Re: Surving Argentina’s Economic Collapse Part 2-3Urban Survival Part IV
-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. One where 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, therefore 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 so 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 species. 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 in front of the door with the keys on your hand to jump you. This is why we are extra alert when approaching our house, looking all around us and if we see anything strange, we 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.
MissingLink 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 by surprise when you enter/leave your home.
“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.
Urban Survival Part V
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 sewer 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 drive 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.
A 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 where 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 “you are on your own” land. 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 cheap, 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 gauge 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.
My advice is: 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.
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 renew your driver’s license after the XXXX crisis. The problem is that the office is low on personal (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 weighs 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 though it made her look like Cindy Crawford (poor Betty) but 20 dollars was more than she could spare on 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 where most officers are honest self sacrificed people, I mean no insult to the law enforcement community on this forum, 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.
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 between 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 know 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?
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 where 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 f 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 dieing because of hunger had increased drastically in the last few months.
So whatever happens, let it be 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 point is 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 life, 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 protein, and no matter how often I eat it, it always tastes good. Besides you can combine it with frizzed 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. Flour or wheat can also be stored in large quantities and are nutritious, but they require more preparation to consume.
We’ve become quite independent form the fridge, and only use it to keep frozen our fresh pasta pizza and frozen 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. Once you start eating fresh fruits and vegetables again they go away.
This happened to me once, spent to 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 you 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 for senators. It seems that in one of the north provinces people were surrendering their ID documents for bags of groceries, some for water, or for 10 pesos ( 3 USD) they were later taken to warehouses were 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 how 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 body will adapt if you always use the same, making that particular antibiotic not that effective, specially 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 good exercise and your punch will be more powerful if you connect.
Running belts and bicycles are also good.
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 [bail-out bag], 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 through a decent punch, cover your face, or some kind or martial art classes.
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.
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 the 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.
FerFAL, B. A. Argentina
Urban Survival Part VII
I have yet to find part VI online. I’ll keep looking for it.
Part 7 (excerpt)
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 mayor 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.
Hell!, 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 been 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 moving 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 okay. Savings and investing was the key to our survival.
The survivalist that has 5,000-10,000 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 of 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 where 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 always has 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 wildlife 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 can’t 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 can’t 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 won’t 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 can’t.
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.