Types of real survivalists: 3. The Slaves or Servants

Drug dealers, prostitutes, thieves, addicts, homeless, family people, believers… good people, bad people… we like to call people by names in order to judge them and live our life easier.

Most of the time we judge them so easily, and form our opinion about them „as we go“ without too many thoughts. It is easier like that. We see people doing something and think it is because of how they are. We often do not consider all the things that make them do what they do.

We see something, give that a name and that’s it. Sometimes there is much more behind it. Someone who is bad might just have had circumstances in life that being like that is only thing that made sense for that person. Yes their whole way of thinking might be “wrong” or he might not act bad because he is bad but because his kids are dying. People simply judge too fast.

Not to mention that when SHTF it is dangerous to call people and sort them on easy and fast way, it can led us to form wrong opinion, which can lead to lot of bad things. I learned to not judge people right away. Future friend might behave terrible the first time and future enemy might be very nice to you.

I want to say this before writing about type of real survivalist that I write about today. You encounter slaves or servants in a long term survival situation because even they go very different way from brave fighter… they are real survivalists and just make things work.

Many lone fighters died and many servants suffered but survived. Yes its not like movie.

Lady who was my colleague before SHTF lived with husband and two kids, she was in her 30ies, very nice and easy person to work with. She was my friend and we shared lot of the great moments at job. I never see or heard anything bad about her. I knew her husband, I knew her kids…

When SHTF I lost contact with her in all that chaos, and to be honest I completely forget about her, I had more important things to worry about.

Few months later on my trip that almost killed me out of town over the mountains to obtain some stuff we needed (I speak more about this trip in my course) I had opportunity to meet her again.

We already passed most dangerous parts of trip, mines, mountains, woods and no man’s land and came into small part of territory controlled by one of the numerous militias, loosely tied to bigger (again numerous) fractions.

Guys did not give us any problems, other than very short checking who we are and where we are going.

We already payed for passage to „guy who knows guy“ so everything went smooth. We make small rest in one of the shacks and drink hot „tea“. Actually exact description would be „hot dirty melted snow, with added alcohol“.

Then I saw her, my ex colleague.

If I learned anything since SHTF that was fact that you need to hide your feelings and body language until you figure out what is actually really going on.

So I did not say anything to her, and I acted like I do not know her, even I wanted very hard to jump, hug her and ask about anything, about her, her family etc.

She put some rice on table, and more alcohol in front of one of group member. She was one woman in a group of some 30 men, who were armed, wasted and pretty dangerous. Most of them did not know too much about literature but they know enough about violence.

She did not look like prisoner, and also she did not look scared or beaten. She also did not or did not want to recognize me.

Anyway some half hour later one of the man from the group offer me her, for some price, explaining me that „she is the property of leader, but also if anybody is willing to pay she can belong to anyone for half hour“.

Now if all of that was movie, probably you would expect from me to shoot all of them and save her, so we can ride into the sunset.

But it was not movie, and I could get maybe three of them down before someone blow my head and take my boots and rifle. And even if I could save her she would probably tell me that she do not want to be saved.

We went through that piece of land without any problems, and I did not see her again, ever. And no I did not pay price and bought her for half hour, and I did not try to start conversation with her.

Later i found out whole story.

When SHTF people did lot of different things in order to survive. She become mistress of one of the small group leaders, and also prostitute of that group.

She was not prisoner, well not obvious, but you also need to understand that if she leave that group she and her family would lose protection, and steady income of goods. And kids needed to eat something.

I do not know what husband think about all that (he was a bit of weak guy before SHTF), but rumors were that he agreed with that, in order to survive everything. So it lasted like that for months. And they survived. So is that good or bad? Its nothing. Its survival. Blame her husband? No.. because they survived. If he would have become fighter he might have died and with him his family.

This does not mean people should let their wifes become prostitutes (there were male prostitutes too by the way). Everyone makes own decisions and later you always know better. Again here comes in not judging.

Of course when peace and normal life came they just could not stand to live here, not after everything. So they choose to emigrate. As I heard they are living somewhere in South America under different names.

Here is some more background to that.

Prostitution here was something different than in other countries, and before SHTF you should be member of very rich and higher class of society or higher ranks of political elite to be able to get into the contact with one. It was illegal and also it was traditionally very „wrong“.

So, prostitution was rare. To be known prostitute was rare. To be normal family woman and become prostitute was unbelievable and almost impossible.

When SHTF lots of things changed. There were prostitutes all around, not to mention women who were held as some kind of half slaves. Their position was not always same, so some of them were not more then slaves, other one were almost powerful as a gang leaders who they belonged to. There were also men who were just mascots or servants for more powerful people but overall this was more common way for woman to survive.

Not all woman were prostitutes of course, just like men they all choose how to survive, some were prostitutes, other were more dangerous with rifle than lot of men. But most of them choose just to stay home with family and do care about kids. It was not something like – they need to do that – it was just they did what they did best and what was needed, just like most of the folks in that period…

That woman I spoke about was much closer to equal gang member, than to slave. They did not force her to prostitution, actually she belonged to the group leader, but also she sell herself for goods, some of that she keep for herself and family and some go to members of gang. It was her “trade” when other men risked their life she overcome her dignity (not sure if that is right word) and did that.

She had protection and food, also her family home had some kind of protection from that group and also food and other things.

She was there mainly for the fun of the group leader, sometimes other members and customers when she wanted.

They survived, we can now judge them and talk what everyone of us could do in their situation but we should not. This is maybe also lesson for normal times.

I work since years in emergency service and see daily people living at borders of normal society or even far from that borders in a different very dark and nasty world.

Its not that all of them are bad but sometimes in life you have to do what you have to do even if it makes only sense for you at that moment. It is not excuse but it helps to remember that when your existence is under threat you might do very different things too.

I’m sure only very few (maybe sexually very open people) really plan on going that way when SHTF. Since I wrote now about 3 types or real survivalists. What role do you see yourself in? What role do you plan for?

When more chaos helps for surival

chaos survivalI work in medical field and few days ago we got called to transport some guy who broke his back. Nothing special but this guy broke his back while trying to attack woman to maybe rob or rape her.

He attacked her on staircase in house where she lives.

Instead of resisting his attack from behind, woman was just so shocked she fell backwards on the guy and he fell down staircase and broke his back.

That is what some might call happy end. Woman had just few bruises and got away.

This reminded me of something that happened to my cousin during war.

In this region here, western type of culture was always more popular than eastern. Especially for everyday things that young people do. So young folks here always like things that most of the people in west like. Things like music, way of living and all of that.

Few years before war that all became even more popular, I guess thanks to the all political changes and all of that.

Few months before war, my cousin ordered from some small company military ID tags for him. It looked just like originally US ID tags, with those rubber covers.

It was some kind of fashion thing for him. He did not engrave his name on it, he engraved name of metal group he liked, and on other plate he engraved an eagle.

He was all in the music, guitars, concerts, long hair and all that.

Important thing to mention is that army and armies here did not have ID tags, and even if they had, it looked completely different. It was actually one small metal plate, inside that plate were name, unit numbers etc. on one small piece of paper (kind of thin plastic paper, waterproof)

In first month, when everything still was confusing and when all kinds of people were on the street, some tried to run or hide somewhere, others tried to take whatever they can in this chaos. He found himself trying to run from his apartment to a safe place and house. All kinds of different armed groups were on the street, some on barricades, some other running through the city, doing “raids”.

They stopped him and bunch of other guys on one “check point”, and immediately started to beat them and search them for valuable things.

One guy pointed pistol towards him and started to search him by ripping his pockets on shirt. He said later in first moments of that he was scared to death, and went completely numb and paralyzed, and that probably saved his life.

Guy who searched him saw his ID tags. He started to yell at him. The conversation as he can remember went something like this:

Gang member 1: “WTF is this you idiot? Are you belonging to some group?” (slapping him)

Cousin:

Gang member 1: “I will blow your head off if you do not answer me.”

Cousin:

Gang member 2: “What do you have there, White gold? Silver? Just take it from him.”

Gang member 1: “No, it is something else, and he is playing deaf.”

Gang member 2: “Let me see, ****, maybe he is French, I think it is on french.”

On that moment my cousin realized that he needs to keep his mouth closed, not only because of fear.

Gang member 2: “K.R.E.A.T.O.R. ( spelling from the ID tags) IS YOUR NAME KREATOR ?” (yelling in local language)

In background my cousin heard few shots, he did not turn his head to check who was shot or why.

Gang member 2: “Anybody here speak French?” (asking other group members)

Cousin said luckily guys looked like they barely could speak their native language, most of the time they just yell, and grunt, moan, like bunch of apes.

Gang member 1: (yelling) UN? NEWSPAPERS?BBC?SPAIN?REPORTER?

Gang member 2: “OK just leave the idiot, we do not want any troubles.”

Gang member 1: GO GO, YOU CAN GO”" (waving with his hands on my cousin)

Gang member 3: “Maybe he could write story about us, our group”

Gang member 2: “Shut up you idiot!”

My cousin just slowly moved away from them, and after 100 meters started to run. He said one of the guys said to him few times “nice nice” in English, probably trying to say to him that he can go, but probably that words were only English words that he knew.

I asked him why he did not start to speak English, because I knew that he know some basic English. He said : “In that moment I forget how to speak my native language, not to mention English.”

Not to mention that he had in back of his pocket some documents that clearly stated he is local, guys just did not make it to his pocket.

The survival lesson from these stories is that when you are outnumbered or clearly in weaker position often it helps by introducing more chaos and confusion.

The woman did not plan to fall backwards on guy but just was shocked and then because of falling the cards were mixed new. She could have got hurt or attacker but luckily attacker got hurt more.

Same with my cousin. He did not plan for this but by having this ID he made straight forward situation for the gang members more confusing. It is hard to unkill someone so he was let go because they did not know how to react in this situation.

Both, my cousin and the woman, did not do what they did on purpose. They got lucky. But if you ever find yourself in hopeless situation keep in mind that if something nobody expects happens or you make it happen, cards are mixed new and your chance for survival might have increased.

Shuffling cards new is often better than sure death.

Elzi Gang Member

preparing on a budgetAs some of you know I meet with some friends I have been with during that time.

I describe my experiences in detail in my course but here is how a friend Elzi spent some of his time.

He did not have choice and joined gang to fight. It was only way for him to get some resources and make it through year.

Most people joined gangs for the reason that they did not have any other way to survive, or they thought that was the easiest way to survive.

Some of them did not have food so they joined, some of them did not have weapon for protection and they joined, some of them just wanted someone to lead them.

Most of the folks I know who joined, did that because they were not prepared. Nobody expected what their life would be like.

It was trade with the devil, but trade that had to be done for many to save their families. (Gangs had power and resources, so being in gang meant having usually more food than others for example and of course weapons)

Last time I met Elzi we recorded some things (we recorded for hours, I will write more about his experience if you like).

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Elzi’s struggle to survive

I joined because i did not have weapon in my house, and no food for me and my family.

Anyway i had some military experience before, never been in real battle before, but i had training, and know weapon and drill.

I joined group of 8 men, only 3 of us had weapon at the beginning. Our city was divided between many armed groups, maybe 7-8 big organized groups, with alliances and hostilities between them. Each of that big group had many smaller groups, loosely in some kind of alliance more or less. I had to go there because it was only way to feed family.

I talk now about first 5 – 6 weeks. I learned a lot later on.

We “acquired” weapon one night from smashed vehicle, i guess somebody shoot driver and passenger and car roll over. In the back there was 6 rifles, still fresh with oil and grease, i guess they were stolen from some military warehouse during the first days of chaos. In a wooden box we also find 5 mines, on sticks.

This helped us to become stronger group in our alliance and equip all our members with weapons. When we moved through city, we learned quickly in those days, adapt or die. We saw many people die.

We always changed location, every day , or night different location, we lived on move. Enemy groups want to know a bit of the territory before they strike so we did not give them chance to spy out our location. Next night we would be somewhere else. Every night. When i needed shelter, cover, place to hide or sleep i always choose second floor in a house. My group most of time stayed in no mans land. That land between enemy lines so after a night staying in one house, maybe next day we were already in enemy territory.

The front lines were not clear lines, just several rows of houses that were fighting zone. Our no mans land. At night of course we slept always with guard. Moving depended on situation. Because it was densely populated area, houses were close. Almost without space between two houses.

Lot of time we moved from house to house with plank of wood (think of something like in pirate movies to enter ships). We just placed that wood on windows of one house and on balcony or any opening on other neighboring house and walk or crawl to that other house. I became pretty skilled in that very soon. Nobody wants to be on the street in no mans land.

Place of hiding was chosen based on if it had safe exit. So actually in reality whenever i needed place to hide, i always looked for a safe and fast exit from that place. Without safe other way out of the place it was not acceptable, no matter how good looking it was.

Basements were death traps, no matter how good armed and equipped i was. Always higher floors with other exits. We placed a few traps outside, sometimes with mines and sometimes just with ropes and all kinds of junk so we had some clue when somebody was coming.

Getting captured and taken prisoner was no option. We had prisoners too and knew what to expect. Nobody is good to the people that try to kill them.
In no mans land taking prisoners was not so common. Better to end problem directly. The brutal reality caused many people to go through strong feelings of fear.

Lot of people died because of their fear. Because they run in panic or fight in panic. Often during attack there was one point when everyone panicked. When many people run away the massacre starts.

Run first or run last, do not run somewhere when everybody runs. Better to run before everyone runs. But when you run when everyone runs enemies shoot in frenzy. Stupid way to die but feelings were often stronger than smartness.

Another good thing in beginning during the fight was to stay away from bigger group during the shooting. In the panic folks just shoot at all directions and at every moving target. Adrenalin just gets you crazy.

In many situations during a fight it was better to be with one good person than with many. Safer. Quite a few people got shot accidentally by own people.

In reality what i did soon , i just choose position little bit behind my group in fight. A row of houses behind. Safe for shooting, safe for running away, first or second floor of some house or building.

Anyway people learned some things quickly. We became creative. Once we destroyed armored vehicle with lot of gas cylinders hidden in drainage ditch during the night, and next day we waited for vehicle to pass, blew everything up with one grenade.

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Elzi made it through the whole year because he is street smart. While you sometimes need group to survive always acting like the herd can cost your life.

Got to make the right choices when it matters, I hope when we share experiences like this here and in course it helps you to get a bit of idea of what to expect when things get bad.

Small decisions can make big difference so every detail matters.

Survival with a guitar

He lived alone, had a job as salesman, did not have any knowledge about shooting, military or anything connected to survival or similar things. His knowledge was more about singing and playing guitar, he was nothing like famous, but pretty known with his group, playing at local weddings, or local festivals.

He missed few chances to go out at the beginning of everything, some his relatives from America called him few days prior everything started and offer him money and help to get out, but he just thought this mess is temporary thing.

Even when people started to get killed on daily basis he still thought It is going to stop very soon, it didnt. They came for him in the middle of the night, like many others, at that time they just doing the sweep, so that means a gang searches a street or several houses in an area, in order to mobilize you for fight for them or in other case to kill you or imprisoned you (robbing is included of course).

prison

He was not material for fighter, he looked more as shy girl then as a grown up man, passing out even on mention of blood. So they just imprisoned him together with bunch of other people. Many years later he told me that hardest thing for him was not to suffer some occasional beatings and lack of food or water. Worst thing was feeling of desperation and sometimes feeling that all is only dream. A bad dream, like a nightmare. His psychological suffering was bigger than his physical suffering.

In one occasion he mention to them that he is good with guitar playing. From that day he become something like their member, he played for them while they drink and beat and tortured other folks.

It was hard for him to focus, while other people suffered but he played encouraging songs that made some men beat others in frenzy. Men adapt and get used to their surroundings.

He told me that he was not in that time neither prisoner neither their member, he was something like their clown, man who amused them, playing and singing songs on demand, not sure is somebody of them going to shoot him in head because bad song, or give him gold chain for a good song. But point is that he was under some kind of protection. He was valuable because there were few sources of entertainment.

Other imprisoned folks hated him, and were scared of him in same time, because he was more popular than they were. After few months he took chance with some foreign news reporters crew and run away, carrying big camera, blue helmet and blue body armor on numerous check points.

I lost contact with him for years, then I found him on some discussion about war and music on web. He is working as a room cleaner, in country far away. I started some discussion with him about prepping and survival and found out that he is still do not know anything about fighting, shooting or survival.

But he told me that he is playing guitar every day, alone in his room, so I guess he is now much better with that.

I think about him sometimes trying to figure out is he a good or bad man. Just a man making the best out of his situation probably. We were all grey and did what we had to do. Sometimes ugly things. But keep in mind simple extra skills give you extra value that might save your life.

There will be more about survival entertainment soon. What extra skills outside of survival do you have or learn?

Good Night… for Raiders

Usually they were coming during the night, but late (or very early) around 3 or 4 in the morning. They would not coming in silence, always with shooting, cursing and yelling, sometimes they would just throw couple of hand grenades in front of the house, to kinda shock you. Even some tough and good prepared guys would just run away if they had a chance.

SHTF Raiders

It takes some guts and serious weapon to stand up to 10,15 or 20 armed guys, mostly drunk, or high. Sometimes if people did not resist everything ends with few punches, broken rib, or similar. They could just took what is interesting for them and leave, on the other hand they could rape,kill,torture. If you choose to resist, be sure that you can resist to them, or just be sure to kill yourself before they get you alive. People just were not sure what to do, to resist and take chance or to surrender and take chance.

One incident I can remember

I will call him Dan, because his security. His father was goldsmith, quite famous in town. Two of them just waited in the city and looked how everything going to hell with first months of chaos. Father could not survive all changes, lack of medical care and every day uncertainty just finished him and his already sick heart.

Dan buried him with 2 neighbors one night in near graveyard, while city was in flames and battles raged over the reasons that nobody actually cared as soon as TV and TV news were gone with propaganda stories. They had some amount of gold in house, pretty much gold.

They came for Dan at 3 in the morning, did not ask anything, they just search the house in details, beat him and took him to their prison. They ruled in that part of town, prison was not like real prison, it was a basement in local mall.

After 5 th day of regular beating their leader came and said to him: you will take us to the gold.

And he took them, he and two gang members spent 2 hours on rain in the middle of the night, while Dan was trying to remember where he is buried his father s gold in graveyard close to house.

After 2 hours he just use the moment and hit the gang member with shovel in the head, other one was sleeping in house, he took him too, and run away.

I do not know what ways and connections he used then, but after 2 months in Croatia, he ends up in Germany. War ended, I did not hear too much about him, except that he is in Germany, and not doing so good, and that he is keep telling that he is never coming back here.

One day I heard that he is back.

I met him in one cafee close to his old house, we had some coffee, he did not want to speak too much about old times. I ask him why did you come back here? His answer was: I remember where I buried my father s gold.

He also told me :

“Right after my father s death i took all his gold, put it in jars and buried in graveyard. I did not use any map or anything like that, but I was perfectly aware where I was buried that, I memorize it very good.

After they put me in that prison, after they beat me, humiliate me, they took me to graveyard because I told them I was buried gold there. Standing in that graveyard, in night, with two of them with their rifles just erase everything from my head, I was desperately trying to remember where I was buried those jars, but nothing; my head was empty, blank page. I knew they going to shot me if I do not find it, and maybe even if I find it they shot me.

So I was digging like crazy, and suddenly i decide to hit him with shovel, I think it was not voluntary at all, something just woke up in me, like it was not me hitting him.

After I get to Germany I still could not remember where I buried that jars, so after few years I just stop thinking on that. And then few days ago I dreamed everything, like in fast forward motion, my father s death, killings, all atrocities, my prison, beatings, and I also dream about correct place of my jars, so I came here again

You know I think I was lucky because when they came in my house in 3 in morning they did not ask me anything, they just beat me and took me to prison, if they asked me the about gold, I am sure that I would tell them, I was scared to death, and if I told them then maybe after the took it they would kill me at the place.”

He did not want to talk any more, so I leave. I heard later that he suddenly “got rich” somewhere, and that he is doing fine now.

At that night when Dan was digging trough graveyard while two gang members were watching him, he was 17 years old.

Typical Gang Members During SHTF

Because some personal reasons i ll focus more on gangs issue :)

It is very important to understand who is typical member of gang in SHTF. As i already said before, worst kind of people is in charge in SHTF. Usually they take lead, so you have then old criminals as a new gang leaders, of course you already figured they not gonna pay too much attention on moral issue or fair play.

In most parts of the world we already now in peace time have gangs, all kinds. In SHTF those gangs becoming something like private armies.
People joined them, it is easier to take stuff from other people then to find it on more “normal” way. So you gonna have normal folks who lost faith, lost strength, and for them it is only way to join gangs.

My point is to prepare you that in SHTF your first neighbor (who is now for example car salesman) may be very bad gang member.
It was much easier to be gang member.

Gangs & Staying Hidden

To go out during the night and to do things was dangerous. There was no rule about anything and you did not know what to expect.We needed to go out to get things.Gangs and complete absence of any law was problem.

Constant shelling and snipers from enemy army was minor problem comparing to gangs. I think every city have criminals, people who live on edge of law,murderers, drug dealers and that kind of people.

In SHTF worst kind of people are mostly in charge, they formed very fast some kind of their own private army, in some cases their number was in hundreds, they were drunk from feeling of endless power, because of them you needed to be uninteresting, small, invisible.

They had everything, food, guns, luxuries, they owned black market. If they wanted something from you, eventually they get that from you, your food, house, wife, does not matter what. Only chance for you was that they did not notice you, or your other chance was that they see you have enough men and firepower so that what they want is going to cost them too much.

If you expecting some kind of fair fight or honor in SHTF, forget it right now. We just stay away from them, there was not Superman or Batman in city who saved good people from bad, if we met them it was shoot and run.Most of that folks did not vanished after SHTF ended, most of them still alive, some of them trough that power still have power today, some in private companies, some in politics.

Anyway to go out you needed to prepare some things, rifle,pistol,ammo,backpack,dark clothes, boots or shoes-kind of boots good for running, good for walk on broken stuff and trough ruins ( kind like adidas sport shoes ) in backpack i usually had more ammo, food for a day, candle or lamp, water for a day,sometimes some tool, key was to have some things in case that you need to stay somewhere hidden for a day, outside your house, but in the same time you needed to stay very light and mobile and not to attract anyone. So to had big backpack full of good thins during that trips(even if i had good things) was not good idea.

We took that trips never alone, always 2-3 men. About clothes, no specific rules, as long as it stay in dark color and does not catch too much attention, i used old overall (German army-something similar to US flight suit) and jacket similar to American jacket from Vietnam war. It did not looked fancy, but it worked. Small axe was nice thing to have , for fight and as a tool.

Some folks used small military shovel (folding) with sharpened edge, again as a weapon and as a tool. Every trip was mix of scouting and running,for example if you needed to cross over open space, like street first we spent some time checking for possible problems.If you seen other group of people, always hide until find out who they are and what they want. In short it was always like moving on enemy ground.

To add more about gangs: Yes they even had their own prisons, houses for fun, sometimes they abducted people for ransom, sometimes just for fun, there was no rule.