A Season of Hope…?

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“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.

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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…?

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And inside like this…?

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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

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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 (best compound 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

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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?

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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…

 

Guest Post – Adaptability: How to Develop the Right Mindset to Deal Faster With Changes

chameleon

Far too many people today are overwhelmed by change. No matter whether the changes happen at work, at home, or elsewhere in the community, unproductive responses tend to be out of proportion to the actual situation.  This is just one of many reasons why more preppers are starting to wonder about adaptability and what mindset will work best for dealing with a major crisis.  Without a doubt, if you or others cannot manage a relatively minor situation without making it worse, how do you expect to manage situations that are much worse?  In this article, you will learn about the fundamentals of adaptability and how to develop a healthy mindset that will enable you to deal with any situation effectively and efficiently.

 

What is Adaptability?

According to Gandhi, “Adaptability is not imitation.  It means a power of resistance and assimilation.”    Managing a crisis situation requires the ability to know which actions to pursue and which ones to avoid.  For example, if you are accustomed to taking a shower each day, adaptability during a hurricane  may require you change this activity.  Here are the options you would need to evaluate and the level of adaptability required to pursue them:

  • You may decide to take a shower using tap water despite warnings and indicators that the water is not safe to use. This choice requires simply following what you have always done – or imitating past actions. It requires no change, yet carries a very high risk of making you sick or killing you because the world around you has changed drastically.
  • You may decide not to take a shower using tap water, but choose to use some wet wipes that you happen to have on hand. Even though this choice is safer, it still requires very little in the way of making a change.  It will work, however, everything depends on what you do or don’t have on hand.
  • As someone living in an area prone to hurricanes, you purchased a camping shower unit, but have never opened the box let alone tried it out. On the surface, this may look like adaptability because you took action to prepare for a situation where you would not have adequate bathing water.  You still run a high risk of failing the adaptability test because the unit itself may not work properly, or you may not have something else on hand to ensure the device will work.
  • Finally, let’s say you purchased the camping shower unit and have tested it out. You know it works perfectly and have everything on hand to take a shower at a moment’s notice. As a seasoned prepper, you also made it your business to practice purifying water and retrieve it from moist air.  This is the level of adaptability you should always strive for.  Not only are you adjusting your actions to fit the circumstance, but you are “resisting” anything that keeps you from living as normal and as healthy a life as possible.  Because you took the time to learn how to purify water and operate new equipment, you have also assimilated – or taken in new information and devices that increase the chances of meeting your objectives.

 

What Does an Adaptable Mindset Look and Feel Like?

The adaptable mindset looks, feels, and is healthy.  Here are some of the basic elements:

  1. Situation Awareness and Response
  • you are aware of everything going on around you without becoming distracted by unimportant things or taking them out of context. For example, you may be aware that four other people may be standing in line at the checkout, however, you don’t pay more attention to them than tending your own items.
  • Unusual or important details get your attention, but you do not overreact.  Now let’s say you are standing at the checkout, and of the four people in line with you, one person has just walked up and is wearing a hoodie and his/her jacket looks like it is stuffed with something heavy.  Someone with a healthy, adaptable mindset will keep that person in their peripheral sight (or use some other discreet means to observe them) until it is certain that the person poses no threat.  An adaptable person will also be aware of the fact that the heavy jacket could mean the person is carrying some kind of explosive device.
  • You respond quickly and appropriately to threatening stimulus.  In the escalation of this scenario, let’s say you are watching the person with the hoodie and are certain that he has pulled a knife from his pocket.  At this point, any rational person would conclude that something bad is going to happen, and force is going to be required to stop it.  While it may not be appropriate to immediately use lethal force, you can do any number of things including try to disarm the person, or try to take cover and call for help.  A lot of how you handle this situation will depend on what tools you have on hand and the level of training you have to deal with these situations.  The more you train and practice both mental and physical skills, the better chance you have of making the right decision and preventing yourself and others from being injured.  There is no substitution for training your mind, body, instincts, reflexes, and emotions.
  1. Awareness of risks and dangers does not stop you from living a normal life. This includes being able to go out with friends and feeling safe in your home and outside of your home.  You also choose appropriate tools (including weapons) to fit a specific situation and project a body language of confidence without being cocky.
  1. You have realistic goals and expectations. This includes financial expectations as well as where all of your skill sets are and what the optimal levels are for surviving catastrophic situations.  When you have an honest and fair assessment of where you are, it is much easier to make plans to get where you need to go.
  1. Have full emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and social responses. Many people today think they must be without emotions or that everything must be based on logic. When you put these kinds of blinders on, then you never see answers that might work better. If you are feeling sad, then be sad, if you are angry, then be angry. It is fine to have emotions, just don’t get lost in them or stay in them for an abnormal period of time.  Make sure that you know how to quickly move from one state of feeling or thinking to another, and how to control your movement from one state to the desired one.  Controlling stress levels is a key part of this process.
  1. You are well connected to the world and community around you. One of the most important aspects of adaptability is that you can be comfortable with other people as well as when you are alone. You never know when teamwork will be required in a crisis, or when you will have to gauge whether or not you can trust the other person.  Being around other people is the only way to learn and develop good assessment skills.

 

Know What Your Strengths and Vulnerabilities Are

There is no such thing as a person that doesn’t have weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  The key to being adaptable and surviving any situation is knowing where those weak points are in yourself and others.  Next, you should know best how to use your strengths to compensate for areas that still need work.  It is also very important to assess strengths and weaknesses in other people so that you all can benefit from pursuing tasks that best match each person’s skills and capacities.   A highly adaptable person does not fear weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Rather, they see them as challenges to accept, overcome, and work around as needed.

 

Keep Learning, Developing and Exploring

You are bound to find preppers that say if “Plan A” fails, you have a whole alphabet of plans to go through before you give up.  If you are going to move from one plan to another, then you need to be open to new information at all times.  Even if you think you know everything about a particular topic, keep researching, learning, and experimenting.  This includes studying related fields where you might pick up different theories and concepts that can be adapted for use in other areas of survival skill development.

Overall, the most adaptable people never stop asking questions and looking for answers.  When you stop asking questions, it means that you have reached a point where adapting and changing are going to be limited.  It may also mean you doubt yourself or your ability to learn something new.  This can undermine confidence more than anything else.    In a crisis situation, you may need to go through the trial and error process dozens of times.  As long as you are asking questions, then there is a chance you will hit on the right answer.

One of the biggest secrets of being adaptable is knowing the difference between asking questions and being confused.  When you are asking questions, you seek to obtain information that will either fit into a pre-existing plan, or it may be used to make useful adjustments.  On the other hand, when you are confused, you may not have the experience or knowledge to know that you need to pursue another path to success.  If you are confused, asking questions can help you gain clarity, however, the usefulness of the answers you get will only be as good as the questions you ask.

 

Make Plans But Keep them Flexible

Consider a situation where you are focusing your prepper budget and skill set development on obtaining clean water.  By the time you factor in how to obtain water from multiple resources (example lakes, ponds, rivers, the ground, underground waterways, air, plant leaves, animal remains, morning dew, and salt water), and how to purify the water (bone char, sari cloths, charcoal, sand, distilling, and boiling), you can easily make one or two plans with dozens of optional branches.   There is an easy way to format your plans for maximum flexibility without losing sight of your goals.

Start out by saying IF (these factors are present in the situation)

  • THEN (do the following things)
  • ELSE (do the following things)
  • continue making ELSE clauses for each option that you can apply to the situation as listed in the IF statement.

You may need many “IF” statements to cover every single scenario that you may encounter. For obtaining potable water, you might build your IF statements around locations such as desert, city, mountains, near the ocean, or you can build them around specific situations such as during hurricanes, after a nuclear strike, or anything else that you want to develop a plan of action for.

People that adapt easily to sudden or major changes are the ones most likely to survive just about any kind of crisis.  Practice your skills, be confident in yourself, plan carefully, and always safeguard and seek to improve your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social health.  When you are in the best position possible, you will always find it easier to make the kinds of choices that will improve your chances of keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

Selco Comments:

 Carmela raises some excellent points in this article. Adaptability is very often formulated in a way that you need to act (or not act) in split second based on your mindset that you achieved both through mentally processing (‘thinking’ of sorts), understanding of the world around you, and learned skills.

It is easy (and correct) to say that you need to adapt to the new world around you. If you do not have running water you will not take regular showers, and you still will functional and be alive.

If you do not have your favorite food you will adapt to that and so on and so on.

But let me give you one real life experience story:

In the chaos when SHTF and armed groups started with terrorizing people, in the days just before everybody realized that law is gone for the long time, I was trying to get something useful from the ruined grocery shop. On my way back some 20 meters from the shop, five or six guys were badly beating a man on the street. In the moment when they saw me, I saw them too. I could not go back, only choice was to go right up next to them. They were pretty drunk, the guy who they beat was down on the ground covered in blood.

When I was right next to them, two of them look at me, and on the face of one of them I almost saw question “what the fuck you are looking at?” Maybe in the split second before he asked me that I yelled at them “yeah, fuck that asshole, mess him up man, go for it”. All of them put a happy smile on their faces and yell something like“yeah dude, woohoo” and stuff like that.

In that moment I simply made a connection with them, I put myself on their side.

That lasted for a moment only, but I just needed that moment, I passed them, and I was safe. I thought later about that a lot, and I concluded that I did not ‘create’ that plan, words simply came out from my mouth, it was gut instinct. If I did not do that, guy would probably have asked me the “what a fuck you are looking at” question, and they would have simply started beating me.

It is not my bravest moment in life, but again I am talking here about real life experience not nice stories.

Point here is:

Sometimes you will be forced to adapt and act very fast, and in the way that you do not like, and will not be proud about later on. But it is about adapting to things that you do not like, but you will be force to adapt to in order to survive. In the SHTF there will be some very ugly thing that you will adapt to.

About the author:

Carmela Tyrell is an experienced prepper that enjoys spending time working in her garden and exploring new ways to generate off-grid electricity and water for her family’s home. She prides herself in working hard to cut reliance on all things “municipal” and transition to a more self-sustainable living. She is also very knowledgeable about herbal remedies, surviving a nuclear disaster and bugging in. You can read more of her work on Survivor’s Fortress. You can also follow us on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

Etiquette In Unknown Areas (How To Avoid Starting A Riot)

crowded street

 

This summer the team at SHTFSchool have been busy travelling and planning for a new range of courses. This is in addition to my routine and extensive travels for other work.  Today  I share a summary of some key things I’ve learnt in my travels on things to do (or not!) if you find yourself in a ‘new place’ or are unsure of what the social ‘norms’ of the area you are in may be. I hope it is of use and interest!

Remember, in these days of increasing ‘multiculturalism’ it is perfectly possible to get yourself into trouble breaking ‘cultural rules’ without travelling to a foreign country

The overarching consideration for this type of problem can easily be broken down into two categories. Deciding on a recommended course of action or displaying a behaviour can always be held up to this simple litmus test…

1) No harm can come from this… (Insert action)
2) No good can come from… (Insert action)

See how this applies in this list of top 10 things to consider below:

1. Be Observant

Breaking rules in other cultures can attract moderate to severe penalties. (Go to Deera Square in Saudi Arabia on a Friday afternoon to see a stark example). Due to the potential severity of punishment of what we may see as ‘slight’ or minor issues, the exquisite art of observation must come into play as early as possible. Scrutinize your surroundings and compare yourself to them and see in what ways you will/are ‘stand out’ and then take action to address those issues swiftly. No harm can come from being observant.

2. Keep Covered

This applies to men, but even more so to women. No harm can come from covering as much of the body as possible in an unknown area (See how the test works!?) If you feel you ever are realistically going to find yourself in such an ‘unknown’ situation we are illustrating, then make sure long sleeved trousers and tops are worn or are immediately available. Early observation should indicate if you need to cover your head. For shawls/scarves/head covers unless you KNOW the tribal identifiers (e.g. patterns and colour connotations on a shemagh) keep them as neutral and non-specific in style as possible. Your dapper blue cravat may look great at the cocktail bar in your tennis club but will probably cause you problems in South-Central LA.

3. Avoid Comments

Let’s face it, you are probably already ‘pinged’ by the locals or residents as being a stranger. Trying not to stand out will help, but an overheard comment (especially a negative or derogatory one), no matter how outstanding, strange, odd or degrading event you are commenting on is going to get you on people’s radar swiftly and not in a good way. No good can come from mentioning how ‘different’ these people are from you, or you are from these people.

4. Stick Within Your Gender

Do not attempt to engage, in any way, with members of the opposite sex. Full Stop (Period). Be as affronted at this advice as you want, but take it. No discussion is required. If you can’t follow it in this format you WILL be taught another way…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2350503/Dwayne-Ward-First-picture-British-teen-stabbed-17-times-tortured-stripped-naked-kissing-Turkish-girl.html

Also know this isn’t just about you. If you are introduced to a woman do not offer her your hand. Wait for her to offer. If you hold out your hand in simple politeness you may be forcing her to choose between insulting a guest (you) or touching a man she is not married to—either or both of which may be harshly punished for.

5. Steer Clear of Religious Buildings/Areas

In the absence of a professional guide, or clear acceptance of tourists, the odds of you breaking up a VERY significant rule are so off the scale it is not worth the risk.

6. Remain Clear Headed

Degenerating your ability to be observant, and cognitive ability to understand why you need to stick with these rules is a plan no good can come from… On this, please note, just because you see locals doing something doesn’t mean you can too…don’t get drunk or high in dangerous places. More strongly, NEVER alter your mental state except in a confirmed safe place.

7. Don’t Engage with ANY Solicitation

Do not give to beggars, do not feed the poor. From personal experience don’t stop the child running in to the road clearly in your line of sight (it’s bait for a trap you don’t want to be in). Don’t talk with prostitutes, even if you are ‘Just asking for directions’, avoid street vendors, touts, self declared taxi drivers… You get the idea.

If You Need Help, Ask Someone in a Public Facing Role or just ‘Back Up’ – Look for assistance from service staff, waiters, store owners etc. DO NOT stop random strangers in the street, and don’t stand in the street looking lost and/or bewildered. If you have ‘inadvertently’ found yourself in the wrong place, turn around and go back the way you came (Like if you ever accidentally take an express subway that doesn’t stop at 70th Street in New York City, but takes you straight to Harlem at 11pm at night, and you are translucent white, not American, and look like you just got a beating from Muay Thai class, get back on the Subway and head back the way you came…)

8. No Pictures

You’ve realized you may not be in tinsel town, so stop wandering around like a tourist. Unless you’re taking pictures of your teeth for dental record analysis later on, no good can come from getting in peoples way with a camera.

http://rt.com/news/protests-morsi-violence-opposition-366/

9. Don’t Display Wealth

If it’s shiny and possibly expensive looking stow it away or hide it. Dress down to the best of your ability.

Most important point last!

10. Be Polite

Not witty, engaging, entertaining, fascinated, shocked, pious, or committed to ‘educating people’, or any other way you may think I mean by ‘Polite’. Out and out, genuinely polite. You are the odd one out, you are under scrutiny, anything going wrong WILL be seen as potentially your fault, so try not to do anything ‘wrong’ (even though you don’t know yet what wrong is) so be sincere and respectful in your actions until you’ve figured out what is going on…

These 10 simple measures will hopefully ‘buy you time’ to figure out how to best act and proceed in an area previously unknown to you. Getting into trouble in an unknown area is fraught with additional risks. Inciting a mob is a situation you will very likely never escape from.

Do you have any ‘rules’ you follow when you are in ‘unknown areas’…? Please comment below and share your experiences…

Guest Post – Myth Busting Knife Attacks by Darren Laur

Recently, I read an article on surviving an edged weapon attack, where the writer spoke specific to knife wounds, as they related to unconsciousness and death, which I found quite troublesome given the fact that his numbers just did not reflect the empirical experience/data that I have witnessed over my 29yrs of being a law enforcement professional.

In this article, the author first quoted a book written by Captain W E Fairburn called “Get Tough: How to Win In Hand-to-Hand Fighting” published in 1942. On page 99 of this text (fig.112) Fairburn provides the following information specific to “loss of consciousness in seconds” and “Death” specific to knife wounds:

 

FS Timetable

Brachial Artery – Unconsciousness 14 seconds, death 1.5 minutes

Radial Artery – Unconsciousness 30 seconds, death 2 minutes

Carotid Artery – Unconsciousness 5 seconds, death 12 seconds

Subclavian Artery – Unconsciousness 2 seconds, death 3.5 seconds

Heart – Unconsciousness instantaneous, death 3 seconds

Background

I attempted to locate any medical literature surrounding the time that this book was published to support the above noted data, but I was unable to do so. If anyone reading this can provide me with the medical literature that supports Fairburn’s data from that time period, please send it my way.

Based upon the above noted Fairburn data, I began my literary review of the martial art/self-protection/combatives academia, specific to unconsciousness and death specific to knife wounds, and what I found was very surprising if not troublesome. Much of the data supplied in these books, articles, and papers that I reviewed were just a rehash of Fairburn’s numbers, and others were anecdotal at best, and more often than not just plain negligent. None, and I mean none, cited any medical literature to support their claims. Some stated that they had spoken to a medical professional (doctors and paramedics) to validate their claims, but yet they did not provide the names of these medical professionals, or their credentials, or even medical research links which would have helped validate their published writings.

Research

After reading the above noted martial art, self protection, and combatives academia, and being less than impressed with their reported data specific to unconsciousness and death as it relates to knife wounds, I too decided to connect with the medical professionals. Two of the doctors that I connected with are experts in their field of medicine; both specialize in trauma care and critical care medicine, and have a plethora of firsthand experience in dealing with those who have been injured via an edged or pointed weapon:

Dr Lorne David Porayko:

• Full time Critical Care Medicine/Anaesthesiology specialist in Victoria, Vancouver Island Health Authority
• Critical Care team leader
• Works in conjunction with Dr Christine Hall
• Martial Arts background in Judo (black belt level), MMA, Krav Maga
• Honoured to say that Dr Porayko is one of my full time students

Dr Christine Hall:

• Full time emergency medicine specialist in Victoria, Vancouver Island Health Authority.
• Trauma team leader and educator.
• Previously, program director for emergency medicine at the University of Calgary.
• Master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Calgary.
• Cross-appointed in the department of community health sciences through the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary and also the faculty of medicine’s department of surgery at UBC.

Shock

When it comes to unconsciousness or death attributed to an edged weapon attack, we are talking about what the medical community calls “Shock”. Dr Porayko defines shock as, “the development of multi-organ failure due to insufficient oxygen being delivered to the tissue to meet their metabolic needs.”

Specific to shock as it relates to unconsciousness and death, Dr Porayko stated the following to me:

“ A 70kgs (154lbs) male’s circulating blood volume is about 70ml/kg which equals about 5 litres. Cardiac output is about 5-7 litres per minute. All the great vessels of the body act as a conduit of approximately 15-20% of CO/minute which equals about 1 litre per minute. The great vessels include the innominate artery, Subclavian arteries, carotid arteries and some include the iliac arteries. The 4 atria, 2 ventricles and aorta all conduct the full cardiac output thus are well protected in the centre of the body behind the sternum and in front of the thoracolumbar spine.”

So why is the above noted information important, because hemorrhagic shock (blood loss) is based upon how much hydraulic fluid (blood) is leaked from the body. When it comes to understanding hemorrhagic shock, I would guide you to the following links that were provided to me by Dr Porayko:

http://ccforum.com/content/8/5/373
http://ccforum.com/content/8/5/373/table/T1

Dr Porayko advised that based upon the above noted link:

• A class II shock category (750-1500ml) would leave “most” dizzy and very weak
• a Class III or Class IV shock category (1500ml-2 litres of blood loss) would leave “most” with the inability to stand up right

Specific to my questions about unconsciousness and death if specific anatomical arteries or veins were cut, and given all the medical variable associated, the Doctors had to make the following assumptions first before they could answer my questions:

1. There is no compression of a lacerated artery underway. This was irrelevant for a lacerated vein due to the fact that a vein can’t be compressed

2. The subject is previously healthy with a normal haemoglobin concentration and has a normal VO2 max prior to being wounded.

3. If an artery is the target, the artery is incompletely transacted. Completely transacted arteries go into vasospasm and retract into their perivascular sheaths which markedly reduces bleeding and even stopping bleeding all together in the case of smaller vessels. On this point Dr Porayko stated that this is the reason the Ghurkhas were trained to twist their knives in the femoral artery after puncturing it- to avoid a clean surgical transaction, thus preventing the vasospasm and retraction into the perivascular sheath, and instead to intentionally cause a hole in the vessel sidewall which is much more lethal.

4. The adventitia (a saran wrap like layer around the blood vessel) does not seal the wound ( The doctors stated that this usually does happen in survivors) and/or a clot does no form after blood pressure drops.

The doctors also noted:

“although exsanguinations (death from blood loss) from a venous injury is much slower that an arterial one (because mean arterial pressure is usually at least 10x central venous pressure), the venous injury is much more difficult to treat and generally if arterial injured patients survive to hospital with manual compression, they will do well whereas major venous injured patients often die even after getting to the operating room”

Of note, both doctors opinioned that the numbers provided by Fairburn and other combative/martial arts instructors that I provided to them for review, specific to times for unconsciousness and/or death, are way too short. Both stated that they believed that these numbers are based upon “complete cessation” of all cardiac output through the involved vessel which is not the norm. In fact Dr Pryayko brought to my attention that during the French revolution when thousands of people were beheaded by guillotine, the attending doctors documented the presence of vital signs in the body for up to two minutes.

Real Numbers

So based upon the above 4 “assumptions”, here are the numbers that the doctors I consulted provided specific to a level of hemorrhagic shock taking place which would lead to unconsciousness or death in “most” situations:

Carotid Artery – Approx 2-20 minutes

Jugular Vein – Approx 15-60 minutes

Subclavian Artery – Approx 2-20 minutes. The doctors also noted: “this is a special circumstance anatomically because this vessel is protected by the clavicle and the first rib (sandwiched between them) if the Subclavian artery bleeds, the only way to compress it and repair it is to open the chest by thoracotomy. You cannot compress it. Patients usually die on the scene or en-route to hospital.

Subclavian Vein – Approx 15-60 minutes

Brachial Artery – 5-60 minutes. The doctors also noted: “pretty unusual to see these without compression by EMS)

Femoral Artery – 5-60 minutes. The doctors also noted: “Pretty unusual to see these without compression by EMS)

Aorta or any part of the heart – Approx 1-2 minutes. The doctors stated that the heart conducts 100% of cardiac output. Assuming transaction and that the hole does not seal. Ventricular holes do usually seal while the atrial ones do not due to the orientation of the muscle fibres.

Two other areas of note made by the doctors also included:

Popliteal Artery – Located behind the knee, would be similar (but slightly less) to cutting the femoral artery

Inferior Vena Cava – Can be attacked via a deep abdominal stab, similar to cutting the Jugular vein

Exceptions

Both doctors stated that these are estimates based upon current medical literature and their first hand experience, but both also stated that there are always exceptions to these estimates. Both gave examples where patients who had received severe knife wound survived even with a heavy loss of blood, some examples:

• One of the doctors has seen several patients with traumatic cardiotomies (a big hole in the heart) survive for 20 minutes before being treated

• One of the doctors treated a patient who had been stabbed in the abdomen, where the knife hit the inferior vena cava, his belly was full of blood, he was conscious, although shocky, an hour after the injury when he arrived in the ER. He survived.

The doctors stated that they have seen patients who have bled out nearly their entire blood volume, but yet are still awake and talking (although looking bad) many many minutes following an injury and survive to tell their story. Dr Porayko stated, “So it is a mistake to underestimate a person’s capacity to compensate for acute hypovolemia and anaemia (hemorrhagic shock), even when very severe. This is especially true in the younger population.

Conclusion

So why did I write this article?

1. Much of the information being propagated in the martial arts, self protection, and combatives industry specific to unconsciousness and death as a result of a knife attack, specific to blood loss, is inaccurate. I wanted to provide those who are looking to share current and accurate medical opinion with the above noted information, hoping that it will go viral in our industry. For those who don’t and continue to teach inaccurate information, shame on you.

2. Those who teach others how to fight with a knife, and state that if you cut or stab a person here or there an attacker will die in seconds, are both willfully blind and being irresponsible to their student in most cases. Those who teach others how to fight with a knife need to absorb the information in this article, and start teaching from a medically researched knowledge base.

The most important reason for this article, SURVIVAL !!!!!! Words are powerful, and can create our own reality. If you “believe” that you will die in seconds because your radial artery has been cut in a knife attack, and your instructor told you (and you believe him) that you only have 30 seconds to live before you die from blood loss, then you likely will die. As can be seen from the numbers provided by the doctors, even if one receives a severe cut or stab to a major blood vessel or organ, you can still fight for several minutes (not seconds), and even longer, and still survive. As Dr Hall stated, “The decision to survive, it is that intangible thing that cannot be measured, and I think is part of the reason that some people survive and some don’t. You have to decide ahead of time that you are going to live.”

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Darren Laur, also known as “The White Hatter”,  has dedicated his life to public safety, and is a recently retired and highly respected Staff Sergeant with the Victoria City Police Department with over 29 years of law enforcement experience, and is a Certified Advanced Open Source Intelligence / Social Media Investigator with a strong interest/background in on-line and social media investigations. Darren is an internationally court recognized safety and workplace violence prevention expert/advocate, award winning published author and highly sought after international keynote speaker, who specializes in the area of personal safety and self protection both on-line and off-line.

More information can be found at: http://www.personalprotectionsystems.ca/