Going it Alone… Some Things To Consider.

wolf

 

In one of my recent posts I wrote (answering one reader’s question) about perspectives of surviving SHTF between being alone in urban settings or being in wilderness settings and similar, and just like always, I concluded that it is very hard to survive alone when SHTF especially in urban settings.

I’ve written numerous posts about advantage of having a trusted group when SHTF.

Still I get questions about how to actually survive alone when SHTF, or how to be lone wolf. So it make sense to write a post about it.

Yes, people managed to survive alone when SHTF, but in much lower percentage and at much higher price (and effort).

So, based on the my experiences, of what I saw, and what kind of folks  survived alone (and how). Here’s some advice for all you lone wolves out there:

 

Mental Strength – Having A Cause

 

Being alone in hard times gives you much more chances to find yourself without emotional or psychological support when you need it.

SHTF situation will have huge impact on your mental state, your emotional strength, and since you are going to be alone, you will lack that everyday small and big support from your family and friends in group.

Do not underestimate the effect of this. If you forget, over time you may well just turn into an animal, or simply get yourself in a state where you going to make some basic mistake and end up dead.

I was in group during my SHTF, and I had support from other family members, but still I had moments when I had doubts about everything, when I was so deep down that I could not see and sense and reason to move on, I had my own method for coping with that, together with support from close family and friends.

What you can do if you are alone?

Find yourself a cause and purpose in the chaos that will unfold around you.

If you are believer, a religious man (or woman) you may have an advantage here, that can give you strength and sense in everything.

Other things help also, be sure to find out what helps in your case before SHTF, because remember – you are going to be alone with your fears and doubts.

I knew a man who was alone during the SHTF, and he wrote everyday a journal about things that happened around him , he told me later that he started with that without any plan, over some time it became almost ‘sense of everything’, to carefully monitor all what happening and to preserve it in written form. 

 

Mobility

 

I already mention that if you are planning to be alone when SHTF you need to be mobile, very much, what does that mean?

It means that you need to be ready to move more, in any case , much more then if you had a group.

Acquiring information, getting resources, scouting etc etc it all come to you only, you are everything in your survival circle.

That can change lot of things.

For example how much firepower you can have alone in defending your home against invaders, let’s say against 15 invaders?

It simply mean that there is much more chance that you can not defend your home because you are one man, that equals that there is much more chance that you ll be forced to leave (run) from your home.

All that means is that you must be ready to have more. More then one shelter, more than one secret stash with ammo, weapon, food, etc more then one option for almost everything.

You need more options because you are alone.

It is simple- lone wolf needs to pay attention on same things just like any other group of survivalist, but much more and much deeper. Because you will pay for your mistakes much higher, and usually only once and you are gone.

 

Skills

 

Every survivalist need to have certain skills, group or no group. Lone wolf survivalist need to have skills to, but again on a much deeper level.

He needs to be expert in at least one (Relevant) field.  As a lone wolf you’ll be forced (especially in prolonged SHTF) to form some kind of alliances to get stuff, or simply you’ll be forced to join (for shorter or longer period) to some group.

When all you other „valuables“ are gone (and you have more chances for it to be gone because you are alone) you will have that precious skill as a bartering value. Your skill will be much more important to you because you are alone.

Choose today, before SHTF, some skill that you feel and find best suits you and learn everything about it.

Think about weapon repairing, gardening, medical skill, herbal knowledge…

Become a real master in it.

One more thing about being alone and skills. Simple fact that you are alone asks from you much more effort and skills then having trusted friends or group, and it goes like that for every aspect of survival.

It take much more time to gather firewood, start fire and prepare food for you alone, than if two or three men do that. Not to mention how many skills have three men combined together comparing to one survivalist.

Let me give you example, and it is real life experience based, if two survivalist travel through urban area and decide to spent night or few hours resting in some ruin it is easy more or less, they choose building, check it,and take rest with one man on watch.

If you travel alone, you will look for building, you will do that with more effort, it will take more time, you will look for a bit different type of building because there is one defender (you), you will have to make some traps (warning or killing) which will take more time, and you’ll sleep with „one eye open“ and so on…

As I said, both examples are from my experience and my SHTF. Being alone is not impossible, it simply requires more effort and skills.

 

Other People and You

 

You are lone wolf, but you will be forced to deal with other folks, that is for sure. You will come in situation to cooperate with other people, or to trust to other people.

My survival philosophy when it comes to urban survival is that urban SHTF means more people, and more people means more problems, because you’ll have to deal with people more or less in order to survive.

That „dealing with other people“ when you are lone wolf is much more dangerous then dealing with them while you are in group.

It is simply because you are more vulnerable, less protected.

For example if you are going to trade deal it is much more dangerous for you alone to make safe trade setup, as opposed to having you and two more group members with you.

With that in mind you come to the point where you may conclude that you’ll be forced much more to avoid people because you are lone wolf. It is simply safer like that.

There is reason why most of the lone wolves who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people.

 

Aftermath and Consequences

 

Again let me explain through my experience and my example.

I survived SHTF.

I have PTSD for years, which drives my mind everywhere, from thoughts of ‘reasons for still being on this world’ up to the thoughts of writing the book.

I can say that I am pretty much not capable of living normal everyday life, I cannot stand crowded places, in nice cafes I look for possible exits… in exchange for this pain I am completely sure and ready for another SHTF.

But again that does not give me ease of living normal life, simply I have lost that ability long time ago because I went through SHTF.

I forgot names of people, or streets or places, I even sometimes forget when exactly my kid is born.

But I remember so clear how grown up people cried before they died, gaping wounds and blood that always gave me „how much blood is there“ thoughts, smell of building on fire, crackling noise of fire and glowing that mesmerized me.

And I remember much worse things, they are carved in my brain…

I am all that and I remember all that, even though I had support through my group of family members. We cared about each other, about mental state of each one of us.

I feel sorry for lone wolf survivalist who will survive SHTF, he is going to be mess.

There is reason why most of lone wolfs who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people before and have terrible time with the aftermath after…

As you might conclude up to now, there is no magic formula about how to survive alone when SHTF.

Rules of survival are mostly same like being in group, but much harder or sharper in a way, with much less margins for error…

 

*Toby Comments* – Selco raises a REALLY important point today about the ‘aftermath’.

So many of us are focused on surviving bad times, but we have to think, what ‘price’ will that journey cost?

One of the reasons we do so many of our physical courses in the Balkans is to clearly show people the ‘aftermath’ of such events. Even now, 25 years after the war, you will see people, ‘regular’ people, just wandering in the streets and the towns, still clearly struggling with what they went through. It is ‘normal’ in this area.

Every village, every town, has the people that are ‘known’ (by the locals) to be ‘still fighting the war in their mind’, to visiting outsiders it is a often shocking, very clear and sobering indicator of the cost of living through terrible times… This is an aspect you cannot afford to overlook.

 

 

 

If I was in America, I would….?

divide

 

And then one day, finally, real democracy came!

We were feeling that after long time of the same old politicians who cared only for themselves or their own circles and families, suddenly there is a man (or people) who will bring something new for us, pride, strength, wealth or whatever.

Media was full of high hopes and praising, in order to bring new world for us, jobs, security and what not.

New factories are  promised, new liberties, patriotism and love for the country exploded.

Something beautiful was expected. We felt like it is dawn of new era…..

What a bunch of fucking idiots we were.

Then the polarization started. At the beginning it was something like “there are people FOR and there are folks AGAINST it” whatever that “IT” was.

Pretty soon we were “thrown” into situation where you have two families, they are neighbors, friends for years, decades even, but over the political reasons they started to see each other with kinda ‘bad blood’.

 And then one morning, SHTF and I found myself standing in my backyard like an idiot, still trying to find out what happened with great words of new era and better life…?

People were shot dead on the street for fun or wrong words, fire trucks were driven by stoned teenagers in weird uniforms, police cars burning, men with assault rifles walking on the street in cowboy boots and metal band T shirt acting like self proclaimed government forces, every group who had more then 15 guys and 5 rifles was self proclaimed police force doing whatever they want to do…

Whole bunch of people who had dreamed of times where and when they can do whatever they want emerged.

I forget together with bunch of other people high hopes and big words, all what was left is pure survival, day by day.

 

America

 

I got mail from one of my readers (thank you Mike!), and I really liked it. Mike and I share some opinions in exactly same time, I will cite his message here:

“My nation, America, is being abruptly dragged out of a deep and prolonged state of subconscious anxiety and depression. It is being assaulted with hope and this is beginning to produce a state of relief which will be managed into uncritical nationalism if at all possible. This euphoric state of national mind is the perfect cover from which to ambush a nation. The pressing for a one world government did not die under Trump, it simply got a new face. The danger to America and to the other nations of the world are more real now than ever. Extreme sobriety is warranted at this time. Most people I have spoken with cannot see this. They need to. Perhaps you could bring this to attention. Mike”

Yes, America is being “attacked” with hope, changes, trust in better life, new jobs, pride.

In the same time media is on the run for making “demon” out of people or political options, and polarization is there.

It all looks (sadly) VERY familiar to me.

It is looking so familiar too me that I have to say  I am afraid for the near future of Americans.

Stage there is “perfect” for violent changes and SHTF.

Stay sober, operate in your small circle, you will appreciate that effort when SHTF.

 

What Can You Do?

 

In terms of “big picture” you cannot do anything. It is like that, if big players are set to make shit, then it will happen, and timing and climate there in US is perfect for that, so no matter how hard I hate to shovel “fear”, you have to be afraid if that will at least mean you get into motion.

And again and again – think in small circles.

For example, I can say for myself that I am for human rights, protecting the weak and people who suffered, but more from that I am about respecting of my way of living, and if there is a bunch of people who wants to change my way of living with force because they are so different I want them out of my country.

Now this sounds nice and normal, decent.

But it does not have too much with storing food and ammo, learning new skills, knowing how to purify water or simply working on your survival group.

When real SHTF there is no no democrats, republicans, political options, right or wrong, left or right.

Everything is kinda blurred and at the end there are YOU and OTHERS.

You will find yourself standing somewhere, maybe in similar backyard like mine, 25 years ago, asking yourself where everything is gone and how suddenly bottle of water is more important then whole bunch of political options, parties, opinions, solutions etc.

And you had such a  high hopes in better life!

Stay on the right track of prepping, do not be mesmerize with current events. Monitor events, of course, but stay on the track, and please do not have high hopes that “everything gonna be OK”.

Also note, while America is the greatest example of this problem just now, other countries are , and will, experience very very similar things… Don’t believe it ‘Can’t happen’ where you are…

If you see worrying signs where you live, please share your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

 

Dealing With Differences

different

 

One very overlooked aspect of preparing, in my opinion, is being ready (and willing) to adapt to different social circumstances.

We are living in world where there is a big mix of nationalities, customs, religions, social ‘rituals’ etc.

So clearly it make sense to know your surroundings in order to adapt or blend in, or at least to know stuff to make your life easier when things go bad.

Forget right now about hating something or someone here, it is about knowledge that you can use in hard times. General hate is a wrong attitude, and can dangerously cripple your judgment.

Let’s use couple examples to make it more clear here what it is all about:

Scenario 1

You are living in peaceful neighborhood, but after couple of days of political instabilities in your region there are riots outside, and you see bunch of folks carrying signs about some political candidate (or party, or whatever) that you do not like, actually you hate them. But they are rioting, going through your street, smashing windows, setting things on fire etc.

You are outside, and you want to shoot them, you are angry. You attack them and after 5 minutes you are dead. End of your survival story. All plans about bugging out, BOL and everything are gone, you are gone right at the beginning of SHTF.

The real solution would be to hide or if not possible to join them for hour or two of yelling on the street, rioting and similar. When the mob has gone through your street you can bug out.

Scenario 2

Shit has hit the fan. It’s been some time and you have resorted to trading. You are in the middle of a trade. The trade is going good with the guys, they are dangerous bastards but you made a good deal with them.

After successful deal, they offer you whiskey (or whatever drink) but you offend them by refusing it, because you are principled and have been clearly  ‘anti alcohol’ for years, things go bad, and deal is off, or even worse you are dead.

Is it so hard to take one shot (of alcohol) if customs or expectations say it needs to be like that?

Scenario 3

You are bugging out, your BOL is 400 miles away from your home, your way their leads through another state (or even country) and on some vehicle check point you clearly show yourself as ‘different’ by wearing wrong baseball hat or T-shirt, or a small flag on your car mirror (You get the idea) or showing different political opinion, or simply some other difference than people who stop you.

And then you are in trouble. At the very least your bribe through that check point is going to be much higher, or you can have even bigger problems.

Conclusion

Sad truth is when SHTF first one who are going to be in danger are people who are different from the ‘majority’ in that moment and particular place.

It can be race, religion, political opinion. But it can also be much smaller and trivial things.

I saw people being beaten when SHTF just because they had long hair.

A book can be written about this topic, and examples are different for different regions in the world, but concept is completely the same everywhere . DO NOT attract attention by being different.

DO NOT say “I will do things only this way“!

Adapt and do what situation asks from you.

The point is about attracting attention (or trying not too) in the wrong time and place.

It make perfect sense to know customs of people around you, political opinions, social rituals etc. It is good to know languages, or at least accents, it pays to know, for example, what will attract attention to you on your way to BOL, maybe it is simple car sticker on your car?

Does that „vote (Insert name here)……” sticker still make sense on your bumper?

Stay “grey“, blend in. But being grey is not just about how you dress. it is how you move AND interact with people

Learn about people that you will have to deal with when SHTF. This does not mean that you need to ‘love’ or ‘hate’ them, not even like them, BUT know what will help or hurt you when dealing with them.

Knowledge is (again) key to survival.

 

 

USA – Looking In The Balkans Mirror?

mirror

For years I have been following news from the survival “realm” all over the internet. One thing is for sure: every day in those years when I read survival “news” I could conclude, based on the headlines, that the world is going to chaos and end in the next week, next month or next year.

And still we are here discussing, we have all the comforts and commodities. Let’s say we are doing fine.

But now, for the first time, I have a feeling that world is going to chaos really soon.

Too many things are seemingly “moving” inside global calculations, and this time we could be close to a “big one”.

No matter how much food, ammo., training and skills you have when SHTF you are gonna be surprised. Most of us have been in the mode of preparing for something that is not happening for years, and when it finally happens there is going to be a period of shock for the folks, and in that period a LOT of people are going to die.

Since most of the folks who read my stuff and subscribe to my courses are from US, things that are written here are meant for them mostly, but not exclusively for them.

Every now and then I get questions about similarities between situation in US and the Balkans before SHTF. And I have read couple of good articles about the same topic lately.

Since I have lot of people that I can call good friends, and they are from States, I am going to point out some things about my Balkan SHTF and possible US SHTF. There are some serious and worrying parallels,  even we are talking about two different systems.

Feel free to prove me wrong in comments, I am open to discussion…

 

System

“The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . having a mob entirely at his disposal . . . .” —Plato

I have lived in the system and country where we believed that we are all equal. Different nationalities, different religions etc. Melted all together to make one “big and prosperous” nation, to be great and equal… united.

And then leverage of world  forces simply changed, and suddenly we are being taught that differences between us are more important than similarities and “one nations”, old history battles are been taught again, one group suddenly is more important then other and so on and so on.

And then came “leaders” or saviors that led us against others. After years of carnage, here we are again with almost the same leaders.

I have been through the war and met many folks on every side shooting because they have been told that other side is evil, and yet all sides are the same at the end.

Rich are richer, poor are poorer. Nothing changed. Nobody learned nothing.

 

Big Circles and Small Circles  (and your decisions)

Again and again, there is a big circle and small circle. You may have illusion that you are controlling things in bigger circle, but it is only an illusion. What kind of government you’re going to have and what kind of politics they use in the next years is not up to you, you just have been smartly led to believe that you can make the change.

It is like that…

At the end it all comes to the matter of power and possession, and you are just small piece of everything, you are small part of the tool.

Over the years I have learned that it is more important to have one more month of food stored or one more skill learned then to waste time on worrying who is going be elected.

It is a waste of time, when SHTF they all gonna do the same more or less, oppress people and take their rights and liberties very easy.

 

Your Rights

Living in society where you have certain rights and freedoms for years is a good thing.

The bad thing is, when SHTF and you lose all those rights in single day, and you find yourself so shocked that you simply do not know what next to do, because you had those rights for many years, it became totally natural for you to ‘own’ it.

Having lots of conversations with friends from the US, I concluded that the majority of common folks their simply do not understand that all your rights can be lost in one day.

And not by the evil invaders from the space, or Russians or who ever. Your government can take it. In One Day.

Majority of folks simply do not see this as a possible option, and even preppers their who understand it, may look like ‘weirdos’ because of this viewpoint.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to live in country where I can buy weapons easily, where I have rights to protect my home, where I can say freely (more or less) what I do not like.

I like that very much, actually I admire it.

What I do not like is feeling that most of the people think it is written in the stone and it can not be changed.

In short, things that I like most about US is going to be the biggest ‘loss’ in US when SHTF, and not only the US.

When SHTF there is going to be lot of surprised people, a lot of shock.

 

Your Perception of Future SHTF, Prepper Movement in the USA

 

I can not get rid of the feeling, that majority of people see SHTF as a big fun, shooting while drinking beer, with additional testing of all of their cool gear.

I see that in blogs, comments, forums, documentaries, movies…

I had more then one participants of my course who told me ”this is not fun, it is hard, and not so pleasant”.

I had people who have been preppers for 30 years and never considered the fact that when SHTF it is going to be smelly all around you.

There’s been a man who advises skateboard as a ‘good’ transport through SHTF city, a man who thinks that 30 brand new gold coins are going to get him through problems on his bug out trip and so on and so on.

Now I am not mocking with people who stated all the above. What I do not like is believing in “facts” that are not checked.

If you never been through SHTF you may not have the idea that it is not fun, but quite hard and unpleasant. Where do you think people and dead animals are going to be buried? Where will the garbage be taken, human waste and everything else? A foul smell is going to be a constant.

Don’t you think offering someone a brand new gold coin for safe passage won’t bring some “oooh maybe he has more of those interesting funny unusual gold things with him” attention?

Why don’t you try to have 10 cheap gold rings in your pocket instead, and offer on every “checkpoint”, one that you directly pull down from your finger with the words “here take my engagement ring, just let me pass”?

Is a guy going to think “oooh, maybe he has more of those his engagement rings in his pocket”?

Same things go with trade.

Examples are numerous.

Common sense is something that is missing mostly in “mainstream” prepper movements, and I understand that , it is business, it is about money.

But folks, choose carefully what advice you are taking as a real.

For the average, beginner prepper, the USA looks like paradise. A place where you can look and find correct information, also look and find correct equipment for future SHTF, but that also brings risk because there are more false and wrong information and mindset than right.

Personally I like what can be found in the US, because in most of the cases, I know what is good or bad, but for beginners it is much, much harder.

 

Conclusion

As some kind of conclusion for this very hard topic, because it is wrong to put things right with generalization:

  1. It is going to be very ugly, much more ugly than my SHTF experience here, simply because the ‘fall’ when SHTF going to be bigger. The “Distance” between modern everyday life and life in SHTF for the USA is WAY bigger than in my time. Majority of folks are “soft” and to dependent on the system.
  2. The ‘Survival Movement’ is big business, and it has become more (much more) about selling items (to make you believe that you are prepared) than about learning and gaining knowledge.
  3. Wrong perceptions about SHTF (or at least not checked and “experienced” beliefs) are rooted so hard, they have simply become the ‘accepted truths’. A LOT of these ‘truths’ are simply false and there for earning money, not for survival.
  4. A good thing is that you have much more options about  choosing and owning weapons, but this option can ‘bite you back’ if you have weapons, but with the wrong mindset, ‘truths’ and knowledge, simply because a whole bunch of bad people are going to have weapons too.
  5. The majority of folks are not ready to bend the rules and adapt. There is lot of talk about adapting, but then suddenly you get whole bunch of folks who are thinking “I’ll do that” or “ I’ll never do that” instead of “I’ll do what has to be done (adapt to situation)”
  6. Working with other folks. You need to work with other folks, to have friends, group, connections-before SHTF. Survival alone is for really tough mother…kers.
  7. People prepare for SHTF, but not really, they are preparing for the romantic, movie version of SHTF. They want to feel cool and comfortable when SHTF, which is not a problem by itself. Problem is that they want that at the expense of real knowledge and covering of real basics. So you have a man who has a fancy and really cool rifle, but does not know how easy and fast in real fight it is to use 500 rounds, so he ends up without ammo in a week. Or has a generator but does not have a clue how to light a fire, or the differences between fuels for fire in terms of heating, smoking etc. Many examples…
  8. Do not look for higher reasons for the situation. You may have political options today, fractions, candidates, government. But when SHTF all that are empty words from some other distant time. When SHTF you will have yourself and people who want to harm you. That is it.

So folks, make sure you are preparing for the realities. I would encourage you to start ‘fact checking’ your plans and preps today…

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

————————————————————–

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/

What To Do….?

fork

When SHTF, making the wrong decision can cost more than you will ever realize, so advice on what to do and what not to do should be sought out and heeded.

You see many articles like „Ten Things to do When SHTF“ or „ 5 most likely situations…“ or similar.

The truth is that these articles, while a great way to learn something (I’ve written posts like that too) are, very often, ‘over simplying’ situations or scenarios that most likely when SHTF are going to be dynamic and probably complex…

It is essential that you are ready to adapt because there are many variables about what to do (or not to do) when SHTF. So read these ‘lists’ but be careful of how ‘attached’ you get to them.

My main point here is this: there is only one thing worse than being without a plan (for/when SHTF). And that thing is having plan and sticking to that plan so heavily that you simply end up dead (because your plan is not working for that particular SHTF situation)

So what to do (or not to do) when SHTF? Lets look at ‘two sides’ of a couple of things:

Panic

One side:

Panic is a „plan killer“. Panic is a fearsome enemy. You may have a very good plan and preparations and end up dead, simply because you failed to understand how bad panic is going to affect you.

There is research that says that 74 % of people who, in a case of disaster and being forced to quickly leave their home would forget to take a lighter and something that could boil water in (in order to disinfect it)

We could say that research is for „non –preppers“, but be aware that in the case of panic and fear (and we ar all are going to experience some level of that for sure) you are going to make mistakes. Be ready to accept, adapt and overcome this.

The ‘Other’ side:

Fear of, or when in, danger is a powerful thing and you need to not deny it, rather go into a mindset like „s..t, of course I am afraid just like everybody else, let me use that fear and do something smart“

The good thing here is that most of the people around you are going to be in some kind of ‘panic’ (fear, confusion). Let’s work on the basis that you, as a prepper, are going to be in a lesser state of panic than these other folks.

So suddenly, panic and fear can become friends in some situations, use it in your favor.

For example while everybody else is in panic still figuring out what really happened, use the moment for a last run to the grocery shop for more food, or use it to simply to get away from the danger.

This short video offers some very powerful examples of how people react during a bad event.

 

There is also one important moment here to recognize, some researchers conclude that people actually panic much less than we imagine.

So they stated that in cases of some catastrophes (disasters in sports stadiums, factory disasters and similar) first reactions of a number of people is not to panic, rather to help other (injured) people.

I agree with this, but only to a certain level. If you find yourself in the street and see a building collapse suddenly, and hear screams from rubble, most peoples reaction who just saw the event is to go there and help injured people, but if you see (or hear) other buildings continue to collapse you’re going to panic, and other people are going to panic.

It is an example only, but in the case of a serious SHTF event, expect panic and simply use it in your favor, however you can.

Change the rules!

One side:

I’ll try to explain this „change the rules“ rules with one small, short but serious real life experience.

Just after the S. hit the fan here, a man went out to seek help. He saw a police officer, he ran towards the officer and cried for help (his wife was wounded at home) and the police officer just shot him in the head and robbed him.

End of story.

Story could be (and actually it is) longer, because I should go through the events leading to that, panic on street, no info. on what is going on and much blah blah blah.

But the point of the story here is that dead guy simply failed to change rules from the mentality of „their is a police officer“ to the „their is an armed dude in police uniform.“

When SHTF, rules are changing, all rules. Rules like“ police are going to help us, goverment is going to take care for us, there is help in hospital etc etc.

You simply do not know, rules are gone.

Other side:

Nobody said that you can not be a guy in a police uniform when SHTF. I am not saying that you have to put on a police uniform when SHTF and go out and shoot innocent people.

I am saying that you may use other peoples lack of knowledge and adaption to the new rules and for example wear EMT uniform in first day of chaos in order to go through some part of the city, or a police uniform, or act like a rescue worker or whatever you think makes sense in your particular situation and moment.

Switch yourself to the SHTF situation thinking in all ways and means.

ABCs  (Go Back to Basics)

It is again about big and small circles.

People tend to think too much (actually can be bad when SHTF initially) simply because there is no real information.

You need to look for the right information, of course, try to figure what is happening etc, but in the meantime, if you do not know what to do because you do not know what is going on, use that moment to go for your basics.

That means if suddenly something bad is happening (SHTF) and you do not know what to do, do something that is useful. Why don’t you use that moment and go to fill your bathtub with water for example?

Most probably you’re going to need it.

Or go through your equipment, or check your weapon?

Just go through the ‘basics’ if you do not know what to do when lacking real information.

We will be covering a lot of ‘decision making’ of this type during our excellent physical course in Croatia, which is happening in just a few weeks. It is a great training opportunity and one you should all consider. More details are here:

http://shtfschool.com/survival-course-croatia/

 Have you ever had to make decisions under pressure?  Please share your stories in the comments below…!

Strategic Savagery: How to Use Terror

survival weapon gun control

It looks like there is no sense and order in what ISIS folks are doing while they are terrorizing people and burning them alive, stone them to death, kill captured soldiers or simply women and kids. But spreading terror and pure fear makes lot of sense in terms of strategy, especially in already „chaotic“ times and territories where they are trying to advance.

Terror is a psychological game.

The „they are coming for me feeling“

I have experienced for myself, more than once the feeling that „they are coming for me“. It is that moment when you are armed and ready, together with more folks, who are armed too and we are all waiting for attack.

And guys who are attacking are famous for the fact that they do not take prisoners, or that they have few sick guys who are collecting ears from the captured people, while they are still alive.

No matter how well you are armed and prepared and ready to fight, if you hear about their atrocities for weeks and then one evening you are forced to fight with them it will have impact on you.

You will face stress of battle but also have to deal with your own fear.

Of course different people react in different ways, so some guys will break down or give up even before fight, without single bullet flying through the air.

Some guys will even surrender without fight and beg for mercy, even they listened stories about „no prisoners“ for weeks. Often they are the people who can not imagine how truly evil people act. They think because they would not kill and torture other people they do not know nobody would. It makes no sense, but it is what terror does and why it works. It makes people act without sense, makes them do stupid things, to be confused and not logical.

Terror is advanced level of trash talk in sports where one opponent tries to make the other one angry that he loses focus. When it comes to terror it is just fear that is used as weapon.

I have seen that sometimes only rumor about some infamous unit coming to attack is enough that groups who are very well organised simply fall apart.

If you hear that there is unit coming and they will torture and kill everyone in their way including your kids and woman, you have two choices: To fight to the last or run.

In the movies folks will fight to the last, but in reality most of the folks will simply run. The difference is like walking on edge of the sidewalk or walking on edge of a high building. In both cases you walk on edge but only in one case a wrong step has much worse consequences.

Few times I asked myself why ISIS has so much success over there in Iraq and Syria. One of the answers is terror. Nothing spreads so fast like terror.

I also think the idea you can have ultimate power over life and death of people makes many people want to join them. People get high on power and that they can decide who lives or dies. If this happens in group you usually find people trying to be more brutal than other people in their group. To be the most respected a feared one.

You finally can rule over people, to judge, it does not have anything to do with religion, it is in human nature of some folks.

Few months ago I read some US weapon forum and one of the members shows his rifle and said how he bought it cheaply and how it was probably used in Balkan war.

On the rifle butt there was still small engraved sign of the unit visible. And strangely I knew that unit.
Unit was famous in war because they (like many others) did lots of bad things, rape, kill prisoners and similar things like private prisons etc.

But at the end most of them ended up dead, killed like the people they killed.

Once when people realize that bullets can kill you no matter how famous or infamous you are it all gets easier.

People dealt with them, and today they are just something like weird war memory with a sign on someones rifle butt. This is a lesson you need to keep in mind in situations when you face enemies that cause fear and terror in you.

First you need to accept your fear and terror. Some people do not accept it and try to pretend its not there until it breaks out and makes them unable to function. Often in situations when it matters most.

Be aware of your fear and terror but also confident in your abilities to face this enemy. This is attitude that you need to show openly also to all members of your group. In groups emotions always get amplified.

Just like walking on edge of high building you focus on the task at hand, the walking or fighting and forget about consequences for that moment.

Terror needs to be dealt with brute force, before it spreads way too much to be contained. It is like disease.
You can get sick from terror, just like from pneumonia for example. Symptoms are fear,panic, doing illogical things, or having urge to run away before even you realize who is your enemy and how you can defeat it.

This is why we prepare, practice and learn to focus on what matters to achieve our goals. Terror only works if you give it power.

What do you make of ISIS and their actions? Please share your thoughts on this and how you try to deal with terror in community forum or comments below.

The Cost of Violence

cost of violence ptsd

I have been in war with lot of people, I mean I spent lot of hard time with folks who in that time I could call friends, or at least some kind of allies.

After that I lost contact with most of them, sometimes I heard something about someone, or see some of them, but real „buddy“ contact with people from that time and events is rare.

People who have not gone trough experiences like war probably imagine that there is something like annual meetings of old buddies who used to shoot together and kill other folks, and on that meetings there is huge barbecue and drinks…

And on that meetings we all like laugh and remember how hard it was and we are lucky that we are alive. Actually I was on some similar meetings, but it was everything but fun, so I stopped with that.

People there mostly look at each other and we all see how destroyed we are. I have met many broken people there and the question is has life screwed us or we screwed up in life. And at the end, we all drink, but without music, we just look in fire from barbecue, angry because of some triviality and asking why we are here.

Actually we do not have common topic to talk, after we spent time talking about all topics like weather or bad situation in country we know that sooner or later some of us will start with that „do you remember how S. got killed?“ or that famous „man we are lucky to be alive“.

But in reality we all know how S. get killed, nobody needs to ask „do you remember?“. Most of us think about how S. or M. or L. or whoever got killed every night at home, because many of us do not have families, most of us are unable to have normal lives with someone close to you anymore.

And when we come home later we drink alone, because people like us drink alone in most of the cases. Without false modesty, those of us who made it are best of the best from that time, real survivors, we survived everything because stupidity got punished very hard back then, usually with death. It still has burned much out of us.

People without purpose and aim. One of us work at parking lot. It is job that barely can keep him alive with minimum money for food only. No wife, no kids, no real friends, no possessions except maybe weapons hidden somewhere because you never know.

He was a lion once, man without fear for his life and without respect for enemy’s life. I asked him once how he feels when he is charging for parking ticket to the guy who is 25, drives brand new BMW with couple of pretty drugged girls, who earned that by being crooked politician and who looks at him like he is not even human, or worse like he is invisible, like there is ghost who charges for tickets.

He said “Oh man, I try not to look, it is life, and I am too old anyway to care”. He is 45. I think one day he will jump from 16 floor, or simply dig out his favorite TT gun and blow his brain out. One other guy is unemployed, officially unemployed, but he works whatever needs to be done. To say it shortly, when someone needs to scare someone, or harm someone he is guy for that.

He keeps telling me one story, actually it is his dream or wish more than a real story. He said:

Man, I am dreaming and wishing that one morning I wake up and there is a decision inside me, one of the old feelings that I carried through the war.

You know what would I do? I would go to my place with my stuff, take two pistols and rifle and as much ammo I could take. I would put on my old combat vest, lucky boots, put on my armband that we used for recognitions.

You know the government (local) building? I would go there, enter through the steel door, there are two security guys, I would use pistol on them, two shots in the head, for each of them. Guys are young and inexperienced, full of steroids and stories from the GYM. Big chests and arms, but small brains and balls.

After that I am wishing that I could somehow weld that steel door, with me inside of course, so no soul can go out, me neither, but maybe I just somehow block it, or use explosive there.

You know the put steel bars to the windows, those crooked bastards, to feel more safe, I would have them there where I want. And then, I would take off my rifle from the shoulder, and go slowly from the one office room to another. Everyone, every last greedy m$%#@#%ker of them would go down.

On some of the most important faces there I would use my knife, you know, faces that like to be on TV, like to take shots and interviews after doing some charities, or visiting schools and hugging the kids because good grades in front of the cameras, faces who earned their first million by selling baby food in war mixed with plaster, or taking someone’s wife for two pieces of canned meat.

I would like to go slowly with them, piece by piece. I think I would be pretty much done before special police squad would come to the place, remember I was pretty quickly done with some of the buildings we took during war.

After that I do not care what would happen, I think I would blow my brain out, or maybe I would take few police guys with me too. They are young and full of movie ideas. Dirty games are something that is strange for them, it would not be a problem.

Every time we end up by laughing about his dream. He is saying all of this like joke anyway more or less. But sometimes, I guess when he is feeling down too much or when he sees who is in charge today ruling over us or simply when memories got to him too much I see something in his eyes and that is no joke.

For all this that I wrote here, people have name, they label it with words PTSD. But real point is that once violence enters your life, once it becomes part of you, you belong to that violence. To the rest of the life. In the famous US series Dexter he calls this “his dark passenger” and this dark side will stay with you.

Nothing romantic about it. And every time when I see on TV or wherever some anniversaries of military events, and when I see those guys under the banners and old flags, no matter what country and what war they have same expression on their face.

The hand shake with politicians, take pictures with them, kids take photos with them, they calling them heroes and liberators and what else. It might be truth, but means nothing probably to them.

But when politicians go away with their limousines and security, and when newspapers guy, and TV crews leave with their stories, those guys stay alone with their thoughts and memories until next year when they get another pat on the back.

Two main lessons here.

First is that violence like it is glorified in action movies, games and sometimes media should not be taken easy. If you might look at your weapons at home you see them as that and pictures of shooting come up in your mind. If people who fought do this picture of bullet impacts on human body come up.

The smell of people dying, the sound of last breaths, the mess someone leaves behind. Every time you use violence the dark passenger in you grows and it will not leave, it is part of you. So if SHTF and this website and everything else is long gone maybe you remember this and tell yourself and people around you that all this comes with cost.

Second lesson here is that you should think about time after collapse. I have friends in US army and I know some of the veteran services are bad but at least they are there. I read in history book that soldiers in earlier wars had less PTSD because they travelled together for longer time from area of conflict. If you lead a group of survivors during SHTF think about giving them rest, think about sort of debriefing time.

Please share your experience with traumatic events and how to deal with them in comments below or our community forum.