Selco’s SHTF Reality Check: 5 Deadly Mistakes That Preppers Are Making

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Harper, May 10, 2018.

  1. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    Here is another interesting article in which Selco shares some mistakes he thinks that Preppers are making:

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    by Selco

    It is hard to bring the mindset of survival to the people who have not experienced a hard situation of at least some kind of survival event.

    Over the many years of being connected with people who are into survival, I realize there are the same topics for discussion and people actually become fixated on those topics.

    Inside those topics over the years “rules” are set and it is hard to change them. Opinions are formed and if you jump in with a different opinion, you are going to be ridiculed.

    The survival community has turned in into a parody of itself. Something that should be free from the mainstream has turned into a very mainstream thing.

    Misunderstandings.

    Intentional false information.

    The survival industry.

    We are living in a society where we want it and we want it now, and what is most important we want it the easy way without effort and sweat.

    This is true for the survival community, too.

    That is the way survival myths (and mistakes) are born. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes that preppers make. Mistakes that can get them killed.

    1) Making too specific a plan (and sticking to it)
    Because of tons of information, we are being “funneled” into forming opinions about survival and especially about the reasons of possible bad events in future, possible SHTF situations, collapses or whatever you call it.

    So we have preppers who are getting ready for an EMP, or an economic collapse, or an immigrant crisis, or a war, or simply a bad weather event.

    In essence, there is nothing wrong with it, except some people stick so hard to one imagined” possible scenario that they do complete planning based on that scenario only.

    As a result, if that scenario happens they could be good, but if any other scenario happens they are in deep trouble.

    There are numerous reasons, possible scenarios, and outcomes. We do not have a clue what exactly might happen.

    In an urban survival scenario I like to think that there are a few common things in any event:

    The disruption of society that leads to the system not working properly (or collapsing completely) which leads to a situation where people “sharing ” resources in a different way. And that way includes violence.

    In other words, if you are preparing for a serious storm event, and you forget the possibility that after a really serious weather event (loss of electricity, floods, contamination) and prolonged time, violence simply has to be a factor, you are missing the point.

    It does not have to be civil war.

    2) Overlooking the basics.
    As the opposite of the above-mentioned, if you are preparing for a really tough time, like for a full outbreak of violence (Mad Max style) there is a danger that in the tons of information and equipment that includes weapons, martial arts, and similar. you simply forget the basics.

    Here is an example:

    In this region, where it is still fragile and always close to rioting, turmoil and where word war is never too far, whenever there is some disruption (news about possible riots or riots on streets) the first thing that most people are checking and getting prepared is not their stash of weapons (and every house has that, a lot).

    It is water.

    On even the smallest disruption here, people get up and fill the bathtub and water containers.

    Why?

    Because it is one of the basic and usually the most needed thing. And one of the first things that are gonna go away if something happens. You can not live too long without it, we know that from experience. You can never have enough water.

    It is one example, but the point is that you can not go into the “high end” if you did not cover the basics.

    Not covering the basics will get you dead long before you reach the need to use high-end equipment and plans.

    During the course, I met out in the field a person that asked me a question that was very important to him in his prepping philosophy: Do you have any idea how to hide yourself from a helicopter with thermal imaging and similar high technology that is chasing you?”

    At the same time, that person could not start a fire in a field in the middle of the woods during perfect weather with a lighter. His level of fitness was so good that after one night in an abandoned building (sleeping on the floor, with a sleeping mat) and one day of walking he was unable to continue at all.

    He failed in map reading, water collecting, fire making…he did not see that as a important.

    He did not see that as a big problems in his prepping philosophy.

    All he was interested in was how to run from the helicopter that will chase him (with modern seeking devices).

    First, nothing is wrong with the fact that his performances and knowledge were low, as long as he realizes the importance of that. (He did not).

    Two things are wrong:

    He is choosing “running away from a helicopter” as his biggest worry and likely scenario when SHTF. He is an average young man, college student. But he is not at all worried about fire, shelter, water, fitness…

    Nothing worries him in basic things.

    But being chased by a helicopter simply sounds cool to him. He wants to be prepared for that.

    He chooses (like a lot of preppers) to prepare “from the end,” not from the beginning. He chose to prepare for what looks cool to him, not what is likely. He forgets the basics.

    And second thing is that he does not realize very probable fact that if he is going to be so important (good or bad) , so not “gray” that a helicopter with sophisticated equipment must chase him, he is missing something in the prepping philosophy. He is probably dead anyway.

    Often the best thing in order not to be found is not to give reason to be looked for, not to be interesting. Blend in.

    A helicopter chase is not so probable. A bad rash because of poor hygiene or pests in your food are more probable issues.

    But they are not cool topics to prepare for, right?

    3) Underestimating the violence
    I am not some violence expert.

    I do know some judo, and I know how to operate with several different weapons in a real situation. From handgun to mine thrower.

    There are no real violence experts as you imagine it because it is personal.

    There are people who can teach you techniques, skills, and how to use it efficient way.

    They may be experts in teaching, which is different.

    How you are gonna use it in real life SHTF is a completely different thing. You do not have clue how it is gonna be until you find yourself in that situation.

    And based on my experience it is different from imagined.

    One thing is for sure, SHTF violence is a combination of a lot of things. Pressure, both physical and mental. And you will test your “violence skills” under different circumstances.

    There are good reasons why war veterans are not so happy to tell stories that are let us say “most interesting” when it comes to violence.

    It is intense and confusing. And real.

    The best advice here that you need to train your “violence skills” while you are under pressure. You must push your self to the limits and learn to operate as best as possible in those conditions.

    Tired, sleepy, angry, hungry, terrified…

    4) Refusing to think in terms of “new world, new rules”
    I remember a man, my friend from peacetime, who shot another guy, a prisoner. He shot him in the face from a close distance. An unarmed man.

    And I asked him, “Why did you do that?”

    He said, “Why not?”

    And that was it. I was looking at him, I thought I knew him but obviously, I did not.

    I thought he was “normal” (whatever that mean), a normal guy. He worked before all that in a travel agency. An average guy, a bit shy with girls.

    But I did not know him actually.

    People talk about the end of the world, complete chaos and disorder. And then they say something like. “Oh, it is not gonna be like that. It cannot be like that because it is wrong, not fair…” or similar.

    You cannot prepare for very bad times and while preparing for it still think in terms of normal times.

    In normal times, people are neighbours, teachers, truck drivers. They say hello to you because they know you. The system is working and holding things together, including most of the people.

    When the system goes out (seriously goes out) people are a possible threat until you rule out differently.

    It is like that because sooner or later, people realize there are not enough resources for all of us.

    And then real “fun” starts.

    You do not know what kind of people are around you before times gets real hard.

    5) Thinking, “It can not happen here.”
    Trust me. It can.

    You can see a glimpse of that in football rioting, or during Black Friday sales, or in gang wars sometimes.

    It can happen anywhere, no matter how many people are there (per square mile) or how well-armed you are, or how modern your society is or how democratic your country is or how many rights you have.

    I am sorry, but the more modern your society is, the worse it will be. The fall is going to be bigger and longer if something serious happens, and people are going to have a harder time adapting to the new reality.

    About the Author:
    You can learn more about Selco at his website, SHTFschool.com. Check out his online courses and physical courses for a reality check about SHTF scenarios.


    Source:
    https://www.theorganicprepper.com/selco-5-deadly-mistakes-preppers/
     
  2. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    While I find his articles interesting the event to cause total breakdown would have to be near apocalyptic here. Our largest advantage as Americans is the fact our country is the size of Europe. A single storm or event doesn’t cause much, we see it over and over. Events that would send where he is from into total chaos just doesn’t do it here. Our size does help quite a bit as aid can come fairly quickly from across the country in as little as a couple days. To increase an event to the scale that would be system collapsing a lot of people would die in the event itself. Good chance you’d be dead already. His ideas of flexibility in your plans is probably the best point I’ve ever seen him make. Too many have the simple hunker down never gonna leave my land mentality. I have the opposite. I have multiple places I can either send my family to where they’d be safe. I also have some preparation for small scale disruptions where we would stay put.
     
  3. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    Don't forget an EMP. State and probably non-state actors already have the capability to cause one. So does the sun. In fact, the Carrington Event is overdue.

    In that kind of scenario, people and structures remain intact at the time of the event.

    A regional war is brewing as we speak. Let's hope it doesn't pull all the powers in like WW I.
     
  4. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    I disagree. All that needs to happen is for an event to happen regionally of sufficient size that it disrupts transportation at the same time as you have large numbers of leople being displaced.

    I've been thinking about this a lot since the earthquake in Haiti. A major event like a major earthquake, tsunami, dirty bomb, etc. in a large urban area such as NYC would cause an enormous number of refugees. The folks in NYC behaved admirably during 9/11. But this was a short term event. Spread the event out over a longer timeframe like 2, 5 or 10 days and increase the number of people involved by several times and resources would depleted quickly with little chance of disaster resupply, provided that the routes to get materiel in are blocked by people and/or abandoned cars.

    This concerns me because the area in which I live will likely become the distination of may refugees.
     
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  5. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    We've had those.... they were called hurricanes. I've worked a few. Find ONE major disaster of sufficient magnitude then look at the size of the country it hit. We've had large swathes of the North East wiped out and without power. The fact is we have a country the size of Europe. it is hard to destabilize a country of that size without a civil war or disaster on a scale of which the world rarely sees. We routinely get hit with large storms that would decimate small countries. You can essentially look at each state as a country... hell Cali has an economy larger than the UK. most of our states have economies equal or larger than many countries. So think about it this way, it would have to be an event so large it destabilizes 50 countries. As Harper said, a Solar EMP could do it.... *IF* it hit the US. Systems arnt the same as they were then though... even Delta systems had no neutral and were rarely grounded well especially compared to infrastructure now. IMO Disease would be the most likely. With the world economy pathogens can move swiftly from country to country in a matter of hours. Again though, that would kill a lot of people and you cant prep for a near world ending disease, you just pray your families immune system is the one that can fight it off.

    I by no means am saying dont prep, it's useful for storms and such. I'm just saying that destabilizing the US is way more difficult than Mr. Selco likes to admit. Now if you live in another country, yeah you may be hosed. Geography, sheer size and scope is our great wall of china to avoid catastrophe. I mean shit a Nuke was dropped on little ol Japan and look at them now.
     
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  6. atlastrekker

    atlastrekker Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I think that all of the words in this thead are good. Seco is 100% correct, there is no cut and dry way. What works for you may not work for me. @Vanitas there is one thing besides plague that would be the silver bullet. A Coup.
     
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  7. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie

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    Lol the guy worried about a helicopter chasing him with thermal equipment is pretty funny!

    Back in my military days I remember hearing of Afghans carrying around a wool blanket on the back of their packs to hide from thermal imaging on drones. They would crouch amongst a bunch of rocks and throw the blanket over them. The wool would hide their heat signature for almost exactly 5 minutes. After that the heat from their bodies would seep through and become visible on the imager.

    Pretty low tech solution to a very high tech problem. Had to give them props for their ingenuity.
     
  8. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Given the huge geographical range I dont foresee this as an issue unless you lived in Washington DC. Anyone who attempted the Coup would have to have the militaries support. Another World War might do it though since weaponry has come a long way.... but I dont think the largest nations are for that... Weapons now can basically end most countries overnight and with the exception of Russia all the large countries are doing well. Basically every other large nation wants to extend their influence while not ticking off America so much as to cause physical combat. No one wins in a war between the Large nations anymore. As far as a coup in the US, I dont see that happening. We have a decently large line of command of who takes over as President so just removing the President doesn't do anything except tick off half the country. No one general or figure is strong enough and honestly I dont think our military would allow it. Our values are that the Military serves the people and the Constitution after all. Our military is the strongest in the world... good luck over throwing the good old red white and blue.

    Like I said though, by all means prep. There are 100's of other actual plausible situations where preps are useful. And in the unlikely event that something like what you all propose happens you'll be somewhat ready. My only beef with Selco is his ascertain that this could happen easily here... it cant easily happen here. It's actually really really hard to accomplish it here. The skills developed in Bushcraft and homesteading are a dying art. The more people willing to learn them the better. I've lived through huge storms killing power for weeks my entire life. Ive seen military housing fail in the cold because of it. Ive known people who died because of it. Yet here we are going on like nothing even happened. American cities get flooded out and towns destroyed regularly, we move forward. We are an exceptionally resilient country. I mean think about it for all you worrying about displacement.... Katrina: Over 600,000 households were displaced still a month later (that's more than the population of Wyoming to put it in perspective). Over 800,000 homes were destroyed during Katrina. DURING the storm over 1 million people were displaced. We dealt with it... not as well as I'd have like to have seen but we as a country dealt with it. This would be absolutely crushing to over 3/4 of the other countries in the world. Think about it... over $800 Million was offered by the world in aid... we only accepted 40 million in help, mostly in the ways of pumps and engineering expertise. Almost 3/4 of the offers of help were flat out rejected, most of the rest was just unclaimed. Show me how many other countries can just flat out refuse help like that. Many people are unaware of this and the refusal of help cost us dearly but we made it through. But here I am, supposed to believe that because Selco lived in old communist Yugoslavia during the war in the 90's in a city being sieged that it is going to happen here. Those "states" werent even independent countries for 2 decades let alone 200 years. That area has rarely been considered "stable" and still to this day is not. I liken him to my friends great Grandma when we were kids, who was basically a hoarder because she believed she needed everything because she lived through the great depression. Yes, there are lessons you can learn from them but you have to take their ascertains for what they are... someone who lived through a horrible circumstance and is convinced that at anytime it will happen again. Hell, my buddies Great Grandma has a better chance of being correct than Selco does. I like his articles but his ascertains that we are just as likely to fall as the craptastic area he lived is kinda asinine.
     
  9. atlastrekker

    atlastrekker Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Agreed. There are about 1 million scenarios that are less than 1 percent probably and focusing on those are not the best thing to do. Preparing for local events that happen regularly is a much better way to go. Once you can "survive" a week long or month long event with little trouble you are going to be much better off.
     
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  10. Gumbi

    Gumbi Guide Bushclass I

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    You make some very excellent points about natural disasters, but there are other disasters that can affect the entire country pretty easily.
    The disasters that will be most likely to affect the united states are economic depression, cyber terrorism, or nuclear war.

    We are headed for another depression, it's just a matter of time. Unfortunately, a depression is likely to affect far more than just the us, it will probably be a world-wide event because so many countries (including the EU) are on the brink of bankruptcy right now.

    Cyber terrorism could take down the power grid of the entire country, or it could be more localized. Or it could take down Wall Street; or it could take down banking transactions and the banking institutions. It could happen at any time, any place, be wide-spread or localized, or hit any number of fronts.

    Nuclear war is a possibility. I really wonder how close we came to it in the last several months with all the posturing in Syria between the US and Russia.

    Despite all this, society doesn't have to devolve into "every man for himself". During any disaster, you can witness acts of incredible kindness and selflessness from others you don't even know. If you are prepared ahead of time, you have the choice to be the one who acts with incredible kindness and selflessness.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  11. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    The power grid is not nearly as susceptible to hacking as people like to assume. There are very few things they can target except the power stations directly. Most of the switching is still manual, even the ones that are computerized the circuitry is in the unit and it is not connected to a network. The actual Transmission and Distribution system isnt really hack-able as it is still very low tech. The power stations *should* be completely insulated and not on a world wide network (internet). There really isnt a reason for them to be connected to the outside world. As for how many of them are I'm not sure. In reality though we should have learned from Iran and a few other countries that had blackouts because their systems weren't insulated.

    I dont think Russia would ever fire a nuke unless they thought we had. The last thing they want is their entire country wiped out. Unlike the US, Russia has far fewer major cities and they are all fairly close to each other. Most of their population lives in the western half of the country. For their size they dont have the same range dynamics of the US. You are more likely to have a terrorist group set off a small nuke than any actual country because the retaliation would be near instant. 3/4 of the world could be nuked in a matter of an hour. We know where their nukes are, they know where ours are. If anything launched the other side would most likely launch. Our missile defense is far superior to Russia's but it isnt perfect. An en masse launch some would get through. The Russians know it would end their country and we know it would cripple ours if not end it also. This is why no one has ever actually attempted. Neither side would ever launch one missile unless they knew for certain they could keep the other side from launching theirs.

    We've survived depressions. We live lives of luxury. You'd be surprised what you could live off of if you had to. I managed a family of 4 in the 4th most expensive state to live in off 44-52K a year when my wife wasn't working and I didnt make as much as I do now. We didn't even run a large garden or anything because I didnt have the time to do so. I was still paying off college loans and a kinda large credit card bill due to unforeseen expenses (both of which are now paid off.
     
  12. Virgil Grey

    Virgil Grey Tracker

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    “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

    Or I will just eat people.
     
  13. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    I was glad I read this.... Although it got me thinking of something rather distantly related...
    I generally avoid the fitness threads on here because I feel so overwhelmed, so out of shape. Yet reading this gave me some sense of comfort. The author spoke of the college student evading modern helicopters, to the exclusion of fitness. It made me feel just a tiny bit better about my own quest to get back into the losing weight/ getting healthy game. Compared to that kid, I'm doing a heck of a lot better. I recently started back on my weight watching regimen, and am walking or otherwise doing something active most days now. What's more I'm doing so in a way I can maintain, in which I improve STEADILY, consistently. In the end there are so many priorities - things that ARE all important (water, food, shelter, fire, protection) that you need to find balance in working on each slice of the pie as you will, while also maintaining daily tasks required to live in a suburban environment (work, laundry, daily food prep...)
    :40::40:
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  14. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Sounds like Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgi in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King :D
     
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  15. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    I hear you, my weight fluctuates pretty wildly. 170-190 depending on the season. I used to be 150. My job keeps me from hitting that as I drive a lot and work long hours... generally eating whatever I can find for a quick meal. I start work too early to be hungry in the mornings so generally breakfast and lunch are on the road. It's not the lifestyle I wanted but it pays decent. Im still faster than the average teenager though. The current human lifestyle is not conducive to health. I usually end up cashing out vacation time every year so I dont cap on accrued time earned. According to last weeks pay stub I've worked 718 hours reg time and 236 hours of overtime this year already. I had to take a week off because I was very ill otherwise I'd be at 758 reg hours. So basically I've already worked an extra month and a half already. I think it was two years back I hit a years worth of hours by mid September. It's very difficult to keep eating right and getting enough exercise in this day and age. Every little thing helps though. Just a thought, and it's a horrible one, you might want to add some weight lifting or resistance band exercise to your efforts. As when you diet your body attempts to find sources of energy elsewhere... including slimming your body muscles. It's a rather awful joke that our body is horribly inefficient when there is plenty of food but when you diet your body actually gets more efficient, uses less energy, and will break down muscle if you arnt working them hard enough.
     
  16. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    Your accomplishments and interest in bushcraft puts you way ahead of the curve.

    With respect to weight loss, one of the best things you can do is to change your liquid diet. Try to drink filtered water (it should be tasteless, just sort of wet) and herbal teas. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea will take the edge off of hunger and helps in many other ways.

    Walking is great.

    I also wrote about a few other things here:
    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/lifestyle-change.223990/#post-3851322
     
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  17. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Thanks Harper :) Nowadays I do drink 85% water. The other 15% is two 20 oz cups of crystal lite around lunch time. Though that seems not so great, it is a far cry from my addiction to diet soda 2 years ago, and my recent reduction of Crystal light from closer to 60 oz. a day. I don't drink coffee or alcohol, but I also don't like tea.. borrring.. I'd rather drink plain water. I also am drinking almost all filtered water now. Filtered at work, and recently bought a zero filter.. and love it.

    Weather has been just sooo rainy this last week.. I am walking basically any day the weather allows, and am working on the habit of getting up and out of my desk every hour (thank fitbit challenge for that :) )

    For me, these are all great accomplishments :) Along with cutting down sugar and portioning, I'm hoping my weight will start going in the right direction again, which will result in more energy, stamina, and feeling a whole lot better about myself generally. When I'm working to control my weight, I feel better about myself overall. It's a great positive upward spiral :)

    :40::40:
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  18. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I just watched a show on T.V. about EMP that made me think really hard about what to do in case of a grid-down event. We get hurricanes and power loss for a few days or a week but this is a different animal. I think he said there would be a 90% mortality rate in a short period.
     
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  19. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Guide

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    if you made a list of possible SHTF emergencies. the one that ranks as the MOST probable is a financial emergency. you break a leg and get hit with a big bill, or your truck dies or gets stolen, or you surprisingly get laid off. (btw, the bottom of the list, is ZOMBIES :))

    i know guys that go to great lengths storing ammo, food, etc..water. not one of them store any extra money. it all goes into buying and storing stuff for an emergency that is much LESS probable.

    jus sayin.
     
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