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.

Sweets and treats in a survival situation

Congratulations to Jack for winning the Ontario Rat 5 knife from our survivalist gifts post. We wrote down all names of commenters and people from Facebook and pulled one.

survival food

We all like to think about and imagine how SHTF will change us, but it is almost impossible to know how we will react on whole set of new things that SHTF will bring to us.

People think that it will be something like sharp cut and prompt change, like today it is SHTF and we are different people with different reactions. It would be cool, but it is not like that for most of us.

Some changes will happen over the time, and we may not be aware of it at all. One of the obvius changes (and probably most interesting changes for online community of preppers because of movies) is different relationship to violence issues, for example over the time you learn to react different to violence, and doing violence.

Other may be living with dirt and being more dirty and accepting it. With each accepting of the above you are kinda losing your old life, becoming different.

Also some small things can provoke you to act like animal, some things that remind you of your old and normal life. Today I want to speak about experience I had during my time in war. It is related to this time of the year with christmas and holidays coming. It is about treats and pleasures.

Once, few months after the s. hit the fan, during one of the constant tours to find anything useful I stumbled across something special. This gives you idea how “low” you go, or better how high our standards are now. It showed me how thin that layer is that makes us „normal“ people.

It was around midnight and we chose some partially ruined house as a temporary shelter from fire outside and rain too. I was with friend there. We chose one room inside house which still had part of the ceiling above our heads to shelter from rain.

We were smoking one cigarette passing it between us when I realized that I actually sit on some box that is partially buried under the rubble. We started to dig and clear trash from it.

After few minutes we found out that it is big military wooden box, used for long term storing of various items. When SHTF and everything fell apart I remember seeing people dragging similar boxes from army storages.

It was pretty heavy, obviously full of whatever.

Of course we immediately started to imagine what could be inside, ammo, weapons, boots, maybe uniforms… My friend already whispered: „man, imagine, new boots maybe?“

When we opened it at the first moment in dark I thought it is full of some small toys or similar, because I saw big pile of small plastic packages, but then I took few of those small items and I froze like someone pointed rifle in my face from that box.

It was full of small packaged cocoa spreads, kinda like cheap spreads that can be served in hotels with your breakfast, or in this case it was probably meant to be used for military meals or similar. Something that you could find in a version of MRE.

It was cheap stuff and not really tasteful, in normal times I would not eat that stuff. It was like you trying to chew sweetened sand.

In that moment I could barely remember when I ate something sweet, something like junk sweet, chocolates, bars, candys, cakes or similar. If you ever go on longer hiking trip and eat same stuff every day for just 2 weeks and then come back to civilization and eat something you have experienced something like this. Now imagine months. My friend said: „Man! Screw the boots, this is jack pot“.

I do not remember how much of that stuff I ate there in that room with view on half ceiling and half rainy night, but I remember seeing my friend eating that stuff on a way that he put whole thing inside his mouth, chew the plastic package, eat spread, then spit chewed plastic.

Probably I eat it in same way, it helps that in dark we did not see how dirty the packages were, and of course nobody even remember to check expiration date.

I would eat even if it was printed „expired“ on it, or maybe even „toxic from Chernobyl“. It did not matter.

It was so sweet and good in that moment. It was not only food, calories, energy if you want. It was something like drug for us. Reminder of normal days. With chewing it and eating it we were living normal life for some time I guess.

I chewed it, and I know in that moment that I am probably gonna have some serious problems with my stomach that it „forgot to process“ stuff like that but I did not care.

People said that in some moments you can be turned in animal, you can be driven by simplest and maybe lowest instinct. And in the same time they imagine that happens only in certain situations, combat, great fear or similar. That’s not true.

I experienced before and later many similar events and feelings, many fights, blood, fears, you name it. But that event with those cocoa spreads was something weird.

Later while I was crouching outside my house, having diarrhea and throwing up at same time, I felt like shit, but I did not regret or wanting to trade eating all of those cocoa spreads. I kept some for myself and from time to time I ate it in something like ritual.

When all was finished, and war was over I forgot that. Years later I found something very similar like that spread. I bought it and tried it. It didn’t taste good at all, and I threw it away.

Point is that you never know how much you will appreciate things, until actually SHTF. So for your preps, stock some “pleasure goods” like cocoa drink mixes in little sachets or coffee mix, they will be valuable.

For the holiday season take your meal or treats sometimes with you to a place quiet and without distraction and enjoy them. It is easy to forget what we have now, so I encourage everyone be extra grateful in coming days.

Prescription drugs, mental health and unstable people in survival scenarios

A reader wrote me and spoke about a family who are friends but he found out they are all on prescription medication that keeps them normal. He asks for advice how to deal with this and what can be expected from people like this during collapse.

Today I want to talk more about prescription drugs and medicine. I’m sure many of you who need medication on regular basis have already big stock of them. Know that some prescription medication like antibiotics can be bought as animal medication and so on. But here are some more thoughts on this.

People who have been dependent on some drugs, stuff like sedatives, antidepressants or something similar usually had two choices, first choice was to try to find sources of medicine (black market etc.) or to try to get by with substitutes (alcohol, marijuana or something stronger like heroin).

Second choice was in short to „get over it“ and live.

Of course this other (second) choice sounds and looks cooler and probably more „macho“ but in real life it is not so easy and people needed lot of support.

In my family I had example of a relative who chose first choice and go through our year of trying to survive with some serious drinking, sometimes during that time he was causing more problems than help.

But I also know guy who had pretty poor life before SHTF in terms of his goals in life, way of living and similar. He had bad drugs habits but when everything collapsed, it kinda woke him up in terms that he finds out that there is more real life problems to think about.

He saw that life is cool thing, and it is so easy to lose your life, so this gave him much motivation and energy and he overcome his problems. Years later he lives now life much better than in the time before the war, simply because he changed his priorities in life.

Prescription medication

Being dependent on certain drugs (medicine) that allow you to function properly because you are suffering from certain conditions (and I am talking here about stuff like depression, anxiety, panic disorders, phobias…) can be already hard in normal life.

It is constant and everyday struggle.

Coping with that conditions when SHTF can look impossible, especially without proper support and help. But also, do not consider them „not usable“ and „not worthy“ when SHTF.

For some things survival scenario is good, it can show you what life is, how much you need to appreciate it because you become close to death, and how easily you can lose it. SHTF will show you what is love, hate, fear and extreme emotions. And it can show you your true meaning of life.

My time in war was all about urban survival, besides my trip over mountains to get some supplies, but survival puts you more in touch with yourself and nature. You have no choice.

It is good if you have big stash of medicine you need, but do not stop with this. Living healthy life now, trying to find natural alternatives to drugs you take makes more sense to do now then when you are busy with surviving. From what I read a lot of people in survival scene live in world that they think they can buy safety. They forget about learning new skills and preparing your mind and body. Getting all things ready for harder life includes a lot of areas you have to put work in.

It is easy to take care of your teeth now, get regular checkup and any holes fixed. Someone else does it you just lie down. But try to clean up your medical problems as much as you can today. In long term collapse it can take years to rebuild system that can offer modern medicine.

So what about people in your family or friends who are dependent on some medication or drugs? What if it is about someone you can not change or who even does not care about preparedness and survival?

I mentioned few times that when SHTF people show their true face, so you can not know how someone will act.

People can act under the stress in some very weird and not common ways, be ready that people who do you consider like „tough ones“ cry, or be useless because of high stress. Theory is one thing but when you smell blood, hear screams and find out that you are about to fight for your life then everything is different.

If you can, take them out on adventure trip. Put them in some stressful situation (you still have control over) and see how they react. Look how these people work. Are they willing to work hard on something?

Do not consider automatically persons on some drugs (antidepressant for example) not usable for SHTF situation. Personally I would focus more on their other qualities and skills. Keep in mind that some people with mental problems have been to very dark places, sometimes only in their mind but for them it is real. They can be tougher and more used to stressful and terrible situations because they are used to it.

You want to prepare and form group for survival.

Group can be great source of support and can carry few unstable people through hard times but make sure you take good hard look how many “bad apples” you can take in your group. Survival is never popularity contest. Some decisions you will make sound cruel, maybe even insane but it is what it is. Let’s be realistic, without modern medicine we would have less people here today.

Even if you take on some unstable people, make sure you have solution to cut them lose from group when you can not support them anymore.

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.

Faith and religion during my fight for survival

I had many questions and comments about faith, religion and God. I did not answer many of them with too much details just because usually this would started discussions without too much connection to survival, but with lots of hate and anger.

Today I want to talk a bit about this.

Of course faith and religion played big part of survival when SHTF, but maybe not like most of the people would guess.

One of the questions that I had few times is „did the folks who had faith cope better with everyday problems?“ Answer is probably „yes, most of them“.

But I also must say that lots of people who had lots of faith and were good folks died with terrible deaths too.

I knew more than one man, some whole families who died, or lost family members simply because they had attitude „it is gonna be what God wants it to be, and we can not do too much“.

I always prefered attitude that „ I ll do whatever I could and rest is not in my hands anyway“.

Just like everything in normal life and especially in survival situations you have to put effort in to make it. In survival it is not about a promotion or more money, it is about seeing one more sunset or making sure your kids have chance to grow up and see adulthood.

I know guy who was real warrior and tough dude, he didnt care too much about rules, what is right and what is wrong. So you can imagine that he did whatever he wanted to do in that time, including some very bad stuff.

He survived and later I heard that he completely devoted his life to religion. I see him from time to time, standing in front of the local center, with religious literature in hands, trying to talk with folks.

He looks 20 years older then he really is. Small guy talking about salvation.

His tattoos on fingers look strange compared with literature that he holds with those same fingers. I talked with him, he said that every night people who he „sent“ to other world visit him, and he talks with them. Every night.

He said that he accepts that as a part of punishment, adding that he is aware that bigger part of punishment is waiting for him on „other side“.

You need to have faith in something when SHTF. It does not matter what religion or what you believe in, it can be you. You will experience situations where you have to make very hard choices and others where you experience things that are hard to imagine. Without some believe it would be very hard, and simply you risk to turn yourself into animal.

One thing is for sure: be ready to pay for whatever you did, sooner or later. I tried to stay on right „side“ and to do good only.

But you ll see that doing only good when SHTF and survive is impossible, so you gonna be forced to to some things that are wrong, and that you do not like.

And be prepared to pay for that, maybe day after, or maybe 20 years after. But those demons gonna find you.

Groups of people during survival situation and religion

In the beginning days religion had important role in creation of groups. Religion also had strong impact on how groups reacted and what kind of things they did.

But here is few very important things to be aware of. To have group strongly based on religion did not always mean that they were good guys.

Actually very often I saw and had „bussines“ with different kind of groups who called themselves „strong believers“ and still they were doing very bad things, just in the name of God.

So you could easily see guy who considered himself strong religious man, who killed children.

I am talking here about all kinds of religion. I saw all kinds of examples. Do not (always) mix good things and religion. In normal times it means the same maybe, but when SHTF things gets twisted and some groups gonna use religion to justify attrocities they commit.

Of course I saw also examples of religious guys who died trying to save someone, because they tried to do what is right.

Aftermath and religion

As I said many times, people cope with bad things from the past in many ways.

And I must say here that I know lot of people who find their peace in religion. Most of them who I know from SHTF and 20 years before who become really religious guys are real believers, and kind of people that you can call in short „good people“.

Another guy who has become involved in religion based center for addiction recovery told me that as more as he work with worst kind of addicts, he is becoming more free from listening to screams from the past every night.

I am quite sure that he was reason for some of those screams that he is still hearing. Simply on one or other way you gonna have to pay price for what you did.

In short I think religion can be very helpful if it is not twisted. It can be like set of personal values guide someone and help to see light when all world around has turned to darkness.

What role does religion play for you when you think about coming collapse?

Power of the media

In today’s world it is easy to get fooled and think that all media is there for us, to help us, to keep us updated, to make life easier or whatever.

Some 20 years ago, I was lying in improvised shelter on side of the street, behind big iron garbage truck that was rolled over and full of holes. I waited for dark so I can move on.

I was not alone, me and my friend shared that small piece of cover from open view and snipers with three guys. I know one of them from before, but that did not actually meant anything.

When shooting started we all jumped there almost at the same time. After few minutes we agreed that we gonna share it until the night.

Some half hour later one of them pull out from his bag small fm radio, kinda that we called “pensioner radio”, for walking and listening sports events in normal world.

Actually it looked like he pulled from his bag some brown package and on it was radio taped. That brown package was some kind of homemade battery pack, made I guess from different batteries, 2 times bigger than radio.

Anyway it was important thing in that time.

We all looked at that “machine” like bunch of cavemen would. It was ticket to get more information, real information, not just rumors and reports of crazy killings, that was our hope.

He turned that on, and all that he could find was radio station in other country, pretty close by distance, but light years away at same time. We were listening to some music very quietly, then news came.

We were listening how speaker talked about events in our region, he was something like: “and battles continued …” and that was it.

After that there were long talks about some songs contest, and some dude was interviewed. He talked about his terrible problems in finding correct clothes for movie scene, then about his stage fright… And then radio stops to work.

Big dude who owns it says comically “screw it, it looks like batteries needs some break.”

Rest of us were quiet. But I am sure that we were thinking pretty much same. Here we are, couple of guys in rags, one has some kind of uniform made from 3-4 different uniforms, some have weapon, one has kind of fishing hat on his head, like in some parody.

One guy chewed something, I do not think it was food, he just chewed it for too long. Like he was trying to chew piece of shoe.

Other had two different snickers on his legs, probably result of looting some mall in starting days. Probably all of us together in last 24 hours had like one meal shared among us.

We all hiding behind destroyed dumpster truck, waiting for the night, while some other dude on other side waiting for our heads to come up so he can shoot us. He probably was hungry and weird looking like we are.

And at same time few hours driving distance from there, main problems were how some probably funny looking guy is afraid to go to movie scene, and end of the world problems about choosing correct clothes for that same scene and musical performance.

I had moment much more dangerous before and after that event, but somehow in that moment, I emotionally touched the bottom.

Simply nobody cares for us, we were no news anymore. Left alone. “Battle continues…”

Few months before that same media were screaming about “problems in regions, fear of people getting armed, we need to defend, we need to fight, freedom does not have price, we will prevail, democratic changes, we have the right…”

Leaders from all sides were frantically announcing new age of democracy while in background they prepared to flee. Media helps folks to form opinions, to do things, to start things to happen. And then when all is set in motion you are simply not news anymore.

Same radio host screamed about need “to protect our rights” and “do not fear”. Then same guy told us that it is impossible that war happens because “we have leaders that will find solution” while at same time leaders were leaving area, or piling stuff for tomorrows black market.

We figured later that same leaders own the media actually.

Then when S. hit the fan, pretty soon when every day becomes same in meaning that every day is killing, starving, violence etc. It is not news anymore. Media just covers exciting stuff, because its their business. This is same for all media, also media that keeps saying collapse happens tomorrow and then the week later and then month later.

Mainstream media says everything is good, politicians take care of you and some alternative media keeps promoting news that everything is bad, collapse happens even before it happens. They also need to keep people interested. They all play news theater to keep people interested.

The lesson I learned is dont trust and care about any media much. Be prepared but not scared whole time that collapse happens tomorrow. That is why you are prepared, no need to worry too much. Just monitor events but forget about “opinion pieces”. Look at history of reporter if you plan to trust someone. He uncovered “big scandal” already 3 times but it was only big scandal for him? Forget about him, he or his media company just wants attention or save your time and realize most reporter wants big story and attention and just a few want to really inform people.

Few days ago I was checking one internet page about “world events by years”. I checked the year that I was writing about here, and there were many “important events” in that year.

I found two events very loosely linked to my region, out of the many. One was about some politic demonstration, other was about some agreement. Both of them were in my wider region, but not even close to my city.

Nothing about people in rags fighting for their lives, eating grass boiled in water, catching rain, drinking mud sometimes.

Media showed us in a way. Then media forgot us, we were not usable anymore, we simply did not exist. I understand that, same guys still fighting in same city and so on. It is just important that news show what is new and not really what is going on.

For years I very rarely watched TV, or listened to radio. Not following famous shows, my opinions are not formed by actors, singers, sport stars, or idiots who are famous for one season.

If I find something specific that I want to check I will check it, but I do not want to be pulled in media grinding machine of opinion forming. I read different news articles from different networks and try to find people on twitter who are on the ground of event.

As survivalist and prepper you need most accurate information to make decisions and that is why knowing what is really going on in neighborhood or city is often more important than some shooting of single guy hundreds of miles away. But media always needs drama and presents it in way that its interesting for most people.

Every time when I hear somewhere on radio or TV “shocking news” or “battle started” I imagine few guys in few months laying somewhere in dirt, while nobody cares for them because there is a new star with huge butt, and everyone knows her, in biggest city or in smallest village, even somewhere where electric energy is still new thing. Keep the stupid masses entertained.

Point of everything again is that when SHTF you are alone with what you have prepared and learned. Do not expect media to paint real picture of situation. They are there for news. After initial news and maybe even help from outside because your area is in spotlight you are left alone. Don’t be surprised when you are forgotten.

That’s why we learn to take care of ourselves.

Three typical reactions to survival scenarios

Dealing with everyday problems when SHTF meant that you have to face whole new set of situations, from how to „take shower“ with few liters of water to how to use pure violence when violence was not part of your life before.

As I mentioned many times people used to find all kind of solutions for that problems, actually some people found solutions, those who did not disappeared.

People mostly learned „on the job (of surviving)“ how to deal with that problems, instead of promotion or fancy certificate they got more time on this planet.

In reality lot of survivors did not solve all problems, some of the things and problems were „pushed under the carpet“. People have different ways to deal with situations.

When you wake up one morning in world where everything that you took for granted stopped to exist, just that can blow your mind almost like bullet in head, so people reacted in different ways. Here are most common reactions of people, divided in three groups.

1. King of the playground

SHTF, and there are no rules anymore, and you can go out and do whatever you want. You can use force in order to do whatever you want. You can fulfill your dreams. Everyone is gonna be scared but you are powerful and dangerous, you are the king of the playground. Something like character from your favorite movies, Mad Max maybe.

There were people like this of course, not too many but yea, and they ended up in two main ways:

A.) they ended with their head smashed in first week of SHTF, usually in some very stupid way, real example is they stole some cool car in first days of chaos, and went driving crazy and shooting at everybody till some group got them, pulled them out from the car and tore them apart.

B.) they had charisma, luck and brain. They formed group (gang), become leaders, very powerful people, masters of life and death. They could take or give (forgive) life with one hand move. If other powerful people did not kill them (mostly) they become rich, and they are still rich.

Example would be small time thief who suddenly realized that by showing big amount of guts / courage and will to do atrocities in front of the rioting mob can give him leadership over the people who want leader.

Those of them who survived everything years later very often committed suicide. PTSD catches up with folks, also those who “play hard”. Very important thing is that while I am reading different blogs and forums I can see and recognize lot of „survivalists“ and „preppers“ who are gonna belong to this first group when SHTF. World is gonna be playground for them when SHTF. Most of them gonna end up with heads smashed in first few days. Those few of them who survive beginning of collapse gonna be dangerous bastards. But calm hand and steady aim regulates things.

2. SHTF and what the f… am I going to do?

You wake up one morning and SHTF, you are devastated, waiting for electricity to come back to see on TV what is going on, while people outside demolishing local mall and taking home whatever is useful.

You are believing in government, law and order, „common sense“ and you simple do not understand preppers and all „conspiracy theorists“. Off course you do not believe in guns too, you think that everything can be solved in nice and civilized way. We are humans not animals and do not fight for food and survival with violence like animals do…

People from this group were in great numbers when SHTF in my time, and they will be in great numbers again when SHTF. No matter how much good information is on web, no matter how many bad things are happening around the world, and no matter how much proof is everywhere around us that everything is going to sh!t.

And people from this group ended up:

A.) dead and gone (mostly)

B.) as „soldiers“ of some gang, because they were easiest to „mobilize“ because this kind of folks always need someone to guide them and protect them. Today it is government and system, when SHTF it is gonna be local gang leader who is gonna give them protection, guidance in exchange for their loyalty.

Or they gonna be solo predators, killers and thieves, kinda like „shadowy“ enemy, guy who is gonna stab you in a back for bag of potatoes.

Important thing here is that for us preppers guys from this group (B) are problems because guys from this group are your first neighbor maybe, or your dentist, or your job colleague, or even your good friend. They stab you and then cry and say sorry while robbing you. Remember this: guys from this group are not gonna fall from the sky, they are all around us. They are „good decent and normal folks“ and they do not want to do what they do. So again think about what you are saying to who these days.

C.) they gonna join group of people or family in order to survive. They do whatever they need to protect their home, but they gonna try to stay good.

3. People who are prepared (preppers, survivalists…)

You know that great majority of stuff on TV and internet is fake and there only to form public opinion. You are preparing for bad days but also you are living your life as best as you can, because S. is going to hit the fan for sure. You do not want to belong to herd of consumers, and you want truth all the time, no matter how ugly can be. You are looking for people who think like you, it is hard to find them, but they are there. You are not wishing SHTF, but you are definitely not gonna be scared once when it comes.

You are ready.

Now do not get me wrong, but this is very very small group, because great majority of people who call themselves preppers are not actually. Some are gun nuts, some are gear junkies and some are just scared by media and try to buy their peace of mind in form of canned food.

When SHTF real preppers gonna recognize themselves, and I see them as real leaders of groups of people that gonna do some change in big chaos, people who gonna „carry light“ by that I mean they do their best to be good if situation makes being good a choice and not only have the goods and full storage but also skills and mindset that it takes to live under bad conditions.

Survivalists who do not only talk the talk. No Internet only warriors who believe world ends when running out of blueberry muffins.

Who else?

Now not everyone is covered by these groups of people, and as I said it can be dangerous to generalize people, but also it is good to recognize and understand.

There is a whole bunch of people who gonna belong to big „grey“ area. They not gonna choose anything, they will be driven by big chain of events, and they just gonna do whatever is needed to survive. Good and wrong is completely gone for them. Only survival is left to worry about. Kind of people that are not people any more, more like animals.

I belonged to the group that were surprised when SHTF, but on the other side I had brain and luck to join-form group and family and I survived. I am prepper and survivalist now and became that during time in war.

I too pushed problems „under the carpet“ somehow in order to stay sane. Somehow I adopted the philosophy that it is not really matter what you gonna do, it is written how you gonna end up. It was not some religious thing, but as soon as you realize how easily you can end up dead you must form some kind of philosophy or you just go crazy.

I survived thanks to my skills, my thinking, yeah. But many times I survived by pure luck. I speak about numerous situations like that in my course. When you looking over the wall with your friend, and one single bullet from sniper blow his brain all over your face you must ask your self „why him and not me?“

So I learned to live and do whatever I can in order to survive, but other than that I learned to stop to worry for things outsider of my circle of control, because what must happen is gonna happen. And I survived.

It is very important that in very dangerous moments and situations you have clear and sharp mind, and not to worry about things that are out of your control anyway. Few days ago I was asked if survivalists are just people who are scared. No, real survivalists worry much less because they are prepared and they do not worry about what comes.

Abuse of power or just the human side of authorities


I mentioned several times in last few days that we do not need to label everything, all that matters is what impact it can have on us.

What I meant is we do not need to know why something is happening right away but know something is going on and definitely we need to be prepared for results of that. Again like in all other articles I do not want to judge right or wrong here, just talk about some experiences and give you some things to maybe think about.

I read many times in comments and on different blogs and forums questions and speculations about what authorities gonna do when SHTF, or how police gonna react and what military gonna do. So there is a whole different set of options and opinions, but great majority of them are having the opinion based on mindset that they are used to. They think like before SHTF even though SHTF changes everything into real survival situation with whole different set of rules. And that makes big difference.

I had the idea to write about this because of the Chris Dorner case. Case is interesting because of many things. It shows what trouble one person can do (and now imagine many Chris Dorners start fighting authorities..) and also how authorities try to deal with the troublemaker.

If we are talking about police now, we can agree or disagree that police is there to serve and protect. That really depends on where you live of course. In some countries police are part of problem but in general we can say any authorities are here to make difference between order and chaos.

In case of Chris Dorner when they cornered him in small cabin they threw several “hot” tear grass grenades in his wood cabin to get him out. Many people think this was on purpose to set fire to cabin because these hot tear grass grenades are known to set things on fire. After having 4 of your colleagues killed most people not gonna be easy with the killer.

When people are under big emotional stress this is normal and in long term survival scenario that happens to everyone.

I wanna tell you one story from my SHTF time, it is about law abiding citizens and special police force.

First days of collapse are most chaotic in terms of panic and frightened people, so there is a picture of big number of people who do not know what to do, where to go, and what is gonna be. Looting everywhere, and when folks realize that nobody gonna punish them they just go wild.

One group of people (they all lived in same apartment building) choose to stay in, or to bug in speaking in survival terms. There were couple of days of chaos outside but nobody touched them in that building.

When things get more rough they choose to move in few apartments on same floor and stay together. Anyway after some two or three weeks there were some kind of peace outside. They were on watch on windows carefully checking what is going on, but they could not figure out anything.

Few hours later when dark start to fall they noticed group of some 30 policeman, with helmets, rifles and everything. Special police was still around and in first days after STHF they made weak attempts of putting riots down.

They moved in order and formation. Guys from the building were so happy to see them after weeks of rioting and chaos outside. They were first sign that things maybe get back to normal. They cheered and called them.

Police guys quickly stormed into the building and forced them out. They shoot them after quick search. After that they searched apartments for useful stuff. One of the guys who realized and ran for his life survived and told me his story. They were so quick and professorial in killing that most of the people did not even have time to ask for mercy.

Now what is the importance of this story?

Remember this: When SHTF, there are a guys with guns, and there are guys without guns. Everything else are just labels. Names like police, army, authority, government…
You can not think in the terms that we think today, it is dangerous.

If you read between lines on this website you also come to your own conclusions how you can make chances of your survival better if your group looks like official helpers. Of course do not use this for bad things.

There is nothing deep and philosophic in this story, police force are just bunch of guys with guns who are doing their job today, some of them are good people, some of them are bad people. They all just like us gonna choose what they gonna do when SHTF but when they are in big emotional stress or fight for their survival they might not be nice guys like before. Even if they try to be good they go around and anyone they see can be a Chris Dorner and in all chaos they do not know.

Guys who were hiding in the building were common law abiding folks, and they did not realize that SHTF and that rules had changed, actually rules were gone, so what was before did not matter much. Black can be white, bad can be good, or police force can be simple gang.

Really getting this mindset is also main point of my survival course. Yes, there are my list with supplies and survival guide but with interviews I want you to see how “not natural” it was. Yes, it feels like landing on different planet when society changes like that but if you want to survive you have to be able to be almost comfortable with this.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that we all need to go out and not obey the law. Nothing like that. But when SHTF it is wrong to act like law abiding citizen just because you are used to. It just doesnt make sense and you have to question everything and everyone.

I had that “advantage” or “luck” seeing all that when SHTF, also I am living in what I call “unorganized” country so I am perfectly aware that police here even in “normal” times are armed guys who also work for people who pay more.

So all of my problems I am trying to solve by myself, no real help from authorities. Maybe in your world situation is different and you should be grateful for that. I am not saying that all cops are bad, in your country most cops are probably very good. Just keep in mind people who enforce law and order are humans too and when SHTF or in major disaster that is followed by long term survival situation they are living in new world too in which old rules do not mean much.

I know it is easy for me to say this because I have been in this situation but besides all “technical” or “logistical” aspects of prepping your mind has to be ready for the day when old labels, classification and rules are not working anymore. Only then you can make critical right decisions that can make your chance to survive better.

A few weeks ago we had one guy asking for refund of my course because it was too negative. Of course we gave refund no problem but it was a bit funny because I just talk about my experience.

I hope nobody reading this blog has to ever go through so dark times but if you only know how bad it can get by reading what I write or listening to interviews then this can already help and prepare you for worst case scenario and that is what matters.

Do not live life scared and paranoid like some survivalist do, but also really understand how bad things can get or you maybe have best organized food storage in your whole country but make mistake to invite the wrong guys over for dinner.

Next post is about another type of real survivalist again, I just wanted to write about this thing here because it is so important. How did you experience Chris Dorner case? What do you expect from authorities when SHTF?

10 Rules for Trading in Long Term Survival Scenarios

All of us rely on our skills when SHTF. So we all hope that we can cover all of major skills that can lead us trough all basic needs in order to survive. So we choose to learn lot of things, how to fight , how to can, how to grow food, how to heal people. And we are buying equipment and learn things.

We choose different approaches, someone chooses to learn just basics from one skill, or someone chooses to learn one particular skill in depth. Like to be very good in growing food when SHTF.

But most of the people take trading and bartering in long term survival scenarios for granted. Most of the people see trading like scenes from the movies. So there is some kind of accepted picture that man gonna be able to go out with bag of potatoes for example and trade it for something, for batteries or whatever.

Or there is gonna be something like trading place, where you can go and check what is on offer there.

It is actually strange how lot of things are covered good at lot of places on forums and blogs when it comes to some skills and equipment, but when it comes to trading it is accepted more or less that it is common sense that it is gonna be easy to trade things.

When SHTF we all going to trade things, no matter how great we are prepared, because it is gonna be way of living, one of the few ways of obtaining the things we need, especially for long term survival.

It makes sense to think today about trading when SHTF. It can be major source of resources and provide for your living in hard times, and if you prepare carefully and act smart when SHTF, you can live much better than other folks around you.

Because differences between regions in the world some things about trading can not apply everywhere, just like advice about which weapon you should have.

But some things are common everywhere, just like you can say that shot in the head can kill you, no matter what kind of gun we are talking about.

So here are some things to keep in mind.

1.SHTF (real SHTF) = no law anymore

When you are taking your time today and think about being trader when SHTF, you need to stop for a moment and accept the fact that there is no law when SHTF.

After you accept that fact, only then start with thinking how you can improve your role as a trader in collapsed world. You can see what I store for trading in my supply list in course area. What you pick for trading depends on many things I also mention later in this article.

The point here is that you have to really understand how drastically things change when there is no law. It is hard to imagine but you look at life from whole different angle and from that angle you have to approach trading.

2. Look around you, today

Some common sense again. When people struggle to survive they gonna need everything. But use common sense. So there is no too much sense in storing something that can be found easily around you.

3. Small things, always

Whatever you trade, and whenever you trade do only with small things and small portions. For example you are not offering 5 liters of alcohol, you are offering ½ liter of alcohol. And thats it. Do you have right bottles for that? Why are you doing this? Other people might not take your life because it is not worth half liter of alcohol, but for more, or when they think that you have more at your home it is maybe worth.

Also it is much easier to go somewhere and carry with you 50 flints for trade than to go and carry 10 liters of fuel.

4. You wanna be big trader? Dont

If you have some big plan to do very well when SHTF and you store whole bunch of interesting things you need to keep absolutely low profile. So if you want to be big trader that means that nobody outside your house can know that you have whole bunch of things for trade.

Only thing that is standing between lot of nasty people and you and your storage is fact that you are not interesting for them. You can say that you are very good armed and prepared, and that you have friends with you, and that they are armed too.

I will tell you that sooner or later someone will come with more friends and more arms and you are dead and your stuff gone.

So stay low. You can not be anything like „big trader“ for other people around you. Whatever you have to trade you are gonna need to have some kind of smart strategy to trade / distribute that. Watch your ego too. Having resources means power, but showing that power gets you killed.

5. Middle man- golden solution

For best results in trading over longer period of time, you need to be something like „middle man“ in process of trading, not a guy who owns things. And of course this means that people need to think that you are only middle man, not a man who actually has things.

So if you are prepared for trading and you have lot of different things to trade, you can not go and offer things as yours, you need to be the guy who can obtain things.

If you have 1000 lighters for trade, and SHTF tomorrow, and after a month you realize that lighters have good price for trade, and you want to go and offer lighters, best solution is to be something like a man who knows a guy who has lighters for trade. So when you walk with few lighters in your pocket and trade them, they are „not yours“.

You are acting as a guy who has information where something can be found for a trade, you can „go there“ and find things for trade.

6. Basic security rules

Again and again, you need to be not interesting, so common sense again about security of trading:

  • Never trade in or in front of your house
  • When you trade with unknown people, always watch carefully if someone is following you on your way home
  • No matter how great deal you can make never do too much trading with one person in short period of time (for example, do not trade 10 liters of fuel 3 times at week with same person, or in the same street)
  • Make compromise. Trading with known people increases risk because known people know where to come if they conclude that you have lot of interesting things at home, on the other side trading with unknown people has risks too, because you do not know them.
  • I never trade bigger amounts of things, or some really interesting things with folks from my really close neighborhood unless I trust them 100%, which I usually dont. If I need to trade something bigger and interesting I take risk and go in other parts of city and do trade with people who do not know where I live.

7. Pricing, value of things

It can be very specific depending on the regions what things will have more value, and what lower. You may think that food will have biggest value, but there is a difference from what will be always wanted and what will have BIGGEST value. So yes, probably you will be able to trade food always for something usable, but better idea is maybe to have some interesting valuable things that YOU can trade for food.

  • Sources of light and energy: lamps, batteries, candles, burning cubes (paraffin cubes for starting fire), lightsticks, flints, solar chargers, fuel…
  • Always have things stored that people in your region use in everyday socializing rituals.

You may think that when SHTF people habits gonna be erased and everything connected to that will be stripped to bare simple survival living, basic food and water intake. Yes, for great number of the people it was like that, but reason was that because they did not have these social / comfort things stored, or they did not have enough items to trade for them. If they could they would have got these comfort things.

What that meant in my case, people here drink coffee… a lot, 3-4 times per day, and most of the folks smoke cigarettes or tobacco. Drinking the coffee is more like ritual where good friends, or family sit down and have some special time.

When SHTF people were in hard situation of course, and some habits or rituals from normal life gain even much more importance. I mean when everything falls apart around you, to have some special moment with your family with coffee becomes even much more important.

As a result, coffee was very valuable. I mean very very valuable. Even some poor substitutes for coffee were very important and valuable. Same was with cigarettes. So depending where you live, check for those things, and have it in your storage. It can be coffee, cigarettes, tea, beer…

Have some kind of system in your storage to know what things you use for yourself, or for trading. For example you store food for yourself and your family only, but you store great number of batteries for yourself and for trading too.

8. Charity

There is no golden rule about trading process, other than those security measures that I already mentioned. But few more things to have in mind.

Charity in good times is good, charity when SHTF is wrong and dangerous. I know I disagree here with one big survival blogger but my advice is never do real charity when SHTF. I mean it is crazy if you give things away for free if others struggle to survive. What do they think?

This guy has a lot so we get what we can and then more even if that means taking with force. You can give things to people but it can not look like charity.

You need to get something if you give something. If you do real charity and word go around, you are done. I saw this happening several times. Even people everyone thinks who are always good went out to “convince” charitable guys to give them something and this ended up very bad sometimes.

If you see your kids starve to death but this one guy has food but is not giving it to you what do you do? Exactly…

9. Scams

Of course always expect scams, people will do lot of wrong things in order to get things, plaster in baby food is only one example from my time (they take out half baby food, stuff plaster in there and cover it to make it look like full).

I know how to make 1 kg coffee with just 20 % of coffee and 80 % of other stuff, and it looks and smells like real coffee, 90 percent of people will not notice difference, bad is that that mixture screws up people’s blood pressure really bad. That’s one example.

So common sense is to trade with „unchecked“ persons only for „canned“ or sealed things. If man gives you half bag of powdered milk for something, you only have his word that he did not mixed that with something in order to make it more heavy.

Different dried plants mixed with tobacco and sold as a tobacco, different seeds grinded with small amounts of coffee and sold as areal coffee, alcohol… I have more examples of this in my course.

10. Pick the right moment for trading

Value of things changed during my year in war, depending of lot of things like entering of goods in area, rumors and word on the street, state of black market or simply security situation, so in first month pack of batteries were worth maybe 5 kilos of flour, but in third month it was worth 15 kilos of flour.

Or another good example would be that candles were worth more in first few months of SHTF then after that. Example would be that people find some substitute for light in house like oil lamps, and also realize to have light in every room is just unnecessary luxury.

Watch carefully for rumors and word on the street. I mean do not go and trade some of your precious stuff for few gas masks just because someone told you on the street that you gonna need them really hard. Luckily he is knowing someone who has few of them of course.

Word on the street or rumors will work for you, but also against you and there will be moments when people or groups of people produce specific news in order to gain something or sell something.

This is basic advice for trading during long term survival scenarios.

How do you prepare for trading part of SHTF?

Post Shtf Society: Corruption as a Way of Life

corruptionI read often in discussions in survival forums that people say that people from poor countries have easier transition into chaos and collapse scenarios. I agree. One of the reasons is that they already live in some sort of shtf scenario every day.

Today I want to tell you about major aspect of what keeps broken systems going all around the world. Corruption.

When resources are few and many people want something and person who decides who gets it is short on stuff too (or just greedy and there is no one who enforces law) then you enter into world of corruption.

I think it is important part of understanding how things work in corrupted systems. This does not only help you in post shtf scenario but even when you travel or move to what I call „unorganized countries“.

I live in one so this is something like everyday school of survival, after the Balkan war my country never recovered. If both parents work full time and you still sometimes do not have enough money to feed your kids something is wrong.

Anyway, I hope you can benefit from my experience of living in such broken system. First thing:

„I have certain rights!“

Wrong.

This is first and most important rule of surviving in unorganized country. You do not have right to anything. Right of freedom of speech, right for job, right for some protection from the law or any other „right“. Now do not get me wrong, laws are same like in any other European country here, and they say that you HAVE all of the rights, but reality is different.

You need to fight for all rights, and find a way to make them work for you in some cases.

You are only one man with whole bunch of other people who are all equally jobless, tired of crime, political nonsense and many years of hopeless economical situation.

So at the end you find out that only thing that you can do is to blend in, to act like most people. If you want to live you are gonna have to bribe people on every step, you are gonna have to accept bribes.

Sounds bad? Unmoral? Read on.

If you want to work in some company you gonna need to start to look for people who have connections with people from management in that company. The person in the management who decides who gets job knows that having work is worth something but he will not ask directly for bribe. No matter what qualifications, somehow he will just not give you job.

Nobody openly accepts bribe in most cases because its against the law. You need someone the person from management trusts and then send the bribe through this middleman.

You are giving money to the middleman, he is giving money to the management guy. Rich management guy gets richer, middleman takes cut and if middleman did not screw you, you get a phone call when you can start working.

If you are lucky enough there is gonna be just one middleman between you and management guy, because if there are more middleman you need more money. Everybody is taking their cut.

After you get, actually after you buy that crap job, you start to work for crap salary that is clearly not enough for feeding your family. So you are starting with small things in your circle or network of people you know. Small wrong things.

For example if you are policeman you are gonna have something around 600 USD salary per month in country where you need 1300 USD for living for family with 3 members per month. And that is living under poor conditions.

So you start to “close your eyes” on some things. Small things. Taking bribes for traffic tickets, then you gonna cover some drug dealers in your street, then you gonna figure out that you can earn more if you take out some infos and give it to some guys, for example just to call some guys and tell them where next police raid gonna be, some drug action.

If you don’t do this, your colleague does and you have to explain your child why there is no decent food on the table.

This is how it is for great majority of situations in unorganized countries. As soon as you plug into that weird and corrupt system you gonna have better chance to live, to feed your kids.

Another example. If you are having some bigger money and want to start some job, for example lets say you want to open some small business or whatever, bakery shops. OK law says you gonna need some licenses from state, some workers, some building, equipment etc.

So you go to government offices or whatever and start to work on paperwork and licenses, and you figure out that on every step those people making problems for you. And you may ask yourself why? I want to start normal job, to earn honest money, to give job to 10-15 people and they cause all these problems?

And sooner or later you realize that whole system does not give sh!t for your intentions, because every small or bigger clerk want bribe for his stamp on paper. Or in other case your paperwork gonna be strangely lost somewhere, or you gonna be faced with some weird sanitary regulations or whatever.

So you finally bribe people, have all paperwork, rent buildings, employ workers and start to work. After 10 days you gonna have some inspector coming over who says that you do not have suddenly all what it takes for doing that business, because some of your paperwork is not correct. And of course you need to bribe again.

Anyway if you are not part of that weird corrupt system you are going down.

If you have mother who is sick, and she needs to go to hospital, you will find out that no room in hospital is available, and that she can come in for next month, not before.

So you are looking over to your friends who have some connections there, with some physicians. And you offer some money over that friend to some physician, and miracle, there is a room free in hospital for your mother on same day.

Then what you need is only to find some nurse there and offer something to her, so you can be sure that your mother not gonna die in the middle of the night because some equipment malfunctioned or whatever.

OK if you decide to go to police and talk about fact that somebody asked bribe from you because of whatever you will be welcomed. Police guys there gonna listen very carefully to whatever you have to say, after you finish with your story they gonna take all notes, and say to you that you fulfilled your duty as law abiding citizen and that you did right thing because this region is suffering because of corruption, crime etc etc.

And then you are screwed for real. Suddenly some small junkies gonna start to threaten your kid on the way to school, local police officer always stop you and ask for funny things and mistakes in your driving or find problems with your car. You can find your car without wheels or maybe even burned out. And if you still trust in law and order you call police, and circle is going again and again and again.

And then one morning you wake up with the great idea that you are living in a sh!t country, and it is time to start to act like everybody else. Do not hear, do not see, do not talk. You plug yourself into corrupt system and become part of everything.

So you are starting to do small scams with your employers, tax scams, you find connection in taxing department, bribe guy there, steal from your employers, split cut with that dude from taxing department.

Your employers start to steal from you, whatever they can. And again circle is going on.

Point of living in unorganized country is how many people you know, I mean how many people with connections. You can become rich or powerful by just being the man with many connections. Corruption becomes not only part of system, corruption is the system to get things done.

In order to finish whatever job, you gonna need connections and bribes, smaller or bigger. And at the end to survive you become one of those people with connections. Man who can finish some business that helps others.

You are finishing jobs for people, sometimes for money, sometimes for favors, sometimes for friends, and you are expanding network of people you know. Word “human capital” gets new meaning. More people you know (people who can finish something) more power and money you have.

If I order something from Ebay in 80% I have chance that item gonna be held in customs, and some ridiculously high tax for that gonna be sent to me, import tax or whatever, usually 20X more tax then value of order. So I need to find some guy there and offer him maybe 2-3x value of order in cash, and order can be mine.

It is in every aspect of society, you can not live without it.

And I mention only very harmless examples of corruption…

Already living in corrupt system and making things work through people you know is one of the reasons why it is easier for people in unorganized countries to live better through consequences of collapse. People have already adapted to fact that they need connections to make pretty much anything happen.

So how does this information help you? I hope this article gave you basic understanding how corruption works in real life. This can help you when you travel, when you want to make things work in unorganized countries and also should give you ideas for your preparations. Store some “presents”, think about skills you can learn that you can trade as favors. Corruption will be big part of post shtf society… at least in beginning before law is enforced.

If you have questions or stories about how presents helped “someone you know” to make things work, please share in comments.