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I asked you in one of my previous posts what you would like to see or read here on blog and your answers were great, actually I did not expect so many comments and questions.
There are some comments and demands about topics that I already wrote here yes, and there are some new. Since number of questions is huge, I will every now and then, publish one post with my answers and comments on some of your questions.
Some questions will require an entire post alone.
So here are few:
Respectfully, I would ask three questions:
- How did people most often arrive at the decision to give up, and stop surviving?
- How did others (family, group, squad) etc. handle that when became apparent?
- How was it most competently handled by the group when a member did that?
When you are thrown into a survival situation, decision to give up is not so much connected with the lack of food, safety, water, services etc.
Usually it is connected to the realization (of the person who is giving up) of the fact that there is no clear clue when all things will come back to normal (when he again gonna have food, water, security etc.)
When you go days into fighting, starving etc- surviving is a process where you push your body and mind more and more, and if you “look too far into distance” and there is no clear evidences that things will get better – your will can be crushed very easily.
You may conclude that “it is not worth it”, and then that’s it.
I know it is generalization but yes, you need not to look too far and to have high hopes, you just need to operate in your small circles and push day by day.
It was bad thing to see, and it happened, often. Good “cure” for it was that you need to find use or task for that person, you need to bring back a sense of purpose to them.
Easier way was to find job for them -taking care for food, watching for the kids, anything that would make them feel useful.
If member of the group “ gave up” and if the group structure was ‘family’ then usually other members try to give some support or if that failed then just leave him alone in terms of duties and everything, nobody had too much time for psychological help in that days.
If group meant several people “bonded” together by chance or temporary need (no big and strong connections between them) then other, harder, measures were in place.
Thank you once again Selco for showing us that the positive side of humanity is always capable of returning and surviving.
What I have always wanted to really know is; what is it like to be in a SHTF situation when the UN troops are there?
What are the UN troops REALLY like?
How to best act / behave / handle UN troops?
I ask because I have heard both positive and very negative things about UN troops. I simply ask for the truth here.
Thanks Again !!!
You heard good GRA.
UN troops were patched together from the different Army contingents, so there were British contingents, Spanish contingent, Pakistani, Portuguese, Dutch etc.
Looking at the big picture they did horrible job because they were under armed, desperately badly coordinated between different contingents and without clear cause and function and political support.
So in reality we had situation where two opposed local units are in the middle of fight and each unit is around 2000-3000 men strong with tanks and artillery and suddenly there is UN unit moving in with 5 APC’s and 50 men in order to make ceasefire, and of course everybody shoot at them or simply take their stuff and make hostages of them.
They did not have clear tasks, political will behind them and firepower.
On the local level, when it come to individual members of those UN forces, I have seen cases where they simply break the clear orders and attack some guys in order to save civilians.
So there were good people there, but horrible organization behind them.
They did save people, evacuate injured civilians or get shot while they tried to bring food in areas where people starved..
They smuggled food sometimes sell it to us for different kind of things (or services)… All different kind of things, but I like to think lot of people among them were trying to do good stuff.
When it comes to fighting capabilities I remember the British army as a tough guys.
Those were UN forces, they failed to make peace, later came International forces (US led) with clear will and duties and we all here were fed up with slaughtering already, and what was most important with huge amount of force, and by the shear amount of force they succeed to bring peace, it was philosophy of : “who ever keeps firing after this date will be leveled by us”.
And it worked.
How to handle UN troops?
Every “UN troops” deployments are doomed unless they are coming with HUGE amount of force and in great numbers, or they coming into the region where any kind of will for resistance is crushed long time ago.
As an addition to your questions and since I am aware of other comments (and worries) about “UN forces on US soil” I really have to say my opinion- it is kind of fantasy.
Numbers in US, numbers of weapon in US make any kind of “UN troops coming to US to pacify us” simply and clearly impossible.
To “pacify” somebody you need force several times bigger then opponent, and you need it on the ground usually, and you need some kind (to some extent) will to be pacified.
I’d like to hear about how you bartered for things you needed.
What were valuable items for barter? Was the local currency still worth something?
Were foreign currencies used? What about gold or silver jewelry or coins?
How were you able to ensure your safety during barter transactions? What did you do if you found out you had been cheated?
I did write about this topic already, but since it is important topic (and one of the favorite on blogs and with lot of myths too) I will answer it in short.
First and most important is that nothing was pre-set, nothing was constant and that include basic factors like values of items, security of trade, rules of particular trade etc.
As the situation worsened more into the direction of real SHTF situation people started to appreciate (and look for) usable items, and when I say that, I mean items that solve your immediate problems.
So for example if you had precious artistic picture that in normal times is worth around 10 000 Euros you could not do to much with that in terms of trade because simply people did not care for that, they were hungry, wet, cold, dirty, without enough weapons and bullets.
Maybe you could find some war lord who had connections with outside (normal) world and he could maybe give you 20 cans of meat for that art because he know you are starving.
Or in other case he could simply take it from you (and maybe kill you or not) because he is warlord and you are nobody.
Now this is something that can be transferred also in terms of owning precious metals for SHTF.
When SHTF it will worth much less simply because you can not eat it, or you can not shoot from gold coin to someone, yes you can try to buy weapon with gold coins or food (at outrageous price, and with danger of getting killed) but what is the point? Why not store food and weapons in the first place?
Gold and silver jewelry or coins in form of small rings and necklasses as a temporary bribe in some situations works really cool, and as a stash when some kind of society jump back in (when SHTF ends) is good idea too.
But in the middle of SHTF I prefer more usable items.
In my case local currency worked in the beginning stage of SHTF, but it was very short period, then foreign currency jumped in (US dollars and German marks) and as situation worsen prices of things for marks and dollars went up very sharp, and also situations where you could buy something with it become rare-people started to trade.
Ensuring safety during transactions (trade) was problem, but common sense was to never go alone on trades (3 is good number) to trade with known people (returning trades) or to go to trade on confirmed information (you get information about trader from trusted person who already traded with him)
Of course very often you could only go in 3’s, all else was unknown, so you took the risk.
To have rumor (or information) about you that you are bad trader (cheater-you gave bad item to someone) was bad because rumor then goes around and no one want to trade with you.
Also revenges for bad trades were hard and sometimes final.
But for example it was not always about physical punishments, guy cheated me once with some things and I simply “spread” out information on correct places that he mixed plaster and similar things in his wheat (for trade), and soon he was simply “scammer” and nobody wanted to works with him.
By the way it was lie, his stuff was good, but it is an example of how things worked.
I hope these answers help? Let me know in the comments below if anything was of specific use or interest to you…? I’ll be answering more of your questions in future posts!
I wrote my first survival article-comment some 7 years ago, and I still remember why I wrote it, what “pushed” me to sit down and write it so people who read/discuss survival over the internet for years can read my opinion.
I was checking the survival forums to learn something about wilderness survival because I found I missing lot of knowledge there, and then I stumbled upon discussion about what real SHTF looks like and will look like in the future.
And simply there I realize how whole survival movement foundation is messed up, or built on the wrong perception.
It is like digging through a whole bunch of other people good skills and opinions (together with wrong ones of course) but completely misplaced and misguided.
After writing that first article years ago, I am still writing and trying to point out my view of things, and my way is learned through the experience of 4 years of civil war in a destroyed society.
I still do not know lot of things, I do not know how to operate 20 different weapons, I am not ex special forces member, I do not know how to survive in prolonged period in wilderness, and I am still learning lot of things from different kind of people, on internet and forums and in physical courses too.
But I know how I survived SHTF and how real SHTF looks like, and the real problem is that it definitely does not look like majority of preppers imagine it.
Over time, a lot of my articles are telling the story about same thing on different ways, and it might look like I am telling same story over and over, but again, I am writing from real experience and there are good reasons why I am pointing out the same things often.
So please allow me to address again some common misconception about SHTF.
Changing From “Before to Now”
Starting problem about SHTF misconception is that people have problems to imagine something that they are not experienced in, so if you have not experienced collapse of society you will “build” your opinion about it based on many things: other people experiences, books, movies, documentaries…
When you add to this a whole survival industry of selling things for “doomsday” you going to end up forming your opinion about how life in collapse will look like based on some weird things, and as an result your prepping and expectation may be completely wrong.
For example, you have been bombarded with information from internet that if you buy some product you’ll be not only safe when SHTF but also you’ll thrive and you gonna have something like best time of your life in the middle of collapse.
Now when you multiply this with many numbers (products) you end up buying peace of mind for yourself built on fact that someone wants to earn money from your fears.
And it is not biggest problem, real problem waking up one morning in the collapse realizing that you have whole bunch of things that simply do not work for your situation.
I like to use example that I have read long time ago, about transportation in city when SHTF. One guy offer idea of using skateboard in urban SHTF as transport, and lot of other folks commented that is good idea.
On first look it is great idea, no fuel, no cars or buses, so skateboard as a transport means looks good.
Only problem here is that probably man who mentioned it never experienced real urban SHTF so he can not know how useless idea it is.
Or to put it really short:
When SHTF city services will collapse, street are pretty soon simply full of everything, there are other people in the city too, because services are gone there are not enough resources and because of that other people will simply almost always mean possible danger, so point is to avoid people, or to be quiet when moving, so…
You need to stop to think in terms of normal times, you need change your priorities when SHTF, it is a different time.
For example moving fastest (or most comfortable) stops to be priority, new priority is to move safest (or quiet) or you need to stop to think about having coolest things but new priority is to have things that will work for your situation best.
Value Of The Things
Again it is about thinking in new terms, in the terms when SHTF, and those terms are completely different then in normal times.
I have kind of survival philosophy where my goal is to be ready to survive with as least things as possible, and it is like everything else based on my experienced SHTF.
What that means?
By developing and learning skills and techniques I am trying to be less depended on physical things.
In reality that does not mean that when SHTF I will immediately bug out to the wilderness with knife only, no, I too have preps and things, stashes and plans, weapons, meds etc.
It means when times come I am READY to leave all of that, EVERYTHING – all my possessions, and move away in split second if that means I will save my life.
Are you ready for that?
Are you gonna be able to leave all your preps that you were buying for years, all your fancy weapons, stashes of cans etc and run with what you have on you?
Or you gonna die in “blaze of glory” defending simple physical things?
Survival is about resilience, to move on and on, to overcome difficult situations and come back again.
Do not get attached on physical things, no matter how expensive they are, or how fancy they are, or even if people promised that you’ll “survive and thrive” if you own that things when SHTF.
Life is precious, things are just things.
Problem here is that survival movement today is built on the way that preppers are “forced” to believe that they can not survive if the do not own particular survival product, so as an result there is gonna be bunch of preppers get shot because they defending physical things that someone told them they really need to have when SHTF.
I was refugee more then once, I still remember the moment when all my possessions were an old Browning pistol with three rounds, T- shirt, boots (with wet socks inside) and pants that could stand on its own because of how dirty they were…
I have lost all my other physical possessions, everything was torched or taken away, If I stayed my life would be taken away too in a very painful way.
I run, and survived, and fought again for survival.
And you know what? I bought all the things again.
Things can be obtained again, life can not.
Sometimes you just have to move on and forget on physical things that are dear to you.
One of the topics that I’m most reluctant to discuss about because I find it really personal, but it is there, it is important, so some things need to be considered.
And I’ll be short here, because it is personal for me, and every one of you should think about it for itself.
Yes, there were times when I simply had to reach deep in myself and connect to something higher, to find some sense, to have faith in order to not lost my mind or kill myself because everything was falling apart around me.
So faith is important, or spirituality, or some kind of moral values-call it as you like.
You need to have something!
But problem here is that people often think if they are good folks by the nature, everybody else is good by default (until proven otherwise?).
Through my experience I adopt opinion that everybody is bad until proven different (even if I am good guy)
Or let me put it like this, in really bad times, when everything going to s…t you ll see more bad folks then good folks, so be prepared for that…
I have just finished delivering another ‘Mile In My Shoes’ (MIMS) down here in the Balkans. As always it was a great event with many insights both for the students and me. Having finished the course I got to thinking more about training in the survival and preparedness community.
Learning real survival skills in the field is something that cannot be substituted with anything, but I see people often try to do that.
Another mistake in learning skills is because they are often (almost always) taken out of the context, or even more often, there is no context at all.
Somehow as a result, there is a whole bunch of people learning skills without mindset where and when to use it, or not to use it. (I agree it is better to have skills even without context than not to have them at all, but that sounds more like an excuse than a justification…)
Prepping is a BIG industry, and for lot of people it just needs to be “sugar coated” in order to be consumed.
Two examples here:
When you say to me “SHTF” my first thought is partial or complete collapse of the system and its services, so my second thought is about (lack of) resources, and other people realizing that fact, my third thought is about fight with other people for the resources still left.
It is my thought when you say SHTF.
For some people when they heard “SHTF” their first thought is let’s say ‘power shortage’ that’s going to last for about 12 hours, their second thought is that they need to be comfortable for those 12 hours (only) because after that government (system, services) will jump in and fix things.
For them SHTF is 12 hours without electricity…
Now what is clear here, I firmly believe that there will be event of complete (prolonged) missing of the system (law, medical services, food distribution chain…) and some of the reasons could be new pandemics, economic problems, ethnic race (religious) reasons, chaos, or simply some wide world event.
Important thing is that people believing in any of these two levels have a lot to learn, but the starting point should be different.
For example for the folks who think that it is impossible to meet anything more complicated then short disturbances in electrical supply there is no too much use in throwing to them war scenarios and tactical shooting course, because for them it is maybe going to be fun, but there is no context there for them, no understanding.
It is more use for them to read history books, speak with war veterans-to try to understand that shit (will) happens, even in most modern societies where similar things did not happen for generations.
That is start for them.
Skills and Using Skills In Context
Real danger here is not about learning skills (which is again great thing to do), it is about not understanding how to put it in correct context and real life situation.
If you putting skills learning into good, practical multi day courses of “basic primitive skills learning course” or “wilderness skills course” and play it like that it is perfectly good and useful.
But again there are courses (or books, publications, media, you tube videos) of “how to survive end of the days”, “austere medicine course” or simply “buy this and you will survive and thrive when SHTF” and inside are skills, and list of items to learn or buy without connection to real situations, it is not only scam (more or less) – it is quite dangerous.
What I am trying to explain is best to show through the example.
Let s say there is “where there is no doctor” or “austere medicine course”, and it is like “advanced” too.
In short part of the course goes like this:
-Students start with drinking coffee, and getting know each other
-It is nice, weather is fine, there are snacks and food available, all students feel really comfortable
-They are injuring a pig (or other good sized live animal) and then trying to stitch the pig, or stop the bleeding in different ways
– The pig does not survive and they learned something about stopping the bleeding, and they feel stronger (and disgusted) because of the amount of blood and screams and how ‘real’ the training was.
Good things here that students get some feeling about blood, and they learned something about bleeding and ways to stop it.
But bad thing here is that they been told that now they are ready for SHTF in terms of the bleeding and stopping it.
In reality they are not even close to be ready.
Preferable this is how this part of the course should look:
-No coffee on the course
-No food that day
-Bad weather is preffered
-Students are divided in two groups
-Preferable one at least one student in each group should be slowed down (let say evil instructor will “somehow” cause one of the student to have serious case of diarrhea)
-Students (each group separately) are instructed to carry the pig 5 kilometers to a near mountain or a specified place using compass and map only
-Half way to the mountain they have been (each group) instructed to stab the pig, stop the bleeding and carry the pig to the mountain again (while pig is screaming)
-Groups should hide one from another
-Group who get first to the mountain top with alive pig is winner
Now this is very banal example, and it is here only to in terms of an example, but point here is to understand – there is no sense only from learning skills without putting (and testing) those skills in scenarios that need to be as close to real life as possible.
I mean, if we are learning about stopping bleeding on someone when serious SHTF do you really believe that you ll be well fed, healthy, in good mental state, perfectly capable for that?
There is the huge probability that you’ll be in poor condition while you trying to stop someones bleeding, remember it is SHTF? Actually you may be in condition where you may not be able to stop someone s bleeding at all.
What is the point of testing yourself if you do not push yourself at least close to the limits while testing ?
It is much more important after the some course, book, or you tube clip to understand and realize that you are not yet ready, and to know your current limits than to be sure “you are ready for full SHTF” because your instructor told you that, or simply book saying you that, while clearly you are not.
If you know your current limits you know what more to learn or practice or achieve, and that is good, I learn almost every day something, and in many fields there are unknown stuff for me and there is nothing wrong in that…
Remember “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus