On the Show this week, my old friend Chance Sanders pays a visit to Survival and Beyond! Chance is a former U.S. Marine marksmanship instructor and regular contributor to Equip 2 Endure, as well as the creator of an upcoming instructional DVD entitled: Surviving Civil Unrest. He also teaches survivalism, personal and home security and self defense in lectures and classes all over the country. During the interview, we discuss vital self reliance practices as well as Chance’s personal “Survival Mission”. I also talk about the mounting incidence of suicide and untreated psychological trauma suffered by our troops in the Middle East, as well as the organization: “March Forward!”, which is spearheading a campaign to protect the rights of soldiers who refuse to continue to fight the immoral and un-Constitutional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of our listeners from across the Atlantic sent me an email recently about a “synchronistic” event that occurred while listening to myself and my guest (bee keeper and survivalist; Michael Jordan) discussing the dwindling bee population:
Firstly, I wanted to commend you highly for a fantastic show you had put on, dated June 20th, as well as to the whole N.N. Team for your no-nonsense, educationally-enlightening programs and information.
I’m a first time listener and recent subscriber to Natural News, and had just listened to this show in its entirety (today’s Sunday June 24th), ending only a few minutes ago.
I’m dropping you a line from London, England… Y’know, the little island that sees nothin’ but rain & the odd glimpse of sunshine? :0) Well, I hope that you didn’t mind that I should send you what I’d seen whilst in the middle of listening to the show.
This smart little creature took advantage of the open patio door, just as an outburst took hold. Having waited for the rain to subside in the meantime , it started drying off its wings & gaining its composure. Once the coast was clear, it subsequently flew off.
Just couldn’t believe the timing of it all, considering the subject matter at hand (Bees… or lack thereof)… & at that very moment… Powerful stuff, even from right across The Pond!
A Big Thanx goes out to You, The Team & Michael Jordan!. Please keep up the exemplary work & leadership!
Ok, I don’t talk about zombie survival too much. I mean, the genre makes a great vehicle for entertainment (as well as a means of conveying real survival skills), but I don’t think there’s too much danger of being overrun by the living dead (or the living undead?) any time soon. And honestly, if you can’t escape from something that takes a half an hour to get to you from across the yard, then maybe you deserve to join their ranks!
Now if there’s some kind of man-made virulent pandemic that turns most of the population into highly aggressive, super-fast, super strong zombies (ala “I am Legend”), then I may have to eat my words – if not someone’s brain. But I’m not losing any sleep over it.
Anyway, I thought some of you would enjoy this piece of illustrated historical fiction (it’s not a comic book dammit! It’s an illustrated novel!) excerpted from Max Brooks’ “The Zombie Survival Guide – Recorded Attacks” which portrays a zombie onslaught against the Celtic and Pictish warriors of Roman-era Britain.
To download the entire ebook, right-click on the download button and select “Save link as…” Or left click on the button to open the PDF and save it to your computer.
Part 3 of Corcceigh Green’s Survival 101. If you missed Part 2 CLICK HERE
Every year many people hike into the woods and mountains for what they think will be only a few hours, then suddenly find they are lost and don’t know in which direction the road or their vehicle lies. Many times victims of being “turned around” can stop and assess the situation, then find their location and the way back to the vehicle. There are others, however, who have spent the night, days or even a week or more trying to find their way out. Being “turned around” is a situation that most have experienced. It is when we blindly follow our natural instinct to keep walking or to quickly find the path to bring us home and rejoin our normal lives that we get into trouble. This is why we must train in survival to gain the knowledge to act productively rather than worsen the situation by walking further away from our vehicle and help. Many lost hunters and hikers get into trouble every year in just this manner. They keep searching for the path out while not knowing the direction after which they move farther into the woods and farther away from help and from where rescuers would search for them.
Survival preparation for becoming lost in remote areas begins before any outing. We have covered our first preparations last week by putting together a survival kit. In a remote area we will not wonder far from camp or vehicle without at least a portion of this kit. The minimum equipment you will bring will be your first aid kit, firestarting kit, rain poncho, knives, compass, rope or line, coat or parka, firearm(s), hatchet and maybe a pup tent. If you usually grab a snack for a hike, I’d advise that too.
Survival practice begins when we realize that, somewhere, we wondered off the right path and no longer know where we are. It is at this point that we can either take productive action or make matters worse. First STOP. Don’t keep walking, looking for the right path. You may retrace your steps as long as you absolutely know you are retracing and not just walking in another random direction. While retracing if you find you no longer know where you have been or are going, STOP. Don’t move. Before it gets dark or before the weather brings rain, snow or wind find a place to camp. The sooner you begin preparations for camp, the better you will fare in this little experience. A camp area should be at least slightly higher than the rest of the surrounding ground. It should be free of snags, dead trees and trees with branches that might fall. Check the area for blow-downs (trees with weak root systems or leaning trees that might blow down in a wind). Your camp ground should aslo be close to water, but not in a dry creek or close enough to experience flooding. Shelter can be erected quickly and easily with a pup tent or rain poncho. Lacking these items, a debris shelter should be erected. If it is still early enough in the day, a debris shelter should be the first choice in shelters due to its insulating abilities. A rain poncho or pup tent may be draped over the debris shelter for extra protection against wet weather. It is essential to protect against wet weather. Even in summer in my mountains, lows from the Gulf of Alaska brings in cold, wet showers as was the case this June. Hypothermia will either be prevented by your skills in building a shelter or enhanced by your lack of skill. Don’t worry, we will cover this skill very soon.
Dig yourself a privy by digging a hole and placing some logs on either side, then a couple of poles across the logs for a seat. Don’t do this close to water and don’t do this in run-off areas.
Next put your camp in order by making a fire ring. A fire ring is made of stone and will contain a fire. By keeping your fire small, you will be able to build your fire ring close to your shelter allowing you to tend your fire as needed. Place some stones in a ring close to, but not against the entrance to your shelter. Remember, sparks can pop onto your pup tent or rain poncho and ruin them. Sparks may also lodge in your debris shelter and catch fire. You should shovel a layer of dirt against areas of your debris shelter where sparks might light.
Next gather firewood. You will need tinder even though you have some in your kit. Always gather tinder as you will probably be using a lot of it. Make sure you have kindling. Kindling is necessary especially in wet weather as this will dry and catch fire faster, then in turn, dry and catch logs on fire. You will always need more kindling to keep a fire going in wet weather and you will always need more firewood than you think even in dry weather to keep a fire going overnight. The point here is to gather as much tinder, kindling and firewood as you possibly can before dark. If the weather isn’t that bad, build a fire anyway as this is a good signal for those who may be searching for you.
During this process, as you are gathering and cutting material to build a shelter, gathering firewood and stones and clearing you camp, chances are you will spot something familiar, or notice a landmark that will let you know where you are and which direction to go. No problem. Go ahead and walk out. You’ll be on your way home. If not, don’t worry. You will survive the night very well in your camp. By morning you will be gathering more firewood and searching for wild edibles. Take extra precaution to not lose the way to your camp site and always bring your survival supplies with you. You will scout surrounding high ground and ridges for food and landmarks to show you the way out. At your camp and strategic bends in a trail, leave signs such as stones in the form of an arrow as to which direction you traveled in case someone searching for you comes across them. Chances are, along these ridges and high areas, you will spot your vehicle or the way out or searchers will spot you.
We will cover more particulars later. For the mean time, your homework is to take a hike in the woods. Go foraging for wild edibles or scouting for game or collecting crafts materials. Along the way take notice of areas that will make good camp sites and set up a site for the night. Build or set up a shelter and gather material for a fire. Spend the night if you have the time. If you can’t spend the night at least you’ll have a small camp location for recreation or survival for later. Good luck.
- Corcceigh Green
On this installment of Survival and Beyond, Ed speaks with Michael Jordan! No, not the pro b-ball star, but the pro bee-keeper and survival expert of the same name. On the show, they discuss the benefits of bee keeping and the vital role that bees play in our self reliance and our survival. They also talk about the ongoing depletion of the world’s bee population – brought about by pesticides and GMO crops – and how a bee extinction could lead to the end of all animal life on the planet within 5 years!
They also discuss the deepening threat of GMOs, Big Agro, the shadow government’s destruction of family farms and the systematic corporate control of our food supply, plus much more! And as usual, Ed covers the topical issues that affect our freedom, liberty and survival that the corporate media won’t tell you about!
And here it is. The wrap-up to the ”Thoughts on Urban Survival” series by Fernando Aguirre. I hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to check out his book: “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse”. I know I will!
Tea With Aunt Sheeply
“Why do you want to move to Spain? Here you can live much, much better. Here you can afford 3 maids, and a gardener, private school, private health and tennis lessons. You can live in what Europeans would consider a mansion”.
The argument was an old one already. My mother, my aunt and my grandmother were having tea in my parents living room. My mother was arguing with my aunt again. My father was gone before it even started. He went to fix something in the house as he usually does when my aunt is around. It’s been years since he last had the patience to withstand even 5 minutes of the woman’s narrow minded, sheep mentality ramble.
“Alicia, I don’t care about how many gardeners or maids I can afford here. You can afford to have that many people working for you precisely because there is so much misery that people will almost work for food. I’d rather live in a country where I can safely walk the streets and not have a maid. Don’t you see that the same reality that allows you to have 3 maids and a gardener is the one that can get you killed every time you walk out of your house?”
The argument went on and on, with my grandmother siding with my aunt. Not because she thinks that the reality of this country is good, no, but because she doesn’t want to see one of her two daughters leave to a country at the other end of the world.
Most Spanish immigrants, like my grandparents, hate to see the new generations, sons and grandsons, leave to the country they once escaped from, because it promises greener pastures. They escaped hunger, civil war, and now, 50 years later, they want to go back?
Old folks just don’t understand that. They had to leave everything behind, family, possessions, to give their family a better life. And in those days you just didn’t take a plane, my grand parents had to spend a month in a stinking boat to get here. They all remember that trip, and they just don’t get used to the idea of, thanks to airplanes, being just 24 hours away.
For all of them, moving to Spain means that their loved ones are a month worth in a stinking boat away.
There are many like my aunt in this country. People that, surprisingly, don’t fear SHTF, but actually look forward to it. It means cheaper workers, cheaper services, and new exploitation opportunities. And I’m not only talking about locals, I’m talking about large international corps. as well.
What locals seem to ignore, or simply don’t care, is that you still have to live WITH those that are in a much worse position. Maybe you are incredibly wealthy, yes, but wherever you go you will have to go with an armored car and bodyguards. You wont have freedom, not real one at least.
As I said before a number of times, people will surprise you for being incredible resourceful and /or incredibly stupid.
Most of the “Herd” will simply sail through life being happy that their favorite soccer team won the finals and that they can go have a couple of beers with their friends.
Notice that not much changed since the ancient Roman times, where the emperor claimed that you only have to give the population “circus and wine” to keep them content and under control.
People like my aunt, these are the fools that love vacationing in Brazil, and think that Cuba’s communism is the greatest creation right next to sliced bread. They will come back from Cuba in love with the place. Oh! The resorts, the food, so many cheerful people. They seem to forget that if Cubans don’t put a happy face they get executed, and that they have a great time because they are tourists with money that can afford to live like kings. Why don’t they move over there without a penny, and live as Cubans really do? Let’s see if the like pimping their wives and daughters to survive, lets see if the y like living like rats. Of course they don’t.
Another issue I want to point out. SHTF such as political crisis or economical collapses take time to settle.
There wont be a declared SHTF day. Yes, there are events that are like landmarks, milestones in the course of history. But it will take time, society will change little by little, until the new reality is assimilated and accepted, consciously or not, by the entire population. After a few months, you’ll se people talking about before and after certain event that changed their world. For you it may be 9/11, for me it’s life before and after the 1:1 (meaning the 1 dollar, 1 peso conversion) or life before and after the 2001 crisis. People use it on their daily conversations. “ So, you’ve been to Hawaii?, wow!” , “Yes, yes but we went back before the 1:1, now it’s impossible to pay for such a trip”, “ Yes, too bad”.
This time of uncertainness, until people accept that the world around them changed, takes time, months or even years, and it’s a SLOW decline, slowly slipping down. One day you’ll start seeing more people begging, more prostitutes, houses not painted, cars will start to look a little more shabby, because people don’t have money to fix them, until one day you will tell yourself “wow, this wasn’t like this 6-12 months ago.” Things do not get accepted day over night, a SHTF event may occur in a matter of seconds, but it takes MONTHS to sink in.
That’s why you should keep an open, independent mentality, and eyes and ears listening all around you, so as to stay ahead of the herd.
Financial security, and the ability to move:
The greatest survival trait.
Which brings me to my final consideration on survival, my final conclusion concerning surviving major crisis.
Yes, some paper money, gold, silver, but mostly money in accounts in a couple of “safe” countries and money invested in real estate.
We had people going from middle class to poor over here. We had people going through some terrible situations, and it’s safe to say that those that fared better where those with solid finances.
Our society runs on money, people. Not only paper money, but accounts and virtual money. It would take a world wide collapse, practically the end of humanity for money to be useless as a concept.
A country, or several, even a continent can go down into misery, dragging it’s local paper money with it, but the other end will rise proportionally. I truly believe this, and history also shows that there are always losers and winners, conquered and conquerors, the balance, the ying yang always remains.
A giant meteor could destroy earth and little green men could enslave us, yes, but in the infinite spectrum of possibilities, that scenario is the less likely one. I’d rather prepare for those that are more likely. And it’s very likely that though your country can go down with an economical collapse, suffer civil war or natural disasters, you will probably have the possibility to escape to somewhere safe, greener pastures.
Hel!, that’s what thousands of Argentines ultimately did, what my family did, and what I intend to do as soon as possible.
Just last week my parents told me that they ran across some old friends that recently moved to Spain. Bad guys broke into their home with them inside, don’t know exactly what happened but it must have bee ugly, so they got fed up of the insecurity and moved to Spain with their daughter.
I consider myself a citizen of the world, and have no problem to move if I must. I strongly suggest you think about this, because it may be the ultimate survival solution. While I do believe in the stronghold, retreat concept, I do not believe it is possible to fight off an entire starved, crazed nation.
If we are going to consider long term, permanent TEOTWAWKI, do consider moving to another country, far away, and plan accordingly. This means, having money in accounts, documents and passports ready, maybe even learn a second language.
Now that I think of it, a solid financial situation and making sure his kids had a worldly, ample mentality, was all my father did, unconsciously or not, to make sure his family survived, and he sure did succeed where millions of others failed. Considering he lived in a shack with earth floor when his parents moved from Spain 50 years ago, he sure did better than the rest.
My father’s “survival arsenal” ? a 22 semi auto, a .22 revolver and a box of ammo, until I convinced him of buying a 1911. Still, we did ok. Savings and investing was the key to our survival.
The survivalist that has 5000-10000 bucks worth of weapons, years worth of food and a safe water source but no money invested anywhere is not doing things right. Even if you invest all you have on your retreat, and manage to get off the grid and live in your retreat without the need of anything else, you are pinning yourself down to one single point in the map, from which you can’t move.
Look to what happened to an entire generation of Spanish. They fled Spain escaping civil war. Look at what we are now doing over here. Moving to Spain, escaping from a economical/political SHTF scenario. See a pattern here?
I know that some refuse to leave their country because of patriotism, but you still CAN be a patriot and still leave if you have to.
Many of the most dedicated fighters had to leave my country during the “Dirty War” civil war/dictatorship in the 70’s. They were alive to come back and bring those dictators and murderers to justice, while those that stayed and fought simply got executed. Which would you rather be?
Save money, invest, travel, make new friends, visit those long lost parents in the old continent, they will be happy to see you, travel around and learn about different cultures, how to be flexible and adapt to them. This is, by far, the best advice I can give you all when it comes to bad, bad, SHTF.
Sometimes, you simply run out of options. Happened here, happened before, and happened in several places. It can happen to you.
A person is not a survivalist simply because he lives in the woods, wears camo all day long, and has always a rifle hanging from his shoulder and looking for trespassers to shoot. That is not what I want in life, and that is not what I consider a flexible, adaptable person. In my humble opinion, the survivalist can feel as comfortable in the woods as in a cocktail party surrounded by sheep. He can play both games, he can adapt. He’s a person that can smile back at those that think differently and keep his convictions to himself if needed. A person that cannot tolerate the presence of others that are not like him has a limited adaptation capability and therefore is limited when it comes to survival. Maybe he’s great at wild life survival, but not at the real world, society surviving. He’s good at the kind of survival required to survive a plane cash in the Amazons, which is great, but he cant deal with society and other people.
You have to get over the idea of the retreat being the ultimate, final survival answer to a crisis. That’s incorrect. The final, terminal solution is to leave the country or region. And that requires some social skills and savings. Keep that in mind before you spend every single penny you have on the ultimate retreat. Before anyone beats me in the head with a cinder block, the retreat/bug in house is very important, yes, it’s the semi-last solution, it’s the place that keeps you safe through small and medium crisis (which are more likely than big time SHTF), and it’s also your home, the place you are more than likely to spend the rest of your life in if nothing goes WAY down the swage. But when TSHTF in a large scale, you have to get out, as many of you advised me to do.
Final thought: A Message of Hope
Finally, I want to give a message of hope to you all, and remind you and me both that survival is about surviving, but not for the mere fact of living , but to live happy, rich lives.
Prepare because it’s the smart thing to do, and not because you are looking forward to SHTF and other disasters.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that TSHTF will be a brand new start for you, and that all your problems will just go away and you’ll have a new start in the brave new world.
It doesn’t work that way. Quite the contrary, everything will get worse, small problems will turn into bigger, more serious problems. If you have drinking problems, you’ll drink more, if you can’t keep a job, you’ll spend years unemployed, if you have a disease, you’ll see that it’s harder to get attention and medications. Again everything gets WORSE.
Someone once asked me, “How is it that you cant shoot a criminal 200 meters away, but police don’t do anything to stop them?”.
SHTF, whatever type of crisis it may be, isn’t fair. It will be absolutely unfair.
You’ll have good, honest people starving, while corrupt ones make profit, you wont have a cop to protect you but they sure will come after you when a criminal presses false charges against you. That’s the way it works.
So, anyone looking forward to TEOTWAWKI for a fresh start, better think again, and get your life straighten out NOW.
Survivalists are often considered as dark fatalists, doomsday worshipers. This is not so, the real survivalist should not be like this. Negative people will have a hard time dealing with a crisis. It takes a positive, good natured person to make it through.
Know that there are dangers, and situations you can not predict and prepare as best as you can for them. But never forget to live life at it’s fullest.
You and I, we don’t know how long we have on this Earth, so make the best out of it, each passing minute.
A survivalist should not be a pessimist, he should always be positive, happy and enjoying life more than anyone else because he understands that each minute of peace we have is precious and unique, and he never takes it for granted.
The way I see it, the survivalist is a vital, fit, ever curious, good humored person. He’s fit because he takes care of his body, and his body takes care of him, he’s curious, because he thinks that it’s important to learn new things all the time, and he enjoys learning, he has a good humor because he’s sure of himself, and treats others the way he wants to be treated.
That’s how we should behave. Being a survivalist is 90% mental attitude. And even if SHTF does not occur in our life, that attitude makes our life more rich and fulfilling.
There are things in life we can control and others we can’t, the survivalist way of thinking makes sure we control those we can and accept those we cant.
So, if you have that mentality, either by having a fully independent homestead or simply a few funds, some supplies, a couple of weapons and bug out bags, set that chin a little higher, walk a little bit straighter, no mater if you are a doctor or accountant, trucker or plumber, be proud my friend, because you are a dyeing breed.
You are, without a doubt, a better person.
The saucepan is a symbol in my country. It was used to remove one useless President after another, a total of 5 in one week. People would beat the pan in their homes and on the streets as a sign of protest. The sound of MILLIONS of pans beating is… humbling, to say the least. It’s like one giant vibration wave that no one could ignore, therefore the president had to escape the government house through the roof in a chopper.
It is also a symbol of hunger. Thousands of Argentines beat pans like that one against the closed doors of the banks that refused to return them their money.
A powerful symbol indeed.
It only proves that it’s not the weapon, M16, FAL, M1A, it’s the willpower that matters.
A saucepan. When every single Argentine beat it, the power of all of them united was enough to remove a president, backed by an entire army.
Not a shot fired, just the will of the people.. and a saucepan to be heard.
Here’s the second to last installment in Fernando’s “Thoughts on Urban Survival” essay, in which he writes about the kidnapping that ran rampant in Argentina after the collapse. This is a subject that he brought up while he was on my show last week, and one that I had never really given much thought to in relation to an economic collapse. I was surprised when I asked: “You mean they were kidnapping rich people in Argentina?” and he answered: “No, they would kidnap anybody!”. You wouldn’t think that kidnapping someone from the same socio-economic bracket (i.e. the poor) would be considered a viable solution, but when things get desperate, people do desperate things.
MORE ON SECURITY – KIDNAPPING
The theory behind kidnapping is simple to explain, yet it evolved into a complicated issue that presents itself in several forms and the survivalist should understand to better defend his family and himself. The way kidnapping just popped out of nowhere it astonishing to say the least. One day kidnapping for money is almost unheard of, and within a couple of months, after the economical collapse, everyone starts getting kidnapped. The news report of about 3 or 5, sometimes even 10 kidnaps in one day in Buenos Aires city.
As time went by, the news dropped the issue and you don’t hear much about people being kidnapped any more. Does this means that the kidnaps stopped? I don’t think so. I still hear about people getting kidnapped in my own neighborhood, express kidnaps (I’ll explain later). Since my neighborhood is “nice” compared to most of Buenos Aires, I can only conclude that kidnapping is still VERY popular, but that the media isn’t reporting about it any more because of obvious political reasons. Why did kidnaps start in the first place? In a country where there were nearly 0 cases?
Because since the economy crashed, suddenly there where lots of poor people that didn’t have enough money to feed their families. This was the main reason, but not the only reason though. After the first riots and looting, it was quite obvious that the government and police had no true control of what was going on. Obviously they were overwhelmed.
Once the veil of crime=jail is lifted and people comprehend that they will not be punished for their crimes, it’s the beginning of the end people. All of a sudden, bank robbery, stealing, kidnapping and murdering people is just a matter of personal moral values, nerve and determination, and punishment is almost left out of the equation.
1) The first kind of kidnap to appear was the most common one. People were intercepted, either when walking or driving, by the band of kidnappers. Well organized bands of at least 5 or 6 members, with battle rifles, SMG’s and communications, intercept the victim with at least 2 cars. Do not be mistaken; these guys know what they are doing. In most bands you will likely find a LEO gone bad that decided to increase the poor cop salary the gov. pays.
The victim is taken to a far away location in one of the many extremely poor neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. They call asking for a ransom, a ridiculously high one, and the negotiation starts. The person is held for a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks. If a month goes by and the person doesn’t show up, forget about it, he’s already dead. Some times they torture him too much, covered his mouth with tape “As seen on TV” and the victim chokes to death, dies of heart or health complications or they just get scared of getting caught and shot the poor guy. They get scared of getting caught not because of the police efficiency, but because most of the time one of the kidnapers KNOWS the victim. Either an employee, friend, neighbor or relative that knows that X person has money available for Y reason, either he is already wealthy, or he sold or inherited and has a large sum of cash available. These kinds of kidnap are generally very gruesome, with tapes of the victim being tortured sent to the family, fingers getting cut and other creative means of encouraging the family to pay. Survivability of this kind of kidnap is about 60%-70%, give or take. Not good.
2) The second kind of kidnap is called “Express kidnap” because it occurs fast, a smaller amount of money is asked as ransom, so that the family can come up with it within an hour or so, and if everything goes as planed the victim is released with an hour or two. This is, by far, the most popular kind of kidnap we see today in my country. Even police advice you to pay and get over with when they ask for small ransoms. The victim is chosen randomly, because of the way he/she dresses, because he/she seems to be easy to control and dominate and isn’t likely to resist the attack.
Kidnapers found out that this low profit, but fast, low risk kind of kidnap is very profitable in the long run, and does not involve the complicated and expensive logistic of long term kidnaps, where you need a place to keep the victim, feed him, someone to watch over him 24/7 , etc.
The victim of an “express kidnap” rarely leaves the car/van he/she was pulled into. The criminals Survivability is much greater than in the 1st kind of kidnap, I’d say about 90%. This doesn’t mean that the victim is in good hands. Girls are raped by the gang most of the time. Men may fare a little better, probably get beaten up a little if they are problematic. The chances of surviving are greater because kidnapers don’t know the victim most of the time, they don’t have time to worry about the “what if’s” get scared and decide to get rid of the victim, and because police is almost never involved in them. As I said, when small sums of money are asked for they recommend to just pay.
3) The third kind of kidnap isn’t nearly as dangerous as the previous ones, but you should still know about it to prepare of it better. After all, it’s all about preparing and covering as many scenarios as possible, right? “Virtual kidnaps” caught all of us by surprise. It consists on someone knowing that a wealthy person is going to be “away from town” or unable to communicate for a certain period of time and taking advantage of it. They will call the family and say that X person has been kidnapped and that they have 30-60 minutes or sometimes more to pay (depending on the time the person will be unable to communicate) The family, unable to get in contact with the family member pays, only to later realize that it was all a scam.
Some SOBs even took advantage of real kidnaps, pretending to be the kidnapers and asking for ransom before the real kidnapers got in contact. This kind of “virtual kidnap” isn’t as popular anymore, though some get caught every now and them. Most smart people make sure they always know where family members are and communicate with cell phones or tell each other when they wont be available to prevent these situations.
I dedicated some time to the kidnap issue because I firmly believe that if your country goes through an economical crisis for any given reason, desperate immoral people will find out about the fine art of kidnapping soon enough and Americans may have to face this kind of threat, which they are not used to. I personally know a man that escaped his kidnapers 3 times. Once he escaped through the roofs, by removing some sheet metal in the room, and the other two he jumped out of the moving vehicle. You must think the man is 7 feet tall, all muscle, and trained with some of the best defensive schools… of course not. He’s a short, stocky, barrel chest fellow, now in his 50s that looks like a neighborhood Italian butcher.
This man’s weapons of choice? A frag grenade and a 357 revolver. He had the grenade rolling inside the car floor among the pedals the last time I heard of him. The thing would get caught under the pedals and at least once he crashed his car because of it.
He once even shot his own mother on the hip with the 357 magnum. A patient had escaped from a mental institution and broke into the woman’s house from the back yard. The old woman called his sons and the first to arrive was “grenade guy”. As soon as he entered the house he saw the man and shot him without saying a word, missed and wounded his mother in the hip. The poor escaped patient froze right were he stood when he heard the shot.
Right after this, the woman’s other son arrived and saw his mother bleeding on the floor next to his brother, and thought that the nut case had hurt her. Thank God they stopped him before he blew the poor man’s head off. This man obviously knows nothing about the proper equipment and defensive tactics, but hey! Anyone that escapes kidnapers 3 times has my respect. So, what can we learn from this?: That even though your weapons of choice may be a little “exotic” or even down right inappropriate, DETERMINATION, MENTAL ATTITUDE, ( along with a nice dose of good old luck) is enough to make the difference. The training helps a lot, and so does the gear, but in the end it’s all about attitude.
This man gets a 0 when it comes to weapons, shooting skills and tactics, but it’s all about proper survival mentality. He’s quite the SSS (shoot, shovel and shut up guy) and for sure has a few dead bad guys on his debt, not that I’ll ever know anything about that. He managed to survive and excel in a rough business, the recycling of paper, where they deal with paper scavengers, which are not exactly Berkley college boys, if you get my meaning. His recycling company made him and his family very rich, specially now, that there are lots of poor people that scrounge paper and cardboard to survive.
Bragging about the people you kill is not a good survival attitude, and should be avoided. Seriously, if you have problems keeping your mouth shut when it comes to stuff like this, do some serious soul searching and change it. Same goes for new guns, large food supplies or new equipment you may me proud of. The word gets around fast so keep it to yourself.
And this takes us back to the kidnapping issue.
“My Scout/Squad M1A1 looks SO cool! And it shoots like a champ. They cost a fortune right now, but I was smart enough to buy it before the economy crash back in XXXX! ” You tell your mechanic, a guy you’ve known for years. Now, the guy that your friend just hired, who just happened to overhear the conversation, him you never met before. Neither do you know that he’s a problematic kind of guy that has drug problems and is always looking for expensive stuff to sell.
You are also clueless when you are held at gunpoint some days later, just when you were leaving to the office, and the first thing the guy says is “I want the guns”.
So, what can you do to protect you family and yourself from kidnapers?
1) Keep you mouth shut about everything that has economical value, or your family’s schedule. Especially be careful around people that have economical problems or drug problems, people that always need cash. Don’t trust your employees with internal business affairs. Remember, most of the time the informant is someone close to the victim.
2) Keep a low profile. I know people that even though they have the money to buy any car they want, they stick to common low profile cars. Even the private school I went to when I was a kid that has its own mandatory uniform, encouraged parents to send kids wearing regular clothes instead. Kids dressed in private school uniforms where being kidnapped all over the place.
3) Learn evasive driving. Never allow cars to cut off escape routes. Again, the use of body armor may make the difference between escaping a well organized kidnap or not.
Get yourself comfortable and fix yourself a cup of coffee because this is one long subject that calls for a book of its own. I’ll do my best to synthesize and tell how driving changed after the economical collapse. As always, crime directly affects the way you will drive after TSHTF. As will the price or availability of spare parts determine what car should you get. Another factor to consider is that, as I said before services will suffer in quality after TSHTF. This means that roads will no longer be what they used to be.
People that live in 1st world countries are used to well kept streets and roads. Let me tell you, after only a few months of no maintenance, street will look as if bombed from an airplane. Rain and temperature difference destroys the pavement very fast.
Right now in Buenos Aires there are holes in the street the size of trucks. There were cases of cars actually falling inside these craters, so you can imagine the conditions streets are in.
A low car, designed for perfect pavement should be avoided as much as possible. That’s why I said that if I could do everything all over again I would get a 4×4 SUV.
This doesn’t mean that you should buy a huge 4×4 truck to drive around the city all day long. That’s not very practical and you do need a fast, easy to maneuver vehicle that can get out of problems fast. A medium size SUV should be the ticket for both agility and 4×4 power. Getting stuck in a roadblock because your truck is to darn big to maneuver around it, then what’s the use of the 4×4?
There are many options out there. The small Suzuki 4×4 are good options, though a little bit fragile for my taste, maybe a Jeep Wrangler would be better. Anyway, just keep in mind that your vehicle should be a compromise between speed, ease of maneuver or agility, and 4×4 traction.
Ok, so now you spent some hours on the Internet, searched for the best option, and you bought your brand new SHTF 4×4 car. Now what? Is that it? Unfortunately no. Choosing the right vehicle gives you the tool, but you now have to learn how to use it, and it’s not exactly what you learned when you got your drivers license, as a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. I can read your mind “Go to sleep FerFAL. You are burned out and you make no sense” Let me explain.
Close your eyes. Look inside you. Find that little politically correct driver guy inside you, the one that was born the day you learned how to drive. You see him? Good! Grab him before he sneaks away. Now hit him, choke him, and kill that little PC driver guy inside you. I killed mine a couple of years ago. It took me about 2 years to drive the way I do now, to react without thinking. What does it mean? I no longer flinch, or stir the wheel when something comes close to the car; I keep driving as if nothing happens. A dog runs in front of the car and I don’t move an inch, a ball hits the windshield and nothing. I killed the little PC guy inside me, the one that used to say” Watch out! You are going to hit something/someone! Turn the other way!”. Reacting like that can get you killed after TSHTF.
Guys, you have to prepare for people throwing objects at your car, standing themselves in front of the vehicle so that you stop or crash against a light/tree/whatever, so that they can rob you. It takes time and determination, but you MUST get to a point where if the windshield blows in you can continue driving as best as you can, if someone puts twisted nails on the road and blows your tires, you keep calm and keep driving, always keep driving no matter what, until you get to a gas station or other place safe. Especially at night, or early morning you have to keep the car moving all the time. Of course this is not always possible. Sometimes there is too much traffic and you have to stop. In this case, slow down before you get to the cars, and keep the car moving slowly until the light changes, in order to always keep the car moving. Never cut away your own escape routes by getting too close to the car in front. Leave at least 5 meters or so in front of you, so that you have enough place to maneuver.
At night, no one stops at red lights in Buenos Aires. That’s why many districts decided to turn the traffic light to a permanent yellow at night, in order to reduce car accidents. There are places in Buenos Aires where you don’t stop at the traffic lights all day long. Today, when I was retuning from the University at 1.30 PM, I passed a red light right in front of a police patrol car. The cop didn’t say a word. He understands that no one stops on the Dark road (the road I take back home) unless it’s inevitable. This won’t happen over night. It will take at least a few months after TSHTF until cops and authorities understand the new reality of the country. Even now, there are those that may stop you from crossing on a red light at night. But most patrol cars will understand, even crossing the red light themselves.
Another variable that has to be dealt with on the street is people. People that live in 1st world countries have little problems and low stress compared to guys that don’t know where they are going to get money to feed their families next week, or when they are going to finally find a job.
ights among drivers in 1st world countries may end up in the beating of someone in the worst-case scenario. Over here, people are so nervous and aggressive that many times people kill each other. This should not be ignored guys, if SHTF the sheep will turn aggressive and might be dangerous. They will usually start a fight over a minor problem, just because they are nervous, or angry at the world. You can still get beat to death with a bat or bare hands you know? You car weaponry should take all of this into consideration. A handgun should be with you at all times, but it may be excessive for dealing with a mad driver. A bat and pepper spray will be enough to face an unarmed attacker, most times. I keep one canister of pepper spray and a small bat in my car at all times, apart form the 9mm pistol I may be carrying.
The pepper spray car tactic is the following:
1) Idiot driver starts a fight over XYZ.
2) Mad driver chases you, honking the horn, flashing lights and insulting.
3) I slow down, and let him place the car next to mine
4) 9 out of 10 times, the mad driver will lower the passenger window to insult you the better.
5) That’s when you grab the can of pepper spray, lower your own window as if for insulting and you spray him into his own car by surprise.
This will ensure that the mad driver will stop chasing you, and you prevent an even more violent episode where you would end up using lethal force. I had more than a couple of problems myself with other drivers. One Saturday night a guy in an armored truck chased me for several blocks, flashing lights and staying on my tail. I don’t know if he was mental, or on drugs, drunk or if he wanted to rob me. In this case having a smaller faster car allowed me to escape the nut driver. In another occasion a driver broke my right mirror. One time a guy got out of his car on a red light and started hitting my car. Of course, I didn’t get off the car. That would have been stupid and dangerous. What did I do? I had left some space between my car and the one on front. They guy was kicking my car on the right side. I put the gear on reverse, catching the guy between my car and his, and rolled him between the two like a freaking burrito. The guy fell to the ground, I never knew how bad he was hurt or not. I suppose that not too bad, because my car didn’t even show a small bump or dent, so it couldn’t have applied much force to the man’s body. I don’t care much, either. After going on reverse for a few meters, I shifted to 1st, turned left and left the place.
You should get to know your car and what it’s capable of. 180 degree turns using the hand brake isn’t that hard and after a day or two of practicing it you should be able to do it easily. If someone is chasing you and the situation is serious, suddenly hitting the brakes will bust the chasing car’s front, ruining the radiator and engine. You’ll crash you back side but your car will still work, his won’t.
Cars blocking the road (kidnapers, thieves) should be avoided with a 180 degree turn, or going on reverse fast and turning using the regular foot brake can also achieve a almost 180 degree turn. If you can’t go back because they have cars cutting the road there too, don’t crash your car as fast as you can “As seen on TV”. What you should do is: SLOWLY, place the front bumper of your car against the back wheel axis of the car blocking the road (they usually place the car ACROSS the road to cover more area) and accelerate. The trunk compartment, the back part of the car, isn’t nearly as heavy as the front part where the engine is, so it should turn quite easily when you accelerate. Shooting your handgun while maneuvering will keep them away from you while you do this.
These are just a couple of defensive driving techniques. If possible, take some defensive-dissuasive driving classes. They are almost as important as shooting classes, in my opinion. Almost forgot. As many, I like hearing music when driving, and I used to set it rather loud. I quickly found out this isn’t the smartest thing to do, since you can’t hear what is going on around you; shooting, people screaming, a car running out of control, for example. Keep the volume low so as to listen to what’s going on around you. Or turn it off completely if you are in a high risk area.
Of course windows and doors must be closed at all times. Also try to keep at least half a tank full worth of gas in jerry cans. There are times when a roadblock will force you around alternative roads that you didn’t count on. Extra fuel is nice to have. If room in the vehicle is an issue, have at least one small can. And, as always, keep eyes on the road. But not only for other cars and people, but for bumps on the street (that can sometimes be like craters) or rocks and other objects bad guys may put so as to make you crash or force you to stop. Your eyes should be focused much further away most of the time, so as to anticipate to this.
Through the course of my work with the magazine, my radio show and other survival and preparedness related projects, it’s easy to start to think that you already know everybody out there who’s spreading the word and sharing important prepper and survivalist info. To be sure, I’ve made a lot of great friends in the community over the last couple of years, but our numbers are growing and there’s still a lot of folks who I haven’t met yet. (many who have been “out there” on the internet much longer than I have). So whenever I have some free time (which is not as often as I’d prefer), I like to go and check out some of the other related blogs and websites that are out there and make some new acquaintences. Recently, I came across a couple of cool sites and met some nice folks who were happy to recommend this site and my show to their readers and I’m happy to do the same for them!
The following SHTF food storage tips are from one such site called: “Backdoor Survival“, whose owner; Gaye (aka Survival Woman) was kind enough to give her fans a heads-up about Survival and Beyond recently, and (if you haven’t already) I’d like to recommend y’all check out her site when you have a chance!
It’s all about community, folks. None of us can survive as a “lone wolf”.
Ten Tips That Will Guarantee You Have Food if SHTF
By Survival Woman
Some of the most popular web articles on emergency preparedness have to do with food. This is also a widely discussed topic in print and on forums. And it is no wonder. In today’s society eating is no longer just for sustenance. It is a social form, a source of family bonding and togetherness and for many, a hobby. And, with rising costs, it is a significant part of almost everyone’s household budget.
Today I would like to share ten tips for securing your food supply so that in the event of a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or civil disobedience on a massive scale, you will be able to eat and to thrive – no matter what.
Protecting Your Food Supply – No Matter What Happens
1. Grow your own food: This sounds so simple yet few actually do it. There are lots of excuses: not enough room, not enough sunlight, don’t know how and so on. Well I say get over it. Whether you have a backyard area, a raised garden, or a few pots on the deck, with a little bit of work you can grow something. Try using edible plants in your landscape or how about some fruit trees or an herb garden?
2. Learn to “put up”: food by canning, freezing or dehydrating your bounty. With or without modern gadgets, putting up food as it is called, takes some effort but the results are worth it. You save money, control the use of salt and preservatives, and guarantee a source of food when the grocer’s shelves are empty.
3. Plan for supplemental power sources: If the power grid goes down, you will be out of luck if you only rely on a freezer for stored foods. One option is to get an emergency generator – just be sure that you also store an adequate amount of fuel. Or forget about freezing and either purchase canned foods or can and dehydrate your own.
4. Zip those lips: Be discreet. Don’t brag about how much food you have stored away or you will find yourself the hit of the cocktail set as your friends and neighbors take note of where to go to eat when the SHTF. Speaking of which, do you have a way to defend your food supply?
5. Get creative about storage: As with the garden, you may need to get creative when it comes to food storage. Walk around your home or apartment with a new set of eyes. What about under the beds or in a back corner of the closet? The crawl space under you house is good too – just remember to keep things elevated a bit so that a damp floor does not ruin your stored food.
6. Have alternative cooking sources: You are going to need some way to cook your stored food if the power is out. Pick up an inexpensive wood or charcoal burning grill such at the Volcano II Collapsible Stove. You can also – very very little money – get a rocket stove that will burn wood or biomass (twigs, pinecones and such). You will be amazed at how versatile these little stoves are. Also consider a solar oven. Whatever you choose, make sure you either have fuel or access to fuel.
7. Learn depression cooking: Cook from scratch, make your own bread, and learn to cook full meals from low-cost, easily stored staples such as beans and rice. One of the mistakes people make is to acquire food for emergency use yet continue to purchased pre-made, pre-packaged, or takeout food for daily consumption. They never learn to cook let alone learn to cook using the most basic of ingredients.
8. Take advantage of natures bounty: Depending on where you live, fishing or hunting or both may be an option for you. Learn fishing and
hunting skills now and please, don’t forget to learn to clean and cook your bounty. There are some excellent videos on butchering and well as preserving your bounty. It is not as difficult as you think.
9. Store food properly: Read about the six enemies of food storage and plan accordingly. Purchase food in bulk then package and store dry goods for the long term in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Or shop at dependable vendors such as Emergency Essentials for foods that are already safely packaged for long term emergency use. You will be surprised at the many options available to you.
10. Depend on yourself, not the government: No list would be complete without reminding you that you need to rely upon yourself, and not others to tend to your needs if a disaster or other major catastrophic event occurs. Your neighbors, who have not prepared, may be downright hostile and the government, while well-intentioned, may take some time to get needed supplies to your area. Analyze the potential for disaster in your geographical area (earthquake, wild fires, floods, tornado, hurricane) and have a plan that you can implement should you need to shelter in place or evacuate.
The Final Word
There are tons of resources available to help you achieve food security by taking advantage of these ten tips. On excellent source to get you started are some of the articles here on Backdoor Survival (listed below). Another source is the DVD sets Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm and Food Storage Secrets.
However you choose to do it, work now on getting things growing and on learning the skills you will need in order to survive. And remember, when the public food supply is interrupted, it will be too late to start prepping.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Taking Advantage of Natures Bounty
Food Storage Mistakes and Goofs
SurvivalWoman Review: Volcano Collapsible II Stove
Food Storage Part I – A Primer on Oxygen Absorbers
Food Storage Part II: Unraveling the Mystique of Mylar Bags
Food Storage Part III: Food Grade Buckets, Lids and Gamma Seals
Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen
The Six Enemies of Food Storage
Growing and Raising 100% of your Food
From the Bargain Bin: Survival is all about learning to fend for yourself and food self-sufficiency is at the top of everyone’s list.
Canning: If you are interested in learning how to can and want the basics, the bible is the USDA Home Canning Guide. I have compiled all of the various sections into a single document and made it available for download here or if you prefer, you can download the individual sections at the USDA site.
Solar Dehydrator: Want to learn more about how you go about dehydrating crops? Here is a free download on Solar Dehydrator technologies including how to dry fruits an vegetables.
Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner: If you are looking for just the right food preservation gear, check out this pressure canner and cooker. It is constructed of warp-resistant, heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating and works on both regular and smooth-top ranges.
Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator: This food dehydrator is highly rated yet inexpensive. Be forewarned, though. One you are hooked on drying your home grown fruits and veggies, you just might want a dehydrator with a larger capacity.
Read more at Backdoor Survival
The following is part V of Fernando Aguirre’s extensive urban survival mini-guide, based on his experiences during the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina.
A LIST OF THINGS THAT (If you had it to do over again) YOU WOULD GET
Nomad came up with this one. It’s a good idea because it may help some of you from making the same mistakes I did. There are things you don’t think about until you need them, and then it’s too late.
OK, if I had to do all this from scratch? Say, for example, if I had a 2 year warning, fairy godmother appears one night, all dressed in blue waving a magic wand, saying: “Your country will go down the sewage in 2 years, consider yourself warned, dear”
There are several things I would have done differently, and things I would have bought:
Food: I’ll get to the food issue soon enough, but you can never have too much canned or other long shelf life food. This was probably one of my greatest mistakes, I overlooked the food problem.
I was talking to my wife today while driving, asked her the same question “Nomad asked me ‘what would you do if you could go back in time, before the 2001 crisis’”.
My wife, though smart, isn’t much into preparedness, but she answered “I’d buy food” in a heartbeat. Don’t you remember that you could only buy one small bottle of oil at a time, same with sugar, flour and milk? Don’t you remember all those empty shelves at the supermarket?”
Definitely, more food, especially food that lasts for a few years.
Car: I would have bought a 4×4, even though I live in the city. A 4×4 allows you to dive over the sidewalk or through wasteland, away from roadblocks or riots. I’ve see those that have 4x4s simply go off road, climb over a boulevard and leave while the rest of us poor car owners have to stay.
A 4×4 truck also has more mass and power in case that someone tries to cut you off or rams you with the car. It’s less likely to stop running if you hit someone or several people (in a riot situation) since it’s prepared for cross country use and the engine is much more protected.
Fuel containers: Not only jerry cans, but those big metal containers, that hook up like small “u-hauls”? I’m not sure about their capacity; maybe they can hold one or two barrels of gas. I saw them at construction sites, and they were not that expensive if bought used, before the 2001 crisis. Now, I don’t know, haven’t seen them for a while.
Generator: These are imported and very expensive for us. I think that they are now making them here, but I’m not sure about the quality.
A nice TV and DVD player: I know what you are thinking “this guy has gone … “nuts” ” Please, let me explain. Going out for dinner or to the movies is not only dangerous but also expensive. You WILL find much better use for that money if SHTF.
There are places in Buenos Aires where you can go out for dinner, movies, or theater shows and have a good time, safely. They either have their own security or arrange with the police for added security. These are the kinds of places you are likely to visit if you ever come to Argentina; places were tourists can move around, relatively safe (there are always exceptions, of course). But these places are either for tourists or for the extremely wealthy. I have a good socio-economical level, better than 96% of the population at least, yet I can’t afford to spend that amount of money every weekend or even two weekends a month. Going out for a walk is a possibility, and we do go out for a walk every now and then, but lets just say that the view isn’t that good, and you can only walk about 6 blocks in the same direction before you get out of the area which is guarded by private security, after that you are in “yoyo” land (you’re on your own). You CAN go for a walk (just like millions that live in Somalia or Afghanistan go for a walk as well) millions of citizens do, but I’d rather not risk it.
Just the day before yesterday, a young woman was waiting at the bus stop in my neighborhood, holding her 6 month old daughter. A cop that was chasing a bad guy opened fire with his High Power, with no regard to bystanders as they always do. The 9mm FMJ (JHP are not allowed for the average police) went right through the baby’s buttocks and through the mother. Miraculously, the bullet didn’t hit any of the baby’s internal organs and the mother also survived after a few days at the hospital. Was that just luck? Maybe, I prefer to think that God does work in mysterious ways. We have a lot of cases like this, where innocent people get shot by the police, and the stupid “no JHP” rule makes it worse, since 124 gr. FMJ 9mm will penetrate walls, windows, even bad guys and end up injuring or killing innocent people.
So, back to the TV, good places are too expensive and just going out for a walk at night with your wife/girlfriend is out of the question. All of a sudden popcorn, pizza and a movie sounds like a good plan. I’m not saying that you should spend all day in front of the screen like a zombie. Reading is nice, I love reading myself, but once the SHTF, going out with a date at night won’t be that easy, nor will it be that cheap. You will end up paying for that added security the shop/bar/theater owner hired, the higher price of gas and food, while a DVD copy can be found everywhere, and costs only a couple of bucks. After the SHTF there will be a lot of “why don’t we watch a movie” nights. Like it or not TV is cheep, safe entertainment. A Play Station or Xbox is also nice to have. Even if the country collapses, there will always be a guy with a DVD writer making copies. Just something to think about if you like movies.
Books: Oh, almost forgot. If you like reading a lot, buy books now, even if you won’t read them for some time. If your economy crashes, paper will become a source of income for many. We have thousands of scavengers collecting cardboard and paper all day long, specially at night when people take out the trash. As a result, books are not cheap, because they have a value of its own in the form of paper. Also, consider that books are heavy, making transportation expensive and many are printed abroad. Just as an example: I returned from visiting my parents in Spain with three suitcases. ONE suit case was entirely full of books. Books cost about 80%-200% more than what they cost in USA or Spain.
Guns & ammo: I always liked guns, so I always had weapons. But I didn’t have an adequate survival battery. If you don’t have a good survival selection of weapons, buy them now, or as soon as your budget allows. Make it one of your priorities, just after food, water and shelter. There are several posts on the ideal choice of weapons. Get at least a service size pistol and a military semi auto rifle and a .22 handgun/rifle. (Try to get both if you can, they are not that expensive). A bolt rifle (preferably in the same caliber as the semi) a pump 12 ga shotgun and a sub rifle, like a SMG or pistol caliber semi auto carbine (same caliber as pistol) would complete the package. I forgot to buy a .22 pistol until after 2001, and ended up paying for a Norinco .22 pistol the same price I would have paid for a Ruger pistol before the crisis.
Other Stuff: My advice is to see what you use regularly and what you expect to need after TSHTF. Of those goods, see where they are made. If they are made outside your country, they will either increase in price of stop importation entirely after TSHTF. In my case, one good example (of many, many others) is Gillette disposable blades. They are made in USA, and right now they cost a fortune. But as I said before, check what is being imported. No point in buying cases of Cubans for trade after TSHTF if you live in Cuba, right? I wouldn’t think of these items as trade goods, but as “gifts” to buy favors, build up relationships with police, government officials, doctors, people you might need favors from. Stuff, like liquor/wine, a nice pen, perfume, makeup and other “free shop” kind of items can go a long way when you need some strings pulled, or a “friend” within certain circles. And it’s not only the item, sweet talking also must be applied.
For example, you need to renew your driver’s license after the XXXX crisis. The problem is that the office is low on personnel (they had to let go 25% and 50% are on strike) so you’ll have to wait 4 months until you get an appointment. You approach the information desk were you find Betty. Now, Betty hasn’t had a date since the age of 10, and she weights as much a healthy manatee (though she’s not THAT pretty) you kindly ask her to please help you fill the paperwork, and though she’s as cold as a Popsicle, you keep calling her by her first name and when you leave she smiles and says good bye.
The next day you drop by and give Betty a Revlon lipstick for “helping” you fill the form, which had difficult questions like “name?”” Age?”. It cost you about 4 bucks before the crisis but, since it’s made in France, it went up to 20 dollars and then, 2 months ago, they no longer imported it. Revlon saw that they no longer had a market for their 4 Euro lipstick, which now costs Americans 20 dollars and the segment that used to buy it is spending that money in other items like food, so their marketing experts told them that the 4 Euro lipstick is no longer profitable in USA. Betty used to love that particular lipstick, she thought it made her look like Cindy Crawford (poor Betty) but 20 dollars was more than she could spare in her good looks, and when she finally decided to drop the 40 pounds of M&M’s she ate a month in favor for the lipstick, the girl at the drugstore told her that the item is no longer imported into the USA. Her face lights up when she sees your present, and tells you that you shouldn’t have bothered, and she asks “how did it go with your license”. You tell here that you actually have a problem, it seems that it takes 4 months to renew, and you ask her if, well, maybe she can do something about it… you get the picture.
In other occasions people will let you know that they want a plain and simple “bribe”, and there 50 bucks or 100 bucks according to the situation will get the job done. I’ve used “gifts” (a perfume) to get my passport faster, saved a few months, and I’ve used bribes every single time the police stopped me for “inspection”. I know this does not apply to 1st world countries were most officers are honest self sacrificed people, I mean no insult to the law enforcement community, but please understand that it does apply to 3rd world countries, and I’m not getting shot by an angry cop over 10 or 20 pesos… let them have their bribe. I tried it once and I will never try it again. A cop stopped me and started BS me. I told him “ok officer, guess you’ll have to write me a ticket, I understand”. He didn’t want to write a ticket, he wanted money and things got ugly. I’m never doing anything that stupid again.
Food: A delicate issue. Even though not in the same way, it does affect us all. Keep in mind that if TSHTF, prepared or not, food will always be in your thoughts. If you don’t have it you’ll do ANYTHING to get it, and if you are prepared you’ll worry about being able to get more for the future. Once you see food prices go up 200% and 300%, or simply see it missing, you’ll realize what a valuable commodity food really is. To those that think that food will never be a problem in USA: Come visit my country, even though there are desert areas up north, most of the country is fertile “Pampa”.
Just after WWII Argentina practically fed Europe, Argentina was known in Europe as “the world’s granary”. Cattle and wheat was enough to feed our own country and another continent. So, what happened? Why are there so many that have little or no food and end up eating out of dumpsters? I mean, the land is still there, isn’t it? Well, the country is the same country that used to be called the “world’s granary” but some things changed. Several big, multinational corporations, such as Benetton, bought hundreds of thousands of acres of natural resources. I don’t know the exact number, but I do remember that the media started talking about the integrity of the sovereignty of the country being at risk because of these massive purchases of land, so you can imagine how many acres were bought. Mysteriously, the media suddenly dropped the subject.
Another important factor is that now, with our new economy, it’s not good business to sell Argentine food to Argentina. Why sell a kg of meat to the local market for 17 pesos when they can now sell it to Spain for 17 Euros when 1 Euro = 3.5 pesos? [Editors note: The Irish Potato Famine was not the result of not enough food being in Ireland…but rather the Irish peasants were too poor to purchase anything and English land owners selling their goods to the highest payer] All this combined with high unemployment, salaries that are not enough to buy the minimal amount of calories for a typical family, and the high prices resulted in a country that slowly started to suffer hunger.
Again, I can pin point the exact moment when the entire country realized what was happening. After the 2001 crisis things had been bad, but people in Buenos Aires, the capital city and the richest province, didn’t realize how bad things actually were in the other provinces. This was until teachers noted that kids had problems with education. You see, they noticed that they had problems to concentrate, that they fell asleep, and that they found it difficult to resolve mathematical equations.
They later found out that this was due to malnutrition. Kids where not receiving the minimum amount of nutrients for a healthy working body. The breaking point was when a reporter interviewed a little girl about 8 or 9 years old. The reporter lady asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, the usual kiddy questions. The girl, crying, said that she didn’t want to be anything; that she didn’t care. The lady asked her why was she crying. She said that she cried because she was hungry, that she had nothing to eat for days, and it was then that I noticed how skinny the little girl actually was.
Seeing children starve is terrible, I guess we all saw those images of the starving kids in Africa. But when you see them speak your same language, with your same accent, in your own country, it hits a nerve.
People talked about it for weeks, and they interviewed pediatricians that confirmed that the number of children dying because of hunger had increased drastically in the last few months. So whatever happens, be it a hurricane, economical collapse, earthquake or meteor hitting earth, food and water always come first.
Ideally you already have a food plan and have a year worth of food in your basement… You don’t? Hmm… neither did I when the SHTF and lets just say that I had my manhood up my throat all the time, fearing that supermarkets would definitely close and me and my family would be left without food. If you don’t have your food needs sorted out already, just do what I did; start buying a little extra every time you go to the supermarket. The points you want to look for your storage food are, in order of importance:
1) No need of fridge.
2) High nutritious value/volume
3) Long shelf live, between 1-5 years.
4) That they don’t need water
5) That they don’t need cooking
This will usually take you to canned meats, canned tuna, canned vegetables, dried pasta, dehydrated soups, chocolate, milk powder, marmalades, soups, rice and dried beans. Canned food is excellent when it comes to long shelf life. Most of the time they are already hydrated, so they don’t need water, and you can eat them out of the can. Just watch out not to dent the can, if this happens air may get inside and ruin it. If you have a dent or bump in a can, consume it fast. Also remember that once the can is opened, you have to remove the food from the can. My favorite canned food is tuna. It lasts forever, it’s full of proteins and no matter how often I eat it, it always tastes good. Besides you can combine it with frozen vegetables or rice.
Canned fruits and vegetables are also good, but they have much less vitamins than the fresh ones, and you lose most of it unless you drink the liquid they come in.
Dried pasta may need a lot of water to cook, but its one of the best ways to store carbs in convenient to use form. Flower or wheat can also be stored in large quantities and are nutritious, but they require more preparation to consume.
We’ve become quite independent from the fridge, and only use it to keep frozen our fresh pasta (ñoqui) pizza and frizzed vegetables. We practically freeze everything, because it lasts longer, practically indefinitely, and because if the lights go out a large mass of frozen food will last for hours, even a day or two. The more mass of food you have frozen the longer it will hold. The survivalist, especially the urban one, should try to rely as little as possible on the fridge. That’s why canned food and freeze dried food is your best friend. Yet, anyone who has been for a while with no fresh fruit knows that after some time the skin starts to suffer. Sores will appear after a while, especially on delicate skin like the lips and mouth. [Editor’s Note: This condition is commonly known as Scurvy] Once you start eating fresh fruits and vegetables again they go away.
This happened to me once, spent too much time without fresh vegetables and my mouth was a mess, full of sores. After a week of eating fresh vegetables regularly the symptoms disappeared. That’s why you should try to have some fresh food to supplement your storage food. Not much, just 2 or 3 fruit trees on your garden and a small orchard would be fine. You don’t have to feed out of this, you just need a little fresh veggies or fruit every once in a while.
On the news right now while I write this: We had elections last Sunday, we voted senators. It seems that in one of the north provinces people where surrendering their ID documents for bags of groceries, some for water, or for 10 pesos ( 3 USD) they were later taken to warehouses where they spent the night to ensure that they voted. The next day the candidate’s men took them to vote, hauled inside cattle trucks, like animals. When they arrived they were given their ID documents back with the number of list they had to vote. Thugs guide them and ensure they vote for who they want.
HEALTH & FITNESS: Visit you doctor NOW. Get yourself fixed. Visit the dentist and make sure your mouth is in perfect conditions. Nothing is worse than having toothache and no one available to take care of it. Remember that doctors may not be as available as they are now, in the future. For example I got eye surgery to take care of my sight problem. Now I see perfectly without glasses. The advantage of laser eye surgery isn’t limited to not needing glasses (Which can break and would be nearly impossible to replace after TSHTF).
Even people react to you in a different way. Humans are after all instinctive animals. Bad guys will look at you as a weaker person if you wear glasses. Maybe they don’t know that at a conscious level, maybe they do, but they do react differently. This is not me imagining stuff, it’s the way things are. Old people and women are especially vulnerable. After old people and women and children, come small framed people, the smaller you are, the weaker you look, the more likely you are to be chosen as a victim by a bad guy. It sounds, cruel, and it sure is, but that’s the way it works. A young man with a well formed body, broad shoulders, muscled arms and a “don’t f*** with me” face, is less likely to be a victims of small time thieves. If a professional group chooses you as a target that’s a completely different story, of course.
Talk to your doctor a lot. Just like “The little Prince”, never stop yourself from asking a question. Adopt that as a general philosophy and you’ll end up learning a little about everything. Mechanics, doctors, policemen, you can always learn something new from people with skills. As a survivalist, and as a smart person, you should try to know a little about everything, Always be curious. That’s how I learned that I had to diversify my stock of antibiotics. A doctor told me, that the bacteria will adapt if you always use the same, making that particular antibiotic not that effective, especially in small children, so now I keep two different kinds of antibiotics.
Working out 3 times a week, for a couple of hours will keep you in shape. I work out at home; I have a bench and some weights. Try to compliment some aerobics and weight lifting. Working the boxing bag is good exercise, works most muscles if done right, and you’ll have a much more powerful punch. Keep in mind that a bag is no replacement for a sparring partner and that the bag does not faint nor does it punch back. Still, it’s good exercise and your punch will be more powerful if you connect.
Running belts and bicycles are also good. Research on the subject and make your own routine, join a gym and talk to a professional if possible. Whatever you do, the idea is to have a fit, healthy body; no use in shooting ½ MOA at 100 yards if you have a gut that hangs half way to the floor and you can’t run that same distance without needing an oxygen mask. I know, shooting is fun, and working out isn’t. At least for most, but after some time you’ll start to enjoy it, your stamina and morale will definitely increase, and you’ll start looking forward to working out.
The survivalist that spends 3 hours a week on his gun skills and no time at all on his own body is not doing things right. Imagine if you have to run away from a riot/gunfight/attack while carrying your BOB or fighting bare handed against someone that got you by surprise. This applies for life in general, before or after TSHTF a man has to now how to fight bare handed. You don’t have to be Bruce Lee or Mike Tyson, just know how to throw a decent punch, cover your face, or some kind or martial art classes.
I once had a fight that got a little ugly. It happened in my mother in law’s house, which proves that thing can go bad everywhere at any time. A guy my wife’s sister was dating argued with me and things got physical. He had problems with the police for beating up an ex girlfriend (which he was proud of, go figure) and had spent 2 years in jail for stealing cars. My wife’s sister was showing up with mysterious bruises on her body, from “falling while working out”. So you could say this guy wasn’t my favorite person. Anyway, he grabbed my neck by surprise; I grabbed his arm with both hands, one in his hand and the other in his elbow, and twisted it around. The leverage made him let go of my neck and a kept on twisting it forcing him around. He punched me with his other hand but the position wasn’t in his favor so it was just a glancing blow. He pushed with his back against me, so I placed my left arm around his neck, my elbow flexed over his Adam’s apple. The guy went berserk so I decided that I had to hold on until he passed out, or I would get seriously hurt. I had practiced this choking move with my friend, the one that has the farm I talked about before. He told me that after 30 seconds of choking the person passes out, and after 60 seconds, if you keep choking him, he dies.
So I placed my left arm firmly around his neck while holding my left hand firmly with my right arm, pressing as hard as I could. The guy went nuts. He slammed me against the walls, trying to get me away from his back. He started clawing with his fingers on my biceps, desperate. Me? I just held my lock around his neck, mentally counting. As if by magic, after 20-25 seconds. He lost all strength and fell to his knees like a rag doll, and I let him go.
Meanwhile my wife, her sister and my mother in law were all screaming me to stop.
Once he caught his breath he said that I was psycho, and that he was just fooling around. Not believing a word he said, I said I was sorry and we both got into the elevator, since we were leaving. As soon as I close the elevator door, the s*** bag attacks me again. I guess he felt humiliated in front of the woman he beat up. He tried to grab me the same way I did. I knew that this was getting out of hand and I completely lost patience with this clown.
I brought my serrated Cold Steel El hombre from my pocket and placed the dull side against his arm. He got the message instantly a let go of me. Once he did this I shoved him against the elevator, my forearm pressing against his neck and the knife under the neck as well. He calmed down instantly, saying he was sorry, bla ,bla, bla. When we got out of the elevator I told him that if he ever got close to me or my family again I would put a bullet in his head. I never saw him again. This guy was a thief and women beater and I had no use for him. Besides these are the kind of rats that would break into your house when you leave, or worse.
I’m ranting all over the place again. What I mean is that practicing defensive moves is useful, especially if you spar with someone that knows his stuff. My friend practices Judo. He won the state championship and was left in 3rd place in the nationals final.
Practice as you would fight in real life. Getting choked isn’t nice, but you get to know what you are working with and know how effective it actually is. Being in shape will also make you less prone to diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and will boost your immune system in general.
Knowing first aid procedures is always helpful. I’ll take the Red Cross course this summer. Keep a first aid kit and any other special medicine you may need. If you take drugs regularly try to have at least a year’s worth of the stuff. Medicines are hard to get and expensive, many are made in other countries and if SHTF they might not be available. My father in law has Parkinson and needs a special medicine that is no longer imported. He asks friends that travel to get it for him.
I stock pile as much medicines as I can. Apart from the regular 1st aid kit stuff you usually have at home, I concentrate on Ibuprofen and antibiotics, both for children and adults. Antibiotics are precious here, with all the viruses that are floating around. Lung infections are particularly dangerous. Also remember that keeping a clean, ventilated house goes a long way when it comes to preventing diseases. This is hard when the city is full of filth and there are cockroaches and rats everywhere but it can be done. My neighborhood isn’t that bad, there are places that are much, much worse, where people literally sleep and eat with rats. Cockroaches are a problem, but I keep them somewhat controlled with that poison that comes in syringes and you place around the house.
That reminds me, stock up on rat and cockroach poison. Services are bad in general, and the garbage collectors are no exception. Once, they went on strike for about a week (though there are worst places where they go months without collecting) and you could see rats running around eh piles of garbage that people threw on the street’s boulevard. This is not healthy, of course. And helps spread diseases all over the city, so keep that in mind as well.
I have to admit, I’ve always been a sucker for yard sales and garage (or garbage depending on your attitude) sales. I know, it’s tempting to think: “Why should I want to buy any of that stuff, if they don’t even want it?” Well, as the old axiom goes; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and you can find some really useful survival items at yard sales, as well as older items that you just can’t find anymore, or aren’t made as sturdy as they used to back in the day. Just because the seller has no use for it (or can’t see a use for it) doesn’t mean it’s useless.
I’ve bought backpacks, camping gear, tools, cast iron pans (if they’re not too rusty) axes, hatchets, knives and lots of other items at yard sales that I still use to this day.
The following is a post from my friend; Lisa Bedford (The Survival Mom) listing 21 survival items to look out for at local yard sales, swap meets, garage sales and thrift stores:
- Sterling silver flatware — Even if you can only afford to buy a spoon or a fork at a time, sterling silver is known to have antimicrobial properties. Some people believe that simply using silver flatware as everyday eating utensils can ward off harmful microbes. Typically, a single piece of silver, such as a spoon, will run about $50. Buy from reputable sellers, such as established estate sale agents and thrift stores.
- Survival related reference books — Peruse Amazon lists such as this one and become familiar with titles, authors, and subject areas. Books about homesteading, gardening skills, primitive camping, wilderness survival, and so much more are very often found for just a couple of dollars, or less. Other books to look for: Boy Scout manuals, Foxfire books, and issues of Backwoods Home magazines and anthologies.
- Grain mill — A good mill can run upwards of $300 and more, but it’s not uncommon to find them in yard sales and thrift stores. Familiarize yourself with good brand names, ask to test the mill with actual wheat (if possible), but otherwise, I’ve found mills in very good condition for less than $50.
- Camping equipment — Good quality tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns, cots, etc. are often sold at very low prices by people who thought camping was a great idea, tried it once or twice, and decided to stick with hotels! Their loss is your gain!
- Good quality knives — Look for brand names such as K-Bar, Cold Steel, and Gerber and know how to spot quality. A Swiss Army Knife is also a good find.
- Homeschooling supplies — In a crisis, you may end up being your children’s teacher. Workbooks, classic literature, flash cards, math manipulatives, textbooks, and even school supplies are very often for sale by homeschoolers who are moving up a grade or have decided to liquidate their stockpile of school supplies.
- Winter wear — I once picked up a super heavy duty men’s winter coat for ten dollars. I was thrilled because it looks like it’s never been worn and came in a dry cleaner’s bag. Look for snow boots, winter gloves, and other pieces of winter wear, and if you have kids, buy this clothing in a size or two larger for future winters.
- Boots — Work boots, riding boots, gardening boots, mucking boots, military boots, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots, desert boots — who knew there were so many different kinds of boots? Check for quality construction and material as well as wear and tear. When it comes to taking care of your feet, always go for quality.
- Tools — There’s just something about old tools from the 40′s and 50′s that beats the heck out of today’s “Made in China” label. Some sellers are savvy to the higher quality of their tools and may ask a bit more, but in the long run, it will be worth it.
- Battery-operated appliances — I get a lot of questions about survival following an EMP or long-term power outage. If you find battery powered fans, important appliances, and other tools, buy them, just to be ready for a power-down scenario. Be sure to stock up on the appropriate batteries as well.
- Food dehydrator — No need to be a snob about this. I still use the inexpensive American Harvest dehydrator I bought a few years ago on Craigslist. I spent $30 and got extra trays, fruit leather trays, and even a couple of screen trays.
- Fishing equipment — I’ve seen top-quality fishing poles, nets, enormous collections of flies, rods, reels, you name it. If part of your survival plan is to go fishing for food, estate and yard sales are prime sources for supplies.
- Emergency supplies — I’ve picked up emergency radios, lanterns, backpacks, water purification tablets, and paracord. Most of what I have in my Vehicle Emergency Kit was found at these sales. By the way, here’s a tip: often the best survival related supplies will be found out in the garage, if you’re attending an estate sale.
- Tough kids clothing — Believe it or not, when my son was quite young, I discovered that Gymboree made the toughest jeans on the market. I don’t believe he ever wore a hole through the knees of his Gymboree jeans. Kids are notoriously tough on clothes, so when you’re looking at second hand clothing, go for brands and fabrics that will stand up to serious wear and tear. Buy them in larger sizes, so you’ll be ready for growth spurts.
- Canning jars and supplies — Look for Ball brand jars in all sizes. You can always buy the lids and rims at a grocery store or on Amazon. Also look for things like a magnetic lid lifter, funnel, jar tongs, and large pots. It would be a good idea to know prices of new canning supplies. Once I was at an estate sale, found a nice large water bath canning pot, but when I checked the price on Amazon, the yard sale price was higher!
- Manual kitchen and household tools — Do you have a manual egg beater? A flour sifter? Enough manual can openers? A manual meat grinder? I’ve seen all of these and more at estate and yard sales. During a long-term power outage, you’ll be glad to have them!
- Cast iron cookware — Guess where I picked up my two best cast iron skillets? Yep, at garage sales!
- Cookbooks — Specifically look for cookbooks that provide recipes for outdoor cooking, canning, Dutch oven cooking, and cooking with basic ingredients.
- Good quality gardening tools and supplies — Often, in urban and suburban settings, gardening is a fad that comes and goes. You will likely find everything you need for your garden just by shopping yard sales and Goodwill.
- First aid and medical supplies — Boxes of surgical gloves, bandages, butterfly strips, surgical scissors, sterile gauze and entire well-equipped first aid kits are sold at bargain prices. Once I even saw an old Army first aid kit with a snake-bite kit and ammonia inhalants, circa 1955! I prefer estate sales, and very often, the owner of the home was taken care of by a visiting nurse service. I’ve found massive amounts of medical supplies in just these types of sales. Don’t worry, I didn’t buy everything! I left some for you!
- Hunting supplies and firearms — In some yard/garage sales, you just might get lucky and spot hunting rifles and even handguns for sale. If you see lots of hunting related items, quietly ask the homeowner if he/she also has firearms for sale. There are plenty of other hunting supplies out there, though, including gun cleaning kits and decoys. If you hit the right yard sale, you might feel like you’re in Cabela’s!
Read more at TheSurvivalMom.com
Part IV in Fernando Aguirre’s essay: Thoughts on Urban Survival.
-Interlude -Studying the SHTF at the University: Dark omens.
I forgot it! Darn, same as the gold stuff but worse, much worse. I’ve never been good at remembering some things, like numbers and names of people I meet, I forget those (instantly), they just flee my mind, uneventfully, but I do remember some other things that don’t seem to be as important. I do remember living in USA as a kid. I remember my school, Pierce School, Don’t remember exactly were it was, because we lived some in Boston, Massachusetts and some in New Hampshire. I remember my best friend, Freddy, and a girl (why is there always a girl? ) Samantha, Sam. She was red haired and tall, I had a picture of her playing together but I lost it. Some time between the age of 3 and 26 I lost that picture that was so dear to me. I remember the smell of an orange shaped “scratch and smell” sticker my kindergarten teacher stuck in a small book we made once. But I almost forgot this forever. This, this was important, a moment where the life we once knew stopped existing, and a group of students, in a class room that looked like and abandoned building, realized it, all 60 of us at the same time.
It’s 1:06 AM over here. I just finished showering and my wife and son are asleep. I was putting shampoo on my hair, thinking about what I wrote today on this post, and remembered the exact moment when I realized along with several other people, not only that TSHTF (that we all knew) but that the world we once new no longer existed, and that this was not a hurricane, this was an ice age period, it wouldn’t just go away.
We understood it the same way a kid understands photosynthesis: Because a teacher coldly explained it to us, even used graphics. I slept 5 hours yesterday, 2 hours the day before yesterday. Saturday night I didn’t sleep at all. I’m already used to it. Deadlines at the University, staying late at night, drawing in CAD 3D, waiting until Renders are ready. It’s a competitive world out there, and no one sympathizes with what you are going through, they just want you to perform as expected, and the standard is always high. It happened 4 years ago, almost a year after the December 2001 crisis. It was a social studies class and this teacher, don’t remember if it was a he or a she, was explaining the different kinds of social pyramids. God! Now I remember more! We even had a text book with those darn, cruel pyramids! The first pyramid explained the basic society. A pyramid with two horizontal lines, dividing those on top (high social class) those in the middle (middle class) and the bottom of the pyramid (the poor, proletarian). The teacher explained that the middle of the pyramid, the middle class, acted as a cushion between the rich and the poor, taking care of the social stress. The second pyramid had a big middle section, this was the pyramid that represents 1st world countries. I which the bottom is very thin and arrows show that there is a possibility to go from low to middle class, and from middle to the top of the social pyramid. Our teacher explained that this was the classic, democratic capitalist society, and that on countries such as Europeans one, socialists, the pyramid was very similar but a little more flat, meaning that here is a big middle section, middle class, and small high and low class. There is little difference between the three of them.
The third pyramid showed the communist society. Where arrows from the low and middle class tried to reach the top but they bounced off the line. A small high society and one big low society, cushioned by a minimal middle class section of pyramid. Then we turned the page and saw the darned fourth pyramid. This one had arrows from the middle class dropping to the low, poor class.
“What is this?” Some of us asked.
The teacher looked at us. “This is us”.
“It’s the collapsed country, a country that turns into 3rd world country like in pyramid five where there is almost no middle class to speak, one huge low, poor class , and a very small, very rich, top class.”
“What are those arrows that go from the middle to the bottom of the pyramid?” Someone asked.
You could hear a pin drop. “That is middle class turning into poor”.
I won’t lie, no one cried, though people rubbed their faces, held their heads and their breath.
No one cried, but we all knew at that very moment that all we thought, all we took for granted, simply was not going to happen.
“You see, the income from the middle class is not enough to function as middle class any more. Some from the top class fall to middle class, but the vast majority of the middle class turns into poor” Said the teacher.
I don’t know how many people in that room suddenly understood that he/she was poor.
The teacher continued “You see, we have a middle class that suddenly turns to poor, creating a society of basically poor people, there is no more middle class to cushion tensions any more. Middle class suddenly discovers that they are overqualified for the jobs they can find and have to settle for anything they can obtain, there for unemployment sky rockets, too much to offer, too little demand. You see they prepare, study for a job they are not going to get. You kids, you are studying Architecture because you simply wish to do so. Only 3 or 4 percent of you will actually find a job related to architecture.”
We all sat there, letting it all sink in. After a few months, it all proved to be true. Even the amount of students that dropped out of college increased to at least 50%. They either saw no point in studying something that would not make much of a difference in their future salaries, had no money to keep themselves in college, or simply had to drop college to work and support their families.
Someone once said, in this forum, that if this had happened in USA, the social unrest would have been much worse, because people from S. America are stronger. At first, I told him that I didn’t think so, I said that all humans adapt when they have no other choice. But now that I consider it more, maybe he was right. Not that S. Americans are stronger, but they are more used to adversities. Most of us are children from grandparents that escaped civil war, either in Spain or dictators in Italy, our parents survived the dirty war, even more dictators, and therefore their children are of strong character too. Can USA citizens survive what we survived? Of course they can, though I think that there are too many that are not like you, many that don’t prepare, and take everything for granted. Those are the ones that will be responsible for the increase in the social unrest once the SHTF, those that were too lazy to take care of themselves before the SHTF, or that had gone soft through out the years, believing that the government will “take care of them because they pay their taxes”. But in the end, they will pull through. People will adapt, they always do. You’d be surprised. And those that don’t want to adapt to the new reality they live in, will die young, thus cleaning the gene pool and ensuring the continuity of the specie. It’s been this way for thousands of years.
CRIME AND INSECURITY
Even though crime has always been an issue in South America, my country was quite the exception. It was dangerous, yes but nothing like after the 2001 economical crisis. One used to be able to let kids play on the sidewalk, or walk back home from a party, a few blocks, and be somewhat safe. This all changed now. There are no kids playing on the sidewalks anymore. I should emphasize this a little more. There are absolutely NO kids playing on the sidewalks at all, at any time of the day. Maybe a kid rides his bike a few meters on the sidewalk, but always under the supervision of an adult. A kid riding a bike on his own will get that bike stolen in no time, probably get hurt in the process, therefore no responsible parent leaves a kid alone on the street. Teenagers present a greater problem. You can’t keep a 15 or 16 year old inside a house all day long, and even though they are big enough to go out on their own, when the sun goes down things get much worse.
This is when parents organize themselves; either taking them to someone’s house or to a club and picking them up at a certain time. Taxis and remises are used sometimes , but there have been lots of cases of girls getting raped, so no parent worth a buck leaves his son or daughter in hands of a stranger. After years of living like this, almost everyone learned to be careful; sometimes they had to learn the hard way. Practically no one leaves a door or window opened or unlocked. Nor do they hang out in front of the house talking to friends. A bad guy might just see you there, like a sitting duck, pull a gun on you and take you inside your house.
There are no “bandit’s law” anymore. One used to hear people talk about “You shouldn’t resist a robbery, give them what they want and they’ll go away”. That holds true no more. These guys are under the influence of drugs, epoxy glue, or just hate your guts so much, because you have a better life than they ever dreamed of, because they were abused since the day they were born, that they will hurt and humiliate you as much as they can. Letting a criminal inside you house almost guaranties you that he will rape/beat/ torture and abuse whoever they find inside.
I personally drew a line a few years ago and decided, after one long, serious conversation with my wife; that no one would be allowed inside the house, no matter what. We figured that there are worse things than death. Having decided that, I make sure I always have a weapon on me. They’ll have to pay dearly for my life, plus interests.
By far, the most dangerous moment of the day, is when I (or my wife) leave/enter my house. A solid, secure house cannot be broken in easily, so criminals wait until you are standing on front of the door with the keys on your hand to jump on you. This is why we are extra alert when approaching our house, look all around us and if we see anything strange, keep walking around the block or keep on driving. No door is ever opened when there is a strange person around. Whenever someone knocks on our door (and we don’t know him/her), they are answered from a second story window. Criminals sometimes disguise as electric company guys or something like that, saying that they have to fix something. NO! If there is something to be fixed they can fix it on the sidewalk. Anything inside your house is your responsibility and the company is not going to fix it for you. Either way, it’s always better to play it safe, Better to be rude than dead.
On the car/driving issue, that calls for an entire post dedicated to SHTF driving. For now I’ll just say that windows and doors have to be closed at all times, a weapon must be within arms reach, and that stop signs and traffic lights have a whole new meaning once TSHTF. If your country ever falls as mine did, you’ll remember me whenever you see a traffic light. You never stop at a red lights or stop sign unless there is traffic, especially at night.
At first, police would write you a ticket for not stopping at a red light if they saw you (another way of saying that they will ask for a bribe if they see you pass a red light), but after a few months they realized that nothing could be done, people would rather risk a ticket than risking their lives, so they decided to turn traffic lights to permanent yellow at night, after 8 or 9 PM. This is, of course, very dangerous. Night car accidents are both frequent and brutal since sometimes both cars hit each other at full speed.
MissinLink asked some good questions that might interest others as well, and since we are on the security issue, here they are:
“Do the invaders of homes in the country just drive up in cars or trucks? Do they hide and sneak up? How do these home invaders attack a home in the country? A similar question could be asked for homes in the city.”
Sometimes they just drive up to where you are working, if you are far away from the home, but most of the time they sneak up on you. Criminals are not stupid, and they will spend days checking the place and specially YOUR ROUTINE. For example, if they see that you lock the gate at night, as most do, they will wait for you behind a tree until you are close. This is done a lot. Dogs are the best alarm you can find, and criminals know that. They will poison them with pills when you go to sleep and attack the place in the middle of the night. I know of many that had their dogs killed. If they think that security is tight, they will just hide near the main gate, and wait for you to leave or return. When you stop at the gate and must get out of the truck to open/close the main gate, they attack. I’d say that the most frequent kind of attack is attacking by surprise when you enter/leave your home.quote:
“Most common times of attack? Day night evening morning? I understand occur when coming or going from ones home, etc.”
7 am, 9 am, 1pm 7pm, all are common times for attacks. There is no “safe” hour of the day. Night is particularly dangerous. Maybe attacks during the day are faster, they want to get some money or jewelry and leave fast, while at night they might stay inside more time, maybe till the next day. But there are no fixed patterns. If I could give one advice concerning SHTF security, it would be: Eyes and ears wide open when you enter/leave your home. If possible, keep a gun on your hand when doing either one. If something looks, even “feels strange, then go around the block and check again, carefully. If you see them still there, either call the police (if still available) or get help. If you approach the house with a large number of people they will leave. One time, I saw a couple of strange looking guys at my door. I went round the block and saw them still there. I started flashing the car lights and the horn and they left. I had a gun with me, though, so be careful when trying this. Also, remember that a car is one heavy, powerful piece of machinery. I know a guy that had one of those big chrome–tube bumpers installed on his truck, especially for hitting those that were stupid enough o try to make him stop by standing in front of the car.
If I had a truck, I would do so myself. Though I would keep my mouth shut about it, as always. Just say that you think it looks cool or something. Every now and then someone tries to force me to stop my car by standing in front of it (I suppose there are still fools out there that get robbed this way), in the middle of the street. I just aim at them and accelerate at full speed. They always jump out of the way before I hit them. By the way, at first, doing this made me feel nervous, but can you believe that now it’s just common driving, as normal as changing gears? I guess it’s a little sad.
Here’s Part III of Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre’s essay entitled “Thoughts on Urban Survival”.
PART III: GUNS, AMMO AND OTHER GEAR
After TSHTF in 2001, only the most narrow minded, brain washed, butterfly IQ level idiots believed that the police would protect them from the crime wave that followed the collapse of our economy. A lot of people that could have been considered antigun before, ran to the gun shops, seeking advice on how to defend themselves and their families. They would buy a 38 revolver, a box of ammo, and leave it in the closet, probably believing that it would magically protect them from intruders.
Oh, maybe you don’t think that firearms are really necessary or your beliefs do not allow you to buy a tool designed to kill people. So you probably ask yourself, is a gun really necessary when TSHTF? Will it truly make a difference? Having gone through a shtf scenario myself, total economical collapse in the year 2001, and still dealing with the consequences, 5 years later, I feel I can answer that question. YES, you need a gun, pepper spray, a machete, a battle axe, club with a rusty nail sticking out of it, or whatever weapon you can get hold of.
A LOT has been written on survival weapons. Everyone that is into armed survival has his or her own idea of the ideal gun battery. Some more oriented to a hunting point of view, others only as self defense means and others consider a little of both, and look for general purpose weapons. Talking about guns, there is one special subject I want to rectify, and it’s the point on what’s the primary weapon for the survivalist, specially an urban survivalist that has to function in a society, yes, even after the SHTF. The primary defensive weapon for the survivalist is his HANDGUN.
It’s the weapon that stays with him when he is doing his business around town of working on the field. The survivalist IS NOT a soldier, even though you are a soldier or you once were the meanest mother on the battle filed, your home town is not a battlefield and it wont be, even if the SHTF. A LOT of water has to go under the bridge until the situation gets to a point where you can calmly walk down the street with a rifle on your shoulder. People, if you are interested in real world SHTF situation and you want to prepare for the real deal, then understand that this isn’t black or white. You wake up one day and listen on the radio that the economy collapsed and that the stock market closed indefinitely. What do you do? You still have to go to the office/work/whatever .Kiss the wife good bye and walk to the office with your AR across your back, or across your chest, Israeli style, and ready to shoot? You won’t get far. Someone will shoot you or throw you in jail, or in a mental institution.
What I’m trying to explain, is that it’s ok to prepare for China invading you country, Germans and UN or Martians. That is the extreme, less likely worst case scenario.
There is an infinity spectrum of gray between the black and white. White being your average normal day and black being total TEOTWAWKI, lizard men invading the planet.
Rifles do have a place in the survivalist’s arsenal, and a very important one. But you have to understand that 90% of the time, the handgun will be the weapon you have available when you need one. You can’t compare to a trooper in Iraq that has his weapon with him at all times. I ask you how many soldiers do you know that keep wearing cammo and totting their M4s around town when they return home?
What works for war does not work for the survivalist, especially the urban survivalist.
Even if you live in a retreat far from town, you have to work, don’t you? Or do you have employees that take care of all your mundane tasks, leaving you all day to keep watch with your rifle ready? A soldier is part of a huge machine; HIS job is to carry that rifle, while others take care of other needs. A survivalist, one that is not part of a large survivalist group, has no one to cover for him. When a new guy looks for advice on what to get for defense, some will recommend a rifle or shotgun as a first defensive weapon.
Let’s say race riots start in this guy’s city. He still has to go to work every day. What is he supposed to do? Shove his pump shotgun in his pocket? A handgun, even though less powerful, can be used for home defense AND go with you wherever you need to go. If the place floods, he can still hop into an evacuation boat without leaving his weapon behind. I’m sure no rescue team will pick you if you are carrying a long arm. They’ll ask you to leave it behind for sure. What if your government, realizing that TSHTF and that they lost control of the events, bans all firearms indefinitely? Don’t know about you, but if things are that bad, I’d like to be armed. You can hide a handgun under a jacket. You can’t hide a long arm under your clothes.
I think it was Clint Smith who said that the handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle. Man! That sounds “macho”. I’d love to see him walking into Wal-Mart with his tactical M4, taking the subway, visiting the doctor or going to the bank. “Over here Mr. Smith, you can hang you M4 right next to my coat” I don’t think so. Guys, unless you have your own shooting school, you do not get to carry your rifle to work.
OK, now that I got that out of my chest lets look at some options.
Revolver or Pistol? Pistol ALL THE WAY! Yes, I saw the video of the guy that accurately emptied his S&W in ½ a second. I also saw the shooting range and the crowd behind him, watching the event. Can he shoot and reload that way if he is in his car, driving with one hand and shooting with the other, while a bunch of scum bags in another car are shooting at him? Hey, maybe he can. I know I can’t. Can you?
Generally speaking, the revolver is more difficult to master than the pistol. The double action is hard and it affects speed and accuracy. It can be done, but I found that pistols are easier, as did many shooters. Also, even though they seem to be more simple, revolvers are not as rugged as service pistols, the mechanisms that cycles the cylinder and cocks the hammer is both complicated and fragile compared to auto pistols.
Before anyone starts casting evil voodoo spells at me for insulting their prized S&W or Ruger: I own revolvers and like shooting them, I just don’t think they are the best option for self defense, and I see that everyone I talk to in my country who is worried about security as I am also chooses pistols. Quality pistols resist sand, mud and dirt in general better than revolvers, where a small pebble locked in the mechanism may render the revolver inoperable.
I personally had a problem with a new stainless steel Taurus Tracker .357 magnum. After shooting it a couple of times I reloaded it and shot all 7 rounds as fast as I could and when I tried to empty it, I found that the empties were stuck because they expanded because of the heat. I had to wait until the gun cooled a little so I could empty the gun. Stuff like this can get you killed, even more in a 7 round handgun. I once saw a man walk into a gun store wanting to trade his 357 magnum revolver for a 9mm high capacity pistol. He said he was driving when thugs from another car started shooting at him. He was chased for a few blocks. He said that he pulled his revolver and started shooting at them, and ran out of ammo real fast. He wanted more capacity and fast reloading. I could not agree with him more. Some will consider this “Spray and pray”, thinking that all rounds should hit the target and if some don’t then it means that you need more time at the range. Those same people will tell you that they intend to use bolt action rifles as defensive rifles, making each shot count, without ever missing their target, one shot one kill. I don’t agree with this. One shot one kill is ok for snipers, but the survivalist should have other alternatives.
I don’t see anything wrong with shooting four or five rounds at a chasing car. If those rounds make them think twice about their intentions, they are rounds well spent in my book, even if they don’t kill the attacker. Suppressive fire is possible if you have a high capacity pistol. I wouldn’t doubt on using such a tactic if it serves my purposes, or if it buys me time to get out of there. Also keep in mind that criminals are cowards and therefore attack in groups. The survivalist should be able to face more than just one attacker. Getting into a gunfight with two or three armed men while packing a 6 round revolver is rather hard to deal with. A high capacity pistol can load about 15 or 19 rounds, and that can certainly make a difference in a gunfight where you are outnumbered.
A forensic doctor that used to live in my neighborhood got killed last year. He was ambushed when he exited a restaurant by 5 or 6 men. Even though they did kill him he managed to kill 4 of them and severely injure another. He shot regularly and carried a Glock .40. I’m sure he was lucky but I also think that his choice of weapon was also important in the outcome. If anyone is wondering, people in my country that are serious about self defense carry Glocks. Those that don’t have the money for a Glock carry Bersas, FM High Powers or 1911 surplus .45s. At first I wasn’t sure about the Bersa, but once I tried them I saw that they are very descent guns. I now own two Bersas and am pleased with they performance.
The caliber choice calls for endless debate and it is not my intention here. Let’s just say that 9mm, 40S&W and 45ACP are the obvious choices. 40S&W seem to be the most adequate, both in FMJ and HP, while 9mm lacks some stopping power and hollow points should be used if possible. Though the 9mm lacks power compared to the 40S&W, it is more popular world wide, a factor to consider seriously when choosing a handgun for SHTF. Besides, 9mm can also be used in a number of carbines and SMG, another important fact to be considered.
SMGs and carbines chambered for 40S&W and .45 ACP are also available, but they at not nearly as popular as those chambered for 9mm. Whatever you choose keep 500 or better yet 1000 rounds of quality ammo for your handgun at all times. 100 rounds won’t last much if the crisis lasts long. Also consider that once the balloon goes up, governments tend to restrict guns and ammo.
I previously stated that the urban survivalist will be using his handgun 90% of the time he needs to defend himself and family from attackers. I didn’t pull this figure out of thin air; it is quite accurate based on what happens here on daily basis, even a little optimistic. Cold harsh reality has shown us that most attacks occur when entering or exiting your home, when you are more vulnerable. Almost no one is stupid enough to try to enter a barred house with armed occupants. Believe me people; the gene pool will clean itself rather fast once the SHTF. So, is a rifle necessary? Of course it is! There is still that 10%, and that 10% can still ruin your day. And this percentage sky rockets if you intend to use that same rifle for putting meat on the table. If you have to settle with just one rifle, go for a semi auto. Ideally you should have a bolt action one and a semi auto rifle. A bolt action and a semiautomatic 308 would make a nice combination.
Whatever you choose, try to keep it within military calibers and military weapons if possible.
It may seem that I have something against bolt rifles but I don’t. I think they are fantastic weapons, but I think that semi autos are much better fighting weapons. The idea of “picking them out” 300 meters away with your bolt rifle, as they come in a row blowing whistles and firing warning rounds is laughable at best. Bolt rifles do have advantages over semi autos, accuracy not being the most important one. Bolt rifles such as Mausers last forever and are harder than rocks, THAT’S important. They are simple, easy to repair tools that will serve you (within their limitations of course) longer than any other weapon. For example, the coil spring on my Mauser 1891 safety broke into 3 separate parts, after almost 100 years of faithful service. I dug into my tool box and found a spring left over from a kitchen shelve door. I cut it approximately to the length of the previous spring, replaced it and the rifle was fixed. There are not many weapons that allow this. And it is a very valuable attribute once the SHTF and spare parts are no longer available.
Stick to common calibers, 223, 7.62x39mm, or 7,62×51 (308). 223 vs. 308? I’m not going there. If you prefer 223 because it has less recoil, it’s lighter, or you favor the AR rifle go ahead. If you think that 223 is more powerful than 7,62 sign up to Physics I.
Just remember what I said before, a survivalist is not a soldier serving in Iraq, and you don’t have the entire USMF to back you up. You are on your own. You are not going to pin your attackers down with a questionably effective round and wait until someone hits them with artillery.
About ARs… I wouldn’t trust my life to a rifle that has more versions than Rocky sequels… the way I see it, it means that the basic design was the problem and there is no solution. On AK … all has been said. The most popular rifle on the planet, and popular not because of politics, but because it works. It also fires an intermediate power, effective round, available world wide. SKS are also good, but I’d rather have removable magazines. Again, don’t use voodoo on me because I say I wouldn’t trust my life to a AR. If you keep your weapon clean, know its limitations and feel comfortable with it, go for it please. A couple of rounds of 223 will kill anyone just as well.
If you want a rifle that can do a little bit of everything relatively well, do yourself a favor and get either a M1A or a FAL in 7,62 (308) with a carbine length barrel. Preferably with a red dot scope and some kind of light mount. Leave full length barrels to hunters and bench rest shooters. Do your homework on both guns and you’ll see what I mean.
Choose 308 not because of the added range you can get out of it, but because of its power at all ranges, choose it because it turns cover into concealment. Think about all the possible cover material you can find in a city, like cars, trees, low walls and other structures. The 308 will go right through it, or destroy it after a few rounds. It’s a proven cartridge through out the years.
Shotguns are good general purpose guns. The main advantage I see is the devastating stopping power and the ability to use special ammo, like slugs and less than lethal ammo. I’m not so sure about the role as an “inside house” gun. The muzzle blast is great and quick follow up are not easy, especially when adrenalin is pumping through your system or, even worse, when someone is shooting back at you.
Pistol caliber carbines and SMG.
If possible, I’d choose a SMG reduced to semi auto (only if necessary, of course, full auto selector is better if possible) or other kind of short, small, pistol caliber carbine.
The combination of a 9mm handgun and a 9mm carbine or SMG reduced to semi auto or full auto class III has lots of advantages in my book and is a fine combination.
Some think that full auto is a waste of ammo. I don’t think so, not if you know how to use your head, and use this feature wisely. If you can get a short barrel and collapsible stock, you’ll also have a weapon that can be hidden under a heavy coat. A red dot scope would enhance accuracy a lot. The advantage of having the same ammo for long and small arm is not to be taken lightly. From the logistical, survivalist point of you, this is one big thumbs up! Think about cowboys and Americans that lived in the west, they also knew the value of using the same ammo for rifle and handgun. They had single action handguns and lever action handguns chambered for the same ammo, the modern survivalist can have the same ammo for his auto pistol and his sub-rifle as well.
Some think that a pistol caliber long arm is just one big clumsy pistol or a rifle sized gun that delivers pistol power and accuracy. This is BS. Anyone that ever fired a pistol caliber rifle or SMG knows that they are much more accurate, hitting torso targets at 100 yards is easy, and a little more if you have a red dot scope. Also, SMGs can manage hot ammo specially made for such guns, much more powerful than the one for handguns. Even if you use regular handgun ammo, the added barrel length adds a few extra feet per second making it more powerful. Just check the information on boy armor. Body armor that is rated to stop 9mm, for example, is not rated to stop the same 9mm ammo out of a SMG or carbine, because the added speed will make that same round penetrate the vest. Anyway, +P ammo is more than enough power out of a SMG or carbine; you don’t have to go looking for special SMG ammunition.
If you can get full auto that’s one nice feature to have, not worth it if you are on a tight budget, but if you can get it, it may come in handy someday. Full auto SMG are giving police in my country a lot of headaches. A criminal with little or no training will put 3 or 4 cops armed with pistols and shotguns on their toes, just because of the sheer volume of fire these high capacity 9mm deliver. There was this case of a bad guy standing in front of a patrol car full of cops on a red light stop, pulling a 9mm SMG out of his coat and emptying it on full auto. The cops didn’t have a chance, he killed them all. The car looked like Swiss cheese with 40 9mm holes all over the vehicle.
All I’m going to say on this subject is: Have one if you can. That’s it. I’ll leave the rest of it to your imagination, don’t make me say it. Today it may seem like a “nice to have” feature… after the SHTF, it may be an “O God I’ve got to get a suppressor!!” feature.
I’d buy a good suppressor instead of an ultra high dollar scope like the SOG. Buy a good quality scope, but don’t spend a fortune on it, and use the rest of the money on a suppressor. If you are serious about preparing for SHTF, you’ll thank me one day; just trust me on this one. 9mm and 45 suppress quite well. Not as well as .22, but there is much more power on the big bore ammo. Combined with a full auto SMG, the possibilities are much greater. Sometimes it’s just better to go unnoticed, especially in a SHTF crisis.
Dear God! Buy body armor PLEASE!! Its dirt cheep in USA. Preferably, get the police concealable kind (class II) then continue to work on it and get class III A military armor and some rifle plates, just as you do when you start buying guns. You’ll end up with 2 or 3 sets of armor which are great to have for family members and spares. Just so you know, I got so desperate about body armor I ordered it from USA through internet (bulletproofme.com), I ended up paying a total of nearly 600 USD for body armor that costs 200 USD in USA. Buy it while you still can. When the SHTF you’ll end up wearing it, believe me. I don’t wear mine all day long but I do wear it when I have to go some place dangerous, deal with people I don’t trust, or when I have to go teach Architecture Representation late at night, and must travel through a much dangerous road at 12 PM.