TSHTF Inflation: “What YOU Will Pay for What You Need to Survive”

This extremely informative article has been generously contributed by John Galt. Follow his John Galt FLA web site for essential news, informative analysis and a truly unique perspective on global happenings. Be sure to check out his widely popular The Day The Dollar Died series available for free online, as well as John’s latest The Year After the Dollar Died.

20 cans of Tuna? Check

100 MREs? Check.

20 bushels of Corn? Check.

2 rolls of pre-1964 ‘Junk’ Silver dimes? Check.

400 rounds .22 LR? Check.

500 rounds .223 ammo? Check.

Sounds like a nice stash of survivalist/prepper goods to start with doesn’t it? I could continue on with the list but it only begins to belie the myth that sadly so many members of the prepper community believe to be their ideal that they are 100% prepared for the collapse of America and perhaps Western civilization. How can I make such a statement and not back it up with facts? I shall provide my readers with one fact, the lowly Twinkie:

tshtf-inflation1

$ 200,000 for one box of Twinkies? What the hell does that have to do with survival when the proverbial situation arises as TSHTF (look it up if you don’t know what it means)?

Everything.

This was the case last year when the Hostess Bakery filed for bankruptcy when the unions failed to find a reasonable deal with a corporation which had overpaid for their services for years yet nobody who worked their thought it was enough. In the end, the company filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the unions lost their jobs, and the thought of no more Twinkies ever being made ever again thus causing a Twinkie panic and prices to be driven out of reality as there was this belief that people were stupid enough to pay this much for a so-called piece of Americana junk food history.

But this is an isolate incident, right? Uh, no, there were literally hundreds upon hundreds of stupid eBay listings like this:

tshtf-inflation2

So what does a Twinkie have to do with TSHTF, inflation, and the fallacies of the survivalist community?

Once again, EVERYTHING.

To begin with, this article is neither to demean the starting prepper nor launch into my fellow bloggers and authors about their version of what being prepared for the worst case scenario might well be; even though the criticism is valid and should remind everyone of the old adage that NO ONE is totally prepared for a societal collapse.

The theory that many of the Pollyanna view of the end of modern convenience then in the end civilization is that indeed, mankind would seek his brother out and be at his best working together to rebuild and save humanity and rebuild civilization. The other view is the darker perspective, the so-called “Jericho” scenario on steroids where no one can or should be trusted and if one works within a community structure the enemy, in often cases the new or what’s left of the existing government will either extinguish or work with other groups to seize control from any opposition to their way of thinking.

JERICHO_NUKEthumb

This brings me back to an old posting, a portion of my past where I pointed out the original barter spreadsheet, something most individuals have forgotten about:

(click on the thumbnail to enlarge to full size)

BARTER_PRICE_SS_102210jgfla

In 2010, I too thought that mankind would be somewhat, not totally, but somewhat reasonable in its assessment of civilization and how and what we would do to deal with each other. I published the spreadsheet based on current prices for 2010 and thought that this guide would provide anyone a basic price list for trade should TSHTF soon after that time.

I was wrong.

If you look the version updated on March 20, 2014 the prices have varied some, only because of the value of the dollar and deliberate efforts by yours truly to find the cheapest prices for commodities; however for meat like pork and beef the ratio has exploded beyond belief compared to the staples in the spreadsheet below:

(click on the thumbnail to enlarge to full size)

BARTER_PRICE_SS_032014jgfla

The problem with the spreadsheet above is that the current regime of pricing might well be extinct within the next 180 days as the world shifts from the petrodollar to a true, commodity based currency. I warned about this problem two weeks ago in the article:

Russia’s Financial Nuclear Option against America

yet only a few American financial outlets took the Russian threat seriously.   Fast forward to the news linked two sentences above, a conflict openly possibly involving NATO troops in a mode of retreat and protect, along with a Chinese government electing to engage its long time enemies as an aggressor. The US Dollar Index would collapse from its absurdly overvalued level of just over 80 as world governments abandon its potential future as the peg for their currencies:

(chart via INO.com 03/21/2014)

tshtf-inflation3

Imagine the impact far beyond groceries of a US Dollar 50% lower than currently valued. There is a lot of insane analysis that in fact the American citizens will indeed behave in a “civilized” manner despite the initial premise that civilization is collapsing. Thus why the chart I present below, priced in only estimated gold and silver valuations might well wake some of my readers from their Pollyanna perspective that we will continue to exist as a normalized group of people despite every civilization’s collapse indicating otherwise:

tshtf-inflation4

The first question is why no comparisons to other commodities like the previous spreadsheets? That answer is easy:

Screw you, I’ll charge whatever the bleep I want.

You have 100 bushels of corn. So what the hell up?

You have 50 bottles of Jack Daniels for trade? Great, find an alcoholic who is a surgeon to operate on your child who needs his or hers appendix removed.

You have 500 gallons of motor oil and diesel fuel? BFD. I have a gasoline powered vehicle, enough motor oil to make the trip to Mexico and back. And really don’t care if your wife has a disease and she needs my gold to buy her cure.

The reality is that all perceived norms of civilization are out the window once organized governments and currencies collapse. Inflation is the reality of the day as all items are in short supply. Does anyone really think the snipers in Croatia and Bosnia gave one rat’s ass about how many eggs your chicken could poop when they held the high ground, the ammo supply, and enough precious metals to reload until the freaking USMC showed upon the scene?

My friends, and enemies, everyone still thinks in the norm. The two spreadsheets about fair barter only apply in a semi-civilized society. In reality, TSHTF inflation occurs when those who have the most toys, the most gold and silver, get to dictate what YOU will pay for what you need to survive. If you do not have what it takes for barter, you will starve, your children may well die, or worse, you might get turned in to the new “authorities” of the upcoming DHS wet dream era.  It is time to dismiss the insane, insipid, and antiquated idea that America will continue to function as a “Christian” or “Judeo-Christian” society when it all collapses. The truth is that it will look more like the South in the 1865-1867 time period, or worse, the Balkans when Yugoslavia disintegrated.

At that point in time it is survival of the fittest and those who need goods had best have an ample supply of real currency, a 4000 year old plus monetary system, if they wish to survive. If you, my reader does not believe this, do like the 1939 Jew, get in line, get a number to exist and avoid freedom guaranteed with real money within a dictatorship, that of gold, silver, and cunning. As a merchant of life, I would not accept anything less for my family that what I would need in the future to trade or bribe my freedom out of a region for to survive. I need not a truckload of corn, wheat, or fuel. I need not 50,000 rounds of ammunition, three thousand pounds of steak, nor 5,000,000 Advil tablets.

I need what it shall take to move on foot or via transport, using real money to buy my freedom or maintain it behind enemy lines. The alternatives are quite real, quite stark, and quite accurate if anyone has witnessed a FEMA trailer assembly after a natural disaster.

Of course there are alternatives: One could  just move to Venezuela before we collapse here, which is duplicating the errors of humanity’s past:

tshtf-inflation5

This extremely informative article has been generously contributed by John Galt. Follow his John Galt FLA web site for essential news, informative analysis and a truly unique perspective on global happenings. Be sure to check out his widely popular The Day The Dollar Died series available for free online, as well as John’s latest The Year After the Dollar Died.

Hattip Ol’ Remus at Woodpile Report


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Take These Steps Today To Survive An International Crisis

This article has been contributed by Brandon Smith of Alt Market.

global_economic_collapse (1)

With the Crimea referendum passed and Russia ready to annex the region, the United States and the European Union have threatened sanctions. The full extent of these sanctions is not yet known, and announcements are pending for the end of March. If these measures are concrete, they will of course be followed inevitably by economic warfare, including a reduction of natural gas exports to the EU and the eventually full dump of the U.S. dollar by Russia and China. As I have discussed in recent articles, the result of these actions will be disastrous.

For those of us in the liberty movement, it is now impossible to ignore the potential threat to our economy. No longer can people claim that “perhaps” there will be a crisis someday, that perhaps “five or 10 years” down the road we will have to face the music. No, the threat is here now, and it is very real.

The loss of the dollar’s world reserve status will destroy the only thread holding up its value, namely, investor faith. There are only two possible outcomes from that point onward:

A) The U.S. will be forced to default because no nation will purchase our Treasury bonds and support our debt spending, causing the dollar’s value to implode.

B) The Fed will choose to restart and expand quantitative easing measures, confiscate pension funds, raid bank accounts or issue new taxes in order to keep the system afloat; this will also end in the eventual collapse of dollar value and hyperinflation.

The consequences will lead to an explosion in prices — first in commodities and necessities like petroleum, imported raw materials, food, electricity, etc. and then in all other goods and services. Austerity measures will be instituted by Federal and State governments. Cuts to social welfare programs, including food stamps, are probable. Civil infrastructure will suffer. The cost effectiveness of maintaining public utilities could become unrealistic. Anyone relying on such services may find themselves cut off for days, weeks or indefinitely. Public suffering will invariably rise, along with public crime.

If events like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans are any indication, the Federal government’s response will be inadequate, to say the least. The Federal Emergency Management Agency clearly cannot be relied upon to provide food, shelter, medical care or protection for communities. In fact, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Feds did far more harm than good, corralling people into camps where death was rampant and disarming outlying neighborhoods so that they could not defend themselves. Tens of millions of dollars in donated and Federally purchased necessities were never delivered to aid survivors. Trucks were turned away, and help from civilian sources was denied.

The point is, if you find yourself in the midst of a national or international catastrophe, you should assume that you will be on your own with whatever preparations you made beforehand. To assume otherwise would be foolish, given our government’s track record.

There are some people who will argue that during an international crisis, such as an economic war or a world war, there is no purpose to preparedness. They will argue that there is nothing an individual or family can do to weather the storm or fight back, because the scale of the threat would be “too great.” There is no place for such defeatism in the life of the liberty-minded. The scale of the threat is irrelevant, and only cowards give up a fight before it even begins. Survival and freedom require an unwavering conviction. Nihilists will fulfill their own prophecies, suffering a fate exactly as they imagine for the rest of us; living in fear, slavery, and obscurity.

That said, it is also important to acknowledge the truth that the majority of Americans today are utterly unready for a minor localized disaster, let alone a national or global crisis. This problem, though, could be easily remedied with a few simple beginning steps. I find that most people are not averse to the idea of preparedness, but many have trouble taking the first steps in the right direction. For longtime preparedness champions, the information listed here might seem like old-hat. However, I challenge each liberty movement member to approach at least one friend or family member who could benefit from the steps below. Prepping appears daunting to the uninitiated; show them how simple it can actually be.

Below is a list of goals that every liberty movement member and American can easily achieve starting today and continuing over the course of the next month. If enough citizens were to take the initiative to do these things, all threats — no matter how imposing — could be overcome.

Buy Three Months Of Food Stock

Food supply is the greatest Achilles’ heel of the American populace. Most homes store less than one week’s worth of food items at any given time. The average person needs between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day to maintain sufficient energy for survival. It takes around four to six weeks for a person to die of starvation and malnutrition. In a collapse scenario, most deaths will likely occur within the first few months, either by weakness and illness, or by looting and violence. The idea is to at least get through this first catastrophic phase without becoming a villain, or falling victim to one. One person removed from starvation is one possible threat removed from the equation.

Three months of supply is not ideal by any means, but it will buy you precious time. Start with 2,000 calories per day per person. Bulk foods can be purchased cheaply (for now) and can at the very least provide sustenance during emergencies. A 20-pound bag of rice, for instance, can be had for less than $ 15 and provides about 30,000 calories, or 2,000 calories per day for 15 days for one person. Supplement with beans, canned vegetables and meats, honey for sugar, or freeze-dried goods, and you will be living more comfortably than 90 percent of the population.

Food stockpiling is one of the easiest and most vital measures a person could take. Yet, sadly, it is one of the last preparations on people’s minds.

Buy A Water Filter

Do not count on city water to remain functional. Even during a drawn-out economic downturn rather than an immediate crisis, there is a good chance that some utilities will be sporadic and unreliable. This means you will have to focus on rainwater collection, as well as water from unclean sources. Boiling the water will kill any bacteria, but it will not kill the taste of sediments and other materials floating around. A high-grade survival filter is the best way to get clean water that tastes good.

The average person needs about a gallon of water per day to remain healthy and hydrated. I highly recommend the Sawyer Mini Water Filter, which is a compact washable filter that can cleanse up to 100,000 gallons of water. It uses no moving parts, making it harder to break; and it costs only $ 20.

Buy A Small Solar Kit

Try going a week or two without electricity, and you may find how dismal life can truly be. The very absence of light at night reduces one’s productivity time drastically, and using fuel for lanterns is not practical in the long term. Solar power is truly the way to go for a grid-collapse scenario.

I’ve heard much whining about the cost of solar power, but small systems that will serve most electrical needs can be set up for less than $ 1,000. Two 100-watt panels, a power inverter, charge controller and four to six 12-volt deep-cycle batteries are enough to deal with most electrical needs in a survival situation; and all these items can be contained in a portable foot locker for minimal cost. New solar panels are much more effective in low-light conditions and winter weather as well, making solar a must-have prep item.

Store A Fuel Source

Twenty gallons of gasoline treated with fuel saver is not expensive to purchase today, but in the midst of hyperinflation, it may be impossible to obtain tomorrow. Kerosene is useful for heating and cooking. Propane can be stored for decades and runs numerous appliances. If you live in a forested area, dried wood can be had for free, and can keep you warm throughout the winter months (keep in mind the your local danger factor when using fire). It is vital to have a means to stay warm and fed during the most difficult seasonal changes, especially during a grid down scenario.

Find Alternative Shelter

There are no guarantees during a full-spectrum disaster. Having all your eggs in one basket is not only stupid, but unnecessary. Always have a plan B. That means scouting an alternative location for you and your family in the event that your current shelter comes under threat. This location should be far enough away from large population centers but still within a practical range for you to reach them. It should also have a nearby water source, and be defensible. Establishing supply caches near this site is imperative. Do not assume that you will be able to take all of your survival supplies with you from your home. Expect that surprises of a frighteningvariety will arise.

Buy One Semi-Automatic Rifle

At this point I really don’t care what model of rifle people purchase, as long as they have one, preferably in high capacity and semi-automatic. AR-15, AK-47, Saiga, SKS, M1A: just get one! Every American should be armed with a military-grade rifle. If you are not, you are not only negligent in your duty as a free citizen, but you are also at a distinct disadvantage against the kind of opponents you are likely to face in a collapse situation.

Buy 1,000 Rounds Of Ammunition

Again, this is by no means an ideal stockpile, but it is enough to get you through a couple rough patches if you train furiously. Cheap AK-47 ammo can be had for $ 5 for a box of 20 rounds. Get what you can while you can, because the prices are only going to skyrocket in the near term.

Approach One Friend Or Neighbor

Community is what will make the difference between life and death during a SHTF collapse. I challenge everyone in the liberty movement to find at least ONE other person to work with in the event of disaster. Lone-wolf operations may be strategically practical for short periods of time; but everyone needs rest, and everyone needs someone else to watch his back. Do not fall into the delusion that you will be able to handle everything on your own.

Learn One Barter Skill

Learn how to fix one vital thing or provide one vital service. Try emergency medical training, gunsmithing or metal working, as long as it is an ability that people will value. You have to be able to produce something that people want in order to sustain yourself beyond the point at which your survival stockpile runs out. Be sure that you are seen as indispensable to those around you.

Grow A Garden

Spring is upon us, and now is the perfect opportunity to grow your own food supply. If you have even a small yard, use that space to grow produce. Focus on high-protein and high-vitamin foods. Buy a dehydrator or canning supplies and save everything. Use heirloom seeds so that you can collect new seed from each crop to replant in the future. If every American had a garden in his backyard, I wouldn’t be half as worried about our survival as I am today.

Prepare Your Mind For Calamity

The most valuable resource you will ever have is your own mind. The information held within it and the speed at which you adapt will determine your survival, whether you have massive preparations or minimal preparations. Most people are not trained psychologically to handle severe stress, and this is why they die. Panic equals extinction. Calm readiness equals greater success.

The state of our financial system is one of perpetual tension. The structure is so weak that any catalyst or trigger event could send it tumbling into the abyss. Make no mistake; time is running out. We may witness a terrifying breakdown tomorrow, in a year, or if we are lucky, a little longer. The path, though, has been set and there is no turning back. All of the items above can be undertaken with minimal cash flow. If you receive a regular paycheck, you can establish a survival supply for yourself and your family. There are no excuses.

Take the steps above seriously. Set your goals for the next four weeks and see how many of them you can accomplish. Do what you can today, or curse yourself tomorrow. What’s it going to be?

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

To contribute to the growth of the Safe Haven Project, and to help us help others in relocating, or to support the creation of barter networks across the country, visit our donate page here.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin

Editor’s Note: Being prepared for a disaster doesn’t necessarily require you spending thousands of dollars on gear. While it’s certainly a good idea to have reserve food stores, water sources, self defense armaments, and other supplies, it’s also important to keep in mind that all of your best laid plans can very quickly fall apart. Should that situation befall you the only option you’ll have left is to use that which God has given you, and one key gift we’ve all received is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.  It’s what makes us human. During a high-stress emergency we’ll quickly realize that random items, perhaps even trash, may mean the difference between life and death. In the following article Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition and author of The Prepper’s Cookbook highlights several mundane items that are easily accessible, but can be fashioned in various ways to help you thrive in the midst of crisis. From broken down washing machine parts that can be used for creating electricity to soda cans that will keep you warm in the middle of winter, necessity will very much be the mother of invention. 

shtf-adaptIn a critical emergency, how quickly we respond to a disaster directly impacts how successful we are at coming out of the situation. Many of us typically go through a processing phase, or what many call the normalcy bias. This bias is actually a coping mechanism that occurs when we are trying to register and sort out a traumatic event or impending disaster. It is very natural to slip into this phase – but getting out of it is takes a little longer. The reason being is we are creatures of habit and resist change at every turn. When we begin to come out of the normalcy bias, only then do we open our eyes to the changes that have occurred in our lives; and we must react to them. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and sometimes, depending on the disaster, will be long lasting. Our military forces train for reacting quickly in a situation, and we must train for this as well.

Having a plan and a supply of food is well and good. If you need a good place to start, I suggest using the 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s the skills and ingenuity that will help you thrive and stay alive.

As much as I do not like to spew doom, mark my words – after a disaster, times will quickly change, and the sooner we can adapt, the better our chances at survival will be. One of the first things we should do following a disaster (assuming the danger has passed and everyone is safe) is to begin to see how everyday items can be used as tools for off-grid living. A simple credit card or a busted cell phone can go a long way in surviving an emergency. We can easily find items around our home to promote our security and wellbeing.

7 Ways to Use Items To Adapt and Survive

  1. Gravity fed water filter – Water is key to survival and your number one priority when all hell breaks loose. When you drink unpurified water, it can cause severe illnesses, even death. If you haven’t invested in a water filtration system, then you need to learn how to purify water for consumption. Here are instructions for the most basic type of water filtration system. It’s so easy to make, it’s an elementary school project!
  2. Rope – Rope or paracord can serve multiple purposes in off grid living. Read about the 50+ ways to use paracord toward surviving. One of my favorite uses is to line dry clothing.
  3. Busted motors – Essentially any motor with a copper wire can be converted into an energy producer. You could easily convert your washing machine into windmillto make power. This is an essential skill to have for surviving a long term emergency.
  4. Stationary bikes – Did you ever think that stationary bikes could help to promote your self sustainability? Attaching your wheat grinder to your stationary bike by a pulley will help you put the peddle to the metal and grind grains more efficiently. Here are few additional ways to produce energy using a bicycle.
  5. Passive solar heater – We tend to think of solar heating as an expensive option, but with a few 2×4′s and a stash of soda cans you can create a passive solar heater. This could be a life saving item if you find yourself living in a grid down environment in a cold climate. Here are some basic instructions for building this.
  6. Cellular phones – As mentioned previously, cell phones have many uses in a survival situation. If your phone is still intact, you can download survival programs now (some are even for free) to learn and practice in your free time. However, if your phone is busted during a disaster there are core parts that can be utilized towards your survival. Some of these parts are the speaker, LCD screen, metal divider, wire, circuit board and battery. Read more on how you can meet some of your basic needs.
  7. Biomass briquettes – Your trash could save your life. Biomass briquettes are a green fuel source and are comprised of compressed organic compounds such as corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources and can be inside or in outside settings. Learn how to make them.

If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

***********

Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

The One Thing You Need To Survive: “Everything Else Is Just Talking and Wishful Thinking”

Editor’s Note: You’ve stocked your pantry. You’ve prepared your supplies and reserves at off-site locations. You’ve developed skills like shooting, food production and trauma care. You have primary, secondary and tertiary plans for evacuating your home or digging in and defending it. For all intents and purposes, you’re ready. At the very least you’re more prepared than 95% of the country. There is no doubt that if you’ve taken steps to prepare for an emergency or disaster ahead of time that your odds of survival have increased significantly. 

Then it hits the fan and you implement Plan A. And it hits the fan again and you go to Plan B. But the scenario you face is relentless, hitting you over and over again until your best laid plans and supplies are wiped out.

Then what? 

Real survival in crisis situations isn’t just about storing goods ahead of time. It involves something a lot more personal. 

In the following article a real survivor shares his experience. Selco from SHTF School has lived it. When he fought for his life during the Balkan war of the 1990′s, in what he describes as one year in hell, they never saw the collapse of their nation coming. They didn’t have forewarning or the ability to stock up months or years ahead of time.

From one day to the next the world changed. 

As Selco explains, having all the gear is certainly an advantage. But it’s not the most important part of making it out alive – nature is brutal and it doesn’t care how hardcore you (think you) are. 

Common sense and being able to make quick decisions in the heat of the moment is just as, if not more, critical than all of the preparedness plans you’ve assembled. 

The one thing you’ll need to survive when all hell breaks loose is an ability to adapt to an ever-changing, unfamiliar landscape. 


Common sense survival. The return of natural selection.
By Selco

tank

How do you imagine a real survivalist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We survived that drive. That dude was not an ex special forces member, or guy that you imagine, some strong tough dude. He was simple family guy, he worked as a postman before everything.

He had no experience with violence, gunfire or anything similar other than dogs barking at him while he delivered mail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A real survivalist is a man (or woman) who knows what to do in a certain moment. Everything else is just talking and wishful thinking. If you want to increase your chances to survive, then learn to take action quickly. Your knowledge and your skills will help you to make the right decisions and execute actions better.

You can follow Selco’s story at SHTF School and learn how he survived one year in hell. 

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More Excellent Reading From Selco:

A Survival Q & A: Living Through SHTF In the Middle of A War Zone

Advice From A Collapse Survivor: “RUN!” From Major Cities

Collapse Reality: “If I Had to Be an Animal, I Was an Animal. It Was About Survival.”


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Who to watch in 2014 — #2: Bashar al-Assad. Will he survive? Will Syria?

Bashar al-Assad.

Bashar al-Assad.

(Washington, D.C.) — This is the second in a series of columns on key people in the epicenter we should be keeping an eye on in 2014.

The first leader on my list was Jordan’s King Abdullah II — a fascinating Arab Reformer, the son of a bold Reformer, actively trying to lead his small, resource-poor, but vitally important nation towards progress and freedom, tolerance and modernity in a very tough neighborhood. The King is trying to improve his nation’s economy, is keeping close ties with the Arab world, maintains a close friendship with the U.S., and is maintaining his nation’s courageous peace treaty with Israel. He’s also actively trying to help the Palestinians and Israelis make peace. All the while, he is standing strong against the Radical forces in the region. I’m currently reading his 2011 book, Our Last Best Chance, and studying him carefully to see if he and his monarchy can navigate successfully through the upheavals of the so-called “Arab Spring.” (see my column on the King published on January 10th)

Today I want to focus on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — a cruel dictator, the son of a cruel dictator, who is massacring his people as he presides over the implosion of a country engulfed in civil war.

Assad came to power in 2000 after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad. But few leaders in the region are in as much danger as he at the moment.

As readers of this blog — and my novel last year, Damascus Countdown — know, I have a great interest in and concern about the future of Syria.

These are the big questions I’m asking as the year begins:

  1. Will Assad fall from power? (the West seemed poised to bring him down in 2013 after his regime used chemical weapons, but then backed off)
  2. Will he find a way to stop those trying to bring him down?
  3. How many will die in the process?
  4. Will he and his family physically survive? 
  5. If his regime collapse, will Syria be overtaken by Iran and Hezbollah, or by al Qaeda and other Radicals?

At the moment, the jury is still out.

As I noted the other day, the situation inside Assad’s Syria is horrific:

Clearly, a terrible evil has been unleashed. Syria is collapsing. It is hard to imagine putting the country back together any time soon. Indeed, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the geopolitical nation-state we have long known as “Syria.”

The New York Times is reporting today that “Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $ 380 million in new assistance on Wednesday to help civilians who are suffering because of the civil war in Syria. The pledge came as Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, who is chairman of the donors’ conference here, said that $ 6.5 billion was needed to provide medical care, food, water and shelter for Syrian refugees and civilians inside the country through 2014. That is the largest appeal for assistance in the history of the United Nations. It comes as the number of Syrian refugees has grown and conditions inside the country have dramatically deteriorated.”

In my 2009 non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution — which now needs updating given the dramatic, tumultuous events of the past several years — I put Assad into a category of Mideast leaders called “Resisters.”

Let me explain, and put this point into you some context:

There are six categories I used in the book to outline the players in the region, who they are, and what they want:

1. The Radicals are extremist Muslims. They want to overthrow every regime from North Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia and replace them with Islamist dictatorships who believe that “Islam is the answer and jihad is the way.” These include groups such as al-Qaeda, Iranian Twelvers, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

2. The Reformers are moderate Muslims. They generally believe that “Islam is the answer, but jihad is not the way; we need more freedom, more openness, more protection of human rights and civil rights, free elections, free markets, and the creation of full-blown Jeffersonian democracies, if at all possible.” Historically, this category would include Kemal Ataturk; Anwar Sadat; Jordanian Kings Hussein and Abdullah II; Moroccan king Mohammed VI; and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

3. The Revivalists are former Muslims who have left Islam and converted to Christianity. They say that “Islam is not the answer, jihad is not the way, Jesus is the way — and the only way for our part of the world to move forward and make real and lasting social, economic and spiritual progress is to skip back in our history before Islam and revive what we once had: first-century, New Testament Christianity.” These tend to be apolitical. They don’t typically focus on political change. They are generally focused on evangelism, discipleship, church planting, pastor training, and spiritual renewal. Their numbers have swelled into the millions since 1979, despite widespread (and recently intensifying) persecution.

These are the revolutionary forces in the region, people and movements who push for dramatic, sweeping change.

But there is another set of important players:

4. The Resisters tend to be secular Arab-nationalist leaders who oppose significant change of almost any kind. They may be Muslims, but they are not jihadists. They don’t want to build an Islamic empire. They want to build their own empires. Once they gain power, they strongly oppose revolutionary movements of all kinds. They simply want to hold onto the power, wealth, and prestige that they currently have, and gain more if they can. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was a classic Resister. So was the late-Libyan leader Moammar Ghadaffi, and the late-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The royal family and senior leaders of Saudi Arabia are classic Resisters. Syrian President Bashar Assad most certainly falls into this camp. He is doing everything he can — including using chemical weapons — to resist change and maintain his own power.

5. The Reticent tend to be weak-willed Arab leaders who seem constantly pulled in opposite directions. They don’t have strong convictions. At times they appear to want peace with Israel or a modicum of political or social reform, but then other forces push back at them and they waffle or change their tune. At the moment, Mahmoud Abbas is the best example of a Reticent leader.

6. Finally, and most importantly, are the Rank-and-File — these are the 1.4 billion or so everyday Muslims citizens. They work hard, play by the rules, and try to find decent jobs so they can feed and educate their families. They long for more freedom and opportunity, but mainly they keep their heads down and try not to be interfered with. They are the audience to which the revolutionaries are playing. They are watching the battle between the Radicals and the Reformers, and they are increasingly curious about the message of the Revivalists. And some of them are making their move and joining one of the revolutionary movements. 

Few Arab leaders create a more vivid contrast that Jordan’s Abdullah and Syria’s Assad. One is a Reformer. The other is a Resister. Let us keep a close eye on them both.

Meanwhile, to my Christian friends around the world, let us remember that the Lord Jesus Christ loves these men. He created them. He cares for them. He has a plan and purpose for each of them. That’s what the Bible teaches. So let us pray faithfully for them, as well as for their families and the nations they lead at this critical time.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog