Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
How dark are you willing to go in your preparedness efforts?
If you’re like a lot of people, there’s only a certain level of SHTF that you are willing to imagine. And that means you aren’t going to be prepared for it if things get worse than the level you can envision.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a prepper or have some SHTF awareness. Maybe you’re participating in my National Preparedness Month Daily Challenge. If not, it is a series of small challenges – mostly thought exercises – to help people get better prepared by taking a step every day.
The question many people didn’t want to answer
On Day 15, I asked people how they could acquire food if they’d run through all their preps and still we had no grocery system in place. This challenge was loaded with excellent answers from people who really knew about the bounty they had outside their backdoor.
But then on Day 16, I asked people to take it one step further.
Today’s challenge is inspired by the course that I took in Croatia with Selco and Toby.
Yesterday, I asked you what food you could find nearby if the situation had devolved to the point that you’d gone through all your stored food.
Now, if the situation has devolved that far, you have to also imagine that there is no Rule of Law. It’s the Wild West. Everyone is a threat.
As Selco said to us, “You think this is hard? Now do it while everyone is trying to kill you.”
When the SHTF in Bosnia, the threats were everywhere. Snipers were shooting civilians from the hilltops when they went to the river to get water. Neighbors were fighting neighbors for their resources. It was mayhem for an entire year…So today’s challenge takes yesterday’s a step further.
How would you get that nearby food if everyone around was a threat to your life or physical well-being? Would you go at night? Would you move stealthily and slowly during the day? Go in teams? This thought certainly puts a new twist on things. (source)
This question did get some good feedback, but it also got some pushback. A lot of folks didn’t even want to entertain the idea of an SHTF that was prolonged enough for things to become so terrible.
It could never happen here.
A lot of people replied to my email about this challenge that there was “no way something like Bosnia could happen here.”
After all, this is American. Home of the brave, land of the free. We have the Second Amendment and there’s a gun behind every blade of grass. My very question was ridiculous. And so on and so forth.
But if the situation is so prolonged that:
- You’ve eaten all your stored food
- There are no grocery stores
- There is no supply chain
Do you really think that people won’t be trying to kill you in that scenario? Do you honestly think if we’ve gone so long that these things are facts that people won’t want what you have? Do you believe that sick people won’t be out there living their best lives, murdering, raping and pillaging?
If things have gotten so bad that you have eaten every bite of your carefully stored food, I cannot imagine that you’ll be out there gathering berries in your apron without a care in the world.
Why is it that we are willing to stockpile years’ worth of food and seeds, but we aren’t willing to free our imaginations enough to see what the rest of that scenario looks like? Some folks were willing to go there, pointing out the desperation of a parent with hungry children and how our resources are greatly outstripped by our population in many parts of the world.
However, others who had participated on a daily basis either skipped this challenge or doubted it could ever happen. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone but I’ve been thinking about this mindset every since the challenge and I think it’s important to discuss it.
But here are a few ways it could devolve here.
I’ve expanded a little on a post I wrote in the forum.
This is truly next-level stuff, and you all are right – there are a ton of variables. The Balkan War was basically a civil war because the countries involved all made up the former Yugoslavia. So it would be similar to different states in the US forming different countries. (Obviously, Selco can explain this stuff way better than I.)
There was one thing that surprised me more than anything else when I went to Bosnia. I expected to see war damage in the cities. But when we were driving around rurally, every structure I saw that would have been standing in the early 1990s had the marks of war on them. Not most. ALL. Barns. Homes up on mountains. Homes tucked away on side roads in the country. Businesses. Factories. I wrote about it and posted some of the photographs I took here. Most of the buildings there are made of stone. A lot were able to take a hit from shelling and remain standing. Many had holes in the stone made from high caliber weapons. (And if I’m not using the right terms for the weapons, please forgive my poor description.)
To give it a face here in the United States, imagine this.
- Imagine if your state and two others all went to war with each other over politics and resources.
- Imagine you are further divided by your political beliefs and some people in your state have the beliefs of one of the other states.
- Now imagine you are divided even more by your religious beliefs and that each state has populations in each religion.
- Then imagine that things are so bad that there are no utilities, no stores, no police, and no hospital.
Think about this in terms of the people who are actively fighting being the most far-right ultra-conservative white supremacists versus the most far-left ultra-liberal Antifa-types.
You belong to neither of these groups. You know that extremism of any type is wrong and dangerous. But these people don’t care. To them, anyone not like them is the enemy or is disposable. You’re either with them or you’re against them, in their minds. And that means if you want to survive and if you want your family to survive, you may be forced to fight, too.
So as these dissenting factions make their way through the countryside on whatever their missions are, maybe scavenging for food or supplies, would the rural areas truly still be safe?
Jose has written about people raiding farms in Venezuela. Selco has told us about how the things that will surprise us most during an SHTF event and one of those things was how “close” the enemy will be. In a recent article, he warned us that we can be certain the SHTF is beginning when people start to lose their guns. It happened that way in Venezuela, too, although it was two more years before the situation became obvious to everyone.
So yes, what I described above is an extreme scenario. I think it’s really important to consider extreme situations. If you were really at the point where you were having to go out and find food as we talked about on Day 15, there will really be people who are desperate.
And desperate people are exceptionally dangerous.
How dark are you willing to go?
If you aren’t willing to consider the depravity and desperation of others, how prepared are you really? If you believe it “could never happen where you live,” aren’t you overlooking a very important aspect of survival?
If you want to delve further into how dark a situation can become, and how quickly things can get there, you can read about it in Selco’s paperback book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival, which is $5 off for Preparedness Month. Or you can take his course, One Year in Hell to go even deeper.
What kind of scenarios are you willing to imagine when you prepare for the future? Is there a limit on how far you’d be willing to go to save yourself and your family? Do you think things could get really extreme here in the United States or do you think that it could never happen here?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her family. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.