Guest Post – Real Life Experience – Hurricanes and Hurried Preps

 

One of my readers – Nick, commented on my last article and mentioned some details about his time during a hurricane in Florida. I asked him is he willing to write article about it, so I could post it on my blog because I thought there was some really valuable information too share.

Nick kindly responded.

I consider it as a very valuable and great written article.

He invested great effort in writing down details in it that actually show us some of the very basic and common problems that we might have during any kind of collapse.

I added my comments through the article (in italics) and few words after the article.

Nick – I guess I first started “prepping”, before it was a well-known word, in late 1999 as the threat of “Y2K” loomed.  I was living in a brick apartment building at the time. I bought my first water filters and water storage containers, emergency medical gear (some bandages and gauze), some back-up canned food, a few hundred dollars in stashed cash, and a Romanian AK-47.  It was not much, but it was something.  If the world was going to melt down, I wanted to be able to cover at least some basics.

Selco – It is great start for any “beginner” prepper, actually it covers basics in most of the fields of “survival”.

We can do philosophy for days about what man who is start in prepping actually needs to buy first, but it is basic-weapon, some food, some medicine, something about water and something about food, and some cash.

And then to build on that.

Nick – Fast forward to the 2004 Florida hurricane season when a “then-record-setting” four hurricanes hit Florida in one season.  I had my Y2K preps still, and after power went out from the first hurricane, I added a generator and some stored gasoline.

At the time I was living in a cinder block single-family home.  Hurricane Charley was the worst of the bunch, tearing apart buildings, lifting roofs, scattering debris far and wide, taking down power lines and trees (most of which seemed to end up in the streets), and removing power from neighborhoods for anywhere from a few days to several weeks.  And this was just the central part of Florida… things were much worse on the coasts where these storms initially impacted.

Still, I felt relatively safe in my sturdy cinder block house.  It weathered the storm well, although the roof almost lifted off as a tornado destroyed a huge tree in my back yard (I was in the living room in a leather motorcycle jacket and helmet to protect me from flying debris if the roof came off).  A gasoline generator kept the refrigerator running for days, and just as the food and gasoline was about to run out, the power came back on and everything started returning to normal.

Selco – Having generator in that event was great thing, and I like the idea how you used it (to keep food ok as long it is possible), we all just have to keep in mind  that maybe if that event was more serious fact that you have running generator could attract unwanted quests (noise of running generator means fuel, means possible interesting things in house for intruders)

Nick – Fast forward again to the 2017 Florida hurricane season.  By this time I had been “prepping”for a few years, prompted mostly by Selco’s SHTF School which I purchased access to on advice of a friend.  It was the most eye-opening experience in all my prepping so far.  His first SHTFSchool program was gripping in it’s simplistic honesty…

I listened to several lessons over and over again just to hear the real emotions he felt during his time of survival in a besieged city.  His second SHTFSchool program was enlightening and thought-provoking in it’s expanse and detail.  Many times I listened to certain lessons over and over to be sure I fully consumed all they had to offer.  Even today, when Selco posts a new blog article, I go to it eagerly and immediately.  There is no more powerful lesson than “real experience”, assuming you survive it… and Selco has.

My main concerns in “prepping” had been long-term societal meltdown and the assumed ensuing chaos.  Whether from economic collapse, EMP, civil unrest… whatever the cause, the result I was prepping for was the same… long-term self-sufficiency.  By 2017 I had amassed enough “stuff” to consider myself “quite well prepared”… not as well as some, but certainly more than the average guy on the street.

I had several weaknesses, though… no secondary bugout location, and no network of nearby “prepper friends”.  People in my area have not experienced much real hardship, therefore they don’t see the need to “prepare”.  They spend their time and money on pleasures, then scramble for solutions when trouble arises… so there are not many people to establish “prepper camaraderie” with.

Selco – I definitely agree with your concerns. One of the mistakes in prepper community is that lot of them are preparing for specific (and sometimes low-probable ) events, and by that they are “missing” some preps and plans.

“Societal meltdown” sounds good as a starting point for preparing, to build more on that thought let’s say good thought is that we need to prepare for event when “there are gonna be more people then resources, and as a one (most important) result there s gonna be violence”

Nick – When the 2017 Florida Hurricane season started, I was somewhat “ho-hum” about it… another summer, another storm season.  “Whatever.”  Been in Florida for 30 years now, no big deal.  Plus, I’m “prepared to the gills”, right?  No worries, I thought.  I was ready for anything.  I had a great get-home bag and plan (in case something happened while I was at work), I had a ton of diversified supplies stashed, I had a big lake nearby for water and fish, there’s a hospital a few blocks away, lots of undeveloped land to hide in for a while if things get crazy… no worries.

Oh boy…. was I wrong.

Selco – I have been there, and fact is that majority of us are gonna be there again, in the place and moment when you realize that “ everybody has a plan until they get punched in phase”.

Often comes to good old “adapt and overcome”.

Nick – Hurricane Irma started off looking like it was going to skirt past the south part of Florida and disappear into the Gulf of Mexico.  We watched it for days… we all have weather apps in our phones.  I was watching 5 different apps as the storm tracked, and actually bet my work friends it would zip past South Florida and head out into the Gulf.  I was more concerned about the poor souls in Texas and Louisiana than us in Florida.  But then at the last minute it did a crazy thing… it cut a 45-degree north turn and headed straight up the Florida peninsula.  Projections were anywhere from “running the west coastline” to “straight up the middle toward Orlando”.

That’s when the chaos began.

The Governor of Florida issued evacuation orders for southern Florida.  The streets became clogged with “storm refugees” trying to escape.  Florida has water on three sides… the only way to escape is “up/north”, and there are not a lot of roads you can use to do that.  The Florida Turnpike was clogged nearly dead stop for 2 days… back streets through the countryside were bumper-to-bumper.  The four-lane road that runs through my town was clogged northbound for 1.5 days with endless lines of cars full of people and belongings… it never stopped.  Day and night they came.  I had no idea there were so many people in south Florida, and that it would be so hard to get them out of an area.  I wondered about the simple things… will they get out in time?  Where are they going?  What about gas?…most cars were idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic… where are they going to get more gas?

The gas stations had been sold out of gas the first day of the evacuation, and it was hard for the tanker trucks to get more out to them. Bottled water was gone from almost everywhere, canned food was gone, bread was gone, batteries were gone, flashlights/headlamps were gone, the camping section of the local department store was stripped of everything from camp stoves/propane bottles to dehydrated food to sleeping bags to bug spray… all the normal “panic buying” stuff was gone.  I wasn’t worried, I was just out picking up a few things to top off my stash… but I was concerned about the rest of the population around me.

Selco – It seems to me that you missed the moment to “bug out”, usually it is not moment when everybody else chooses to bug out. It is bit before them, or sometimes even after.

Nick – I went home and put the pre-fitted plywood boards over my windows.  I charged my emergency lighting systems. I checked my long-term food preparations and stored up/treated some backup water. Everything looked good, and I wasn’t expecting anything bad… as hurricanes travel over land, they weaken… I was expecting a Category 2 or 1 storm by the time it got to me.  But then the bad news came….

Projections were saying possible Category 3 winds at my location, within hours.  That’s a problem.  My house is overhung by several enormous Live Oak trees that have been here for a very long time.  The house I was in at the time of Hurricane Irma is totally wood and built about 95 years ago.  The overhanging trees are at least that old.  They are also huge with very, very thick overhanging branches.  If one big branch were to break off it would go through the house, and if one of those trees were to fall on the house, it would be complete destruction.  I had decided that if the projections were for Category 3 winds or better, I would “abandon ship” so as not to risk being crushed by falling wood.  And now, that Category 3 wind was being projected.

Ok, so I have about 2.5 hours to find a safe place to be.  I don’t befriend my neighbors, and their houses are no better off than mine anyway.  I don’t want to go to a buddy’s place, because the closest buddy is 45 minutes drive away… if this storm is bad, and the roads are blocked like they were after Hurricane Charley, I might not be able to get back to my house for days.  I had not packed for a bugout since my stuff is largely at home… I had planned to stand fast in the event of disaster.  But the overhanging trees said I had to get out… being potentially crushed to death by trees was not an acceptable scenario.

I went online to check for local hurricane shelters (fortunately the storm had not gotten bad yet, and internet was still up).  I found two possible places and went to the closest one… it was a high school made of cinder blocks… very sturdy, and big, and it was less than a mile from my house. “Cool… if the roads are trashed afterward, I can still walk back to my house to protect it from looters.”  But since I had not made a bugout bag, I had to put one together fast.  Food… but how do I cook it?  Can’t make fire inside…. need food that doesn’t require cooking. Fortunately I had some emergency rations.  Clothing… how much do I need?  I might be there for a day.  Water… how much to bring?  No telling if running water will be in stable supply after the storm.  Protection… need to pack a pistol… never know what I’ll encounter on the walk home.  Money, cell phone, backup battery pack for the cell phone, sleeping gear… I saw one lady online had a tent set up inside a shelter so she had privacy…. a good idea.  I packed a tent and a light blanket.  And a poncho. And a headlamp.  And toilet paper.  And anything else I thought was essential.  I had never been to an emergency shelter so I did now know what to expect, what would be provided (if anything), or for how long.

 Selco – It is good that you choose to “abandon ship”, because lot of folks may not choose that (fear for stuff in house etc), checking for shelters (on still working) internet is cool.

Nick – Time to do a recon trip.

I drove to the shelter to check it out.  Outside were four big Army National Guard vehicles and 3 police cruisers.  This didn’t look too good… I felt like I was “swimming into the jaws of the shark, not toward the safety of the shoreline”.  It was raining and windy… the storm was about 1.5 hours away now.  I walked up to go inside, then had to turn around and go back to the truck… “no weapons allowed inside, even if you have a concealed carry license” the sign said.  It was looking worse by the minute.

After ditching my pistol in the truck, I went back inside and was immediately faced with several Army National Guard soldiers in full uniform.  Behind them, three local police officers. Near them, a pair of folding tables with several frazzled-looking young women handling lists of “this and that”.  I walked around surveying the place, which caused the soldiers and police to watch me in turn.  There seemed to be snacks available for purchase as desired, and there was a white board with writing on it listing mealtimes… lunch, dinner, and breakfast.  I asked one of the ladies “You’re going to serve meals?”  She said “oh, yes… we don’t want you to go hungry.”  How nice. She started describing the menu, but I didn’t really hear her….

“How many people are you expecting?” I asked.

“About 300 to 400”.  There were maybe 20 or 30 in the gymnasium of the school already.  I estimated capacity of the floor space to reasonably be about 300.  400 would be cramped and potentially invite “personality clashes”.  Of the 20 or 30 people already there, about 1/3 of them looked like trouble or idiots… too high a percentage in my estimation.  I went to check the rest room facilities… what would that be like for 400 people?  In a word, “terribly inadequate”.  Just three toilets in the men’s room, and other areas of the school were marked “inaccessible”. There was already a homeless guy in the men’s room taking a “sponge bath” and making a mess of the place, and the real crisis had not hit yet.  This was not looking good.

I went back up to the ladies at the desk and asked them what I needed to know about staying there.  If I decided to stay with them, I had to sign in…and if leaving I had to sign out, but I’d likely not be leaving… at least not for 24 hours.  “The Sheriff has issued a curfew for 24 hours… you’ll be with us for that duration.”  Oh, great… locked in here with no ability to leave under threat of police and soldiers.  Not looking good at all.  Still, it was that or risk being crushed to death by falling trees.  I was beginning to accept the idea of the shelter.

…but then the bus came in.  A school bus.  And another school bus behind it.  When the doors opened what trailed out was a stream of people that I am certain were from the local drug rehabilitation center.  All ages, both genders, dressed every crazy which way, many babbling to themselves, most carrying nothing, some carrying bundles of stuff wrapped up in sheets, none dressed for the weather… it was like watching a clip from “The Walking Dead”, if it had a “psychotics” episode.  God bless these poor souls, but it was shocking to see.  I asked one of the soldiers “Where are these busses coming from?”  He was busy staring blankly at the new arrivals… “I don’t know…” he said flatly and quietly.

That was it… I was out.  No protection allowed, insufficient toilets, and 24 hours of “forced safety” in the close company of questionable characters…. that’s not for me.

I drove back to my house and pondered possible answers.  There was another school designated as a shelter 11 miles away, but likely the same rules and a much longer walk back to the house if the roads were blocked.  I had to find a place to hide from the storm that wasn’t an “official shelter”, and I figured I had about an hour to find it.

Selco – Yeah, this may look as a tough choice, for me personally it would be easy choice, even if that means I would need to crawl in some hole somewhere I still would not choose to stay without weapon with bunch of other people, without control when I can go out, with armed people who control that. More about this later.

Nick – I tossed my hastily-formed bugout bag into my truck, grabbed a pair of tall waterproof boots and a heavy duty poncho, some beef jerky and a canteen of water, and drove into town.  I had been scouting out hiding places the day before the storm, just in case I needed to tuck my truck into a cubby-hole somewhere for a few hours.  The places I had scoped out were already occupied by people with the same idea I had… “hide your car from damage”.  Drat.  Now what?  Well, I decided to play it by ear.  I went back to my house, pulled out some panels from my fence so I could drive through, parked in my own back yard out of the reach of potentially-falling trees, and settled in to wait it out.

Selco – You had good idea there, to check day earlier about possible spaces for your truck

Nick – The storm started promptly and in about 2 hours things were going badly.  The wind was up, the rain was thick, power lines and transformers were blowing up with buzzing zaps and green/blue/white fireballs… everything was dark and the rain was sheeting white.  Pieces of palm trees, and small branches from oak trees, were bouncing off my truck, its doors, and windows.  Then somewhere down the street I heard a tree tear apart… that splintering crashing bang of something sturdy completely failing from stress and pressure.  I had to move out… I was too exposed in my yard, and things were getting worse every 10 minutes.

I drove out of my yard and just followed “instinct” into town.  The first thing I came upon was the tree I heard shatter… it was large, and laying across the street in front of me.  The rain was so thick I had to get within two car lengths of it to see what it truly was.  Then I had to back up and take a different route.  I was headed into the wind so my truck was not rocking much, but the rain was so thick I had to drive slowly, even with the wipers on “high”.  It was a number of blocks before I was in the little “downtown” area of my town.  There had to be something I could park under/into for a few hours.  I even prepared myself for being confronted by homeowners if I needed to shelter on the side of their house.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to.  I found a small service driveway on the leeward side of City Hall.  It was right up close to a 5-story high building made of solid brick, and the wall was wide too.  On the other side of that wall was a huge long building, so there was plenty of sturdy protection.  I used my phone to google a satellite image of the top of the building looking for nearby rooftop equipment… air conditioning units, etc… anything that might come loose and tumble off the top of the roof onto my parked truck.  Nope, looked clean… nothing close enough to worry about.

I parked, shut off the lights, kicked the seat back to lower my visual profile, locked my doors, chambered a round in my pistol (I had taken the rifle out of the truck due to curfew…. if I’m stopped, it’s easy to explain a pistol, not so easy to explain a rifle), and set my snacks, water, and poncho nearby to wait it all out.  The storm continued to grow in strength, but where I had my truck parked was so calm there was hardly any wind at all.  Thin, straggly bushes near my truck door were hardly even moving while bushes and trees “out in the wind” were being twisted apart.

The storm intensified steadily and rapidly.  If I remember correctly the winds were 88 MPH (miles per hour) steady, with stronger gusts.  You could tell when the stronger gusts hit…. the rain started blowing nearly horizontally, debris from buildings, yards, and trees would fly or roll by, and street signs would flex and rotate in ways you would not think possible.  In the distance there was the sound of crashing and snapping trees.  Flashes in the dark distance indicated more power line damage.

This went on for hours throughout the night.  I drifted in and out of sleep.  Some time in the wee hours of the morning, still during the darkness, I noticed the steady howl of the wind was lowering… the speed was reducing.  Phone apps said wind speed was down into the 60 MPH range.  Good, it’s lessening…. I planned to go back to my house once it got into the 40 MPH range.  I needed to see if anything had fallen through that flimsy wood structure.  In the meantime, I went back to sleep.

I awoke a short time later… wind and rain were still blowing but it was driveable.  I sat up and rubbed my eyes and prepared to roll out toward home, just a few blocks away.

Then… the cops showed up.

Initially they drove up at a 90 degree angle to my truck and stopped… they obviously saw me move inside it.  Drat…  So I sat fully up, smiled, and waved at them, hoping they would see I was okay and they would go away.  Nope, they pulled up next to my truck, facing the opposite way from me, and rolled down their passenger side window.  There were two of them in their “emergency truck”… a Ford diesel pickup with police markings all over it, as well as all the off-road goodies… lift kit, off-road tires, basher bumper, spotlights, etc… I didn’t know our little town had a truck like that… where do they hide these things?

I rolled down my passenger window so I could hear them, and I kept my hands on the steering wheel so they would not get nervous…

“What are you doing out here??” the passenger cop yelled over the wind.

“Waiting out the storm.”

They both stared at me in silence.

“Why aren’t you home?” he yelled.

“I live in a small wooden house under huge trees… I didn’t want them falling on me.”

They stared at me in silence.

“It’s right down the street, a few blocks away”, and I pointed in the direction I was referencing.

They both turned their heads and looked down the street into darkness and fallen trees.  And they  stared that way for an oddly long period of time.

Eventually I said “…. and I was just leaving to go there now, when you pulled up.”

They turned to look at me….

“Good!” the passenger-side cop snarled.  He closed his window and they drove off.  I likewise closed my window, turned on my lights, and slowly drove off and back home. I thanked God for his help with the cops… they could have easily arrested me for breaking curfew.  For a few minutes there it felt like the Star Wars scene: “…these are not the droids you’re looking for….”

I arrived to find no trees perforating my house, but a ton of “yard debris” everywhere, (took days to clean up), portions of my fence blown down, power out, and some streets blocked by fallen trees.  My suspicion that trees could fall was substantiated, but thank God, none of them were on my house.  I parked in my back yard and went inside the house to check on things… the high waterproof boots, large poncho and waterproof headlamp came in handy for that, but I could have used a face shield to deflect the wind, rain, debris, and roof runoff that was still happening during the steady 40MPH winds.  There was no power on inside, and there were some roof leaks, but overall the place was intact.  God is good.

POST-EVENT EVAL:

While I was sheltering in my truck near the City Hall, I made a list 3 pages long of things I needed to do/learned from this.  I was honestly somewhat embarrassed that after 5 recent years of “focused prepping”, I found myself without a solution for the most likely Florida disaster… a bad hurricane.  That really rattled my “prepper confidence”, which in hind sight is a good thing.  It shook out weaknesses I didn’t know I had, and introduced a “conflicted” situation… curfew, but I can’t stay in my house.  Below are just a few of the things I wrote on my three pages of notes.  Some apply to my hurricane situation, some don’t, but were good ideas anyway.

1 -Stock up on quality “no perish, no prepare” foods in case you can’t cook food where you are sheltering.

2 -Make an overnight toiletries kit, then make expanded versions to supply you for a week, then for a month.  Grab the one you need as you pack your escape bag.

3 -Make a bag of clothes for a day, then expand that to supply you for a week, then for a month.  Grab the one you need as you pack your escape bag.

4 -Make an overnight medical kit, then expand that to supply you for a week, then for a month.  Grab the one you need as you pack your escape bag.

5 -Stage these different levels of kit on shelving near the door so you can grab what you need and shove it all into your bugout pack, just like Selco suggested in his courses and blogs.  Time frames are: 1 day, 1 week, 1 month.

6 -Have tall waterproof boots, and an extra long poncho to cover your back pack and legs.

7 -Pack your electronics in a sealed ammo can and aluminum-tape the seam.

8 -Stock up on ethanol-free gas only.  Stabilize it, of course.  Plan enough spare fuel in the truck to get you out of a danger area without needing a gas station.

9 -Make trap doors in your hurricane window coverings for ventilation. (can also be used as observation ports/gun ports)

10 -Keep colloidal silver in a nose sprayer in your medical kit. (During the hurricane I took a nose-full of dirty roof runoff water and it gave me a nasal infection… spraying colloidal silver solution in my nose cured it in 3 days).

11 -Nose plugs, ear plugs, face shield (riot type) for being outside during blowing rain.

12 -Garden cart with non-pneumatic tires for pulling buckets of water from the lake to the house in case water/sewer services are inoperable.

13 -Have a hand-pump well installed on the property, hidden.

14 -Learn preservation of meat, fruits, and vegetables.  Survival food has only but so much inherent nourishment.

And last but not least, Selco has always advocated a remote bugout location to get to (“use your bugout bag only to get to your bugout location and your stash there”), and “support people” around you to band together with when SHTF.  He is absolutely right, but those two things I lack.  I live in American suburbia… it’s not like other places where you can “head for the hills between villages” and have a cabin there. It doesn’t work that way where I am.  Land with buildings on it is very, very expensive… most people have trouble buying one home, much less a backup building on land elsewhere.  And most land that you can see is owned by the government, companies, ranches, or private individuals… individuals that will shoot at a stranger very quickly even during normal times.

I have two buddies I could flee to in an emergency, one is 45 minutes drive, another is 90 minutes drive… that would effectively cause me to abandon much of my prep gear, apart from what I could take in my truck… that is, if roads are passable in the first place.  So there is much to think about… it was indeed “healthy embarrassment” to my “prepper pride” to find myself stuck out in a hurricane in my truck, trying to hide somewhere like a rat.  It just goes to show… you can be as “prepared” as you want, but God and nature can still throw you a curveball of circumstances.

Selco – I understand your point there-you are prepper for years and at the end you end up sitting in your truck “hiding like a rat”.

 I would not be so “cruel” there, you choose lesser evil in that particular moment and it worked good at the end, you worked with what you got in moment.

 And lot of times it will be simple like that, you ll have to work with what you got.

 And yes, having luck will be always part of everything.

Nick – The best thing to have in any situation, I think, is an open, evaluative, creative mind and the Grace of God.  With these things you have an increased chance of survival… because you can’t possibly gear up for everything.  Do what you can, think of everything you can, run scenarios to test your assumptions, plans, and gear, adjust as you discover and learn things, but for God’s sake, don’t get too stuck on one plan… because it could go to pieces quickly.  Think, try, adjust, trust your instincts, and pray… you’ll increase your odds of making it through.  And don’t keep all your gear/supplies in one “basket”.

-“Nick”

Selco – All post event evaluation points are great and valuable, you realized on your own experience (nothing can beat that) how small things like dirty roof runoff water can complicate things, imagine how some leg wound from dirty piece of wood (debris) would complicate it, or even minor thing like wet socks (and no spare pair).

You mentioned more points in an email to me, so I’ll go through them:

 Overconfidence in your preps?

 I would say that you were missing “speed” in making decision, you made right and great decision not to bug out (congested roads), to abandon your house (danger from fallen trees), not to take community shelter (no guns allowed, possible violence, lack of hygiene etc), you took your vehicle as your temporary shelter.

 All good decisions, but maybe (just maybe) you might plan to use your car a s shelter, prepare it earlier for that, scope earlier for possible “hide out” for your car, and “occupy” earlier that place (before others get there).

 In the equation of dangers at home because possible falling trees and that community shelter packed with people (different kind of people) and armed guard at the entrance (exit) and especially “no guns” rule I would too definitely choose my car and danger of storm by being inside that car.

 Preps are good to have, to have right mindset to decide what to do next is more important.

 Not thinking about worst case scenario, about abandoning your home?

Nobody like to “abandon home”, people take it as a surrender often, actually it is about making decision what make sense in that moment.

 When you really adopt fact that you ll may be forced to abandon your home only then you can make really good plans for that, like BOB in “shelves system”, because you cannot have “one bag for every situation”, it is impossible.

 Other layer could be your car, it needs to be prepare for abandoning your home with things like extra fuel canisters (not so visible of course), blankets, food, water…

 After that next layer could be fact that you gonna be forced to abandon your car, so you can be prepared for that, small bottles of water instead of canisters of water, tarps, lightweight tent, backpack, small waist bag…

 You mentioned above tall waterproof boots and extra long poncho to cover you back pack and legs, yes, it is great, because at the end that may be all that you had from shelter and you started with your home, it is not important how poorly you look if you survived.

 Being a lone wolf

Yea, it is tough if you are alone, not impossible (especially in short term events) but it is tough.

I can only give you two advices there: try to connect with other people, if that still is impossible then just try to be as better is possible in your preps.

There is no other advice, no magical solution.

You are mentioned that you have two buddies (45 and 90 mins driving from you).

It is something, it is some network.

Having all preps in one location

I already understand that you are living in “suburbia” that it is not some perfect prepper settings, but is there option of having some stash hidden somewhere?

Even if that means taking some of the stuff (few boxes) over to one of your buddies?

Yes, it is big “flaw” not to have some stash hidden somewhere.

If any other readers have ‘real life experience’ they would like to share, feel free to submit your thoughts to toby@shtfschool.com for consideration on the blog.

Some Thoughts on ‘Reality’ TV

on-air

 

A long time ago (years ago now) I wrote a blog post on something like a ‘review’ of one of the popular survival shows, and I kinda “crushed” that show because it was full of techniques that looked cool on TV but will get you killed in reality. Later I decided that I will not do anything like “show reviews” because it is industry that you cannot beat, that said, I have to say my piece again…!

I read a few days ago (maybe some of you read it too?) about the newest survival show that supposed to start. This time in Russia.

It is gonna be placed “on a large island in the Ob River, the seventh longest in the world, chasing a 100 million rouble ($1.7 million) prize on a nine month survival mission in winter temperatures as low as minus 50C.”

And he continues:” “Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”

And:The survival race on the island will be filmed and broadcast 24 hours a day on an internet TV channel, Pyatkovsky said.”

While I do understand how survival shows attract attention and earn good money, simply because they are interesting (I guess) to average folks who do not have chance to test there survival skills, I still do not understand amount of stupidity in majority of them and lack of common sense.

Does anyone have the thought that people are gonna die because they learned something the wrong way from those survival shows?

This newest Russian show I think beats them all, do they think it is game? Rape? Have we gone so deep down as a society and humanity that we throw in rape as an option in survival show? And we put it down in same level of “wrong” as an alcohol and smoking? (“Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”)

Anyway I do not have high hopes in survival shows when it comes to learning something, from the whole bunch of shows  there is couple of shows that are usable, and people in those shows do not run, jump too much, or do things the ‘hard way’ (when there is an clearly easier way).

People in good shows usually showing good survival techniques for survival, not fancy and dangerous that attract views and numbers (and earn a lot of money)

Also, “real survival shows” that are recorded and broadcasted all over the internet live are not real, people usually do not act real when they live all over internet. It is pure show, not survival, folks somehow tend to forget that.

One more interesting thing about this Russian survival show is that one of the possible contestant says:” I want to do something so mad and unforgettable so that people later say “do you remember that girl”… we only live once and we must make the best of our lives. I am ready”

Mad and unforgettable? Best of your lives? you are ready?

Some things can not be part of the game, not even in hints…

 

My friend told me a story long time ago, he was a part of small squad unit who gets ambushed in street and shelled with mortars.

House wall collapsed on him and he lost conciseness.

He woke up in the middle of the night, under the rubble of wall, alone if you do not count his fellow next to him- his buddy that had only torso, everything under his belly was gone ,he was dead of course.

Everything was peaceful, nobody else was there, his comrades from the squad were not to seen or heard.

 He started to try and dig himself out of the rubble when he heard noises of people approaching.

Group of some 20 enemy men, together with 5-6 women approached and entered house across the ruined house where he was lying.

Only thing that separated him not to be seen is partially destroyed wall with window opening on it and the fact that it was night.

Behind that opening he was lying under the rubble.

He said that armed men together with imprisoned women entered house leaving one guy in front of the house.

After some 20 minutes screams started from the house, together with laugh of the men, it was clear that they were torturing and raping women inside the house.

My friend said he heard comments like “bring her here” or “move her on table” and stuff like that, and then a few gunshots.

It continued like that for couple of hours. My friend tried to remove dirt and rubble from him, but it was impossible, piece of concrete wall was on his legs, and he was afraid to death to make too much noise, guy on guard in front of the house was standing maybe 10 -15 meters from him.

His mouth were full of pieces of dirt from wall and broken teeth, and he said that night he suddenly become man of faith-he prayed so hard not to cough, not to be heard, because he knows he would be shot to death-maybe tortured before.

Out of the couple of women he remembers one of them refused to “cooperate”, they gave extra attention to her, he said probably with a knife…

He had rifle next to him, and he said that he started to pray to God to give him a strength to shoot himself because he could not stand it anymore. But he did not have courage for that.

Then he wanted to use rifle to shoot the guard and to try to shoot at the others when they rush out, but he was even afraid for that because he would end up dead.

Then he cried silently.

 

He says he was listening to screams almost all night, he also said that he literally shit and piss in his pants out of the horror from the screams, and out of fear for his life.

Then he heard a couple more gunshots from the house. Guys went out from the house, and leave the area without noticing him.

He said everything went calm, only sound in that moment was very distant sound of jet planes very high (NATO coalition regularly had high attitude flights in order to maintain no flight zone above war territory)

Before he pass out, probably because shock and loss of blood, he said two thoughts formed in my head, first was “ I am coward” and second was “thank you God because I am alive”

 

He woke up couple of hours later in a British UN forces field hospital, their unit found him in the morning and took him inside an armored vehicle.

War ended, he took down his uniform and left rifle.

He married and got kid, he went through a serious drinking period, he “touched” some drugs too, he divorced, lost job. He become more or less a ‘not functional man’.

But he never forgets that night when “God gave him life again” but also when he realized that he is coward too. And what he did not say is that night actually destroyed his life.

 

Up to now, you probably realized that some of my articles are just memories, without clear message or point, it is up to you to draw point or see message.

It is like that with real life-often there is no sense and message, or there is different message for each one of you.

But real survival usually is not “Best of your lives” and you may conclude that you are simply not ready for some things.

 

Some things cannot be “played” before you experienced it in reality.

 

Do you think there are problems with these ‘Real’ Survival shows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

 

 

 

A Season of Hope…?

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“Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.” – Chinese expression

 

Terrorist attack in Germany, problems in Baltics, Syrian conflict with its all aspects and complications, everybody afraid of Russians…

The Balkans is suffocating in its own small „race for weapons“ and trying to find out is it better to look to West or East…?

Immigrants are changing complete fabric of many countries and yet there are more waves of them to expect probably…

Folks in US who expecting and hoping things go better after January, but there are no guarantees.

 

We are living in the world where it is huge risk to go to the open and celebrate something, because one truck with brainwashed man inside can do chaos and bloodshed.

And there are way too many trucks and way too many brainwashed lunatics.

 

Europe is falling down slowly, but for sure in series of events that may look like nothing too serious if you look at it one by one problem, but all together it is something that is bigger than us.

It is something that is going to be learned (hopefully) in history lessons in future something like our time now was a  „big turning point“ If there is gonna be history and people to learn it in the future.

People more and more get into the state when they realize that being something like prepper make sense, and that is good.

On the other hand, most folks do not realize how bad and long it is going to be, but it is fine. Any work in a direction of being aware is good for start.

I wish to people to stay prepared and learn all the time together with their families and good friends.

I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Enjoy the celebrations, but do not relax to much. Keep on with your prepping efforts, now is NOT the time too ‘ease up’ on things…

2017 is probably going to be an interesting year…. What do you think might happen?

Top 5 SHTF ‘Surprises’

I recently ran one of my newest courses, called ’A Mile In My Shoes’. This is where I take a small group of students to the city where I survived the war and take them around and physically show them the realities of what was faced. A lot of lessons, of course, are learnt during the course and most importantly (and what I hoped for) Students come far closer to realizing the ‘reality’ of a true SHTF situation.

I thought I would share you the ‘Top 5’ surprises that the students faced, meaning things they had not thought about or realized before the course, but had to accept and come to terms with during…

1) How ‘Close’ the fighting will be.

1

This picture, taken very close to my house, was one of the ‘front lines’ for some time. One side was in houses on the left of the alley, other side (enemy) were in the right side houses. This seems INCREDIBLY close (and it is) but then realize, there were times when the ‘dividing lines’ were even closer than this.

When you put that into the perspective then you can start to think about new reality because there is nothing very static and sure when SHTF, one day the house next to you can be completely safe, other day there might be someone inside who wants to harm you, or simply you’ll never be sure how safe and secure are your surroundings.

It is the most dangerous aspect of urban SHTF, because you’ll have lot of people in a relatively small area and you’ll have higher demand for (very limited) resources because the ‘system’ is gone.

Now when you add to that calculation the fact that lot of houses are going to be be destroyed, you get to the point that you never know anything for sure, where is someone and what intention they have.

That is especially important if you planning to survive urban SHTF alone (lone wolf theory) so you can get a feeling how hard that’s going to be.

 

  1. The ‘Enemy’ will look, sound and speak like you.

 

They may even have been your longtime friends, but are now on the ‘opposite’ side. Fighting here was divided by all sorts of reasons, race, religion, affiliation, heritage, politics and often a big mix of all these things. ‘Sides’ were always changing as well. That’s just the ‘enemy’, when it comes to Survival you will fight to get what you need or protect what you have from whoever…

Having thoughts that some foreign forces will invade your country, forces that will look, act, speak completely different then you and people from your surroundings are mostly just fantasies, especially when we talk about USA.

That may be case, but you’re going to have a lot of ‘local’ fighting and surviving before that.

Strong systems are going to have a “bigger and longer” fall, there is way too many people and weapons in the US for some some foreign force to choose to invade and pacify the country… it is impossible.

What is possible is to “push” some country into the chaos, in order to turn on themselves, suffer hunger, prolonged chaos and similar, and maybe then to invade.

At the end it all comes to you and people who want to harm you. The fact that the people want to harm you were people who you use to know does not make it easier.

Do not expect martians or Russians, expect people who look, act, and talk like you, who want to survive just like you.

Again we come to the point that you will be forced to fight with your neighbors, fellow countrymen for resources

 

  1. How ‘busy’ an average days was.

 

Fighting for survival is an all day, every day task. You are constantly hunting, scavenging, gathering, finding information, looking and checking things. All while the most stressed you have ever been and under constant threat, all while being hungry and thirsty.

There is no ‘day off’, or ‘break’. This is the big difference between a soldier and civilian in war. A soldier has a job to do, and all his other needs are taken care of. He can just focus on his one job. In a civil war, you (and your group) need to cover all tasks, all the time…

If you served in Army, you had clear orders, topics, outside of that you did not (need) to think about too many things.

You had “backup” or “rear”.  Your job was to do tasks, and someone else take care of all the other things in order for you to finish your tasks successfully.

In SHTF you are the first unit, rear and back up. If you fuck up and break your leg there is no medical evacuation. If you did not find food (or any other resources) there is no service who will do that for you.

It is hard time, and day is full of “acquiring” things and finishing jobs.

Shooting at someone may look like a fun idea today, or romantic in some way. It is maybe more romantic then to think how to manage your waste, or do bath or lower your kid’s fever in the middle of SHTF.

You are everything when SHTF, because system is out.

 

  1. The level of the threat.

 

In SHTF almost everything is a threat to you. Yes, easy to understand threats like sniper, gangs, angry neighbors etc, but the lack of food, complete lack of hygiene, level of contamination, risk of illness and injury, being found, being informed on, being tricked, getting captured and many, many, more make up a larger amount of threats than most ever think of.

Just even start to imagine every ‘supply’ you take for granted (Fuel, electricity, water, stores, emergency services etc) being taken away and not knowing when it will ever come back. Then imagine the worst person you have ever known, someone you would not trust to help you in any situation. Now imagine everyone around you is like that person. Then imagine everything you climb on, through or over can hurt you, and that everything you touch has the potential to make you ill… You got all that? If you do, you are maybe about 40% of the way to imagining the reality…

Level of threat is going to be a BIG shock to you in the beginning, if you survive that shock it is good because then you get yourself into the mode of real surviving.

No matter how well you are prepared you will go through that shock, with good preparation and correct mentality you can minimize that shock and make it shorter, and that is the point of preparing.

 

  1. The reality of defending/keeping your assets.

 

I know. All the points mentioned don’t bother you that much, as you have nice house, lots of supplies and ready to fight. But how is your plan working once your house or apartment looks like this…?

2

And inside like this…?

3

And anyone who is ‘fit’ must go out a lot to find things for every day survival. How you protect all your ‘stuff’, who is going to protect all your things…?

What, when one day a group so big comes to ask you how you’re doing so OK, and what you have there, that to protect your stuff from them is a clear death sentence.

Having right mindset about difference between defending something and get killed, and adapting yourself in order to survive without it make sense here.

You have to adapt fact that maybe you’ll be forced to survive only with your skills. You do not know, and cannot be sure.

Understand, in SHTF, every house in the city is going to look like this, or worse (not be there). In my city there are many houses you see like this. You see them because they are made of stone or concrete. You don’t see the wood buildings because they all burned down…

There were many, many more things realized and discussed during the course, and I want to say well done to the students for coming with such enthusiasm and asking such good questions in the course.

Soon I will write more about the big problem of really ‘misunderstanding’ the reality so present in the preparedness community just now. Until then, you can read more about the ‘Mile In My Shoes’ course here:

https://shtfschool.com/a-mile-in-my-shoes/

We are making these courses as affordable and accessible as possible. If you want to join, you can either add your name to the waiting list, and as soon as we have enough students we set the date for the next course, or you can book a ‘private’ course for exactly the same price, all you need is a minimum of you and two friends.

Trust me when I tell you there is not a course like this anywhere else, and you will learn many things that you hadn’t expected when you join me on a tour of the place I survived…

Guest Post – Archery Vs Firearms – What’s The Best SHTF Weapon?

 

As a survivalist, you’re always loyal to your weapon. Regardless of your choice of weapon – whether it’s a gun or bow – you always believe that you’ve got the most efficient weapon to handle any SHTF situation that rolls before you.

But which one comes on top? A gun or a bow (best compound bow)?

None is really better than other; each can kill efficiently. However, each of them has its strengths and weaknesses, and this can guide you into picking the right weapon that serves your short-term or long-term survival needs.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each weapon and their pros and cons to help you make a wiser decision on the right weapon for you.

Let’s do this:

 Archery for SHTF Weapon

Archery for SHTF Weapon

 

Now the survival bows have been there for centuries. The modern day bow, however, has undergone some transformations to make it even more efficient. Just like the guns, you’ll find bows of different sizes and shapes – depending on your needs.

An ideal survival bow can just be anything – from a simple twig and paracord to the high-end takedown bows with 80lbs plus draw in the bug out bag.

Before you can become a pro at using your bow, you’ll need to take some archery lessons. Otherwise, you’ll always fail whenever you try to shoot your target.

Proper training, practice and use of bow add-ons that enhance accuracy – such as the single pin bow sight – you’ll become a pro archer in no time!

Pros:

– Bows are ideal weapons for long-term survivalists, given that even if you run out of ammo, you’ll still be ok. Even if a deer runs with your last arrow on its leg, you can still make new arrows from the surrounding materials – in either urban or wild environment – and get back to hunting.

– Another great attribute of the arrows is that they operate silently (more so when you use the string silencer correctly). This helps keep your location a secret and make it difficult for your enemy to track you.

– If your enemy is smart, he can easily track your location by using the direction they saw the arrow coming from. Luckily, you can take advantage of the slow speed of the arrow compared to the bullet to change your spot long before the arrow you fired hits the target.

– In case you want to set your target on fire, the bow is the easiest way to do so. By simply firing a flaming arrow, you can set your target on fire right from your spot.

– It’s possible to make a functional bow out of any stuff you find in the urban environment or woods. Though such a bow might not be as accurate as the commercial ones, it will still work in a SHTF scenario.

Cons:

– For you to start using your bow and arrow appropriately and accurately, you’ll need to take some training which is not easy. All the professional archers you see took years to master archery skills. If you just grabbed your arrow for the first time, it will not work well on you without the basic archery skills.

– Unlike the rifle shots, bow shots ought to be done from a relatively closer range. This means you’ve to be as much careful as possible as you try to get closer without alerting your target of your presence. Most survival bows require you to stand around 30-50 yards from the target.

– Arrows usually occupy a lot of space – a typical quiver accommodates 6-10 arrows – and given that each bolt weighs around 20grams, it might be a bit cumbersome compared to your rifle.

 

Firearm for SHTF Weapon

Firearm for SHTF Weapon

 

A gun is probably the most powerful weapon. It’s capable of hitting a target 600 plus yards away accurately and effortlessly. The ammo can drop your target on the spot, taking away the need to track down the animal.

However, a firearm has one some top con that makes it an excellent choice for short-term survival situations only. And one of these cons is that they run out of ammo (and you can’t reuse the ammo), leaving you defenseless…

Pros:

– The firearms ability to take down your target on the spot with less effort is incredible! This is something you’ll not be able to experience with your bow as you’ll still have to track down the target after successfully shooting it.

– Unlike the bows, rifles are incredibly easy to pick up and even learn how to stop a target in its tracks. You don’t need to attend anyone’s class to learn how to use your rifle; just a few basics and you’re ready to go.

– With firearms, you’ll enjoy a wider range that with the bow. Of course, this will depend on the type of gun you use, type of metal used to make the bullet, and the weight of the ammo powder grain. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to enjoy a wider range than a bow – even with the simple .22LR round.

Cons:

– Ammo shortages are the main drawback when it comes to the use of firearms. You ought to make every shot round count as you can’t reuse the ammo once it’s fired. This will not do well in your survival situation.

– Guns are pretty LOUD! This can present you with many challenges in a SHTF scenario, especially when you want to make your stand a secret.

– Guns require regular maintenance. If you fail to clean your weapon, you won’t be able to shoot with it in the long term. Rounds might get jammed mid-barrel, or they might blow apart your gun assembly. Such cases will damage your survival weapon beyond repair.

 

Final Verdict – Which Weapon Should You Pick?

For a long time now, the rifle has been regarded as the best SHTF weapon. However, bows are also viable SHTF weapons. The type of weapon you choose to go with really depends on the SHTF situation you’re in. For example, it would be wiser to use your bow for hunting for food as well as home defense.

Even when you’re using your gun, you would also want to have bow by your side to act as a backup weapon, just in case you run out of ammo.

So, start practicing archery skills since you never know the day you’ll desperately need to use a bow in a survival situation.

 

Selco’s Comments:

My simplest and shortest answer to this question would be that gun is better weapon than a bow when SHTF. My reasons are numerous, but most important is simply because gun’s are easily available to me, and a lot of ammunition too, and spare parts, and knowledge about it, more firepower etc etc. So simply it makes sense to me. Remembering I have „been there  done that“, I am not discussing this in an academic way, I am reaching into my personal experiences…

But it is not the end of the story of course. A bow as a secondary weapon, or in some specific situations as a weapon of first choice might make sense too (for example matter of silence, matter of making point, psychological impact of finding man with arrow in chest… or similar)

So yes, it makes perfect sense to say „Yes. I want to know everything about bow hunting (not only animals)“ it makes much more sense then to say “ I have a gun, I do not want to know anything about bow making or bow hunting because I have gun“

Guns are much better weapon for SHTF, but it make sense to know and have a bow for sure. Why would we not  think here in the in terms of“ two is one, and one is none“?

I have some doubts about making good and usable (urban SHTF settings ) bow, but again lot of people have doubts for example about usability (and value) of crowbar type tool (or weapon) in urban SHTF,  because lack of real life experience, so it my be my case too.

Actually why we would not have and know everything about gun, bow, knife and spear too for example. It is not about „what is best“, it is about more options.

I definitely appreciate any good (and real life experience) data and review about any tool and weapon usable for SHTF.

What is most important here is that as a survivalist, and some experience in that survivalism, my loyalty to the weapon goes only to the extent how good it serves me, it needs to be loyal to ME, it needs to get the job done.

I do not have any kind of attachment to that weapon other than to perfectly know how to use it and to make it happen (to finish that „job“ ), if I find better weapon I will start to use that better weapon, if in particular situation some other weapon will do better job( knife? Piece of rock? Sling?) I will use it without thoughts and concerns about loyalty and attachment to previous weapon.

Firearm is best weapon for SHTF, most commonly used, with best results, but yes, if there is situation for usage of other kind of weapon then use it (and know how) without thinking about loyalty and attachments.

We are talking here about tools to get job done, nothing more. Thanks Jennifer for a great article to provoke some thoughts and discussion. I look forward to reading the comments on your article…

 

Author Bio:

Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!

Jennifer

The Importance of Illumination

Candle

In a previous article we discussed details of Everyday Carry Items (EDC) We started with the premise of a ‘layered’ EDC system, distributing items between pockets, small containers and bags etc depending on their importance and access requirements.

 

I, like many, am constantly reviewing, revising and amending my EDC, not least of which because of the amount I travel but also due to the extreme environmental fluctuations we have here in the far north of Scandinavia! Every year sees the long lazy summer days pass, the dismal vestiges of late autumn then break to a dark and cold winter, not only here, but in many other regions as well. Even if you are not entering a winter phase, it cannot be lost on us, as sure as the sun rises it sets, and dealing with the dark is a topic often overlooked in defensive circles. In this article I’m going to briefly but comprehensively take you through some of the considerations when it comes to the Importance of Illumination and some EDC options.

 

As a serious minimalist when it comes to equipment carry, to the extent I am very rarely subscribed to the ‘multiple redundancy carry’ mindset often espoused  (I do genuinely have my reasons) a review of my Level 1 and 2 EDC (On my body or within arms reach) reveals 4 separate illumination devices(!) This may seem extreme, so what am I carrying and why?

For an overview I am carrying, in order:

  • A small red LED light on a paracord neck chain. (Left of Picture)
  • A small blue LED light on my keychain. (Centre Left of Picture)
  • A Tactical Flashlight (Eagletac P20C2) in my pocket (Centre Right of Picture)
  • A (Petzl brand) Headtorch in my small ‘Manbag’ (Right of Picture)

 

illumination 1

 

Before I continue, I want to highlight a twofold advantage of this approach. Not only does this EDC offer a good, robust and resilient approach to many issues, both small and large, but it has proved, to date, to be one of the best ‘conversion strategies’ I have had in terms of spousal/family type ‘buy in’, not only for my family but for students of mine as well. While this is a significant issue of its own that I will write about further in a separate article, it definitely is worth mentioning here at this time!

 

So why am I carrying this? This I’ll answer by item, but in reverse order:

 

The Headtorch (or Headlamp)

Not only in my capacity as a professional outdoorsman, but on numerous occasions throughout my regular daily activity, I will need to illuminate a specific area AND want to keep my hands free. While deepthroating a maglite is eminently doable, I can’t say it enables one to focus well on any given task. That, combined with the fact this action, when performed at extreme low temperatures will result in your mouth being frozen to the flashlight for ‘some time’, normally ensures alternatives should be sought (I reserve the right to provide no further detail on this particular ‘fact finding story’, thank you very much) However you get to this end result, we can be happy with the idea that being able to provide light and keep our hands free is often a very good thing. From writing notes, changing a tire by the roadside, tying and untying knots, using tools, sharpening knives, or fiddling in the fuse box to fix the ‘blackout’ and much, much more not having one hand ‘occupied’ holding a light is a tremendous bonus.

 

One other, slight aside, but VERY useful tip on the headtorch. Look at the picture again. You see on the right hand side of the torch pictured the ‘battery box’? You see between the battery box and the light itself a small green colored object? This is a complete set of spare batteries secured to the strap of the headtorch with cloth tape. More on this a little later, but this tip has helped me more times than I can now count!

 

The Tactical Flashlight

For those of us living under heavy legal restrictions ‘weapon carry’ is exceptionally problematic. Even small folding knives in some countries will be dealt with in the most draconian way. A tactical flashlight has travelled with me through numerous countries, multiple security checkpoints, including American airports, and has never once been questioned or raised concerns. As well as offering a good, solid, white light source, useful for a wide variety of things. The strobe effect, hardened metal body, size and shape of this tool do give it some valuable ‘weapon level’ features. A lot of this tools power lies in its ‘pre-emptive’ ability. A good bright, light shone to the face is, at worst, distracting, can buy time and distance if used properly and can be used to conceal a whole bunch of other movement if you need it to. This is if you use the light when when directly facing a threat, but the ability to search an area more thoroughly (especially indoors) indicate or mask your location and clearly indicate your ability to see something are all additional and valuable uses. Even if living in a permissive environment where additional weapons carry is allowed, I still carry a tactical flashlight (as do many others I know) because of the advantages it offers.

 

The LED Keychain Light

In the first instance this is most useful when trying to find the right key and access locks. Having a light, right there on your keychain, prevents a whole lot of ‘fumbling around in the dark’. We are aware approaching our residences and vehicles is a time of particular risk, so minimizing any ‘faff’ time in these areas is highly desirable. I particularly like a ‘non white’ light here so it is not overly conspicuous and is not compromising my eyes adjustment to the dark as much. In this regard red or green light is preferable, but I am using blue for now for a specific, but separate reason.

 

The LED Neck Chain Light

Having a small, discreet, easy to access light source is very useful. I typically use this light for signaling short distances at night when I want to remain quiet, or if I have a quick job I need to complete and do not need or cannot access my headtorch. You will see from the close up picture this LED light not only works by being squeezed (typically between finger and thumb) but also has an on/off switch.

 

illumination 2

 

So it is simple and easy to switch ‘on’ and be held lightly between the teeth to illuminate an area immediately to your front but also keep the hands free. Why not use the headtorch? It’s a good question, and I’ll tell you a little, frequently occurring experience of mine. I’m using my headtorch very often, now ask yourself, when are the batteries most likely to ‘die’?  Why when it’s in use of course, is the obvious answer! Now think, is it typically light or dark when using it? Hmmm, dark… And herein is the problem. Changing torch batteries in the dark is not the easiest of things, so with this set up, a battery change becomes easy, especially when I know exactly where the spare batteries are (Taped to the torch strap, remember!?!) As and when my illumination device fails, I use the small LED light that is immediately available to complete a quick and easy battery change. The same method could be used for any number of similar, small tasks.

 

I mentioned earlier the ‘spousal conversion’ benefits of this EDC setup. To touch on that again, briefly. Many of us committed to learning and training for conflict, face varying levels of resistance or concern from our families and frequently little ‘buy in’ from our spouses. This may be a general lack of interest to an active vilification of our lifestyle choices (“What do you need another (insert defensive tool name here) for, you already have so many???” is a frequent refrain heard by many)

 

While I will address this more in a separate article, I’ve found illumination devices a great ‘start point’ in getting greater understanding in families as to some of the benefits in EDC, and with these type of ‘small wins’ the stepping stones to greater acceptance and involvement are paved. I typically ‘gift’ these small LED lights to friends and family (especially kids), and often will actively put them on the keychain for them, so they ‘have it right there’. To date, no one has ever failed to understand the value in doing so. For a few this has then led the conversation to, ‘what would you do if you need a better, slightly more powerful light source, for instance in a blackout or if you had to quickly step out the house, for example to check something?’ Again, this logical progression makes sense to many and can quickly lead to the purchase (or gifting) of a tactical flashlight, especially given there are many excellent priced ‘entry level’ models now on the market.

 

Once they have become a proud owner of a tactical flashlight, almost everyone I know has enjoyed and been fascinated by it features and potential additional uses and most are very satisfied at the idea of carrying something that has ‘more than one use’. From this point, often, more ‘small steps’ can be taken in a positive direction. A number of people within a short time of owning a tactical flashlight have come back with some story of how it proved to be ‘so useful’ in some sort of situation they have faced, and this is one of those great occurrences that can lead to even more productive conversation and understanding of some of the benefits not only of EDC but development of a well rounded ‘resilient mindset’.

 

I’ve highlighted the main uses for my illumination devices and the details of my EDC here, but remember the possibilities are limited only by your imagination! I’ve left LED lights on and ‘discarded’ too lure students into ambushes, attached them to foliage for navigational way points, performed an impromptu shadow puppet show to calm a child after first aid treatment and seen the slickest deployment of CS gas ever, masked by a flashlight. As always, we should be challenging our equipment and our minds to perform above and beyond our expectations.

 

If you have a great story too share with regards to your use of an illumination devices be sure to post it in our forum or the comments below, as we love hearing from our readers and learning from their experiences!

 

“Stay Tuned“

broken-news

„In the last 48 hours, 4 people have died in a local hospital from flu type „xyxz“. Hospital representatives state that there is no reasons for panic, and they have formed a special committee, that will closely monitor the ongoing situation and keep the public informed.

From our anonymous sources, we have found out that 4 more people are in same hospital, currently in a very bad condition. These patients are suffering from the same type of flu virus. Our source states „they (hospital managers) do not know really what’s happening or how dangerous the developing situation is“.

Experts we have contacted, state that people need to protect themselves with masks and avoid public places with large crowds.

Stay tuned…

Our channel will give you latest updates about the situation…“

 What Does it Really Mean?

Imagine this news shows on your local TV station, and background images show people in BIOHAZARD suits carrying some heavy looking objects in big black bags, and a man who is supervising burning a big pile of something.

You are a prepper (obviously) and this news story causes you great concern, you may conclude that it is time to get „out of the town“, go to your Bug Out Location (BOL) wearing your masks, or bio suit if you have it, ready to shoot at whoever may try to stop you.

Nothing too bad with that, if you feel it is time to run, then you run, that’s it…

The likely reality to this ‘story’ though, is that 4 people did die from flu, but just like every year. A huge number of people dying from the same annual flu, mainly older folks with chronic illness (not mentioned by media), or patients in already poor condition.

The Hospital did really form a special committee to take contact with media, simply because the media pushed the hospital staff really hard with a lot of questions about ‘this situation’.

The „Unofficial source“ in these stories is often some guy who wants to have his piece of „fame“ by telling simple fact that there is „more people in the same bad condition“ (just like in any hospital, anywhere, anytime).

The ‘expert’ who the media contacted talked about simple and common sense fact that „you should have mask on and avoid public places“ if you want to stay healthy, and protect against flu or cold or anything similar.

But if you put that statement with background pictures of people carrying big bags in bio suits, the same statement now has a completely different ‘sound’, yes?

You’ll likely find the background pictures were a couple of years old, showing some dead cows being disposed from a local farm, because of cow disease.

The point of this story is not to tell you to ignore ‘news’ if you hear that people start to die locally, but to think first about two key points:

 

  1. Research or try to research what is really going on. Have your sources, or know people (trusted) who have their trusted sources.
  2. Understand that media is usually not there to help us, they are there in order to make more money, and nothing is more cool like big fat headline of ‘dramatic’ news.

 

Sometimes reasons behind running such a story can be really simple and „funny“, like selling 100,000 masks that someone have stored somewhere, or to provide vaccines etc, sometimes it is nothing, just big ‘headline’.

And yes, sometimes it gonna be real. If you do not have other sources then yes, trust your instinct.

But please, do not „stay tuned“ in front of the TV waiting for the next update… Go  research on forums, ask friends, find sources… do something, or just run, just do not „stay tuned“  as popular media understand it.

Timing , Places, Reasons and Examples of (Mis)Information

One of my fears and at the same time an essential ‘decision point’ when I (and you) should go into full survival mode is not when SHTF, but when folks realize that Shit Is really hitting the fan.

From that moment rules are changing, and you can expect anything.

What does that mean?

It is good when you realize, as a prepper, that the SHTF ‘moment’ has occurred, and act accordingly, even if other people did not realize that yet. It is not so good when you realize this fact later, at the same time as the ‘general population’.

I have seen people burning other people houses, sometimes with people inside, just because they like that: They had an expression of joy and happiness on their faces,they wanted to do that for their whole life, but of course they did not had chance for that, simply because system was there to punish them hard even for trying to do similar things.

But they did that and similar things when they realized that SHTF, and there is nobody to punish them.

They enjoyed it.

You want to be there when they realize that?

So, an example would be that you could (and should actually, as a good prepper) realize that SHTF way before those kind of people begin to realize.

Use of that timely information could save your life, the big difference between you (prepper) and a non prepper is that you should have that information before them and react to it.

And you are most probably not going to get that information by using „regular“ media,  at least not in time to have advantage over the other folks, especially bad kind of folks.

You should plan to use the maximum information in the best time, to go into the let’s say „stealth“ survival mode and leave the area, while there is not yet a need to go to the ‘full’ survival mode of needing to do bad things to achieve your objective.

At least that would be the most desirable outcome.

Information and misinformation have value, value of it can rapidly change depending of the timeline when you get it (or give it). Just to repeat ‘valuable information’ is often very ‘time sensitive’.

Let’s say the story from the beginning of the article is true, in that a pandemic is really starting, and you received that information before chaos happened, before everything fell apart, all city services stopped, before people start stampede out of the town.

In that case you could have enough time to easy leave the area to your BOL, or to even stop by the stores and buy everything that you need in case you did not prepared enough.

You know that S. Is going to hit the fan in 3-4 days and you can prepared very well for that, and watch from your BOL how world is going to shit through the chaos.

Or you know that the pandemic ‘news’ is serious misinformation, you could just go and buy huge amount of face masks, and sell it to the folks who think pandemic is really happening if you want to make that kind of money.

In both cases information is valuable because (again) you get it before others did.

(Mis)Information (Rumors), Myths and Fear

Fear is a thing that moves people in different directions. It is natural thing and let’s say that almost everybody has fears or gonna experience fear in some situations.

In terms of SHTF fear can be „coped“ or minimized with activities like training, confidence (in your skills, preparedness etc), or simply some of us gonna experience more fear than others.

One of the biggest fear that I experienced and saw other people going through,  during the SHTF was fear from the unknown.

That „unknown“ was many different things, but most of the time it was induced by lack of the information or wrong information.

What does that mean?

It  works on many levels.

For example, some time after the SHTF, rumors started that poison gases were used in some parts of the region.

You could not point out clear sources who was their or experienced it, but everybody talked about it, and people feared this a lot.

As a result, in one period you could easily „conquer“ one building full of folks by throwing in a smoke grenade only, they all just run of the building in panic.

In some cases people just set rugs on fire in order to make smoke.

Yeah, it sounds stupid now, but what do a bunch of civilians know about poisonous (military) gases and how they look or work?

Fear is big thing.

In your case it can be something else, do not underestimate power of misinformation and fear when you are thrown into the collapse.

When SHTF, myths and rumors take places, because people use it as a advantage. For example in situation when information is planted that 500 armed people coming to your part of the town and that they killing everybody they find.

Or like popular myth, like „fact“ that drinking strong alcohol will help you not to freeze in cold environment.

Local „warlords“ used to plant rumors in order to take business from each other in things like selling smuggled food, or smuggling people out of the town in exchange for gold.

In among all this you will also be strongly tempted to lie to yourself, by telling yourself that everything is going to be OK, things are not going to go to shit because the  world cares what is going on, and little babies can not die because lack of simple medicines at the end of 20 century.

As a conclusion, false and real information are there before and after the SHTF.

And it is weird, but sometimes it is harder to find good info. in „normal times“.

Point is that you need to follow what is going on, but not just run for the information, rather to carefully choose and check every piece of it.

When SHTF you are gonna work based on small pieces and bits of info’s, and errors are gonna happen, you cannot avoid it.

What you can avoid is your need to trust in some information simply because you are too well prepared for that.

You are gonna know how to survive in the cold and be ready for that. You are gonna know what are the poisonous gases and how they work, or simply you are gonna have your small garden somewhere and you are not gonna have a need to go and check some suspicious info about guy who is selling food somewhere.

Preparing is (again) the key, and in many scenarios Knowledge truly is ‘Power’.

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – A Year in Review

reading-glasses

I know, I know… You’re looking at this saying “Selco, it’s only February… how can it be a year in review article?”

Let me explain. The year is very young, but already a LOT of things happen. Some carry over from 2015, some things new. It is important we are always ‘staying aware’ about what is happening and how it can/will affect us, but I see many people often focus the ‘wrong way around’.

Living and taking care about your own circle (of people, events etc) around you is something that I often point out as the smartest thing, because in most of the cases it is the only thing that you can actually control (or change).

Everything else beyond this immeadiate circle is often more of a distraction and just disrupts your „focus“.

That does not necessary mean that you do not need to observe what is going on in the ‘bigger world’. In fact, developing a skill to see how the ‘bigger picture’ can travel down to affect your immeadiate circle is a good thing to have. Today I’m gonna talk a little more about that.

We all see that world is changing, faster and faster. Today I want you to join me in an ‘exercise’.

Stop for a moment and check what is going on around you on several levels. I’m going to start by telling you what I see around me. At the end of this article I’d really like you to write in the comments how things look around you, right now.

I’m going to look at THREE levels:

  • Local
  • Regional
  • International

Let’s start:

 

1st Level – LOCAL

I still remember the time when I could go out to my local town, and not worry too much about am I gonna be forced to shoot someone, because of a simple misunderstanding, at the traffic light or similar.

At first glance it seemed people became evil, but it is not simply like that. It is more about that people became more scared. Scared for their future, for their kids, for their job (if they have it) scared from the life that they clearly can not control it anymore because everything become more uncertain, and so they are scared and confused. Scared because of all the changes, confused because the measures they thought were in place (Politicians, Authorities, Media etc) seemingly have totally let ‘people’ down

On the other way there is whole new hierachy there, money has become the new God, because simply there is not enough money around.

It is just like in war actually-too many people with way too litle resources, it is recipe for chaos.

In the enviroment where corruption is king, and unemployment is around 50 %, everything is possible. From the point of realisitc prepping it is good, preparing for real SHTF, but the way of living regularly like this, it simply sucks.

There is no heroes, everybody is alone here and if you stick out your head in order to point some particular case of injustice, corruption or failure you have very good chance to lose it, or in the best case to be victim of mobbing or similar.

New generations are taught to steal , lie, be part of corruption because it is the only way to have chance to be sucessful.

Words like honor, real friendship, duty and similar are archaic and funny to them.

Most of them did not see or do not remember war or starvation, and, to them the point of shooting and killing someone is have twisted and weird meaning, like inverted western movie (You see a similar problem with the ‘Gangs’ forming in so many Western countries now).

When SHTF truly arrives, streets are gonna be full of young folks who gonna see it like their own personal playground. In the beggining it is going to be a ‘game’ for them, where they gonna have power over the confused people, but soon they probably realize that most of them just „meat for harvesting“… nothing new, just another phase of the cycle.

From the point of prepping, there is nothing more important to have a good and trusted friend, to prepare with him, to retain sense in this chaos around us.

When SHTF you need to have good friend. I cannot emphasise that enough…

 

2nd Level – REGIONAL

Over this recent period of time, my region (The Balkan area) has seen a huge influx of migrants. This ‘new situation’ has simply sped up everything that has previously been problematic (Healthcare, education, social welfare, allocation of resources, criminal behaviour etc. etc.) for many, this change has been so rapid it was like they woke up one morning and realize „s..t, everything just changed“.

Again, there are endless discussions everywhere about immigrants crisis, and if you join the debate, after some time you could forget what you really think about whole event and topic. That is why it is often more important to focus on the consequence than the ‘reason why’. Even if you figure out the ‘WHY’ is it really gonna change anything…???

But to (over)simplify it, it is matter of, are we ready to accept folks who are not accepting our way of life, in fact not only not accept our way, but actually demand we change for them?

When I see two small kids crying because they are hungry, after they fled from country where their is war and chaos I fell sorry for them, and I have urge to help them.

When I see 1000 young and healthy people, with completely different culture than mine and how they are making chaos in the city close to mine, stealing, harrasing, or breaking the law because they want to force their way of living on others, I feel insecure, and angry, and I do not want to see them here.

For me it is simply (however bad it may sound)  – Adapt and integrate or get lost from here.

I think we gonna see much more chaos from this problem, and I do not see easy solution for this, so  this may well actually be a ‘spark’ for something bigger to happen.

We’ll see…

 

And big players are heating up worldwide, it is getting kinda „sweaty“, even here, so again people choosing sides in world events while people behind curtains are playing their moves.

Ordinary people usually can not even grasp big politics and reasons for events unfolding, but it is always „interesting“ to have feeling of belonging to something bigger. In the end the ‘hope’ we place our trust in usually turns out to be false, but then, people are just like that…

 

3rd Level – INTERNATIONAL

Big players shooting planes from the sky, launch „observation satellites“ in space, or „reinforcing borders“ between old bloc countries.

Internet is full of videos of military exercises of big countries, tank battalions rushing over landscape, or latest antiaircraft rocket systems displays and similar.

There is now, simply way too much means to destroy everything and turn us back to ‘stone age world’ after the SHTF, and most probably we are gonna be thrown in that world.

100 years after Einstein theorised about Gravitational Waves, he has been proved right. Einstein also said “I know not with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.” Maybe he’s right about this too…?

There are news about terrorist who have hidden dirty bombs in European cities, or their poison gases stashes.

With so many news like those there is something like weird „comfort“ (complacence) effect, because after some time of everyday watching and following news like that most people simply conclude (just like I had once) that shit happens always, and it is always somewhere far, far away.

And that always gonna be nuclear weapon threats and talks, dirty bomb threats, weird lunatics with explosives somewhere, but life will simply go on just like before.

Yes, it is truth, until, one day you woke up in the middle of SHTF realizing that you have food for three days only, no weapon because „you hate violence“ and no means or way to even start a fucking fire.

You realize that you should go to shooting classes, learn more about first aid, had full gas tank in your vehicle and so on and so on.

Instead that you were in the comfort of living in the your nice part of the world and following the news of endless violence somewhere else and similar.

World become small place, there is no anymore „violence far away from you“.

That „violence“ can sit in a plane, land in your hometown, and activate dirty bomb, or „latest“ pandemic virus, or even form ‘small gang’ and just cause lots and lots of problems.

 

This is how the ‘big’ picture connects with the ‘small’.

It does not feel so good writing these articles talking about problems here and worse coming. So again I’m gonna work even harder with my School to provide advice, guidance and help for people looking to prepare as best as they can.

We just released details of our unique and excellent ‘physical’ course which will be held, once again, at our great training venue in Croatia on 2nd – 5th June. More details here.

Also these next few weeks we gonna provide even more things to help folks with their preparations.  We will share more details soon.

In the meantime, don’t forget to write in the comments what you ‘see’ around you, right now, in your area.

Stay Safe,

Selco and the SHTFSchool Team

 

 

25 Gifts for Survivalists Under $50

firstaid

Gear does not make up for lack of knowledge of course but don’t we all love some new gear from time to time?

Here are our updated suggestions for survival and preparedness gifts for this years holiday season.

Under $20

$4.26 Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool 9100C Silver Multi Tool
Spork, bottle opener and hex wrenches in one tool for key chain.

$5.39 Set of 10 Caltrops Tashibishi
These spikes dig through sneaker soles. Probably work for car tires too.

$7.98 Ollow Hollow 10pcs Lot Emergency Hiking Camping Survival Aluminum Whistle Key Chain Assorted colors
Pack of 10 whistles to give away. Great conversation starter about signaling in survival situations.

$9.88 Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Great drinking bottle that can be used to cook water too.

$9.99 Caldwell Ar-15 Brass Catcher
For those times when you do not want to leave traces.

$11.73 Self Defense Money Clip Silver
Money clip that can be used as beat knuckle.

$13.95 Hostage Series Targets – 19″ x 24″ 10 Pack
Get used to shoot at people (or images first).

$15.11 Chainmate CM-24SSP 24-Inch Survival Pocket Chain Saw With Pouch
Another small and light addition for bug out bag or overall preps.

$15.99 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Put in your car, bug out bag and show your kids and friends how to use them. Cheap, proven way to filter up to 1000 liters of water.

$19.99 Secur Waterproof Hand crank or built in Solar powered 3 LED Flashlight
LED technology made lot of progress. This is updated version of all around survival flashlight. Hand crank and solar powered.

$19.99 TekMat 12-Inch X 36-Inch Long Gun Cleaning Mat with AR15 Imprint, Black
Helps with gun maintenance, to avoid scratches and keeps gun in place.

Under $30

$20.08 Cold Steel Brooklyn Crusher
Even in survival scenario you should be able to escalate use of force.

$24.68 Butler Creek LULA M16/AR-15 All-in-One Magazine Speed Loader and Unloader
also available for $26.32 for Butler Creek AK47/GALIL LULA Loader, BUT24216

$25.89 2-Book Safes, Diversion Safe made with a Real Book
Always smart to have way to hide some valuables.

$27.99 SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01TN-CP Tactical Tomahawk with 2.75-Inch Steel Axe Blade and Black Ballistic Nylon Sheath, Black Finish
Learn to throw it, use it as all around tool for urban survival to scavenge, breach open windows and more.

$28.95 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet All black version
Easy to use and can save lives. Have at least one of them with you if you expect to fight. Practice that you know how to use on yourself and others! Quick application is crucial.

$29.95 Voodoo Tactical Men’s Universal Medic Bag
Durable bag for medical supplies. Easy access to everything. I use one of these too.

$29 Lifetime Subscription to my Online Course
I’m happy that my experience from survival during war can help people today and in future.

Under $50

$30.68 Survival Seed Vault – Heirloom Emergency Survival Seeds – Plant a Full Acre Crisis Victory Garden – 20 Easy-to-grow Varieties
Get a seed stash with non gmo heirloom seeds so you can harvest seeds and keep planting in future years. Consider packing some in your bug out bag. You never know where you end up and they take little space and weight.

$34.99 Dpms Ar15 Armorers Multi-Tool
Handy tool for rifle maintenance.

$36.99 T3 Tactical Triage & Auto Rescue Tool
In my job in emergency services I have to cut people from their cars often. With this knife you can help yourself.

$37.95 United Cutlery Bush Master Survival Knife
Good starter set for older children or people completely new to survival. Sit down with person who gets the knife and talk about survival. Get a better knife like the Ontario 8627 RAT-5 Knife (Brown) for experienced survivalists as gift.

$40.13 Mosby’s 2015 Nursing Drug Reference, 28th Edition
Older edition would be good too but why not get the latest. One day there might be no Internet anymore and when you get your hands on drugs you can look up how to use them.

$47 SHTF School Survival Boot Camp
Our essential survival course with over 350 pages of text, videos, audio interviews and more.

$47.96 Galco Triton Kydex IWB Holster for Glock 19, 23, 32 (Black, Right-hand)
Quality holster for concealed carry.

The wave of refugees that runs over Europe

refugees

There is huge crisis here in region because immigrant pouring here from Syria, Afghanistan, Libya… and newspapers and forums are full of headlines and topics about how politicians should approach the problem.

Common folks just like with all other real life changing events usually miss the point, and whole discussion is pointed on the views should „people help immigrants or see them as a potential threat“.

Real problem is actually much deeper, and again just like with all real problems (that can really cause S. To hit the fan) great majority of folks are caught up in empty discussions. Most of the time even only with people they agree with.

Yes or no to immigrants

There is nothing more primal than a hungry man, actually more primal is hungry man with child.

He does not care about laws, rules, EU directives, amenities in foreign country or anything similar.

He has simple tasks, to feed his kid, and himself, to have safety. Does he obey the rules? No, in most cases he will not. Who would just go into forest to die because it is not appropriate to cause problems for your neighbor.

Now consider the fact that immigrants are coming in numbers like 70 000, or 120 000 to countries where total population is around couple of million people.

Countries here in region have already problems for years to bring security to their own citizen, jobs, food, safety etc.

Whole society infrastructure is damaged for decades, and we do not need much to fall apart.

Now to get some things right here, I spend some time too being hungry and looking for the shelter, and everything inside me is telling me that from any point of view normal man need to help man who is hungry, who is running from war, who is trying to protect their kids.

It is about right and wrong, and about being normal human being.

But real problem is not the wish to help or not, it is about being overrun by the huge number of people who are different and might not fit into the society.

The problem is in fact that there is no control who is a real refugee and who just seeks opportunity to live off social benefits somewhere else.

No society can cope with those numbers, no matter how strong and organised it is.’=

It is a system problem that can not be fixed easily. Should we try to help those folks, who are hungry, scared, with bunch of the kids etc.
Sure.

We can not do anything else, it is right thing to do, to feed the hungry, heal the sick.

Will they, or some of them change our world, bring chaos maybe? I think that they will, some refugees might just use this chaos to get to the places where they can cause harm.

Something big is unfolding here I think, and we still need to see how it will exactly end up.

Great societies were made from people who ran from their original countries to new countries, and mixed there into new societies, actually made whole new societies and nations, bringing their differences to create something new and united.

But possible problem here is having lot of people who are not really willing to „mix“ into new societies. Some people from some places have such different culture and mindset they see freedom and liberty as invitation to change world around them to whatever they enjoyed where they came from. If somebody wants to change my world, it is a problem.

Outside help for crisis?

Big words are spoken from EU leaders, all saying immigrants should be helped and taken care of, while at the same time lots of people care more for dead whales being washed onto some shores than dead immigrants.

It is all again same game of big politics and money, and common folks do not have chance to choose anything.

Richer EU countries will send big money and help to poorer countries where immigrants are coming from, in order to „help“. Most of this is made in effort to keep same immigrants away from their rich countries.

And of course that help and money will be used once more in poor countries, simply that local politicians and ex and future warlords can fortify their own positions, to gain more power, so that those countries stay combination of chaos and bribery.

Once again simple man is caught in big game of power that most of the folks do not even understand.

What can we learn from immigrants?

A lot.
They go over the long distance with almost anything, some of them have experienced violence, were beaten, robbed, imprisoned, and even tortured.
They do not have anything expect their own lives, and will to survive.

No fence can hold them, and no police can outsmart them. They eat what they find, they sleep where they can.
There are college professors among them, fire fighters, or simple housewives, but they are surviving.

Often you will not find desperation, but determination, will and hope in these people, and many have a cause.
They left whatever they had in their countries, in order to find another place that is better for them, houses and apartments are not important anymore if you are fighting for life.
And if you are travelling very far with just one bag or backpack you definitely have some survival skills.

Conclusion, no conclusion

To sum this up, I think talking about refugee problem is like talking about weather problem. It is happening and people need to deal with it. No big wall will stop this and Africa is close to Europe too with millions of people who have not enough to live normal lives.

I understand people feeling bad about new people in their countries who might live on their costs but all that is happening is something that was waiting to happen. I hope countries have good process to weed out worst people but we all know this will not stop all of them. Europe is changing and nothing can stop this.