Post Disaster Violence

 

disaster

Today I travel back in my mind. I write a lot about my preparations and assessments since the time I got trapped in my city and views on the future, but I will just now, write some about ‘How It Was’ back in that time. Remember we were all thrown into that situation with no preparation, and found often our allies were our enemies from one day to the next…

Violence is something that people like to talk about, give theories and opinions, but at the same time few of us experience the real ‘deep’ face of violence, being trapped in a prolonged a deteriorating situation.

You may have experienced bar fights, or home invasions maybe, shooting somewhere and similar, and those events can be life changing situations for sure (or life taking) but I am talking here about violence so large scale and long lasting that it brings something like a ‘new way of living’, overwhelming violence that demands a complete change of mindset.

I often hear, and I often agree, that violence cannot solve anything, and that violence only brings more violence, but when you are faced with a man who wants to kill you, you are going to have to probably kill him in order to survive.

I hope that, in this moment, you will not care for philosophy, humanity or ethics, and that you just going do what you have to do, and survive. Later you will cope with other things, it is how things work.

As I get older I realize more and more that violence is wrong thing, but in the same time I also realize that I have to be more and more ready and capable to do violence when the time comes.

It is paradox maybe, but again it is how things works, I do not like that, but it is what it is.

 

 Violence and You

 

It is way too big topic even to try to explain it in one article, but some things I must try to show you here.

There is a man, let’s say we are talking about you here. An average citizen, a law abiding person, and suddenly you are going to be thrown into a (prolonged) situation where you are going be forced to watch and use exceptional levels of violence.

Do you think that you are going to be able to „operate“ in those conditions with the mindset you had from the time where you were average law abiding citizen?

No of course not, you will have to jump into the another mindset in order to survive.

Let’s call it survival mode.

In survival mode you’ll have to not to forget what it was like for you in ‘normal’ times, but you will have to push those memories aside, in order to operate in different mode – survival mode.

In real life situation that means for example that you ll maybe have to ignore panic, fear, smell, noises in the middle of an attack and do your steps in order to survive.

Maybe you’ll have to ignore the screaming dying kid next to you, maybe you’ll have to ignore your pride and run, or simply maybe you’ll have to ignore your „normal“ mindset and you going to have to kill the attacker from behind.

There is list of priorities in normal life, and there is list of priorities in survival mode.

Let just say that you using your different faces and „small“ mindset during your normal life and everyday business with different people around you.

Just like that, when faced with violence you’ll have to use different mindset, different face. Or another you.

 

Violence and Experience

 

There is a strange way of thinking here for me, but since I have live through the time when huge number of people did not die from old age, rather from violence, I have experience in this subject. So here are few thoughts.

Experiencing violence over a prolonged period of time does not make you superman, actually in some way make you crippled man, man with many problems, psychological and physical.

But if I put myself in way of thinking that I am in better position now then people who died next to me, or in front of me. You may call me a winner or survivor but many days that ‘title’ sounds very hollow.

Am I lucky man-yes, am I happy man – no.

But we are not talking in terms of quality of life, we are talking in terms of surviving or not.

Ethics, psychology and everything else here are matter for couple of books to be written, and even then you are not going say anything new, it is like that from beginning of the mankind.

What is more important about having experience in violence is that you simply KNOW how things are working there.

In lot of things you simply know what you can expect.

You know what chaos is, best way of dealing with it, you know what it takes to do things.

 

Preparing for Violence

 

Again nothing like real life experience, when you experience something like real violence you keep that in yourself for the rest of your life. What is best next to that? – other people’s real life experience.

So is it make sense to read about other folks real life experience? Of course, read a lot about that.

Training (physical) yourself is great thing. You’ll train to get yourself into the state that you are (physically) ready for hard tasks. So of course it makes sense to do that.

But training yourself mentally can be a hard thing.

You actually can only guess how it is going to be, how it is going to affect you.

I can tell you that it is hard, chaotic, I can describe you a situation, but can I bring you the feeling of terror in your gut when you feel that you are going to shit yourself? Can I give you smell of fear, smell of decaying body? Can I give you feeling when you realize that „they“ are coming for you?

No of course I cannot. You can read stories and real life experiences and based on that you are going to „build“ your possible mindset for violence situation.

You are going to build your „survival mindset“.

But there is a catch there. If you build it too firm, too strong, and then there is SHTF and everything that you imagined doesn’t fit the given situation or scenario and you are still pursuing and acting in the way that you imagine dealing with it you are going to have serious problems.

The situation will not adapt to your mindset; the situation will kill you if you are sticking too firm to your plan when it is not working.

You simply have to adapt.

It goes for many situation, if your plan and mindset says you are defending your home until you die, you are going to die probably.

Whenever I heard people saying „I’ll do that when SHTF „ or „I’ll do this when SHTF“ I feel sorry for them.

When SHTF you will adapt, and change your given plan accordingly to situation.

It is same with violence.

Violence is a tool that you going to use according to the situation. It is a tool, not a toy.

Now to finish with a final thought. It can sound, from what I have written, that a SHTF situation is like a Mad Max movie. Everyone running around killing, hurting, doing things with no consequences. In fact, this fantasy of a world ‘Without Rule of Law’ (WROL) is a big discussion in some circles.

For sure regular ‘law’ has gone. There are no ‘authorities’ or courts as we know them to deter or punish, BUT, during a SHTF situation you will find:

It is (especially in the beginning) like everything is possible, law is gone, you could go outside and see people looting stores, groups organizing (by street, or other facts like same job in company for example) trying to either defend part of the town, or bring more chaos just for fun, sometimes you could not say what, both could bring violence and death to you. Over time the ‘violence’ becomes more organized and ‘structured’ to start to achieve certain specific goals (although there is always ‘chaos’ as well).

After some time you look at violence you encounter in two ways. Violence happening outside your group, or inside your group (It is quite certain you will need to be in some sort of ‘group’ to stand any chance of surviving).

Outside your Group, you just wish to be very ‘small’, invisible after some time, not pay attention to anyone doing violence to others, because, quite simply you are still alive, and want to stay that way. In terms of “I am still alive, I do not care what they doing to that person, and how bad it is (your will and judging of good and bad is broken, you just care for your own life) it is like you care only for yourself while you are watching how others get killed, no matter that you feel that it is going to come to you in the end (violence) you just care for yourself.

Leaders of the “bad” group (gang) have best chances to stay leader if members fear him, so in fact he is most dangerous, vicious, sick bastard, nothing like a “reasonable” man. (Competition is huge in SHTF) Instilling discipline (through fear) and enforcing ‘your’ rules are paramount to holding your position as leader.

Various groups were interacting with the outside world and each other through fighting, exchange information, trading goods etc, but every group were more or less closed world, with trust only for those inside the group.

Forming of a group was quick mostly, because nobody expected this situation was going to happen, and so were not prepared, but very quickly were literally ‘fighting for survival’. Any problems were solved “on the way” (bad members, not skilled, not obeying etc.) Sometimes through discussion and agreement, but always with the threat of violence as an option.

To finish, and to educate, as opposed to shock you. Many folks cannot think to clear about the level of violence I am describing being involved in. Maybe you think SHTF is just like ‘Black Friday Shopping’ but every day. So let me just give examples of the how far the world I lived in descended from ‘normal’. Remember this was a regular city, in a nice country, in Europe, less than 25 years ago…

-People who never used violence before, doing some ‘hard’ violence: normal people, dads and mums, killing folks in order to save their families.

-Certain groups of people who looks like they are just waited for the SHTF so they can go out (“crawl out from beneath some rock”) so they can fulfill their own fantasies about being kings of the town, imprisoning people, raping women, torturing folks in the weirdest ways…

-Strange groups organizing in whatever the cause they choose name it, again only to gain power in order to have more resources (sometimes simply “gangs” of 50 people, sometimes whole militias of thousands people) through terror over other people or group of people.

-Irrational hate towards “other” (whoever “other” could (or might) be (other religion, group, street, town, nation) because it is very easy to manipulate groups of people through hate and fear (from and towards “others”), if someone manipulate you that your kid is hungry because “others”, he can do a lot with you.

Real life examples I saw:

-People being burned alive inside their homes (And people ‘enjoying’ watching this)

-Private prisons were made where you could go and torture other folks for fun, or simple rape women as a “reward”

-Kids over 13 or 14 years of age were simply “counted” as grown up people, and killed as enemy

-Humiliation of people on all different ways in order to break their will, for example forcing prisoners to have sex between same family (like father and daughter and similar)

-Violence was everyday thing, you could go outside and get shot not because you were ‘enemy’, but only because sniper on other side want to test his rifle.

It is a needed, but depressing realisation, that people, even regular folks can become so cruel, so fast, BUT it is an very important thing to be aware of for anyone truly involved in ‘preparedness’.

As always, its great to hear your comments and experiences on situations where you have had to deal with violence and what lessons you learned from this…

 

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Urban Survival in Apartment

urban survival

As my plans include bugging out in case of SHTF to my BOL (bug out location), most of the time and effort is spent on preparing that part, but being prepper in apartment is an interesting topic too.

Some of us do not have other options, so they are planning to be where they are when SHTF-in apartment, and survive.

Other good reason to talk about apartment prepping is simply because all of our plans may vanish (plans to bug out to our BOL) so we could be simply forced to stay where we are when the system collapses.

So do not put everything in planning that you will leave when SHTF, maybe you will not be able to do so, or you are forced to spent some time where you are.

Manage Information

So here are few thoughts:

Know a lot about others, let others know only what you want to share about you.

Living in an apartment building usually means that you are going to meet your neighbors and you can’t avoid that. So be kind of curious about folks who live around you. It is very good thing to know what kind of people they are, what they do, their views and hobbies, their worries.

Of course that does not mean that you become something like the spy or stalker of your neighbourhood, just use your time and find out whatever you can about them when you talk to them or you see them doing stuff.

For example, I know exactly who will leave my neighbourhood if SHTF, who has some weekend house close to our building, or who does not have place to go to. I know what cars they are driving, time of the day when they are at home or at job (or picking their kids from school), some of their medical conditions, or political views, who likes to hunt during hunting season (and have hunting rifle at home most probably) etc.

As I said this is not about spying, it is about enough time and observing, paying attention and small chats.

It is true, in terms of security you need to keep your mouth shut, especially about your preparations.

But it does not mean you have to be the grumpy guy from the neighbourhood who hates people.

Be an ordinary guy, that also helps you to collect information in an easy way. Another good point is that you need to be ordinary guy because you do not want to attract attention. Being different is always a bad thing.

There is no point in looking completely different because you are prepper. Just keep that difference to yourself.

Resources

Of course you need to have food and water stored in your apartment too, no matter if you are planning to bug out as soon as first signs of collapse show up or not.

There are great suggestions everywhere how you can store goods in small spaces, like to put them inside beds, or even doors, containers for water inside tubs etc.

Of course you need to keep it secret too, so there is no sense if some of the neighbours come to your door to ask you something and they can see behind your back that your apartment looks like storage for doomsday.

When it comes to energy there are lot of suggestions about solar panels for apartment prepping and similar, I also like solar energy, but keep in mind that having 4-5 solar panels at your BOL and in your apartment is not the same, not only in terms of easy settings.

For example in my neighbourhood, there are maybe 5-6 apartments with visible solar panels, out of total maybe 300 apartments.

Point is that they just attract attention, when SHTF those solar panels will look very interesting for whole bunch of people who want to recharge their stuff.

If you planning to have solar panels try to have small ones, portable, for charging batteries, and check how you can use them without being so visible from everywhere, I rely heavily on a lot of rechargeable batteries and small solar charger.

Heating

Depending on the climate that you live in, you absolutely need to have alternative source of heating. When SHTF everything is much worse if you are forced to go through everything while you are freezing.

My apartment building has old central system for heating with wood, probably never used, or at least not used for 20 years now. Folks use modern heaters these days. But the old system still works, I checked it and it is a way to get rid of smoke.

If you have something similar, then it makes sense to have some kind of small wood stove stored somewhere so you can use it if you need it.

Store some wood too, or in worst case you can use furniture, doors, frames, books floor etc. In best case scenario use parks for collecting fuel.

Think outside box, if your apartment building does not have chimney system (i guess most modern buildings do not have it) have some metal pieces and lead smoke through your balcony, window or hole in the wall that you made.

Sounds dirty and stupid maybe but people used it a lot during the war in apartments, and do not forget that a longer metal exhaust that leads the smoke out means you can keep the stove closer and stay warm.

There are two problems here, poisoning which you can avoid by building a proper system, and of course investing some money in CO detector.

Other problem is smoke coming out from your apartment, people mentioning it a lot, as a possible invitation for trouble.

Actually in real SHTF there will be lot of smoke (and smell) in cities anyway, but if you see that it could be problem try to use fire by night, or „hide“ the exhaust little bit, so it does not look obvious from where the smoke is coming, try to disperse it a little bit so it does not look too „controlled“ and more like regular burning apartment.

These are just some thoughts on this that I think matter. How do you plan to prepare if you can not get out of your apartment or house and you live in urban environment? Share in comments below or community forum.

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Aftermath of Terror Attack. Time to Think Clearly

Terrorist attack in Paris is all over the news, and it should be, because it is something important, and we all should learn something from it, but do not let yourself be fooled and learn from it.

Freedom of speech is something that we all need to fight for, and this yesterday was grim reminder.

Over there in Paris people got simply attacked for something that should be normal for every man, to express his opinion about every subject. Freely!

The strategy of extremists is clear, divide society, so their idea of holy war can happen. When more people treat muslims bad, more muslims become radical. This strategy works and is why groups like ISIS grow.

Many people try to take advantage of situations like this. Some want you to be more suspicious of muslims, the government can approve new laws to control and monitor what we do more “to protect us”. Companies try to sell some services that they say keep all of us safer.

This is the big picture but some other things are more worrying. In my course and here I try to make people think a lot on local level.

People are killed in the middle of modern city. Those terrorist came out in the middle of the day, in combat gear, moved like professional soldiers (because at least one of them did spend time and probably trained in Iraq), and killed unarmed people without mercy.

They did not look like young amateurs, they looked like trained men, with objectives. They even got away with it in Paris. We do not talk about small village in mountain region somewhere in Turkey. We talk about Paris.

So first thing people should understand to not take anything for granted. You should not be more suspicious of muslims, you should be more suspicious of everyone and not just from today on but also before yesterday.

Stay aware, have a plan. No need to walk down street and look for places that provide cover constantly but know how to get out of situations and think through situations.

Terrorist acts like this bring chaos and uncertainty. All this also happened in country with strict gun control, but this is just something to take note of.

It is not strange at all, people simply feel less safe now, kids could not be safe at school, maybe you question if your workplace is safe, are we still safe to write and draw what we want?

People are afraid.

And when whole bunch of people are afraid they are looking for someone who leads them, who tells them that everything is going to be fine. They look for promises and swift actions.

And of course they are starting to generalize things.

So situations like this are easy to take advantage of for someone to come up with promises about swift actions and better world and to lead masses.

Politicians will do this now and once SHTF and survival is becoming hard local leaders automatically take advantage of smaller “shocking” events too.

In situations like that when many are afraid it is easy to get swallowed by waves of emotions. Now is time to be either sheep or shepherd or even wolf.

Control your emotions. Put them aside and and monitor what all parties now do. The right wing, the moderate people, the fundamentalists. For survival you need to see clearly. Like in military operation put emotions aside and understand situation and interests of everyone involved or you become playball of those who pull strings.

It is not about hating one whole group of people, or one whole religion, because it is simply gonna be manipulation if you allow yourself that. It can make you blind to more “real threats”.

This might sound cruel now but a lot of “big” terror acts are only big because we just hear more about it than suicide bomber who killed 37 people in Yemen yesterday as well.

Things look dark of course.

Real question is who and how do we „allow“ some group of people in the middle of nowhere to start launching attacks on our society where in the name of God and religion it is allowed to behead folks because they have different beliefs and different opinions, or women to be stoned because they said something wrong or got raped.

I simply can not beilive that some kind of organisation could not be bombed back in the stone age at the moment when world realizes they are dangerous for everyone. I hope terrorist attack in Paris is wake up call for many people in power to make things happen at the root of the problem.

I am not strategic genius, but I simply can not believe that it was impossible to defeat them right at the beginning of their growth. It shows what idiots with short term thinking run our countries.

Events like this have huge potential to bring something new, to bring someone who could look like saviour, who could lead angry people who lost their ability to think for themselves, to bring someone who can feed hungry people, give them safety.

People and organisation like those who did killings in Paris should be dealt with much earlier, and in much more „brutal“ way, instead of that, I can not escape feeling that they are being allowed somehow to bring slowly fear and chaos in our lives. They are like actors in the movie those in power direct. They are the bad guys and reason to justify a lot of the corrupt things governments do these days.

Just be careful, do not let your freedom of speech and thought get controlled by anyone. I repeat again, now it is time to see clearly and not ride waves of emotions.

It is responsibility of each and everyone of us, to think for ourself here. Do not let yourself to become one of the guys who are allow to be led by the wrong people, or ideas. No matter what are the names of ideas. They do not have to look like dictator. It could be popular talkshow host or media channel.

We all need to train to form our own opinions. When the time for real survival has come you need to make decisions fast and right decisions. If you never trained that you become victim of circumstances. Helpless and controlled by environment.

Since yesterday world has become more radical because everyone takes a stand now. What are your conclusions about this? Share in our forum or comments below.

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