Saturday, January 26, 2008

Most important need in the first few days after TSHTF (old post)

I'm just getting started on this blog thing, so please be patient. New subjects and isuses of discussion will be added. As always, suggestions and criticism are always welcome, so please participate if you feel like it.:)

I’ll be adding some old posts, both for people that haven’t read them and for keeping them all in one place.
I’ve lost a lot of stuff because I almost never save what I write on my hard drive, just copy/paste it from Word and that’s it. So it will be nice to have a site where people that are interested can find all in one place.

Premise: USA is headed for a similar economic meltdown to the one you and your family experienced.

Given: I have had little or no success trying to warn friends and family who continue to think their lives will go on the same way forever.

QUESTION: What was your most important need/concern in the first few days after TSHTF, and what advice do you have for the rest of us regarding your answer?

Well, your friends just may be right, maybe nothing happens and their lives go on just like now more or less. Most people do know that sometimes life throws you an oddball or two, everyone has his or her own story.

What your friends need to realize is that what it’s consider “normal” social structure is in fact a delicate system, one that can take a few bumps but every now and then things get a bit more complicated, sometimes it just goes over the edge completely and you get to see how fragile modern society actually is.

I’m talking about large power grid failures ( Such as the one recently in Barcelona, 3 days without power in a large metropolis), water or any other services. Whatever the reason, accident, sabotage, terrorist attack, it brakes that delicate thread and society suffers.
Something as simple as garbage disposal is actually critical. A city without garbage disposal will smell pretty bad after a few days, garbage piling on the sidewalk, give it two weeks and rats will start spreading disease like crazy. I’m not just coming up with these numbers. We went for almost a week without anyone picking the trash once (strike), the smell was terrible as soon as you walked out the door and the rats could be seen on broad daylight.

Now, if it’s only about services, a well organized city will solve minor incidents in short notice. Of course there are exceptions, ( mayor earthquake, tsunami, NBC terrorist attack) but even mayor incidents end up turning into short term SHTF inconveniences. It may take a week, a month or two, but eventually thinks do go back to normal.
Now, something like what happened here, an economical collapse, that changes life for you forever.

I’m talking about a new perspective in all aspects of live.
Most man kind divides the world’s history according to the birth of Christ. So do we, but Argentineans also refer to “ before and after 2001” or “ before and after the crisis or 1:1 ( when 1 peso= 1 dollar) I kid you not, this kind of reference is used several times a day on ordinary conversations.

“Nice car! How did you afford it?” “No, I bought it before the 2001 crisis”
“Have you ever been to Paris?”
“Yes, beautiful place”
“Really, man I wish I could go there”
”Yea, but I went before 1:1”
This is just an example, of how such an event transformed everything for us, in such a terrific scale.

Economy is probably the weakest link in the chain in modern society. It’s all numbers, and data, no tangible materials, and most people simply ignore that our economy system works around TRUST.
You TRUST that that piece of paper the bank gave you equals the savings you worked so hard for decades. Objectively speaking, you are the world’s greatest fool, surrendering saving that could be translated into houses, cars, clothes and food, tangible items, for a piece of paper that’s worth less than 0.1 cents. Smiler But that’s the way our world works and we couldn’t have it any other way. This is only possible when you have blind trust in certain consolidated institutions.

Alas, but what happens when these institutions betray that trust? People don’t believe this can happen, even if it has happened, many times throughout history.

Banks may care about their clients, but they care about themselves first, then their elite clients, and then the average person.
Out of ALL the banks in this country, every single world famous bank, they all stole the saving from the clients. This can happen, and crime or lawful action is only determined by a signature at the end of a resolution my friends. Desperate times, desperate measures, our constitutional rights to private property were ERASED… at least until the higher powers determined we could have them back for a while longer.

Only one bank in the entire country gave the money back to those that wanted it. A small town bank somewhere in Patagonia ( Santa Cruz, I believe) stood by its clients, and though many did close their accounts, most clients decided to keep their money in the bank that proved worthy of such trust! It’s strange but that’s what happened.
Of course this does not happen with large banks, there’s always speculators and powerful people that will get tipped off and leave with bags full of money, while the average person looses everything. ( well, not everything, about 1/3 of the money was returned after a few years, by converting the accounts in dollars to pesos which cost 3 times less than a dollar)

So, I’d say that the most important thing you should know, before and after the crisis: Understand that the gov. and private institutions don’t care about YOU or your family, they care about themselves, keeping their profits high at ALL costs, and governments staying in power for as long as possible to keep filling up their pockets.
Even a benevolent gov. ( few around these days) will gladly sacrifice YOU and YOUR family if they estimate it will work for a greater good.
Its’ hard to determine a certain day, so as to talk about “ few days after TSHTF”. There was a braking point when the president gave a lousy speech, the “cacerolazo” protest in front of the government house and his resign after that.

It’s more of slower or faster “slide” rather than a certain fixed day, though the events may later cause a protest or lootings that will be later on considered as the start of the SHTF.
Look for the sings of trouble, various degrees of social unrest, lack of response by the government. Generally speaking, look for signs of the average Joe, middle class person just having got fed up with it all. No one can guestimate when SHTF will occur, but you sure can look for the alarms sounding off here and there.

Many times high ranking gov. officials mange certain information that is not openly released to the public in fear or civil unrest, same happens with large corporations. Listen to you friends that work in such places, gather gossip, news ( careful, most big time media is censored or bought by the powers to be) and come to your own conclusions.

Answering the question :
“What was your most important need/concern in the first few days after TSHTF, and what advice do you have for the rest of us regarding your answer?”

First, make sure you have enough supplies ( food and water) to last for a couple of weeks at least. If you don’t, rush to the supermarket and buy it using credit card if they still accept it.

If you have enough food, stay put at home and keep track through the TV of what’s going on. Don’t go out there just to fool around.
IN our case, martial law and curfew at 8 PM was established, people could not gather in group greater than 2 or 3 persons, so it was not safe anyway. None the less, few obeyed all this crap, but it was still established so you know what you were dealing with if cops caught you.

The greatest need when the lootings started was means to defend yourself. Maybe that’s why I encourage everyone to make weapons part of their basic preparedness kits, right along with food, water, money, and medicines. We watched daily as the lootings spread everywhere, and when the mobs of distressed people started looting homes along with the supermarkets and shops, things got really scary. I watched such a mob pass about 15-20 yards from my home. At first I only heard drums ( used during the protests) but these protesters were also looting along the way. The mass of looters was huge, covered the entire street and sidewalk, all across as far as I could see, a block long or more.
So, having means to defend yourself is very important during the first days as well as later on, after the veil of fear of “punishment per crime” is removed from the society.

People that seem normal during “normal” times, unleash the animals they keep at bay during law abiding times. The evil among normal people also surprised me. Average Joe takes advantage of the possibility to loot without getting punished for it if he sees the chance. Hell, nothing people do surprises me anymore.
Then there was the need to get cash, which disappeared within hours from ATMs after banks closed. The “NO credit card” signs showed up instantly. Only cash. And cash was getting very hard to find.

Many supermarkets closed their doors, fearing looters, and those that were opened quickly started to run out of basic supplies.

As for advice:

-Keep a healthy amount of cash at home at all times. Precious metals work but you’ll need cash to get by until banks and financial entities willing to pay a fair price reopen. Selling your gold in a pawn shop will be bad business, most likely they’ll try to get advantage of your need. At least until the market settles and then they’ll start paying according to the real value, but this takes some time.

-Have a gun for self defense, and learn how to use it. If you only have one weapon, make that a handgun and a box or two of premium ammo. Why handgun and not a long arm? Because things will be VERY dangerous out there and you’ll be wanting some protection, even when walking the dog, picking up mail, or going to the grocery around the corner, you cant’ do that with a long arm, and THOSE are the times you need to be armed the most.

-Have at least one or two months worth of food, water, medicines ( prescription meds you need for a certain condition you may have!), whatever you use around your house, such as soap, shampoo, dishwasher soap and various cleaning supplies. Once you have that, work towards a 6 to 12 month supply, specially concerning food. 2 or 3 years worth? Yes, nice to have but if you see the SHTF period extending that long, you better have a place to relocate because its’ simply not safe to be there anymore.

-Work towards financial security. Money in accounts in two or three countries, investments portfolios, real estate. Try placing your eggs in different baskets because, as we talked about it earlier, you can’t really trust them. Real estate is probably the safest and easiest form of investment, it has worked for my family really well, even through the crisis. We still have the pieces of land and buildings over it. It looses some value but adjusts over time to the reality of the country, going back to become a source of income.

-Have back up plans for EVERYTHING. Alternative sources of light, for transportation , fuel, ways of cooking, but most of all, have another location to move in case it is no longer possible to continue in the country or region where you are. This is my case and I’m really glad to have alternatives to move out of my country. I’m not talking about a cabin somewhere or a retreat, once things get that bad, you better get moving and relocating somewhere else, another state or even another country. You simply can’t fight the reality around you when crime gets out of control, along with everything else. Have your papers ready ( passport, birth certificate, etc)

-Know that during troubled times a house, retreat or cabin is of any use as long as it is inhabited. If SHTF for real, no empty building remains empty for long. Either it gets picked to the bare walls, or even worse , you find it one day with a family or several already established in there, which will take a long time for you to evict the invaders through legal channels.

-Keep a low profile. Showing off money or expensive clothes, flashy cars or jewelry is a good way to get targeted by criminals.
-Understand that in just a matter of weeks crime starts increasing exponentially when serious SHTF such as an economical collapse occurs. These kind of situations may take decades to reverse, or maybe never go back to what it used to be.
When I was 20 years old I lived in a 1st world country, 8 years later it’s a mixture of cheapo 3rd world tourist sites, a bit of tasteful 1900 architecture, surrounded by sights fitting either Ecuador, Colombia or some kind of war zone, and it all went to hell in a hand basket in less than a year. The change was amazing for anyone that cared to notice. Libraries, churches, town theaters, it all closed and later reopened having been replaced by bar-***** house joints, “All for 2$” shops, Bingos, casinos, self proclaimed churches, many with links to Umbanda Brazilian rituals. A perfect example of the decay in our society trough the last years.
Hope that helps.



Anonymous said...

Have youuuu written anything yet! LOL. Good site here, FF. Thanks for taking the time to get it organized for the rest of us. My foreign language abilities are muy malo, guy.

Anonymous said...

Warum k├Ânnen Sie nicht auf Deutsch schreiben? lol

Great job, FerFAL. Thanks a bunch for getting this life saving info in a central location. I've got you bookmarked.

You have an audience now... you can't disappoint us! lol

FerFAL said...

Hi guys, glad to see you here.;)


PureCajunSunshine said...

It would be a treat to see a lot of your gems in one place, in addition to seeing your posts here and there, scattered all over the internet! Thankfully, you've been a prolific poster!

LOL! Now that's gonna be a big job...bringing a bunch of your posts to one place... I sincerely appreciate your efforts to help others like you have done over the years.

Ryan said...

I am quite glad u've got a blog. I read the posts on survivalblog and wanted more. The slow slide scenario is the most disturbing to me becuase it could be going on in the USA now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much.

I remember reading a 7 part essay that was posted on www.buildanark.com.

If you have that original essay could you post it here please?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ferfal.

I read about you blog over at LATOC and found it very interesting and informative. I live in Canada and had no idea what it was actually like there. It's a good vision of what it may end up like here.

Stay safe!

Will England said...

Re-sharing this in 2020. This is excellent, real-world plain-spoken and truthful writing. Thank you for taking the time to document your experiences. It's going to be a bit of a rough road about anywhere in the world for the next couple of years.

Thank you again,

Will England
Flyover, USA