Tuesday, June 11, 2013

People that Won’t Survive SHTF

It happened a few years ago during a trip to USA for the Self  Reliance expo in Utah. After the expo we decided to go have dinner to this place nearby. Jack Spirko was driving and as he turned to enter a parking lot he had to hit the breaks to avoid running over a woman and her two brats that just walked in front of the car without a care in the world. “People like these, they will be the first ones to go when SHTF” said Jack. 

You know what? Jack was right. People like that are the ones that will suffer the most during disasters, even the ones that are more likely to die as life gets harder.
Now that I live in a more civilized part of the world I see it all the time as well. Whenever we witness some Darwin defying stupidity, my wife usually shakes her head and says “some of these people, they wouldn’t last a week in Argentina without getting killed”, and I know she’s right on a number of levels.

First, there’s that level of utter stupidity that makes zombies look like theoretical physicists. These are people that that not only walk without the most basic level of awareness, as in the minimum required not to get run over by cars when crossing the street and playing with your cellphone, but they also lack the most elemental parenting instinct so as to watch over their kids  too. I’ve lost count already of the people that I’ve seen walking and crossing the street as if walking across their living room. I’m 100% certain that as my wife says, these people would be dead within a week in Buenos Aires just because of buses, taxi drivers, lack of proper street signaling and the average nutcase behind the wheel which is the typical Argentine driver.
I see parents letting they kids wonder away like they wouldn’t do with the dog they are walking, taking for granted that some good Samaritan will find their kid and return it to them, rather that kidnap the child for ransom or worse.

Then there’s the absolute ignorance regarding anything that slightly resembles home and personal security. People might as well put signs on the door saying please rob me. The doors and lock themselves are a joke which is bad enough, but then to make it even worse people leave their doors opened all the time. I’ve lost count of the people that came to my home to deliver something or do some repairing and were stunned that I dare close the gate to my back yard! You close your front AND BACK door? Madness! Again, you don’t get away with that for long in most of South America.

To some degree I can somehow justify most of it. They walk like children in a playground because they are used to cars stopping waiting for them to cross. They take for granted the drivers will see them, will stop, will be responsible drivers. They just aren’t used to moving around in a world where a third of the people driving wouldn’t have passed a proper driving test or bus drivers that, I kid you not, at least half of them are clinically insane.

Same goes for security. People here, most of them have never been mugged in their life, most have never seen the wrong end of a gun barrel.  They’ve never suffered a home invasion or even know friends of family that have gone through that. Its all so distant and unreal to them. Not long ago there was this scam going around here. A guy would knock on people’s door, claim to be from the power or cable company saying there was a problem with their billing, and people would downright give them their credit card and banking information! In Buenos Aires I doubt anyone would have opened the door to them, let alone give away you credit card like that.

If we add to this the general self-indulgence and lack of maturity shown by many adults, then you start wondering how will a lot of these people fare even with a slight degradation of their perfectly safe, idiot-proof world.
There’s always exceptions, but for some reason they seem to be a clear minority. A significant number of people cant take care of themselves, let alone their kids. They struggle during the good times they wouldn’t even know where to begin in the bad ones.
People have to toughen up. They have to become more aware, more responsible for themselves and their own families. I’m not even talking about material preparations here. I’m talking about a significant change of mindset and attitude towards life, one that those lacking it have no way of making it if disaster or even just hard times strike. 



Kendal Black said...

Superb post, an example of why I check SIA on a regular basis. This is the same problem Col. Cooper addressed in his mental awareness color codes.


Lots of people wander around in White condition, and all manner of things happen to them daily that need not.

Aaron said...

Ferfal, thanks for the post. I work near many people dependent on state welfare for cigarettes, alcohol, and sometimes weed or food. This is to the point where a few single mothers continue to have babies to receive medicare and government money. How did the people dependent on the government for necessities fare in Argentina? Would you be willing to speculate how these people will fare where I live (Northern California)? I really appreciate your real life experience and observations.

JBB said...

And yet, there they all are, very much alive in front of you.

"Lots of people wander around in White condition, and all manner of things" DON'T happen to nearly all of them. Because that's appropriate for them right now.

In my line of work, running web servers and back-end servers and such, it's important to think about potential failures and how to avoid them, and it's important to have contingency plans for more dire events. But we don't operate as if we're in a dire event until we need to. Doing so would reduce efficiency and we'd never get anywhere.

These people wander around blissfully because right now they can. We work toward a society that allows that.

Ferfal is absolutely wrong in this post -- what will determine whether they live or die in a SHTF situation is not how they act today, but rather how they adapt and what contingencies they're prepared for.

The day may come when I won't go outside without body armor. That doesn't mean I'm going to go around wearing it all the time now just in case.

Anonymous said...

You answer it a bit in that post - they're that way because the environment allows them to be that way.
I have to say that home security in my house is like you have described, because I dont live in dangerous area. A large hammer to get through the front door, back door is all glass - it really wouldnt be that hard to break in. Do I feel like upgrading to steel doors, bars and spiked gates? No, because there is currently no need for that level of defence.
There was a post on another blog a while ago with someone bragging how much 'tougher' russians were because they had gone through the Soviet collapse. Agree in general, but some of the points they made were that Russians were much better at stealing things. Solar powered road side warning sides? Stolen within a few hours if this was Russia. Many other examples given. While I agree that a lot of people are in for a hard landing if society changes too quickly for them, i dont think its a sign of superior living to be at code red your whole life.

Mongo said...

As I watch the sheeple I simply wonder how they can be so oblivious to their surroundings.... then I got caught at the local gas station filling out my mileage records in my car.... my wife walked up an knocked on the passenger side window!!!! She had pulled up at the pump next to me and I didn't even notice! Condition white does not work, ever.

Augustine said...


Indeed, these types are the ones counting on someone doing it right by them. They give up their lives to drivers when crossing streets because they believe that it would be a driver's, which is true, but doesn't make becoming handicapped for the rest of the life any more pleasant.

But this attitude assumes a working state, in particular its justice system and law-enforcement. When the SHTF, the state will be hollowed out by white-collar gangs, much like in your Argentina and in my Brazil. Then, the justice system and law-enforcement will have only one role: defending these gangs from the people, while the people will be left to themselves, wit our home countries. Then, those who don't take care of themselves will either perish or join the hordes of predators, i.e., become criminals.

Indeed, in the last decade, the US have got closer to becoming a de facto hollowed out state. All the anti-terrorist apparatus has turned its sights inward on the American people, as it's been undeniably demonstrated by Ed Snowden. The American state is already hollow and is controlled by red and blue gangs, but its fringes still keep some level of functioning for the time being.

But the course is set and America will bankrupt itself and then its humongous state will be unsustainable, so the only apparatus to be retained will be the one protecting the gangs in power. For sure, an appearance of a functioning state will be retained too, so that meager favors may be doled out in order to maintain a minimum level of assent from the people. For, as the Arab Spring has shown, even dictatorships need some assent in whose absence they collapse.

Anonymous said...

In the UK there was a case where a woman visited A&E because of dog poo on her child's shoe....

Pericles Athenian said...

The worst of it are the Swedes.
They are planning to have a fully electronic money system (no paper money).
I've also read that they plan to have a "transparency" system where anybody can see (through internet) the property and incomes of anybody else's.
They say that this will end tax avoidance and corruption.
How naive someone can be?

gaga said...

Well, maybe not.

They don't live in South America and Northern Ireland will probably never become like South America.

If it ever does, people will adapt, until them they don't have to.

Don Williams said...

On the other hand, I think it should be noted that Americans have problems that other people don't have to deal with:


Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for quite a while, and normally I find your posts to be well thought out, but I find this one to be quite different from what you normally write, and not in a good way.

I believe preparedness is about planning for the future, not living your day to day life in fear of the worst possibility. Otherwise we have to live every day as if we are in the midst of a civil war.

I'll prepare for SHTF, but I won't live like it's already happened, until it actually does.

Anonymous said...

Good post. Thanks. Our doors are always locked. Always. Our blinds are always drawn. Always. I appreciate your sharing of your experiences.

I stand amazed that people give their zip codes or telephone numbers to the people manning the sales registers in stores. I politely say, "No Thank you." More people must be turning down this "opportunity," as I am getting less flack about it. I just repeated my "No Thank you" with a smile.

Don Williams said...

1) You don't need to worry, Ferfal. President Obama is coming to Belfast next week to help you with your problems and
undermine your attempt at self-reliance. hee hee


"President Obama will make a major speech about the Northern Irish situation at the Waterfront conference center in Belfast on Monday. He will be in Ireland for the G8 summit in Enniskillen next week.

The news came on the heel of a major economic investment announcement by the British government in the North and the announcement of an economic conference to be chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2013.

The president will address 2,000 people, including many schoolchildren from both communities.

A White House spokesman stated that the president especially wanted to “engage with young people.” and make clear how strongly the United states continued to support the Irish peace process"
Maybe he will do your sons' schoolwork for them if they ask--
never to early to show future voters the benefits of supporting the nanny state. At heart, he is still the community organizer.


I wonder if Christina sent him?
hee hee

Marie said...

I disagree with this post, they are fortunate that they live in a safe environment and enjoy it. Enjoy today for today, they don't live in Argentina so why would you wish for them to live like they do!
It's good to be prepared for the future but not to live in fear of it as that is no life!!!
Northern Ireland is not South America

Maldek said...

"It's good to be prepared for the future but not to live in fear of it as that is no life!!!"

You are mistaken mylady. It is not fear but the knowledge (and first hand experience) regarding human nature. You mylady are living in a dream world.

How do you think the life in NI was, 100 years ago?

The difference between B.A. and England is 2 missed meals.

El Fielding said...

Excellent post.

Awareness is both a habit and a skill, and a lot of people have not developed it. In a collapse type of SHTF situation, it is quite probable that a large number of the blissfully unaware may well perish or suffer horribly because they don't pay attention, and may never have the opportunity to learn to do so. Sadly, many may react to being forced to awareness with anger and rejection (this can't be happening), and perish or suffer horribly. Eventually, the situation will be reached in which everyone will be alert or dead.

If we are fortunate enough to live in an area where constant alertness is not "necessary" because social norms protect the foolish, then seize the opportunity to develop awareness without having it be a life and death matter. After all, preparing is not about waiting until we need a skill to start developing it. Preparing is about developing the skill before you need it.

Kendal Black said...

I would argue that being blissfully unaware of your surroundings is not the right approach even in idyllic surroundings. At the very least, as someone mentioned, you can step in dog poo. There are worse outcomes.

There is also an upbeat side to having eyes up and looking around. You see so much more of the world around you, some of it thought provoking.

Among those worse outcomes: I have no statistics, but it seems to me that muggings and traffic accidents would be fewer in number if everyone were paying attention.

Some years back in Colorado, there was a curious accident in which some recreational skiers died in an avalanche. Avalanche danger was obvious at the time and place. If they did not know the signs they could have listened to the radio, asked a local or read a mountaineering book. But they were simply out having fun in the snow. Not a care in the world!