it, it is not a pleasant memory, but I cannot erase it, let s try to use it here in order to make my point more understandable for you:

 I was visiting my buddy, his father had broken ribs as a result of being partially buried under the rubble after shell hit house.

After checking his ribs, and giving some advice, they offered me meal, and of course I took it.

Me and my buddy went out at the yard with two bowls of macaroni, we sit down in pitch dark with our backs to the house wall and we ate and look at the city with sporadic explosions and fires in it.

At the moment we had Czech 22 sniper rifle so we were trying to see something in dark, hopeless, but we simply were eating in the dark, chatting, scoping… some kind of weird SHTF break I guess.

It was hot summer weather, and when you close eyes and “catch” break between explosions and gunfire you could almost imagine barbecue and beer.

And then I felt something weird in my mouth, I was paralyzed for a second, then I moved to the corner of the yard in order not be visible when I lit my lighter, and I checked what exactly is in the bowl.

Bowl was almost empty, some macaroni were left there in water, but also together with that there were bunch of worms floating there.

I checked again, yes-bunch of small grey worms, was not sure but I could swear that some of them was still alive.

I felt immediate urge to throw up. I close my eyes and remembered that I did not eat whole day, that macaroni was my first and only meal that day, and I started to repeat to my self: “do not throw up, do not throw up, I need that full stomach, do not throw up…”

And in next second I throw up everything.

I walk to my friend and ask him “what the f… you gave me to eat, it is full of worms”?

He answered me:” I know man, all what I have is infested with it, it is like that for weeks, I do not mind, and I thought you not gonna notice it in a dark”

I was angry, for a moment, I felt urge to shoot him in the face, then I was angry at myself because I did not check the food.

And then minute later I was angry because I saw warms, I checked it, and now my stomach is empty.

Biggest “highlight” was that my stomach is empty.

It was in the let’s say “adapting” period of SHTF.

Later, I have learned to eat what was available. Expired food, infested food, raw food, weird food.

Over the time you simply want to fill your stomach with something, hunger gets into your pores somehow and you do not mind for some things.

Often I would intentionally go into the dark with my bowl, just not to check too much is there anything else inside.

I assure you, as the situation deteriorate, you will eat lot of stuff that you would not usually eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Think…?

Thinking

You have probably noticed I am trying to write more often these days, and also improve a little the SHTF School website.

I enjoy writing, but instead of an article, today I am going to ask you a question. What is it you would like to see/read about here?

If you have questions, or suggested article topics I’d like to hear them. Also is there anything I can add to the site? Would you like to hear podcasts or see videos? If so, what about…?

Here is your chance to tell me what you like or want to hear about…

Let me know in the comments below.

What Do You Think…?

Thinking

You have probably noticed I am trying to write more often these days, and also improve a little the SHTF School website.

I enjoy writing, but instead of an article, today I am going to ask you a question. What is it you would like to see/read about here?

If you have questions, or suggested article topics I’d like to hear them. Also is there anything I can add to the site? Would you like to hear podcasts or see videos? If so, what about…?

Here is your chance to tell me what you like or want to hear about…

Let me know in the comments below.

Under The Bridge…

under-the-bridge

 

After maybe 6 months of horrible violence in the city, and life without enough food, water, electricity… after months of shelling, shooting, screaming and crying and simply after months of collecting wood for fire, plugging holes in my (what’s left of) roof, I “stumbled” upon on piece of normal life.

Through some contacts of mine, I managed to meet some guys from some kind of international force.

I need to mention here, in the war time there were all kind of strangers in the city, going in and out, through smugglers routes or with rare international convoys.

Some of them were UN forces, other were mercenaries, spies, or simply folks who want to earn money in bad and weird times.

Anyway, one evening I met these guys from Spain. Three big guys with even bigger smiles on their faces. Actually they stated they are from Spain, we did not care even if they came from the moon as long as they were of some use to us…

I was with two relatives, Spanish guys knew some English language and we knew some, and we wave with our hands a lot as an addition in communication.

They wanted to know whey they can find drugs and women, just like most of the outsiders wanted, together with what they called “war souvenirs”, weapons of war and stuff, interesting to them, or I guess exotic to them, flags with blood, knives, personalized weapons etc.

They had small assault rifles that they carried under their jackets, pretty fancy for us in that time, but what caught my attention was a small portable walkman on one of the guys belt and headphones around his neck.

I asked him ‘can I take that for a second and check?’ and he said sure.

I put headphones on my ears, started the machine and when music started I just had to sit down.

It was so powerful to me in that moment that I kinda lost it, I was like drugged.

I was sitting down and listened to the whole song, while Spanish guys looked at me, I guess to them I looked like some savage who never saw a walkman before.

They could not get it…

There I was, dirty and smelly, I could feel my toes in boots are sticky because water get in, I had weird rash on my neck, hand made cigarette smell like hell… but I sat, smiling like an idiot…

Music brought me back all that I have lost in last 6 months, it brought me peace of mind for a moment, memories of normal life, cafes and girls, the beach and fun.

Somehow I forgot all that in only 6 months time, and turned myself to surviving mode only, which was not bad, but in the same time, I lost part of me.

Few days before I met Spanish guys, one of my friends gets killed, he find himself in the open during sudden shelling.

He panicked, and gets frozen behind some telegraph pole, instead of jumping behind wall of ruined house few meters from that spot.

Piece of shell gets half of his head almost with surgical precision, upper half. Scary sight.

And that morning before we met Spanish guys we were (already) making fun out of his death, I said something like “can you believe that idiot tried to take cover behind a pole, like this is a cartoon”? and we laughed like idiots and drink.

I had no emotions about his death.

After we end up with deal with Spanish guys we went home, and I felt like I am gonna cry. Because stupid death of my friend, because I want to listen music not to shoot, because I guess music reminds me on normal times and fact that I HAVE to be sorry because death of my friend, not to make fun of it.

And in the same time I was angry on myself how one song can turn me into sissy.

Later I had the same feeling when I found whole bunch of books and brought them home to burn on the fire, and took one and started to read.

Funny thing.

Point is that no matter how bad situation is, you just need to have some connection with “normal” otherwise you’ll simply turn yourself into animal.

It can be a book, it can be guitar and music, or simply chatting with friends – no matter how hard S. hit the fan.

Do not forget that you are human and you need to have and express emotions, or simply you may burn out.

Today I heard that song on the car radio, and it brings me back to those times and feelings, and I sat down and wrote this post without too much thinking.

It was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Under the bridge” song.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under The Bridge…

under-the-bridge

 

After maybe 6 months of horrible violence in the city, and life without enough food, water, electricity… after months of shelling, shooting, screaming and crying and simply after months of collecting wood for fire, plugging holes in my (what’s left of) roof, I “stumbled” upon on piece of normal life.

Through some contacts of mine, I managed to meet some guys from some kind of international force.

I need to mention here, in the war time there were all kind of strangers in the city, going in and out, through smugglers routes or with rare international convoys.

Some of them were UN forces, other were mercenaries, spies, or simply folks who want to earn money in bad and weird times.

Anyway, one evening I met these guys from Spain. Three big guys with even bigger smiles on their faces. Actually they stated they are from Spain, we did not care even if they came from the moon as long as they were of some use to us…

I was with two relatives, Spanish guys knew some English language and we knew some, and we wave with our hands a lot as an addition in communication.

They wanted to know whey they can find drugs and women, just like most of the outsiders wanted, together with what they called “war souvenirs”, weapons of war and stuff, interesting to them, or I guess exotic to them, flags with blood, knives, personalized weapons etc.

They had small assault rifles that they carried under their jackets, pretty fancy for us in that time, but what caught my attention was a small portable walkman on one of the guys belt and headphones around his neck.

I asked him ‘can I take that for a second and check?’ and he said sure.

I put headphones on my ears, started the machine and when music started I just had to sit down.

It was so powerful to me in that moment that I kinda lost it, I was like drugged.

I was sitting down and listened to the whole song, while Spanish guys looked at me, I guess to them I looked like some savage who never saw a walkman before.

They could not get it…

There I was, dirty and smelly, I could feel my toes in boots are sticky because water get in, I had weird rash on my neck, hand made cigarette smell like hell… but I sat, smiling like an idiot…

Music brought me back all that I have lost in last 6 months, it brought me peace of mind for a moment, memories of normal life, cafes and girls, the beach and fun.

Somehow I forgot all that in only 6 months time, and turned myself to surviving mode only, which was not bad, but in the same time, I lost part of me.

Few days before I met Spanish guys, one of my friends gets killed, he find himself in the open during sudden shelling.

He panicked, and gets frozen behind some telegraph pole, instead of jumping behind wall of ruined house few meters from that spot.

Piece of shell gets half of his head almost with surgical precision, upper half. Scary sight.

And that morning before we met Spanish guys we were (already) making fun out of his death, I said something like “can you believe that idiot tried to take cover behind a pole, like this is a cartoon”? and we laughed like idiots and drink.

I had no emotions about his death.

After we end up with deal with Spanish guys we went home, and I felt like I am gonna cry. Because stupid death of my friend, because I want to listen music not to shoot, because I guess music reminds me on normal times and fact that I HAVE to be sorry because death of my friend, not to make fun of it.

And in the same time I was angry on myself how one song can turn me into sissy.

Later I had the same feeling when I found whole bunch of books and brought them home to burn on the fire, and took one and started to read.

Funny thing.

Point is that no matter how bad situation is, you just need to have some connection with “normal” otherwise you’ll simply turn yourself into animal.

It can be a book, it can be guitar and music, or simply chatting with friends – no matter how hard S. hit the fan.

Do not forget that you are human and you need to have and express emotions, or simply you may burn out.

Today I heard that song on the car radio, and it brings me back to those times and feelings, and I sat down and wrote this post without too much thinking.

It was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Under the bridge” song.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going it Alone… Some Things To Consider.

wolf

 

In one of my recent posts I wrote (answering one reader’s question) about perspectives of surviving SHTF between being alone in urban settings or being in wilderness settings and similar, and just like always, I concluded that it is very hard to survive alone when SHTF especially in urban settings.

I’ve written numerous posts about advantage of having a trusted group when SHTF.

Still I get questions about how to actually survive alone when SHTF, or how to be lone wolf. So it make sense to write a post about it.

Yes, people managed to survive alone when SHTF, but in much lower percentage and at much higher price (and effort).

So, based on the my experiences, of what I saw, and what kind of folks  survived alone (and how). Here’s some advice for all you lone wolves out there:

 

Mental Strength – Having A Cause

 

Being alone in hard times gives you much more chances to find yourself without emotional or psychological support when you need it.

SHTF situation will have huge impact on your mental state, your emotional strength, and since you are going to be alone, you will lack that everyday small and big support from your family and friends in group.

Do not underestimate the effect of this. If you forget, over time you may well just turn into an animal, or simply get yourself in a state where you going to make some basic mistake and end up dead.

I was in group during my SHTF, and I had support from other family members, but still I had moments when I had doubts about everything, when I was so deep down that I could not see and sense and reason to move on, I had my own method for coping with that, together with support from close family and friends.

What you can do if you are alone?

Find yourself a cause and purpose in the chaos that will unfold around you.

If you are believer, a religious man (or woman) you may have an advantage here, that can give you strength and sense in everything.

Other things help also, be sure to find out what helps in your case before SHTF, because remember – you are going to be alone with your fears and doubts.

I knew a man who was alone during the SHTF, and he wrote everyday a journal about things that happened around him , he told me later that he started with that without any plan, over some time it became almost ‘sense of everything’, to carefully monitor all what happening and to preserve it in written form. 

 

Mobility

 

I already mention that if you are planning to be alone when SHTF you need to be mobile, very much, what does that mean?

It means that you need to be ready to move more, in any case , much more then if you had a group.

Acquiring information, getting resources, scouting etc etc it all come to you only, you are everything in your survival circle.

That can change lot of things.

For example how much firepower you can have alone in defending your home against invaders, let’s say against 15 invaders?

It simply mean that there is much more chance that you can not defend your home because you are one man, that equals that there is much more chance that you ll be forced to leave (run) from your home.

All that means is that you must be ready to have more. More then one shelter, more than one secret stash with ammo, weapon, food, etc more then one option for almost everything.

You need more options because you are alone.

It is simple- lone wolf needs to pay attention on same things just like any other group of survivalist, but much more and much deeper. Because you will pay for your mistakes much higher, and usually only once and you are gone.

 

Skills

 

Every survivalist need to have certain skills, group or no group. Lone wolf survivalist need to have skills to, but again on a much deeper level.

He needs to be expert in at least one (Relevant) field.  As a lone wolf you’ll be forced (especially in prolonged SHTF) to form some kind of alliances to get stuff, or simply you’ll be forced to join (for shorter or longer period) to some group.

When all you other „valuables“ are gone (and you have more chances for it to be gone because you are alone) you will have that precious skill as a bartering value. Your skill will be much more important to you because you are alone.

Choose today, before SHTF, some skill that you feel and find best suits you and learn everything about it.

Think about weapon repairing, gardening, medical skill, herbal knowledge…

Become a real master in it.

One more thing about being alone and skills. Simple fact that you are alone asks from you much more effort and skills then having trusted friends or group, and it goes like that for every aspect of survival.

It take much more time to gather firewood, start fire and prepare food for you alone, than if two or three men do that. Not to mention how many skills have three men combined together comparing to one survivalist.

Let me give you example, and it is real life experience based, if two survivalist travel through urban area and decide to spent night or few hours resting in some ruin it is easy more or less, they choose building, check it,and take rest with one man on watch.

If you travel alone, you will look for building, you will do that with more effort, it will take more time, you will look for a bit different type of building because there is one defender (you), you will have to make some traps (warning or killing) which will take more time, and you’ll sleep with „one eye open“ and so on…

As I said, both examples are from my experience and my SHTF. Being alone is not impossible, it simply requires more effort and skills.

 

Other People and You

 

You are lone wolf, but you will be forced to deal with other folks, that is for sure. You will come in situation to cooperate with other people, or to trust to other people.

My survival philosophy when it comes to urban survival is that urban SHTF means more people, and more people means more problems, because you’ll have to deal with people more or less in order to survive.

That „dealing with other people“ when you are lone wolf is much more dangerous then dealing with them while you are in group.

It is simply because you are more vulnerable, less protected.

For example if you are going to trade deal it is much more dangerous for you alone to make safe trade setup, as opposed to having you and two more group members with you.

With that in mind you come to the point where you may conclude that you’ll be forced much more to avoid people because you are lone wolf. It is simply safer like that.

There is reason why most of the lone wolves who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people.

 

Aftermath and Consequences

 

Again let me explain through my experience and my example.

I survived SHTF.

I have PTSD for years, which drives my mind everywhere, from thoughts of ‘reasons for still being on this world’ up to the thoughts of writing the book.

I can say that I am pretty much not capable of living normal everyday life, I cannot stand crowded places, in nice cafes I look for possible exits… in exchange for this pain I am completely sure and ready for another SHTF.

But again that does not give me ease of living normal life, simply I have lost that ability long time ago because I went through SHTF.

I forgot names of people, or streets or places, I even sometimes forget when exactly my kid is born.

But I remember so clear how grown up people cried before they died, gaping wounds and blood that always gave me „how much blood is there“ thoughts, smell of building on fire, crackling noise of fire and glowing that mesmerized me.

And I remember much worse things, they are carved in my brain…

I am all that and I remember all that, even though I had support through my group of family members. We cared about each other, about mental state of each one of us.

I feel sorry for lone wolf survivalist who will survive SHTF, he is going to be mess.

There is reason why most of lone wolfs who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people before and have terrible time with the aftermath after…

As you might conclude up to now, there is no magic formula about how to survive alone when SHTF.

Rules of survival are mostly same like being in group, but much harder or sharper in a way, with much less margins for error…

 

*Toby Comments* – Selco raises a REALLY important point today about the ‘aftermath’.

So many of us are focused on surviving bad times, but we have to think, what ‘price’ will that journey cost?

One of the reasons we do so many of our physical courses in the Balkans is to clearly show people the ‘aftermath’ of such events. Even now, 25 years after the war, you will see people, ‘regular’ people, just wandering in the streets and the towns, still clearly struggling with what they went through. It is ‘normal’ in this area.

Every village, every town, has the people that are ‘known’ (by the locals) to be ‘still fighting the war in their mind’, to visiting outsiders it is a often shocking, very clear and sobering indicator of the cost of living through terrible times… This is an aspect you cannot afford to overlook.

 

 

 

Where to Start…?

grass-roots

 

 

There is never a ‘bad’ time to start Preparing (Unless it’s after SHTF 😉 ), but it seems that now is a perfect time to become prepper and survivalist. I’m seeing and hearing from a lot of folks, that for various reasons, are now interested in preparing.

I see numerous reasons for that, I do not think we really need to go into them…

Several times I had questions “ what do you suggest to a man/woman who wants to become prepper?” So it is about time to make some discussion about what prepper newbie need to understand about preparing for SHTF.

Why?

We all know why, for someone it is because coming economic collapse, for somebody else it is about evil government, or simply because a bad weather event is a strong possibility.

I like to think you are becoming a prepper because you want to take control over your life and actions. Remember, you do not want to be scared – you want to be aware.

You do not want to be dependent (more or less) on the ‘system’ because you understand (I hope!!!) that the ‘system’ is a complicated thing and can be disrupted or totally stop, very easily, because of many different reasons.

You are becoming a  prepper because you now see and understand how fragile all it is.

Knowledge / Skills

Arm yourself with knowledge and skills. Go into every pillar of survival and start from the basics. Personally I like the approach where you should cover all of the basic but pick up something where you are gonna be really good, a ‘master’ of that skill or subject, if you will.

That means you should have knowledge ranging from water (finding, purifying, storing) communications ( you really have to know to use map and compass and different types of signals) but also pick up one of the pillars that you like most (that means pillar where you can really be good at) and go in depth.

There is no man who knows everything, and also being really good in some field gives you possibility of good skill trade maybe when SHTF.

Do not go “Hollywod style” in your knowledge and skills and work too much on one pillar and completely forget other because you think it is “not important”.

For example, in my time it was perfection to find overnight urban shelter, because good thing was to find ruined building and hide it there in order to spent night (safe).

Now skill was (and sometimes luck too) to find perfect leverage in finding building that is destroyed enough (and look dangerous) but still good enough for you (so it would not collapse completely on you while you are sleeping), building that gives you enough chances so you can set up some traps without too much effort, start fire (not visible from outside) building with extra exit in case of danger etc.

Sometimes having set up visible trap outside of your shelter can give intruder sign that there is more ‘not visible’ traps there, and that there is no value in going there.

In what cases to use noise trap first, or simply alarm etc…

It is a game.

What I want to say is that “shelter” pillar is not only about having sleeping bag or putting plywood on your windows.

“Water” pillar for example  includes knowledge about alternate sources of water in your surroundings, or simply how big is water heater in your neighbor’s home? (maybe it will be abandoned)…

How many of you will really try to collect moisture from the grass and how much time you need for that and how much water you can get from that?

So to cover them again, we have the Seven pillars of Preparedness. Remember these are not in any order, your priorities in use will very much depend on what is happening:

1) Fire

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Food

5) Signalling/Communication

6) Medical/Hygiene

7) Defense

Your Setup

Most basic thing is to understand where and how you gonna survive when SHTF, and for what SHTF scenario you are preparing.

It is the foundation from where you are going to build everything else, everything you are going to ‘wrap’ around these seven pillars of survival.

Words  BOB, BOL, bug in, bug out are just that-words. You need to build your own setup that works for YOU.

You may have perfect Bug Out Location (BOL) 200 miles from your home, but that simply can mean 1 month of traveling by foot when SHTF.

In that 1 month I assure you you will be forced to use whole range of knowledge from everyone of the survival pillars.

Everything from wrong kind of footwear, not enough socks or gangs of psychopaths may be your problem then.

Do not end up dead because you exchange basic knowledge, for your opinion that you ll be able to easily drive 200 miles to your BOL when SHTF.

Remember your well prepared plan does not gives you permission not to know how to drive (stolen) manual drive car or how to purify dirty water on your way there.

Your Decisions and Plans

You may already get decision strongly to bug out because you are living in big city, close to the mall, close to the bad neighbourhood… and you have perfect BOL.

Guess what? You may not have chance to go there, maybe somewhere in the middle of the night you will wake up and figure that opportunity is gone, and you simply have to stay.

And only then you realize that you did not even calculate possibility that you may not go to BOL when SHTF.

And then there are you, your plan is gone, and all that you have is your knowledge and skills.

It is up to you how much of that knowledge and skills you’re going to have.

It gives me chills when I read how many preppers are taking for granted that they simply will have time and opportunity to reach their BOL.

Nothing is for granted and you never know. Very often you’ll have to adapt.

Maybe dirty bomb situation will find you in your office, in your suite, armed with pencil only and you will have to build your survival plan from that point…

Again I got chills when I read people putting all what they have in one place, stating that they will defend it to the last. Be flexible-adapt.

Knowledge and skills are something that you’ll always have with you, plan is something that will change all the time – for sure.

Thinking Out of the Box

In this region one of the regular scams that happens often. Your driving and suddenly you see a man and woman standing next to  what looks like broken car, there are few kids in back of the car.

Man is waving to you, you stop to ask what’s going on (it is daytime, kids and women is there, nothing suspicious on the first look).

Man says he is not from around here, his car is broken and needs money for towing service, but he is without cash, his house is far blah blah

He asks money from you in return he will gave you his gold ring because his kids are hungry, his wife is crying etc

He will give you $600 worth ring for a $100 for example, and he will give you card with phone number so after few days you can call him and return him his ring for your money when he get to his bank cards or whatever.

His hand is full of rings, cars are honking around you, kids are crying man is keep going “please please”.

You said yes (sometimes because you feel sorry, sometimes because you want something worth $600 for $100), man is taking of his gold ring, you feel it is heavy, you see there is gold mark on it (like an official stamp to show it’s real), and that’s it.

You just lost $100.

Phone number is fake, few hours later you find out it is type of heavy metal material, gold plated ring with false stamp on it. And you ask yourself how it is possible that you make fool of yourself in such a cheesy way.

Answer is simple actually: you were blinded by greed or blinded by your good soul and rush and outside influence (kids crying, cars are honking, man is desperate, he is in trouble, his wife is angry on him etc etc…)

It is similar when SHTF, you can do a lot, survive a lot of weird situations, or simply get shot (or mugged) because “outside” influences are going to be huge.

Confusion, lack of information, false information, uncertainty, bombardment of new things, constant need to adapt.

Simply you need to stay focused and learn to adapt.

And yes, one more thing, this short ring scam story can be used in your favor when SHTF.

I have gold plated rings with false stamps  as a part of my preparations for SHTF.

If you find yourself on check point it is good to give the man your gold “engagement ring” to let you go, like we discussed many times.

It is even better to gave him a fake gold ring. In confusion almost no one will see difference….

Conclusion

Simply, what do I want to say… Focus on building credible knowledge and skills, develop an adaptive mindset, yes buy some equipment and resources but this should not be the main or sole focus of your preparing…

Even for you that are ‘well prepared’ it is good to take a ‘step back’ and see what are you actually prepared for…? How well do you know, and how much do you train with your equipment?

I’ve said before some ‘strategies’ I see as very common cause me great concern. Make sure you are planning and preparing for the ‘realities’ of bad situations, NOT the Hollywood (or your own) fantasy…

If you are a new prepper say Hi in our comments below. If you are an experienced Prepper please share your ‘best tips’ in the comments for the new people reading this…

Prepping is not a competition, lets all help each other while we can…

For those that want a ‘step by step’ guide to Prepping, you can sign up for my excellent and unrivalled Online course. This would be an excellent ‘first investment’ in your preparedness journey, and we have ept the price low so it is accessible to everyone, click here and scroll down for course details:

http://shtfschool.com/

If I was in America, I would….?

divide

 

And then one day, finally, real democracy came!

We were feeling that after long time of the same old politicians who cared only for themselves or their own circles and families, suddenly there is a man (or people) who will bring something new for us, pride, strength, wealth or whatever.

Media was full of high hopes and praising, in order to bring new world for us, jobs, security and what not.

New factories are  promised, new liberties, patriotism and love for the country exploded.

Something beautiful was expected. We felt like it is dawn of new era…..

What a bunch of fucking idiots we were.

Then the polarization started. At the beginning it was something like “there are people FOR and there are folks AGAINST it” whatever that “IT” was.

Pretty soon we were “thrown” into situation where you have two families, they are neighbors, friends for years, decades even, but over the political reasons they started to see each other with kinda ‘bad blood’.

 And then one morning, SHTF and I found myself standing in my backyard like an idiot, still trying to find out what happened with great words of new era and better life…?

People were shot dead on the street for fun or wrong words, fire trucks were driven by stoned teenagers in weird uniforms, police cars burning, men with assault rifles walking on the street in cowboy boots and metal band T shirt acting like self proclaimed government forces, every group who had more then 15 guys and 5 rifles was self proclaimed police force doing whatever they want to do…

Whole bunch of people who had dreamed of times where and when they can do whatever they want emerged.

I forget together with bunch of other people high hopes and big words, all what was left is pure survival, day by day.

 

America

 

I got mail from one of my readers (thank you Mike!), and I really liked it. Mike and I share some opinions in exactly same time, I will cite his message here:

“My nation, America, is being abruptly dragged out of a deep and prolonged state of subconscious anxiety and depression. It is being assaulted with hope and this is beginning to produce a state of relief which will be managed into uncritical nationalism if at all possible. This euphoric state of national mind is the perfect cover from which to ambush a nation. The pressing for a one world government did not die under Trump, it simply got a new face. The danger to America and to the other nations of the world are more real now than ever. Extreme sobriety is warranted at this time. Most people I have spoken with cannot see this. They need to. Perhaps you could bring this to attention. Mike”

Yes, America is being “attacked” with hope, changes, trust in better life, new jobs, pride.

In the same time media is on the run for making “demon” out of people or political options, and polarization is there.

It all looks (sadly) VERY familiar to me.

It is looking so familiar too me that I have to say  I am afraid for the near future of Americans.

Stage there is “perfect” for violent changes and SHTF.

Stay sober, operate in your small circle, you will appreciate that effort when SHTF.

 

What Can You Do?

 

In terms of “big picture” you cannot do anything. It is like that, if big players are set to make shit, then it will happen, and timing and climate there in US is perfect for that, so no matter how hard I hate to shovel “fear”, you have to be afraid if that will at least mean you get into motion.

And again and again – think in small circles.

For example, I can say for myself that I am for human rights, protecting the weak and people who suffered, but more from that I am about respecting of my way of living, and if there is a bunch of people who wants to change my way of living with force because they are so different I want them out of my country.

Now this sounds nice and normal, decent.

But it does not have too much with storing food and ammo, learning new skills, knowing how to purify water or simply working on your survival group.

When real SHTF there is no no democrats, republicans, political options, right or wrong, left or right.

Everything is kinda blurred and at the end there are YOU and OTHERS.

You will find yourself standing somewhere, maybe in similar backyard like mine, 25 years ago, asking yourself where everything is gone and how suddenly bottle of water is more important then whole bunch of political options, parties, opinions, solutions etc.

And you had such a  high hopes in better life!

Stay on the right track of prepping, do not be mesmerize with current events. Monitor events, of course, but stay on the track, and please do not have high hopes that “everything gonna be OK”.

Also note, while America is the greatest example of this problem just now, other countries are , and will, experience very very similar things… Don’t believe it ‘Can’t happen’ where you are…

If you see worrying signs where you live, please share your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

 

‘Lone Wolf’ Life Expectancy…?

alone

 

Over the last couple of years I get many questions about „what to do when SHTF if you are alone, without network of people…“ kinda questions, most of my answers were pretty much grim about perspective of being alone when SHTF.

It is not impossible, but it is very, VERY hard. Over on our Facebook page Robert asks specifically:

Selco, What is your advice to people who have no family or many friends in there immediate areas if disaster strikes? Bug in where you are safest and meet people? Bug out in the wild where supplied is limited , harsh weather and slow decline of sanity? There are people out there without a support network. I look at it this way. If you are alone now with people around you then when disaster strikes then bugging in is really the best option. Why? Because you can pull resources together and form a group.Your sanity can be stable, you can learn new skills, have a structure to protect against weather, trade and can reduce caloric intake. What do you think the options are for the lone man? I think he is going to have to stay put“

But that discussion draws other interesting topics, and from the statement that „being alone when SHTF“ lot of folks might conclude wrong things or wrong ideas, so again let’s (again) consider few problems here if you think you are gonna be alone when SHTF (urban).

Being Alone When SHTF in Urban Settings

I must point out here again and again difference between romantic view of surviving in the city and reality first.

Every city is complex mix of services that needs to operate in perfect (more or less) harmony in order to let ordinary man live in it.

When those services go away, it is not city anymore, at least not as you understand it.

It is big pile of people, inside a big pile of not operating buildings and houses. To make it more simple to understand, when SHTF, city become too small to support that number of citizens, simply suddenly you are realize that there are way too many people around you and way too little water, power, food, security, medicines etc etc.

It becomes complex death trap and it will ask from you to implement your strength, your skills, your view of moral and right and wrong so badly that it is hard to imagine right now.

Of course, people will survive it, nothing new, but sometimes at very high prices.

Or to bring it to the examples for a moment.

You are alone, and your home is under threat. How long are you going to be able to be on guard, watching for the threat?

One night?, Day and night? How long before you are going to see things that are not there, or even worse not see things that are there?

Now add to the problem that you might be forced to be on guard for 48 hours while you are having diarrhea, or fever.

Who is going to watch over your place when you are out looking for resources or information for example?

Bugging in so good and safe inside city that you can stay „put“ for couple of days, or sleep whole night (without someone at watch) sounds great. But not so probable.

Bugging Out „Into The wild“

Maybe it is only me, but as I see it only few can go „out in the wild“ and survive for prolonged period of time.

Bugging out in the wilderness is not like camping trip, because camping trip is just that-trip- you go out in the wild with resources and you are going back into normal life, 5 days, 10 days or month, but you are going back.

Surviving in wilderness for prolonged period of time  is something completely different, because you are going to start a new life in a way.

Range of skills, physical and mental strength needed for that is way beyond skills of average prepper and most of the people could not last too long in the wilderness.

Most of the folks who bug out into wilderness without huge prior preparations (including BOL) will end up dead or simply as a unsuccessful scavengers and solo raiders.

Forming A Group

I am big advocate of building the network of trusted people. Simply because I saw what it means when you have someone that you can really rely on when SHTF.

Now there is difference between forming the group before SHTF and after SHTF, because for good group you need to have enough time to build confidence and have all things set up for SHTF.

Common sense because that is that you need to build group BEFORE SHTF. It takes time.

Building group after SHTF usually means that you for „alliances“ with people that you do not know good enough-that equals fact that you simply never know when they are going to turn against you.

Conclusion

As a answer to the original question at the beginning of this post –

Robert,

If you asked me several years ago what to do I would advice you to bug out into wilderness and take your chance, but after years of learning about wilderness there is one possible choice for you here- bug in.

No friends, no network, no family, no BOL, no absolutely perfect skills and knowledge and perfect mindset for wilderness you just have to take your chance by bugging in.

But consider mentality that you need to be really flexible and ready to be really mobile in city. Staying bugged in one „shelter“ is quite hard.

You need to consider alternative shelters, close to your place, secret stashes with preps (food, ammo etc), people that you will use as a help, not trusted network of people, but kind of ‘associates’ in order to get what you need to get.

Do not expect to find 6 good people on second day of SHTF. Use people from situation to situation, do not trust to anyone.

My advice here in short is to bug in, but not type of bugging in that people imagine, with tons of everything ready to die for that. You going to need to be highly mobile, with lots of choices prepared where to spend night.

Final Note:

Help me to help you…

Guys I really enjoy writing these articles and spreading quality information that helps you prepare. You will see I have added a new feature on the right hand side of this page. It is a ‘donate’ button. I’m not going to lie to you, times are tough down here in the Balkans and getting tougher in many ways each week. If you find my articles of help or use, please consider buying me a drink to say thanks, or leaving a donation of any amount. Every little helps! Thank You.

 

 

 

 

Reality Check – What You Maybe Doing Wrong and How It Will Get You Killed

suicide

 

Over the years being in the Prepper and Survival community,  I realize that my favorite topics for writing are about survival myths.

There are two reasons for that. First I have been through SHTF, so it is obviously clear to me what are the myths about survival and what are the truths, in other words it is kinda easy for me to write about it.

Second reason is because at the same time it’s hard. It is not hard to write about it, but it is hard to explain to people what it’s all about.

Reason for that, is not because I consider most of the Prepper’s idiots, it is about the preconceptions inexperienced people have about survival, or being ready for SHTF.

That preconception is so huge, and so deep, it has been plugged or conditioned into a lot of Preppers so hard, over so many years of bombarding from youtube, blogs, forums, movies and similar that sometimes it look simply hopeless too fight.

 

Where to Look?

 

I remember for the first time seeing and teaching a group of students who considered themselves survivalists and Preppers. After few hours of talking with them my first impression was to tell them, or to yell at them „ you are so fucking dead when SHTF, on second day you are dead!!!“

Of course I did not tell them that, but the point is that their survival mentality and mine were like two completely different worlds.

No they were not idiots, just regular folks who look and checked for the most common information about survival out there available, or most commercialized, or coolest.

And no, I do not think that everyone needs to go through years of war in order to become survivalist, just some common sense and some effort.

It is like they learned everything they knew about survival from the guy on youtube channel, who read it from the book, which was written by a guy who heard something from a friend some time ago. So many of the sources they ‘relied’ on or trusted were dangerously worthless…

Folks, there is much more to learn from let’s say a diary of holocaust survivor, than from youtube guy who is testing his new BOB in his backyard!

Actually I would rather have memorized the diary book, instead of owning the BOBs that most of the youtube guys are testing and recommending!

This whole topic is huge, but let’s address the more common mistakes I see all the time. Each of them is not a mistake by itself, but if you put these as a ‘priority’ it is something that definitely will get you killed when SHTF:

 

The ‘Cool’ Factor

 

Here is a scenario that happened. A student on my survival course has been offered to choose some equipment to complete a survival training task, the amount of equipment to choose from was limited.

He is trying to ensure he has covered all of the ‘seven priorities’ of Urban Survival. When he gets to the water „section“ there were two items, a camping stove set (The Trangia model), and an old dirty plastic bottle, he could choose one.

He choose the plastic bottle for the section „water“.

I asked him ‘can you tell me why did you choose plastic bottle instead of the camping stove set?’, his answer was: “I saw on youtube that plastic bottle can be use for boiling water and making it sterile“.

I asked him:“ why did you not choose the camping stove set, it can do same thing, much easier, can do even more things, and last much longer etc etc“?

He did not have an answer for that, other than his previous one.

Folks, watching something on youtube (believe it or not) that looks cool, does not necessary mean it is right, or right for every situation.

I believe that youtube video was about using plastic bottle in survival when you do not have anything else, but taking it instead of something really useful just because looks cool or it’s a ‘good trick’???

This Plastic bottle story is just one example, many other times on various courses I see very similar things.

Internet is full of good advice about tactics, techniques, and equipment for SHTF, problem is, that in the same time internet is full of s..t, so choose carefully where you look to learn something, Check for guys who CREDIBLY tested something or experienced it, or you test it yourself before real SHTF.

I know, it is big industry and big money out there about let’s say „ how to survive end of the world with cool equipment and looking cool“, but from my experience I did not see cool equipment in my time, and the ‘cool’ people died very early on…

Folks who survived had stuff that worked and mentality that worked. ‘Coolness’ was not important in that time, even if someone had some ideas about looking and being cool, those ideas gone with first bullets hissing around their heads.

If you’re preparing to have cool equipment (only) and look cool when SHTF you are doing something wrong. Seriously.

 

Commodities, Peace of Mind, and Degrees of Knowledge

 

Again, having a commodity by itself when SHTF, on it’s own is not a problem. There is nothing wrong in preparing to be in as much comfort as possible when SHTF.

But huge number of Preppers are preparing only for that! And that is wrong.

Simplest example here, is man who is preparing for SHTF by buying good generator, in order to have as much comfort possible when SHTF, but at the same time he does not know ways to start a simple fire.

Generator here is something like an upgrade, fire (knowledge) is essential.

Nothing wrong with owning a generator, if you also know and have supplies up to the level where a generator ‘fits in’.

Or you have man who has 5 assault rifles, and a lot of ‘knowledge’ (youtube again) about tactical movement – but he has NO clue how hard (noisy) it is to move through partially destroyed buildings, or he never fired the rifle inside an enclosed space (room, empty corridor) and did not experience the impact of that event on his ears.

Nothing wrong with owning 5 rifles, if you know everything up to that level.

Five rifles alone does not mean s..t.

Internet is full of advertising that if you do (or buy) whatever they offer you, you’re going to have something like ‘best time of your life when SHTF.’

Of course it is a lie, even if you are fully prepared it is not going to be a joyride, it is going to be hard and life changing.

And by ‘buying solutions’ then you are just buying peace of mind, nothing more. Worse still, you are seriously underestimating SHTF.

PLEASE make some common sense decisions in your preparing. Do not find yourself in situation where you have 30 spices in your pantry but you do not have duct tape or an axe.

Start from the basic in every „pillar“ of survival, evenly, then build on that base with logic and sense. Build all pillars up at the same time, don’t take ‘defense’ for example and focus and build that to the highest level while ignoring the six others…

I’ve written about these before, but just as a brief re-cap, the seven ‘pillars’ of Urban Preparedness are:

1) Fire

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Food

5) Signalling/Communication

6) Medical/Hygiene

7) Defense

Use the internet to help your preps, but confidence check your sources, and do not believe everything you read/see!!!

I see and read to many people treating Prepping like some ‘fun game’ as opposed to the serious matter it is. Please choose your approach wisely folks…

 

 

A Season of Hope…?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.” – Chinese expression

 

Terrorist attack in Germany, problems in Baltics, Syrian conflict with its all aspects and complications, everybody afraid of Russians…

The Balkans is suffocating in its own small „race for weapons“ and trying to find out is it better to look to West or East…?

Immigrants are changing complete fabric of many countries and yet there are more waves of them to expect probably…

Folks in US who expecting and hoping things go better after January, but there are no guarantees.

 

We are living in the world where it is huge risk to go to the open and celebrate something, because one truck with brainwashed man inside can do chaos and bloodshed.

And there are way too many trucks and way too many brainwashed lunatics.

 

Europe is falling down slowly, but for sure in series of events that may look like nothing too serious if you look at it one by one problem, but all together it is something that is bigger than us.

It is something that is going to be learned (hopefully) in history lessons in future something like our time now was a  „big turning point“ If there is gonna be history and people to learn it in the future.

People more and more get into the state when they realize that being something like prepper make sense, and that is good.

On the other hand, most folks do not realize how bad and long it is going to be, but it is fine. Any work in a direction of being aware is good for start.

I wish to people to stay prepared and learn all the time together with their families and good friends.

I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Enjoy the celebrations, but do not relax to much. Keep on with your prepping efforts, now is NOT the time too ‘ease up’ on things…

2017 is probably going to be an interesting year…. What do you think might happen?

Top 5 SHTF ‘Surprises’

I recently ran one of my newest courses, called ’A Mile In My Shoes’. This is where I take a small group of students to the city where I survived the war and take them around and physically show them the realities of what was faced. A lot of lessons, of course, are learnt during the course and most importantly (and what I hoped for) Students come far closer to realizing the ‘reality’ of a true SHTF situation.

I thought I would share you the ‘Top 5’ surprises that the students faced, meaning things they had not thought about or realized before the course, but had to accept and come to terms with during…

1) How ‘Close’ the fighting will be.

1

This picture, taken very close to my house, was one of the ‘front lines’ for some time. One side was in houses on the left of the alley, other side (enemy) were in the right side houses. This seems INCREDIBLY close (and it is) but then realize, there were times when the ‘dividing lines’ were even closer than this.

When you put that into the perspective then you can start to think about new reality because there is nothing very static and sure when SHTF, one day the house next to you can be completely safe, other day there might be someone inside who wants to harm you, or simply you’ll never be sure how safe and secure are your surroundings.

It is the most dangerous aspect of urban SHTF, because you’ll have lot of people in a relatively small area and you’ll have higher demand for (very limited) resources because the ‘system’ is gone.

Now when you add to that calculation the fact that lot of houses are going to be be destroyed, you get to the point that you never know anything for sure, where is someone and what intention they have.

That is especially important if you planning to survive urban SHTF alone (lone wolf theory) so you can get a feeling how hard that’s going to be.

 

  1. The ‘Enemy’ will look, sound and speak like you.

 

They may even have been your longtime friends, but are now on the ‘opposite’ side. Fighting here was divided by all sorts of reasons, race, religion, affiliation, heritage, politics and often a big mix of all these things. ‘Sides’ were always changing as well. That’s just the ‘enemy’, when it comes to Survival you will fight to get what you need or protect what you have from whoever…

Having thoughts that some foreign forces will invade your country, forces that will look, act, speak completely different then you and people from your surroundings are mostly just fantasies, especially when we talk about USA.

That may be case, but you’re going to have a lot of ‘local’ fighting and surviving before that.

Strong systems are going to have a “bigger and longer” fall, there is way too many people and weapons in the US for some some foreign force to choose to invade and pacify the country… it is impossible.

What is possible is to “push” some country into the chaos, in order to turn on themselves, suffer hunger, prolonged chaos and similar, and maybe then to invade.

At the end it all comes to you and people who want to harm you. The fact that the people want to harm you were people who you use to know does not make it easier.

Do not expect martians or Russians, expect people who look, act, and talk like you, who want to survive just like you.

Again we come to the point that you will be forced to fight with your neighbors, fellow countrymen for resources

 

  1. How ‘busy’ an average days was.

 

Fighting for survival is an all day, every day task. You are constantly hunting, scavenging, gathering, finding information, looking and checking things. All while the most stressed you have ever been and under constant threat, all while being hungry and thirsty.

There is no ‘day off’, or ‘break’. This is the big difference between a soldier and civilian in war. A soldier has a job to do, and all his other needs are taken care of. He can just focus on his one job. In a civil war, you (and your group) need to cover all tasks, all the time…

If you served in Army, you had clear orders, topics, outside of that you did not (need) to think about too many things.

You had “backup” or “rear”.  Your job was to do tasks, and someone else take care of all the other things in order for you to finish your tasks successfully.

In SHTF you are the first unit, rear and back up. If you fuck up and break your leg there is no medical evacuation. If you did not find food (or any other resources) there is no service who will do that for you.

It is hard time, and day is full of “acquiring” things and finishing jobs.

Shooting at someone may look like a fun idea today, or romantic in some way. It is maybe more romantic then to think how to manage your waste, or do bath or lower your kid’s fever in the middle of SHTF.

You are everything when SHTF, because system is out.

 

  1. The level of the threat.

 

In SHTF almost everything is a threat to you. Yes, easy to understand threats like sniper, gangs, angry neighbors etc, but the lack of food, complete lack of hygiene, level of contamination, risk of illness and injury, being found, being informed on, being tricked, getting captured and many, many, more make up a larger amount of threats than most ever think of.

Just even start to imagine every ‘supply’ you take for granted (Fuel, electricity, water, stores, emergency services etc) being taken away and not knowing when it will ever come back. Then imagine the worst person you have ever known, someone you would not trust to help you in any situation. Now imagine everyone around you is like that person. Then imagine everything you climb on, through or over can hurt you, and that everything you touch has the potential to make you ill… You got all that? If you do, you are maybe about 40% of the way to imagining the reality…

Level of threat is going to be a BIG shock to you in the beginning, if you survive that shock it is good because then you get yourself into the mode of real surviving.

No matter how well you are prepared you will go through that shock, with good preparation and correct mentality you can minimize that shock and make it shorter, and that is the point of preparing.

 

  1. The reality of defending/keeping your assets.

 

I know. All the points mentioned don’t bother you that much, as you have nice house, lots of supplies and ready to fight. But how is your plan working once your house or apartment looks like this…?

2

And inside like this…?

3

And anyone who is ‘fit’ must go out a lot to find things for every day survival. How you protect all your ‘stuff’, who is going to protect all your things…?

What, when one day a group so big comes to ask you how you’re doing so OK, and what you have there, that to protect your stuff from them is a clear death sentence.

Having right mindset about difference between defending something and get killed, and adapting yourself in order to survive without it make sense here.

You have to adapt fact that maybe you’ll be forced to survive only with your skills. You do not know, and cannot be sure.

Understand, in SHTF, every house in the city is going to look like this, or worse (not be there). In my city there are many houses you see like this. You see them because they are made of stone or concrete. You don’t see the wood buildings because they all burned down…

There were many, many more things realized and discussed during the course, and I want to say well done to the students for coming with such enthusiasm and asking such good questions in the course.

Soon I will write more about the big problem of really ‘misunderstanding’ the reality so present in the preparedness community just now. Until then, you can read more about the ‘Mile In My Shoes’ course here:

http://shtfschool.com/a-mile-in-my-shoes/

We are making these courses as affordable and accessible as possible. If you want to join, you can either add your name to the waiting list, and as soon as we have enough students we set the date for the next course, or you can book a ‘private’ course for exactly the same price, all you need is a minimum of you and two friends.

Trust me when I tell you there is not a course like this anywhere else, and you will learn many things that you hadn’t expected when you join me on a tour of the place I survived…

Dealing With Differences

different

 

One very overlooked aspect of preparing, in my opinion, is being ready (and willing) to adapt to different social circumstances.

We are living in world where there is a big mix of nationalities, customs, religions, social ‘rituals’ etc.

So clearly it make sense to know your surroundings in order to adapt or blend in, or at least to know stuff to make your life easier when things go bad.

Forget right now about hating something or someone here, it is about knowledge that you can use in hard times. General hate is a wrong attitude, and can dangerously cripple your judgment.

Let’s use couple examples to make it more clear here what it is all about:

Scenario 1

You are living in peaceful neighborhood, but after couple of days of political instabilities in your region there are riots outside, and you see bunch of folks carrying signs about some political candidate (or party, or whatever) that you do not like, actually you hate them. But they are rioting, going through your street, smashing windows, setting things on fire etc.

You are outside, and you want to shoot them, you are angry. You attack them and after 5 minutes you are dead. End of your survival story. All plans about bugging out, BOL and everything are gone, you are gone right at the beginning of SHTF.

The real solution would be to hide or if not possible to join them for hour or two of yelling on the street, rioting and similar. When the mob has gone through your street you can bug out.

Scenario 2

Shit has hit the fan. It’s been some time and you have resorted to trading. You are in the middle of a trade. The trade is going good with the guys, they are dangerous bastards but you made a good deal with them.

After successful deal, they offer you whiskey (or whatever drink) but you offend them by refusing it, because you are principled and have been clearly  ‘anti alcohol’ for years, things go bad, and deal is off, or even worse you are dead.

Is it so hard to take one shot (of alcohol) if customs or expectations say it needs to be like that?

Scenario 3

You are bugging out, your BOL is 400 miles away from your home, your way their leads through another state (or even country) and on some vehicle check point you clearly show yourself as ‘different’ by wearing wrong baseball hat or T-shirt, or a small flag on your car mirror (You get the idea) or showing different political opinion, or simply some other difference than people who stop you.

And then you are in trouble. At the very least your bribe through that check point is going to be much higher, or you can have even bigger problems.

Conclusion

Sad truth is when SHTF first one who are going to be in danger are people who are different from the ‘majority’ in that moment and particular place.

It can be race, religion, political opinion. But it can also be much smaller and trivial things.

I saw people being beaten when SHTF just because they had long hair.

A book can be written about this topic, and examples are different for different regions in the world, but concept is completely the same everywhere . DO NOT attract attention by being different.

DO NOT say “I will do things only this way“!

Adapt and do what situation asks from you.

The point is about attracting attention (or trying not too) in the wrong time and place.

It make perfect sense to know customs of people around you, political opinions, social rituals etc. It is good to know languages, or at least accents, it pays to know, for example, what will attract attention to you on your way to BOL, maybe it is simple car sticker on your car?

Does that „vote (Insert name here)……” sticker still make sense on your bumper?

Stay “grey“, blend in. But being grey is not just about how you dress. it is how you move AND interact with people

Learn about people that you will have to deal with when SHTF. This does not mean that you need to ‘love’ or ‘hate’ them, not even like them, BUT know what will help or hurt you when dealing with them.

Knowledge is (again) key to survival.

 

 

Guest Post – Archery Vs Firearms – What’s The Best SHTF Weapon?

 

As a survivalist, you’re always loyal to your weapon. Regardless of your choice of weapon – whether it’s a gun or bow – you always believe that you’ve got the most efficient weapon to handle any SHTF situation that rolls before you.

But which one comes on top? A gun or a bow?

None is really better than other; each can kill efficiently. However, each of them has its strengths and weaknesses, and this can guide you into picking the right weapon that serves your short-term or long-term survival needs.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each weapon and their pros and cons to help you make a wiser decision on the right weapon for you.

Let’s do this:

 Archery for SHTF Weapon

Archery for SHTF Weapon

 

Now the survival bows have been there for centuries. The modern day bow, however, has undergone some transformations to make it even more efficient. Just like the guns, you’ll find bows of different sizes and shapes – depending on your needs.

An ideal survival bow can just be anything – from a simple twig and paracord to the high-end takedown bows with 80lbs plus draw in the bug out bag.

Before you can become a pro at using your bow, you’ll need to take some archery lessons. Otherwise, you’ll always fail whenever you try to shoot your target.

Proper training, practice and use of bow add-ons that enhance accuracy – such as the single pin bow sight – you’ll become a pro archer in no time!

Pros:

– Bows are ideal weapons for long-term survivalists, given that even if you run out of ammo, you’ll still be ok. Even if a deer runs with your last arrow on its leg, you can still make new arrows from the surrounding materials – in either urban or wild environment – and get back to hunting.

– Another great attribute of the arrows is that they operate silently (more so when you use the string silencer correctly). This helps keep your location a secret and make it difficult for your enemy to track you.

– If your enemy is smart, he can easily track your location by using the direction they saw the arrow coming from. Luckily, you can take advantage of the slow speed of the arrow compared to the bullet to change your spot long before the arrow you fired hits the target.

– In case you want to set your target on fire, the bow is the easiest way to do so. By simply firing a flaming arrow, you can set your target on fire right from your spot.

– It’s possible to make a functional bow out of any stuff you find in the urban environment or woods. Though such a bow might not be as accurate as the commercial ones, it will still work in a SHTF scenario.

Cons:

– For you to start using your bow and arrow appropriately and accurately, you’ll need to take some training which is not easy. All the professional archers you see took years to master archery skills. If you just grabbed your arrow for the first time, it will not work well on you without the basic archery skills.

– Unlike the rifle shots, bow shots ought to be done from a relatively closer range. This means you’ve to be as much careful as possible as you try to get closer without alerting your target of your presence. Most survival bows require you to stand around 30-50 yards from the target.

– Arrows usually occupy a lot of space – a typical quiver accommodates 6-10 arrows – and given that each bolt weighs around 20grams, it might be a bit cumbersome compared to your rifle.

 

Firearm for SHTF Weapon

Firearm for SHTF Weapon

 

A gun is probably the most powerful weapon. It’s capable of hitting a target 600 plus yards away accurately and effortlessly. The ammo can drop your target on the spot, taking away the need to track down the animal.

However, a firearm has one some top con that makes it an excellent choice for short-term survival situations only. And one of these cons is that they run out of ammo (and you can’t reuse the ammo), leaving you defenseless…

Pros:

– The firearms ability to take down your target on the spot with less effort is incredible! This is something you’ll not be able to experience with your bow as you’ll still have to track down the target after successfully shooting it.

– Unlike the bows, rifles are incredibly easy to pick up and even learn how to stop a target in its tracks. You don’t need to attend anyone’s class to learn how to use your rifle; just a few basics and you’re ready to go.

– With firearms, you’ll enjoy a wider range that with the bow. Of course, this will depend on the type of gun you use, type of metal used to make the bullet, and the weight of the ammo powder grain. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to enjoy a wider range than a bow – even with the simple .22LR round.

Cons:

– Ammo shortages are the main drawback when it comes to the use of firearms. You ought to make every shot round count as you can’t reuse the ammo once it’s fired. This will not do well in your survival situation.

– Guns are pretty LOUD! This can present you with many challenges in a SHTF scenario, especially when you want to make your stand a secret.

– Guns require regular maintenance. If you fail to clean your weapon, you won’t be able to shoot with it in the long term. Rounds might get jammed mid-barrel, or they might blow apart your gun assembly. Such cases will damage your survival weapon beyond repair.

 

Final Verdict – Which Weapon Should You Pick?

For a long time now, the rifle has been regarded as the best SHTF weapon. However, bows are also viable SHTF weapons. The type of weapon you choose to go with really depends on the SHTF situation you’re in. For example, it would be wiser to use your bow for hunting for food as well as home defense.

Even when you’re using your gun, you would also want to have bow by your side to act as a backup weapon, just in case you run out of ammo.

So, start practicing archery skills since you never know the day you’ll desperately need to use a bow in a survival situation.

 

Selco’s Comments:

My simplest and shortest answer to this question would be that gun is better weapon than a bow when SHTF. My reasons are numerous, but most important is simply because gun’s are easily available to me, and a lot of ammunition too, and spare parts, and knowledge about it, more firepower etc etc. So simply it makes sense to me. Remembering I have „been there  done that“, I am not discussing this in an academic way, I am reaching into my personal experiences…

But it is not the end of the story of course. A bow as a secondary weapon, or in some specific situations as a weapon of first choice might make sense too (for example matter of silence, matter of making point, psychological impact of finding man with arrow in chest… or similar)

So yes, it makes perfect sense to say „Yes. I want to know everything about bow hunting (not only animals)“ it makes much more sense then to say “ I have a gun, I do not want to know anything about bow making or bow hunting because I have gun“

Guns are much better weapon for SHTF, but it make sense to know and have a bow for sure. Why would we not  think here in the in terms of“ two is one, and one is none“?

I have some doubts about making good and usable (urban SHTF settings ) bow, but again lot of people have doubts for example about usability (and value) of crowbar type tool (or weapon) in urban SHTF,  because lack of real life experience, so it my be my case too.

Actually why we would not have and know everything about gun, bow, knife and spear too for example. It is not about „what is best“, it is about more options.

I definitely appreciate any good (and real life experience) data and review about any tool and weapon usable for SHTF.

What is most important here is that as a survivalist, and some experience in that survivalism, my loyalty to the weapon goes only to the extent how good it serves me, it needs to be loyal to ME, it needs to get the job done.

I do not have any kind of attachment to that weapon other than to perfectly know how to use it and to make it happen (to finish that „job“ ), if I find better weapon I will start to use that better weapon, if in particular situation some other weapon will do better job( knife? Piece of rock? Sling?) I will use it without thoughts and concerns about loyalty and attachment to previous weapon.

Firearm is best weapon for SHTF, most commonly used, with best results, but yes, if there is situation for usage of other kind of weapon then use it (and know how) without thinking about loyalty and attachments.

We are talking here about tools to get job done, nothing more. Thanks Jennifer for a great article to provoke some thoughts and discussion. I look forward to reading the comments on your article…

 

Author Bio:

Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!

Jennifer

Guest Post – Archery Vs Firearms – What’s The Best SHTF Weapon?

 

As a survivalist, you’re always loyal to your weapon. Regardless of your choice of weapon – whether it’s a gun or bow – you always believe that you’ve got the most efficient weapon to handle any SHTF situation that rolls before you.

But which one comes on top? A gun or a bow?

None is really better than other; each can kill efficiently. However, each of them has its strengths and weaknesses, and this can guide you into picking the right weapon that serves your short-term or long-term survival needs.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each weapon and their pros and cons to help you make a wiser decision on the right weapon for you.

Let’s do this:

 Archery for SHTF Weapon

Archery for SHTF Weapon

 

Now the survival bows have been there for centuries. The modern day bow, however, has undergone some transformations to make it even more efficient. Just like the guns, you’ll find bows of different sizes and shapes – depending on your needs.

An ideal survival bow can just be anything – from a simple twig and paracord to the high-end takedown bows with 80lbs plus draw in the bug out bag.

Before you can become a pro at using your bow, you’ll need to take some archery lessons. Otherwise, you’ll always fail whenever you try to shoot your target.

Proper training, practice and use of bow add-ons that enhance accuracy – such as the single pin bow sight – you’ll become a pro archer in no time!

Pros:

– Bows are ideal weapons for long-term survivalists, given that even if you run out of ammo, you’ll still be ok. Even if a deer runs with your last arrow on its leg, you can still make new arrows from the surrounding materials – in either urban or wild environment – and get back to hunting.

– Another great attribute of the arrows is that they operate silently (more so when you use the string silencer correctly). This helps keep your location a secret and make it difficult for your enemy to track you.

– If your enemy is smart, he can easily track your location by using the direction they saw the arrow coming from. Luckily, you can take advantage of the slow speed of the arrow compared to the bullet to change your spot long before the arrow you fired hits the target.

– In case you want to set your target on fire, the bow is the easiest way to do so. By simply firing a flaming arrow, you can set your target on fire right from your spot.

– It’s possible to make a functional bow out of any stuff you find in the urban environment or woods. Though such a bow might not be as accurate as the commercial ones, it will still work in a SHTF scenario.

Cons:

– For you to start using your bow and arrow appropriately and accurately, you’ll need to take some training which is not easy. All the professional archers you see took years to master archery skills. If you just grabbed your arrow for the first time, it will not work well on you without the basic archery skills.

– Unlike the rifle shots, bow shots ought to be done from a relatively closer range. This means you’ve to be as much careful as possible as you try to get closer without alerting your target of your presence. Most survival bows require you to stand around 30-50 yards from the target.

– Arrows usually occupy a lot of space – a typical quiver accommodates 6-10 arrows – and given that each bolt weighs around 20grams, it might be a bit cumbersome compared to your rifle.

 

Firearm for SHTF Weapon

Firearm for SHTF Weapon

 

A gun is probably the most powerful weapon. It’s capable of hitting a target 600 plus yards away accurately and effortlessly. The ammo can drop your target on the spot, taking away the need to track down the animal.

However, a firearm has one some top con that makes it an excellent choice for short-term survival situations only. And one of these cons is that they run out of ammo (and you can’t reuse the ammo), leaving you defenseless…

Pros:

– The firearms ability to take down your target on the spot with less effort is incredible! This is something you’ll not be able to experience with your bow as you’ll still have to track down the target after successfully shooting it.

– Unlike the bows, rifles are incredibly easy to pick up and even learn how to stop a target in its tracks. You don’t need to attend anyone’s class to learn how to use your rifle; just a few basics and you’re ready to go.

– With firearms, you’ll enjoy a wider range that with the bow. Of course, this will depend on the type of gun you use, type of metal used to make the bullet, and the weight of the ammo powder grain. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to enjoy a wider range than a bow – even with the simple .22LR round.

Cons:

– Ammo shortages are the main drawback when it comes to the use of firearms. You ought to make every shot round count as you can’t reuse the ammo once it’s fired. This will not do well in your survival situation.

– Guns are pretty LOUD! This can present you with many challenges in a SHTF scenario, especially when you want to make your stand a secret.

– Guns require regular maintenance. If you fail to clean your weapon, you won’t be able to shoot with it in the long term. Rounds might get jammed mid-barrel, or they might blow apart your gun assembly. Such cases will damage your survival weapon beyond repair.

 

Final Verdict – Which Weapon Should You Pick?

For a long time now, the rifle has been regarded as the best SHTF weapon. However, bows are also viable SHTF weapons. The type of weapon you choose to go with really depends on the SHTF situation you’re in. For example, it would be wiser to use your bow for hunting for food as well as home defense.

Even when you’re using your gun, you would also want to have bow by your side to act as a backup weapon, just in case you run out of ammo.

So, start practicing archery skills since you never know the day you’ll desperately need to use a bow in a survival situation.

 

Selco’s Comments:

My simplest and shortest answer to this question would be that gun is better weapon than a bow when SHTF. My reasons are numerous, but most important is simply because gun’s are easily available to me, and a lot of ammunition too, and spare parts, and knowledge about it, more firepower etc etc. So simply it makes sense to me. Remembering I have „been there  done that“, I am not discussing this in an academic way, I am reaching into my personal experiences…

But it is not the end of the story of course. A bow as a secondary weapon, or in some specific situations as a weapon of first choice might make sense too (for example matter of silence, matter of making point, psychological impact of finding man with arrow in chest… or similar)

So yes, it makes perfect sense to say „Yes. I want to know everything about bow hunting (not only animals)“ it makes much more sense then to say “ I have a gun, I do not want to know anything about bow making or bow hunting because I have gun“

Guns are much better weapon for SHTF, but it make sense to know and have a bow for sure. Why would we not  think here in the in terms of“ two is one, and one is none“?

I have some doubts about making good and usable (urban SHTF settings ) bow, but again lot of people have doubts for example about usability (and value) of crowbar type tool (or weapon) in urban SHTF,  because lack of real life experience, so it my be my case too.

Actually why we would not have and know everything about gun, bow, knife and spear too for example. It is not about „what is best“, it is about more options.

I definitely appreciate any good (and real life experience) data and review about any tool and weapon usable for SHTF.

What is most important here is that as a survivalist, and some experience in that survivalism, my loyalty to the weapon goes only to the extent how good it serves me, it needs to be loyal to ME, it needs to get the job done.

I do not have any kind of attachment to that weapon other than to perfectly know how to use it and to make it happen (to finish that „job“ ), if I find better weapon I will start to use that better weapon, if in particular situation some other weapon will do better job( knife? Piece of rock? Sling?) I will use it without thoughts and concerns about loyalty and attachment to previous weapon.

Firearm is best weapon for SHTF, most commonly used, with best results, but yes, if there is situation for usage of other kind of weapon then use it (and know how) without thinking about loyalty and attachments.

We are talking here about tools to get job done, nothing more. Thanks Jennifer for a great article to provoke some thoughts and discussion. I look forward to reading the comments on your article…

 

Author Bio:

Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!

Jennifer

New Generations

SONY DSC

 

As a continuation from my previous article, here are some thoughts about things that you CAN expect when SHTF. One more reason for writing this is in response to fact that people say that I write a lot about what is NOT gonna be like when SHTF. So here are some points to balance that.

These are my observations from my surroundings here, but I also see and hear this type of thing happening in many places. The clearest example right now is the ‘protestors’ taking to the streets after the recent US election…

 “Our generation is better prepared for a zombie apocalypse than an hour without electricity”

I know that every generation looks at the youngsters that come after them as being ‘weaker’ and  ‘softer’ than themselves, so a 90 year old man with lots of real life experience may look at me like I am some kind of wimp, because my childhood was spent with pinball, video games on Commodore computer and Rambo movies on VCR, while he maybe was growing up without electricity, without TV , playing with sticks etc.

I may find myself in similar loop, because I was in the middle of the war searching for shelter and food when I was young man, while young men today find themselves in the middle of reasons for living in rare and beautiful places ‘avoiding’ wireless connections, and searching for best selfie shot…

Here in my region for last few months, elections were completed. I believe , when confrontation between parties and candidates gets more heated terminology and stories get less logical but more hard and provoking. (And this is almost the same everywhere I feel)

Suddenly there is more talk about how a candidate looks, or about their sex life or similar, instead of discussion about their political agenda, solutions for destroyed economy, or how to stop young folks from emigrating from this crazy region.

Here that means that hate and anger being used political campaign at all sides, which brings old war stories back and stories about new war.

And of course there are whole bunch of young folks who do not have clue about what war looks like, but they like the “drums call to war”, stories about patriotism, sacrifices for the “tribe”.

In short-there are lot of young folks who see possible war as a something romantic, something “high” and noble.

There was lot of same young folks just before my SHTF time, clueless folks who do not know too much about violence and what that brings… I was one of them.

I lost all illusions from my youth pretty fast when people start  to die around me, so words like noble, honor, death and life , friendship gets new meaning or you discover their real meaning.

Point of all above is that today when SHTF it is going to be quite different then 25 years ago, because things changed, even here where time goes kinda slower.

Let s check few things about young folks today, with possibility that I my sound like “grumpy old man” which I am not, at least I am not old 😉

 

How things work, or differences between generations

70 years before

My grandparents grew up in home without electricity, in rural settings. They owned cattle, sheep, and chicken. They grew all their food, they grown their own tobacco.

Trip to doctor was not so often a thing, from few reasons: they were healthier, they did not seek medical attention for every nonsense, they had they own herbal medicines, and yes physician was pretty far and pretty luxurious item.

They had weapons, because weapons were part of their everyday life. They hunted.

When WW2 started my ancestor was in resistance movement “in the woods”.

His stories years later were like fairy stories to me, stories about endless walking  and fighting trough the encirclement’s of German forces. Stories about bayonet fighting because of no ammo.

Freezing in the deep snow in the woods because they could not start fire, and how they cut off black frozen fingers with knives, how enemy did not take prisoners…

He suffered PTSD until the day he died, he become heavy drinker. He survived WW2 but I think he kept most interesting and most horrified stories about survival to himself.

He kept hidden (in the ground) a German machine gun for 40 years after the War ended, and had an illegal German Luger pistol on him until he died, even though that was highly “punishable” by the system in that time.

He did not hate Germans, but also did not want to watch German movies, or hear German language anymore.

30 years before

When I was kid, maybe 7-8 years old, my father started to take me to fishing. Nothing big, simple small fish catching. We did not even (in our home) either need that fish or like it too much to eat, but on  Sundays we would catch few fishes, clean it. cook it and eat it.

My father was not even a passionate fisherman, it was more like simple hanging out time with him, he did not know too much about fishing, and I did not learn too much about fishing methods, types of hooks, baits, knots etc.

But what I learned is that there is fish there, it is easy, more or less to catch it in a very simply way. It can be cleaned, cooked and eaten.

Some of the procedures may not looked nice for a kid, but it was kind of learning how things work in nature and life. There is fish there, and you can catch it, kill it and eat it.

And that’s it.

Nothing too deep in it.

Through my growing up, I learned how to make bread, basics about cooking, fixing things and similar, small first aid things, school system was organized in a way that in primary school we had classes about “civil defense” or basics about defense from the invading force (socialistic system was organized on a way that in case of invasion on the country doctrine of “total war” was supposed to be implemented, so every civilian should become fighter, or similar).

Obligatory army basics was for every grown up male, usually lasting around one year. You were soldier for one year, or “grunt”, and in the military reserves for the rest of your life.

As a result of growing up on that way, I had at least some kind of clue what is going on when SHTF, I mean I know some things. Still I found myself completely overwhelmed with everything that was happening around me: killing, suffering, shootings, violence…

Today

When I sit at the local coffee shop these days, I can see this new generation around me. Generation that is loudest and main candidate actually when it comes to be sheep, or cattle, or cannon fodder(?) if you like.

They main preoccupation is to have a cool type of beard, or to be in the “niche”. Popular is to be in animal rights movement, not because they care about animals, but because it is popular.

The main task of the year is to know what kind of underwear is on their favorite star from the local reality show, which, by the way you do not know is it man or woman, because it is cool like that, it brings ‘mystery’.

For last almost 20 years, serving of mandatory military service stopped, both because of costs and probably as a way to try to “pacifize” our society. To have(own) personal weapon is task that will take you about a year of endless paperwork and checking from the state. The system, in short,  does not want you to own a weapon.

This young generation is screwed when SHTF and we are too, with them.

Great majority of them do not have a clue what is hunting, if you take them fishing they may feel like they are finding and killing Nemo probably. Making sandwich is probably most complicated food preparing procedure they know and so on and so on.

They may think that things like electricity and city services work by some kind of miracle from the thin air, as opposed to a complicated, technical system, which is very fragile.

Their knowledge about possible SHTFs and collapses are learned not from real life stories or experiences, but from the Walking dead TV shows.

If a Zombie apocalypse happens tomorrow they would be crushed just with the absence of wireless connection…

What is all about?

We are been taught (or we think) that progress is endless. That world is going into the directions where violence, diseases, wars, are going to be a matter of history and left to the ‘dark ages’.

At first glance it makes perfect sense that my grandparent knew what kind of tree bark to eat while he was starving in freezing cold in WW2, and later had illegal weapon for ‘just in case’ until the day he died. While on the other end of the story we have young folks who are completely not capable to survive anything without the help of the system.

New ages are coming, age of science and great achievements in every field.

Blah blah.

We are actually living in bubble that is over inflated, and being poked more and more with things like terrorism, economic depression, big migrations, new Cold war, new types of diseases etc.

One day pretty soon that bubble is going to burst and then this new generation will have two choices: either to die in huge numbers, or to look for the resources in a way that looks the ‘most easy’ to them, and that is actually by taking it from another.

And that is actually the real zombie apocalypse! This large number of desperate folks who will ‘swarm’ to and demand the resources of anyone that has the things they ‘need’. We here in the school are always saying, one of the big problems with Urban Survival is the ‘presence of people’. It is very important folks study the types of people they are going to come across in any challenging times ahead…

These are some of my observations on our current generations. As always we love to hear from you all in the comments on your views and experiences. Please do get involved in the discussion below!

 

USA – Looking In The Balkans Mirror?

mirror

For years I have been following news from the survival “realm” all over the internet. One thing is for sure: every day in those years when I read survival “news” I could conclude, based on the headlines, that the world is going to chaos and end in the next week, next month or next year.

And still we are here discussing, we have all the comforts and commodities. Let’s say we are doing fine.

But now, for the first time, I have a feeling that world is going to chaos really soon.

Too many things are seemingly “moving” inside global calculations, and this time we could be close to a “big one”.

No matter how much food, ammo., training and skills you have when SHTF you are gonna be surprised. Most of us have been in the mode of preparing for something that is not happening for years, and when it finally happens there is going to be a period of shock for the folks, and in that period a LOT of people are going to die.

Since most of the folks who read my stuff and subscribe to my courses are from US, things that are written here are meant for them mostly, but not exclusively for them.

Every now and then I get questions about similarities between situation in US and the Balkans before SHTF. And I have read couple of good articles about the same topic lately.

Since I have lot of people that I can call good friends, and they are from States, I am going to point out some things about my Balkan SHTF and possible US SHTF. There are some serious and worrying parallels,  even we are talking about two different systems.

Feel free to prove me wrong in comments, I am open to discussion…

 

System

“The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . having a mob entirely at his disposal . . . .” —Plato

I have lived in the system and country where we believed that we are all equal. Different nationalities, different religions etc. Melted all together to make one “big and prosperous” nation, to be great and equal… united.

And then leverage of world  forces simply changed, and suddenly we are being taught that differences between us are more important than similarities and “one nations”, old history battles are been taught again, one group suddenly is more important then other and so on and so on.

And then came “leaders” or saviors that led us against others. After years of carnage, here we are again with almost the same leaders.

I have been through the war and met many folks on every side shooting because they have been told that other side is evil, and yet all sides are the same at the end.

Rich are richer, poor are poorer. Nothing changed. Nobody learned nothing.

 

Big Circles and Small Circles  (and your decisions)

Again and again, there is a big circle and small circle. You may have illusion that you are controlling things in bigger circle, but it is only an illusion. What kind of government you’re going to have and what kind of politics they use in the next years is not up to you, you just have been smartly led to believe that you can make the change.

It is like that…

At the end it all comes to the matter of power and possession, and you are just small piece of everything, you are small part of the tool.

Over the years I have learned that it is more important to have one more month of food stored or one more skill learned then to waste time on worrying who is going be elected.

It is a waste of time, when SHTF they all gonna do the same more or less, oppress people and take their rights and liberties very easy.

 

Your Rights

Living in society where you have certain rights and freedoms for years is a good thing.

The bad thing is, when SHTF and you lose all those rights in single day, and you find yourself so shocked that you simply do not know what next to do, because you had those rights for many years, it became totally natural for you to ‘own’ it.

Having lots of conversations with friends from the US, I concluded that the majority of common folks their simply do not understand that all your rights can be lost in one day.

And not by the evil invaders from the space, or Russians or who ever. Your government can take it. In One Day.

Majority of folks simply do not see this as a possible option, and even preppers their who understand it, may look like ‘weirdos’ because of this viewpoint.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to live in country where I can buy weapons easily, where I have rights to protect my home, where I can say freely (more or less) what I do not like.

I like that very much, actually I admire it.

What I do not like is feeling that most of the people think it is written in the stone and it can not be changed.

In short, things that I like most about US is going to be the biggest ‘loss’ in US when SHTF, and not only the US.

When SHTF there is going to be lot of surprised people, a lot of shock.

 

Your Perception of Future SHTF, Prepper Movement in the USA

 

I can not get rid of the feeling, that majority of people see SHTF as a big fun, shooting while drinking beer, with additional testing of all of their cool gear.

I see that in blogs, comments, forums, documentaries, movies…

I had more then one participants of my course who told me ”this is not fun, it is hard, and not so pleasant”.

I had people who have been preppers for 30 years and never considered the fact that when SHTF it is going to be smelly all around you.

There’s been a man who advises skateboard as a ‘good’ transport through SHTF city, a man who thinks that 30 brand new gold coins are going to get him through problems on his bug out trip and so on and so on.

Now I am not mocking with people who stated all the above. What I do not like is believing in “facts” that are not checked.

If you never been through SHTF you may not have the idea that it is not fun, but quite hard and unpleasant. Where do you think people and dead animals are going to be buried? Where will the garbage be taken, human waste and everything else? A foul smell is going to be a constant.

Don’t you think offering someone a brand new gold coin for safe passage won’t bring some “oooh maybe he has more of those interesting funny unusual gold things with him” attention?

Why don’t you try to have 10 cheap gold rings in your pocket instead, and offer on every “checkpoint”, one that you directly pull down from your finger with the words “here take my engagement ring, just let me pass”?

Is a guy going to think “oooh, maybe he has more of those his engagement rings in his pocket”?

Same things go with trade.

Examples are numerous.

Common sense is something that is missing mostly in “mainstream” prepper movements, and I understand that , it is business, it is about money.

But folks, choose carefully what advice you are taking as a real.

For the average, beginner prepper, the USA looks like paradise. A place where you can look and find correct information, also look and find correct equipment for future SHTF, but that also brings risk because there are more false and wrong information and mindset than right.

Personally I like what can be found in the US, because in most of the cases, I know what is good or bad, but for beginners it is much, much harder.

 

Conclusion

As some kind of conclusion for this very hard topic, because it is wrong to put things right with generalization:

  1. It is going to be very ugly, much more ugly than my SHTF experience here, simply because the ‘fall’ when SHTF going to be bigger. The “Distance” between modern everyday life and life in SHTF for the USA is WAY bigger than in my time. Majority of folks are “soft” and to dependent on the system.
  2. The ‘Survival Movement’ is big business, and it has become more (much more) about selling items (to make you believe that you are prepared) than about learning and gaining knowledge.
  3. Wrong perceptions about SHTF (or at least not checked and “experienced” beliefs) are rooted so hard, they have simply become the ‘accepted truths’. A LOT of these ‘truths’ are simply false and there for earning money, not for survival.
  4. A good thing is that you have much more options about  choosing and owning weapons, but this option can ‘bite you back’ if you have weapons, but with the wrong mindset, ‘truths’ and knowledge, simply because a whole bunch of bad people are going to have weapons too.
  5. The majority of folks are not ready to bend the rules and adapt. There is lot of talk about adapting, but then suddenly you get whole bunch of folks who are thinking “I’ll do that” or “ I’ll never do that” instead of “I’ll do what has to be done (adapt to situation)”
  6. Working with other folks. You need to work with other folks, to have friends, group, connections-before SHTF. Survival alone is for really tough mother…kers.
  7. People prepare for SHTF, but not really, they are preparing for the romantic, movie version of SHTF. They want to feel cool and comfortable when SHTF, which is not a problem by itself. Problem is that they want that at the expense of real knowledge and covering of real basics. So you have a man who has a fancy and really cool rifle, but does not know how easy and fast in real fight it is to use 500 rounds, so he ends up without ammo in a week. Or has a generator but does not have a clue how to light a fire, or the differences between fuels for fire in terms of heating, smoking etc. Many examples…
  8. Do not look for higher reasons for the situation. You may have political options today, fractions, candidates, government. But when SHTF all that are empty words from some other distant time. When SHTF you will have yourself and people who want to harm you. That is it.

So folks, make sure you are preparing for the realities. I would encourage you to start ‘fact checking’ your plans and preps today…

 

Myth Busting – Knife Attacks

knife 1

 

I wrote this article as an addition to the (excellent) guest article we recently had on on our blog. I have to say that it is written based on my experience, seeing and dealing with knife attacks and wounds, both during the SHTF and during my work in the medical field.

It is not written scientifically, or based on hard data, it is based on what I saw, or did… what I actually experienced.

Often we find, some same topics are viewed differently by different people, and it is perfectly OK to be like that, but when it is come to knife wounds and killing, in the end a wound is wound and blood is blood.

Knife (blade)

There is something primal (can we say even mythical?) in a knife (blade) and I guess it comes from the fact that it has been used as a killing tool for many centuries, and to be honest, for me it is most scary type of possible fight – to be forced to knife fight.

Having a knife in your hand and ‘pushing’ it into someone’s body is scary thought, it is very personal, on many levels.

As always, thanks to movie industry, people imagine a knife fight is like two guys doing a whole bunch of fancy moves. In reality it is mostly about who pulled their knife first and stick it in to the other guy. (Before other guy had a chance to pull his knife hopefully)

Knife Fighting, Knives and Common Sense

I know there are knife fighting experts out there, but I have never gone through some sort of experts training so I cannot say the full impact of this. But I know that if you are forced to do knife fighting with someone when SHTF and by the chance you have pistol with you, pull the gun and shoot the man twice… forget about ‘honor’ and ‘movies’.

Knife fighting (equal terms) means that you (almost for sure) going to get hurt, get at least a couple of cuts from your opponent. Remember even a small cut when SHTF can kill you.

Accepting the possibility people on the internet will call me an idiot, I must say that choosing your knife (for SHTF) as a weapon ONLY is a HUGE resource waste.

A good knife means a working tool and a weapon.

Also accept there are more usable weapons and tools out there, like an axe for example, in terms of multi –use. A knife plays it’s part in the bigger picture.

What I am trying to say is, do not get yourself to romanticized into a certain type of knife- when it come to stabbing and cutting (in fights) most knives will do the job, with the possible exception of a really cheap one.

When it come to tools, then you should aim to choose the higher quality ones (and multi purpose if possible)

In one period of SHTF, most of the knife fights I saw were done with simple kitchen knives, and I assure you those knives did the job bloody good.

Point here is to have intention, and yes, to have guts for that. The type and style of knife is very much secondary to that…

Always you want to have common sense, and adaptability. For example if you found yourself in situation where a knife is your only weapon maybe it makes sense to make spear out of it, to have some „distance and strength“. You can’t just assume there is only ‘one way’.

Knives, Bleeding and Statistics.

There are numbers and data from years of the research about bleeding and death from knife wounds and blood loss, and it worth your time to read it, to know what is about and what you can expect.

On the other hand there are real life experiences and exceptions for everything, and you need to acknowledge that too.

You could see maybe in movies that if you silently move up on a guy from the rear, put your hand over his mouth and stab him with the knife in his back region or kidneys, he is gonna go down silently in two seconds.

Good luck with that, stabbing someone is actually a very „noisy“ job, and there are variables like; Did you hit correct place? Did you stab or slice? How long and sharp your knife is? etc etc.

On top of all this you must understand you will need do add lot of force to whatever method you use, definitely not like in the movies, people will fight for their life – literally.

Depending of the situation, you could hit the correct place (carotid artery for example) but the wounded guy could still have enough time to strangulate you. I’ve seen it happen. Yes, he will die very fast from massive bleeding from carotid artery – but the point is he could still kill you before that happens.

So you have an option of moving to the guy silently in order to kill him, great, but think, are you going to use your fancy knife in order to cut his carotid artery?

Maybe it can make more sense (and present better odds) to use a big rock and instantly crush his skull, with one strong blow, rather than take the chance of missing an artery and be faced with an alerted enemy with a knife?

If you do not have any good training about how to correctly use a knife, it is simply not very easy to achieve fast, effective kills.

More unpleasant facts about a knife fight is if you want to kill someone with a knife, it is going to be some serious requirement in terms of „working“ with your knife.

For example a simple stab, or even multiple stabs to the abdomen region will eventually kill the man, but not fast enough- it is complete different story if you stab the man and then move your knife around- or dig, gouge and cut if you like. Messy job, but it works like that.

If you need to kill someone with a knife, and you get chance to stab him, you need to be prepared that it will likely take multiple stab wounds. One stab rarely works unless you are really know what you are doing.

The final sad truth is, that during the knife fight, when you get chance to stab your opponent, he is having the same chances to stab you, so there is a very good chance you will be hurt too.

Make sure you are not ‘over simplifying’ you options and training. Many preppers I hear carrying things with them to kill folks or defend themselves. You need to understand your full range of defense options, train with your tools and train with an understanding of the realities of these things in mind.

We discuss the realities of violent encounters a lot and much, much more during our flagship course in Croatia. If you are serious about your training there are still some spaces available.

More details can be seen here: http://shtfschool.com/survival-course-croatia/

Also, I am sure our readers have many great experiences and lessons on this subject to share. Please get involved in the discussion by leaving a comment below…

 

 

Post Disaster Violence

 

disaster

Today I travel back in my mind. I write a lot about my preparations and assessments since the time I got trapped in my city and views on the future, but I will just now, write some about ‘How It Was’ back in that time. Remember we were all thrown into that situation with no preparation, and found often our allies were our enemies from one day to the next…

Violence is something that people like to talk about, give theories and opinions, but at the same time few of us experience the real ‘deep’ face of violence, being trapped in a prolonged a deteriorating situation.

You may have experienced bar fights, or home invasions maybe, shooting somewhere and similar, and those events can be life changing situations for sure (or life taking) but I am talking here about violence so large scale and long lasting that it brings something like a ‘new way of living’, overwhelming violence that demands a complete change of mindset.

I often hear, and I often agree, that violence cannot solve anything, and that violence only brings more violence, but when you are faced with a man who wants to kill you, you are going to have to probably kill him in order to survive.

I hope that, in this moment, you will not care for philosophy, humanity or ethics, and that you just going do what you have to do, and survive. Later you will cope with other things, it is how things work.

As I get older I realize more and more that violence is wrong thing, but in the same time I also realize that I have to be more and more ready and capable to do violence when the time comes.

It is paradox maybe, but again it is how things works, I do not like that, but it is what it is.

 

 Violence and You

 

It is way too big topic even to try to explain it in one article, but some things I must try to show you here.

There is a man, let’s say we are talking about you here. An average citizen, a law abiding person, and suddenly you are going to be thrown into a (prolonged) situation where you are going be forced to watch and use exceptional levels of violence.

Do you think that you are going to be able to „operate“ in those conditions with the mindset you had from the time where you were average law abiding citizen?

No of course not, you will have to jump into the another mindset in order to survive.

Let’s call it survival mode.

In survival mode you’ll have to not to forget what it was like for you in ‘normal’ times, but you will have to push those memories aside, in order to operate in different mode – survival mode.

In real life situation that means for example that you ll maybe have to ignore panic, fear, smell, noises in the middle of an attack and do your steps in order to survive.

Maybe you’ll have to ignore the screaming dying kid next to you, maybe you’ll have to ignore your pride and run, or simply maybe you’ll have to ignore your „normal“ mindset and you going to have to kill the attacker from behind.

There is list of priorities in normal life, and there is list of priorities in survival mode.

Let just say that you using your different faces and „small“ mindset during your normal life and everyday business with different people around you.

Just like that, when faced with violence you’ll have to use different mindset, different face. Or another you.

 

Violence and Experience

 

There is a strange way of thinking here for me, but since I have live through the time when huge number of people did not die from old age, rather from violence, I have experience in this subject. So here are few thoughts.

Experiencing violence over a prolonged period of time does not make you superman, actually in some way make you crippled man, man with many problems, psychological and physical.

But if I put myself in way of thinking that I am in better position now then people who died next to me, or in front of me. You may call me a winner or survivor but many days that ‘title’ sounds very hollow.

Am I lucky man-yes, am I happy man – no.

But we are not talking in terms of quality of life, we are talking in terms of surviving or not.

Ethics, psychology and everything else here are matter for couple of books to be written, and even then you are not going say anything new, it is like that from beginning of the mankind.

What is more important about having experience in violence is that you simply KNOW how things are working there.

In lot of things you simply know what you can expect.

You know what chaos is, best way of dealing with it, you know what it takes to do things.

 

Preparing for Violence

 

Again nothing like real life experience, when you experience something like real violence you keep that in yourself for the rest of your life. What is best next to that? – other people’s real life experience.

So is it make sense to read about other folks real life experience? Of course, read a lot about that.

Training (physical) yourself is great thing. You’ll train to get yourself into the state that you are (physically) ready for hard tasks. So of course it makes sense to do that.

But training yourself mentally can be a hard thing.

You actually can only guess how it is going to be, how it is going to affect you.

I can tell you that it is hard, chaotic, I can describe you a situation, but can I bring you the feeling of terror in your gut when you feel that you are going to shit yourself? Can I give you smell of fear, smell of decaying body? Can I give you feeling when you realize that „they“ are coming for you?

No of course I cannot. You can read stories and real life experiences and based on that you are going to „build“ your possible mindset for violence situation.

You are going to build your „survival mindset“.

But there is a catch there. If you build it too firm, too strong, and then there is SHTF and everything that you imagined doesn’t fit the given situation or scenario and you are still pursuing and acting in the way that you imagine dealing with it you are going to have serious problems.

The situation will not adapt to your mindset; the situation will kill you if you are sticking too firm to your plan when it is not working.

You simply have to adapt.

It goes for many situation, if your plan and mindset says you are defending your home until you die, you are going to die probably.

Whenever I heard people saying „I’ll do that when SHTF „ or „I’ll do this when SHTF“ I feel sorry for them.

When SHTF you will adapt, and change your given plan accordingly to situation.

It is same with violence.

Violence is a tool that you going to use according to the situation. It is a tool, not a toy.

Now to finish with a final thought. It can sound, from what I have written, that a SHTF situation is like a Mad Max movie. Everyone running around killing, hurting, doing things with no consequences. In fact, this fantasy of a world ‘Without Rule of Law’ (WROL) is a big discussion in some circles.

For sure regular ‘law’ has gone. There are no ‘authorities’ or courts as we know them to deter or punish, BUT, during a SHTF situation you will find:

It is (especially in the beginning) like everything is possible, law is gone, you could go outside and see people looting stores, groups organizing (by street, or other facts like same job in company for example) trying to either defend part of the town, or bring more chaos just for fun, sometimes you could not say what, both could bring violence and death to you. Over time the ‘violence’ becomes more organized and ‘structured’ to start to achieve certain specific goals (although there is always ‘chaos’ as well).

After some time you look at violence you encounter in two ways. Violence happening outside your group, or inside your group (It is quite certain you will need to be in some sort of ‘group’ to stand any chance of surviving).

Outside your Group, you just wish to be very ‘small’, invisible after some time, not pay attention to anyone doing violence to others, because, quite simply you are still alive, and want to stay that way. In terms of “I am still alive, I do not care what they doing to that person, and how bad it is (your will and judging of good and bad is broken, you just care for your own life) it is like you care only for yourself while you are watching how others get killed, no matter that you feel that it is going to come to you in the end (violence) you just care for yourself.

Leaders of the “bad” group (gang) have best chances to stay leader if members fear him, so in fact he is most dangerous, vicious, sick bastard, nothing like a “reasonable” man. (Competition is huge in SHTF) Instilling discipline (through fear) and enforcing ‘your’ rules are paramount to holding your position as leader.

Various groups were interacting with the outside world and each other through fighting, exchange information, trading goods etc, but every group were more or less closed world, with trust only for those inside the group.

Forming of a group was quick mostly, because nobody expected this situation was going to happen, and so were not prepared, but very quickly were literally ‘fighting for survival’. Any problems were solved “on the way” (bad members, not skilled, not obeying etc.) Sometimes through discussion and agreement, but always with the threat of violence as an option.

To finish, and to educate, as opposed to shock you. Many folks cannot think to clear about the level of violence I am describing being involved in. Maybe you think SHTF is just like ‘Black Friday Shopping’ but every day. So let me just give examples of the how far the world I lived in descended from ‘normal’. Remember this was a regular city, in a nice country, in Europe, less than 25 years ago…

-People who never used violence before, doing some ‘hard’ violence: normal people, dads and mums, killing folks in order to save their families.

-Certain groups of people who looks like they are just waited for the SHTF so they can go out (“crawl out from beneath some rock”) so they can fulfill their own fantasies about being kings of the town, imprisoning people, raping women, torturing folks in the weirdest ways…

-Strange groups organizing in whatever the cause they choose name it, again only to gain power in order to have more resources (sometimes simply “gangs” of 50 people, sometimes whole militias of thousands people) through terror over other people or group of people.

-Irrational hate towards “other” (whoever “other” could (or might) be (other religion, group, street, town, nation) because it is very easy to manipulate groups of people through hate and fear (from and towards “others”), if someone manipulate you that your kid is hungry because “others”, he can do a lot with you.

Real life examples I saw:

-People being burned alive inside their homes (And people ‘enjoying’ watching this)

-Private prisons were made where you could go and torture other folks for fun, or simple rape women as a “reward”

-Kids over 13 or 14 years of age were simply “counted” as grown up people, and killed as enemy

-Humiliation of people on all different ways in order to break their will, for example forcing prisoners to have sex between same family (like father and daughter and similar)

-Violence was everyday thing, you could go outside and get shot not because you were ‘enemy’, but only because sniper on other side want to test his rifle.

It is a needed, but depressing realisation, that people, even regular folks can become so cruel, so fast, BUT it is an very important thing to be aware of for anyone truly involved in ‘preparedness’.

As always, its great to hear your comments and experiences on situations where you have had to deal with violence and what lessons you learned from this…

 

“Stay Tuned“

broken-news

„In the last 48 hours, 4 people have died in a local hospital from flu type „xyxz“. Hospital representatives state that there is no reasons for panic, and they have formed a special committee, that will closely monitor the ongoing situation and keep the public informed.

From our anonymous sources, we have found out that 4 more people are in same hospital, currently in a very bad condition. These patients are suffering from the same type of flu virus. Our source states „they (hospital managers) do not know really what’s happening or how dangerous the developing situation is“.

Experts we have contacted, state that people need to protect themselves with masks and avoid public places with large crowds.

Stay tuned…

Our channel will give you latest updates about the situation…“

 What Does it Really Mean?

Imagine this news shows on your local TV station, and background images show people in BIOHAZARD suits carrying some heavy looking objects in big black bags, and a man who is supervising burning a big pile of something.

You are a prepper (obviously) and this news story causes you great concern, you may conclude that it is time to get „out of the town“, go to your Bug Out Location (BOL) wearing your masks, or bio suit if you have it, ready to shoot at whoever may try to stop you.

Nothing too bad with that, if you feel it is time to run, then you run, that’s it…

The likely reality to this ‘story’ though, is that 4 people did die from flu, but just like every year. A huge number of people dying from the same annual flu, mainly older folks with chronic illness (not mentioned by media), or patients in already poor condition.

The Hospital did really form a special committee to take contact with media, simply because the media pushed the hospital staff really hard with a lot of questions about ‘this situation’.

The „Unofficial source“ in these stories is often some guy who wants to have his piece of „fame“ by telling simple fact that there is „more people in the same bad condition“ (just like in any hospital, anywhere, anytime).

The ‘expert’ who the media contacted talked about simple and common sense fact that „you should have mask on and avoid public places“ if you want to stay healthy, and protect against flu or cold or anything similar.

But if you put that statement with background pictures of people carrying big bags in bio suits, the same statement now has a completely different ‘sound’, yes?

You’ll likely find the background pictures were a couple of years old, showing some dead cows being disposed from a local farm, because of cow disease.

The point of this story is not to tell you to ignore ‘news’ if you hear that people start to die locally, but to think first about two key points:

 

  1. Research or try to research what is really going on. Have your sources, or know people (trusted) who have their trusted sources.
  2. Understand that media is usually not there to help us, they are there in order to make more money, and nothing is more cool like big fat headline of ‘dramatic’ news.

 

Sometimes reasons behind running such a story can be really simple and „funny“, like selling 100,000 masks that someone have stored somewhere, or to provide vaccines etc, sometimes it is nothing, just big ‘headline’.

And yes, sometimes it gonna be real. If you do not have other sources then yes, trust your instinct.

But please, do not „stay tuned“ in front of the TV waiting for the next update… Go  research on forums, ask friends, find sources… do something, or just run, just do not „stay tuned“  as popular media understand it.

Timing , Places, Reasons and Examples of (Mis)Information

One of my fears and at the same time an essential ‘decision point’ when I (and you) should go into full survival mode is not when SHTF, but when folks realize that Shit Is really hitting the fan.

From that moment rules are changing, and you can expect anything.

What does that mean?

It is good when you realize, as a prepper, that the SHTF ‘moment’ has occurred, and act accordingly, even if other people did not realize that yet. It is not so good when you realize this fact later, at the same time as the ‘general population’.

I have seen people burning other people houses, sometimes with people inside, just because they like that: They had an expression of joy and happiness on their faces,they wanted to do that for their whole life, but of course they did not had chance for that, simply because system was there to punish them hard even for trying to do similar things.

But they did that and similar things when they realized that SHTF, and there is nobody to punish them.

They enjoyed it.

You want to be there when they realize that?

So, an example would be that you could (and should actually, as a good prepper) realize that SHTF way before those kind of people begin to realize.

Use of that timely information could save your life, the big difference between you (prepper) and a non prepper is that you should have that information before them and react to it.

And you are most probably not going to get that information by using „regular“ media,  at least not in time to have advantage over the other folks, especially bad kind of folks.

You should plan to use the maximum information in the best time, to go into the let’s say „stealth“ survival mode and leave the area, while there is not yet a need to go to the ‘full’ survival mode of needing to do bad things to achieve your objective.

At least that would be the most desirable outcome.

Information and misinformation have value, value of it can rapidly change depending of the timeline when you get it (or give it). Just to repeat ‘valuable information’ is often very ‘time sensitive’.

Let’s say the story from the beginning of the article is true, in that a pandemic is really starting, and you received that information before chaos happened, before everything fell apart, all city services stopped, before people start stampede out of the town.

In that case you could have enough time to easy leave the area to your BOL, or to even stop by the stores and buy everything that you need in case you did not prepared enough.

You know that S. Is going to hit the fan in 3-4 days and you can prepared very well for that, and watch from your BOL how world is going to shit through the chaos.

Or you know that the pandemic ‘news’ is serious misinformation, you could just go and buy huge amount of face masks, and sell it to the folks who think pandemic is really happening if you want to make that kind of money.

In both cases information is valuable because (again) you get it before others did.

(Mis)Information (Rumors), Myths and Fear

Fear is a thing that moves people in different directions. It is natural thing and let’s say that almost everybody has fears or gonna experience fear in some situations.

In terms of SHTF fear can be „coped“ or minimized with activities like training, confidence (in your skills, preparedness etc), or simply some of us gonna experience more fear than others.

One of the biggest fear that I experienced and saw other people going through,  during the SHTF was fear from the unknown.

That „unknown“ was many different things, but most of the time it was induced by lack of the information or wrong information.

What does that mean?

It  works on many levels.

For example, some time after the SHTF, rumors started that poison gases were used in some parts of the region.

You could not point out clear sources who was their or experienced it, but everybody talked about it, and people feared this a lot.

As a result, in one period you could easily „conquer“ one building full of folks by throwing in a smoke grenade only, they all just run of the building in panic.

In some cases people just set rugs on fire in order to make smoke.

Yeah, it sounds stupid now, but what do a bunch of civilians know about poisonous (military) gases and how they look or work?

Fear is big thing.

In your case it can be something else, do not underestimate power of misinformation and fear when you are thrown into the collapse.

When SHTF, myths and rumors take places, because people use it as a advantage. For example in situation when information is planted that 500 armed people coming to your part of the town and that they killing everybody they find.

Or like popular myth, like „fact“ that drinking strong alcohol will help you not to freeze in cold environment.

Local „warlords“ used to plant rumors in order to take business from each other in things like selling smuggled food, or smuggling people out of the town in exchange for gold.

In among all this you will also be strongly tempted to lie to yourself, by telling yourself that everything is going to be OK, things are not going to go to shit because the  world cares what is going on, and little babies can not die because lack of simple medicines at the end of 20 century.

As a conclusion, false and real information are there before and after the SHTF.

And it is weird, but sometimes it is harder to find good info. in „normal times“.

Point is that you need to follow what is going on, but not just run for the information, rather to carefully choose and check every piece of it.

When SHTF you are gonna work based on small pieces and bits of info’s, and errors are gonna happen, you cannot avoid it.

What you can avoid is your need to trust in some information simply because you are too well prepared for that.

You are gonna know how to survive in the cold and be ready for that. You are gonna know what are the poisonous gases and how they work, or simply you are gonna have your small garden somewhere and you are not gonna have a need to go and check some suspicious info about guy who is selling food somewhere.

Preparing is (again) the key, and in many scenarios Knowledge truly is ‘Power’.

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – A Year in Review

reading-glasses

I know, I know… You’re looking at this saying “Selco, it’s only February… how can it be a year in review article?”

Let me explain. The year is very young, but already a LOT of things happen. Some carry over from 2015, some things new. It is important we are always ‘staying aware’ about what is happening and how it can/will affect us, but I see many people often focus the ‘wrong way around’.

Living and taking care about your own circle (of people, events etc) around you is something that I often point out as the smartest thing, because in most of the cases it is the only thing that you can actually control (or change).

Everything else beyond this immeadiate circle is often more of a distraction and just disrupts your „focus“.

That does not necessary mean that you do not need to observe what is going on in the ‘bigger world’. In fact, developing a skill to see how the ‘bigger picture’ can travel down to affect your immeadiate circle is a good thing to have. Today I’m gonna talk a little more about that.

We all see that world is changing, faster and faster. Today I want you to join me in an ‘exercise’.

Stop for a moment and check what is going on around you on several levels. I’m going to start by telling you what I see around me. At the end of this article I’d really like you to write in the comments how things look around you, right now.

I’m going to look at THREE levels:

  • Local
  • Regional
  • International

Let’s start:

 

1st Level – LOCAL

I still remember the time when I could go out to my local town, and not worry too much about am I gonna be forced to shoot someone, because of a simple misunderstanding, at the traffic light or similar.

At first glance it seemed people became evil, but it is not simply like that. It is more about that people became more scared. Scared for their future, for their kids, for their job (if they have it) scared from the life that they clearly can not control it anymore because everything become more uncertain, and so they are scared and confused. Scared because of all the changes, confused because the measures they thought were in place (Politicians, Authorities, Media etc) seemingly have totally let ‘people’ down

On the other way there is whole new hierachy there, money has become the new God, because simply there is not enough money around.

It is just like in war actually-too many people with way too litle resources, it is recipe for chaos.

In the enviroment where corruption is king, and unemployment is around 50 %, everything is possible. From the point of realisitc prepping it is good, preparing for real SHTF, but the way of living regularly like this, it simply sucks.

There is no heroes, everybody is alone here and if you stick out your head in order to point some particular case of injustice, corruption or failure you have very good chance to lose it, or in the best case to be victim of mobbing or similar.

New generations are taught to steal , lie, be part of corruption because it is the only way to have chance to be sucessful.

Words like honor, real friendship, duty and similar are archaic and funny to them.

Most of them did not see or do not remember war or starvation, and, to them the point of shooting and killing someone is have twisted and weird meaning, like inverted western movie (You see a similar problem with the ‘Gangs’ forming in so many Western countries now).

When SHTF truly arrives, streets are gonna be full of young folks who gonna see it like their own personal playground. In the beggining it is going to be a ‘game’ for them, where they gonna have power over the confused people, but soon they probably realize that most of them just „meat for harvesting“… nothing new, just another phase of the cycle.

From the point of prepping, there is nothing more important to have a good and trusted friend, to prepare with him, to retain sense in this chaos around us.

When SHTF you need to have good friend. I cannot emphasise that enough…

 

2nd Level – REGIONAL

Over this recent period of time, my region (The Balkan area) has seen a huge influx of migrants. This ‘new situation’ has simply sped up everything that has previously been problematic (Healthcare, education, social welfare, allocation of resources, criminal behaviour etc. etc.) for many, this change has been so rapid it was like they woke up one morning and realize „s..t, everything just changed“.

Again, there are endless discussions everywhere about immigrants crisis, and if you join the debate, after some time you could forget what you really think about whole event and topic. That is why it is often more important to focus on the consequence than the ‘reason why’. Even if you figure out the ‘WHY’ is it really gonna change anything…???

But to (over)simplify it, it is matter of, are we ready to accept folks who are not accepting our way of life, in fact not only not accept our way, but actually demand we change for them?

When I see two small kids crying because they are hungry, after they fled from country where their is war and chaos I fell sorry for them, and I have urge to help them.

When I see 1000 young and healthy people, with completely different culture than mine and how they are making chaos in the city close to mine, stealing, harrasing, or breaking the law because they want to force their way of living on others, I feel insecure, and angry, and I do not want to see them here.

For me it is simply (however bad it may sound)  – Adapt and integrate or get lost from here.

I think we gonna see much more chaos from this problem, and I do not see easy solution for this, so  this may well actually be a ‘spark’ for something bigger to happen.

We’ll see…

 

And big players are heating up worldwide, it is getting kinda „sweaty“, even here, so again people choosing sides in world events while people behind curtains are playing their moves.

Ordinary people usually can not even grasp big politics and reasons for events unfolding, but it is always „interesting“ to have feeling of belonging to something bigger. In the end the ‘hope’ we place our trust in usually turns out to be false, but then, people are just like that…

 

3rd Level – INTERNATIONAL

Big players shooting planes from the sky, launch „observation satellites“ in space, or „reinforcing borders“ between old bloc countries.

Internet is full of videos of military exercises of big countries, tank battalions rushing over landscape, or latest antiaircraft rocket systems displays and similar.

There is now, simply way too much means to destroy everything and turn us back to ‘stone age world’ after the SHTF, and most probably we are gonna be thrown in that world.

100 years after Einstein theorised about Gravitational Waves, he has been proved right. Einstein also said “I know not with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.” Maybe he’s right about this too…?

There are news about terrorist who have hidden dirty bombs in European cities, or their poison gases stashes.

With so many news like those there is something like weird „comfort“ (complacence) effect, because after some time of everyday watching and following news like that most people simply conclude (just like I had once) that shit happens always, and it is always somewhere far, far away.

And that always gonna be nuclear weapon threats and talks, dirty bomb threats, weird lunatics with explosives somewhere, but life will simply go on just like before.

Yes, it is truth, until, one day you woke up in the middle of SHTF realizing that you have food for three days only, no weapon because „you hate violence“ and no means or way to even start a fucking fire.

You realize that you should go to shooting classes, learn more about first aid, had full gas tank in your vehicle and so on and so on.

Instead that you were in the comfort of living in the your nice part of the world and following the news of endless violence somewhere else and similar.

World become small place, there is no anymore „violence far away from you“.

That „violence“ can sit in a plane, land in your hometown, and activate dirty bomb, or „latest“ pandemic virus, or even form ‘small gang’ and just cause lots and lots of problems.

 

This is how the ‘big’ picture connects with the ‘small’.

It does not feel so good writing these articles talking about problems here and worse coming. So again I’m gonna work even harder with my School to provide advice, guidance and help for people looking to prepare as best as they can.

We just released details of our unique and excellent ‘physical’ course which will be held, once again, at our great training venue in Croatia on 2nd – 5th June. More details here.

Also these next few weeks we gonna provide even more things to help folks with their preparations.  We will share more details soon.

In the meantime, don’t forget to write in the comments what you ‘see’ around you, right now, in your area.

Stay Safe,

Selco and the SHTFSchool Team

 

 

On Terror

terror

I general there has always been common sense in being a prepper, but we are clearly seeing recent events will urge many to move their plans and preparations to the ‘next level’ or those who have previously failed to prepare will begin to now do so. By my assessment things in the world are now simply heating up more and more and at a greater speed.

I always advocated common sense and thinking in „small circles“ because you (just like me too) probably are not multimillionaire, or head of the state, or financial mogul who silently form world politics.

You are probably average man with average worries and job. You are the person who can not do too much about changing the big events unfolding around us, but you can do much about being ready when SHTF.

I often mention something like a joke or popular myth about soldier who was taught and assured for days and weeks about reasons and logic about war that he is going to fight in, but all the time he did not get the picture so clearly, he could not understand logic, world politics and similar for that war.

Suddenly when he came to his first fight and when bullets start to fly around his head he realized logic of everything and shouted „oh my God they are trying to KILL ME“

This may seem like an oversimplification, but at the end it is like that- bare survival and safety, you can not manipulate the situation with too many other things.

Are the terrorist winning?

Definition of word terrorism:

  • 1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
  • 2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
  • 3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

I am not sure about you, and place where you are living, but for me here, I can take all three definition here and say right now „that’s it, I am living there“. And still there is something like peace, I am not in middle of war, people working their jobs, kids going to school, people get drunk in the pub.

But everything actually changed. Fear moved in, and everybody is afraid from everybody.

Fear, Terror. Terrorism.

Horrible killings in Paris, Africa, and US showing (again and again) real face of terrorism. It is about killing people who are civilians, killing kids and women.

But also it is about killing normal way of life. Concerts, cinema, cafes, resteraunts. If you install fear in people that they may be killed or hurt while they enjoying their way of life, how they want to enjoy it, you are actually changing the world.

And that is one of the goals of terrorists, to change the way we choose to live.
Freedom is one of the things that is so important, but also so fragile.

Freedom can be taken by the terrorist, but also it can be taken by the government in the name of fighting against those same terrorists.

If you are living in western modern society ask yourself, do you still have the same freedoms like 20-30 years ago?
Is it actually getting worst?

Are you as a survivalist actually getting profiled or out and out labelled as a possible terrorist?

Two frogs

There is a story of two frogs, one that jumped out from the bowl of hot water (because it got thrown in suddenly) and other that gets put in bowl of normal temperature water, and dies because the water gradually gets heated to the point it dies because the water becomes too hot.
We are all right now inside the bowl of pretty hot water, the situation (water) around us has been heated gradually, for years, and we are getting „used“ to a new reality and somehow accept it as a normal, while there is nothing normal about it.

Terrorism and Hate

My experience into the topic of hate is very big and deep. It is like everything that I wrote here, real and often not what you expected, or wanted to hear.

Hate is very powerful emotion, and I have been there, hating people, groups of people, or whole countries.
There were period of the time when that hate simply drove me, was the only thing pushing me forward.

And all that I can say about generalized hate is that is completely wrong for many reasons.
As a survivalist you are probably used to look for the information in some other ways than regular media and everything else, so whenever somebody „push“ you or motivate you to hate generalized group of people (or nation) ask yourself, why do they want you to hate them?

There is no logic in generalized hate, and there is always some kind of sinister story behind it, deeper story and motives.

I understand logic and need for „terminating“ the people who are threat for our way of living, for our civilization and everything else, and I actually agree with that.

But I also understand need and logic behind the will of powerful people (fractions, parties etc) to use „motivated“ hate to take my freedoms away from me, by saying they are doing that in order to protect me. And I do not want that either. I’ve been there AND seen the consequences.

Do not allow someone to cloud your judgment by fear and hate, so they can rule you and take your freedoms.
Terror works in many ways and from many positions.

Sometimes it is lunatic who blows himself in the name of a false god, killing a lot of innocent people. Sometimes it is by watching your country slowly descend into something, that not so long ago looked like a scene from a weird Science Fiction novel.

If I am forced again to hate someone, I will hate him because I decide so, not because bunch of folks who wants to get (even more) reach and power told me to do so.

Fear and hate are a very contageous disease, watch for yourself and your family, use your brain and common sense.
If you are living in fear and hate they have already won.

Remember that wars have and can be won by simple breaking the will of enemy, by sheer terror and fear, less by brute force.

Future?

Sadly, I am not optimistic at all. Things are moving faster and heating up more and more.

I do not know what are the reasons for all this that seems to be happening almost everywhere now, but I simply cannot believe that a bunch of folks who have the desire of a life from the stone age, and want to bring that ‘ideal’ to everybody else, can not be bombed back to that stone age, or at least that should be dealt with when they were just small in numbers.

As I said, we are all frogs in warm water, just not noticing it. Did you somehow notice, that over some time we are now living in the world where it can be more dangerous to go to bigger events because some idiot may blow himself and kill you? Or that we are living in a time that in week or two owning a weapon might be illegal everywhere?

Suddenly we are living in times when we are calculating how far we are from possible nuclear explosions?

And still people call it normal?

I think we are so close to the SHTF that you do not need to have your vision „blurred“ by fear, terror, and hate.
Not now, just stay alert, and use common sense.

Survivalist is not a weirdo, like some folks trying to picture us. He is smart guy who watches for the coming events with clear mind and with kind of a cool heart.

Have any recent events changed or affected your preparedness plans? Do you feel, or observe in those around you more ‘fear’ in everyday society? Comment below and share your thoughts and observations with us.

25 Gifts for Survivalists Under $50

firstaid

Gear does not make up for lack of knowledge of course but don’t we all love some new gear from time to time?

Here are our updated suggestions for survival and preparedness gifts for this years holiday season.

Under $20

$4.26 Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool 9100C Silver Multi Tool
Spork, bottle opener and hex wrenches in one tool for key chain.

$5.39 Set of 10 Caltrops Tashibishi
These spikes dig through sneaker soles. Probably work for car tires too.

$7.98 Ollow Hollow 10pcs Lot Emergency Hiking Camping Survival Aluminum Whistle Key Chain Assorted colors
Pack of 10 whistles to give away. Great conversation starter about signaling in survival situations.

$9.88 Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Great drinking bottle that can be used to cook water too.

$9.99 Caldwell Ar-15 Brass Catcher
For those times when you do not want to leave traces.

$11.73 Self Defense Money Clip Silver
Money clip that can be used as beat knuckle.

$13.95 Hostage Series Targets – 19″ x 24″ 10 Pack
Get used to shoot at people (or images first).

$15.11 Chainmate CM-24SSP 24-Inch Survival Pocket Chain Saw With Pouch
Another small and light addition for bug out bag or overall preps.

$15.99 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Put in your car, bug out bag and show your kids and friends how to use them. Cheap, proven way to filter up to 1000 liters of water.

$19.99 Secur Waterproof Hand crank or built in Solar powered 3 LED Flashlight
LED technology made lot of progress. This is updated version of all around survival flashlight. Hand crank and solar powered.

$19.99 TekMat 12-Inch X 36-Inch Long Gun Cleaning Mat with AR15 Imprint, Black
Helps with gun maintenance, to avoid scratches and keeps gun in place.

Under $30

$20.08 Cold Steel Brooklyn Crusher
Even in survival scenario you should be able to escalate use of force.

$24.68 Butler Creek LULA M16/AR-15 All-in-One Magazine Speed Loader and Unloader
also available for $26.32 for Butler Creek AK47/GALIL LULA Loader, BUT24216

$25.89 2-Book Safes, Diversion Safe made with a Real Book
Always smart to have way to hide some valuables.

$27.99 SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01TN-CP Tactical Tomahawk with 2.75-Inch Steel Axe Blade and Black Ballistic Nylon Sheath, Black Finish
Learn to throw it, use it as all around tool for urban survival to scavenge, breach open windows and more.

$28.95 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet All black version
Easy to use and can save lives. Have at least one of them with you if you expect to fight. Practice that you know how to use on yourself and others! Quick application is crucial.

$29.95 Voodoo Tactical Men’s Universal Medic Bag
Durable bag for medical supplies. Easy access to everything. I use one of these too.

$29 Lifetime Subscription to my Online Course
I’m happy that my experience from survival during war can help people today and in future.

Under $50

$30.68 Survival Seed Vault – Heirloom Emergency Survival Seeds – Plant a Full Acre Crisis Victory Garden – 20 Easy-to-grow Varieties
Get a seed stash with non gmo heirloom seeds so you can harvest seeds and keep planting in future years. Consider packing some in your bug out bag. You never know where you end up and they take little space and weight.

$34.99 Dpms Ar15 Armorers Multi-Tool
Handy tool for rifle maintenance.

$36.99 T3 Tactical Triage & Auto Rescue Tool
In my job in emergency services I have to cut people from their cars often. With this knife you can help yourself.

$37.95 United Cutlery Bush Master Survival Knife
Good starter set for older children or people completely new to survival. Sit down with person who gets the knife and talk about survival. Get a better knife like the Ontario 8627 RAT-5 Knife (Brown) for experienced survivalists as gift.

$40.13 Mosby’s 2015 Nursing Drug Reference, 28th Edition
Older edition would be good too but why not get the latest. One day there might be no Internet anymore and when you get your hands on drugs you can look up how to use them.

$47 SHTF School Survival Boot Camp
Our essential survival course with over 350 pages of text, videos, audio interviews and more.

$47.96 Galco Triton Kydex IWB Holster for Glock 19, 23, 32 (Black, Right-hand)
Quality holster for concealed carry.

Finding the Perfect Location

selco1

Before the new article starts we want to thank everyone who came to our first physical survival course in Croatia. The week was fantastic and we couldn’t have wished for better people who were eager to learn and get through the situations we set up.

Toby is also going to join us here on SHTF School and will contribute more articles and collaborate with Selco on articles like the one we post today.

Much more about the course, along with some video updates for our Survival Boot Camp Members in the coming weeks.

The ‘Perfect’ Location

I have been reading more and more lately, articles with the theme of having a ‘Perfect Bug In Location’, along with details on how to defend it, options and examples on booby traps, philosophy of defence and similar. It’s a facinating discussion with lot of interesting points, and it gave me the idea to share some thoughts of mine.

Shelter, Home, Your Place

Survival is a lot, if not all, about being (staying) safe, so one of the first thoughts that come to my mind is having a good shelter.
When people think about that, you could easily come to the conclusion that as good a shelter you have, then more chances you have to survive (or be comfortable etc).

Now, too an extent, there is nothing wrong this idea, BUT only to a point. Problems start when you get yourself stuck in the mode of thinking (and acting!) with the conclusion that your best option is to have big strong well secured and fortified shelter, and you decide that this equals ‘complete’ safety, or this is a solution that will get you through every problem.

So your focus becomes on buying a big stronghold somewhere with big walls, alarms, weapons and everything else. To the extent, all your time, effort and energy is spent in this regard.

There is nothing wrong with this as a concept, but, if you do not consider some other things you may find yourself very unpleasantly surprised sooner or later.

Being and staying safe is actually having more then one option. Let me reiterate that. Greater safety comes from having options.

So for example, if you have your perfectly organised and defended home in a town, it is good, very good. Even better, is having some temporary shelter close to your home in case you need to leave or evacuate your home at short notice.

Being and staying safe is about having more options for the same problems, and survival is not about dying while defending your shelter, it is about finding another and surviving.
Whenever someone shows me good home plans in terms of defending and survival I feel happy for them, but my next question (or thought) is always, where are your exits? Where are you planning to go to for cover (or shelter) in a case when you have to leave, either temporarily or forever?

As always, the real problem, in my opinion, is that there is gonna be whole bunch of survivalists that are going to die just because they did not consider options that they are gonna be forced to leave there ‘perfect’ home, and so will (needlessly) die, staying and defending it.

It is scary thought. That you may be forced to leave your perfect survival location, that you spent so long, for years maybe, building, equiping and preparing.

When I hear words ‘perfect’ shelter, or ‘perfect’ hiding location, my first thought is of a temporary shelter inside ruin, or in woods, because this is the most likely and most suitable for a large variety of circumstances. I’m not saying this is always the case, but things happen this way more often than people realise, and if you research any number of disaster and catastrophies you will see this evidenced time and time again…

Of course, you all know, I have my location where I plan to be when SHTF, but it is MY plan. Circumstances very often do not allow plans to be conducted, so maybe only after three days I’ll have only trash bag as my BOL or bug in place, but I’ll be alive. Again to reiterate, have a plan, but have options and alternatives to your plan.

Defending Your Shelter

In the same articles that I have read, there is various advice on how to kill someone while you’re defending your shelter, which is good, because you will need this type of mindset and methodology.

But again, the problem is that you may conclude that by killing others you will solve all your problems. In reality, you may find yourself surprised because sometimes you will get yourself killed to, in that same way.
And that is not survival.

When it comes to having safe shelter, and for this example we are talking about one night temporary urban shelter, but it applies longer term as well , you have to think in layers.

There will be times and situations where you will have to deal with a threat in the most immeadiate, definitive and drastic way, but more often than not you need to think about defence in some kind of layers and these layers are designed to ‘buy time’.

Safe shelter means it is safe for you. In urban settings, that usually equals that you are hidden and sheltered from other people first, so solution to the problem is not to kill them in the first place. It is about staying hidden and therefore safe.

So first layer should be that YOU alone are choosing that shelter, no one else will take that same shelter, so you will not have need to „terminate“ anyone.

So choose a place that no one else will choose it (while you are using it).

Use your knowledge and skills (and some imagination too). It maybe simply selecting a place that everybody else see as very dangerous. We have mention before using signs saying ‘mines’ or ‘sniper’ to scare people, or an area with a bad stench and similar things.

Remember that in SHTF situation people usually go for easy places, for places that need less effort. If you make it look not interesting and very hard for other folks you already did half of the job.

Second layer could be that you need an alarm or warning signal if someone is approaching, so you have time to react, the time is spent making the decision that you will decide is it worth to use deadly force, create a distraction or you will simply run away to the other side (yeah it make sense to know all exits from your temporary shelter)

Your last layer could be booby traps. And think here, why you want to use these? You want to kill, maim or scare someone? You want to take their stuff? Or you simply love to build booby traps? Now booby traps is a BIG issue on it’s own, so I will write more about this later, but while they may be simple in design, we need to think a lot about why and how we are using them.

Understand, each definitive action during SHTF could draw high risk to you too, so choose your actions very carefully.

Of course that there will be times when you will have to make high risk decisions, actually very often, but it is matter of judgment based on the situation. However the more options you give yourself the more decisions you will have available.

Remember, the adage ‘live too fight another day’ should be far more prominent in your mind as a strategy than the ‘over my dead body’ or you’ll get my stuff when you pry it ‘from my cold, dead fingers’ which is often touted as a ‘solution’ by folks with little experience in the realities of violence.

AVOIDING conflict is one of the best survival strategies we can have. Having options if we get to a conflict is the next stage. Building defensive layers to ‘buy time’ and help make decisions is a far more ‘greater’ solution than just trying to build and stockpile a fortress.

If you plan to ‘shelter in place’, have you given yourself alternate options and escape strategies? Let me know in the comments below, how you plan to deal with someone trying to gain access to your location?

%d bloggers like this: