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.

Decision Making in Survival Situations

Survival Decision MakingWe all usually keep forgetting that when SHTF things will be different in many ways.

We talk about lack of food, clean water, coffee, or simply lack of hygiene. And we say that people gonna die because of that and because of lots of violence. Based on my experience, all above is correct, but we also usually forget one simple fact: pressure!

Guy from my street worked before SHTF as a computer technician. Those years here were time when computers were started to be widely used in big companies. He was something like famous in that field, so he had good life, nice home, car, family and everything else.

When SHTF he just like great number of other folks was simply lost. While chaos was spreading through the city he stayed home watching through the window how people sporadically run across the street to avoid sniper fire and shelling.

He monitored how telephone lines went out, electricity and water too. Later he was trying to „catch“ some news over his radio that he used before for football (soccer) games broadcasts. His son later told us that they ate a lot of some old jam because they had eaten everything else.

And then one day he simply was forced to go out, they delayed that moment as much as they could, but when you watch your kid and wife go hungry it is very hard to just do nothing. You see those who are close to you slowly get worse and worse.

They found him some 300 meters from his house, some guys told him that they worked for government, and they are trying to restore peace.

They told him to show them his home and then shot him. When they came into his house first guy knock out the kid with rifle butt. Then they looked for gold. Then they played with wife. Anyway they kill her too, kid survived. I spoke with kid and we did not talk too much about details, it is rare people want to speak about any details from this time. Too much bad memories.

His story was not the only story like that in that time. Now you may think that they died because he was stupid, he was not prepared, he did not have weapon etc. All of that is correct actually.

But I like to think that they died because he made decisions under pressure, huge pressure. And it was wrong decision.

He waited for too long to choose correct moment to go out and find useful stuff like food, weapon or simply to connect with other folks.

And then one day situation caught him, and he was forced to make decision, to act under the pressure. As I said he was not only man who died that way, lots of other folks died in similar way.

Point is that we preppers and survivalist often forget that in survival situation we also have to make decisions under pressure. You might be great shooter, but are you ready to see loved ones suffering and making life or death decisions? It is harder than most people think.

Lesson here is to not be arrogant because you are a survivalist or prepper. Because you are that you escape first and you are not the bravest person who impresses whole neighborhood by getting shot first. You are also not overly careful and hide out until you run out of preps and have no choice but to go out.

We can be prepared.

What gives your mental side advantage is this:

  • You understand how the world has changed and that you have to forget about old rules. I speak in detail about this in my course and here on blog.
  • You keep don’t let emotions decide what you do. You plan and dont put yourself in situation with only one way out.
  • You expect the worst, forget about Hollywood action movie heroes and use all skills you practiced today and know already.

I have seen other folks doing mistakes under pressure. I have seen man who got shot during a trade, because he wanted to get stuff from the other guy so hard, food again. His family at home was waiting for that badly, and he simply forgot common sense. This is what makes desperate people weak (and often dangerous too, because their actions are controlled by their chaotic emotions).

Guys realized he was desperate, get him to follow them, ambush and shoot him, take his stuff. They didnt finish him. He survived, point is that he was under the pressure to get the job done as soon as he can, so he simply forget common sense. Don’t be that guy.

Im faced with critical decisions every day working in emergency services. If you have more questions or want to share how you deal with high pressure situations, write in forum or comments below.

Authority & Stereotypes Post Collapse

Stereotypes Post Collapse

I know man who is cop and he is not officially prepper, but couple of times I talked with him and „spotted“ his philosophy. Because nature of his job he knows whats going on in town, where he can probably find drugs, weapons, prostitutes, everything.

He mentioned to me couple of times that if something bad happens, something like war, he would get together with some 15 of his buddies and take over pretty big part of the town while everything else is collapsing around us.

Of course he would not do that in order to help people, his plan is to gain power, in order to gain more power, and so on. He did not mention it, but what he wants is be gangleader after collapse and he is simply ordinary cop today.

But he has plans, skills, resources and wrong (or right) mindset for achieving this.

I do not judge him, I just observe. I learned long time ago that it makes sense to know all kinds of people, especially when SHTF. People often say that cops are actually particular type of folks, and that their morale is highly questionable. Some people say cops are people drawn to power.

Just like with everything else I do not like to generalize things. So I like to say that just like all other folks there are good cops and bad cops.

It may be truth that occupation like that may draw (attract) certain types of people but nothing more than that. And of course (especially here) cops are highly subjectible to bribes, because nature of job. Just like medical professionals are as well. If you want to get your urgent operation done you either wait for 4 weeks or pay the right people that it happens in coming days…

I had friend who was cop. Actually he was police inspector (detective) when SHTF in first few weeks he simply used his badge and authority in chaos and „confiscate“ gold from people in the name of „cause“. The cause back then was to support our fight against the enemy troops who have surrounded our city. But the cause can be anything of course.

At first it was story about how it is not secure to have gold inside home because bad security state in town, so it will be kept in safe in town hall. Sounds stupid maybe, but people (especially honest and decent) will believe in lot of things if you back up your words with some authority like badge and uniform and some weapon. He even gave them some kind of written certificate (recipe) for gold that he took.

Few days later when it was obvious that there is no safe in town hall, and no government order, he simply took it with force and using weapons.

Of course he was not the only one who did that in that time, but he used his badge and training to do that, actually normal folks trusted him, because they thought something like „oh, he is policeman, he must be right, and he must be good man, let’s do what he says.“

Of course gold got through black market channels out of the country, he is out of the country too for years already. And yes, he is rich. Some other cops become famous as the worst war criminals, they turned to monsters, and did everything to harm people.

I knew some other folks from the police department, some of them simply used weapons and skills to do bad things, other did good things, they helped folks, organized them and learn them how to defend.

What they all had in common is that they used their training, authority signs and weapons when SHTF.

Some in good ways, some in bad. I do not think that being cop made them good or bad, it only made them skilled in controlling people.

Just like folks in my case 20 years ago before SHTF believed mostly that cops must be good guys because they are cops, I am noticing opinion that today cops must be BAD guys just because they are cops. Again I like to think that they are usually skilled guys, very usable in SHTF events. But I do not (just like everything else) take them like only bad or only good guys just because they are cops. Keep in mind that flexibility of thinking gives you big advantage in every survival scenario.

Simply forget old stereotypes once SHTF. Stress and fight for survival will bring out best and worst in people and make them drop whatever mask they were hiding behind in normal times. I try to separate what people can do and how people are and then can form an opinion. This is very valuable when time goes on and you and your group have contact to others.

How do you decide on qualities of people today and for your survival group once things get rough? Write in comments below or simply discuss with us in forum.

Bugging out: Why I missed best time to bug out

Best way to survive is not being close to any problems. Like I describe in my survival course about my experience in Balkan war I missed my chance to bug out in time. I ended up surrounded by enemy army and trapped in city for a year without power and regular resources. Everyone fighting for the little what was left and being shot at by snipers and artillery from enemies did not make experience any better.

There are many reasons why people fail to bug out. Last week Jay (guy I run this website with) left Bangkok because of military coup. He first did not want to leave right away but then common sense won and he left. You can read about what happened in our forum. Nothing bad happened after he left, but it could have.

There can be many reasons like failure to recognize that S. gonna hit the fan, blocked streets on the way out of the city, problems convincing everyone to leave or just some special events you want to stay for.

I mention many times why I failed to leave city before everything became blocked. So I said that simply I did not see signs, or even if I saw something that looked serious to me, I assure myself that everything gonna be OK in short.

And of course media was there to told us that everything gonna be fine, nothing gonna escalate etc. and all of this above is true, it was like that, but as the time goes by I am able to see one more mistake that I have done that contributed to the my choice of staying.

Actually it was not really choice, I failed to see that I had big choice to make back then. We humans like to go with the flow and that is what I did. There was no choice, just years later and when your freedom is taken you realize you failed to make right choice.

So the big mistake I also made was the fact that I was simply thrilled and excited how events are unfolding in front of my own eyes, it was kinda mesmerizing.

You know that feeling that you are going to be part of something big, something that it is gonna be part of history books?

I had that feeling on some subconscious level I guess.

It was like being part of event that goes like this:

  • Day 1: Today we lost ability to phone outside town, sporadic shots were fired whole day, on the TV there is no news from our city, which is weird…
  • Day 2: I just saw tank on the street, went to check is there anything left in the store to buy or take, but actually there is no store anymore, tank was slowly rumbling over the street, guy who was standing next to me said „they gonna ruin the asphalt with that beast“ like that is important, but that guy still thought in old terms, like we all did. I think he thought that it is temporary, and tomorrow city gonna need to repair that street because tank ruined it, and we all pay that through our taxes, and so on, and so on.
  • Day 3: Our first neighbor shows up with rifle and said „I ll gonna shoot those mother……s „ I ask him „who?“ he said „anyone who approaches my house.“

At the beginning it was like being in movie, but pretty soon we all were like „f..k, people get killed for real here“.

One day after another day, events simple unfolding, more dramatic after dramatic. It is a bit like slow collapse that we experience now, changes come step by step, even in short time but it is all exciting until one point and then it can be too late.

This is what happened, one day it was simply too late to leave.

Now you need to understand me that this was not the only reason why I stayed in the city, it was not even most important, I speak about everything in detail in my course. But still it was the one of the reasons and one of the reasons that can be easily overlooked.

It is important to be mentioned here, simply because I can see and read in many places that lots of people still make similar mistakes. It is simply interesting for them to stay and see what is going to happen.

For those of you who were part of some SHTF event, whatever it was, some natural disaster or similar, you may understand what I am trying to say. Arrah who lost almost everything in devastating hurricane Haiyan in Philippines writes about this too.

It is the fact that timing of events is not goning to wait for you, it is going to unfold on its own, and at the end it is simply gonna overrun you if you are in its path.

You will be left behind to sit through consequences or destroyed.

People often act like world is spinning around them, and like nothing bad is going to happen to them, while in reality you (and me) are nobody in bigger picture. When you get more experience as survivalist and prepper you maybe even become arrogant and think you know what you deal with and can stay and wait.

I was young then, and my blood reacted different on gunshots, screams, or hearing about attacks or defense, or pride and similar, so I can blame that too. But still, it is easy to fall into the thinking of „staying to see events“.

Oh it was interesting for sure, especially in the beginning, before I realized fact that people died in great numbers, and that there is a huge possibility that I could be killed too, and it would not be some big event and very soon it is over.

Later it was all about trying to survive, something like constant running for your life. You become very humble man if you almost lose all control over things around you.

And remember the saying: “May you live in interesting times”, but also remember that it is as much curse as it can bring you excitment in good times. So if you see that „interesting times“ are coming to your neighbourhood, just leave the area, it is much better to be „bored“ but alive somewhere else.

Did you draw clear line for yourself when you bug out or bug in? Discuss in our forum or in comments below.

Why many preppers will die

graveyard

Survivalists and preppers are (or are supposed to be) by definition something like smart folks, people who do not trust mainstream bu..s..t, who follow their own path to be winners at the end.

Actually in reality truth is different.

We all like to say that we are different but just like everyone else we fall under the influence too.

How many times you or some prepper you know built or formed opinion without even checking it? How many times you bought some item and store it just because you think it makes sense, not because you know it makes sense and you check on it. It is often easier way to believe others and you can not try everything yourself of course.

One of the most stupid things or worst mistakes that you can make in prepping is to become “mainstream”. Slap label of prepper on you and you start to think you are smarter than others. You may think that preppers and survivalists can not be mainstream because it is not logical, but yes we can.

We gonna buy bug for BOB because someone said “it is best for BOB” usually without checking who is the guy who said it. Or we gonna say “I have best gun for SHTF” because someone put huge amount of money for marketing it. If most preppers look at their storage they can find items they know theory of using it, but never used it.

The problem here is not buying these things. The problem is with forming your opinion and many survivalists think they know and they have plan but that makes them in reality less flexible to consider all options.

When SHTF and you realize quickly that you have completely wrong boots (or weapon, or BOB or whatever) you maybe still can fix it if you act. Changing way of thinking (or plan…) is harder.

There was man who before SHTF was owner of few cafes, pretty wealthy man. He was involved in some crime business and you could hear from time to time how he was involved in some fight, or he was arrested, or served some time.

Sometimes he was out of the country for months or year, rumors were that he was something like professional thief, specialised for breaking into “high class” homes, jewellery and safes and similar.

Those stories were rumors only, but in his cafe in town all guests were his crew, and going there for coffee was not forbidden, but also was not bright idea. If you entered there (probably) nobody would kick you out, but atmosphere and faces there clearly would tell you that you are outsider.

In short he was something like “tough guy” in city talks. Weapons, secret gambling, prostitution etc. Guy with his crew.

On first rumors of troubles he started to sell his cafes I guess in order to leave the area, but he was too late. When SHTF, and groups and gangs started to form, he simply gave his cafe to the leader of one group in exchange for protection.

Later when that leader and group were destroyed he found himself imprisoned for some time. Lot of people around were robbed and tortured or killed.

He immediately agree to write statement that he is “selling“ all his cafes to the leader of new group, of course in exchange for the life and freedom.
They had it anyway, but they needed that piece of paper for time after war.

After that he was something like “lone crazy dude” through the rest of the SHTF period. He was nobody.

He survived everything and after that he needed quite some time, few years to prove that he was forced to “sell” his cafes.

Court gave everything back to him. Soon after that he sold everything and emigrated somewhere, probably to place with less chance for another SHTF event.

My friend talked with him before he left the country, and after some time they touched the subject that lot of people wanted to know.

Why did he go down so easy? Why did he not resist at the beginning with his crew? Why did he not had his own strong group during SHTF? Things like that.
He had original answer: “Every time they were stronger than me, I simply had to let it go”.

His story is not so unique, but I know much more stories about how folks got killed because they refused to leave their home (and run) when under attack by several people armed with firearms, while they were unarmed, or armed with pistol or knife, clearly outnumbered.

I read every day on web sentences like “having this gun will save you when SHTF” or “with this BOB you can not lose when SHTF”. Of course this is marketing crap from people who want to sell you something.

Please do not get yourself killed, or allow your family to die when SHTF just because you put your “perfect” BOB on, your “zombie survival” rifle in your hands and went out to save the world.

Or to get killed because you “draw line and here you stand your ground” for example when they attack your home or your storage. Do you really want to die just to hold onto things?

In world of survival number of people who are gonna blindly believe in their equipment, or just blindly stay where is impossible to stay are much higher from folks who are gonna take the smartest option (however bad it could look). This is why many preppers will die. Regular folks will run but some preppers take so great pride in their plan or equipment they do not make right decisions when it matters because of their ego.

You can hear me being not hero and just doing what I had to do for 8 hours in my course.

I am not the dude who is living on tree armed only with kitchen knife and big mouth. I also have BOB, BOL, equipment, weapons and plans.
But if I see that my SURVIVAL is in question I am ready to say f..k it to everything.

Sometimes to survive means not to win but to give up, and wait for next chance. Do not expect to be winner all the time.

Common sense survival. The return of natural selection

How do you imagine real survivalist?

Is it a man hidden inside underground bunker with food for 10 years, completely cut off from outside world? Or is it guy with crazy haircut driving bike on methan, in full leather outfit with communicaton skills not more than screams and some strange gurgling noises, armed with swords from fantasy games and maybe a chainsaw on the back?

Both examples are something like strange fantasies or for some even wishes („I want to be like that“) that I saw on more than one survival forum, or TV shows.

There is also picture of the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks when SHTF, and survive everything. There is strange opinion in some people that having stance like „I ll do only that when SHTF“ either only good, or only bad in terms of pillaging and robbing will keep them safe. If you look at things are going in nature, you know, natural way does not mean happy end.

Lots of regular people in todays society see us prepper and survivalists as weirdos in camouflage suits, conspiracy nuts and similar. Most of them are right, lots of „survivalists“ also help in building that image of survivalists. It is hard for some people to just shut up and prep, what they should do to keep low profile. But some people make survival so much part of who they are they want to show off. Their choice.

Point is that there are lot of definitions of survivalists there, and each one of them is like „written in stone“. I think survival is more about how you are as person and not what you expect. Once disaster strikes, you will see tough guys helpless and regular guys become strong forces. True nature shows up.

Several days after the shooting started I arranged with friend that he will pick me up with car so we can go and finish some job. We went to relatives apartment to look for useful stuff but everything was looted already. In that time vehicles could still drive, but shootings were everywhere and checkpoints too. So violence within the group of people who were caught up in the city was on top of shooting and shelling from enemy army.

At this point in time, nobody knew who shoot who and why, and what groups stand on checkpoints, but people already got killed.

When he came to pick me up I noticed that rear lights on his car were smashed, broken. And inside car he had some kind of steel plates with hooks and wooden bars that you could kinda attach to the inside of the door.

He explained to me that he smashed rear lights when he concluded that people get killed when snipers and machine gunners spot them after they hit the brake in the middle of the night during driving (lights are not used anyway during the drive).

That driving with him was closest thing to the apocalyptic Mad Max version of driving. It was still possible to drive through the street, but it was full of junk, debris, and bodies here and there. He used big lights occasionally when he really needed to see something, but only for sec or two, other than that he was driving in the dark.

On our way back he changed position of some steel plates inside car because he expected different directions of possible incoming bullets.

We survived that drive. That dude was not ex special forces member, or guy that you imagine, some strong tough dude. He was simple family guy, he worked as a postman before everything.
He had no experience with violence, gunfire or anything similar other than dogs barking at him while he delivered mail.

You may say „oh, nothing too smart, it is common sense to not use brake lights and put something between you and flying bullets“, and yes you are right it is common sense, but point is that you need to know WHEN you need to start to use common sense.

Great number of people got killed because they „waited to see what is gonna happen“, other folks started to use common sense early and survived (at least more of them, because no matter what we do there is always factor X that you are simply at wrong place at wrong time).

Those who can switch fast and let ideas of normal life go, increase their chances for survival a lot! Many “fantasy” survivalists will wake up to big surprise that things are not like they thought. It is true you should understand and know what to expect but even more important is to quickly change your way of life, how you think about security. Flexible thinker survive because they have many options to do things and react if they have to.

Other time shelling caught us on the inside of one of the apartment buildings, group of some 5-6 of us. Whole floor collapsed around us and on us.

Few seconds later we get on our feet, and find out that one of us is half buried under the rubble, other ones get minor wounds and scratches. We started to dig to uncover the buried guy, after that we realized that he was almost shredded from his thighs down, and his feet were under the piece of concrete wall.

After one try to lift him, we realize that there is no way to do it.

His legs were in so bad shape that while I was trying to do some kind of bleeding control I realize that actually I do not have clue what leg is left and what is right. It was simply all messed up and mixed from thighs down. Under the knees I could see that all was mixture of white and red, pressed and mixed. And he was screaming big time.

Shelling started again, with pretty big chance for all of us to be buried under the walls. I would be liar if I could say that I did not wanted to leave that dude there stranded, and just get the hell out of there, but somehow I still stupidly was trying to stop bleeding with straps from the shirt.

Then (luckily) one of the guys stepped out and push me, then with rifle bayonet he simple cut of almost amputated feet from stranded guy who luckily passed out, took him on his back and said “OK, lets go“. After we left the place, it collapsed from shelling. And strangely stranded guy survived everything.

If that dude did not cut his feet off we probably all got killed, or would have just left that man to die there.

Luckily one of us had common sense to do what has to be done in very quick and efficient way, and he did not have any medical knowledge.

There are many more stories how people got killed in very stupid ways and stories how people who have common sense survived (more of that in my course), but you get my point.

Real survivalist is man (or woman) who know what to do in certain moment. Everything else is just talking and wishful thinking. If you want to increase chances to survive, learn to take action quickly. Your knowledge and your skills help you to make right decision and execute action better.

Enjoy the good times as long as they last.

It is 2014 now. Another year further away from my survival experience during war, another year closer to the next SHTF situation that can happen anytime. Last year was wild year for me. I enjoyed all discussion and feedback I got for my survival course and here on the blog. At the same time I went through very dark times again. Depression and some anxiety caught up with me.

Most of you here are more experienced survivalists and preppers and many of you have great bug out plans, have good amount preps in their storage and understand what signs to look out for. At some point, when you have things in order, I hope everyone does not forget to live life in current moment, without worrying about SHTF.

Survival is double edged sword. You want to be mentally prepared for worst case scenario but nobody can without having been there. Sometimes when I read survival forums I see people living in fear, even life is not bad for them at the moment. If I have wish for everyone for 2014 it is that people get serious about survival and preparedness but also enjoy good times as long as they last.

Anxiety, depression and negative thinking can take your energy away before anything starts. This here now is post I wrote some months ago, to put my feelings and thoughts in words, but Jay thought it was too negative to post at that time. I agree but now it makes sense to highlight the price I had to pay for becoming “survival expert” without wanting it. I’m better since some weeks now but this post gives you maybe idea of what kind of scars constant struggle for survival can leave. Celebrate the good times in 2014. Nobody knows how long this lasts.

————–

I am kind of dead man. Emotionally I guess. I caught myself during my regular walks yesterday evening 2-3 maybe 7 year old girls looking at me and giggling.

I needed few seconds to realize why. While I was walking next to playground something just caught my eyes. 30 centimeters long green grass was slowly moving because of breeze, and smell entered my nose. I guess I froze and stood paralyzed.

I did not see the joyful and noisy playground anymore. Instantly I was moved back, 20 years ago and one other picture was in front of me. Me and my cousin are walking through the wet green grass, there are maybe 7-8 dead people around us, freshly killed in that grass.

And smell from the grass was so powerful and it is a good smell. Like spring, like freedom, it smells like youth, like young girls and boy teenagers drinking wine and listening to guitar playing.

It was impossible to comprehend and put together smell of grass and dead folks in the grass at the same time.

I do not know for sure for how long I stared at the grass next to playground, but I had strange look probably, because kids were giggling. One man, father probably, came and looked at me then quietly moved kids from my vicinity. I figured that I probably also had strange and not so nice glare in my eyes.

I never know what is gonna be, and when. I met guy from the same area where I was during the one period in war, guy was looking young, but he wasnt a kid. We were talking about war, and hard days. I asked him „do you remember Siljo, he died from wound infection?“

Guy was starting to look confused. Then he told me „damn man, I was born that year when he died“. I mean damn, he was something like 20 year old dude.

I am still living kinda in war, 20 years have passed but I still see myself as a guy from that war. I remember everything. Every dead guy. Right now I can smell that rotten smell of gangrene that took one guys leg, and his life later. It is still in my nose, and 20 years have gone by.

That 20 years are gone like in dream, everything after that war is like dream, in terms being blurry, and I keep catching myself asking „what was that yesterday?“ about something that happened yesterday, and I do not have clue.

When I walk out every second guy or woman I see remind me of somebody from that time, someone dead. When I hear kids laughing out, I hear screams inside me.

Loud music from the car that just passed me reminds me of song that was played on big speakers after calls for surrender as part of enemy propaganda.
Hell is not burning fire. Hell is impossibility to forget things. Hell is seeing these things in front of you again and again.

I caught myself thinking that best days of my life are over, not because I had it, oh no. It is because I am not able to feel real joy anymore. My tasks in life are blurred, and I think all that I want is to go somewhere next to sea and lay down and watch how clouds are moving and then sleep and sleep.

Man, something entered in my chest 20 years ago, and it is burning like hell from time to time, it is literally choking me and terrifying me. It is rage, it is sorrow, and it is tiredness. Pure horror it is. It is there and I can not kill it, I can somehow fool it and cheat it for some time. But even when it is not burning I can feel it.

When it burns I live through all again and again. Sometimes I use walking to kinda exhaust it. I keep walking and walking or go to gym and move weights to exhaust me. Sometimes I notice my kid na that my empty stare is scaring her.

I do not have friends because there are no common topics. I am alone. I am afraid of rage somewhere hidden inside me, I can feel it but I do not have clue when it will erupt and against who. I have feeling that it will be blind rage when it comes out.

I think about a good friend. He was one of the toughest people during war. He lived for some time good after war and we went shooting together in forest. He was preparing as well. He did not do anything that made his life worse. But suddenly, just few months ago he simply stopped to care. When man get caught in wild river and there is danger of getting drowned, without any help he can fight longer or shorter time, and eventually he will simply get released – flow free in the river, then he will get few short but tremendous moments of peace, of watching to the sky, then he will drown and die and is swept away.

My friend did just that. He just surrendered, I still try to swim.

I can not eat, all food taste same, actually no taste at all, my mouth is dry, I feel like I chewed sand.
It is what it is.

————–

What I want to say is that there is enough darkness out there. Whatever puts you down in 2014 and future, remember to swim and not give up.

Walking the line between human and animal

As many long term reader or members of my survival course know, I like to talk about important but some maybe call “not so spectacular” part of survival that is not so much fun like for example talking about latest guns and gadgets.

Today I want to talk about dignity and what it means in survival scenario. Before I talk from own experience, read the extract below from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin who describes what happened after his unit freed the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during second world war.

At the moment of his writing every day hundreds of people still died and it was place of pure horror.

It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for those internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.

Importance of still being human and not become complete animal is often overlooked part for people who prepare for long term survival. I had over one year to fight against becoming like rats around our house during war.

Expect to become more like animal

You can have all equipment ready for SHTF, ammo, weapon, gear… you can even be perfectly good trained in lot of different skills and fields and still when SHTF you can end up dead in the first days just because you what i call „refuse to believe“ whats happening.

It is that state of mind when man simple do not want (or not able) to comprehend new situation.

It can be one quick life threatening situation like folks attacking your home and you just waited few seconds too long to shoot some attacker, and then you are dead, end of the story. Or it can be whole process of failing to recognize new world around you and new rules (or absence of rules) and then again you just not doing correct things for the situation, and again you end up dead.

Example would be that when SHTF you are trying desperately to have and use power generator and light all rooms in your houses just because it mean normal life for you. And that normal life is gone, and trying to bring it back in that situation usually means more troubles.

Holding onto all comforts and behavior you are used to can be dangerous.

To make long story short, what I am trying to say is that you may be trained and equip like SEAL member and still you can be killed easily from some 70 years old dude, with even older rifle just because you were surprised when SHTF with amount of destruction and violence and you did not seen that old dude coming (or being so evil).

On the other side that old dude maybe lived through couple of SHTF events in his life, and he knows when it is time to act without hesitation and mercy.

There is still fine line you have to walk between losing your human side and becoming pure animal.

One of the things that changed a lot when SHTF is fact that everything became really dirty.

It was something like slow process, first people tried to keep it as clean they could, but without all normal services, like garbage trucks, running water and all other community services that make normal living soon it simple became impossible.

Later all garbage was used somehow, but in beginning it started piling up everywhere, when you add to that ruins on the street, human waste and dead bodies it was very ugly picture.

After some time, we started to accept dirt outside and it then was priority to stay clean and keep clean only inside that small circle inside your home, and when I say „clean“ I do not mean „clean“ like today. Maybe as clean as we could be.

For example simply moving through the city in the middle of the night meant that you needed to crawl, jump, hide, walk or run trough all kind of things, and very often some real nasty and dirty things.

Many times I was hiding on places so dirty that stench was almost paralyzing, once in the middle of the night I jumped behind some wall because sudden shelling, and when I jumped there I realized that I landed on dead guy.

His face was smashed with broken wall, and partially buried, place there was so small that I had to actually lay on him for some 20 minutes. He died probably when wall from the house collapsed after some shelling, who knows.

Fire from the shelling was so strong that I actually loved that dead guy and that place in that moment. I almost hug him while I was trying to be as small as possible because pieces of steel and rock were flying around me just like some crazy rain, while my stomach was rising and floating from the detonations and smell.

All I was saying at that moment was „thank you, thank you, thank you“ like some magic words, and I even was not aware who do I thank to, that dead stinky guy, my brain for noticing that small space, or God for saving me.

Today years and years later I still carry that smell inside my nose. But I did not move from there before danger was gone. It is survival and luckily I was already used to dirt enough to just stay with that dead guy.

Some folks just stopped to care about cleanliness and hygiene completely. So for them washing and cleaning become something like not wanted luxury. They went complete animal.

They simply stopped to care about these things, so I also knew some guys with look and smell so awful that even dead guy smelled like parfume store.

It was easy to surrender to stuff like that, I mean in trying to keep yourself clean.

But it was stupid not only in terms of the hygiene and illnesses, also by surrendering yourself you admit that you do not care anymore, and when you admit that you are only few steps from becoming animal with what you do too. People give up on themselves.

For me being as clean as I could be had something like preserving one of the last connection with “normal” life, with life before sh!t hit the fan, when things like neighbors, breakfast, car etc, were just things we took for granted, like things that always gonna be there unchanged.

Of course I was aware that being clean is important in order to stay alive because all diseases problem, no doctors hospitals etc. but on some psychological level it kept me sane and it kept me normal man.

Even in survival situation you need to still care about few little things to keep your dignity, to keep spirit up, to not lose yourself. If you stop caring about everything it is like disease that eats you.

When I came back from trading or scavenging in the city, I would clean or wash myself thoroughly in my yard before entering my house, again of course because common sense, hygiene and diseases, but maybe even more important I tried to keep all chaos and violence, suffering outside of my home on some psychological level.

I try to stay out of the everything, or actually I tried to keep everything outside of my home, like some ritual. I would keep the clothes for outside in bag, my boots were in one corner, never entering my room in it etc.

One of my relative wears pink slippers (mittens) when he was home sometimes, he would say that he just felt that everything is fine when he wear it. It was spooky and strange to see him in pink slippers while outside world is going to hell, but we all have some strange ways I guess to keep ourselves sane. Maybe wearing those slippers after he was forced to shoot some folks kept him sane, reminded him on some normal times when grandma wear it in the evenings.

On the other side, like I said in beginning if you stick too much to old habits you are not doing best for survival too.

So if I had to be animal, I was animal. It was about survival. For example there was a period when I eat just to survive, like animal, without paying attention what I eat or how. If I found some food I ate it in quick way, if there was some food with worms in it, I would eat it in dark, without looking what I eat etc.

Point was (and still is) to be man, but to be ready to be animal if you are forced to be animal, and thats it. It comes down to being flexible, adapting to situation and I hope this helps to crush the idea some Hollywood or fantasy survival scenarios show that survival is about being complete animal. No, it is fine line to walk.

You can (and you have to) have as much hand sanitizers, soap, disposable face masks etc. as you can but you can still end up dead if you are not ready to accept fact that one day you might be forced to „hug“ dead guy in order to survive, or eat roast rat or pigeon.

Once next collapse comes many people will wake up to reality and struggle to be human like they were or become animals and as skilled survivalist I hope you will walk fine line in between. The people who were walking that path were and Im sure will be those who have biggest chances to survive.