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

 

 

Every Day Carry (EDC) Foundation Concepts

Every Day Carry

We all routinely carry certain items with us, either out of necessity and/or habit. Even the shortest journey out of home or work place triggers an instinctive check of pockets and bags: do I have my phone? keys? wallet? By logical extension, those of us who analyze and assess external influences on our lifestyle, normally have additional items in our routine carry checklist, and it is these objects that tend to be classified as EDC items. We discuss EDC a lot in our in depth online survival course.

The concept is far from new and should not be intimidating, although some zealots of particular EDC items can come across a little strong in their discussions and guidance.

An identifiable generalized trend in Urban Preparedness, Wilderness Survival and even EDC, is the obsession with and reliance on ‘lists’. I get the distinct impression that for most people purchasing items from a recommended list of “things to carry”, is far easier and less time consuming and gives a quick ‘sense of peace’.

With this in mind, why would I have a concern over the ‘list trend’? My issue is this: if we look to the founding concepts of EDC, we realize that arbitrarily following a list does not necessarily give us the protection and peace of mind we desire, in fact, in some circumstances, it may put us at more risk depending on what and how we carry.

The aim of this article is to run through what I regard as the foundation concepts and therefore key considerations on items we carry.

There are three key category headers to consider:

  1. Stowage – Where/How are we carrying
  2. What items are we carrying
  3. What should be the demands and expectation of our equipment

Let’s expand on these:

1) Stowage

Whatever we decide to carry must be carried in a manner that does not excessively confine or restrict our movement, ensures the items are held securely, but allows them to be accessed as needed (and this may be exceptionally time sensitive, especially in regard to any defensive items).

Most militaries will define individual equipment scales (also known as ‘loadouts’) right from basic training. The concept is simple; there are 4 scale/load levels:

Level 1 – Items carried on your person AT ALL times. In the military these would be items carried in your pockets, affixed to your belt or worn on your person e.g morphine syrettes worn on a neck chain. This translates directly to civilian standards. Our level 1 items would be keys, phone, wallet, personal defensive items etc.

Level 2 – These are items that are always within arm’s reach, but maybe removed from the body. In military terms, this would be your weapons system and ‘fighting order’, (Body Armour, Assault Vest or equivalent). Fighting orders revolve around the necessity to carry ammunition, water, emergency medical equipment and some key survival items.

This again can be easily translated for civilian application with the exception being the method for carrying items, since a military style webbing system may not be an appropriate choice in most cases. More likely, essential items are going to be stowed in a fanny pack, small shoulder bag (e.g laptop bag) or purse/manbag. Consideration also needs to be given to the type of clothes we are wearing and what stowage options are afforded to us by these.

Level 3 – These are items needed for extended operations (>12hrs), but maybe stowed during attack/assault phases of operations. Normally this larger pack (Ruck or Bergen) will contain additional supplies (ammunition, batteries), food, sleeping system, field equipment (shelter, wash kit, stove, additional clothing items etc).

For those who have given consideration to larger scale preparedness, level 3 is the equivalent of a ‘Bug Out’ bag. The intention here is to carry the essential items to sustain the individual for a period of up to 72hrs. This bag is normally stowed in a vehicle or at home/in the office, as opposed to being constantly carried.

There is a lot written about what constitutes the ‘ultimate’ Bug Out Bag, but often, in my mind, there is WAY too much equipment advised to be carried at this level, and this is where the dangers of ‘the list’ really begin to manifest themselves. That doesn’t mean there aren’t advocates of burdensome carry at level 1 and 2 also! We will look to avoid the ‘over burden’ problem in the next section.

Level 4 – These are typically ‘on base’ level items, which can be kept in a trunk, locker, in barracks or equivalent.

In EDC terms, level 4 will be items we potentially have stored at home for replacement or supplementation of regular EDC items if needed.

2) What Items are We Carrying

Remember we are addressing at a conceptual level here, so what must be considered with regard to our item choices? I believe there are 4 essential considerations:

a) Individual – Who are you, what do you do, what’s your build, what’s your fitness level, are you carrying long term injuries or mobility problems, are you carrying for you individually or also on behalf of other family members? Answers to all these questions are going to significantly influence what you carry and how.

b) Competencies – What is your skill set, what is your level of training (especially in regard to any defensive items you are carrying), what is your experience in dealing with unexpected situations? The adage ‘the more you know the less you carry’ is often quite true. The greater your training, skill and experience level, the less likely you are going to carry equipment to ‘substitute’ your knowledge.

c) Concerns – This is one of the most critical, but also, in my mind, one of the most overlooked. What are you actually concerned in terms of personal safety? Or more pointedly, what are you preparing for? If we can’t specify our goal it is incredibly difficult to work back from that point to identify our equipment needs. Equally if we can clearly identify our goal(s) it is far easier to select our EDC items.

d) Environment – How is your physical environment (hot, cold, urban, rural), what potential threats or hazards are contained in your environment? Again clear assessment and identification of which hazards we want to avoid and/or mitigate is going to be influential on EDC selection.

3) Demands on our equipment

The final part of our Foundation Concepts is to address what demands we have from our equipment. I have identified 5 key considerations in this regard. Before I begin I just want to clarify, it is very rare you will find an item that fulfills all 5 of these considerations. Think of it as ‘ticking the boxes’, an item that scores 4 out of 5 of these points will have a greater chance of making it on to my EDC than carrying an item that scores say 2 out of 5:

a) Fulfills an Essential Function – It is VERY easy to get loaded down with superfluous or overly specialized gear. In the first instance, EDC is about carrying small items that make a BIG difference. Investigate every piece of equipment and make sure you are carrying it because it’s essential.

b) Difficult to Replicate In Your Environment – This is coming from my ‘wilderness rules’. Being in a town or city means, in theory, everything is available to us if we are willing to purchase it, but that is not always a financially viable or stable approach. What I mean here is be careful not to load yourself down with items that can easily be scavenged if you needed to. I expand on this more here:

c) Multifunctional – Some items may clearly have more than one use (e.g. Multitool), however with some creative thinking, we may come up with multiple uses for even the most banal items we carry. This is a great mental exercise and also a good way of really pairing down your gear if you feel you are currently carrying too much.

d) Legal – Given the increasing level of ‘stop and search’ powers afforded to the police throughout western nations, as well as enhanced security screening in many public locations, the chances of being ‘caught’ and prosecuted for carrying illegal items, plus the fact it’s erm, y’know illegal, means we should not be so foolish as to carry anything that is not legally allowed. Ignorance of the law is no excuse here. Get informed. Also understand, there are many, many, legal alternatives to items that maybe banned. This takes us back to our ‘training and competence’ development.

e) Discreet – I am a firm believer in the ‘Grey Man’ theory. You may want to walk around primed for imminent apocalyptic action, just don’t look like you are. Blending with your environment is something you want to and should be able to do. EDC item selection and carry methods can greatly help or hinder this process.

With a clear understanding and grasp of these foundation concepts, it should be easier to carry EDC items more suited to us and our situation, rather than carrying generic items from a different individual´s list. This makes us not only more prepared, but more informed and therefore confident in the equipment we are carrying.

In subsequent articles I will be going through some of my personal carry items and going into more detail on how these foundation concepts relate. All of this said, the final note is to know and understand EDC needs to be fluid and dynamic, making it easy for us to change, amend, add or remove items as we see necessary in changing circumstances. This will also be covered in more detail soon.

Does this article give you thought on things you may change about your EDC? If so, comment below on the what, why and how of your changes! If you are still unsure what to pack, you can always get more guidance in our Survival Boot Camp.