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.

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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.

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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.

You survived but you are dead inside

In last article I wrote about surviving combat and how I experienced it during my year in war.

Today I write about the aftermath. Survival is not only hard on your body but can also kill you inside. So you survive but you are just empty shell. You all heard of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but I call this just being dead inside. But this does not have to be like that. First let me tell you about Alek.

I know Alek for many years now, I met him during one hiking trip I did with my survival group here. He was something like outdoor instructor. Later I heard from other folks that he went through some crazy stuff during the war, and that he was member of one of the groups when he was just 15 years old.

We never talked about that before, anyway that kind of topic here is very unusual to discuss. Many have blood on their hands and it brings up bad memories. If we talk about that period we only mention some funny and stupid things like „do you remember the tree leafs we smoked as tobacco man?“ and we laugh.

But in same time we are remembering in thoughts how someone gets killed or similar. You laugh because you dont want to cry.

We were spending night in one of the mountain houses, some of us brought families, other were alone. During the day kids spent time in small amusement park in woods. He was there as something like park ranger.

Night time was for big camp fire, barbecue and drinking.

One night few of us were next to fire, people mostly went to sleep. Me and other guy talked about hunting, rifles and stuff like that. He was quiet.

Suddenly he asked: „Do you remember that smell of a wound when man gets badly shot in abdomen, or when he gets shrapnel in same place?“

Me and other guy went quiet. I remembered the smell, but I did not say anything, I could almost taste it, metallic taste of blood and some hard and sharp smell that stays in your nose, smell of piss and sh!t too.

And I smelled it few times. First time when I smelled it shell exploded hitting in one building entrance behind me and some men from neighborhood, and rain of shrapnel was flying towards us. Guy gets shrapnel, pieces of wall and steel fence in his stomach.

And all kinda mixed up at that point of his body, I mean it was just bloody mess, like if someone put blades from boat motor engine in his stomach and turn it on, all mixed up.

He was young and strong so he screamed a lot and yelled. Later I figured out that in fact that I was almost deaf (from detonation) for some time and that helped me to not listen to all his crying.

He grabbed one guys hands, and that guy had real hard time to get his hands free again.

In that moment you just want to get the hell out of there because you can die too, and nobody wants to look in a dying mans eyes who begs for help you can not give, everyone just ran and hide. And he did not die fast. He was screaming and crying, and asking „am I going to die?“ and we all just wanted it to be over at last.

Yeah, people mostly do not die like in movies. No heroic last words, messages for fellow comrades, country or similar. Mostly they cry for mother.

After these pictures came back for seconds in my mind Alek continued telling us his story:

“I remember that moment when I first seen wounds, big wounds and mixed smell of everything, burnt flesh, blood, puke and sh!t and I think I smelled something else that I think was pure horror. In that moment my childhood was over, and suddenly I become man. I was 15 years old.

I lost my father during one of the shellings and local group took me as their member. In that time they called that „courier” (messenger) but it did not had too much to do with delivering messages.

I was something like mascot for a group, but very soon I went to do whatever they did and I did not see anything wrong in all that killing. Of course alcohol helped and drugs too. One by one gang members were killed, or “disappeared” but I stayed until the end.

Those guys were family to me. I did not even notice that most of them were pure animals, actually I did not even understand that they raised me into the same animal. They were great to me, cool guys. For everyone else we were something else. Monsters probably.

When all ended those from group who survived disappeared from the region in fear from revenge. I moved from that region and I did not come back for ten years, even then when I shortly visit the town I always look over my shoulder.

I become interested in hunting and weapons. For years I was searching for more and more “exotic” ways to kill animals, with different kind of weapons. I traveled all around the world in search for that.

Then I met someone, and I got kid. Suddenly I found or I thought I found out what is like when you have someone of your own, somebody that really belongs to you. And I really wanted to belong to them too, but it did not work.

She said that Im a “freak” and do not know feelings of any kind. And she left. And In that moment I lost all interest for hunting. I could not kill animal anymore. Even shooting at shooting range was too much for me. I hated it suddenly.

I found peace in woods. I am living practically in woods, without real friends and much contact with other people. I am spending my time in the city only for buying food, then again I am in the woods. I think I found God in the woods.”

He had one more beer and went away. I was thinking about his words.

Few days later I discuss everything with good friend and when I told him about Aleks words that “he found God in the woods” and how that gave me creeps somehow, he told me “he surely found something in the woods, but it is probably more devil than God”

I asked “why?”

He said that all his talking about exotic places and exotic ways for killing animals in foreign lands were lies.

Yea, after the war ended he left region and spent ten years doing what he learned to do best.

Killing, but not animals. And this time killing on contract and for serious money. Rumor was that he was quite popular in that “business”, with some terrible methods.

Everything else was true, he did have wife and kid. And yeah he did retire and found something in woods.

To survive some big SHTF scenario and continue to live later in a „normal“ world is not so simple.

You can not just put clear boundry between some periods of your life and stop to think about bad moments.

Imagine earthquake hits your area and all plates in kitchen fall down and most break. You can quickly stuff them back into cupboard and keep them there but they are still broken. You can hide them and they are still broken. Putting things away does not fix them.

When we are born we learn to trust people. When you experience what people can do or even what animal you can be it destroys this trust and is hard to rebuild.

It often stays with you for rest of your life. You just try live as normal as you can and thats it.

But it is always there.

It is everyday thing. For example everything is cool and OK but then for example something „kicks“ me back into that time. Some smell maybe or sound.

I was walking on street few weeks ago, and I heard sound, it was mixture of whizzing and humming noise that was coming closer fast.

I almost jumped behind one car, it was a sound of helicopter toy that 5 year old kid was „launching“ some 30 meters from me, in my direction. But for me it was sound of one of the improvized rocket-bomb devices that was used often during the SHTF. I learned to recognize it and act in same moment.

„But it was 20 years ago“ you gonna say. Well for me it was like yesterday, it is everyday.

When you are taking coffee in some coffee shops and you „catch“ yourself that you are watching other guests and assessing them „how dangerous is that guy?“ and „he has 9mm Glock in that small bag“ (we have lots of concealed carry here, I do too) or „ that dude in black jacket has butterfly knife in front pocket“ and „that dude is guarding his back while he is reaching for change he left on floor – gun stuffed in his back-belt“ etc etc.

You can say „get a life“ I will say it is my life now.

Did you think that you can go through months of collapse and whole bunch of life threatening events and then come clean from all of that and have normal life? You cant. It is not romantic like that at all.

Telling others how it was and how it is gonna be again helps in a way that I find some sense in surviving all that other than having my life. Its a mission I feel good about.

Breaking some stupid ideas about how SHTF gonna look like helps too, everyone who wants to read this stuff is possibly one more man who is gonna be prepared more tomorrow when things get tough again.

When Jay visited me to record the interviews for my online survival course we visited places and talked for whole week. I felt very down for some time after that but he has background in psychology and said it can help. It does, I slowly glue my broken parts together again, also writing this here today.

Writing is my treatment and for you who read this it is what Jay refers to as “primary prevention”, that means exposure to real scenarios help to prepare you mentaly what can happen. It is win win situation.

Just never forget your mind on battlefield or one day you wake up alive but empty.

If you have experience with traumatic events please share in comments.

Types of real survivalists: 2. The chameleon

types of real survivalists

Most of the folks who have been through some serious and life threatening situations and survive gonna tell you one thing: they survive it with mental strength.

Also all survival instructors gonna say that first thing in any survival situation to have is will to survive.

It is easy to say today “I will survive!” but great majority of people do not know what will to survive actually means.

In my time I did see some folks who just lay down and had lost will for life. They just gave up.

When it comes to survival you have to focus on what you are good at, and some people are just good at working with other people or maybe dealing or playing with other people.

The mainstream media gives everyone some picture how real survivalist need to look and act. That’s wrong. Today I talk about a smart type of real survivalist.

The Chameleon

When SHTF, the word deception has whole other meaning, and becomes powerful. It is used in many different situations and for many different reasons. It helps to survive but also helps to take lives.

Never form your opinion about what kind of man is dangerous on “popular” images. When SHTF you can end up dead because some 70 years old lady blows your head off with shotgun.

This is how you should think, but average man, sheeple don’t.

So you can be sure that when times come you’ll need to look stronger than you are, but also sometimes you gonna need to look much weaker than you are. More options are always better.

And for all who are preparing with the attitude “let them come” you need to change it to “let them not come”.

There was a guy in town in that time who was very good to know if you need to find out where you can find something useful, or to find out what is going on.

For example if I needed to find something particular, for example I needed 10 liters of diesel fuel for something I would first check people in my vicinity, check few guys out, do they have that, or do they know someone who has that. In short I would go out and try my luck.

But there was also that guy who always has good information about sources for trade, or any other information.

Guy was shrouded in some kind of rumors, or it was more like myth. So you could hear all kind of stories like “he has important friends” or “he has some sources from outside” or “somebody powerful is protecting him”… After all of that stories you could easily conclude that guy was powerful, even before you see him.

He alone did not look mean or powerful or anything similar, but he carried this mean looking old style heavy machine gun all the time, with bullet stripes over shoulders and chest.

Anytime when I go and visit him I get something useful for trade or some useful information where I can go and find something.

He survived war and I did not see him for several years. Then I met him in mall, he was buying some toys for his grandson. I started conversation with him, and we get some coffee.

I asked him what he is doing now, he says he is lawyer. I was surprised. Then he told me that he was lawyer before SHTF. For some reasons I could not connect that man from war period with lawyer, but soon some things were more clear for me.

He invite me to his house for more coffee, and after some time he goes to the basement and drags big wooden box with locks on it out.

He opened it and I saw that old machine gun inside. Of course I wanted to check it. When I took it I saw that barrel is full of melted iron, in order to make weapon unusable.

I was surprised, and ask the man why he did that, I mean you never know when you gonna need weapon ready. He laughed and said “it was always like that, unusable”.

Now I was completely confused, but then he started to talk.

He was lawyer before SHTF, he never fired a shot from any weapon, and violence was completely strange to him. When SHTF in chaos he found himself on street, looking how bunch of folks are breaking in malls and shops taking whatever is useful.

In 5 minutes he was in local museum with some young people who were breaking stuff, and taking whatever useful they could. He said “when I saw local policeman completely drunk trying to take on German uniform and helmet for fun, I realized that we are starting to live in interesting time”

He took machine gun from glass box, together with some bullets stripes and went home.

Ten days later some punks tried to loot his home armed with knives and screwdrivers:

“I put those bullet stripes on me, took machine gun, stand in front of them and yell that if they do not disappear that moment I am gonna massacre them” And of course they disappeared.

He said, even if that thing worked he was not sure if he would be able to shoot at them. But he realized one thing. It is not important how things are really – it is important how things look like.

When all different groups in town started to use signs, I mean small colored bands on shoulder in order to make clear who is belonging to their group, he got all those bands and markings.

When all of those groups started with some system, when to wear what, he bribed guys in order to know that system.

So if one group was controlling some part of the town used red bands on shoulders on Monday and Wednesday, and black one on Sunday on Saturday he would know that.

He used that for moving through the city, because in all that chaos, if you are moving through the city during the night, and you need to go through area that is controlled by some group it was very useful to have some of their signs or code.

So he was member of multiple groups and all groups shared information with him. As a result, he was everywhere in the city, always having correct info about important things.

He knew what is gonna have high price, or when new food aid might come in. I asked him “how were you able to know all info about lot of stuff” because it sounds just too complicated for me.

He said “what I did not know I just made up in my head”.

Actually he was playing with prices, with demand and need of the people. He dictated prices.

After some time, because all of his infos he became so “popular” that if he said that “cans are gonna be very hard to find in next month” people believed it.

So it was easy for him to distribute all cans at higher prices, of course not personally, but in same time he would of course know man who have cans right now at cheap price. His man. He got a cut out of most deals and that helped him to survive.

Through his network of people he puts word out that “powerful people protecting him”. Another illusion but together with fact that people did not want to have problems with man who has always good info he survived.

Also one thing helped, in first period, he collected 5-6 bodies, badly dismembered by shells, put them in front of his house, and put word on the street that “some guys messed with him, but he called his powerful friends and that friends made example of that guys to not mess with him”.

If some really strong group caused danger to him, he just left house and waited for them to leave.

No problem, he did not have anything valuable in house, trading goods he kept at his “associates” and his main value was information. His main value actually was his brain.

So keep that in mind. Before you give up because you have nothing, use your brain and try to play the system with deception. Chaotic urban survival situations offer lots of opportunity for that.

How to help kids through hard times

traumatized kids

The terrible shooting in US that put 27 people to death, mostly six and seven year old children made me write this post. There is much controversial stuff.

Media outrage about gun laws instead more talk about media making people like the Aurora shooter to some kind of celebrity, that inspires other people to go out and “be someone” by doing extreme atrocities too.

I know many of you have families or are close friends with people who have. So today I want to talk about what happens to kids who get through some terrible times.

Kids had it too, just like grown up people. Maybe in different way, but they definitely absorbed all hard stuff that happened around all of us. You may expect that you can throw whole bunch of cardboard table games in one secure room inside house with your toddlers while you are fighting for survival and that everything gonna be OK with them.

And to be honest people did like that, nobody paid too much attention to kids, if you follow the site or are member of course you know how dramatically priorities change.

Most important thing was to keep kids physically safe. Everything else was kept for some other time, for time when peace comes, for time when „normal time“ comes. Even though often we did not expect to live to that day.

Later when normal time came, some of the folks realized that their kids are not actually „normal“ kids anymore.

Most of the people having tendency to forget time when they were kids, and think like kids actually do not understand too much, so there is no too much need for explaining things that are happening around them. Kids are small people, they are not idiots, they understand much more than we think.

In that time as I already said we did not pay too much time about explaining things to kids, explaining some bad things that they seen or heard happening around them.

I still think that we did not have time for that because we were occupied with much more important things, with food finding, and basic security things. But sometimes I think that we did not know how things gonna have influence on them, if we knew that maybe we would have found some time for that.

Anyway, today after any traumatic event in normal societies there is a whole system that is used to help kids to cope with that event, but do not forget that first and best friend for your kid is someone they trust, a close friend of family or you if you are parents, and you are the person who need to see problem with your kid.

Later when that kid is fully grown up person it is hard and sometimes impossible to correct some things. The bad patterns and trauma might have left too deep scar.

Examples around me are numerous, and whole society here is built on false and wrong values. I can say that one of the reason for that is that great number of young people are raised in wrong way.

Any traumatic event will leave great influence on kid or young person. Other thing is what that person gonna learn from that event. I am not some kind of expert in human behavior or psychologist, but I am man who survived great number of traumatic events, and I know great number of people who suffered many traumatic events, so I can say that people who survived it gonna have consequences. Always.

One of my relatives for last 10 years did not go out from her apartment alone. Always with some other family member. She was six years old when she watched how people getting killed around her, nobody thought in that time to talk too much about what she saw, priority was to keep her safe. It struck her years later.

Opposite to her my younger colleague who was also young during time in war can not stand elevators, and any other small spaces. Panic attacks. He told me parents put him in small safe room when shelling was very heavy.

I was once with him in apartment, and when we wanted to go out key in door jammed (here you lock door when you inside apartment), I guess he felt stranded in that moment or whatever, he got panic attack pushed me from the door and start to kick door with chair. Almost 20 years before he was almost suffocated when his house went on fire by shelling and he was stranded for some time in safe room. He was 14 then.

And these two cases are mild examples. In worst cases kids are grown up in traumatic events and without working with them they can grow up in man who think that he can do anything with force only.

If kids are seeing that people do wrong things in order to get something, they can conclude that way is easiest way. They get wrong ideals. This is why when media makes celebrity out of people who go on shooting sprees you create long term problem.

You suddenly have fully grown up man who is maybe simply bad or just knows he will be known and finally someone if he does one big act of violence that is worth the news.

So what to do?

Just work with your kids, pay attention what they seeing and how they understand all that. Help them to understand what is bad and what is wrong.

Do not talk about shooter with them, talk with them about victims. Shooter is nobody and should remain that.

Those “flashers” that run on field during sport events are not covered by media as well because this would just make more people go run for fame. Some part of media does not get it and for sake of money, attention and more viewers they make a hero out of someone who should remain nobody forever.

What I try to say is, do not underestimate young people. They are new to life and suck in all things around them. Good or bad and you have to help him make sense of this or be a bit of filter.

Without your help kid who is going through some bad situation may go to some extreme later.

Keeping kids away from real world is not right either but they have to learn about things and you have to help them understand context of this.

Saddam Hussein thought it is good idea to “toughen” his kids up when they were young, by letting them see atrocities. His sons Udai and Qusay became murdering psychopaths.

Sad reality is there is a whole generation of young people here who just do not have correct understanding of meaning of right and wrong. For them correct concept is easy and hard. And if you stop for a moment and think about that you can see how that concept is dangerous, and why when SHTF we gonna have some really hard time.

For them it is easier to get high and rob some small store, beating to death lady who work there than to work for living. They do not know for other way, any other way is harder for them.

And never make mistake and think that kids are just kids, and that they do not see and understand what is going around them.

They see everything and they will understand what is happening and why, but without your help maybe they might misunderstand that.

What are your thoughts on this?

In violent urban survival scenario… violence is the easy part.

light for survivalWhen times are hard, people show all kinds of their characteristics, or faces, or real face, call it whatever you like.

That is another reason why it is not so popular to talk or write in details about that time. Some people did bad things and survived, or good things and died, or people just acted strange in that time.

Again a lot of combinations. People later do not want to discuss about that, they do not want to remember that. Over the time man can really force himself to believe that he did not do some things, even if he did them.

No happy gatherings of group of people who survived all that, nothing like big reunions with barbecue with cheerful talks about „how it was then“ and drinking beer.

When we sit somewhere together, we do not talk about these times too much. If we really go in something from that time we usually lie to each other. Everybody of us who survived has something particular that he does not want to talk about or to remember.

Often this is something embarrassing or very bad or cruel that one did. It made sense back then in survival situation but even today when you have food on your table it is hard to understand… even for yourself.

I had friend who was pretty fearless guy when it comes to some tough situations, fights, death and life situation, man to man combat until the end and hard stuff like that. He was easy with violence. But what he could not stand was time frame between launching of rockets and detonations when rockets exploded.

To explain it little bit for folks who never been in war. There was something like shelling by surprise from multiple grenade launchers. So you hear distant „bum“ sounds , some 15 or 20 separate sounds, deep sounds, every maybe 1 second or less, by the time you hear maybe six of these sounds of grenades launching, they are starting to hit already.

Explanation maybe sounds too poor, words can not explain it. But usually that kind of shelling was used on an area like a street and the whole area within 200 – 300m in this street was death zone. It was hard to predict what area they shell before grenades hit.

So in real life if you find yourself at the open in that moment, and the shelling area is where you are you do not have too many chances to live. Sometimes people jumped for cover and broke their arm or leg doing this to find out grenades fall in different part of city. That few seconds between first „bum“ and explosion where the grenades hit felt like eternity.

I could swear that lasts for hours, not seconds. So much things to think about in that moments.

Anyway my friend could not stand that few seconds whenever he was caught in open area. Every and each time he would lose control of his body functions (he sh#t and pee in his pants).
He would cry after that like a kid. Of course that was reason for lot of fun. He hated himself every time after that, but he could not help it.

Feeling in your stomach when the grenades fall around you, is like you want to puke and **** at same time, lot of people say that is because of huge vibrations, but it is pure and real sense of horror, and completely lack of control over your life.

And remember, he was no coward at all. Each and everyone of us had his horror moments when you just were lost, when you just surrender completely.

I have seen few times that people blow other mans brain out with bullets, and later even make fun of that, and in the same time same people throw up when they have to eat macaroni infested with worms, dead worms cooked with macaroni.

For me maybe worst thing, or thing that I hated most were some smells. Constant smell of burnt things. Not ordinary smell of wood or coal fire, but smell of lot of things set on fire. Heavy and greasy smell that somehow just go directly in your stomach, like lot of dirty things are burning but with very slow fire. Nothing to compare it with today. The stench of rotting meat of dead bodies came into that as well.

Closest thing would be like somebody set fire to huge pile of city trash today. But still it is not so close to that.

Especially in the morning smell was heavy. Very often I just woke up and had to vomit as soon as I smelled it. It was something stronger than me. Actually it did not have anything with fact how strong or weak I was.

Every one of us had own small breaking point, most of the time violence was easy part of our time when we tried to survive.

When you prepare for a possible SHTF scenario do not get lost in too much technical stuff. Try to get to your limits. Try to know your breaking points.

I recorded material for new course with Jay here where I live in past 2 weeks. Jay comes from troubled background and was involved in some crime in his late teenage and early adult life. He is real nice guy today but because of his past violence, blood and gore comes easy to him. But he has real problems when it comes to seeing or smelling poop.

I work in emergency services so I took him along to some jobs when I knew it would be messy in very unpleasant way for him.

Turning around homeless guy who is too drunk to move and has sh#t himself and been lying in that at same place for two days is special experience… especially for someone who has real problem with poop.

You get idea of all of this. I think a lot of writing about survival today is about gear reviews and buying another gun and that is fun I know but going to places where it hurts you today… where you can push your limits is time very well spent.

Do not expect to “overcome” all of them. Some things always get you, but knowing about this and being mentally prepared for it, makes big difference is stressful survival scenarios when many things at the same time test your limits.