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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TEOTWAWKI Simplified, by Jim S.

Most people find themselves looking at TEOTWAWKI as some sort of extended outdoorsy jaunt. Some people think of it as hard times. Me, I think it could be both, and then again it could be near mass extinction. But to make any type of sensible decision as to disaster preparation, you have to determine what is truly important. So let me simplify things for those of you all wadded up in bugout vehicles and plans for where to go and what ammo and guns are best to "protect yourself".
First, if you are dead, then you will no longer care. Game over, "DNF" and end of the line. So item one is your life. If you have family, then there is more reason to stay alive, as they will likely need you. Simple first question: do you want to get in a firefight over your home with someone? Frankly, I can live without my home, so easy decision. [JWR Adds: That might be the case in the cities and the suburbs, where a house is just a glorified box. But for many of us that have already relocated to the boonies, our homes represent our self-sufficient livelihood, since we've painstakingly built up stored firewood, gardens, orchards, vineyards, and flocks. In some situations giving that up would be akin to giving up your clothes in a blizzard.] What about my vehicle? Ditto - can live and survive without it. Pride? Pecking order? All ego-baloney that can get you in bad situations and get you killed. Avoiding confrontation is the key to not getting injured or shot. There is always someone with a bigger gun or a sharper knife or younger and faster than you.
The single best thing you can have as a survival tool is knowledge. Skills come from knowledge and can be taught and learned. But your best tool is your noggin and what you have packed away inside it. Read - test - trial - learn - practice - experiment. Use your brain to make yourself capable of surviving.
Guns? Honestly, you will be able to trade a copy of ‘How to reload cartridges without a reloading press’ for a gun if serious SHTF. Likewise, you can probably think of other things you know how to do that are essentials which are easily worth a gun or just a meal or a stay in someone’s camp. Can you make a mold from river clay and cast bullets? Can you fix a generator? Do you know how to get casing head drip from an oil well Christmas tree and use it for fuel? Do you even know if there are oil wells or gas wells near you? Do you know how to make pine tar? How can you make a simple pump to pull water from a well without electricity? Can you cure and store meat without refrigeration? The historical knowledge lists is long, but go back to the 1800s and do some research. If TSHTF, electricity is likely the first casualty, whether it is from catastrophe or switched off by runaway government whackos. Hurricane Ike was a nice practice run for us here in Texas, where many of us were without juice for over a week during the summer.
If TSHTF, the first thing to collapse will be corporations, as they are all about one thing - money. And money isn't worth anything when survival is at stake. During Hurricane Ike, people skipped work to leave town or rig up for the storm. If it is something much worse, then work will be "out of the window" for most corporate critters. We are much more worried about our families and our "stuff".
Realize that if you know where to look and how your little neck of the woods is set up, you can find resources to survive well rather than trying to tote all you need on your back. Take a drive and look around at what will be there when nobody gives a d**n about going in to work. Excess gear makes you a slow moving and appealing target for anti-social urban whackadoos with a 9mm and a couple of magazines. People only rob from those that have something they covet, so keep your goodies minimal, versatile and simple.
Think like a sailor - minimize material resources you consider absolute essentials and get what you need between your ears where you can live off whatever is at hand. Simplify - simplify - and then simplify again. I hate to get all twisted up in trying to outline all the possibilities - there are far too many. Know that whatever it is will likely be in some form or other we were not expecting in all our planning. Lower your expectations as much as you can - imagine it very uncomfortable, because if it comes to a choice between living or retaining some comfort, I am all about living.
Remember - Murphy's Law rules when TSHTF. The best capital for barter is knowledge - it weighs nothing, sells high and is viable currency when you have customers who need it. Skills run a very close second, but which ones are most valuable depend on what happens. Growing veggies will not matter if we nuke each other or California slides into the Pacific or Yellowstone erupts. Besides - if you can't grow beans you are likely doomed anyway, unless you are a doctor or nurse with practical field knowledge. But again, this is knowledge - and it will trade anywhere it is needed.
That's about as detailed as I think I need to dig into this. If you cannot wrap your mind around what I am saying, then you are unaware of the world you are living in and you honestly have not been reading your history enough. Read - learn - use your imagination. Know your own history and learn things that are practical, valuable and important to survival alone and in a group.

Lone wolves have lots of trouble surviving - that's why they naturally form into packs. The reason we are top species on this ball of dirt is our brains. That is what may make it possible for us humans to survive cataclysm where dinosaurs could not: think!
[JWR Adds: In my estimation, a large quantity of gear and consumables will be an asset, rather than a hindrance. As long as it is kept hidden and left unmentioned except to your most trusted friends, a deep larder can be a tremendous asset. It will carry your family through hard times, and also give you the opportunity to be covertly charitable. I also believe that it is naive to expect to be able to trade a book for a gun,--or even a huge pile of books for a gun. In a societal collapse, guns will be a precious commodity. It would take massive depopulation before they'd ever become "cheap."