By "survival", I do not mean having a successful career, a low rate mortgage, a savings account, pension fund, nest-egg, etc.
These are illusory means of survival in an economy not based in reality, but held together by deceptive government policies and a general lack of awareness in the population.
The system we live in today is flawed in every sense, in terms of debt to savings, government spending versus government revenue, monetary policy, stock market value versus concrete company earnings, reported unemployment versus real unemployment, and numerous other factors.
In my years observing and writing on our financial system, I have not found a single sector of the economy that is NOT in disarray or on the verge of complete collapse.
None of the methods for self-sustainment we are accustomed to today are even remotely practical under such conditions.
Any American hoping to protect his family's well being, or their freedoms, must realize and accept one simple fact:
The world we live in today is not necessarily the world we will live in tomorrow.
Assumptions are for most intensive purposes fatal .
There is nothing paranoid about survival preparation.
Actually, those people who really believe that they are completely safe from any national catastrophe, or that they can rely on the Federal Government for total support during a crisis, are either terrifyingly stupid, or bewilderingly insane.
In light of FEMA's performance during the Katrina incident, an ill-conceived trust in our bureaucracy to protect us is utterly outdated and foolish.
NEVER, ever, put your fate in the hands of strangers, especially strangers from government organizations that have little to no vested interest in your well-being.
The Big Four in survival; food, water, shelter, and self-defense.
Shelter: The issue of shelter is highly dependent on which strategy you plan to use during a crisis; 'homestead' or 'retreat'. If you feel that your best bet is to remain at home and fortify your position there, then you are what I would call a "homestead survivalist".
If you feel that the place you live now will not be safe or is none defensible during a collapse, then you will probably make plans to fall back to a "retreat" location.
Homesteaders have the advantage of setting up their survival situation where they are everyday, plus they probably know the surrounding terrain like the back of their hand.
During a collapse, Homesteaders don't have to worry about the dangers of traveling to a safe location since they already live in a protected area, and they don't have to worry about how to transport all their supplies.
However, some homesteaders do not make a backup plan, and tend to put all their eggs into one basket.
Retreatists are stealth survivalists who have taught themselves to make no assumptions and to rely on ingenuity rather than a vast supply of goods.
They know how to streamline, organize, and make do in expert fashion.
They have a preset location (or several) that they have scouted and deemed prime for safety.
They also have the advantage of mobility in the event that one location is compromised.
Their obstacles though are many.
Getting to a retreat location can be very difficult without foresight into what is happening in the country around them.
If they miss the signs of imminent collapse, they can be caught with their pants down and unable to go anywhere.
Also, Retreatists have severe logistical concerns; moving supplies to the retreat, dealing with limited resources due to space limitations, sacrificing extra food and gear for speed, etc.
Despite common perceptions on survival, people in the country are not necessarily any better off than people in the city, they just have a different set of problems.
City survival is possible, but requires greater planning in terms of water collection, food storage, and defense.
Cities also become pits of disease during collapse.
Fires can burn down entire blocks including your retreat if it's not protected.
Rioting and looting will be widespread, but if you know how to stay out of sight, the chaos could actually camouflage you.
Collapses in cities historically bring out hoards of amateur snipers, making extended foot travel during the day nearly impossible.
Country dwellers will have to contend with the masses of wandering refugees from the cities looking for protection and sometimes handouts.
Dealing with otherwise harmless people who are starving and unprepared will bring up considerable conflicts of conscience.
How much can you help without putting yourself in jeopardy? Which people deserve to be helped, and which people represent a liability?
The answer will be different for every survivalist.
Country survivalists who do not have an adequate community of people for defense are at serious risk.
Any country retreat without solid defense will be overrun by people or gangs whose only care is their own survival.
Some people will stop at nothing to get what they want.
History is filled with nightmarish examples ..
|But I thought she just wanted directions ..?|
Food: Homesteaders would likely rely more on bulk foods and grains, since they have more room and time to store.
Retreatists or stealth survivalist's would rely more on freeze-dried and very lightweight meals that are easy to transport and are individually packaged to make them resistant to the elements.
A mixture of both is preferable.
A three year supply or more would be nominal for the survivalist, but many do not have the money to afford this kind of preparation.
The less stored food you have, the more effort you will have to make to find supplemental foods in your immediate area (wild edibles, hunting, snaring,fishing,etc.).
If you have a family, the food problem is greatly multiplied.
Water: Homesteaders should have water barrels stored, and a nearby water source or well.
Water storage is easy, requiring inexpensive plastic barrels and a small amount of bleach or water-saver chemical to kill microbes.
Stealth Survivalist's will not be carrying much water.
Two weeks worth maybe if they are in a car, far less if they have the misfortune of having to hike to their retreat.
The Retreatist should have a portable water filter, such as a Katadyn, with at least two filters minimum.
If the Retreatist has planned correctly, his retreat location or locations, will already have natural water sources very close by when he arrives.
Self Defense: Everyone thinks they are a gun expert.
We all have that uncle or cousin who hunts on a regular basis (or plays a lot of video games) and has a memorized list of weapon types and calibers to drone on about whenever the subject of survival arises.
It seems there are as many strategies for survival self defense as there are survivalists, and everyone disagrees with everyone else.
The fact is, many hunters are not necessarily good survivalists by default, and people who get all their insights from video games or playing airsoft are quite literally doomed.
All I can say is, research the issue for yourself and take the measures that seem the most logical.
Take random and unsolicited advice from know-it-alls with a grain of salt.
The following is a general self defense strategy that I found works for me, meets practical standards, and may work for you.
There are three types of survival firearms; primary, secondary, and hunting, and you should try to stock all of them.
Any weapon in the .223 cal would be a good starting point.
In a barter situation they would most likely be common, they can also be very expensive.
Make the sacrifice, save the extra money, and buy a well made combat arm and ammo now.
It is your life that is at stake.
I also believe the .308 is a good choice of common military calibers, because of its incredible range, accuracy, and stopping power.
Range, in my personal opinion, is the key to self defense and survival.
Reaching out and 'touching someone' from a distance is far better than engaging in close quarter combat with an unknown enemy.
Deadly force should always be used as a last resort.
Secondary arms, like pistols or pistol caliber carbines, leave more room for choice, and so do hunting rifles.
I like 22 cal as ammo is cheap and never mind the guy who says it to small ..
Try taking a round in the neck or head and see how you like it .
Shotguns can also be worth their weight in gold, in the right hands they can be devastating!
Never rely on a pistol or hunting rifle, as your principal means of self defense.
Best bet here would be a 12 gauge semi-automatic or pump shotgun as accuracy won't be much of an issue..
Shotguns can be extremely demoralizing to a lesser armed thug and throw a lot of lead down range in short order, for close quarters there's nothing finer.
Always choose the right tool for the correct situation.
Try to remember stealth is key.
Now that we have gone lightly over the basics, let's look at some gear and other items for the advanced survivalist.
The equipment and strategies listed below are not a paramount concern, and it is possible to do without them.
Advanced First Aid: The best first aid strategy is to be careful and not get hurt in the first place,(ie: no fire fights) but no one can foresee everything.
A lack of sterility is one of the greatest killers in combat first aid.
'Basic First Aid Kit': Almost every household should have one of these.
Sanitation: Don't count on running water during a collapse.
Setting up your latrine and wastewater area downhill from your retreat is the first step in ensuring the clean soil and tranquil air of your area is not disturbed, but there are extra methods as well.
Night Vision: Night vision is not perfect. It's not going to catch everything and without proper vigilance someone could still sneak up on you.
Thermal Vision: Thermal vision is still outrageously expensive for the average survivalist.
Ammo Reloading: Forget that night school accounting class, in the new world order your going to be in demand.
Shortwave Radio: Many people already have cheap shortwave models in their inventory, but I recommend shelling out for a mid range model such as the Sony ICF-SW7600, or the Sangean ATS-909.
Ham Radio: If you feel that your calling in a post collapse environment will be the dissemination of unbiased information, HAM radio is the way to go.
Edible Plants: I'm not sure how, but somewhere along the line it became taboo among many survivalists to discuss wild edibles.
Lately, I hear claims that wild edible foraging is futile, and that you will rarely find such plants anyway. Talk to my bro Treasure Dave and check out his article on Morel mushrooms.
I recommend picking at least four easily identifiable edible plants native to your part of the country.
Dandelion- During the Great Depression, migrant workers would sometimes live on dandelion soups and broths in between rare full meals in order to get the vitamins they needed to survive.
Chickweed- Another weed that grows literally everywhere and is easily identifiable.
Cattail- Easily identifiable and common to marshy areas around the U.S. Spring buds, underground stems, and young shoots can be eaten raw or steamed.
Wild Parsnip- Provides a root similar to cultivated parsnips.
Did I mention Fishing?
Survival Reference Materials
There are plenty of great how-to survival books and writers out there for you to choose from and I can't list them all, but here are some of my favorites, along with some books that reinforce the common sense of survival preparedness.
"Tappan On Survival" – by Mel Tappan: Mel Tappan was one of the best survival writers ever. His books have inspired numerous other preparedness researchers for years. He had a Ph.D. in English and Humanities from Stanford, moved on to investment counseling, corporate finance, and president of a mutual fund.
Tappan On Survival
"The Survival Retreat" by Ragnar Benson: Great book focusing exclusively on the how and the why of retreat survival. Offers a solid overview of steps needed to start on the path towards building a solid retreat plan.
The Modern Survival Retreat
"Living On A Few Acres" by U.S. Department Of Agriculture: Very informative book on the workings of a small non-corporate multi-crop farm.
Living on a Few Acres
"An Instant Guide To Edible Plants“ by Pamela Forey and Cecilia Fitzsimons: Nice compact wild plant guide with detailed illustrations and plant usage information.
An Instant Guide to Edible Plants (Instant Guides)
"Scout Sniper Training Manual" by the USMC : No book is going to teach you how to hit a target center mass at a thousand yards in high wind.
U.S. Marine Corps Scout/Sniper Training Manual
"The Guerrilla And How To Fight Him “ by Marine Corps Gazette: This one is very old, but still useful.
The Guerrilla-and How to Fight Him
"Street Survival Tactics For Armed Encounters“ by Ronald Adams: This is basically a textbook for police recruits.
Street Survival Tactics for Armed Encounters
Awareness And Purpose Are The Keys To Survival
It may sound peculiar, but the strongest survivalists are very often those people who have moved beyond simple self preservation.
Building a future in which liberty is the foundation and individualism is encouraged makes surviving much easier for us all in the long run, because it helps to guarantee impending crises will not harm us for generations to come.
Survival is not a purpose in itself.
We have responsibilities to a greater cause, and that cause needs us now more than ever.