If you have ever experienced a life or death situation you know that your body acts strangely. When I was doing security one night a fight broke out between 7 men. As I rushed to break up the situation, my heart started pounding and my adrenaline was elevated. I successfully separated the two groups involved but that’s when things really got out of hand. Only a couple punches were actually thrown, and I think what happened next was a result of built up aggression that had not been vented. One guy attempted to rush past me with a baseball bat to get to the other group, so I produced my baton and told him to back up or I would hurt him. To my surprise he actually listened. I thought the situation had ended. Nope. One of that guy’s buddies said “we got a strap(gun) right here!!” and began to open the trunk of his car. Automatically, I drew my weapon and had his torso in my sights. I started yelling at him not to open the trunk. I head heard of tunnel vision, but this was my first experience with it. The only thing I could see was that guy and his hands trying to put the key in the trunk. Once he looked back and realized that his next actions would determine if he would die in a gas station parking lot, he quickly raised his hands and his friends got in the car. He ran to the driver’s seat and sped off.
While I am pretty level headed in stressful situations, I was blown away by how almost surreal it was to have someone’s torso in my sights. I had never before that, or have I since pointed a gun at someone. Even though I suffered the effects of a huge adrenaline dump, I did not panic and as a result no one got hurt. There were several times I was physically threatened, but I was always able to keep my cool and avoid the violent confrontation. As any self defense expert will tell you, the best way to deal with a violent attack is to try to avoid the confrontation. When people panic, people get hurt. I had a drunk guy tell me he was going to “knock you the f*ck out!”. I stayed calm, kept my distance, but made sure he knew that a physical altercation was not in his best interest. He ended up calming down and finally listening to me when I told him he can either leave or go to jail.
Depending on the situation, it is best to take a second and gather your thoughts. Now, if someone is shooting at you, you need to move, and now. People who don’t move die. Try not to panic, though it will be difficult. Stay in control and move intelligently. Don’t run into things and avoid running in a straight line if you can. The more random your movements are, the more likely you are to not get shot. If at all possible, attack the gunman and do not stop until he is incapacitated. If you cannot attack, run until you think you are safe and then run even more.
If SHTF panic will be a fatal mistake. Do not grab your BOB and just bolt. There will be people who are calm and if you appear panicked, you will appear to be an easy target. Move with a purpose and stick to a well thought out plan. A good plan and regularly rehearsing that plan will help you to stay calm. Know what you need to do and do it. If you have your full 72 hour bag but you don’t have a plan or a place to go you will be kicking yourself for poor planning.
Stay calm, move with purpose, keep your eyes open and make it to wherever you need to be.
I cannot stress how important it is to be well rounded in mindset and skills during a SHTF event. During a collapse of society you will have to be your own butcher, cook, police, paramedic doctor and gardener. While having a group to assign skills to is important and convenient, everyone in that group should strive for at least a basic understanding of each subject. If you are an excellent marksman and can take out a deer, what good is that if you don’t know how to dress it or cook it? What if you are on a security detail and suffer an injury? You can’t go to the hospital. What if the person who was in charge of all medical treatments becomes incapacitated? Now you are stuck with no one to help with illness and injury. These are the basics I believe you should know.
Security: I worked as an armed security officer so I have this one down. I say I have it down, but truthfully the only thing you can bet on is nothing will ever be the same from person to person. Every day was different and provided unique challenges that the previous day did not.
Butchering: I recently picked up a book on the basics of butchering and cooking livestock and wild game. I will probably read it a few times and then keep it for reference as I currently know next to nothing about this subject.
First Aid and Trauma: This is critical for everyone in your group to know the basics of. You should be able to identify common symptoms for common ailments at the very least. The ability to treat a wound should be ascertained as well.
Gardening: You will need to grow your own food to supplement any meat you can provide. If are familiar with rabbit starvation or protein poisoning you know why. Basically, this occurs when you only eat meat. You need vegetables, fruit, grain, etc for their essential nutrients. There was a group of rabbit trappers who ate only rabbit meat and died, hence rabbit starvation.
Cook: Knowing how to cook food is not only essential for survival, but will also give a huge boost to morale. A tasty meal will offer a profound effect on how you feel. If you have to choke down eat meal because it is terrible you will survive but hate life.
Personally I buy informational books constantly. There is no limit to what you can learn and you should never stop. I don’t even read fiction anymore because I feel that if I am reading, I better be learning as well. After all knowledge trumps kit.
One problem with most people is when something bad happens, they expect someone else to do something. There was a story at a local Jack In The Box where one man was beaten by four assailants until he suffered a severe brain injury. While this assault was taking place the employees watched but did nothing. A lawsuit was filed by the man who was in a coma for over a year following the attack. The man won $20.5 million as the court held that the employees did nothing to prevent the attack and did nothing once the attack started.
While an active shooter scenario is different, I believe we have an obligation to step up. That whole “don’t be a hero” business is bologna in my opinion. If you have the ability, you should do something. After all by the time the police get there, you could be dead. Don’t wait for help, help yourself.
Even if you are unarmed, there are plenty of instances where an unarmed person bested an armed assailant, especially if there are a lot of you. There is a difference between someone who wants something from you and someone who wants to kill you. If a bad guy demands your wallet or purse, give it to them. If a bad guy is walking around shooting people, kill him. Active shooter’s often carry a back up weapon, so disarming him will not be enough, you must stop them.
In a recent interview a policeman was asked about active shooters and he said “We have learned that we can’t wait it out, we have to get in there and get him.” The faster the bad guy is stopped, the more people will live. Period.
In Garland, TX in May of 2015 a security officer was able to kill two mean who were both wearing body armor and carrying assault rifles. He was a traffic cop by day but was working secondary as a security officer at the time of the incident. The two men were there to kill as many people as possible at a Mohammad caricature exhibit. Apparently if you draw Mohammad, you deserve to die. Anyway, this security officer acted quickly and saved countless lives, while sustaining the only casualty which was a gunshot wound to the thigh. Don’t wait for help, help yourself.
There are a few things that I actually care about in this world, so when I do care I care a lot. I’ve been with a homeless man on the ground outside of a gas station in St. Louis as he spent his last moments on this earth seizing, then I stayed with his body until the paramedics got there. I was in a violent rollover accident that ejected the driver(a friend) and then the car landed on her, I heard her breathe her last breath, even though I didn’t initially know where she was. The hardest thing I have ever had to endure though is a 45 day period when I was not able to be with my son. I can promise that no one in history has ever fought as hard or relentlessly as I would if I was fighting to protect him. The will to survive I have for myself is high, but for my son I literally would not stop until I was dead. The is the will to survive you must maintain.
Everything I have ever read(books, magazines, articles, etc) I have seen that the will to survive comes second to none as far as importance during a survival scenario. In fact it ranks as follows: will to survive>knowledge/skills>kit/tools. It’s like a drug addict that goes to rehab, if they don’t want to get better, they won’t. They can have all the same tools, programs and treatment as a person that actually gets clean, but will relapse if they don’t want to stop. It’s the same if you are fighting for your life. You could have a decked out AR15, complete 72 hour kit and a completely stocked and modified BOV, but if you don’t have the “do whatever it takes” mindset, it’s all pointless.
If you are lost in the woods starving, but can’t bring yourself to tear apart a snake with your bare hands, you will die. If you are being beaten to a pulp but can’t make yourself jam your thumb knuckle deep into your attacker’s eye socket, you are in trouble. You should be able to do anything. The only exception to this is if there is something that you value more than your own life. Just as an example I made off the top of my head is a fire. It would certainly be easier to just run out of a burning house, but I would definitely have to locate my son and ensure his safe escape before I even started to think about my own safety. I think most parents would share this view, at least I hope. The tenacity to survive you must maintain is of utmost importance.
Like I mentioned before, I am not just making this stuff up. Practically everything I have ever read says the same thing, you must try to make it. While I have never been lost in the woods for days on end or experienced a major natural disaster, I do trust the experts on this. I mean there has to be a reason so many sources keep that the will to survive remains paramount.
A SHTF scenario is when all emergency services will be unavailable, and you will be on your own. I will not speculate on the likelilhood of these scenarious, I will just explain a few of the concerns people have.
Natural Disaster: I think we can all remember the chaos following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than 1,800 people died with over 700 people still missing. 90,000 square miles and millions of people were affected. In New Orleans there was looting and pandamoneum. The National Guard was called in to aid in relief and also to restore order. As huge of a disaster as that was, it still was not a full on SHTF event. S definitely HTF for the people of New orleans, but nationwide it had a much smaller effect. Imagine half of the US were hit by something like that, like the Yellowstone super volcano. I did a little research on the Yellowstone “supervolcano” and found out the last full scale eruption happened about 640,000 years ago and spewed 240 cubic miles of rock, dust and volcanic ash into the air. Geologists maintain that the eruption history is not normal or predictable, but do not see an eruption in the near future.
Economic Collapse: If the US economy collapsed, there would certainly be mass panick. Imagine tomorrow you wake up and no one has any money, or at least it’s worth nothing. What would you do? Would you barter or steal? I would really advise against stealing, because it could cost you way more than the value you of anything you would steal.
Act of Terrorism: Like I already said, I won’t speculate to the likelihood of any of these events, but this one seems really far fetched. The scale of a terroristic act large enough to cause a SHTF scenario would be so hard to pull of, its really just not feasable. Think about 9/11/01, a devastating attack in New York City that took the life of +/- 3,000 people. Other than the immediate area, there wasn’t a panick to the point of lawlessness. Rage was felt, but not lawlessness.
Act of War: I recently watched a video warning that Russia will use a large scale EMP against the US before January 1st, 2017. I don’t know if this is true(Ihope not), but the video claimed it would whipe out pretty much every electronic device in most of America. I don’t think this is likely, but you can never know anything for sure until it either happens or doesn’t happen.
Infrastructure Failure: This scenario is a result of powerplants failing to produce the power needed for households and businesses. For whatever reason, the power grid fails, resulting in mass power outages. It is a scary thing to think about considering how reliant everyone is on electricity today. Any time the power goes out I almost feel lost for a minute until I go find the nearest flashlight, which is never far away. It is a good idea to stock up on batteries and candles.
Like I said before, I am not saying any of these are more likely than another one or even likely at all, but it is always better to be prepared for a situation that never unfolds than unprepared. The movie Book of Eli is a post apocalypse setting where the main character has had to become an elite and dangerous person in order to survive. He never attacks anyone and only uses his skills for defense. I think it shows a decent example of how the strong survive, but in a Hollywood kind of way.
If you are reading this post, you probably have things you carry everyday already. In fact, pretty much everyone has certain things they carry at all times. I personally carry things that the general population probably doesn’t, though there are people who carry much more than me.
I would first like to say more is not always better. Some people go overboard and carry a full on 72 hour kit with them always. If you can do that great, but for me it’s just not feasible.
I think that a perfectly good Everyday Carry(EDC) kit consists of just a few items. The first thing every sound-minded and properly trained person should carry is a firearm. You really never know when you will need to defend yourself or others from a murderous villain. Everyone is different, but I will always love a .45ACP pistol. Number two is a pocket knife. A knife has so many uses I could make an entire post just on them. Writing down ideas or information at a moment’s notice is an important ability also. There have been times I have thought of the best idea the world has ever seen, but forgotten it within five minutes. Being able to log that idea is vital. During a crime or disaster, you may need to gather a lot of information in a short time, and I promise you will not be able to remember it all after the adrenaline has worn off. That is why I carry a good pen and an all weather notepad. You may also need to leave a note for someone if you are lost and decided to try to find help. “I was here at 2:00pm on 9/24 and I am traveling North along the river”. I always wear a sturdy watch for the obvious reason. My cellphone I try to use a a tool more than an entertainment device. I have a compass, flashlight, GPS among other tools installed on mine. Wallet, purse, keys ETC go without saying.
If you already have an EDC kit or are thinking about putting one together(which I highly recommend), there are a few tips I want to share. Number one, if something is part of your EDC kit, carry it everyday! That may seem like a no brainer, but I have personally thought “Eh, I won’t need that today” and turns out, I did need it. If you are used to carrying something at all times, carry it at all times. I have reached for something I usually carry, only to remember that I left it at home that day. Carry your essential items in the same place on your body every day. Let’s say you crash your car and it flips onto it’s roof into a lake. While the car is sinking, you can’t get your seat belt undone. No problem, you have a knife, except instead of your right front pocket of your pants, it’s somewhere else that day. Under extreme stress, your brain does not work the same way it does normally. The last thing you want when your car is upside down sinking into a 50 foot lake is to try to remember where you put the one tool you need to survive. Those precious seconds matter.
I carry just a couple things every single day. I like to be prepared for as much as many situations as I can. No one will always be prepared for everything, but it would be wise to be ready for as much as possible.
Even though I knew about different levels of awareness, I just recently learned about the system used to examine and explain it. Cooper’s Color Code is something that the Marine Corps has adapted to fit a Combat Hunter Program. Cooper’s Color Code explained:
Condition White: This is where an individual is unprepared to take lethal action and unaware of any potential threats. This doesn’t mean you need to be ready to kill anyone at a moment’s notice, it means you are not prepared to react to a life threatening situation you may encounter.
Condition Yellow: If you are at all concerned about your own safety, this is where you should be at all times. Basically, you recognize that your life is in danger(not always immediate danger) so you constantly scan your surroundings attempting to identify any potential threat that might appear. In condition yellow, you are psychologically prepared and physiologically aroused should a threat present itself to you. Once a threat has been identified you move on to condition orange.
Condition Orange: An individual enters condition orange after a threat has been identified and they are ready to take action. Psychological awareness actually suffers in condition orange while physiological arousal is increased as you are creating a plan and your body is preparing for action. Awareness is decreased due to the amount of focus now devoted to the specific threat.
Condition Red: This is the “lethal mode” level. The psychological willingness to usse lethal force against a threat if the situation warrants it. The plan created in condition orange is now in motion. In other words, you are “In the fight”. Awareness is reduced further because an individual is now focused solely on the threat and how to survive the encounter. Physiological arousal is extremely high.
Condition Black: The Marine Corps added condition black. This is when your heart rate has reached a counterproductive level(above 175 BPM) and an individual can no long cognitively process information and may have completely shut down. When I think about condition black, I think of the scene in Saving Private Ryan when they storm the beach and there is a soldier wandering around searching for his arm that has been blown off, seemingly oblivious to the danger and carnage all around him.
Boko Haram loosely translates to “Western Education is Forbidden”. This translation hardly describes the evil, blood thirsty savages they are though, probably because if you named your group “we burn children alive”, you would attract less of a following. I’m not making that up either, four days ago the group assaulted a village in Nigeria where a survivor said they were burning kids alive according to aljazeera.com.
Boko Haram barely gets the news coverage ISIS gets for some reason, but they are just as bad and have ultimately the same goal, an Islamic Caliphate. The difference is the location of the caliphate.
Between January 3 and January 7, Boko Haram launched a massive assault on Baga in Nigeria that resulted in anywhere from 100-2,000 fatalities, the media has conflicted reports. The same attacks resulted in more than 35,000 people being displaced from their homes. It almost seems as if this group has a competition with other Islamic terrorist groups for the highest number of people killed. This stuff happens around the world everyday, people are sick. There are pictures of the aftermath of both of these attacks online, but I do not suggest looking them up unless you have a wrought iron stomach.
Have you seen the #Bringbackourgirls on Twitter or Facebook? That was a campaign started to help raise awareness after this savage group descended on a school for girls in Nigeria. They abducted 276 schoolgirls because they were seeking an education. Islamic extremists believe women are property, or should be slaves and should not be allowed an education. A few girls have escaped, while the rest have reportedly been enslaved. It has been nearly two years since this mass abduction.
So, next time you turn on the news while you are eating your cheeseburger and drinking your soda and see an update on the latest ISIS beheading, remember that Boko Haram is likely doing the same or worse in a different part of the world. And people say they need a vacation because their job is stressful. I would not suggest Syria of Nigeria.