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URBAN SURVIVAL: 5 Things People Say They Can or Would do in a Survival Situation – and Why They Won’t Based on Recent 3rd World Urban Survival Events

“If you jump really high the waves will just go under you bro”

After decades of studying, observing, experiencing and writing about everything Urban Survival, I have heard some serious fantasy about what people claim they would do during an Urban Survival situation. Not surprisingly most of this so-called ‘advice’ comes from people who have never been in a Urban Survival, ‘Fight or Die’ situation or have even stepped outside of the continental US with the exception of Bus Tours in their lives.

Most of the crazy shit I have heard comes from fake tough-guys, dudes who regurgitate stuff they have read on forums and keyboard commandos that make Bear Grills’s advice look reasonable. Having spent the past 10+ living, traveling and working in the 3rd world, I have seen people (including myself) survive the worst possible situations and do what they had to do to either survive or die.

From my experience, the current 3rd world is what the 1st world would be like after a prolonged ‘event’. That may be a natural disaster, civil war, overwhelming violent crime, financial meltdown or pandemics. In my opinion, the best place to study what people will or will not do when the SHTF in the 1st world, is to study what people in the 3rd world have and are currently doing to survive day by day.

The following are 5 Things People Say They would do in a Survival Situation – and why it will not work based on what has already happened to millions of people in the 3rd world:

Bug Out on Foot

During an Urban Survival situation, I give someone about 15 minutes of walking down the street with a big-ass backpack and an AR on their chest before they get shot and robbed.

During the Jakarta, Indonesia Riots in 1998 people could not even make it 3 blocks without running into a homemade roadblock manned by a group of knife and club-wielding thugs looking to strip them of everything, and that was only a day after the riots started.

Given, the US (or the 1st world in general) is a bit more civilized, but I still give any major metropolitan city in the US 10 to 15 days before it is at the same level of chaos that a city in the 3rd world would be at after only a day under the same circumstances.

FYI: Considering the amount of firearms in the US replace ‘knife and club’ with ‘AK-47 and Chrome plated .32 autos’. Now I know you are a bad ass and everything, but you can not take on 13 armed dug-in people, just not gona’ happen.

Even discounting all of the above, can you walk 100 miles carrying 50 pounds of gear, gun, kit and ammo – and forage for food and water along the way? No, literally millions of people during civil wars have tried and failed; the numbers are against you.

Look at any historical Urban Survival event in the 3rd world where people had to abandon their homes and go on foot seeking refuge somewhere else. How did that work out for them?

Drink their Piss

Take a Gatorade bottle, piss in it, leave it on your back porch for 2 days, do not drink any water during those two days and take a big gulp of warm piss.

Did you bust a blood vessel in your eye throwing up?

I have helped negotiate the release of (or to make their stay more comfortable) a dozen guys in 3rd world jails. Many times by the time I arrived weeks have passed by and the only water they had access to had been from a bucket shared with 20 other dudes. Despite the water giving them the most brutal shits they have ever imagined, they still drink the bucket water over a pee shake.

Trade for Goods

Ok, it has been a few months after some whacked event has caused your city to turn into Mogadishu and you need some supplies. You get into your moms car or hoof-it 30 miles to some unfamiliar and densely inhabited area. Next you toss your box of .22’s, Johnny Walker Black and issues of Hustler on the counter hoping to make a trade for Milk and Tampons.

Guess what happens to the bright eyed and bushy tailed new guy in every 3rd world Black Market?

If they are lucky, they only get robbed – shanked and man raped if unlucky

3rd World Black Markets are a necessary evil in my line of work – I have bought Booze on the black market in Indonesia, guns out of the back of a Land Cruiser in the Middle East and worked undercover in the counterfeiting biz in the US. They are environments where amateurs get killed or jacked on a daily basis.

So good luck with walking into a post-event black market with a backpack full of the most sought after and desperately needed supplies expecting people to obey the honor system.

Eat Someone

Sure, sure I know what you are thinking. Those soccer players who crashed on a snow topped mountain had a pot-luck on their friend’s asses when they got hungry. Well you are not on the top of a mountain after your prop plane took a nose dive. You are living in a city, and you are hungry for a Big Mac.

In an Urban Survival situation, you will not be held up in the hull of a crashed plane while your buddies die from exposure. More likely than not, you will be in an apartment or house, in the middle of white-bread USA.

For 99.999% of people, the act of taking a chainsaw and sawing off an arm, throwing it in a pot and digging-in, is not something they could do. Even in the cases of people who have been adrift for months at sea or Iraqis trapped in their homes during the awesome invasion of Iraq, no one resorted to cannibalism.

Why? Eating Long Pig is fucking disgusting, it is a psychological thing that the majority of people can not do no matter how hungry they are. It’s humanity baby, it’s what separates us from the dogs (and why eat Aunt Jenny when dogs are so delicious?).

Defend their House

During the Jakarta riots, thousands of Chinese tried to hunker down in their houses and apartments. No matter how well fortified or heavily armed they were eventually the human waves of rioters broke in and raped, robed and/or killed them. Secure US Embassy’s, Military bases in Afghanistan and drug lord Houses in Mexico have all been taken over in resent times, proving that all buildings can and will be taken over if the opposing force is overwhelming.

No matter how well fortified you are you can not hold back hundreds of people, desperate people will crawl over body’s to get you.

Also – Have you watched the end of Young Guns 2 where the gang is held up in an old house? Now you know how to take a house filled with people who are superior warriors.

It’s called a match.

Eat Cat Food

This is the only one that I have seen someone do in the 3rd world, back in the day I saw an old dude eating cat food on the side of the road in Cambodia. Lord knows if he was actually starving or just a crazy hobo who ate handfuls of Meow Mix between bouts of yelling at mailboxes.

The big difference between some dude in Cambodia eating cat food and you Mr. Joe USA digging into a can of Liver and Kibbles cat chow is the Cambodian dude has been eating fried spiders for snacks since he was six years old.

Just like the Piss Bottle above I wish to invite you to dig into a nice room temperature tin of cat food and keep it down.

In conclusion:

Yep – you are fucked

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~James G

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and eating dogs

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59 thoughts on “URBAN SURVIVAL: 5 Things People Say They Can or Would do in a Survival Situation – and Why They Won’t Based on Recent 3rd World Urban Survival Events”

  1. One of your best articles yet, practical and hilarious

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    1. Thanks bro, glad you found it entertaining and useful

      ~James G

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  2. Good stuff James. I couldn’t STAND hearing the “Bug-Out Plan” probably 40 times while I was contracting from 40 separate “bro’s”… Some of these idiots view those scenarios as some sort of fantasy or game… and what that tells me is they’ve never had to deal with real scenarios such as that. Chaos/Anarchy/Civil War – ain’t no fun for any side.

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    1. Just the fact that the first thing that came to the minds of those 40 guys if their base was overrun was, “Abandon my teammates and all of the unarmed people that can not defend themselves and save my sorry ass” – is all I need to know that they were shit-birds.

      ~James G

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  3. Excellent perspective James. Fits in with pretty much what my opinion has always been. Contrary to the post apocalyptic wet dreams of mums basement dwelling Mad max wannabes, survival will come down to ordinary people pulling themselves out of the ruins and working together, much as was seen after the storms that hit the eastern US early in the year

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  4. Great, great article James.

    Although, the kitten w/ mustard may be a good treat after a few days.

    It really makes me laugh / scares me when I see these guys who are “prepping” with no real clue as to what to do when TSHTF.

    Here’s to K.I.S.S and covering your team.

    Big D

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  5. Grim assessment, probably relatively accurate though. Precisely why we’re already out of town! For all the refugees that may eventually come this way post SHTF, see you at the roadblock! Batteries, ammo, and/or canned meats and coffee will get you past ours! Cheers! >;-]

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  6. Thanks, pretty damn real. I see the bikers as our threat if SHTF. They have no mercy. and after crawling over bodies. I’m probably going to end it, before Bubba gives me some lovin’!!!

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  7. Grim assessment, probably relatively accurate though. Precisely why we’re already out of town! For all the refugees that may eventually come this way post SHTF, see you at the roadblock! Batteries, ammo, and/or canned meats and coffee will get you past ours! Cheers! >;-]

    I will be there! We’ve got some!

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  8. Thank You for the Reminder-While I have seen some of that same nasty shit, I am probably on “The Fucked” list…Not Happily, But uncomfortably Aware Of It, Thanks Again…

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  9. Excellent if grim assessment of our chances for survival in a melt-down scenario. Living in the third world myself I think any chances of survival are pretty crappy because the people here are generally lawless as it is and will loot and burn at the drop of a hat. Regardless of that I would still bug in long before I bug out!

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  10. Being a 3rd world citizen here in South Africa, and having worked in various African countries over the years, I think that I can share my perspective on how the average American will handle a sudden shift from law and order to anarchy and the breakdown of civilisation.

    The vast majority will sit at home, hoping that “someone” will sort out this awful mess, and do nothing else…..
    Some will attempt to save themselves ….. and fail.
    A tiny minority (mostly ex-military vets) will get up off their fat asses, utilize what little skills remain from their training, and attempt to rally like-minded people to form some sort of micro-government to instil discipline and law and order, thus ensuring the survival of the most able…..
    Whilst the vast majority from the first group whine and bitch and complain while being robbed of what few possessions they managed to save, initially…..
    Good luck guys – we are living the apocalypse right here, right now, in Sunny Southern Africa………..

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    1. Being a 3rd world citizen here in South Africa, and having worked in various African countries over the years, I think that I can share my perspective on how the average American will handle a sudden shift from law and order to anarchy and the breakdown of civilisation.

      The vast majority will sit at home, hoping that “someone” will sort out this awful mess, and do nothing else…..
      Some will attempt to save themselves ….. and fail.
      A tiny minority (mostly ex-military vets) will get up off their fat asses, utilize what little skills remain from their training, and attempt to rally like-minded people to form some sort of micro-government to instil discipline and law and order, thus ensuring the survival of the most able…..
      Whilst the vast majority from the first group whine and bitch and complain while being robbed of what few possessions they managed to save, initially…..
      Good luck guys – we are living the apocalypse right here, right now, in Sunny Southern Africa………..

      Would you expand on your last comment about South Africa?

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  11. Does this writer even know what he’s talking about? Highly doubtful.

    In a survival situation, you could drink piss. Heck, you’d be retarded if you didn’t. It’s easy to sterilize (Men’s piss is widely regarded as being pretty clean). Heck, drinking piss is more sanitary than kissing. The amonia is the worst part, but it’s quite easy to filter out.

    While all of you are having the shits from your bucket water, I’ll be drinking my piss.

    Also, it is possible to live on Cat food. The man’s diet history has no relevance to what he’s eating *today* or in a survival situation. The will to survive overcomes the need to eat delicious food.

    While all of you are starving, and crawling around looking for crumbs or anything edible, I’ll be eating cat food. How do you expect to survive if you’re not willing to make any diet changes? Good luck finding your food at the super market.

    Plus, eating actual Dog or Cat isn’t that bad. I ate it, along with scorpion, intestine, starfish, stomach, etc, during my stay in China.

    It’s cool an dall that you’ve traveled. But you imply that your kind of work is somewhat dangerous, and that it somehow accredits and makes you knowledgable in this area. However, it doesn’t. If you’re not willing to drink piss or eat cat food, you’ll end up dead. Heck, more food for the smart people then.

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    1. Sure thing Tough Guy – You enjoy that Big Spoonful of Cat Food and wash it down with a gulp of Piss

      What is your background?

      ~James G

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    2. Do NOT drink piss. Ever. It’s like drinking liquor to stay warm. You THINK it is helping, but it isn’t. It contains excess sodium and electrolytes, and the longer you go without water, the more there is in your urine. So if you’re drinking it, it’s just getting worse every time. They draw water from your cells, which can actually accelerate dehydration. And as their levels build in your blood, they can actually cause renal failure (that means yer kidneys are shot to shit), or give you the same effects of that. Meaning your kidneys are still working, but they can’t keep up, so the levels in your blood build, which is the same net effect as kidney failure. Learn to make a dirt-simple solar still and piss in that, and you can drink what that produces, if that’s your only choice.

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  12. Good article James. Also, a good prospective. I’ve worked in NYC as a police officer/detective for the past 17 years. I’ve worked at ground zero and the coastal neighborhoods that got destroyed by super storm sandy. Your assessment of 10-15 days until total chaos is correct IMO. The only reason NYC didn’t slip into chaos is because of HEAVY policing and services provided. Things barley held together because of these services. Especially after sandy in storm destroyed ghettos. No food, power, water, or gasoline. Mass instant homeless. People get pissed and start taking things into their own hands. Criminals and scammers come out of the woodwork and decent people get shit on.

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    1. And add in: no decency, no morals and no inhibitions. We call them “feral humans” out here.

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  13. Absolutely loved this… Killed 5 minutes at work and raised my spirits.

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  14. very true… a few years back all the power went out in my side of town for about 3 days and everybody started to get a bit looney. Glad to see you’re writing again…

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  15. People in the 3rd world parts of the US eat cat food all of the time. Once, when I was working in North Philadelphia I went in to a bodega to buy a can of cat food. It was priced one cent higher than the same size can of tuna. I asked the guy at the register why the cat food cost so much. He told me that if the cat food was less than the tuna little old ladies would buy the cat food.

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  16. I dont know about you but I have and I would again if I had too, 30rds in a AR and with my training 13 is a challenge but not impossible!

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    1. The concept of one shooter taking on 13 armed opponents is something only Hollywood could embrace. When rounds come snapping by you head and kicking up dust and dirt in front of you, it will become clear you have screwed up.

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  17. Also yes but If I was defending my house there would be a oil(lit via tripwire flare) filled trench 30 ft from my foundation so try lighting my house with a match after crawling through that and many other surprises
    !

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    1. Two words. Fire and projectile.

      Keep your trench ;)

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  18. all the while taking many accurate small arms fire!

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  19. I love a lot of what you (James G.) write, but I have to respectfully call bullshit on this one. Maybe I am missing something, or perhaps your are just speaking to the mainstream, though I would find this unusual considering the mainstream prob does not make it on your site, but if we truly are all “fucked”, then why the fuck are you writing about survival in the first place. Secondly, if we are all “fucked” then why have millions survived horrible disasters, a lot by doing exactly what you claim no one would do?

    -Bug out on Foot. When all else fails, road blocks are everywhere, and gang are looting, you may have no choice but to Bug out on foot. The highly tuned human is the most versitle all terrain vehicle on the planet. Yes its less than ideal, and probubly not your best plan A. But as plan C or D, its very possible, and if your not prepared, you might be really fucked. Of course you dont run around in full kit with m4/AK! In the prepper fictional/ possible scenarios, concealment is very important. (Pretty sure you have written about that) Having a concealed handgun and a stowed subgun or collapsed carbine readily accessable would be ideal. Don’t believe me, talk to 10s of thousands of african immigrants that are alive and reside in America specifically because they bugged out on foot.

    -Drink Piss. I was a dumb ass for having put myself in a bad situation in the Southern Arizona Desert in July, I recognize that. But when I found myself lost, and had no idea when I would be able to find civilization, I finished off one of my water bottles and started pissing in it. Long short, I almost died, but having consumed all of my liquids, including my piss, I was able to make it to the nearest IV and suffered from what felt like a 3 day long hang over. You can find story after story of the above. The only people who find themselves in a desert survival situation and do not do the above are either lucky or die.

    - Trade for Goods: Who said anything about Barter Town? Yes thats a stupid idea! but Im sure as hell going to be trading with my neighbors if something bad happens.

    -Eat someone: I agree with you on this!

    -Defend the house: I half agree with you here. If its just you and your trusty AK, then you are most likely fucked, but if you have a plan where your whole family shows up to one house, or you talk your neighbors into consolidating all there stuff into one house, you have more than a fighting chance. LA riots and chineese grocery store come to mind.

    -Eat cat food: Of course, if your hungry enough. Brother, I would have and my buddies would have killed for a fresh can of cat food during phase three of ranger school. Instead, I was dumpster diving and brushing the mold off rotten food in Florida. Yum!

    I typically like your stuff and get alot from it, just think you missed the mark on this one. The number one bullshit thing I hear people say they would do after fill in the blank disaster is use there gun to take food and water from other people. (“He who has all the bullets gets all the beans” kinda bullshit) Try that at the wrong house, and you will get a bullet in the face real quick.

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  20. Comment on the vets taking care of business. I lived in Houston, Texas as a boy when Hurricane Alicia hit. We were without power for a couple of weeks, martial law, the works.

    I lived in a suburb populated by WWII vets. I was one of five kids in the whole neighborhood.

    One of the most important memories I have as a child was the day those men formed a militia on about 15 minutes notice.

    Some enterprising individuals started robbing houses at the end of a long street on the edge of my neighborhood. They were going door to door. About ten minutes into this all of these men got their guns from their houses, formed a line and went down the street hopping over all of the fallen trees from the storm. I remember hearing the shooting when my mother came and got me and rushed me into the house. I had been outside playing with my one friend. This was in the early 80′s, so most of these men must have been in their 60s.

    Very formative memory. It wasen’t until I served that alot of that made sense. I do remember seeing my father sitting in his chair behind a locked door while this was going on. Even this I realized something was wrong with this.

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  21. Excellent article once again! I do have to add a big ” I’m gonna do “to your five. I have heard, talked to, and debated the ” Fuck yeah man, when the world goes to shit me and my bro’s are gonna take over a Walmart! ” The worst part is the typical person of this mentality doesn’t even keep their gas tank half full, have a basic idea of first aid, or have the slightest grip on physical fitness. Thanks James!

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  22. Thank You for the Reminder-While I have seen some of that same nasty shit, I am probably on “The Fucked” list…Not Happily,But uncomfortably Aware Of It, Thanks Again…

    The veneer of civilization is thin. The Rodney King Riots in the early 90s demonstrated that nicely. A corollary to that is provided by the example of the Korean shop owners who, armed and working together, stopped the looters dead. Rather than bugging out or isolating yourself and buging
    in, work with your neighbors and share resources.

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  23. < No food, power, water, or gasoline. .

    And add in: no morals and no inhibitions. We call them “feral humans” out here.

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  24. James, old son, I’m afraid you’ve obviously spent little time with aged pensioners in the UK and Australia. Many of them do supplement their diets with dog and cat food when money is tight. I can remember pensioners in the UK doing this as far back as the late 60′s.
    And hey, speaking as the owner of a new puppy, I have to say that some of that tinned dog food doesn’t taste half bad. The more expensive the brand, the better it tastes. I’ve sampled everything we buy for the puppy to eat, because I’m not going to feed our doggie anything that tastes like complete shit.
    I’m actually quite partial to the locally produced liver biscuits with mint, much to my wife’s horror. If I give one to our doggie as a treat I normally have one myself.
    At the end of the day human, dog and cat nutritional needs aren’t that much different. In a SHTF scenario I wouldn’t hesitate to open a tin of dog food for myself.
    You’re right about the lone warrior stalking through the devastated cityscape with a backpack and a rifle at high port however. You probably wouldn’t last a couple of blocks before someone snipes you from concealment and runs out to strip your corpse. And then someone does it to him, a viscous circle to be sure.
    (There’s a reason we live out in the country these days.)
    I’m not convinced that cannibalism wouldn’t be on the menu (ha ha) for many people though. I find that more and more people in the big cities are getting more and more inured to things that would once have shocked them to the core.
    If law and order was not restored, along with essential services and food supplies in a finite amount of time, I have no doubt that gangs of thugs and lowlifes would band together and start to hunt people for food if nothing else was available, I mean what else are they going to do?
    Cannibalism has been proven to be the ultimate survival strategy for island populations that exhausted their normal food supplies.
    Look at the Maoris of New Zealand before the white man arrived.
    Quite possible Easter Island suffered the same fate.
    I would not rule cannibalism out of the picture by any means.

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  25. James, old son, I’m afraid you’ve obviously spent little time with aged pensioners in the UK and Australia. Many of them do supplement their diets with dog and cat food when money is tight. I can remember pensioners in the UK doing this as far back as the late 60′s.
    And hey, speaking as the owner of a new puppy, I have to say that some of that tinned dog food doesn’t taste half bad. The more expensive the brand, the better it tastes. I’ve sampled everything we buy for the puppy to eat, because I’m not going to feed our doggie anything that tastes like complete shit.
    I’m actually quite partial to the locally produced liver biscuits with mint, much to my wife’s horror. If I give one to our doggie as a treat I normally have one myself.
    At the end of the day human, dog and cat nutritional needs aren’t that much different. In a SHTF scenario I wouldn’t hesitate to open a tin of dog food for myself.
    You’re right about the lone warrior stalking through the devastated cityscape with a backpack and a rifle at high port however. You probably wouldn’t last a couple of blocks before someone snipes you from concealment and runs out to strip your corpse. And then someone does it to him, a viscous circle to be sure.
    (There’s a reason we live out in the country these days.)
    I’m not convinced that cannibalism wouldn’t be on the menu (ha ha) for many people though. I find that more and more people in the big cities are getting more and more inured to things that would once have shocked them to the core.
    If law and order was not restored, along with essential services and food supplies in a finite amount of time, I have no doubt that gangs of thugs and lowlifes would band together and start to hunt people for food if nothing else was available, I mean what else are they going to do?
    Cannibalism has been proven to be the ultimate survival strategy for island populations that exhausted their normal food supplies.
    Look at the Maoris of New Zealand before the white man arrived.
    Quite possible Easter Island suffered the same fate.
    I would not rule cannibalism out of the picture by any means.

    Humm, Long Pig, it’s the new white meat!

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  26. I’d like to see some follow up posts on what the average American should do to survive if shit gets bad.

    Go check out any USA based survival forum. Enough reading material for the rest of the year, and then some.
    When you start reading the Zombie apocalypse threads…you’ll know they’ve reeled you in.
    Might I suggest http://www.survivalistboards.com it’s one of the bigger and well known of the survival forums.

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  27. Government mandated gardens and chicken coops? We will be inspecting your raised beds soon. Get to planting.

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  28. James… More.

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  29. While the concept of survival gardens and backyard chicken coops or rabbitries are interesting, in most communities these are heavily regulated and in the case of animals, prohibited. Accordingly authorities or those acting in the guise of authority will use existing regulation to relieve you of your “illegal” food for their use during the initial phase of civil chaos.

    Unless you and your neighbors are organized and willing to use force to keep what you have, you will be stripped of all resources. Additionally, if you are unwilling or unable to establish a 24 hour a day watch, you will wake up with a gun in your face or not wake up at all.

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  30. I supply the makers of food products with all the ingredients used to make most food products. Thousands of truckloads. Company is 32 years old. We supply pet and feed industry as well. Canned pet food is fit for human consumption and is made to USDA standards. You may not find it as tasty as your cat does, but you can eat it. It may not agree with you at first, but you can get used to it easily. Seriously, add some spices, mustard etc. But if you are living on cat food, then why did you not stock up on spam instead? :)

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  31. Hey Dave

    I’m not sure that a lot of the dog and cat food doesn’t taste better than Spam anyway. LOL.
    One of the My Dog cans we feed our new puppy is a mixture of Salmon, Tuna and vegetables, my wife is always horrified because the pup and I often share a small can of it. Tastes great.
    Likewise the locally made Liver Treat biscuits, yummy.
    I always sample what I feed the pup, because I figure if it tastes like shit to me, why should I feed it to the pup at all?
    It’s very true that the more expensive the tinned dog food, the better it tastes, though the price of the more expensive dog food is about on par with a tin of Chunky beef soup, so we wouldn’t really be saving money by stocking up on dog tins.
    Couple of years ago the supermarkets here were selling tinned salmon, product of Thailand, the big tins were for human consumption,,,and over in the pet food section were the same tins, smaller, for dogs or cats…the markings on the tins were exactly the same…even down to the ingredients…after a while the supermarkets stopped selling either…I don’t doubt that other customers noticed what I had.
    I’ve also noticed that the dog food tins don’t contain any preservatives…IE: masses of salt, which all the tins for humans do…one might almost suspect that the dog food is better, from a non-preservative point of view.
    I could survive on tinned dog and cat food I’m sure….but the reality is that a lot of tinned human food is either the same price or cheaper…this wasn’t the case when I was a young lad in the UK…animal food was cheap and I knew a lot of older people who supplemented on it.
    I always thought that was very sad…a lot of the men and women were veterans of WW2…and here they were, having to survive on dog and cat food because their meager British Army/Government pension wasn’t enough to sustain them.
    I’m sure it’s the same story in many different countries.

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  32. This is been my bases for when ever I think about shit hitting the fan scenario. How the hell do you get out of a big city? To many gangs and walking is going to be impossible. If you live to close to a city you country acreage is going to be owned. Lastly do you have enough people you know and trust to back you up with a firearm? Doubt that. But doing something and planning is better then ignoring the relating that will hit you in the face.

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  33. Excellent article. I pretty much agree with every point.

    I have interviewed dozens of survivors of social collapses, and saw the L.A. Riots firsthand when I was in my late teens. The riots taught me a couple things:

    - I am a survivalist, but I do not fantasize about living in a SHTF scenario. Actual chaos is horrible to behold in a major city. When rule of law dissipates, people do filthy things. It’s awful. I do not prepare for a “zombie apocalypse”, or fantasize about running a press gang in a Fallout Video Game situation. I prepare so that if the worst occurs, I will be able to keep my family and loved ones safe and healthy against the hellish nightmare of humanity running amok.
    - Best bet if you live in a city? Prep your house and have a solid group of people you absolutely trust, at least 6. MAKE SURE THEY ARE ALSO PREPARED TO FOLLOW THIS PLAN. Then, board up your windows and doors, and stay QUIET. Don’t attract attention. Don’t get macho. Don’t challenge the guys looting the house across the street, unless that house is of a neighbor you trust as well. Don’t pick fights. Hunker down and only use force when the threat becomes immediate.
    - Even in the worst disaster scenarios, there will be people who want to help, not harm. Whether they outnumber the scumbags is a roll of the dice. Learn to identify the ones that actively wish to help, and ally with them however you can. Be a helper – not a dickhead.

    Because although there will be people who only wish to harm and destroy, thieve and rape, they will eventually get killed. Possibly by other horrible people, possibly by good people. And the horrible people will eventually dwindle.

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  34. Bad writing, in the form of 2 or 3 typos, can be forgiven, but as a journalist, you are not entitled to your own facts. The people in the plane you reference were rugby players. It’s easy to tell the difference. Soccer players have lace on their panties. Rugby players eat their dead.

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  35. OK. You are the one that seems to be the tough guy. I am sure you have more experience among the criminally minded and lowlife elements in the world, but how is this article helpful to anyone but yourself? So we can’t bug in, we can’t bug out, we can’t trade and of course we are woefully unprepared to eat pet food or drink our urine…so we are just “fucked”? Thanks for the all the good advice on what we can’t do. The smart and cunning and those willing to work together will find a way to prevail and possibly even thrive if law and order go bye-bye. I know I am not a tough guy, the thought of shooting another human is repulsive. All the same, you bet I will not hesitate to protect my wife and daughter to the end of my own life up to and including homicide…and it may come to that, but there’s no way I will subscribe to the theme of hopelessness you so colorfully put forth. After all, if there weren’t more good people than bad, we would already have anarchy.

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  36. OK. You are the one that seems to be the tough guy. I am sure you have more experience among the criminally minded and lowlife elements in the world, but how is this article helpful to anyone but yourself? So we can’t bug in, we can’t bug out, we can’t trade and of course we are woefully unprepared to eat pet food or drink our urine…so we are just “fucked”? Thanks for the all the good advice on what we can’t do. The smart and cunning and those willing to work together will find a way to prevail and possibly even thrive if law and order go bye-bye. I know I am not a tough guy, the thought of shooting another human is repulsive. All the same, you bet I will not hesitate to protect my wife and daughter to the end of my own life up to and including homicide…and it may come to that, but there’s no way I will subscribe to the theme of hopelessness you so colorfully put forth. After all, if there weren’t more good people than bad, we would already have anarchy.

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    1. ^^^^ Yup. This.

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  37. and when I was in my late teens. The riots taught me a couple things:

    - I am a survivalist, but I do not fantasize about living in a SHTF scenario. Actual chaos is horrible to behold in a major city. When rule of law dissipates, people do filthy things. It’s awful. I do not prepare for a “zombie apocalypse”, or fantasize about running a press gang in a Fallout Video Game situation. I prepare so that if the worst occurs, I will be able to keep my family and loved ones safe and healthy against the hellish nightmare of humanity running amok.
    - Best bet if you live in a city? Prep your house and have a solid group of people you absolutely trust, at least 6. MAKE SURE THEY ARE ALSO PREPARED TO FOLLOW THIS PLAN. Then, board up your windows and doors, and stay QUIET. Don’t attract attention. Don’t get macho. Don’t challenge the guys looting the house across the street, unless that house is of a neighbor you trust as well. Don’t pick fights. Hunker down and only use force when the threat becomes immediate.
    - Even in the worst disaster scenarios, there will be people who want to help, not harm. Whether they outnumber the scumbags is a roll of the dice. Learn to identify the ones that actively wish to help, and ally with them however you can. Be a helper – not a dickhead.

      (Quote This Comment)

  38. Couple of years ago the supermarkets here were selling tinned salmon, product of Thailand, the big tins were for human consumption,,,and over in the pet food section were the same tins, smaller, for dogs or cats…the markings on the tins were exactly the same…even down to the ingredients…after a while the supermarkets stopped selling either…I don’t doubt that other customers noticed what I had.
    I’ve also noticed that the dog food tins don’t contain any preservatives…IE: masses of salt, which all the tins for humans do…one might almost suspect that the dog food is better, from a non-preservative point of view.
    I could survive on tinned dog and cat food I’m sure….but the reality is that a lot of tinned human food is either the same price or cheaper…this wasn’t the case when I was a young lad in the UK…animal food was cheap and I knew a lot of older people who supplemented on it.
    I always thought that was very sad…a lot of the men and women were veterans of WW2…and here they were, having to survive on dog and cat food because their meager British Army/Government pension wasn’t enough to sustain them.
    I’m sure it’s the same story in many different countries.

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  39. ames, old son, I’m afraid you’ve obviously spent little time with aged pensioners in the UK and Australia. Many of them do supplement their diets with dog and cat food when money is tight. I can remember pensioners in the UK doing this as far back as the late 60′s.
    And hey, speaking as the owner of a new puppy, I have to say that some of that tinned dog food doesn’t taste half bad. The more expensive the brand, the better it tastes. I’ve sampled everything we buy for the puppy to eat, because I’m not going to feed our doggie anything that tastes like complete shit.
    I’m actually quite partial to the locally produced liver biscuits with mint, much to my wife’s horror. If I give one to our doggie as a treat I normally have one myself.
    At the end of the day human, dog and cat nutritional needs aren’t that much different. In a SHTF scenario I wouldn’t

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  40. I love a lot of what you (James G.) write, but I have to respectfully call bullshit on this one. Maybe I am missing something, or perhaps your are just speaking to the mainstream, though I would find this unusual considering the mainstream prob does not make it on your site, but if we truly are all “fucked”, then why the fuck are you writing about survival in the first place. Secondly, if we are all “fucked” then why have millions survived horrible disasters, a lot by doing exactly what you claim no one would do?

    -Bug out on Foot. When all else fails, road blocks are everywhere, and gang are looting, you may have no choice but to Bug out on foot. The highly tuned human is the most versitle all terrain vehicle on the planet. Yes its less than ideal, and probubly not your best plan A. But as plan C or D, its very possible, and if your not prepared, you might be really fucked. Of course you dont run around in full kit with m4/AK! In the prepper fictional/ possible scenarios, concealment is very important. (Pretty sure you have written about that) Having a concealed handgun and a stowed subgun or collapsed carbine readily accessable would be ideal. Don’t believe me, talk to 10s of thousands of african immigrants that are alive and reside in America specifically because they bugged out on foot.

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  41. The scenario of the enemy overrunning the fortifications follows true with an actual enemy. President Obama has needled Americans since his inauguration with scenarios of evil whitey oppressing the poor Negro at every opportunity to promote a concept of enemy. The problem with ‘enemy’ forces is that once the ‘enemy’ has been dealt with, then civilian matters take precedence. In these Third World matters, each one, I would presume, involved an enemy and a relief organization. The United States has faired for over 200 years in the absence of relief organizations. In the event of total collapse of civil law, civil law would arise in the US, as long as sufficient numbers of US citizens are educated in the history and the culture of the US.

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  42. A couple of things that you\’re all forgetting.
    I have to disagree with your article, on a number of levels. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.

    1. Get out while the getting is good.
    In your scenario, you\’re trying to get out -after- everything has gone to shit. Accept that the situation is already in \’free fall\’ and get out -now-. I\’ve already bugged out. I\’m living on 2.5 acres, over a day\’s march from the nearest population center. I have power (genset and solar) and water ( a well). I still come into the city, but only as needed.

    2. Have a good perimeter.
    Your pov is that no-one makes any attempts to protect thier property via defensive barriers. And I can understand why obvious defenses would be like a big neon sign saying \’valuble stuff here!\’. My property is lovingly fenced with Prickly Pear(thorns, and food. the only part of prickly pear you can\’t eat is the spines.), Stinging Nettle(just plain nasty.), Wild Grape (thorns, and raw materiels for booze) and devil cholla(will go -right- through a combat boot.) This protective barrier doesn\’t look like anything more than an overgrown fenceline, but god help you if you try to hop it.

    3. Concealment and Misdirection are your best tools.
    You\’re right about the guy with the brand new mexpedition pack and the AR-15 only making it a block. But the hobo pushing the stolen grocery cart full of empty tin cans who reeks of piss and is talking to himself will be ignored. Ammo\’s expensive, save it for someone who looks important or valueble. In the mean time, me and my shopping cart of goods just made it out of the city. Sure, it\’s still risky, but the predators drawn to such an apparently poor prize tend to be the weaker predators, which ups your odds. Note, I do not say \’garuntee of success\’ I say “improves your chances.”

    This also extends to other things. My house looks like -shit- from the outside. Nobody who lives in such a crappy hovel could possibly have anything nice. My car (1982 VW pickup diesel) looks like ass. Primer, dents, crack in the windshield, mismatched bumpers, wrecked interior… But the 1.9l turbodiesel with the 5 speed close ratio gearbox are freshly rebuild, along with new shocks, new struts, new… you get the idea. It looks like shit, but it\’s a brand new truck, where it counts. I\’m debating putting an oil drip in the exhaust to make it look like the motor is shot. And just to confuse anyone who lifts the hood? After I did all the work, I poured used motor oil all over my brand new engine and tranny, and smeared it around. lt looks like crap. On purpose.

    Figure out what the opposition expects to see, and what sort of people they will ignore, and then mimic those people.

    As far as medication, you\’d be -amazed- what you can get at a feed store.

    Which kinda sorta brings me to #4

    4. Have Friends.
    I have a group of like-minded friends. We each have a \’job\’. Mine is mechanical. My job is to know everything about the Group\’s mechanical equipment, and how to service it. One of the others is a liscenced RN. His job is obvious. A third is a machinist. Another is an electronics expert. All of us work together, and spend a lot of time doing \’what if\’ scenarios, and then trying to figure out what would -really- happen. Usually by looking at the real world for similar events, much like the writer of the article. But the point is, we\’re a group, a Team, if you will. We\’re no operators, not by a long stretch. But we have supplies, tools, space to work, and we\’re methodical and intelligent. While we\’re not promised survival, we\’ve at the very least significantly improved our odds.

    and that\’s what it\’s all about, right?

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  43. I read these kind what to do\’s all over the web and these facebook commandos kept on fantasizing about SHTF that they didn\’t realize that it\’s already in front of their noses like being able to make a deposit in a 3rd world toilet.

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  44. About two billion people worldwide drink their own pee daily, more occasionally.
    I ve drunk 99% of my pee for the last couple decades, and that has vastly improved my quality of Life.
    Search Ayurvedic medicine for more info.

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  45. Well one thing is pretty well clear that if you try lone wolfing it you are pretty much screwed unless you are in a very isolated area of the country or bought one of those converted missile silos. The bad guys will gang up and if the good guys don\’t they will be screwed no matter how well supplied or trained….preppers will be a prime target they have the goodies.

    When I was in high school the local university was doing a social experiment we got to participate in.

    The scenario was a large maybe half court sized room with a large black tarp stretched across the room like a trampoline at about the 4 ft. level. Everyone (3-4 classes from school) were shoved in under the tarp with maybe a couple 100 1ft by 1ft square Styrofoam blocks and the main lights turned off and a few blacklight’s turned on. Made for a dark slightly claustrophobic vibe. We were told to do whatever we wanted to do for the next hour or so.

    Here\’s what happened:

    People started grouping up together with others they knew
    People started collecting Styrofoam squares and walling off areas
    People started extending walls into forts with the blocks.
    People started running out of blocks…not enough to go around so they start stealing them from other groups.
    People get mad their stuff is being stolen, start knocking down other groups walls, stealing blocks.
    People retaliate in kind soon everybody\’s fortification is destroyed.
    Styrofoam blocks start to fly..total bedlam ensues.
    Moderators turn on lights to end experiment before things get to out of hand.

    Same results with 40 different groups of students….Experiment was on how people in groups act with limited resources (Limited resource was blocks..not enough to go around).

    Our next reading assignment was Lord of The Flies.

      BadBrad(Quote This Comment)

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  46. My wife and I were on vacation in Puerto Rico right after Hurricane Georges hit. We were in the western end on the island and had no power for days. We don’t speak any Spanish and most of the locals only speak Spanish. The hotels, restaurants, gas stations and stores were all closed and we only had a rental car and our suitcases. After the initial shock of roads blocked, NO police presence, all signs blown down and nothing open we began to make our way to the Eastern end of the island. (We had a Wind Jammer Cruise to catch). We talked our way into a closed motel, got some water and a few supplies at a closed convenience store and bought some gas that was being hand dipped out of the tanks at a gas station. We found most of the people we met to be friendly and in fact timid. When we encountered some bad asses I put on my game face that had worked in the intercity of Detroit for 30 years. I have a theory that has worked well so far, it goes… “If they think you’re crazier than they are they won’t fuck with you.”, it also helps to keep one hand in your jacket pocket. Maybe it’s they just don’t want to risk getting hurt themselves and look for a softer target. Anyway luck was on our side and we did fine even without all of the stuff I normally carry and stock at home. The following is a short list of some the things I DIDN\’T have with me: Guns, Knives, Matches, Fire Starter, Compass, Water Filter, GPS, Maps, First Aid Kit, Rations, Water, Shelter or a pot to piss in. Like I said luck was with us and we had an adventure and a nice cruise.

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  47. good stuff… thanks for clearing up some of the bullshit fantasies of idiots and complete fraunds ike jim rawles and their idiotic christian survivalist nonsense…

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