Friday, February 17, 2012

Well, that was horrible advice!

Over at the Survival Blog, someone by the name of ChemEngineer wrote this post.  Before I get into the post itself, let me say that you've probably noticed that I'm careful about the advice I give.  The reason is that too much of survival is "situational"; meaning that what is the right thing to do in one instance will get you killed in another.  That's why I pose so many questions in my posts to get you to consider what the best method will be for you.

Anyway, I really liked that post.  It was well written and well thought out, until I got to the part that said "Don't plan to live in a tent or take to the mountains to live off the forest. Bad idea."

Folks, what's a "bad idea" is trying to do something based on the advice of only one so-called "prepper expert" when he's giving opinions with no knowledge of the specific situation you may encounter.  Did the writer know what he was talking about?  Clearly he'd studied survival "some".  Was his opinion about tents and mountains correct?  That depends.  In fact, it's the "that depends" that makes me say the person probably hadn't truly thought out various different scenarios which meant he wasn't much of an expert ... and that meant all of his opinions were therefore suspect.

If you've spent time learning about what plants and animals will actually be available to you, should you need to "bug out" then you can indeed "take to the mountains" or what ever.  As for the thing about the tent ... that was just downright foolish.  Many events don't last very long and staying in a tent for a week or two is no big deal, backpackers do it all the time and it's fun (being a backpacker I know this).  I routinely will go on two week long backpacking trips where for the entire two weeks, if I don't have it on my back, I don't have it.  I'm literally living a "bug out" type of scenario on a regular basis.  Like I said, backpackers do this as a matter of course and few think of what they are doing as "practicing their survival strategy" and instead just think of it as having some fun and enjoying nature.

Not only that, but given my background I can speak with some authority about something ... people in groups can get real ugly real fast.  If you live in an apartment staying there is a very bad idea if you are a prepper.

People in that complex almost certainly will come after you if there is even the slightest inkling that you have food and water and they don't.

Do you live in a house?  That might possibly work IF you have "hardened" the house to prevent a swarm of people from just breaking through the walls.  Again, the people in your neighborhood will come after you if any of them know you're a prepper.  They'll come begging for your help at first "please give us some food, we're starving! Please help us, please."

They'll bring out their starving children (can you really resist helping a starving child you know you can help) and beg and plead.  If that doesn't work they'll resort to an outright invasion of your home or apartment.

Here's the thing, in a Shit Hits The Fan (SHTF) type of event (natural disaster such as massive fire, flood, hurricane, etc) you do not want to put yourself into the situation of having to defend yourself if you can avoid it.

Trust me when I say this ... very few people can actually shoot and someone.  TRAINED SOLDIERS have great difficulty doing it which is why it takes so many rounds to make a single kill and why so many come back with mental problems.

It is far better to bug out if you can to a location where you can hunker down and largely be invisible.  However, remember what I said, that opinion is situation dependent.  For any number of a variety of reasons that may not work for you.

In some places doing it can simply be very difficult (e.g. some parts of Denver the government has the ability to completely seal off the roads and leave you with no way out).  If you have to stay where you are (roads washed out or flooding so bad you're stuck or closed and guarded roads) then you have to make the best of the situation presented to you.

In that instance, you want to appear to be gone, but you'll also want to make sure that what ever structure you live in can be "hardened" and you want to make sure that you can make it appear that no one is home.

However, the thing to understand is that if you are going to stay in a city environment then you may need to defend yourself from an incursion of people wanting to see if there is food in your home (particularly if any neighbors know you're a prepper).  If you harden it, then it's possible that people will give up and move on to other, easier targets.  Once everything else has been broken into, they won't stop and sooner or later they will get in unless you prove that you have the ability to absolutely and completely defend yourself ... and that will mean shooting people.

The best thing to do is to begin to do what you can to harden now and continually improve on it.  Try coming up with ways you could break into your house even if it means breaking things (trust me, the mob won't care about that).  When you find a weak point, make it strong.  Keep working on it.

Not only that, but during Katrina not only was the grid down but there wasn't any water either ... if you stay in a city then you have to expect the possibility there won't be running water either.  In that case, how will you obtain water in the middle of a city?  Next to breathable air, water is the single most important resource.  Without it you will die in a matter of days.  If you're staying where you are then you will need quite a bit of stockpiled water.  Remember, not just water to drink, but water to bathe as well.

Further, what about "human waste"?  Again, with no running water what will you do when you have to go to the bathroom?  You can always stockpile "grey water" to fill your toilet tank yourself.  However, we're now talking about needing to stockpile a lot of water.  A natural disaster that knocks out the water supply for two weeks would mean you needing at least 50 gallons of water just to flush toilets with!  That's on top of an easy 100 plus gallons you're going to need to drink, cook, and clean with.  Do you have some place that can handle the weight of 150 gallons minimum of water (that is a lot of weight)?  Do you have some place to store it?

The Paradox Of Hardened Structures

Now there is another problem.  The more "impregnable" you make where you live, should a mob come against your home they may wonder what's being hidden and go at you all the harder.  It's why a decent stockpile of ammo at your home at nearly all times should be considered a must.

Prepping does you no good if a mob of people can just come and take it from you.

I bring this up because in any survival scenario you need to the pros and cons.

Should a mob come after what you have, how will you defend your food and your lives?

If you can bug out, how will you get there?  Will you have water, food, and shelter?

Hope this helps.

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