Sleep Deprivation and SHTF

 

Image from Häggström, Mikael (2014). “Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 2002-4436. Public Domain.

 

 

It is one of those things that lot of people do not see, that when SHTF they will have big problems with and due to sleep deprivation.

Reasons are many, maybe it is going to be too dangerous so you’ll be forced to stay awake for prolonged time, or simply your sleep cycle will be messed up because you’ll be depressed when SHTF, or you will not have enough time for quality sleep…

It is important to understand what you can expect when sleep deprivation gets you…

 

 Your Performance

I use to call that feeling –„being in a bubble“.

It is like being on drugs that makes you feel like you do not care about things around you.

For example you find yourself in situation when you do not care are you going to be shot, you clearly see that you have high chances to be shot from sniper on very dangerous intersection, you see that odds are high for that, but you taking that small chance (of not being shot) and go over that intersection, partly because you do not care and partly because you are feeling invincible.

You are in the „bubble“, in a strange state of feelings and processing information around you and that „bubble“ came, largely, from sleep deprivation.

Your perception of danger situation gets twisted in weird ways, and you react different, sometimes you want to be hero without reasons, or sometimes you become coward – again without reason.

Let’s at least say it moves you out of your „normal“.

 

Once, I was hiding for 3 days in ruined house with my friend, while unit of soldiers were out on the street.

Maybe 50 people with one tank, they were drinking and occasionally entering houses around our house to check for stuff, their tank was broken, something with engine and they kept the engine roaring almost all the time, fixing something with fuel or oil.

We did not sleep for those 3 days, we were ready to jump in a split second if they entered our house. On the third day my friend announced to me that he is writing poem about this situation, and I myself was very close to going out to the guys and tell them that I do not believe in war or something like that, in the belief they’d respond with ‘Okay, well then go from here(!?!)’.

Luckily that day they moved away after they fixed the engine.

 

Weird Things

It is subjective, but based on my personal experience you can expect after 3-4 days of no sleeping during SHTF  to see things that are not there, or on the other hand not to see things that there. (Toby comment: Be aware this can happen MUCH sooner in some people, even in less than 24hrs depending on the stressors around, age of the individual and overall fatigue level, among other influences)

This fact was reason for many deaths, and also it was reason for many scary legends in that time.

Personally I saw couple of times people that are not falling down after clearly being shot several times, dead people walking,  strange lights, sounds, or simply let’s say ‘ghosts’.

I learned over the time to notice and observe things like that, but not to react, otherwise I would probably have gone crazy.

When you hear baby crying 10 meters from you in abandoned and ruined house in the middle of night and you follow the sound and go there, and there is nothing there, but now same sound coming from other room that can give you some weird feelings in your guts.

You observe, but not react-otherwise you go crazy.

Fear and lack of sleep will play with your mind.

 

What Can You Do?

 

Just like with lot of other things connected with SHTF very often you can not do s..t with sleep deprivation because it simply will be there, but there are things that you can consider because they help:

-Stay Healthy

Sleep deprivation when SHTF is always accompanied with other things, so it is good to at least take away that other things. If you are having diarrhea, or you are malnourished, or simply you are out of shape AND you are in the middle of sleep deprivation that makes things a lot worse.

If you are in good shape and having lack of sleep, it is something that you can work with, you can survive.

– Do Not Be Alone

It is good old SHTF advice- do not be alone. Being with someone means that you can have support, someone who can recheck your decisions (or vice versa), someone who can take lead when you are „down“ or simply someone who can be awake while you are taking short sleep.

Be Careful With Stimulants (drugs, alcohol. etc…)

It is maybe not „politically correct“ to say, but again based on personal experience drugs and alcohol are helping in sleep deprivation BUT only in short terms, on longer terms actually they will f..k you up even more, so be VERY careful with that, nothing can beat a short normal nap.

Have Short Naps!

I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I had a full night sleep during my SHTF period. But I did have short naps. 20-30 minutes. And they help.

Even in the middle of shelling or fight, somewhere hidden (more or less) I would put sunglasses on and cotton in ears and had short nap. It was very „shallow“ sleep.

At night sunglasses can minimize the effects of flashes around you, and cotton can take away a bit of detonations sound. (yes, good thing to store today is „eye covers” for sleeping and ear plugs)

 

Sleep Deprivation and You

 

I have to point out that my SHTF experience was bit „drastic“, so you may not be found in middle of shelling, but still I can assure you that you will have problems with sleep deprivation when SHTF because of the amount of new situations that SHTF brings, so be prepared for that.

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Some Thoughts on Bugging Out

 

We at the SHTFSchool are launching our new „Bug out“ course. The first one will be running in Sweden (More details here) so it is perfect time to consider again some things about bugging out.

I written before about it, but it is never ending topic, simply because there is too many variables and small change in your particular scenario can push you toward the plan and action that would not work at all in someone else’s case (and scenario).

Over the years of writing articles and reading other folk articles and comments, and having my own SHTF experience there is clear that people „fixate“ on more or less same topics concerning the bugging out, so I’ll comment some of those topics.

Do I Need to Bug Out, When and How?

I wrote before about timing during the SHTF event when it makes sense to bug out, but what kind of event do you need to experience in order to bug out and how you are you going to do that?

If you expecting that you’re just going to jump in your car and drive to your BOL without problems then you are missing something or you are really good.

There are countless details that may be thrown in equation of bugging out but lets stick to the most important:

Making decision

  • Is event that is happening (or will happen very soon) a serious physical threat you and your family? (dirty bomb attack, serious weather event, civil unrest…)
  • Is staying at your home mean more danger to you than to go out and travel to desired location (bug out) considering all known factors of risk during the trip? (you are expecting that things going to be better out of your current area)
  • Your current resources at your home are clearly going to „run out“ much earlier than at your BOL (you have preps at your home but clearly you have much more in your BOL)

As advice, in a case of some serious event I would choose to move away from the area where there are more people (urban) to the area where there are less people.

It is general rule, but that does not mean that I would blindly run from my home out to the unknown just because I am in the city.

Sometimes bugging in make more sense even if you are preparing your whole life for bugging out, just check factors from above.

Way There

Getting to your BOL location can be simple like driving 100 miles to your location, but that 100 miles may turn out to be 10 days trip on foot.

You never know how it will turns out, but on some things you can be prepared.

I am big advocate of being „grey“, and that is very important especially while you bugging out.

What actually that means?

  • Your decision about using weapon needs to be made based on circumstances in that moment and for that particular situation. Sometimes it make sense to carry weapon openly, sometimes not.

Use common sense, if there are bunch of scared and confused people outside, trying to understand what kind of event is happening do you really want to go outside in full camouflage gear with rifle in your hand? What is the point of that?

If there is obstacle on your route (check point, armed people for example) can you avoid it and take other route?

If you really need to use weapon then use it to completely terminate threat, usually it will not be time to just „show the muscle“  it will rather be time to quickly and efficiently „use the muscle“.

  • Expect that lot of problems on your way you will have to solve by „bargaining“ , for example sometimes you ll be in situation to give money (alcohol, marijuana, bullets, medicine,clothes…) on some check points in order to go through maybe,-as a general rule for that there is this: do not ever give good reason to people to take the chance of attacking and killing you.

What that means?

If you are passing some local militia (neighborhood watch for example) check point (if you can not avoid it) you may offer your wife wedding ring, or your kid’s golden necklace, or your last 50 dollars, or last 25 liters of fuel… but you never offer 10 silver coins from your stash of silver coins, or your 1 pack of antibiotic out of box of 25 packs, or 50 dollars from the pile of 500 dollars.

Use common sense, usually people will avoid trouble if there is no gain from it, if they see good opportunity they might take chance, even if that means some of them might end up dead, it simply worth the risk in that times.

You need to look like ordinary guy, not like experienced prepper with lot of fancy stuff. You need to be grey.

Today,in normal times, people often see something in other people possession and they think „I wish I could have that“, when SHTF lot of people will think „ oh, I can take that“.

Being grey means a lot, and it means different things for different situations, but there is general rule here, and it is very simple: look and act like everybody else around you – do not stick out.

It goes for your vehicle, your equipment, clothes, way how you act, talk…

Examples are numerous, let say it is SHTF and you are bugging out with your pick up truck with 5 steel military canister of fuel clearly visible (among the other equipment) on the back of pick up.

It is great that you thought about extra fuel that you had stored in your garage for bugging out when SHTF.

It is not smart to show that to whole bunch of other people who are also trying to run away from chaos in the city in the middle of fuel shortage.

They were not smart to store that fuel for bugging out like you, but they will kill you for that fuel, because they like their kids more then they hate feeling of killing someone.

After fact that you need to be grey, let’s mention few more basics here:

  • you need to have at least basic knowledge about your vehicle. For example „fixing“ flat tires, radiator leaks, changing belts, ways to unblock cars from compromised roads and you need to have parts and means for that.
  • Your car might be your home for prolonged period of time, maybe your trip is few hours driving, but you do not know on what problems you might stumble and how long it is going to be.
  • You need to be ready to leave (forever) your car in a matter of minutes or even seconds, and continue on foot, so try to organize it on that way that you do not in hurry leave something with your car that is of life importance (for example water, or ammo, or weapon) Load the car with small packages, small containers, things easy to ‘grab and go’ (We DO NOT advocate the use of ‘totes’ in vehicles, unless you have a clear plan and means to empty that tote FAST into an easy to carry bag or similar method of easy to carry equipment.)
  • And in worst case scenario-no matter how good vehicle you have, maybe you’ll be forced to bug out on foot from the start, so have a plan for that too

That means you have to have equipment for long walk, plans for resources on your way, means to spend more nights in the field…

Few more things about planning and mapping your bugging out:

  • Have at least two alternate routes to your BOL
  • Try to understand- recognize, mark on map and avoid possible danger spots on your route (for example gas stations, police stations, malls, bridges,“choking points“…
  • Try to have either secret stashes (fuel, food, water, medicine, ammo…) or help (safe friendly houses, safe places…) on your route
  • Be ready to change plan, change routes, be ready to improvise and adapt, your traveling may look weird (not straight forward) on map, but it is more important to come alive then to stick to the original plan or to come there to fast.
  • Remember when SHTF that means new rules, so you may pose as a policeman, you may have uniform of city services, you may be reporter… all old rules are dead and your task is to get there. Improvise and adapt
  • Check map of your area for natural obstacles (and weather too) but have open mind. That means if for example there are rivers in your area of traveling then no matter that you are planning to drive the car still you need to be prepared for the situation that you gonna swim over the river (what kind of river is, how fast and cold, do you have right bag to put your most valuable items in for that river crossing…) if there is a mountain and winter be ready to spend night outside (have clothes and equipment for that) no matter again that you plan to travel with car

 

Good exercise would be that you go once per year and travel your „bugging out“ route by foot. It would give you some sense of few things. It would be without re-routes, real dangers and problems but still you would notice lot of things and you would get a few good ideas…

These are just a few thoughts on the matter. Those joining us on the physical bug out course, will learn and practice this and much much more…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Under The Bridge…

under-the-bridge

 

After maybe 6 months of horrible violence in the city, and life without enough food, water, electricity… after months of shelling, shooting, screaming and crying and simply after months of collecting wood for fire, plugging holes in my (what’s left of) roof, I “stumbled” upon on piece of normal life.

Through some contacts of mine, I managed to meet some guys from some kind of international force.

I need to mention here, in the war time there were all kind of strangers in the city, going in and out, through smugglers routes or with rare international convoys.

Some of them were UN forces, other were mercenaries, spies, or simply folks who want to earn money in bad and weird times.

Anyway, one evening I met these guys from Spain. Three big guys with even bigger smiles on their faces. Actually they stated they are from Spain, we did not care even if they came from the moon as long as they were of some use to us…

I was with two relatives, Spanish guys knew some English language and we knew some, and we wave with our hands a lot as an addition in communication.

They wanted to know whey they can find drugs and women, just like most of the outsiders wanted, together with what they called “war souvenirs”, weapons of war and stuff, interesting to them, or I guess exotic to them, flags with blood, knives, personalized weapons etc.

They had small assault rifles that they carried under their jackets, pretty fancy for us in that time, but what caught my attention was a small portable walkman on one of the guys belt and headphones around his neck.

I asked him ‘can I take that for a second and check?’ and he said sure.

I put headphones on my ears, started the machine and when music started I just had to sit down.

It was so powerful to me in that moment that I kinda lost it, I was like drugged.

I was sitting down and listened to the whole song, while Spanish guys looked at me, I guess to them I looked like some savage who never saw a walkman before.

They could not get it…

There I was, dirty and smelly, I could feel my toes in boots are sticky because water get in, I had weird rash on my neck, hand made cigarette smell like hell… but I sat, smiling like an idiot…

Music brought me back all that I have lost in last 6 months, it brought me peace of mind for a moment, memories of normal life, cafes and girls, the beach and fun.

Somehow I forgot all that in only 6 months time, and turned myself to surviving mode only, which was not bad, but in the same time, I lost part of me.

Few days before I met Spanish guys, one of my friends gets killed, he find himself in the open during sudden shelling.

He panicked, and gets frozen behind some telegraph pole, instead of jumping behind wall of ruined house few meters from that spot.

Piece of shell gets half of his head almost with surgical precision, upper half. Scary sight.

And that morning before we met Spanish guys we were (already) making fun out of his death, I said something like “can you believe that idiot tried to take cover behind a pole, like this is a cartoon”? and we laughed like idiots and drink.

I had no emotions about his death.

After we end up with deal with Spanish guys we went home, and I felt like I am gonna cry. Because stupid death of my friend, because I want to listen music not to shoot, because I guess music reminds me on normal times and fact that I HAVE to be sorry because death of my friend, not to make fun of it.

And in the same time I was angry on myself how one song can turn me into sissy.

Later I had the same feeling when I found whole bunch of books and brought them home to burn on the fire, and took one and started to read.

Funny thing.

Point is that no matter how bad situation is, you just need to have some connection with “normal” otherwise you’ll simply turn yourself into animal.

It can be a book, it can be guitar and music, or simply chatting with friends – no matter how hard S. hit the fan.

Do not forget that you are human and you need to have and express emotions, or simply you may burn out.

Today I heard that song on the car radio, and it brings me back to those times and feelings, and I sat down and wrote this post without too much thinking.

It was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Under the bridge” song.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going it Alone… Some Things To Consider.

wolf

 

In one of my recent posts I wrote (answering one reader’s question) about perspectives of surviving SHTF between being alone in urban settings or being in wilderness settings and similar, and just like always, I concluded that it is very hard to survive alone when SHTF especially in urban settings.

I’ve written numerous posts about advantage of having a trusted group when SHTF.

Still I get questions about how to actually survive alone when SHTF, or how to be lone wolf. So it make sense to write a post about it.

Yes, people managed to survive alone when SHTF, but in much lower percentage and at much higher price (and effort).

So, based on the my experiences, of what I saw, and what kind of folks  survived alone (and how). Here’s some advice for all you lone wolves out there:

 

Mental Strength – Having A Cause

 

Being alone in hard times gives you much more chances to find yourself without emotional or psychological support when you need it.

SHTF situation will have huge impact on your mental state, your emotional strength, and since you are going to be alone, you will lack that everyday small and big support from your family and friends in group.

Do not underestimate the effect of this. If you forget, over time you may well just turn into an animal, or simply get yourself in a state where you going to make some basic mistake and end up dead.

I was in group during my SHTF, and I had support from other family members, but still I had moments when I had doubts about everything, when I was so deep down that I could not see and sense and reason to move on, I had my own method for coping with that, together with support from close family and friends.

What you can do if you are alone?

Find yourself a cause and purpose in the chaos that will unfold around you.

If you are believer, a religious man (or woman) you may have an advantage here, that can give you strength and sense in everything.

Other things help also, be sure to find out what helps in your case before SHTF, because remember – you are going to be alone with your fears and doubts.

I knew a man who was alone during the SHTF, and he wrote everyday a journal about things that happened around him , he told me later that he started with that without any plan, over some time it became almost ‘sense of everything’, to carefully monitor all what happening and to preserve it in written form. 

 

Mobility

 

I already mention that if you are planning to be alone when SHTF you need to be mobile, very much, what does that mean?

It means that you need to be ready to move more, in any case , much more then if you had a group.

Acquiring information, getting resources, scouting etc etc it all come to you only, you are everything in your survival circle.

That can change lot of things.

For example how much firepower you can have alone in defending your home against invaders, let’s say against 15 invaders?

It simply mean that there is much more chance that you can not defend your home because you are one man, that equals that there is much more chance that you ll be forced to leave (run) from your home.

All that means is that you must be ready to have more. More then one shelter, more than one secret stash with ammo, weapon, food, etc more then one option for almost everything.

You need more options because you are alone.

It is simple- lone wolf needs to pay attention on same things just like any other group of survivalist, but much more and much deeper. Because you will pay for your mistakes much higher, and usually only once and you are gone.

 

Skills

 

Every survivalist need to have certain skills, group or no group. Lone wolf survivalist need to have skills to, but again on a much deeper level.

He needs to be expert in at least one (Relevant) field.  As a lone wolf you’ll be forced (especially in prolonged SHTF) to form some kind of alliances to get stuff, or simply you’ll be forced to join (for shorter or longer period) to some group.

When all you other „valuables“ are gone (and you have more chances for it to be gone because you are alone) you will have that precious skill as a bartering value. Your skill will be much more important to you because you are alone.

Choose today, before SHTF, some skill that you feel and find best suits you and learn everything about it.

Think about weapon repairing, gardening, medical skill, herbal knowledge…

Become a real master in it.

One more thing about being alone and skills. Simple fact that you are alone asks from you much more effort and skills then having trusted friends or group, and it goes like that for every aspect of survival.

It take much more time to gather firewood, start fire and prepare food for you alone, than if two or three men do that. Not to mention how many skills have three men combined together comparing to one survivalist.

Let me give you example, and it is real life experience based, if two survivalist travel through urban area and decide to spent night or few hours resting in some ruin it is easy more or less, they choose building, check it,and take rest with one man on watch.

If you travel alone, you will look for building, you will do that with more effort, it will take more time, you will look for a bit different type of building because there is one defender (you), you will have to make some traps (warning or killing) which will take more time, and you’ll sleep with „one eye open“ and so on…

As I said, both examples are from my experience and my SHTF. Being alone is not impossible, it simply requires more effort and skills.

 

Other People and You

 

You are lone wolf, but you will be forced to deal with other folks, that is for sure. You will come in situation to cooperate with other people, or to trust to other people.

My survival philosophy when it comes to urban survival is that urban SHTF means more people, and more people means more problems, because you’ll have to deal with people more or less in order to survive.

That „dealing with other people“ when you are lone wolf is much more dangerous then dealing with them while you are in group.

It is simply because you are more vulnerable, less protected.

For example if you are going to trade deal it is much more dangerous for you alone to make safe trade setup, as opposed to having you and two more group members with you.

With that in mind you come to the point where you may conclude that you’ll be forced much more to avoid people because you are lone wolf. It is simply safer like that.

There is reason why most of the lone wolves who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people.

 

Aftermath and Consequences

 

Again let me explain through my experience and my example.

I survived SHTF.

I have PTSD for years, which drives my mind everywhere, from thoughts of ‘reasons for still being on this world’ up to the thoughts of writing the book.

I can say that I am pretty much not capable of living normal everyday life, I cannot stand crowded places, in nice cafes I look for possible exits… in exchange for this pain I am completely sure and ready for another SHTF.

But again that does not give me ease of living normal life, simply I have lost that ability long time ago because I went through SHTF.

I forgot names of people, or streets or places, I even sometimes forget when exactly my kid is born.

But I remember so clear how grown up people cried before they died, gaping wounds and blood that always gave me „how much blood is there“ thoughts, smell of building on fire, crackling noise of fire and glowing that mesmerized me.

And I remember much worse things, they are carved in my brain…

I am all that and I remember all that, even though I had support through my group of family members. We cared about each other, about mental state of each one of us.

I feel sorry for lone wolf survivalist who will survive SHTF, he is going to be mess.

There is reason why most of lone wolfs who survived SHTF were kinda weirdos who avoid people before and have terrible time with the aftermath after…

As you might conclude up to now, there is no magic formula about how to survive alone when SHTF.

Rules of survival are mostly same like being in group, but much harder or sharper in a way, with much less margins for error…

 

*Toby Comments* – Selco raises a REALLY important point today about the ‘aftermath’.

So many of us are focused on surviving bad times, but we have to think, what ‘price’ will that journey cost?

One of the reasons we do so many of our physical courses in the Balkans is to clearly show people the ‘aftermath’ of such events. Even now, 25 years after the war, you will see people, ‘regular’ people, just wandering in the streets and the towns, still clearly struggling with what they went through. It is ‘normal’ in this area.

Every village, every town, has the people that are ‘known’ (by the locals) to be ‘still fighting the war in their mind’, to visiting outsiders it is a often shocking, very clear and sobering indicator of the cost of living through terrible times… This is an aspect you cannot afford to overlook.

 

 

 

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USA – Looking In The Balkans Mirror?

mirror

For years I have been following news from the survival “realm” all over the internet. One thing is for sure: every day in those years when I read survival “news” I could conclude, based on the headlines, that the world is going to chaos and end in the next week, next month or next year.

And still we are here discussing, we have all the comforts and commodities. Let’s say we are doing fine.

But now, for the first time, I have a feeling that world is going to chaos really soon.

Too many things are seemingly “moving” inside global calculations, and this time we could be close to a “big one”.

No matter how much food, ammo., training and skills you have when SHTF you are gonna be surprised. Most of us have been in the mode of preparing for something that is not happening for years, and when it finally happens there is going to be a period of shock for the folks, and in that period a LOT of people are going to die.

Since most of the folks who read my stuff and subscribe to my courses are from US, things that are written here are meant for them mostly, but not exclusively for them.

Every now and then I get questions about similarities between situation in US and the Balkans before SHTF. And I have read couple of good articles about the same topic lately.

Since I have lot of people that I can call good friends, and they are from States, I am going to point out some things about my Balkan SHTF and possible US SHTF. There are some serious and worrying parallels,  even we are talking about two different systems.

Feel free to prove me wrong in comments, I am open to discussion…

 

System

“The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . having a mob entirely at his disposal . . . .” —Plato

I have lived in the system and country where we believed that we are all equal. Different nationalities, different religions etc. Melted all together to make one “big and prosperous” nation, to be great and equal… united.

And then leverage of world  forces simply changed, and suddenly we are being taught that differences between us are more important than similarities and “one nations”, old history battles are been taught again, one group suddenly is more important then other and so on and so on.

And then came “leaders” or saviors that led us against others. After years of carnage, here we are again with almost the same leaders.

I have been through the war and met many folks on every side shooting because they have been told that other side is evil, and yet all sides are the same at the end.

Rich are richer, poor are poorer. Nothing changed. Nobody learned nothing.

 

Big Circles and Small Circles  (and your decisions)

Again and again, there is a big circle and small circle. You may have illusion that you are controlling things in bigger circle, but it is only an illusion. What kind of government you’re going to have and what kind of politics they use in the next years is not up to you, you just have been smartly led to believe that you can make the change.

It is like that…

At the end it all comes to the matter of power and possession, and you are just small piece of everything, you are small part of the tool.

Over the years I have learned that it is more important to have one more month of food stored or one more skill learned then to waste time on worrying who is going be elected.

It is a waste of time, when SHTF they all gonna do the same more or less, oppress people and take their rights and liberties very easy.

 

Your Rights

Living in society where you have certain rights and freedoms for years is a good thing.

The bad thing is, when SHTF and you lose all those rights in single day, and you find yourself so shocked that you simply do not know what next to do, because you had those rights for many years, it became totally natural for you to ‘own’ it.

Having lots of conversations with friends from the US, I concluded that the majority of common folks their simply do not understand that all your rights can be lost in one day.

And not by the evil invaders from the space, or Russians or who ever. Your government can take it. In One Day.

Majority of folks simply do not see this as a possible option, and even preppers their who understand it, may look like ‘weirdos’ because of this viewpoint.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to live in country where I can buy weapons easily, where I have rights to protect my home, where I can say freely (more or less) what I do not like.

I like that very much, actually I admire it.

What I do not like is feeling that most of the people think it is written in the stone and it can not be changed.

In short, things that I like most about US is going to be the biggest ‘loss’ in US when SHTF, and not only the US.

When SHTF there is going to be lot of surprised people, a lot of shock.

 

Your Perception of Future SHTF, Prepper Movement in the USA

 

I can not get rid of the feeling, that majority of people see SHTF as a big fun, shooting while drinking beer, with additional testing of all of their cool gear.

I see that in blogs, comments, forums, documentaries, movies…

I had more then one participants of my course who told me ”this is not fun, it is hard, and not so pleasant”.

I had people who have been preppers for 30 years and never considered the fact that when SHTF it is going to be smelly all around you.

There’s been a man who advises skateboard as a ‘good’ transport through SHTF city, a man who thinks that 30 brand new gold coins are going to get him through problems on his bug out trip and so on and so on.

Now I am not mocking with people who stated all the above. What I do not like is believing in “facts” that are not checked.

If you never been through SHTF you may not have the idea that it is not fun, but quite hard and unpleasant. Where do you think people and dead animals are going to be buried? Where will the garbage be taken, human waste and everything else? A foul smell is going to be a constant.

Don’t you think offering someone a brand new gold coin for safe passage won’t bring some “oooh maybe he has more of those interesting funny unusual gold things with him” attention?

Why don’t you try to have 10 cheap gold rings in your pocket instead, and offer on every “checkpoint”, one that you directly pull down from your finger with the words “here take my engagement ring, just let me pass”?

Is a guy going to think “oooh, maybe he has more of those his engagement rings in his pocket”?

Same things go with trade.

Examples are numerous.

Common sense is something that is missing mostly in “mainstream” prepper movements, and I understand that , it is business, it is about money.

But folks, choose carefully what advice you are taking as a real.

For the average, beginner prepper, the USA looks like paradise. A place where you can look and find correct information, also look and find correct equipment for future SHTF, but that also brings risk because there are more false and wrong information and mindset than right.

Personally I like what can be found in the US, because in most of the cases, I know what is good or bad, but for beginners it is much, much harder.

 

Conclusion

As some kind of conclusion for this very hard topic, because it is wrong to put things right with generalization:

  1. It is going to be very ugly, much more ugly than my SHTF experience here, simply because the ‘fall’ when SHTF going to be bigger. The “Distance” between modern everyday life and life in SHTF for the USA is WAY bigger than in my time. Majority of folks are “soft” and to dependent on the system.
  2. The ‘Survival Movement’ is big business, and it has become more (much more) about selling items (to make you believe that you are prepared) than about learning and gaining knowledge.
  3. Wrong perceptions about SHTF (or at least not checked and “experienced” beliefs) are rooted so hard, they have simply become the ‘accepted truths’. A LOT of these ‘truths’ are simply false and there for earning money, not for survival.
  4. A good thing is that you have much more options about  choosing and owning weapons, but this option can ‘bite you back’ if you have weapons, but with the wrong mindset, ‘truths’ and knowledge, simply because a whole bunch of bad people are going to have weapons too.
  5. The majority of folks are not ready to bend the rules and adapt. There is lot of talk about adapting, but then suddenly you get whole bunch of folks who are thinking “I’ll do that” or “ I’ll never do that” instead of “I’ll do what has to be done (adapt to situation)”
  6. Working with other folks. You need to work with other folks, to have friends, group, connections-before SHTF. Survival alone is for really tough mother…kers.
  7. People prepare for SHTF, but not really, they are preparing for the romantic, movie version of SHTF. They want to feel cool and comfortable when SHTF, which is not a problem by itself. Problem is that they want that at the expense of real knowledge and covering of real basics. So you have a man who has a fancy and really cool rifle, but does not know how easy and fast in real fight it is to use 500 rounds, so he ends up without ammo in a week. Or has a generator but does not have a clue how to light a fire, or the differences between fuels for fire in terms of heating, smoking etc. Many examples…
  8. Do not look for higher reasons for the situation. You may have political options today, fractions, candidates, government. But when SHTF all that are empty words from some other distant time. When SHTF you will have yourself and people who want to harm you. That is it.

So folks, make sure you are preparing for the realities. I would encourage you to start ‘fact checking’ your plans and preps today…

 

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Strategic Savagery: How to Use Terror

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It looks like there is no sense and order in what ISIS folks are doing while they are terrorizing people and burning them alive, stone them to death, kill captured soldiers or simply women and kids. But spreading terror and pure fear makes lot of sense in terms of strategy, especially in already „chaotic“ times and territories where they are trying to advance.

Terror is a psychological game.

The „they are coming for me feeling“

I have experienced for myself, more than once the feeling that „they are coming for me“. It is that moment when you are armed and ready, together with more folks, who are armed too and we are all waiting for attack.

And guys who are attacking are famous for the fact that they do not take prisoners, or that they have few sick guys who are collecting ears from the captured people, while they are still alive.

No matter how well you are armed and prepared and ready to fight, if you hear about their atrocities for weeks and then one evening you are forced to fight with them it will have impact on you.

You will face stress of battle but also have to deal with your own fear.

Of course different people react in different ways, so some guys will break down or give up even before fight, without single bullet flying through the air.

Some guys will even surrender without fight and beg for mercy, even they listened stories about „no prisoners“ for weeks. Often they are the people who can not imagine how truly evil people act. They think because they would not kill and torture other people they do not know nobody would. It makes no sense, but it is what terror does and why it works. It makes people act without sense, makes them do stupid things, to be confused and not logical.

Terror is advanced level of trash talk in sports where one opponent tries to make the other one angry that he loses focus. When it comes to terror it is just fear that is used as weapon.

I have seen that sometimes only rumor about some infamous unit coming to attack is enough that groups who are very well organised simply fall apart.

If you hear that there is unit coming and they will torture and kill everyone in their way including your kids and woman, you have two choices: To fight to the last or run.

In the movies folks will fight to the last, but in reality most of the folks will simply run. The difference is like walking on edge of the sidewalk or walking on edge of a high building. In both cases you walk on edge but only in one case a wrong step has much worse consequences.

Few times I asked myself why ISIS has so much success over there in Iraq and Syria. One of the answers is terror. Nothing spreads so fast like terror.

I also think the idea you can have ultimate power over life and death of people makes many people want to join them. People get high on power and that they can decide who lives or dies. If this happens in group you usually find people trying to be more brutal than other people in their group. To be the most respected a feared one.

You finally can rule over people, to judge, it does not have anything to do with religion, it is in human nature of some folks.

Few months ago I read some US weapon forum and one of the members shows his rifle and said how he bought it cheaply and how it was probably used in Balkan war.

On the rifle butt there was still small engraved sign of the unit visible. And strangely I knew that unit.
Unit was famous in war because they (like many others) did lots of bad things, rape, kill prisoners and similar things like private prisons etc.

But at the end most of them ended up dead, killed like the people they killed.

Once when people realize that bullets can kill you no matter how famous or infamous you are it all gets easier.

People dealt with them, and today they are just something like weird war memory with a sign on someones rifle butt. This is a lesson you need to keep in mind in situations when you face enemies that cause fear and terror in you.

First you need to accept your fear and terror. Some people do not accept it and try to pretend its not there until it breaks out and makes them unable to function. Often in situations when it matters most.

Be aware of your fear and terror but also confident in your abilities to face this enemy. This is attitude that you need to show openly also to all members of your group. In groups emotions always get amplified.

Just like walking on edge of high building you focus on the task at hand, the walking or fighting and forget about consequences for that moment.

Terror needs to be dealt with brute force, before it spreads way too much to be contained. It is like disease.
You can get sick from terror, just like from pneumonia for example. Symptoms are fear,panic, doing illogical things, or having urge to run away before even you realize who is your enemy and how you can defeat it.

This is why we prepare, practice and learn to focus on what matters to achieve our goals. Terror only works if you give it power.

What do you make of ISIS and their actions? Please share your thoughts on this and how you try to deal with terror in community forum or comments below.

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Bugging out: Why I missed best time to bug out

Best way to survive is not being close to any problems.  I missed my chance to bug out in time. I ended up surrounded by enemy army and trapped in city for a year without power and regular resources. Everyone fighting for the little what was left and being shot at by snipers and artillery from enemies did not make experience any better.

There are many reasons why people fail to bug out. Last week Jay (guy I run this website with) left Bangkok because of military coup. He first did not want to leave right away but then common sense won and he left. Nothing bad happened after he left, but it could have.

There can be many reasons like failure to recognize that S. gonna hit the fan, blocked streets on the way out of the city, problems convincing everyone to leave or just some special events you want to stay for.

I mention many times why I failed to leave city before everything became blocked. So I said that simply I did not see signs, or even if I saw something that looked serious to me, I assure myself that everything gonna be OK in short.

And of course media was there to told us that everything gonna be fine, nothing gonna escalate etc. and all of this above is true, it was like that, but as the time goes by I am able to see one more mistake that I have done that contributed to the my choice of staying.

Actually it was not really choice, I failed to see that I had big choice to make back then. We humans like to go with the flow and that is what I did. There was no choice, just years later and when your freedom is taken you realize you failed to make right choice.

So the big mistake I also made was the fact that I was simply thrilled and excited how events are unfolding in front of my own eyes, it was kinda mesmerizing.

You know that feeling that you are going to be part of something big, something that it is gonna be part of history books?

I had that feeling on some subconscious level I guess.

It was like being part of event that goes like this:

  • Day 1: Today we lost ability to phone outside town, sporadic shots were fired whole day, on the TV there is no news from our city, which is weird…
  • Day 2: I just saw tank on the street, went to check is there anything left in the store to buy or take, but actually there is no store anymore, tank was slowly rumbling over the street, guy who was standing next to me said „they gonna ruin the asphalt with that beast“ like that is important, but that guy still thought in old terms, like we all did. I think he thought that it is temporary, and tomorrow city gonna need to repair that street because tank ruined it, and we all pay that through our taxes, and so on, and so on.
  • Day 3: Our first neighbor shows up with rifle and said „I ll gonna shoot those mother……s „ I ask him „who?“ he said „anyone who approaches my house.“

At the beginning it was like being in movie, but pretty soon we all were like „f..k, people get killed for real here“.

One day after another day, events simple unfolding, more dramatic after dramatic. It is a bit like slow collapse that we experience now, changes come step by step, even in short time but it is all exciting until one point and then it can be too late.

This is what happened, one day it was simply too late to leave.

Now you need to understand me that this was not the only reason why I stayed in the city, it was not even most important, I speak about everything in detail in my course. But still it was the one of the reasons and one of the reasons that can be easily overlooked.

It is important to be mentioned here, simply because I can see and read in many places that lots of people still make similar mistakes. It is simply interesting for them to stay and see what is going to happen.

For those of you who were part of some SHTF event, whatever it was, some natural disaster or similar, you may understand what I am trying to say.

It is the fact that timing of events is not going to wait for you, it is going to unfold on its own, and at the end it is simply gonna overrun you if you are in its path.

You will be left behind to sit through consequences or destroyed.

People often act like world is spinning around them, and like nothing bad is going to happen to them, while in reality you (and me) are nobody in bigger picture. When you get more experience as survivalist and prepper you maybe even become arrogant and think you know what you deal with and can stay and wait.

I was young then, and my blood reacted different on gunshots, screams, or hearing about attacks or defense, or pride and similar, so I can blame that too. But still, it is easy to fall into the thinking of „staying to see events“.

Oh it was interesting for sure, especially in the beginning, before I realized fact that people died in great numbers, and that there is a huge possibility that I could be killed too, and it would not be some big event and very soon it is over.

Later it was all about trying to survive, something like constant running for your life. You become very humble man if you almost lose all control over things around you.

And remember the saying: “May you live in interesting times”, but also remember that it is as much curse as it can bring you excitement in good times. So if you see that „interesting times“ are coming to your neighbourhood, just leave the area, it is much better to be „bored“ but alive somewhere else.

Did you draw clear line for yourself when you bug out or bug in?

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Common sense survival. The return of natural selection

How do you imagine real survivalist?

Is it a man hidden inside underground bunker with food for 10 years, completely cut off from outside world? Or is it guy with crazy haircut driving bike on methan, in full leather outfit with communicaton skills not more than screams and some strange gurgling noises, armed with swords from fantasy games and maybe a chainsaw on the back?

Both examples are something like strange fantasies or for some even wishes („I want to be like that“) that I saw on more than one survival forum, or TV shows.

There is also picture of the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks when SHTF, and survive everything. There is strange opinion in some people that having stance like „I ll do only that when SHTF“ either only good, or only bad in terms of pillaging and robbing will keep them safe. If you look at things are going in nature, you know, natural way does not mean happy end.

Lots of regular people in todays society see us prepper and survivalists as weirdos in camouflage suits, conspiracy nuts and similar. Most of them are right, lots of „survivalists“ also help in building that image of survivalists. It is hard for some people to just shut up and prep, what they should do to keep low profile. But some people make survival so much part of who they are they want to show off. Their choice.

Point is that there are lot of definitions of survivalists there, and each one of them is like „written in stone“. I think survival is more about how you are as person and not what you expect. Once disaster strikes, you will see tough guys helpless and regular guys become strong forces. True nature shows up.

Several days after the shooting started I arranged with friend that he will pick me up with car so we can go and finish some job. We went to relatives apartment to look for useful stuff but everything was looted already. In that time vehicles could still drive, but shootings were everywhere and checkpoints too. So violence within the group of people who were caught up in the city was on top of shooting and shelling from enemy army.

At this point in time, nobody knew who shoot who and why, and what groups stand on checkpoints, but people already got killed.

When he came to pick me up I noticed that rear lights on his car were smashed, broken. And inside car he had some kind of steel plates with hooks and wooden bars that you could kinda attach to the inside of the door.

He explained to me that he smashed rear lights when he concluded that people get killed when snipers and machine gunners spot them after they hit the brake in the middle of the night during driving (lights are not used anyway during the drive).

That driving with him was closest thing to the apocalyptic Mad Max version of driving. It was still possible to drive through the street, but it was full of junk, debris, and bodies here and there. He used big lights occasionally when he really needed to see something, but only for sec or two, other than that he was driving in the dark.

On our way back he changed position of some steel plates inside car because he expected different directions of possible incoming bullets.

We survived that drive. That dude was not ex special forces member, or guy that you imagine, some strong tough dude. He was simple family guy, he worked as a postman before everything.
He had no experience with violence, gunfire or anything similar other than dogs barking at him while he delivered mail.

You may say „oh, nothing too smart, it is common sense to not use brake lights and put something between you and flying bullets“, and yes you are right it is common sense, but point is that you need to know WHEN you need to start to use common sense.

Great number of people got killed because they „waited to see what is gonna happen“, other folks started to use common sense early and survived (at least more of them, because no matter what we do there is always factor X that you are simply at wrong place at wrong time).

Those who can switch fast and let ideas of normal life go, increase their chances for survival a lot! Many “fantasy” survivalists will wake up to big surprise that things are not like they thought. It is true you should understand and know what to expect but even more important is to quickly change your way of life, how you think about security. Flexible thinker survive because they have many options to do things and react if they have to.

Other time shelling caught us on the inside of one of the apartment buildings, group of some 5-6 of us. Whole floor collapsed around us and on us.

Few seconds later we get on our feet, and find out that one of us is half buried under the rubble, other ones get minor wounds and scratches. We started to dig to uncover the buried guy, after that we realized that he was almost shredded from his thighs down, and his feet were under the piece of concrete wall.

After one try to lift him, we realize that there is no way to do it.

His legs were in so bad shape that while I was trying to do some kind of bleeding control I realize that actually I do not have clue what leg is left and what is right. It was simply all messed up and mixed from thighs down. Under the knees I could see that all was mixture of white and red, pressed and mixed. And he was screaming big time.

Shelling started again, with pretty big chance for all of us to be buried under the walls. I would be liar if I could say that I did not wanted to leave that dude there stranded, and just get the hell out of there, but somehow I still stupidly was trying to stop bleeding with straps from the shirt.

Then (luckily) one of the guys stepped out and push me, then with rifle bayonet he simple cut of almost amputated feet from stranded guy who luckily passed out, took him on his back and said “OK, lets go“. After we left the place, it collapsed from shelling. And strangely stranded guy survived everything.

If that dude did not cut his feet off we probably all got killed, or would have just left that man to die there.

Luckily one of us had common sense to do what has to be done in very quick and efficient way, and he did not have any medical knowledge.

There are many more stories how people got killed in very stupid ways and stories how people who have common sense survived (more of that in my course), but you get my point.

Real survivalist is man (or woman) who know what to do in certain moment. Everything else is just talking and wishful thinking. If you want to increase chances to survive, learn to take action quickly. Your knowledge and your skills help you to make right decision and execute action better.

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Walking the line between human and animal

As many long term reader or members of my survival course know, I like to talk about important but some maybe call “not so spectacular” part of survival that is not so much fun like for example talking about latest guns and gadgets.

Today I want to talk about dignity and what it means in survival scenario. Before I talk from own experience, read the extract below from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin who describes what happened after his unit freed the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during second world war.

At the moment of his writing every day hundreds of people still died and it was place of pure horror.

It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for those internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.

Importance of still being human and not become complete animal is often overlooked part for people who prepare for long term survival. I had over one year to fight against becoming like rats around our house during war.

Expect to become more like animal

You can have all equipment ready for SHTF, ammo, weapon, gear… you can even be perfectly good trained in lot of different skills and fields and still when SHTF you can end up dead in the first days just because you what i call „refuse to believe“ whats happening.

It is that state of mind when man simple do not want (or not able) to comprehend new situation.

It can be one quick life threatening situation like folks attacking your home and you just waited few seconds too long to shoot some attacker, and then you are dead, end of the story. Or it can be whole process of failing to recognize new world around you and new rules (or absence of rules) and then again you just not doing correct things for the situation, and again you end up dead.

Example would be that when SHTF you are trying desperately to have and use power generator and light all rooms in your houses just because it mean normal life for you. And that normal life is gone, and trying to bring it back in that situation usually means more troubles.

Holding onto all comforts and behavior you are used to can be dangerous.

To make long story short, what I am trying to say is that you may be trained and equip like SEAL member and still you can be killed easily from some 70 years old dude, with even older rifle just because you were surprised when SHTF with amount of destruction and violence and you did not seen that old dude coming (or being so evil).

On the other side that old dude maybe lived through couple of SHTF events in his life, and he knows when it is time to act without hesitation and mercy.

There is still fine line you have to walk between losing your human side and becoming pure animal.

One of the things that changed a lot when SHTF is fact that everything became really dirty.

It was something like slow process, first people tried to keep it as clean they could, but without all normal services, like garbage trucks, running water and all other community services that make normal living soon it simple became impossible.

Later all garbage was used somehow, but in beginning it started piling up everywhere, when you add to that ruins on the street, human waste and dead bodies it was very ugly picture.

After some time, we started to accept dirt outside and it then was priority to stay clean and keep clean only inside that small circle inside your home, and when I say „clean“ I do not mean „clean“ like today. Maybe as clean as we could be.

For example simply moving through the city in the middle of the night meant that you needed to crawl, jump, hide, walk or run trough all kind of things, and very often some real nasty and dirty things.

Many times I was hiding on places so dirty that stench was almost paralyzing, once in the middle of the night I jumped behind some wall because sudden shelling, and when I jumped there I realized that I landed on dead guy.

His face was smashed with broken wall, and partially buried, place there was so small that I had to actually lay on him for some 20 minutes. He died probably when wall from the house collapsed after some shelling, who knows.

Fire from the shelling was so strong that I actually loved that dead guy and that place in that moment. I almost hug him while I was trying to be as small as possible because pieces of steel and rock were flying around me just like some crazy rain, while my stomach was rising and floating from the detonations and smell.

All I was saying at that moment was „thank you, thank you, thank you“ like some magic words, and I even was not aware who do I thank to, that dead stinky guy, my brain for noticing that small space, or God for saving me.

Today years and years later I still carry that smell inside my nose. But I did not move from there before danger was gone. It is survival and luckily I was already used to dirt enough to just stay with that dead guy.

Some folks just stopped to care about cleanliness and hygiene completely. So for them washing and cleaning become something like not wanted luxury. They went complete animal.

They simply stopped to care about these things, so I also knew some guys with look and smell so awful that even dead guy smelled like parfume store.

It was easy to surrender to stuff like that, I mean in trying to keep yourself clean.

But it was stupid not only in terms of the hygiene and illnesses, also by surrendering yourself you admit that you do not care anymore, and when you admit that you are only few steps from becoming animal with what you do too. People give up on themselves.

For me being as clean as I could be had something like preserving one of the last connection with “normal” life, with life before sh!t hit the fan, when things like neighbors, breakfast, car etc, were just things we took for granted, like things that always gonna be there unchanged.

Of course I was aware that being clean is important in order to stay alive because all diseases problem, no doctors hospitals etc. but on some psychological level it kept me sane and it kept me normal man.

Even in survival situation you need to still care about few little things to keep your dignity, to keep spirit up, to not lose yourself. If you stop caring about everything it is like disease that eats you.

When I came back from trading or scavenging in the city, I would clean or wash myself thoroughly in my yard before entering my house, again of course because common sense, hygiene and diseases, but maybe even more important I tried to keep all chaos and violence, suffering outside of my home on some psychological level.

I try to stay out of the everything, or actually I tried to keep everything outside of my home, like some ritual. I would keep the clothes for outside in bag, my boots were in one corner, never entering my room in it etc.

One of my relative wears pink slippers (mittens) when he was home sometimes, he would say that he just felt that everything is fine when he wear it. It was spooky and strange to see him in pink slippers while outside world is going to hell, but we all have some strange ways I guess to keep ourselves sane. Maybe wearing those slippers after he was forced to shoot some folks kept him sane, reminded him on some normal times when grandma wear it in the evenings.

On the other side, like I said in beginning if you stick too much to old habits you are not doing best for survival too.

So if I had to be animal, I was animal. It was about survival. For example there was a period when I eat just to survive, like animal, without paying attention what I eat or how. If I found some food I ate it in quick way, if there was some food with worms in it, I would eat it in dark, without looking what I eat etc.

Point was (and still is) to be man, but to be ready to be animal if you are forced to be animal, and thats it. It comes down to being flexible, adapting to situation and I hope this helps to crush the idea some Hollywood or fantasy survival scenarios show that survival is about being complete animal. No, it is fine line to walk.

You can (and you have to) have as much hand sanitizers, soap, disposable face masks etc. as you can but you can still end up dead if you are not ready to accept fact that one day you might be forced to „hug“ dead guy in order to survive, or eat roast rat or pigeon.

Once next collapse comes many people will wake up to reality and struggle to be human like they were or become animals and as skilled survivalist I hope you will walk fine line in between. The people who were walking that path were and Im sure will be those who have biggest chances to survive.

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Real Survival Exercises… that you can do today

Know your limits and push them when you prepare

We are preparing for any possible scenario, buying things that we possibly gonna need, practicing skills that we gonna need, talking and discussing about scenarios. We are doing anything in order to be more prepared and less surprised when sky falls down, when trucks stop going and it is each man for himself (and family).

Rarely we are ready to admit that we can not imagine how things are going to be. I found that part of preparing very important.

It is hard to discuss about things that we can not imagine, but it is absolutely important to prepare your mind that lot of things are not gonna unfold on the way as we imagine it now. When this happens we push our limits. You might have to do things you never do, see things you can hardly believe.

We need to prepare ourselves that we will be confused because this is what happens when you cross limits and end up at place you never been before. We need to expect that. We need to be able to feel confident while being confused and in new situations.

I mention before my friend who went trough same SHTF situation like me, and in some areas he experienced much more things than me. We talk and laugh a lot, we spend lot of time together, many years. But still he can surprise me with some of his story from that period, i guess lot of years need to pass by in order to men can talk about some traumatic events.

He was wounded couple of times, his story about one of his wounds is quite good for understanding how things are going, and how little or how great you can do in some situations.

Prepare for confusion

They hold position in one of the ruined houses on far outskirts of city, more like a small settlement a bit outside of city, he was there with 12 more guys when attack came.

He says attack was so great that they fired few rounds only in response and then started to run, in very loud situation, with lot of firing and explosions they had enough time for very short discussion and plan, so they agreed that they run and retreat to a position some 2 miles from that house, if things get rougher they agree that backup position would be 1 more miles from first one.

They split in groups of 3 people and start to run trough ruined settlement.

I laughed when he said to me that after 1 mile he said to two other guys „f#ck the first place, let s go immediately to back up place“ But he said to me it was not funny at all.

One of them gets bullet in the head, and stayed there, they could not even check him if he is dead. After some time he said they were running through the woods, he asked me then „did you ever run through woods, in pitch dark, while bunch of the guys trying to shoot you?“

I did not answer anything.

On some small clearing he gets bullet in the thigh, and fell down, other guy helped him, while they keep running and he dragged himself through the woods, they start to use hand grenades in the direction where they tought attackers are coming.

Anyway they threw lot of that stuff, and after some time, everything went quiet.

They dragged themselves to back up position, he gets some more medical help there, there he realized that he lost most of his muscle on his upper leg, he said it did not hurt too much, not to mention that he managed to run over some time with that wound. Adrenaline and fear for your life does this to humans.

Little bit later 4 more guys came to that position, two of them wounded, nobody else came. Those two of them tell them that they get wounded with hand grenades that someone was throwing on them in whole confusion and dark.

They said that probably other guys from the group get killed on same area in the woods, maybe from the same grenades.

My friend and his colleague did not say anything. In that moment he started to feel pain from the wound, he says it still hurts him sometimes, even 20 years later.

Learning from your or others experience is important but practice too

The takeaway from this is if you train for SHTF put yourself in new situations. Start by running at night, when its raining on small dark paths (that you know in beginning). It takes time to get used to things like that and feel more confident when you hardly see where you go.

Survival is about advantages. If I feel comfortable in shady ruins or moving fast during pitch black forest that is a real advantage. You can imagine how to do this, but try doing this is much more important.

It feels funny to step into the darkness.

Simple things like running in the dark can be practiced and can make a big difference once things get tough.

Try this:

  • Run in the dark
  • Eat things you do not like to eat and try to appreciate them
  • Be able to get dirty without getting stressed about it
  • Walk different ways, get comfortable with unknown environments

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Think about it this way, you are now in complete different world. Living every day like humans live. SHTF will be like moving on to a new, less civilized more brutal and unfair world. Like a fish in aquarium. When SHTF that aquarium breaks and you get flushed down toilet and have to swim in sewers. It is dirty and there are other predator fish out to get you. When the world changes you have to be ready to change too and from my experience many people could not.

If you hear this you might think, Selco has been in war so he describes very brutal situations I hopefully never experience. True, but in any crisis when people feel threatened they will turn unfair and every crisis will bring new situations. So when you practice this you will be better prepared not only for violent extreme SHTF, but for everything life can throw in your way.

If you are member of my course you will know from the interviews how unfair and wrong things can go. This helps to get better understanding of what to expect. Less surprises and hearing about successful ways to survive gives you a big advantage. But practice makes perfect so while theory is very important, a book warrior will never outrun someone who has real practice or experience.

Adjusting your life to do things not the typical human way and putting yourself in unfamiliar situations is one small change that can make you more confident when things get tough. Start doing it… better today than tomorrow. For some time now there will not be a better tomorrow.

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