Click HERE to learn more about Midland.

When we reviewed Midland’s .410 Backpacker in June of 2018, the company was already talking about releasing rimfire and centerfire barrels that could be easily swapped for a scattergun bore. Now, nearly two years later, Midland has announced the release of the first component of that system: the Backpacker .22LR.

The Backpacker is a single-shot, break-action firearm capable
of being folded into a compact configuration small enough to fit into most
mid-sized backpacks. The barrel can also be entirely removed with a single Allen
wrench and replaced with a barrel chambered in a different caliber/gauge. There’s
no need to change anything about the receiver—just swap barrels and you’re good
to go.

The versatility and advantage of this design are obvious. Rather than carry two separate firearms into the outback to target different game species, users can carry a 12GA barrel and a .22 LR barrel and swap them in the field.

Such a design would also appeal to the survivalists among
us. Securing food in a SHTF scenario might require both a rimfire and a
scattergun, and the Backpacker lets users have both in their bugout bag without
taking up too much space or costing too much money.

Cost separates the Backpacker from much of its competition.
With an MSRP of $170.00, you can afford to purchase two Midland firearms and
throw one in the bugout bag and one in the camper/truck/canoe.

But you shouldn’t worry about sacrificing dependability. The
manufacturing quality of the .22LR Backpacker seems to be consistent with
Midland’s other offerings.

“Making guns using these materials and finishes are what ensures Midlands can be handed down from generation to generation,” as Midland President and CEO Val Forgett told us. “That is what I want to see in this line. I still have my old single-shot from when I was a kid and want to make sure that 100 years from now, today’s Midlands are still being shot.”

A full review will provide more information, but it looks like Midland has produced another great product at an extremely accessible price point. The 16.5-inch .22 LR barrel is eminently maneuverable, and the included rail can mount a variety of magnified scopes and red dots. The trigger is heavy, but otherwise the firearm appears to be easy to operate.

For those hoping for a centerfire version, the wait isn’t quite over yet. Company reps told us they’re still working on those, but they couldn’t provide a planned release date.

They are, however, working on a combo .410/22LR firearm that they plan to release this year. Details are sketchy (no images or specs), but it’s something to look out for.

The .22LR Backpacker isn’t currently listed on Midland’s website, but company reps tell us it will be shipping to retailers soon.

Click HERE to learn more about Midland.

This content was originally published here.

It’s the end of the world, as you know it, but you feel fine. Why?

Because your tiny house has everything you need to get by. Okay, the Apocalypse isn’t really upon us, but you need to prepare for the unexpected. Even though tiny living involves downsizing, adding these must-haves means you’ll be ready for any disaster.

The great thing about a tiny house is that it’s easy to pick up and move when disaster strikes. Invest in a tiny house trailer so you and your home can make a quick get-away when necessary. You’ll have a head start evacuating an area since you won’t have to spend time packing.

Collapsible Items

No matter how many square feet surround you, you still must eat. You can whip up a quick lunch or a gourmet meal using space-saving collapsible cookware. You’ll find cooking pots made of stainless steel, silicone, and glass that flatten to a disc smaller than a Frisbee. Boil water in a teapot and strain spaghetti in a collapsible colander. Put your leftovers in collapsible containers. Even wash the dishes in a tub that collapses to a flat shape. If you need it in the kitchen, chances are good you can find it in a collapsible form.

An impending cataclysmic event like a hurricane, typhoon, or
even a blizzard in the forecast will empty the store shelves fast. Once the
disaster hits, the grocery stores close. But your tiny home will be stocked up
on fresh fruit and vegetables thanks to your garden. You don’t need a lot of
floor space or a huge yard to grow food. A vertical garden will give you more
than enough room to grow the essentials around your tiny home. Climbing plants
like pole beans, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, and winter squash can easily grow
up a trellis.

Hydroponic gardens allow you to grow fruit and vegetables inside
year-round. And you don’t need soil. This is a must-have if the impending
disaster keeps you indoors.

Just because you’re living tiny, doesn’t mean you can’t create a pleasant environment. Your vegetable plants will help, but adding several more small houseplants will brighten your home and help keep you healthy. Houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours. Plants with broad leaves can help regulate humidity. So, what do you choose? A tiny house calls for tiny plants. Succulents work well in small homes. A succulent stores water in its leaves, stem, or both. They release oxygen at night, leading to better sleep, especially in limited space. Many indoor succulents stay small, making them an excellent choice for your tiny home. There are many choices when it comes to houseplants that add to your decor. Consider Bonsai, Air Plants, or Anthurium. Choose one or mix and match. Houseplants make your tiny house feel like a home.

First Aid

You won’t be the only one running for cover when disaster
strikes. Plenty of creatures, including the poisonous pests, are also
looking for a place to hide and keep warm. In Dallas, for example, copperheads
and rattlesnakes like the wilderness as much as you, and they could easily make
their way inside your tiny home. Black Widows and brown recluse spiders are
good at hiding, and surprising you. Stock up on anti-venom just in case the
unthinkable happens.

You’ll also need a supply of bandages, aspirin, and safety pins. Other items in a basic first aid kit include:

It wouldn’t hurt to put a few surgical
masks in your kit. You never know what kind of disaster will hit.

Even standard size houses can lack storage, so coming up with
enough of it in a tiny home is especially challenging. Circular containers take
up a lot of space, so look for square ones. You can stack them tightly and push
them against a wall. Dry baking goods, like flour and sugar, breakfast cereal,
chips, and pretzels, need less room when poured into a square container. You
can even put cold items in them and stack them in your small refrigerator.
Durable, airtight containers will do the trick. And don’t forget slightly
larger containers for toys, clothes, and pet necessities. Your motto, when it
comes to containers, is stackable!

Fresh Water and Water Filter

Finding water won’t be a problem in a blizzard, but fresh
drinking water will be in short supply in a hurricane or nuclear holocaust.
Keep a couple of gallons in the freezer. When the power goes out, you’ll be
able to keep things cool for a few days. A portable water filter will also
allow you to fetch water from streams.

You’re looking for ways to use every square inch of space in
your tiny home. Furniture takes up most of the floor, but you still have the
walls. That’s where hooks come in handy. Use wall hooks to hold hats, bags,
sports equipment, and shoes. In your sleeping space, store your jewelry and
accessories on hooks. You can use them in every room. Put them as high as you
can, maximizing wall space. Solid, sturdy hooks work best. Get creative and
incorporate them into your home decor.

The great thing about a tiny house is that it’s easy to pick up
and move when disaster strikes. Invest in a tiny house trailer so you and your
home can make a quick get-away when necessary. You’ll have a head start
evacuating an area since you won’t have to spend time packing.

Surviving tiny house living (not to mention, the Apocalypse!) is a matter of being ready. Stocking up on these items can help make your journey a smooth one.

This content was originally published here.

We are a reader supported blog and this page may contain affiliate links. When you buy something through our links we may earn a small commission.

Over the last few years of writing about prepping, survival, and current events it has come to my attention that a lot of people immediately think violence is the answer. This is across the board too. Men and women are increasingly commenting on my current events posts suggesting that violence and even killing are the ultimate solutions to a great deal of the problems that are going on today.

This has led me to ask why so many people feel this way? It is not just a bunch of fringe types that are typing these comments. I see similar sentiment on a ton of social media groups and other prepping related sites as well. This is a rush towards violence that seems to encompass all walks of life.

So what makes even housewives suggest shooting people that act out?

Some of you might be familiar with the article I wrote on lawlessness in the cities. The tendency towards violence as a solution is related.

What if the reason people from all walks are suggesting extreme actions and violence in response to crimes is that there is largely no respect or enforcement of law and justice in America today and as a result, people feel that extreme action is the only chance at reclaiming some justice in the lives of the masses?

Forced Vs Voluntary Violence

Some may get mad at me for saying this but I am going to anyway.

I think those that were drafted into military service were forced to commit violence. Sure they could have run or they could have tried to find a way out but I ask you to stop for a second and put yourself in the shoes of an 18-year-old. Now consider yourself an 18-year-old in the 30s, 40s, 60s, and early 70s. Times were different and people that age felt a lot of pressure to go and “fight for their country/freedom”. Some honestly thought they would be disowned by their immediate family or shunned by their entire community if they did anything but go and plenty would have been.

Those people were essentially forced to commit violence and in the case of some, it totally ruined them. There are some that handled it better than others but one must understand that some were more fortunate than others as far as where they were positioned.

My Dad had to fight through the TET offensive during the Vietnam War. This changed him and it changed me. I grew up in a household where I knew what violence could do. I knew the possibility was there and what it could do to a person.

When I was older and angry about something my Dad said something that stuck “you never want to have to kill someone. Never.”

I am not going to go into the nitty-gritty of Vietnam in 67-68 here but I will say this. My Dad is a kind-hearted person but as a soldier in Vietnam, they made him watch areas, sometimes with villages with children playing and working in them.

Then he was expected to call in the airstrike on those people he had watched going about their daily lives. I am going to leave it at that. These things have set the course for his life and my own because of how this level of violence changes someone permanently.

This is why I take violence so seriously. It is also the reason why I stop and think a bit when I am too angry. I have an instinct to be on guard all the times and I don’t want to lash out at people when I shouldn’t.

I also have always known that the kindest person in the world is capable of extreme violence if they are pressed hard enough. A lot of people do not understand that they are capable of such things when pressed. It is instinct and something that is buried deep in societies where there is a good safety net.

Just because you feel someone is wrong, doesn’t mean that violence is the answer.

Using violence may get others to do what you want but they will always hold you in contempt. While some people will put up with violence at times due to love, fear, and circumstances, using violence against someone that doesn’t have an emotional attachment to you whatsoever is going to mean they will always see you as that contemptible person unless they go down the path of Stockholm syndrome where they start idolizing or loving their abuser.

When part of society or an individual thinks they are morally justified to commit violence because they have a different opinion, we are in a very delicate and volatile state as a nation, group, etc.

I don’t care what political opinion you have, it is wrong to say that someone should be harmed merely because they feel differently than you. If they act in a way that is harmful or try to commit a violent act, then that is different and needs to be considered on a case by case basis.

It is important to look at both sides of an issue, especially before you call for extreme acts. Consider that there will be people out there that will manipulate information and emotions to suit their agenda. You need to research and come to conclusions yourself not just on what they say.

No matter if something occurs within a family, prepper group, or on a regional or national level, it is critical to look at the whole issue. It is very easy to make the wrong assumptions and create a worse problem or harm innocent people. The national news media does this all the time. Once false information is out there or statements are made that cater to the person making the call, it can be hard to rein in the words or negate the damage.

One must watch out for harm that comes from confusion and fear. Do not assume that you will not be used in some way by either side if you find yourself in the crossfire of violence.

While I believe that law enforcement means well in most cases, there are plenty of incidents where innocent people have been killed or harmed by law enforcement because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Drawing fire to your position

Being next to the wrong person or close to the action can mean that you are used for cover or as a distraction. People do not always react emotionally to a situation but fall back to the training and instruction they have been given.

You can be mistaken for the perpetrator

I heard a lot of people make comments asking why people with concealed weapons didn’t take down active shooters. For starters, it is easy to say these things if you are not in a violent situation and especially easy if you have never been in a position where you were front and center during a violent act.
Consider what would happen if a lot of people got out their guns and then law enforcement, SWAT, etc arrived. Now consider what might happen if one or more well-meaning citizens start shooting.

Sure there is the possibility that someone may take out the perpetrator but there is also a chance that someone may draw fire to themselves and everyone nearby them or even draw fire from law enforcement.

Decisions have to be made fast during violent situations and there is so much going on that it is impossible to know the whole scope of the situation.

Frustration and desperation can lead to peaceful people committing violent acts

Sometimes people think violence is the answer because they cannot see any other way to get what they need. Desperate times can lead to desperate measures. During an SHTF situation, people that might have been the most peaceful human beings in a neighborhood may be the first to choose violence as a means to an end.

Food, medicine, water, and drugs are common goods and vices that will lead to violence in a long emergency.

When it comes down to your family going without or someone else, what would you do? The truth is that very few people are able to admit or come to terms with the fact that they are capable of violence if the conditions are right.

People will use others to commit violence for them for a fee or favor

Gangs do this regularly. If you read the news, this is a common occurrence. What some do not realize is that this is a tactic that a lot of individuals use regularly and people fall for it. Do you know someone that seems to stir up a lot of trouble and discontent but always has others fight their battles for them regardless if they are words or of a physical nature? I sure do and I have made it a priority to not allow them to be part of my life regardless of the occasional good memories or type of relationship.

People like that are annoying and trouble causing enough during good times. Imagine what these people will be like if times are tough and they have to reduce their standard of living?

Violence is already more normalized for some people than others.

People are often products of their environment. If someone is raised in a household where violence is encouraged as a solution then they are statistically more likely to continue this behavior as long as they can in their adult life. It is a bit harder to get away with some types of violence than it used to be thanks to everything being recorded in some way.

I know families where the parent’s attitude when a fight occurs is that “a person can only take so much”. What they mean is that if someone bothers you enough then it is justified to pick a fight with them. The other party was clearly asking for it after all. I feel sorry for the kids that feel that they have to act that way to make their parent’s proud or take notice of them.

Expressing your views can make you a target, even if you are just a member of a society or organization and word gets out that you are.

I had a reader write to me and ask what a person could do that was getting harassed for their views while selling at a farmer’s market. After I asked the exact circumstances I found out that the lady in question was a member of an organization that had been accused by left-leaning groups of being racist. My response was that if you voluntarily become a dues-paying member of a group then people are going to judge you based on that. Once you put it out to the world that you feel a certain way there is no going back.

Regardless if the group truly feels a certain way, by putting your name on a membership roster you are putting yourself in the position to be categorized with anything that group is ever accused of or does. Even if your views change, years down the road that may still get used against you. By feeling the need to be too outspoken, this person put their husband and kids in a position to be targeted and harassed. Is it right, no, but it does show that you need to think about how expressing yourself and getting yourself on lists will affect those that are closest to you. I have to do this myself quite often considering the type of writer that I am.

Another question I get asked is “how people can defend themselves against harassment and potential violence?”

In some areas, there is more tolerance for one group harassing the other so to speak. The law is even told to look the other way.

Some of the issues I get asked about don’t really happen as much in a lot of areas of my home state. One of the main reasons I believe it is this way is that where I live there are no rules and laws that prevent one from defending themselves with force or firearms.

In my neck of the woods, if you harass a woman and get physical, she can shoot you. Home invasions happen but they are rare and usually done by people that are not thinking at all clearly. The threat of getting shot when you first enter a home is very real and the law will be on your side if you have to use lethal force to defend your family.

There is also the potential of starting grudges and feuds that can go on for generations. In cities where there are a lot of people coming and going, the dynamic can be different.

When people know that others are not as capable or even allowed to defend themselves, it creates ripe conditions for increased levels of bullying and violence.

Recent attempts to band some self-defense classes in states such as Virginia are nothing more than an attempt to make people more helpless and easier to control and victimize.

Defending Yourself and Your Family

There is a lot to think about when it comes to defense. I am going to link to some previous posts that can help you decide what defenses are best for you.

This content was originally published here.

SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Adrenaline and brute force could be enough to break down a door in some situations, even with poor technique. However, a little fundamental knowledge of breaching a door could go a long way, and subsequently be a lifesaver.

“When one door closes, another opens,” says an oft-repeated adage.  But in a SHTF scenario involving a fire, attacker, natural disaster, WROL scenario, losing your keys or all of the above (hopefully not), you may want some added insurance should the precept prove inaccurate.

Check out this guide for some tips and several different methods involving various types of equipment or lack thereof.

By the time you’ve read through this article, you’ll have a pretty good foundation that could have you plowing through doors like a pro.

At the least, it will save you from dislocating your shoulder. At the worst, you won’t wind up with your foot stuck clear through the middle of an entrance.

How To Break Down a Door with a Kick

The simplest method to break down a door is with a kick.

Why NOT Use Your Shoulder

You’ve probably seen people breakthrough doors by ramming them with their shoulders in movies and TV shows.

While this could work for weaker interior doors it isn’t ideal for two reasons:

The first reason is the mechanical placement of one’s shoulder in relation to the door’s lock. In order for a locked door to be breached, the lock hardware must be forced through the surrounding jam.

This means you should be focusing the impact towards the vicinity of the doorknob. Your shoulder lands well above where a door’s locks are likely to be, so it will require far more force to break through than if it were applied in the correct location.

The second is that your shoulder is actually a very fragile point of your body. This is the reason why shoulder injuries are common even with relatively little physical trauma.

When it comes to your body’s joints, range of motion and stability tend to be a trade-off and your shoulder leans on the side of mobility. Shoulders aren’t designed to withstand a lot of direct impact.

Your legs, on the other hand, are relatively well outfitted for the task. They have far more musculature than your arms and boast joints that are equipped for explosive force and constant load.

Front Kick

The quickest kick is a simple front kick that lands with your heel square above or next to the knob.  
Don’t kick the middle of the door. Most modern doors are hollow inside except for a lightweight foam core.

At best, your kick will be less effective because you aren’t hitting the right spot. At worst, your foot will go through the middle of the door.

Mule Kick

Another way to break down a door is to  try  a “mule kick.” This approach is borrowed from soldiers and SWAT teams who are entering hostile environments and therefore need to minimize the amount of time they spend directly in front of the door, where they are extremely vulnerable to shots from inside.

To perform a mule kick, stand next to the door with your back against the wall. Then kick backward with your heel landing just below the doorknob. 

Tools Used to Break Down a Door

When it comes to doors that are heavier duty, like metal exterior entrances or intentionally hardened doors, it may take more than a little persuasion to break through.

In this case, or if you simply want to save wear and tear on your knees, there are a number of tools that can be employed for breaking down a door. They  range from a simple crowbar to specialized tools made specifically for that purpose.  

A common (albeit heavy) tool that can be found in just about any garage is the good ‘ole sledgehammer. As with kicking, the force is intended to break the lock through the jamb. Aim near the doorknob and bat away. If the lock doesn’t bust through the first time, rinse and repeat.

Depending on what’s available, you can improvise similar tools inplace  of a sledgehammer, such as the blunt side of an axe. Just make sure you watch where you’re swinging.

If striking the door isn’t making traction, another approach could involve prying.  The ubiquitous crowbar could be used to “gap” a stubborn door and make incremental progress for extremely difficult doors, like exterior or reinforced ones.

Wedge the crowbar’s fork in between the door and the jamb and crank away. If wedging the crowbar in the existing gap proves to be easier said than done, have a buddy hammer the other end of the bar to get a good purchase started.

Use the leverage you have to widen the gap, and then keep adjusting your angle to make continued progress. If the gap becomes too wide to pry but the door remains in place, you can use something as a spacer like the head of an ax, a brick or whatever else can fill the gap and get the crowbar flush against the jamb.

The door breaching capabilities of an ax and a crowbar are combined in the brilliantly-designed “Halligan Bar” developed by and utilized by firemen. It features one end with a ninety-degree adze and a spike (used for acquiring purchase on wood jambs to pry from) and a fork at the other end which resembles a crowbar.

This is one of the best tools around for opening a door. It is specially designed with that purpose in mind. It is also  the result of decades of firefighting experience.

If you have one of these, you definitely deserve some kind of honorary preparedness badge from the Boy Scouts. But for most, you’ll probably have to settle for using a sledgehammer and/or axe.

Breaching a Door with a Shotgun

All this talk of sledgehammering, axing and kicking could sound like a lot of work. For those who like to get the job done without breaking a sweat, perhaps a 12 gauge shotgun is more your style.

Soldiers are trained to breach doors with 12 gauges loaded with special cartridges made for that purpose. While most shotgun shells are filled with metal beads or slugs, breaching cartridges are filled with an iron powder that minimizes the risk of collateral damage.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t have these lying around, in which case, double ought buckshot will have to work. However, keep in mind that safety is not guaranteed. (Side note: if you thought safety was guaranteed at any point here, you’ve come to the wrong blog post.)

As with all of the other methods of breaching doors, you are aiming the attack at the locking mechanism. To do this, you’ll be angling the bore of the shotgun forty-five degrees downwards and forty-five degrees inwards towards the lock and jamb.

The idea is to hit the lock and not much of anything (or anyone) else. Because you can’t see through the door, it should go without saying that you don’t want to come anywhere close to shooting through it.

Double ought buck should make quick work of any normal door lock, jamb and pretty much the surrounding few inches. Watch for splinters.

Door Armor

Let’s look at this from another perspective, as the homeowner. Home security is critical when SHTF, you want to be able to protect your family from people taking advantage of the chaos.

Do you think, after reading all of these tips, that you are safe with just a deadbolt? It’s better than nothing, but that won’t stop a professional thief.

Door Armor reinforces the weakest points of a door and door frame and makes it next to impossible for a thief to get in through the door. It will take a thief less than 10 seconds to kick in a standard door with a deadbolt.

Take advantage of the 15% OFF discount code for SHTFPreparedness followers! Use AFSHTF15 at checkout!

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve kicked, smashed, pried or shot your way through the door, this would be a great time to check that you’re at the right address. Or maybe that should have been the first step. 😉

Regardless, hopefully, these tips have given you enough knowledge so that in the event that you ever find yourself in an SHTF situation, you won’t be relying on fate to open any doors for you.

This content was originally published here.

The chances are that when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan most of us will find ourselves in our home region.

This will be for the best in most cases since you have the advantage of dealing with all of it in your own “backyard.”  To put it simple, you have better chances of surviving a SHTF event if you know your region well-enough before disaster strikes.

As serious preppers, we know by now that it’s difficult to predict the outcome of a crisis, and you can’t actually prepare for the unknown factor. I’ve talked about this factor on various occasions, and it’s the thing or things that may influence all your prepping plans, the one you have no control over and you can only mitigate the risks once it occurs.

On the other hand, there are some factors such as your location, environment, and population density that should have no secrets for you. As you’ve already established your prepping priorities, one of the main tasks you need to handle is to organize the best course of action for you and your family before the SHTF event occurs.

As a quick example, here are some questions you can answer that will further help you to make an action plan:

All of the above can be easily answered if you know your region, and I guarantee that you will greatly reduce the chances of the unknown factor to catch you off guard. It becomes mandatory for all of us to know every detail about our home region and use them to our advantage.

Here is what you should know about your home region before SHTF:

If you are familiar with my work, you’ve probably noticed that I’m encouraging foraging as a survival skill. This has become a lost art, and few people are aware that many plants have the ability to save their lives in an emergency situation.

Even if the surrounding vegetation can save your life, caution is recommended when foraging since some plants can put you in an early grave. However, we should not disregard the valuable uses of plants due to the bad reputation of their poisonous counterparts.

You need to take time and practice plant identification to avoid confusing the plants that can save your life with the ones that may have an adverse effect. Start by learning which plants are the most widespread in your region and if some of those plants can help you in an emergency situation.

Your bug out bag or hiking backpack should have a plant identification guide to cover the following:

Edible plants

When food is scarce, or you don’t have enough supplies in your bag, some plants can supplement your diet and provide you with valuable vitamins and overall, proper nourishment. There could be edible roots, flowers, berries and even grass that grows only in your part of the country. You should take the time to discover such plants and learn how to prepare and eat them safely.

Medicinal plants

Not everyone has extensive medical training, and most of us depend on the knowledge we gained from the first aid classes we attended over the years. Since drugstores and professional medical aid will be hard to find when SHTF, you will need to use the bio-pharmacy from your region to obtain all sorts of cures.

From headaches to sore throats, and even blood clotting, nature has you covered. There are plants that can heal all sorts of ailments and injuries and you just need to learn how to identify and use them.

Poisonous plants

When I talk to people about foraging and plant identification, I encourage them to start first by identifying the plants they should stay away from. Touching the wrong plant or eating the wrong berries can easily seal your fate in the wilderness.

While most plants will make you ill and incapacitate you for a long time, some plants will leave you cold for good. Making a positive identification before usage is the number one rule of every forager. If you are in doubt, leave it be!

Natural water sources

For a serious prepper, water may not seem a primary concern when SHTF, however it can turn into a real problem if the disaster is not a short-term one. Most of us have a good supply of water and various means to purify the water we are able to find.

To be able to find water in a bug-out scenario when you can’t carry all the supplies in your vehicle, you may want to learn how to find the available water sources from your region. Knowing about the water holes will not only help you restock your supplies, but it will also provide you with a clear picture of the disaster’s gravity.

For example, if there is one major water source in your region, chances are there will be a lot of competition for it. You need to make sure you and your loved ones understand the implications of this and if you are able to deal with the “competition.”

The smart thing to do would be to figure out if there are multiple water sources and target the smaller ones to stay out of sight. When dealing with one source, just wait your turn and replenish your stock when there’s less activity.

When hunger becomes your main enemy, finding an animal in the wilderness can be a true blessing. However, as most hunters know, there’s a long step from spotting dinner to bagging it. One of the main things you should learn about your region is which animal can be eaten and which will eat you.

Every region in our country has a good selection of walking meals, but there’s an equal competition for them (from both animals and humans). The trick is to learn which ones in your area are the easiest to find.

In some cases, you may not have a hunting rifle to use, or you may want to avoid using one due to various circumstances. This is why it becomes critical to learn various hunting techniques. Additionally, you will also need to learn how to butcher the animal you catch and how to cook it because the meat you just obtained is totally different from the one nicely packaged you get from your grocery store.

As a general rule, your food menu will include mammals, reptiles, insects, and everything in between when your food supplies run low. Since there could also be predators in your home region, you might want to learn what deadly beasts are tracking you.

Every region has its dangerous animals, and a sudden encounter with a bear or a mountain lion will not end well if you don’t know how to act. Not to mention that there are also sneaky, stealthier ones like spiders and snakes that will go unnoticed to untrained eye. You should educate yourself about how to handle the dangerous animals, reptiles, and insects that can be found in your region.

Resources such as building materials

If you are forced to evacuate and your prepping plans are not designed for long-term living, you will have to build a shelter to last. Something sturdy that can provide you with both comfort and protection.

Building a proper shelter is not easy without the proper tools and materials. Also, time might not be on your side, and you need to know beforehand which materials are available, how to plan a shelter (location, living space, etc.), and which one is recommended for your region. The resources from your area will have to be exploited to create shelters, tools, and even weapons or traps if the crisis event extends over a few weeks/months.

Weather patterns

Weather patterns affect our daily living when we already have all the luxury and accommodation we built for ourselves. Imagine what a pain in the behind it will be to handle bad weather when you are living in almost primitive conditions.

Knowing the weather patterns from your region will help you plan better for a bug out location. Flooding, extreme temperatures, or high winds, are natural disasters that can prove deadly for your family if you are forced to extend your stay in the wild.

Start by pinpointing the most dangerous weather risks from your region and the time period when they occur. Research and discover solutions for each weather event identified as a possible risk for your loved ones. Even learning how to make a fire in harsh conditions can become a lifesaver when preparing for various weather scenarios.

Population density when prepping for a SHTF event is not covered as much as other survival topics. This is a major factor that can screw up all your prepping plans and you need to know a thing or two about your neighbors.

Chances are most of them will head for the woods just like you, while others will try to settle an old score. Not to mention that most of them will wait for the government to come and save them. You can imagine how quickly things will go south if that doesn’t happen.

Having means to defend yourself and your bug out location is critical, especially when there is a high population density in your area. Since it is recommended to stay out of sight and keep a low profile during a long-term disaster scenario, that might not always be an option. Before you let fate decide who makes it and who perishes, you might want to make sure you are able to protect what’s yours.

You should learn about traveling without leaving a trace and keeping your perimeter secure. These are skills that you should acquire if there are a lot of people in your region. One usually figures it out how safe or rough the neighborhood is on a daily basis. All this knowledge will help him prepare better for when SHTF.

Let’s say you live in a bad neighborhood, do you think that people will behave nicely and go to church when it hits the fan, or will they do anything they can to survive? The same logic applies to any region regardless of how much population there is. The only difference is that survival will be much more difficult if you live in an area that is prone to criminal activities.

Bug-out routes

If you are forced to evacuate your home, you will need to learn about the escape routes you have and how to use them. Since most people will just use a vehicle for the main part of their journey, eventually, they will have to continue on foot. Regardless if they are in the city or in a rural environment, they will have to flee on foot at some point in time.

Do you know everything about your area in order to make sure you make it to your safe heaven on foot? If you have a long journey ahead, you will need to plan a bug out timeline and stick to it. Consider if you need to cache some supplies along the way. You will also need a meeting spot for your family members and other local friendlies.

Mapping the secluded routes, you feel no others are aware of should be a priority. Also, make sure you map the areas with an abundance of natural resources.

There are a few things that are basic factors when bugging out on foot. Ask yourself this:

Just by figuring out the answer to the above questions will give you a great advantage over the others fleeing from your region.

Also, there are two other things I need to stress

Preparing for the worst and helping for the best is not enough if you are unfamiliar with your home region. Planning and prioritization are the pillars of prepping, but everything else should not become a gambling game. Studying the details of your home region will give you a better chance of surviving a crisis event. It provides you an advantage that cannot be quantified in words and it will allow you to live and tell the tale.

This content was originally published here.

Preparedness for when you have flown far from home

Mission objective: Get back home. At least that’s what it will be for most situations.

I recall the September 11 (2001) attack. Many of my work colleagues became stranded in place. Why? Because they were working in other cities (having flown there). All private and commercial airline traffic was immediately grounded in the United States and Canada.

I used to fly a-lot back then. Part of the job. That day I was local. I was not stranded. Though my work mates were.

What did they do? Some of them immediately rented cars and began the drive back home. It took days (for some). But they made it.

Why am I talking about this? Well, though I personally haven’t flown in 10 years (thankfully!), I know that others who are preparedness-minded DO FLY (because of their jobs). So the question is, how do you prepare for the unknown possibilities of SHTF while you’re far away from home (having flown there)?

I’ve written a few articles on the subject. You might want to visit them and read the comments too (links at bottom). It’s been awhile since I discussed this particular topic. So I’m looking for your input so as to help others with the thought process of preparedness for this.

Things To Take With You

I’ll get the discussion going by letting you know some of the items that I used to bring along with me when I flew all over the place…

Flashlight. A good quality small flashlight ). Always kept one on the nightstand next to the bed in the hotel. Otherwise it was with me in my bag wherever I went.

Small portable AM/FM/Shortwave radio (related article). News and information will be critical immediately following an ‘event’. It will help to understand the potential scope of the problem. Better decision making that way.

A good pocket knife. I couldn’t do “carry on”, but I would tuck one in my luggage (if I had luggage other than carry-on). Always had a pocket knife as part of my EDC (related article).

Cash. 20’s (nothing larger). Cash is King. At least for awhile…

Food bars (related article – and my suggestion). Great for keeping you going.

Water. I would take at least one water bottle on the plane (not sure if you can do that anymore). Also would be sure to have some water bottles on hand during the trip.

Backpack. Instead of a traditional type of carry-on bag, I would often use a soft backpack instead. If I needed more space for the trip, I would also carry on a nice bag on wheels – extendable handle. Good quality.

Navigation. Map your way home. Today’s cell phones have excellent GPS navigation capabilities. (Getting home?). The only thing that would inhibit you in this regard might be a EMP-event (which would be total/major SHTF!), or major power outage whereby your phone battery eventually goes dead. Though a car-charger would still work (if the vehicle runs). Prior to my travel, I would look at mapping of the area. Had a good idea prior to hitting the ground where I’m going and how I might get back.

Okay, I got the ball rolling. For your flyers out there (or former flyers), what do you carry with you for preparedness, just in case? And/or what measures/precautions would you take (or do).

This content was originally published here.

Even without an SHTF scenario, our roads are teeming with drivers looking for potential targets. From criminals to assailants, the reasons you may have for evading and avoiding someone while in your vehicle are innumerable.

We use our vehicles for a vast percentage of our transportation needs, and the chances of us being attacked while in a vehicle in dangerous zones are very high. In order to travel safely in your vehicle while the threat of attack or ambush looms, you must learn the basics of evasive driving.

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A vehicle is a weapon; it kills thousands of people every year and can be wielded effectively by anyone from an angry teenager to a maniacal terrorist with little effort. Using it defensively requires much more effort and patience.

Techniques for avoiding pursuit and damage on the road are not as straightforward or as simple as they may seem. Take the time to practice and never drive beyond your abilities. Driving recklessly is as likely to harm yourself as it is others.

Disclaimer: The tactics methods we talk about in this post are unlawful and dangerous in many cases. This article is not an endorsement of the methods, nor should it be regarded as a training source. Only conduct the techniques in this article under the supervision of trained professionals and always obey the rules of the road.

Different vehicles have very different capabilities. This may seem like common sense, but it is worth saying. Having the proper vehicle goes beyond make and model, however.

The appropriate vehicle is also reliable and well taken care of. You don’t have to worry about it failing you at an inopportune moment. Clean the windows, have a full tank of gas, ensure the fluids are good to go, as well as the brakes, tires, etc.

The best vehicles for escaping a road incident or attack will be a midsize or large sedan that is low to the ground. These vehicles are the best compromise between mass, handling, durability, and maneuverability. Lighter and faster vehicles can’t handle getting bumped well, while vehicles with a higher center of gravity can roll during sharp turns and maneuvers.

The environment will ultimately dictate the optimal vehicle. Muddy backroads will have a different “best” vehicle versus the highway versus salt flats and everything in between.

Other Considerations:

You must ensure you are well-versed and comfortable in your vehicle. Like any weapon or tool you plan to use, it must feel like an extension of your body. Know how wide it is, how it turns, and feel the road through it.

Vehicle Modifications

This is where you can get a little James Bond with it. The following are some vehicle modifications suggested by the sources we used for the post:

In-Car Equipment

These are some other modifications or considerations regarding your vehicle.

Keep all gear neatly stored or tied down inside your vehicle so they don’t become a hazard or become damaged.

Basic Driving Awareness and Routines

You should already be applying the following tips in your general driving practices. Awareness of your surroundings are key to safety on the road whether or not the other drivers intend to harm you.

If a threat occurs, assess it using the five W’s:

Random attacks like those from drunken or angered drivers, those that occur in everyday life, are generally easy to see coming. Hidden ambushes from motivated individuals can be much harder to spot. Be ready and aware.

Evasive Driving Techniques and Philosophies

This is only a small example of a vast skill set. If you think of it like learning a martial art, this is the stuff you’d learn in the first month or so. It takes decades to get a black belt. However, these basic skills we are providing can be incredibly effective when properly employed (reminder, please see disclaimer).

If You are Being Followed or Have a Tail

For celebrities and politicians, being followed is a constant concern. For the everyday person, less so. But if you are well-stocked when the SHTF, you can expect your profile to rise. Sometimes you cut somebody off in traffic, use an ATM, or have the wrong bumper sticker, and they are following you home to get revenge (like in this story, or this one).

Which brings us to our first and most important point about being followed: Don’t lead them to your home or stockpiles. Don’t assume your home is where the tail began (they may only have an idea of where your neighborhood is). Don’t lead them to those you love.

Often a tail is simply a case of childish harassment, or it may be a legitimate government official. Attempt to identify the level of threat and act accordingly.

Often driving to a well lit or public area can dissuade the majority of petty tails. Never leave your vehicle or box yourself in when traveling to these areas. Lean on the horn and attempt to signal help that way.

If you believe you are being tailed, take the following actions:

To try and shake the tail:

Use legal maneuvers and speed when possible. Don’t make it known you are aware of the tail unless necessary. Giving away that you are aware may cause them to escalate tactics. Be prepared.

Evasion Tactics During a Chase

Chases can begin in many ways. If a tail knows you are aware of them and they don’t call off the tail, you can consider it a chase. The difference between a tail and a chase is simply that the pursuer knows you are aware of them—it is a cliche that they must occur at high speed (more on that in a second).

If you can’t call for help or reasonably get to a safe area without endangering your location or others at a secure location, then you must lose your pursuers on the road.

As we stated before, a “high-speed” chase is a bit of a cliche. You will not want to go above 60 mph unless necessary or on a highway. If you can’t navigate turns or avoid obstacles, you are only endangering yourself further. Drive to you and your vehicle’s realistic capabilities.

A blowout at top speeds will end your chase (and life) pretty dramatically. Be cautious of the damage and strain you are putting on your tires:

Methods for losing your pursuer without engaging in breakneck speeding:

Either through maneuvers or by using the natural flow of traffic to cut off pursuit and send them astray. Suddenly take a side street and don’t allow them time to react. If your pursuer is coming on to you quickly in another lane, use a quick stop and turn down a road away from them.

If traffic or a sudden change of direction allows you to get out of eyesight for a bit, you may be able to sneak into an alley or behind a house. Don’t get out of a vehicle, and don’t get yourself trapped in an enclosed area looking for a hiding spot. Make sure the terrain you are on is not proving tracks that give away your position.

If your vehicle can handle terrain the pursuit vehicle can not, you may need to jump a median or cross a lawn. Do so at a safe distance so you don’t damage your tires. Hedges and small fences may be passable by some vehicles but not others.

Other Tips:

Dealing with Firearms

If you think the vehicle chasing you has a firearm, you must not allow them to get alongside you and must maneuver to cut them off. Even small arms can be effective at 300 meters so get as much distance as possible (this is when going fast is allowed).

The J-turn: A Basic Evasive Turning Technique

This is an example of one of the most effective and basic evasion techniques, a reverse 180. Sometimes also called a “J-Turn”.

A Bootlegger’s Turn is similar to this maneuver but is done while still traveling forward.

Practice this technique as various vehicles react very differently to this maneuver. Conducting this maneuver repeatedly will likely damage your vehicle in some way, so judge how to practice and when to use this maneuver for yourself.

Make sure everything inside your vehicle is strapped down (including you) before trying these turns. There are a ton of high-level maneuvers you can learn.

Destructive Techniques: Ramming, Crashing and Avoiding Them

Attack EscapeSometimes contact between vehicles is invertible. Either they will try to run you off the road or you will need to get past a blocking vehicle. Practicing this can be hard without participating in a destruction derby.

Sideswiping is often just as dangerous to the vehicle coming in as to the one being swiped. If your goal is to keep moving, try and avoid any side contact. The wrong angle can send you spinning out of control.

Trained pursuers will often try and use the Pursuit Intervention Technique or PIT to stop a fleeing vehicle. This involves touching your car to the back quarter panel of the vehicle you want to stop, then accelerating at an angle into them.

To counter this technique, you must attempt to drop your speed below 30 mph where it is very hard to spin a vehicle. Real-life example of a police PIT stop.

Road Hazards, Barriers, and Ramming

Very often, an ambush will involve blocker vehicles. This occurs frequently in the third world; someone will pretend to have a broken down car to get you to stop. Sometimes robbers or assassins will purposely get in small fender benders in order to get you to stop.

Very often, you must use your vehicle as a weapon or battering ram in order to effectively escape. Doing so incorrectly can lead to the vehicle being disabled and you being killed (either through the crash or by your pursuers).

Ramming a roadblock should only be done as a last resort as even soft debris can damage your vehicle or windshield and impair your vision or maneuverability. You also don’t know exactly how reinforced a roadblock may be.

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Sources Used in This Post:

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In a natural disaster, civil unrest, or other public emergency, being able to communicate up to 5 miles or more is very important. 

When there isn’t a working cellphone system or the internet is unavailable, it can wreak havoc. People that take their phone everywhere, or rely on it for all forms of contact with other people will be at a serious disadvantage. Sadly, as we have seen already in some disasters, these individuals can and will mentally shut down or be unable to function at all.

While many people today take their cell phones and internet access for granted, there are other effective ways to communicate in an emergency. Here are some older ways of communication that you should learn how to use.

Types Of Non-Cellular or Non-Web Radios and Phones

Many people today think of radios only in terms of their capacity to receive signals. While this is important for obtaining timely information in a crisis, there are other radios that you can use to transmit information to others that have a compatible receiver.

Codes and Why You Need to Learn Them

In a major crisis, there may be times when you will not be able to transmit information using voice and words. Instead, you may have to tap out sounds, or use a series of light flashes to communicate important information. Here are two code systems that will be well worth learning. They can be used with anything from drums to flashlights and mirrors as well as for communication over electronic networks.

Morse Code

Was invented by an American Samuel F.B. Morse, and first used in 1844. It is a relatively simple code that turns letters, numbers, and punctuation into a series of dots, dashes, and spaces.

The most important advantage of Morse Code is it’s ability to be used in almost any circumstance. It works as long as it’s possible to make a signal of some sort. Morse Code is usually transmitted by on-off keying of an information carrying medium such as electric current, radio waves, visible light, sound waves, and signal flags.

Morse Code was used extensively from the Civil War through Vietnam, and was also the standard format for ocean communications until the Global Maritime Distress Safety System replaced it in 1999. Most people will tell you that Morse Code is obsolete, and no longer worth learning. As a prepper, however, you may appreciate the following advantages:

5X5 Tap Code

This code was originally used as a way for prisoners of war, penal incaceration, and others to communicate with each other without individuals outside group knowing what is being said. It’s a short range communications system that only travels the length of the medium being sent on.

5 x 5 Tap Code is similar to Morse code in the sense that alphanumetric characters must be translated into a system of taps. The sounds can be made by tapping on anything available such as pipe, metal bars, the walls of a room or cell, or any object that can transmit the tapping. It can also be used with a Morse Code on-off sending key.

The code itself uses a square to make a 5×5 grid of letters in the English alphabet. Since the alphabet has 26 letters, C and K are both located in the top row third column spot to avoid an uneven grid.

In order to interpret the message, a listener must be able to gage the timing of the taps.

How To Use The Tap Code

To use this system each letter is identified by tapping two numbers.

As an example, to specify the letter “O” tap three times, very short pause, then tap four times, and a little longer pause.

To Spell Out The Word “HELP” In The 5X5 Tap Code

H      E       L        P

2,3    1,5     3,1      3,5

Other Methods of Communicating Over Long Distances

Aside from instantaneous transmissions, there are also other methods that will take more time. Most of these rely on the use of animals. These methods can be used during or after an EMP as well as other situations where no electricity or electronic transmissions are possible.

Homing Pigeons

These pigeons have been used for centuries to carry messages back to their home cages. Pigeons are good at remembering where they live and figuring out how to get back home even if they are transported a great distance away.

To use homing pigeons, your transmission point will be to a pre-set location that the pigeon has been trained to return to. When you need to send messages, just place the message in the pigeon’s message case and strap it to the pigeon’s leg, then let the pigeon go.

Homing pigeons will go straight back to their cage location. They will not make side trips or divert from the course that will get them home. Surprisingly, a homing pigeon can travel faster than a car over short distances. Unless people are looking for homing pigeons or notice the message case, it is not likely the bird will be intercepted.

Despite their advantages, there are some limitations to using a homing pigeon. First, they can get lost. Predators can also capture and kill them. You may need to send multiple birds with the same message, especially if they are going through a dangerous area.

Horseback Pony Express Type Mail/ Communication Carriers Or Mule Trains To Carry Mail

Today, just about everyone takes text messaging and emails for granted. In a major emergency, you may have to go back to paper letters. Even the post office or other mail carriers may have to rely on animals such as horses and mules to carry mail from one location to another.

Where we use trucks, trains, and planes to carry mail at varying speeds, this type of system might use relays of horses and couriers for express mail. Other mail and packages might be placed on freight wagons and then dispatched to local carriers.

Before the arrival of cell phones and the internet, people were able to communicate with varying levels of speed and efficiency. In time of need, we can use these older systems to transmit and receive vital information. The important thing is to remember how these systems work, how to set them up, and how to use them.

This content was originally published here.

“SHTF” is a time-worn and borderline cliché prepper acronym we have all heard, seen and continue to hear and see daily in prepping circles. What will you do when the SHTF? Where will you go when the SHTF? Has the SHTF? It never ends.

Even so, it is an important concept. In case you have been sadly out of the loop for the past couple of decades, “SHTF” stands for Shit Hits The Fan, a vulgar euphemism for things going well and truly pear-shaped; FUBAR, sky is falling, hell on wheels, you name it.

A SHTF event is one where your daily survival necessities are no longer guaranteed, where the typical social order is suspended or heavily disrupted, where help in the form of emergency services is not available and where government intervention is either useless or part of the problem.

In this article, I’ll offer my thoughts on the matter.

Small Fans and Large Fans

Disaster is a matter of perspective, I suppose, and perception being what it is in this day and time with everything, every word, concept and interpretation rendered hideously malleable by the current cultural zeitgeist, it makes sense that event the concept of disasters would be subjected to the same.

A common car crash, however bad the effects on life, limb and property, is not a disaster and never will be unless the car crashed into a tanker full of nuclear waste and knocked it into a nearby river.

That has not stopped some people from treating car wrecks like “serious” SHTF events. And one could say they are if you treat SHTF as shorthand labeling for any event that requires you to employ emergency skills at any level.

How about the destructive crash of some larger conveyance? How about a train? I say that is not a SHTF event, either. How about a jetliner crash? I still say no, though the passengers aboard the doomed vessel hurtling toward terra firma would doubtlessly dispute my assertion. So what does qualify as a SHTF event in my eyes?

For me, it is a matter of scale, and not simply in property damage or lives lost, or the potential for either. A real, SHTF scenario will affect almost every facet of your day to day existence for some time going into the future.

How long that disruption lasts being of course dependent on the intensity of the event, its reach and any other of the thousands of potential variables that keep society knit together and recognizably functioning as such in 2019 America.

Severity Counts

As a ‘for instance,’ one could say that a powerful natural disaster would qualify as a SHTF event. Landfall of a severe and powerful hurricane could qualify as a SHTF event without question.

One need only look at the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Andrew in the not too distant past to get a glimpse into the dystopian misery awaiting us. Natural disasters of many kinds, if severe enough, if they strike the right place at the right time, could do much the same.

But if one were to drive far enough outside the majorly affected area, one would probably see life as normal chugging on without a care in the world, save perhaps a rise in lumber and gas prices. I would not say an event has to have a truly regional or even national area of effect to qualify as a SHTF incident.

Disruption of Society

Anything you can walk away from and go get a burger after or go to get groceries after is certainly not a SHTF event. SHTF events by any measure should disrupt society almost entirely, or rather disrupt our day-to-day “normal.”

If you cannot turn a switch and expect electricity, cannot open a tap to get clean water and cannot expect waste in any form to be vacated from the premises, you are dealing with a SHTF event.

If you cannot reliably call on the cavalry in the form of EMS, police and fire responders, you are likely living in a SHTF scenario (or a major American city). If everyone has to seriously start relying on bartering and get deals done before returning home to meet a curfew, you are likely dealing with a true SHTF event. If you are fleeing rampant pillaging and looting, or a city on fire with no end in sight before it turns to ash, you are dealing with a SHTF event.

A major prolonged breakdown of any and especially multiples of the above facets of our societies should be considered herald enough for a true, blue SHTF instance.

A power outage lasting a half hour to an hour is not. A protest that turns violent and gets put down harshly is not. A freak fire that burns down a handful of buildings is not.

When the bad things we take for granted as taken care of start going unopposed unless you oppose them yourself, that is a SHTF situation.

Reach and Area of Effect

A SHTF event that affects a handful of people cannot be said to be a true SHTF event. You and three friends who get irretrievably lost in bear country while out joy hiking are in the shit now, for certain, but it is not a SHTF event, even when Yogi and Boo-Boo come sniffing around.

There will be people, authorities, friends, family, looking for you. Helicopters will be scrambled. Dog teams deployed. Rangers on four wheelers. The works.

An entire town a couple of hours away from a major metropolis that is left to rot and fend for themselves because what functioning government is left is triaging the situation and deploying all available resources to keep command and control facilities, government institutions and critical supplies and infrastructure solvent? Oh yeah, that would definitely qualify as a SHTF situation.

Essentially, the more people that have to say to themselves in chilling realization “No one is coming. I am on my own,” the more likely it is that you are facing a true SHTF scenario.

Paradigm Shifting Events

As awful as some things are, like city-wide riots and cataclysmic natural disasters, as much havoc as they spread, as much damage as they do and as many lives as they claim, they are not what I denote as paradigm shifting events, a sure symptom of a SHTF situation.

Flood waters will recede. Things will eventually dry out. Rubble will be swept away, bodies will be hauled off to be disposed of, power lines reconnected and life will eventually go back to normal.

So what do I mean by paradigm shift? When a paradigm shift occurs, things don’t go back to normal. It might mean a technological regression, a near-permanent loss of modern commodities, or living under the constant burden of some new threat or vulnerability.

A great example of a paradigm shifter is something like a typically imagined cataclysmic EMP that wipes out much of or the entire nation’s electronics and electrical grid.

Author R. William Forstchen imagined this precise scenario in stunning detail in his speculative fiction novel One Second After. Give it a read. You’ll get some inkling of just how irrevocably things will change in the aftermath of such an event.

So much of what we assume is “just the way things are” will vanish, permanently, with one stroke of fate. Something similar will happen in the wake of a nuclear exchange, major asteroid impact, or super volcano detonation.

As an example that most will understand, a paradigm shift would undoubtedly occur if zombies were to rise from their grave or aliens were to invade.

A paradigm shift is knowing, “Things will never be the same.” Whatever caused it is definitely a SHTF event.

Government Conflict

Any time a widespread, regimented crackdown is inflicted on citizens by their government that qualifies as a SHTF event unto itself. History furnishes ample examples of how badly and how quickly violence and loss of life and freedom happens when things finally boil over.

Even at the state level, it is all too easy for the government to start infringing on basic rights and liberties, imprisonment and executions being the hallmarks of tyranny.

Even for those outside of conflict zones, disruptions to travel, commerce and utilities can quickly turn a scuffle into a proper siege at the larger scale.

Checkpoints, inspections and constant stress will lead to flaring tempers, overreactions and the spilling of more blood and subsequently tighter restrictions. Your staples and essentials are now officially no longer guaranteed thanks to localized sanctions.

These things have a way of snowballing, especially in the histories of Western nations. We don’t generally do sustained, low-level, brushfire conflict, preferring instead to let things become intolerable before our animosity erupts in an orgy of violence that changes the course of history and the lives of the surviving populace forever after.

If the tree of liberty must be refreshed with blood, you can be certain of SHTF.

All Together

To me, a SHTF event is one that not only sends you scrambling to respond, but will put you and everyone else in your area, and probably your region, in prolonged mortal peril.

Your basic survival requirements, and I mean the necessities- clean air, shelter from the elements, clean water for drinking, food- will no longer be guaranteed unless you are clever enough and prepared enough to provide them.

The institutionalized trappings of a functional society will be strained past the breaking point or just cease to exist. The uneasy quasi-truce between the rabid dogs of society, criminals, and the rest of us will disappear, and the natural law will once again take precedence.

What is yours will only stay that way of you can keep it. Your next meal will only be ready if you provide it. Your continued existence will no longer be guaranteed by default barring a fluke. Survival, real moment-to-moment, day-to-day survival is the new normal. The Way Things Were is the simultaneous plea and eulogy on everyone’s lips.

Diseases that are rendered powerless by modern medicine will reassert themselves with fury. Death will harvest his grim crop in ways that were once laughable inconveniences. Infection from a scratch. A fever gone unchecked. Parasites. A rotten tooth.

Medieval ailments will once again spell nearly certain doom. There will be no competing pleasures to occupy your time. Every moment will mean another minute of life, earned, or a squandered opportunity in the face of the encroaching night.

When things have changed so utterly for the worse that your most fervent wish is full bellies and a warm, safer place to sleep next to your loved ones, that’s when you’ll know you the Shit has well and truly Hit the Fan.

Conclusion

The term SHTF should be reserved for major events that severely threaten lives and the fabric of society, not localized disasters and crises no matter how bad they are.

While events that mortally imperil you, even for days at a time, are scary and might be the penultimate test of your life, they are still likely not true SHTF situations.

Try not to water down the import of a term that should be reserved for properly cataclysmic situations by tossing it out every time a riot occurs or a tornado touches down.

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This content was originally published here.