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.
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.
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If you are not eating right now take moment and watch this video of monkey eating gazelle.
It feels very wrong for most people to look at this. This shows how much we are out of touch with nature. Most people want to eat meat but not kill it themselves for example. What happens to gazelle is not good and not bad, its nature. It simply is.
When you find yourself in survival situation you get quickly in touch with nature again, and nature is cruel and concept of fairness does not exist.
It is hard to be prepared for that before you experience it. But understanding how nature really is and that we only live in soft bubble protected from true face of nature, is a first step.
I talk a lot in interview in my course about events that lead to total collapse. Here is one more experience I want to share.
When SHTF started, in the time when great majority of us thought that what was going on around us is something like temporary rioting that got a bit out of control, city services still worked in some parts of the city, everybody was waiting for madness to stop.
In that short period before s. hit the fan with full force, people usually lost their lives because they did not recognize situation.
People were out rioting, stealing, fighting. But all that was still like “moderate”.
At that moment people still were “inside” the system, so we all were trying to hide more or less when looting was going on in neighborhood. Police were still arresting people and trying to control things. People were shooting each other yes, but it was not yet like full scale shooting and violence, mostly people were scaring each other with shootings.
One of my friends was involved in shootings in those days, after looting some stores, he got wounded. Wound was not too dangerous, he was shot in foot.
As I said, most of the city services were still working and trying to bring order to that chaos. City ambulances came and picked him up and they rushed to hospital with him.
About one kilometer from place where he got picked up, the group of people that actually shot him stopped the ambulance on some improvised barricade, first shot the driver and then killed my friend in the back of the ambulance. They killed him little bit slower than driver, and more painfully, they used knives. We got there a bit later, too late.
Now this story may sound confusing to you, you may say “it happens in war” but for 95% of folks at that time it was not war, it was something like violent rioting, and those 95% of folks still trusted the system, had trust in police and government that they are going to restore law and order. People still trusted that ambulances are like “protected” and nobody will stop them, not to mention shoot at one.
In this story here that wounded guy and ambulance driver simply did not recognize situation. He was a nice guy, why would this happen to him? Back then I probably would go with ambulance as well if I was shot. It felt very wrong that this happened but was one of first wakeup calls that fair and unfair are concepts of the past.
My friend in the first place should not have been there in that time of chaos. Ambulance driver should have said ”screw it” take valuable medicines and go home at first signs of real violence and total collapse. He did not. It is easy to call him hero and maybe day before or hours before he helped save life of someone else but it was still too high risk to be out at this point in time.
It is easy to say that now, in those time we all still called things by old names, police, trust, government, law, system, penalty…
If that happened maybe day or two later my friend would have crawled and treated his wounds alone, or driver would have refused to drive, or…
Few days after that event s. hit the fan with real force, and nobody had illusions anymore that something temporary is going on or that things get back to normal.
But point is that lots of people died in that short period before realizing that things aren’t the same. You can not still believe in good of people around you, but most people did. This ambulance event was one of many that ended with similar deaths.
So next time, when some rioting erupts in your city, some violence after football game, or some protests because high unemployment or similar and you hear gunshots and screams, and words about people being killed on the streets, stores being looted, you need to hope that it is temporary disturbance but you can not trust in that.
Be suspicious, trust in your bug out bag, trust in your storage, trust in your weapon. Do not go out just “because everyone goes out”. Avoid being greedy and go looting to have a bit more, even if it sounds easy, you prepare to not have to go out.
When you realize how random and brutal nature and violence is, then you realize you do not prepare to be hero, you prepare to survive. That ambulance guy could have helped many more people in later months when we were fighting for survival if he would not have died. But back then, we did not understand situation.
If you experienced situation that reminded you that fairness and unfairness are just concepts in our “civilized” world, please share in comments.
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.