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Like I said before, situation can change from good to bad quickly. Especially when people are tired of whats going on. In my country 40% of people have no jobs, widespread corruption, prices are expensive for almost everything. There are now riots in several cities in my region here, spreading all over the country.
I have been in riots before, and also been in riots that lead into the full scale war we had, so there are few things that I want to explain you about riots:
Psychology of riots
Yes, riots have their own psychology, and it is not all about big number of the people as they say, because it is about HOW FAR that group of the people will go (is ready to go).
So you may have some celebration of sport club victory that go wrong and ends with few turned over cars burning, yelling at police and girls showing ****, I am not talking about that kind of riot.
In real riot you must be ready to understand that you do not have friends there in terms of sides, for example if you are there with protesters that do not mean that police is your enemy and other protesters are your friends.
Think like you are alone and everyone is your possible enemy.
I watched same 200 or 300 guys blocking firefighters cars by throwing torches, molotov cocktails and stones on them in order to not let them extinguish fire in a building.
30 minutes later same guys help them put that fire out, then again throwing stones at them shortly after.
It is important to understand crowd behavior. If you have crowd of people without clear mission, simply the moments are important when few guys yell “noooooo” or “yeaaaaaah” and everyone listens to them. This happens in harmless situations like football stadium when crowds chant same songs, but this also happens in bad situations when it comes to fighting and killing.
All it takes for one person is getting attention of the crowd. Most people go with what most people do. Just get 3-4 people join you running towards barricades and soon 20 more follow. I do not recommend you ever try this because if someone else screams you are part of enemy group or whatever and people start believing it, things turn bad for you quickly. Just keep in mind that in chaotic situations with many people someone with a plan can easily make others follow them. This can become helpful if you want to create chaos to get away from situation or similar.
Some people always take advantage of this. When whole crowd is busy running in one direction they do their own business. Opening up cars and stealing things or similar. Some “helpful” guys also empty pockets of wounded people in riots to “identify them”. It is all possible because people’s attention is somewhere else.
“A riot is language of the unheard”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Of course I agree with this, but please keep in mind that riot is sometimes also language of those who do not have anything smart to say.
When you go out to join riots be ready that huge number of your fellow rioters will be there for different reasons then you. So it is good to make some difference between them. For example:
They enjoy violence
Yep, number of people are just waiting for their chance to be violent, hurt and destroy. For them it is not important why they do that, and they do not have sides, so be ready that they can do some violence to you too. Many of them are in frenzy and they come in groups.
They are curious
People want to see “what that is happening over there?” so they will be there without reason, they just stand there to see something interesting, take some photo or similar.
They want to “change” things
Yes, there are people who are thinking that they will change something with rioting, and funny but from my experience their number is usually low.
They want to “acquire” things (steal)
Rioting is great opportunity to get some stuff. I am not suggesting anything, I am just saying how things are. Everybody chooses for himself. In one city government building got burned down and guess what happened as well? Supermarket next door got looted.
They want to become “leaders”
From my experience I am very cautious about the people who are taking the lead in the middle of rioting. It may be only me but they often have different agenda from the obvious. I am talking about real violent riots. Openly they are these “for the cause” of course, but more often than not, turns out they are the first people who start looting with small group of friends, while crowd is fighting police.
All this sounds interesting maybe and that is why many people go to riots. To see what’s going on or get adrenaline kick. Especially when you suspect things can turn bad, SHTF, then avoid being curious and do not go.
If you go make sure you watch from good distance for some time to understand “the game”. Watch how crowds move, where they retreat to and think always about additional ways to get out of chaos.
You better have good reasons to be part of riots. Forget about dreams of being leader, or fighting for someone else’s cause. We as survivalists have to be smarter than that. If you are sure that the riots will lead to end of law and order and this is the last time you can secure important resources, decision to stay away from all this is much harder.
If you are member of my online course you know how important alcohol that we secured from factory after all hell broke lose was for the months that came after. So for these situations there are no clear answers.
If you have interesting experiences with crowds and violence, please share in comments. For me personally, I spend time with family away from any city in coming days.
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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.
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.