Full Circle…?

defense

 

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.

Faith

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 responses to “Full Circle…?”

  1. Anderson says:

    Thanks Selco…

  2. toktomi says:

    Thanks, Selco. More to think about.

    There is always one thing that hangs in the back of my mind when I read your stuff. My imagination tells me that as badly as your situation was, the global situation that is coming will be terribly worse. I imagine that there will be no stuff trickling in from a fully functioning world outside.

    Most doomers do not imagine a Mad Max scenario. I do but even worse. When global credit collapses and the electrical grids go down and even if tptb don’t manufacture multiple global pandemics, I envision that there will be virtually nothing left to support human existence – no energy, no livable shelter, no clothing, and especially, no food. I can envision survival for only the very few most ruthless, especially in urban and suburban conditions.

    So, in my fairy tale of a world view, I cannot imagine that I would ever attempt to defend real estate or stuff against overwhelming odds, but at the same time I imagine that without some very important few pieces of stuff and a bit of tillable land with water I will be dead. It seems like defending stuff can be a dead if you do and dead if you don’t situation.

    All of these considerations, of course, don’t even begin to consider the probabilities of contracting a deadly virus or the probabilities of being radiated from nuclear bombs or from the failing 400+ nuclear reactors and storage ponds in the northern hemisphere. And then, there is the possibility that global warming is going to wipe the Earth clean.

    And to top off my 16-yearold doomsday point of view, I have no faith in any greater life purpose, meaning, or spiritual entities. To me, The Meaning of Life: staying alive. Aspire to nice and enjoy this amazing privilege of sentient life on one of the rarest gems of the Universe, Earth.

    Thanks a bunch.

    ~toktomi~

  3. Redleg01 says:

    Thank you again Selco for good advice. I and some others have worked hard and paid money for stuff to have ready. I sleep better knowing that this stuff is here for me and wife and kids and now little grandchildren. But I have taken other things you taught us and am working on. Like get a stash or too set up, get other friends and family to be ready and capable, and get skills. Over and over we see war and fighting and see some shows about how everyone is after you. But I respect your experience in that until someone has actually lived in SHTF, they still cannot understand fully because their body has not been changed by it and so their brain cannot work like it because body chemistry hasn’t been putting those kind of stress chemicals like cortisol into their brain for many weeks and months. Instead, most of our bodies have been putting ‘feel good’ chemicals into our brains like seratonin and fun joggin or workout hormones, alchohol and full belly every day.

    Maybe 1 percent of people might try to simulate that harsh living to get body chemistry working to have brain processes get the experience and in turn be thinking and acting the new harsh world.

    And meanwhile there are some people around me who are doing drugs, breaking into cars and houses, stealing, fighting, running from cops or other bad guys, being prostituted and abused. I know this and others know it but they aren’t ‘realizing it’ with their being, if you know what I mean. But me and my small loosely associated group get it and we are working on being ready.

    Thanks again and please keep posting. You are saving lives.
    May God Bless your family.
    Redleg

  4. Craig Hunter says:

    Interesting and very real ‘take’. It occurs to me the more ‘trick’ SHTF supplies I get, the more I need to learn skills. Stuff’ll get it done (don’t worry, I train with my stuff), but if I don’t got no skills, I’m done. Out there ‘naked with a knife’ (AND SURVIVING to live to fight another day), I have to ask myself… without my trick magnesium fire starter, can I still start a fire? My tent is so light, small and ‘trick’… but can I build a shelter without that? I hear that Imodium AD saves lives, but what if I’m without… do I know what to do to save my life from simple-frikkin’-diarrhea? And what if… yeh, I prep. And I got some cool stuff. Aaaaaaand I’m training with my friend from ‘the Outback’ so I know which ants to eat and which not to. Oh yeh, that makes me shudder which just proves your insightful writing… I don’t have a CLUE what SHTF would be for me in my time… but I’m learning!
    Thanks!

  5. David says:

    Hi Selco, I have been following you since you started, and “prepping” myself for 30 years. I find your stuff most useful.. particularly “expecting the unexpected”. I consider myself a nice guy… but I am now prepared to become “un nice” very quickly if necessary.
    I live in New Zealand so I do not expect a war or something like it. More like a natural disaster or and economic collapse. Lately we have had some big earthquakes down here… and some unexpected “hurricanes”…we call them cyclones. The first cyclone actually hit Australia and then bounced down here arriving as a huge rain event.. We had local flooding.. which was no issue, but the rain bought down a huge landslide which closed the main highway just near here.Luckily there is an alternative road but if both roads were cut we would be isolated. A small local town was flooded when the river burst through a stopbank ( levee). No warning..in ten minutes houses were meters deep in floodwater. A lesson in how quickly things can change. I this case the surrounding district could come to their aid.
    The next hurricane only a week later came down from the tropics. We could watch it’s progress on weather maps and satellite pictures. It hit land a little north of here. The thing that struck me was that a few hours before landfall..at 9pm.. it was completely calm. NO WARNING. You would not have known it was coming. By nine pm it was blowing a gale.. and thru the night.. but gone by morning. This time.. little rain.. but trees blown down everywhere.. a huge mess. The power went out about 9pm and the phones too. So we had no idea when the power might come on again. At about 3pm next day I decided I had better borrow my son in laws generator to run my freezer and fridge for an hour. He needed the genny to run his water pump at night. He was laughing at me as a “end of world prepper” who did not have a generator. I did not bother to explain to him that a generator was not going to help for the “end of the world”… only for a few days convenience. The power came back on at 9pm.. so I could have coped without his generator anyway. But it did give peace of mind for that day.

  6. Clint Deriemaeker says:

    Thanks Selco, as always keeping it real. We’ve talked briefly by email a couple times, i was in the first IFOR group to go over to Bosnia and see the signs here, it will be worse. I’ve been turning my yard into a garden and little by little learning the local wild edibles and adding to my diet. I have a wife, mother in law and 2 boys though and i have to balance doomsday vs everyday peacetime. God bless

  7. radarphos says:

    Selco, I appreciate everything you have offered in courses and emails. As an ex-combat (non-combatant) I compare what you say to ex-military combat personnel. They say the same thing as you; but there are differences. Ex combat military were mission assigned to go after bad guys; but you as a civilian tried to avoid bad guys (almost similar to a non-combatant, except when you had to fight/defend). You referred in your course to defending your small group of self/family; and seeing things happen that you maybe wished you could help with, but you didn’t (In a sense you conserved your resources/life while affirming your strategy for family survival, and by your definition of what you could do verses couldn’t do (and if anything were to escalate). I liked hearing that because in USA we are littered (but in a non SHTF situation that may be OK) with movies about intervening to help/rescue others–the helpless. In SHTF one cannot help everybody, because people need more help than to be freed from an attack; and at some point for those with a helping mindset (as you have as a medical professional) one has to hope that people will help themselves [kids and maybe young moms with babies are an exception]. When fear/anxiety increases all people get tunnel vision and many do things that would never be done in peace-time. Everyone has an Archillies Heel (a weakness often hidden from ourselves; and in religion it is sometimes called ‘Original Sin’). The worst times bring out these worst traits that we all have. Realistic training ought to help us realize more completely our impulsivity to be bad when under severe fatigue, fear and pressure.

    On the subject of faith and spirituality, the word “attitude” originally meant deciding one’s course of movement in relation to three places [originally used in air-flight and navy]. It required using a fixed and un-moving object (e.g., The North Star, magnetic north compass, etc.) to determine where you are in relation to the fixed object, and in relation to the destination you wanted to move toward and arrive at. Use of a compass illustrates this. Originally attitude never referred to feelings, but only after establishing one’s bearings might someone feel a sense of confidence and peace. A lot of what navigational attitude is about seems to run parallel to religion, such as when the god of one’s faith becomes the fixed and unmovable point, and then maybe the other two objects are: self verses others (example: “love your neighbor as yourself”). I mention this because war involves many types of injuries, and the war wounds that last longest afterwards are often SPIRITUAL WOUNDS (like survival-guilt, or guilt for things done or not done). Even though I was a non-combatant, just what I witnessed made me (a religious person) feel very-much like a spiritual orphan, or at least I recognized that for the first time in an extremely vivid way from what I saw! Working through these things is very difficult, and especially hard when talking to civilians who have never experienced war. Battle wounds can heal (and be pain free), but spiritual wounds can last the rest of one’s lifetime; and (I don’t know for sure), but I wonder if so much of PTSD is connected with spiritual woundedness encountered in prolonged civil or national wars…and based in lack of personal clarity about what one can do and can’t do, could try to do but maybe shouldn’t, and what one did or didn’t do; and it can be based on our love for mother +/or father and what they taught us to aspire to as decent people (and our attempt to be decent connected to our upbringing and adult choices). So my discussion favors your article in this way: Therefore also, be as slow, careful, cautious and “invisible to others” as possible, because to the person closest to you – you may be (if you are seen) his or her next target. And also, no one can know in advance what type of temptation may befall you if a moral situation arises that can have serious ramifications about all one’s preferred ‘compass’ points: one’s god or morality, one’s self/family needs, the needs of others. My aim is not to teach in what I have written–I am just reflecting on spiritual woundedness that can be based in upbringing alone, or in religious faith, or personal preferences and capabilities, or a combination of all of it. My belief is that invisible wounds in the inner-self are the most difficult of all wounds to treat (and often because those not experiencing the same thing cannot relate to it). My opinion is that without some training in dealing with invisible wounds no one is fully prepared for making less damaging choices, or choices least harmful to self and others.

  8. Justin says:

    Hi Selco,

    I appreciate what you have said here and it’s something that I’ve thought often about. It is easy to get distracted and focus on things in the prepping community. Part of the dilemma is you have a responsibility to take care of yourself and your loved ones, and a responsibility to not squander your energy and resources acquiring things that in all probability you won’t need in your life. People in America who spend tens of thousands of dollars on guns and ammo and supplies are wasiting their life in my opinion.

    If a person uses a gun to defend themselves legally where I live, the police are going to confiscate all your firearms while they conduct the investigation and or go to trial. So why own 7 guns when using one is going to get the other 6 taken away? Buy one, or MAYBE 2 and use the $4000 left over to have a nice vacation and build some memories.

    When most of us are old and in bed and can no longer get around, we may wish we could trade the arsenal in our closet to go back and live life a little more.

  9. 2knives says:

    Selco,
    Anyone who reads your post will need to digest it for some time. It may be read on several levels but the bottom line is everyone must find their own inner peace. Only from the center can we find grace and move forward. Without the center we all become the snake that eats its tail, Ouroborus. All the preps in the world will not save you…no one gets out alive.

  10. Galen Jaskowiak says:

    Dear Selko,

    Thanks so much for your articles and commentary. I almost NEVER post comments to blog articles, but this one needs a perspective that is seldom addressed. The “I can (maybe), but I really don’t want to until I absolutely have to” mentality. You have written about your neighbors who just didn’t believe what was happening around them and didn’t react until it was too late. I get that – the normalcy bias. But there are some of us out here reading your words, nodding our heads in agreement, who can see the writing on the wall, and who have spent years “getting ready” in various fashions, but who are now so old, disabled, separated from family, etc., that being ready to run or fight at a moment’s notice is not logistically or physically possible.

    For my husband and myself, just the running part is out of the question. If vehicles can’t be used due to EMP, flooding, even a tree across the long driveway, we can’t get out. We are both in our mid-60s and unable to even climb a flight of stairs due to illness and compounded injuries. Fifty years of falling off horses and wrestling livestock takes a toll.

    So does that mean we just die?

    I don’t think so, although that may be the correct answer.

    Years ago, we made the move to a good sized farm, several miles from the nearest small town, added the livestock, garden, etc., and reared our sons to be (at this point) semi-capable homesteaders. We know the plants, the medicinal herbs, the old country skills like canning and hand-sewing, shooting, butchering, smoking, equipment repair, ad nauseum that all the prepper blogs say we need to know. And we never stop learning.

    But frankly, the amount of work is mind-numbingly HUGE and unless one is actually in a SHTF situation, it is very hard to want (and yes, you have to WANT) to do the kinds of things you have to do when the going gets tough.

    For example, I have a garden that I basically piddle in – trying out new plants, experimenting with homemade insecticides, locating species in different places to see which works the best. It’s a small garden. I am the only worker and gardening is not all that I have to do. (Remember the livestock?) I have determined where and how the garden can be expanded if I have to feed half the neighborhood, but I don’t want to do that now. In fact, I can’t do that now – I have the seeds, the handtools, the fertilizers, etc. but I would need half the neighborhood’s help in doing it.

    I don’t even do canning because I don’t need, nor have space to store, hundreds of quarts of veggies and meats. But I do know how, including over an open fire, and I do have the equipment and the multitudes of jars/lids. I just don’t want to. And just some information for those people who have never tried to feed a family from the garden, it takes about 2000 quarts of a wide variety of vegetables, meats and prepared meals like soups to feed a family of 4 for about a year – a year since you have to cover the months of growing time, in addition to the cold weather months. Meanwhile, how many people have to be on guard-duty to protect the growing garden from 2-legged and 4-legged filchers More than me, that’s for sure.

    We have a large heavy-duty generator that will provide enough power for our farm needs, if used judiciously. We have the fuel to run it for at least 6 months and the know how to get it set up and working. But when we have a power outage here, I am SO reluctant to do the work involved because we have always had the power come back within at least 48 hours – less time than it takes for the frigables to go bad. When SHTF, will I be sitting around waiting for the power to come back on or will I recognize that we are in big trouble really fast. I don’t know. A nuclear blast or hundreds dying in a pandemic would be a real clue, but other things are far more subtle.

    My husband and I truly hope that our family will be able to meet up at our farm before everything goes off the skids, but one son and his family have moved across to the opposite coast and are living “the good life” outside a city which is a key military target, over-run with illegals and already experiencing radical left riots on local campuses. I do not expect to see them again, even without S hitting the fan, and certainly not after. That’s hard for a mother to admit when things are going fairly OK at the moment, but that’s when you have to admit things like that.

    Two other sons live about 40 miles away and are capable and prepared to walk the distance if necessary, but who knows how hard that will be? There’s a lot of tough terrain and crazies between us. My parents live in a highly populated area just outside a major city, in a retirement community, nearly 2 hours by car (on a good day on open unrestricted highway) from here. We have discussed this and they refuse to consider relocating anywhere for any reason under any circumstances. There is no way we will be able to rescue them and it is 100 percent sure that they will die.

    I guess what I’m asking is for you to comment on situations like mine – where we have done just about everything we can to be prepared, don’t live in an urban environment, have developed the mindset for self-defense – yes, I certainly can and would kill another human being – and have recognized that the world is on the tip of the precipice, but …. then what?

    Any thoughts? TIA

  11. Doc says:

    Selco, your words are building and uplifting in facing the unknown. Normalcy bias kills.
    p.s., Some years ago I collected and collated your posts 2011, and saved in a Word document.Thanks, always and again.
    Doc

  12. aka says:

    “Humankind cannot bear very much reality,”- T.S. Eliot
    I’m not a bad man…but in certain situations, I have to ask myself, ‘What would a bad man do?’

  13. GeorgiaSaint says:

    I couldn’t add significantly to the other comments, and will simply say, “Thank you” for all you are doing for others. It helps my faith in humanity to still see at least some that care about more than just themselves – and who have the experiential knowledge to share as well. As before, much gratitude. The comments about the nature of evil in this world cannot be better highlighted than the purpose for which we set apart this particular day in our national (U.S.) calendar (Memorial Day): remembering those that have given their lives. I heard a statistic today during the program in Washington D.C. that one million Americans have died in uniform. Multiply that by the countless other millions from other nations, then add the innocent civilian casualties around the world in various conflicts, and one has all the evidence needed to see just how much fundamental evil exists.

    Few both have and are willing to share a real life perspective on this topic, and the fact that you’ve chosen to is appreciated beyond words.

  14. Mike says:

    If a real SHTF will happen I will stay as far from the religious people as possible to be safe, that’s what I know for sure.Problem times pulls out all kinds of fanatics and you can hardly find anybody less trustworthy than a fanatic with a “god’s voice in the head”.

  15. Steve says:

    Spot on. People wont and dont know till it happens. Then its fight or flight.. And having faith is important. No matter what your faith, if true to it, you will seek guidance and strength..

  16. David says:

    Hi again, and tho it may seem strange to talk about “tools” when Selco says you may have to leave them all. I know that Selco has a rural “bugout” location planned. Since the big storm here I have had great reason to appreciate my “electric” L Ion battery powered chainsaw. I have found it so quick and convenient for many small cleanup jobs after the storm. A tree across a track, a few cuts into managable bits.. and you are clear. A tree on a fence..cut each side of the wire..and stand the fence up. It is lightweight, and quiet compared with a petrol chainsaw.. which may be a factor in a SHTF situation. I bought a whole set of Ryobi battery tools and two batteries to run them all. Very handy in everyday life. But in a power out situation.. could be a lifesaver. I could set up a solar pannel to charge them in a long term situation.
    I have some sympathy with Galen’s long post above re the work on a small farm and getting old. You could say.. get an axe ( of which I have many) but when you are old.. your shoulders will complain for weeks after a chopping job. LED lights have completely change the “lighting situation..along with Nimh rechargables. The L ion battery power tools are capable of serious work. Very useful…..

  17. redemption says:

    Sometimes a fallen tree across a drive is a good protection against raiders, eh?

    A bow saw can be much more stealthy than a chainsaw that screams, “WE ARE OVER HERE!”, eh?

    Your prime weapon is your mind–focus on obtaining skills that will help you “keep it together,” in addition to life’s staples, eh?

    Always the very best, Doc.

  18. Corvus says:

    Ms. TIA: I am guessing your son “living the good life ” is In San Diego too close too the border, he may have been captured by California’s sights–but if he gets a few good ground moving shakes he may start considering why is he “married to the place”? You and your husband sound like a terrific couple/parents that are far-sighted and have some skills that are heads and shoulders beyond MOST North Americans (Canada too) — maybe a church-sponsored canning club could get you some of the needed help for an exchange on a few classes as how and what would serve people’s long-term pantry–there’s just only so many hours in a day that could be used for skill building–but however s-l-o-w at least you are doing it–best to you and the Mr. I met a married couple who were in the late 60’s he was a Vietnam Vet but as grand parents and PREPPERS they were not some easy marks for a home invasion when two cons on the run walked into their home of a Sunday afternoon and tried to rob them. The short heavy set white grannie told the thug let me get my purse it’s right here in the closet and she had a loaded shotgun posted which she cocked and pointed –they started running backwards but she shot one of the two. She said she wasn’t gonna let her grand daughter get hurt.

  19. elysianfield says:

    Well, where to start? My “prepping” (if you will) began in the late 80’s. Rural life, gathering tools and knowledge, developing a completely self-sufficient situation. Currently I live on 100+ acres, with river frontage, 100+ fruit and nut trees that are producing, a 6000SF shop that is FULL of metal and woodworking machinery, all vehicles older diesel, including five diesel tractors, earth moving equipment, etc. Hundreds of gallons of diesel (15 year shelf life), diesel generators, from small to medium(10KW on down)…a bit of solar to charge batteries. More weapons and ammunition than God, food storage for 1 year+….and if the SHTF, I will be dead within two months.

    Survival means becoming, in most SHTF scenarios, a predator. To survive you will need to be both MO-bile and HOS-tile…I will be neither.

  20. Joe says:

    Great article. There are all kinds of solid take-always in there. SHTF means a lot of things to different people. Different events bring about different concequences. I have a tendency to see SHTF as a warlike environment. I often have to take a step back and realize that just because that is my experience, it doesn’t mean every event will lead to that type of SHTF.

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