The items for trade during my SHTF very often changed value, and some of them became unavailable for some period of time, just to suddenly show up again much more expensive.
Yes, situation in the city dictated that, but also people, the black market lords made this happen. The whole situation was always changing where and if you can find what you were looking for.
Some of the items that were circulating in the city were completely new to everyone, one of the reasons was that all sorts of stuff from humanitarian aid was coming to the city through different channels and from all different parts of the world.
Some of those things became popular fast, others remained completely strange for us, but all had some kind of value.
Of course practical things like MRE were very good to have. Some other things like Turkish army crackers (salt cookies, or so called „Turks“) were strange for us. Taste was awkward, thats why they had lower value, but we were starving so of course everyone would eat it and trade it.
In one period there were big amounts of some French cigarettes in the city, we called it „black tobacco“.
It was very very strong tobacco, packaged in nice small boxes, and you simply did not need too much of those daily, even if you were very passionate smoker. Simply way too strong.
Some “smart” guy smuggled this into the city and it is perfect example of successful product besides weapons and ammunition for trading.
There were many new items for us, strange new kind of rice (was much too soft), canned meat without any declaration of meat type or expiration date (we called it „sick horse“). We ate it and used grease leftovers for lamps. Sometimes there were also big metal sealed boxes with dry cookies inside – some of the boxes had expiration dates that said it was expired like 20 years ago, we called it „Vietnam war cookies“ and we ate it and trade it as well.
Of course it was always a good few days when we had some sort of food. In many other periods (most of the time) we ate much much worse things. Often soup with anything we could find that could provide some energy.
One of the items in the beginning of everything that was very interesting for me was powdered eggs.
As I can remember, we did not see that before, I mean we heard it from the stories of the old guys who survived WW2 that they used it a lot in the years after that war (and they call it Trumans eggs) because it was coming in the area as a part of humanitarian aid since everything was destroyed and folks were starving.
Those eggs were interesting for me because we loved eggs, and obviously it became impossible to have real eggs. That is why food in urban survival is just a very bad version of food in wilderness survival. Rats and pigeons and some people probably also ate all dogs and cats. That was in the later months after we were surrounded without any way out and lost all basics like power and drinking water.
One day we heard that powdered eggs can be bought from some guys who had lots of stuff taken from humanitarian aid convoy.
Violence and shootings were already happening everywhere in the city, but it was period when we still believed it was temporary. There were three of us who went there to visit these guys. One of us had pistol, but that was not much help because none of us already realized how dangerous everything had become.
It was time when the police force still existed but on the other hand other „police gangs“ started to operate and you could not say who is who, and what will happen when you run into them.
We had German money for buying the eggs, at that moment you could still buy something with (foreign) money, but you could not expect any fixed price and price of everything was completely based on what happens in the negotiation.
Guys were in apartment on second floor in apartment building that was maybe already half empty.
Man who opened door for us took us to the living room of the apartment after we told him that we want to buy some goods from him.
There were 4 more guys sitting next to table there, actually one of them was sleeping with his head on the table.
One was trying to make some kind of sandwich with dry meat using a big old bayonet, room stank like someone died there.
All of them looked pretty rough and ready for everything, three of us with one pistol looked like easy prey for them.
Man who opened door for us asked us who sent us, we said name and he said:
„Who is that? I do not know him.“
Silence was ankward, I could feel like something is crawling over my back at that moment, especially when I noticed rifles standing next to the chairs where those guys were sitting, and on the carpet under the table there was big stain that suspiciously looked like blood.
Man started to laugh and said „OK, I am kidding, I know him, just say what do you need.“
Fear that crawled over my back started to disappear slowly, but still we were like sitting ducks there.
We said what we wanted and he asked for how much money we want powdered eggs.
My cousin stupidly took his money from pocket and said how much money we have.
Guy said „Give me that!“
Few seconds there was nothing, but when other guys from the table started to stare at us, my cousin gave him the money. From one of the rooms, we herad that someone shouted „Oh you m$@#!erf!*&er“ and then sounds that someone is being beaten.
Man started to slowly count money, looking at us with smile, after he put money in his pocket and said: „Ok, you can have one box of powder for this money“
Three of us knew that we were ripped off, but I just said „OK, it is a deal, we need to go now“.
We took the box and left the apartment.
On the outside hallway we noticed one more guy who was standing there as a guard for the apartment.
When we were entering the apartment we did not even notice him.
We came home safely that time, feeling that we were scammed there was gone very soon because we realized that guys could kill us very easily if they wanted to.
Luckily at that moment they maybe did not feel like it, or what was most probable whole situation in the city had not reached level yet where they could do that easy and openly.
Everyone still thought absence of rules and law are temporary. That changed soon, people started to kill each other as a part of trade scams. Later often just out of curiosity what other guy might still hide in his pockets and did not show.
The one of us who had gun on his belt during the trade said „Oh man, I completely forgot that I had weapon with me there beceause how those guys looked“.
Then we realized it was luck too because he did not pull the gun there in the middle of everything because we would end up dead for sure. Do you see a pattern there? Yes, in post collapse so many things can go wrong and often did.
Thats why learning about survival and preparedness is most important right now. Do not delay when SHTF it comes out of nowhere. We still have registration for limited amount of students for the Survival Boot Camp open for few days if you want to get better insights into this.
I remember that trade very well because we were scared, but much more important was feelings afterwards when we all realized that feelings of „kindness“ but also „fear“ went away. That day we realized we are living in new world with new rules and acting like we did in civilized times or showing weakness can have brutal consequences.
We started to change and learn. We started to look and act like those guys during our trades, and whenever we found someone who was even harder and better at trading we also did what they did to us. We were lucky or maybe smart enough that we learned new rules very fast. There was little room for error. either you end up dead, or learn fast.
That was one of my first trades after the collapse, I traded many times later again, and I often used similar setup of intimidation like those guys there.
But there I learned for the first time few simple rules about trading like: never go to (closed) places where you do not know who to expect, how many, how well armed they are and similar stuff. Never have all your goods (or money) for trade with you, have plan what to do in case of surprises, never accept offers so easily because it can be seen as weakness, and weakness is sometimes call for problem, and many more.
And one more rule that we learned and you should never forget is to never go and risk your life because of pure „luxury items“ like that powdered eggs were for us at that moment.
Please comment below, discuss in our forum or if you act now you can still join my Survival Boot Camp before we close registrations.
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It looks like there is no sense and order in what ISIS folks are doing while they are terrorizing people and burning them alive, stone them to death, kill captured soldiers or simply women and kids. But spreading terror and pure fear makes lot of sense in terms of strategy, especially in already „chaotic“ times and territories where they are trying to advance.
Terror is a psychological game.
The „they are coming for me feeling“
I have experienced for myself, more than once the feeling that „they are coming for me“. It is that moment when you are armed and ready, together with more folks, who are armed too and we are all waiting for attack.
And guys who are attacking are famous for the fact that they do not take prisoners, or that they have few sick guys who are collecting ears from the captured people, while they are still alive.
No matter how well you are armed and prepared and ready to fight, if you hear about their atrocities for weeks and then one evening you are forced to fight with them it will have impact on you.
You will face stress of battle but also have to deal with your own fear.
Of course different people react in different ways, so some guys will break down or give up even before fight, without single bullet flying through the air.
Some guys will even surrender without fight and beg for mercy, even they listened stories about „no prisoners“ for weeks. Often they are the people who can not imagine how truly evil people act. They think because they would not kill and torture other people they do not know nobody would. It makes no sense, but it is what terror does and why it works. It makes people act without sense, makes them do stupid things, to be confused and not logical.
Terror is advanced level of trash talk in sports where one opponent tries to make the other one angry that he loses focus. When it comes to terror it is just fear that is used as weapon.
I have seen that sometimes only rumor about some infamous unit coming to attack is enough that groups who are very well organised simply fall apart.
If you hear that there is unit coming and they will torture and kill everyone in their way including your kids and woman, you have two choices: To fight to the last or run.
In the movies folks will fight to the last, but in reality most of the folks will simply run. The difference is like walking on edge of the sidewalk or walking on edge of a high building. In both cases you walk on edge but only in one case a wrong step has much worse consequences.
Few times I asked myself why ISIS has so much success over there in Iraq and Syria. One of the answers is terror. Nothing spreads so fast like terror.
I also think the idea you can have ultimate power over life and death of people makes many people want to join them. People get high on power and that they can decide who lives or dies. If this happens in group you usually find people trying to be more brutal than other people in their group. To be the most respected a feared one.
You finally can rule over people, to judge, it does not have anything to do with religion, it is in human nature of some folks.
Few months ago I read some US weapon forum and one of the members shows his rifle and said how he bought it cheaply and how it was probably used in Balkan war.
On the rifle butt there was still small engraved sign of the unit visible. And strangely I knew that unit.
Unit was famous in war because they (like many others) did lots of bad things, rape, kill prisoners and similar things like private prisons etc.
But at the end most of them ended up dead, killed like the people they killed.
Once when people realize that bullets can kill you no matter how famous or infamous you are it all gets easier.
People dealt with them, and today they are just something like weird war memory with a sign on someones rifle butt. This is a lesson you need to keep in mind in situations when you face enemies that cause fear and terror in you.
First you need to accept your fear and terror. Some people do not accept it and try to pretend its not there until it breaks out and makes them unable to function. Often in situations when it matters most.
Be aware of your fear and terror but also confident in your abilities to face this enemy. This is attitude that you need to show openly also to all members of your group. In groups emotions always get amplified.
Just like walking on edge of high building you focus on the task at hand, the walking or fighting and forget about consequences for that moment.
Terror needs to be dealt with brute force, before it spreads way too much to be contained. It is like disease.
You can get sick from terror, just like from pneumonia for example. Symptoms are fear,panic, doing illogical things, or having urge to run away before even you realize who is your enemy and how you can defeat it.
This is why we prepare, practice and learn to focus on what matters to achieve our goals. Terror only works if you give it power.
What do you make of ISIS and their actions? Please share your thoughts on this and how you try to deal with terror in community forum or comments below.
Terrorist attack in Paris is all over the news, and it should be, because it is something important, and we all should learn something from it, but do not let yourself be fooled and learn from it.
Freedom of speech is something that we all need to fight for, and this yesterday was grim reminder.
Over there in Paris people got simply attacked for something that should be normal for every man, to express his opinion about every subject. Freely!
The strategy of extremists is clear, divide society, so their idea of holy war can happen. When more people treat muslims bad, more muslims become radical. This strategy works and is why groups like ISIS grow.
Many people try to take advantage of situations like this. Some want you to be more suspicious of muslims, the government can approve new laws to control and monitor what we do more “to protect us”. Companies try to sell some services that they say keep all of us safer.
This is the big picture but some other things are more worrying. In my course and here I try to make people think a lot on local level.
People are killed in the middle of modern city. Those terrorist came out in the middle of the day, in combat gear, moved like professional soldiers (because at least one of them did spend time and probably trained in Iraq), and killed unarmed people without mercy.
They did not look like young amateurs, they looked like trained men, with objectives. They even got away with it in Paris. We do not talk about small village in mountain region somewhere in Turkey. We talk about Paris.
So first thing people should understand to not take anything for granted. You should not be more suspicious of muslims, you should be more suspicious of everyone and not just from today on but also before yesterday.
Stay aware, have a plan. No need to walk down street and look for places that provide cover constantly but know how to get out of situations and think through situations.
Terrorist acts like this bring chaos and uncertainty. All this also happened in country with strict gun control, but this is just something to take note of.
It is not strange at all, people simply feel less safe now, kids could not be safe at school, maybe you question if your workplace is safe, are we still safe to write and draw what we want?
People are afraid.
And when whole bunch of people are afraid they are looking for someone who leads them, who tells them that everything is going to be fine. They look for promises and swift actions.
And of course they are starting to generalize things.
So situations like this are easy to take advantage of for someone to come up with promises about swift actions and better world and to lead masses.
Politicians will do this now and once SHTF and survival is becoming hard local leaders automatically take advantage of smaller “shocking” events too.
In situations like that when many are afraid it is easy to get swallowed by waves of emotions. Now is time to be either sheep or shepherd or even wolf.
Control your emotions. Put them aside and and monitor what all parties now do. The right wing, the moderate people, the fundamentalists. For survival you need to see clearly. Like in military operation put emotions aside and understand situation and interests of everyone involved or you become playball of those who pull strings.
It is not about hating one whole group of people, or one whole religion, because it is simply gonna be manipulation if you allow yourself that. It can make you blind to more “real threats”.
This might sound cruel now but a lot of “big” terror acts are only big because we just hear more about it than suicide bomber who killed 37 people in Yemen yesterday as well.
Things look dark of course.
Real question is who and how do we „allow“ some group of people in the middle of nowhere to start launching attacks on our society where in the name of God and religion it is allowed to behead folks because they have different beliefs and different opinions, or women to be stoned because they said something wrong or got raped.
I simply can not beilive that some kind of organisation could not be bombed back in the stone age at the moment when world realizes they are dangerous for everyone. I hope terrorist attack in Paris is wake up call for many people in power to make things happen at the root of the problem.
I am not strategic genius, but I simply can not believe that it was impossible to defeat them right at the beginning of their growth. It shows what idiots with short term thinking run our countries.
Events like this have huge potential to bring something new, to bring someone who could look like saviour, who could lead angry people who lost their ability to think for themselves, to bring someone who can feed hungry people, give them safety.
People and organisation like those who did killings in Paris should be dealt with much earlier, and in much more „brutal“ way, instead of that, I can not escape feeling that they are being allowed somehow to bring slowly fear and chaos in our lives. They are like actors in the movie those in power direct. They are the bad guys and reason to justify a lot of the corrupt things governments do these days.
Just be careful, do not let your freedom of speech and thought get controlled by anyone. I repeat again, now it is time to see clearly and not ride waves of emotions.
It is responsibility of each and everyone of us, to think for ourself here. Do not let yourself to become one of the guys who are allow to be led by the wrong people, or ideas. No matter what are the names of ideas. They do not have to look like dictator. It could be popular talkshow host or media channel.
We all need to train to form our own opinions. When the time for real survival has come you need to make decisions fast and right decisions. If you never trained that you become victim of circumstances. Helpless and controlled by environment.
Since yesterday world has become more radical because everyone takes a stand now. What are your conclusions about this? Share in our forum or comments below.