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Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2011 12:32 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2011 01:30 PM
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Thank you for the post. I have already learned several new things on here. About to go buy a book on what wild plants can be eaten and how the should be prepared. We have a plethora of plants growing wild in the yard as well as a wooded area behind us. Doesn't hurt to practice a few times before its needed.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/12/2011 01:41 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Fall of the West

Rural life can be incredibly lovely and meaningful. It also can be cruel, crushing, and boring. It all depends upon the manner in which we are raised and in our personal preferences. As more and more people traveled out West for the dream and hope of a freer life, the drudgery of their spartan existence grew. Small villages increased into towns. Crime and people who perpetuate crime followed. Gambling, prostitution, theft, alcohol, and many other diversions traveled westward to new markets.

Some pushed further west, only to be stopped by the Pacific. Some continued, despite the great Ocean to Hawaii. They sought paradise and freedom. Many came from Asian Kingdoms seeking their own autonomy.

The drudgery was so overpowering. Diversions helped, but were few and far between. Some started their own businesses to get out of it. Some specialized. The same old stories played out again, but their were no more frontiers.

World populations increased. Newer modes of transportation allowed more efficiency and international exchanges of goods. Some used the labor of children to increase the availability and number of these goods.

Education levels increased in lower tiers of society. Some of it allowed more specialists to be created. Some created more worker bees for industry. Less and less generalists were needed.

The need for food increased. Since less and less people were working the soil, new methods were needed to enhance the soil, and new techniques to get higher and higher yields from it. Agriculture become a science. Former generalists become specialists. The means of generating more yields comes from specialized chemicals from imported oil.

Specialists in industries realize that despite having more and more choices of goods and services, the price is so great for them. Much of the goods are little more than shiny toys.

Kingdoms have expanded into just about all land areas. They press upon each other. Wars break out over land, resources, and concepts of freedom. People for a variety of reasons are mobilized into national forces, sold the idea of patriotism and a preservation of freedom. The old Chieftains have transformed into a ruling class that exploits them. They make money off the goods that project power the most, destroy the most, kill the most.

Some workers foolishly cede their power to liars that promise equality for all. They tell half-truths about the former chieftains. The are in-effect the same kinds of exploiters, taking great liberties with property, but worse, stealing away Freedom. They promise the State will feed, cloth, and do what is best for them.

When the soldiers return, they sell them little plots of land, made into artificial communities, with efficient roads to get them to the factories. The sell them more shiny toys to lull them into the deepest of slumber. New entertainments are created to sell them more shiny toys.

The sweet beautiful Freedom that they held so dear, that blood had been shed over, becomes so lost, that very few seem glimmers of it. In fact, while some altruist still cling to it, they are often exploited by evil people. The latter only seek new markets for their shiny toys. The most efficient way of increasing new markets? Entertainment that projects cultural power to sell those toys.

The industrialists realize that the best way to increase the wealth, is to allow others to invest with them. Artificial income is generated by essentially legalized gambling. Wealth is held up as the great equalizer. In the worst most perverted examples, wealth is sold as being synonymous to freedom.

Some specialists make great sums and lose great sums in this debacle. In order to kept the whole house of cards generating income, cuts in costs in industry must be created.

Factories are relocated to places where the income for the worker is lower, hence profits can be higher, and income from dividends can be larger. Products become cheap, while made with slave labor. For a time, the former industrial workers have more shiny toys while they switch to service based economies.

The main representatives that exploit the workers, curtail their freedom, misuse the military, take money from the industrialists, both decry and simultaneous sell the idea of globalization saying it will benefit all. It doesn't.

Construction workers are happy to be fully employed. They even can be choosy about which projects to join.

A few people wake up. They scratch their heads. How did Freedom become more toys? The pursuit for larger and larger homes without any need for more space startles some. Why do I need a 6 Bedroom 4 bathroom home? Their voices are soft, but insistent. Some find some of the answers in Church. Some re-read the Constitution finding answers there.

Most still follow the ways of materialism. Less and less profit can be made though. Fewer and fewer people have the ability or income to accept larger and larger mortgages. New financial products must be created. Easier ways for the “less fortunate” must be made to allow them to buy shiny toys. Most buy into it. They've been sold the idea of home ownership their whole life.

A lot of people have a lot of their assets tied up in their mortgages. At least on paper. New financial products are created. Sign here, and you can free-up that asset. Many reinvest their money into making that home worth more, buy things that depreciate, or pay off things that are depreciating. For some, this concept is sold as being more fiscally responsible in the worst perversion of that idea.

People have difficulty paying their mortgages. At first, it's the last people to buy a special guaranteed government mortgage. Less construction is being initiated. Less people are willing to buy better, newer, shinier toys.

The bankers who made all their money, invested all their money in bizarre financial instruments themselves to get astronomical yields. The representatives who accepted their money for re-election and who had been retiring from the Legislature, and working for them openly, all made excuses for them.

People who have net worth on paper from real estate...they see a drop in the value of their homes. Progressively more and more people cannot pay their multiple mortgages and some walk away since the amount it is worth is so low, that walking away is better than continuing to pay, even if they can.

Many must pull from other assets in order to pay their bills. Wealthy manipulators of the markets make a fortune by betting on declines in markets, then purchase the very same investments later at lower prices. They continue the cycle so much that less and less people are able to invest at all.

Some prudent ones have invested in gold and silver. These markets are also manipulated to bolster currencies. Some never take physical delivery of their metals. In point in fact, they own a piece of paper or a ledger entry.

Unemployment soars. No one has disposable income to buy shiny toys. Some begin to realize how stupid the whole goal was to begin with.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/12/2011 02:51 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Gradual Decline

While it's possible that when the SHTF it will occur all at once, I seriously doubt that will be the case. Most of the time, when anarchy raises its ugly head, it comes on through various signs, ratchets up, and then enters our awareness.

We're conditioned by Hollywood. A film must tell a story that will be compelling and make a return on its investment. There are very few films, made by a dedicated group of artists, that are made to tell a story to inspire or educate or to simply evoke an emotional response. The only way such independent films can be made is if those same investors can or will make other money in blockbuster films.

In Hollywood, we see a story that takes place over two hours. There isn't time for a gradually developing story. Such a story would be boring to most of the audience. Even the medium of television generally tells a compelling story within an hour frame work, though many have a gradual overarching theme.

As such, we're conditioned to expect a sudden change in any disaster. That's how it is usually told and revealed on the screen. That portrayal is false. Things don't generally just happen. An earthquake could destroy suddenly, but clues generally occur, infrastructure is not properly built, and preparation not made, and all of these contribute to it.

Do you see any signs that a looming earthquake, such as we have not ever seen, may be coming? Have you built up any infrastructure to help you cope? Have you prepared in any way that is adequate to the task?


Fear is the least effective motivator of preparation. Why is that?

Part of it, is that is foolish. Bad things happen. Sometimes they happen randomly. Assigning import to random events and making a conclusion based upon it, is extremely flawed.

Fear generates exhaustion. Every time you spike your adrenaline, you get a burst of energy, but then, tiredness follows. Do a cycle of this over and over in wasted fear, will lead to exhaustion and a lack of resolve in preparing.

Buying odd things that we do not need, will not help us, and may waste our income, is not preparation. Many of us have less income today than we normally do. Our spouses are watching, as are our children. Wasting money and effort at this point is folly. Suddenly buying a year of rice or beans if our families do not eat rice and beans will strike them as odd behaviour. It is.

I eat what I buy. I don't buy food that is expensive generally. I might on rare occasions. I eat rice and beans to save money. It is ordinary behaviour for me. Eating prudently and not wasting God's resources is a life choice. That hasn't happened suddenly, but gradually, and goes back to my early adulthood.

What does preparation mean?

People think preparation implies a future event. NO NO NO. We should be constantly preparing. It is about the now, not the future.

Living in the now implies the importance of the present. What is occurring now is vital. The person in my life is important now. My friends are important now. The people I disagree and don't get along with are important now. God is important now. Jesus is important now.

You are preparing yourself to be the best you can be now. Every act is important now. The kindness that you fail to offer up without hope of return is important now. Lavishing affection and love and friendship on your loved ones is important now.

The skills that you learn today are not set. We all can learn, and we constantly are learning, in a dynamic way to improve ourselves now. Anyone who think they've got it all figured out, don't need to change, and have done enough, have lost the WAY. They are far more lost than anyone lost in the woods.

Figuring out that you have lost the way, or that you are not doing enough, is preparation. You prepare yourself moment by moment. You learn to hunt now so you can take care of yourself and loved ones now. You identify the plants in your immediate area, look for more, read books, take classes, talk to wise ones, because you wish to live more fully and completely in the love of the Source...NOW.

You take care of the body that the Source gave you, right now, not waiting for a more opportune moment to do so. With every breath, you draw closer to a final time to be with the Source. Now is the time, not later as you grow weaker.

You know what folly is? We want to be accepted by people and valued and loved. That is all good. We want however for them to like and love us BEFORE we transform into whatever better self we can be.
Do you do that with the ones around you? Do you accept them for who they are, and who they are becoming? Or do you wish they would get over themselves and grow up?

A lot of people criticize others. They see the things in themselves that they most despise, project that in the things that others do, and hate them for it. Why? It is wasted effort.

What possible importance is that? Spend that time which is now wasted, make yourself better, now.

If you don't like someone, what they represent, and its perceived affect on you, then do something now to minimize their effect on you. There will always be _____. I hope and pray that my limits of wisdom don't ever obfuscate the fact that whatever philosophy or spiritual beliefs that I possess are NOT so superior that I am the pinnacle of the Source's creation.

There are billions of souls on this planet. Someone is better than you. Get over it. If someone is better than you, you are better than someone else. Who cares? Who is better is not important.

A huge amount of time, effort, and money is spent on adoring some entertainer or sports figure. Do a little reading. They often have so much attention, so much adoration, so much wealth, that they self-destruct. The illusion falls away. They were not better than us. Instead we often feel a momentary sadness for their tragedy. More money, lavish lifestyles, and more adoration doesn't make us happier.

When you adopt a sense of the now, and are constantly preparing to make yourself better, you spend a lot of time thinking. The more that you prepare, the more you wish to pass along the information. You realize how important these skills are. You realize how inadequate you are to the task. You realize the immensity of Creation. The interconnectedness of all things.

You become aware of a deep abiding Love and Grace. I call that the Source. It is a well of living water. Sometimes I wake with tears of gratitude. I feel so humbled that such a Presence knows my name.

Is it a delusion? If it is, and I live my whole life being kind, as good as I can be, share my love without hope of return, and teach others about the Source, but don't impose my will on them, what does it matter if it is a delusion?

What is a greater delusion? Taking money from another to have more toys is far worse. Despising another based on who they love, what they believe, and imposing my philosophy and spiritual beliefs on them. That is a wretched delusion.

You cannot change the past. We have very little control of the future. You can only prepare for the now. Live in the now. Teach your children to love completely now. Do it yourself.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/12/2011 05:35 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Meeting the stranger after the SHTF

If the worst happens, and we must bug out, then we'll all be refugees eventually. It's very possible in descending order based upon the size of the city we live in.

When refugees arrive initially, people will feel sorry for them. The first refugees will bring in income in fiat money, buy things to resupply, be temporarily housed in motels, buy food from restaurants. Before we realize the deeper effects, local businesses will temporarily be boosted by a decrease in their inventory, and an increase in their sales.

As thing progress, local citizens who have not prepared, will realize that local supplies will be stripped out, and that they better rush on down and buy what they can.

Buying things on the road are intrinsically more expensive as any traveler soon realizes. You buy things based upon the proximity to your location since you do not know where the cheapest places are to acquire them. This really is no issue to the sojourner since their money may in fact be worthless. The same is true of their credit card/debit card purchases.

The closer a metropolitan area is to a highway, the more likely that fleeing refugees will use that means of transportation. Traffic will proceed South and West. South due to warmer climates. West due to lower population density. Some may have vacation homes, have taken vacation in certain areas, or have family or friends in those areas, so naturally those places will come first-to-mind.

As overcrowding occurs and traffic jams, some will divert off the main interstates. Some will decide to take the exits, and then take slower roads, but in lower population density areas. Then the smaller towns off the main track will see an influx of refugees.

As things become more unstable, and if gasoline is difficult to acquire, more refugees will be on foot. At first they'll travel from the main interstates and highways, and then just like the first group, follow the smaller routes for safety.

The people with the least disposable income and assets, the most vulnerable will flee last, since it will be difficult for them to do so.

Some people will leave based upon their jobs. If someone works in a critical infrastructure role: utilities, medicine, military, education, etc there will be severe consequences for leaving without technically being allowed to. They simply may be patriotic or passionate or worried about losing their job, and delay too long. Some of the latter folks will fit into this category. Some of the refugees with the highest skill set may actually come last.

At any time, some people are traveling. Maybe they're retired, have money, traveling for their jobs, etc. Some of the people in these categories will be refugees by circumstance. They simply will get caught in the mass movement.

A lot of people cannot travel long distances without cars to transport them. All that walking, especially if the weather is hot, and they are on cardiac medications, are diabetics, are medically fragile, are pregnant and ill, etc will have enormous hurdles to overcome.

Ones that are on medications, and suddenly unable to take them, may die. Suddenly not taking medications like beta blockers will result in a renewed intense hypertension. All that walking will become fatal. Having type 1 diabetes, being stuck without insulin, not having food to help you control your blood glucose levels, and then exerting yourself by walking ten miles will kill you.

Some of the refugees will naturally walk together. Problems will be seen right away. Many folks are not especially kind or good inside. While a facade of civilization exists in their normal life, suddenly being low on cash, low on food, lacking transportation, and on foot, will freak them out. It will be very easy for them to justify stealing as a means of survival. The easiest people to steal from will be other refugees. The second easiest people to steal from will be foolish people who may be trying to help, but not thinking out any assistance.

Part of helping the stranger will be in organizing any assistance to protect yourself, and minimize risk, and help them if you can. The security of your own family and depth of how much you can share must be weighed thoughtfully. It goes without saying that some small towns will help...initially. When supplies are low, very few small towns, faced with an influx of refugees without skills or supplies, will be able to share. In fact, having those refugees within a town will be considered a security risk due to theft or possible violence.

The first towns to reject assisting refugees will be those closest to metropolitan areas. The last refugees to travel close to towns will be treated with open hostility. The towns furthest from the main larger towns and the most remote towns will be the last to see refugees. Many of them will have died on their journey.

The smaller the town, the less supplies will be there. Like all other towns, many receive shipments to re-stock. As people flee, they will attempt to purchase supplies, local citizens will buy them up, re-stocking will not occur, and shelves will be empty.

While medical supplies will be available at first, priority on medications will be dispensed to residents. At first there will be issues with prescriptions and payment. Prescriptions are handled by computer authorization from insurance companies and central databases to prevent abuse. There may be no computer authorization forthcoming. Pharmacists may have to stick out their necks, and dispense them anyway. If so, what would you do as a small town pharmacist? Most likely you'll know regulars, and will fill them anyway. You'll also run out quickly, and know that no restocking will be possible, at least for a long time. I feel certain in the bigger cities than panic will occur as larger city pharmacists do not know their customers. Lack of verification will preclude them from dispensing. Some may look for an authority figure to approve them doing so.

Anyone on critical medications who is reading this, most likely realizes how fragile they now are.

Antibiotics will be crucial for saving a lot of lives, especially during cold weather. As local medical personnel have great difficulties and experience more deaths, they may have to triage who gets them, and who will not. People in critical roles that serve their community and perhaps the young will get first priority.

Later in the process, as a refugee, you will be extremely low on the food chain, almost a non-person.

Local leaders will no doubt ask refugees what skills they can realistically bring to the town. Being able communicate this in a non-threatening way, and being able to do it confidently, might keep you from going hungry.
Carol B.

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08/12/2011 05:40 PM

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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Thank you again, OP for this excellent thread. You are awesome!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/12/2011 06:11 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Refugees on the path

If you are a refugee yourself, you have to weigh traveling in the pack. This will be what it essentially will become. The pack travels together for protection. Of course it is better to travel with people you trust, but it may be quite random based upon when you leave, when you run out of gas, when you get stranded, run out of food, etc.

You have to weight how trustworthy are each and every person in that group, and if traveling in that group benefits you and your family more than traveling alone. A pack when hungry can go feral.

The pack may travel directly down previously detailed paths following the strategies I've described. Those paths may not make the best sense since what few resources found may have to be divvied up among pack members. You could find yourself in a situation of trouble caused by the pack, or attributed to their presence. Personally I would never travel in a pack of random strangers.

I think that traveling on open roads is highly dangerous. Towns not wanting strangers will reject refugees. Some refugees may set up where they can. They may decide that living under a bridge intersecting a highway is a good place for them, and they may in fact prey on other refugees.

If you know the North well, even though it is cold, places like upper state Maine, that have extremely low population density, high availability of natural resources, abundant game, etc may be far better than doing whatever is the current paradigm for refugees. Any diversions to Northern climes will mean knowing survival techniques completely based upon weather patterns.

There are many places in the USA that are off the beaten path, and have similar characteristics to the above, but are warmer. Some are populated with rednecks. I am a redneck myself. You can do well in the woods, but it would require a radical lifestyle change. You would definitely be a lot skinnier. Holing up in a place with minimal people, and staying there until things settle down, and out of sight of strangers, might be a very good strategy. Did I mention that those places are populated with rednecks though? That alone will preclude people from living in those locations. :) Rednecks can be the most hospitable people or the least hospitable people, and much of it is based upon your own attitude.

At some point, anyone who bugs out, and lives alone in the woods, will come out for information. Since the last refugees are treated with hostility, dropping in to a town will be risky at a late point. All of us are judged in the first three minutes of contact with another person, and that is based upon a social transaction under the best of circumstances.

Realistically speaking, even if you had a month of supplies, great survival training, and were a perfect trapper, the most you could hold out is two months. The reasons is simple. We are social creatures. The worst sentence in prison is solitary. Very few of us are wired to be alone. If you are a family of four, you might hold out two months in the woods, if perfectly supplied and full of survival skills. Having the support of family is so vital, you might be surprised. Most people won't last three days in the woods if alone, without food, and not having skills. People who can adjust, find water, do a mind-shift and eat things they thought they couldn't, can last a week if they find shelter. The simplest accident can kill you in the woods if you don't know anything. It can happen in hours after becoming lost.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/12/2011 07:25 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The community after stabilization

After the scenario stabilizes, and it appear to be getting no worse, then people will venture out in a community for answers and assistance. Knowing what is most important, and fulfilling a role in that recovery will greatly settle things down. Here's a list of some things that I think are factors and priorities.

If the weather is bad, such that it is difficult or dangerous outside, people will have trouble gathering water.

If it is raining, of course people can collect water, but few will know how to do so. You most likely will see crazy methods of gathering water, and unsafe water being consumed. Don't be a know-it-all. People won't listen and will be resentful. If you have a filter, never share this information. It doesn't make sense for you to tell everyone what you have. That is really imprudent. Demonstrating knowledge about a lot of survival skills is another dead giveaway that you are prepared.

If you see someone simply placing water basins outside, which will quickly get tipped over, evaporate, or be ineffective, then you might want to say something like, “You know, I don't know what is best, but we're going to do it this way. What do you think?” People are apt to agree with you in the absence of knowledge. It means that they know what to do through their assent. This is a very good way to communicate. They most likely will tell it to another neighbor, making them an expert, and passing it on. You could end up helping the whole neighborhood.

There may be streams, but those likely will be polluted or unsafe to drink for reasons detailed in depth earlier. Ultimately creating a rotating crew of interested strong people to secure water, filtering it in a central location, and dispensing it, will be a very high priority.

Most likely, in the absence of water from the tap, digging a well will become the first major community project. In the cd3wd link I provided earlier, there are many detailed precise descriptions on how to dig a well, organize its construction, and filter it.

Assessment of Skills

A great thing to organize is an assessment of skills that people possess. Some people will have an interest in something, and a passion to see it through. Other people will be ram-rods who know how to do it, and can lead the project. Many of them will like each other since they have similar interests. If the power goes out, and people decided to barbeque meat rather than spoiling, and you teach them how to grill it, using gathered wood (not charcoal or gas), and salting whatever you can save, and wrapping it up in plastic, to store as safely as you can, then at that crucial moment, you might be able to start discussing an assessment.

Many people will be in denial. They will discuss things like Katrina, and think the government will be coming to help them. They will say it's unnecessary to organize. We have never had a major economic disaster before in which so few of our populace had survival skills. If it's happening all over, then your community can best help themselves. Most of the time, they even tell you that you're truthfully on your own for the first two weeks. People must drink water in three days, or they will die. You cannot wait until the last minute to organize.

Gathering Food

People will not know how to best ration their food. Many will eat too much of their supplies as they panic. Many will eat foods in the wrong order. Many will eat food that is spoiled or thawed so long and improperly cooked. You have little control what people eat in their own homes. Doing something like what I discussed with water, and getting their assent will teach them what to do.

Someone may know something that will help everyone to gather food. Someone will no doubt discuss liberating food. You must explain in the strongest terms that such gathering is dangerous, illegal, and ill-advised. People will get shot doing such things. Local governments may declare martial law, seize local food stores, and shoot looters.

Deaths and Burials and Orphans

Some people will die, not seeking help, or knowing what to do. They may die from stress, suicide, mental illness, or simply because they are medically fragile.

These folks will have to be buried. This takes planning, foresight, and consideration of water run off, potential garden spaces, and making the place a sacred area. It cannot proceed haphazardly.

There are many single and extended families. Elderly live with their children who may be unmarried or have children. People who previously relied on income from other folks and support will find themselves without any. Some may be willing to help, but historically children have been split up based upon a lack of taking multiple orphans.

Weather will be a major factor especially in Winter.

If someone can make any ceremony at all, and show respect, it will return to them later.

The grieving process is a long one. In such social upheaval, it will be huge, but dealing with it will be much more difficult that normal. People are not normally buried close by. It will serve as a constant reminder. People are used to certain social conventions regarding grief, none of which will be in place. Many rely upon family, or spiritual leaders, all of which may be too far away to assist them.


Most community gardens that I know of...fail. While many are started with the best of intentions, a large portion of people will begin it, weeds will come in, people will fail to water, people will not harvest ripening vegetables, nor will they pick them in the best way in encourage more growth.

A classic example is broccoli. Most people get a head of broccoli at the store. They've never grown broccoli. They don't realize that it can be planted twice in early spring and late summer for a Fall crop. It loves cool weather. Cutting the head when it begins, and then gathering the side shoots will get you three times the harvest. Ensuring it is side dressed with some kind of fertilizer, and planting it in a cool spot will will ensure a better crop and less bolting. Doing all of these things will mean 6 x the amount of broccoli, producing a veggie that is nutritious, extremely easy to grow, filling, and can be consumed raw. Such tips are stored in the minds of many gardeners and in books.

In the best possible scenario, a community garden would be ram-rodded by a master gardener. That person will motivate those interested for planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting. Leaving everything all loosey-goosey will mean dangerous failure to produce food.

Great gardens take planning and experience. The simplest error will mean failure for veggies or fruit to set. Zucchinis will produce vast amounts of delicious produce if picked continually. Or they will produce giant inedible starchy icky tasting woody veggies. Your master gardener will pass along tips, but hopefully write down ideas, strategies, and help determine the best method for locating plants and determining when to replant them.

Some plants love other plants. This is called companion planting. Planting those plants next to each other ensures a higher yield. Tomatoes and basil are once such example. Planting them this way repels insects.

Many plants can be planted in waves. This is called succession planting. Knowing the weather, and chances of higher heat, or hail, or droughts, will all determine if succession planting is possible or smart to do.

This goes hand in hand with gardening. Great chefs know how to best utilize, can, preserve, or vary the use of a veggie or fruit. When veggies come in abundantly, they must be preserved, and gathering them all in can be very difficult without assistance. The same is true of preserving them.

Knowing how to best use and add variety to a meal is a gift from the Source.

The people who raise the best animals, respect and love them. Naming them is not a great idea for children. All children can help in raising livestock with training. How blessed would you be to have milk goats or cows? How wonderful would chickens and eggs be? How delicious it would be to have healthy rabbits, and not have to waste time trapping them?

Such treasure is more valuable than gold or silver.

Sharing the responsibilities of cooking and gardening and raising livestock together will greatly magnify the amount of produce and happiness in a community. This frees up disinterested people to do other activities versus everyone doing all of the same activities. There is some wisdom to specialization.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/12/2011 09:53 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Personal Assessment

Don't you wish you could have graded yourself in school? Boy that would have made things easier. Just kidding, I was an exemplary student.

Now that things are unstable, it's a great time to read and learn about survival skills. It always is. Taking a self-assessment is the best way though to see the depth of your learning.

Survival skills are not like book learning. They're based upon practical skills that build on each other. These work synergistically for feeding yourself, building shelter, making tools, defense and offense, and stealth. The idea to become as one with the forest as any other animal. Tom Brown used to have an ultimate course. In it, the goal was to be so still and stealthy, that you go up and touch a deer. The idea was that if you could do that, you could have taken the deer, but chose not to. That idea still amazes me today. It is similar to the idea of counting coup by the Lakota. [link to en.wikipedia.org]

Book learnin' is great. It's just not practical at all. You can identify a plant easily in a book, and then consume the wrong one and die. Just watch “Into the Wild”. We all can identify with that young person. Anyone who's ever wanted to live in the wilderness, knows the calls of her voice. Alaskan citizens will discuss him in disdain though. He need not have died. Not at all. It was a foolish death. [link to en.wikipedia.org]

The way to assess your skills is by practicing them. Anyone can slip off for a weekend, pack a backpack, and step away from their urban setting, and immerse themselves into the woods. It is easy to take a little food, build a shelter, build a fire, collect some water and purify it, cook a meal, and feel the interconnectness of all things. Some Native Americans called the Source, the Spirit-Who-Moves-In-All-Things. I don't know how they defined it. I do know, that I feel God's presence in Creation. God is not Creation. God is apart from it. But looking at it, you can see the work of the Divine.

Some people say that it's all an accident. Sounds like something my kids used to say about the puppy peeing the carpet. Well, I can believe that about some people. They're just an accident. Just kiddin'.

Assessment can happen in many ways. Maybe you can't take off this weekend. Maybe you'd like to try not eating for three days. If you can go a week without eating, and I've done this so many times, then you will feel so empowered that your spirit will soar like an eagle. Don't tell anyone either, unless in poor health. Celebrate by eating a simple meal after. It will taste so delicious, you will savor every mouthful, and experience all the textures of the food. The first two days are hard the first time. We're not used to denying ourselves. That's a very good way to do an assessment.

Tom Brown said in his first book, “Why not try not complaining for a whole day?” That's an excellent first assessment. Why not try not talking for a whole day and listening to your family instead and not giving advice. That's a very hard assessment for men, and I'm a guy and I know that it's very hard for me.

You can try making a fire with only one hand. How about making a basic snare in so many minutes? What about, listening for a bird with cupped hands, and tracking them, for as long as you can...even if if for an hour?

It's very easy to make up your own assessments. They measure how well you've mastered your art. Anyone can do it. If you fail, then big deal. Work on it. Hone it, like you would a knife.

Try being stealthy and following some hikers at a distance without being observed. Try being stealthy and following an animal through the forest and not being seen or smelled or heard. Try just walking quietly, but for a mile. Hold your breath for progressively longer and longer periods of time while staying relaxed and calm.

Become one with the forest as if you had always lived there, and always will live there.

All of these can be done with family members. They will remember it always, in loving ways, in funny ways, in poignant ways. They will feel closer to you for taking the time to play with them, and simultaneously learn and test your abilities.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Fanny Pack

While backpacking or prepping with supplies is great, it can be very cumbersome to haul all that around. Naturally there are several essential items, and having these in a small fanny pack with multiple inner pockets will come in handy. Trying to quickly fish out a tool, and searching through multiple pockets, is a waste of time. I've had many of these items in an old Army field jacket. Naturally they are very practical and designer for this purpose, and useful in lots of weather, cheap, and blends in due to its color. Try wearing that in the heat of summer though. If I could find a Army field jacket with a polar fleece liner, then it would be perfect.

So despite all that, a fanny pack will suffice, since most people don't like wearing Army surplus, and is always practical. Many are waterproof, and made of tough material. That's important if you're near the water. I often had to step into a river, lake, or rushing streams, and my bag got wet, but everything stayed nice and dry inside, including my food and matches.

They are made to be strong, and have tough nylon belts to clip them, and stay out the way. I think some people don't wear them since they don't like the appearance. Who gives a darn?That kind of thinking is stupid. Stupid thinking will kill you. Here's a fanny pack list of items that will save your kid, or you, is cheap, and practical.

All of us have heard of kids getting lost in the woods. It's the most natural thing in the world to happen. It can happen because they wandered off by themselves. It can happen because they didn't know the area, went looking for something YOU sent them for like some violets (tasty leaves or tea for headaches) or plantains for field greens or pine needles for tea or tinder or whatever. It can happen because several people fall down an embankment, the leader hits his head and is stunned, and the kids spread out looking for help and get lost. I've seen kids get lost because they were distracted by a coyote or fox in the woods and followed it, absorbed in its beauty. They knew the terrain in one direction, but going back, the trees looked different since they had never gone that direction before, and got temporarily lost. Kids will get lost if alone, and panic, and then you've got a major problem on your hands. Try covering a lot of terrain by yourself looking for someone. Worse, if you're leading a group of kids, then other kids can easily be lost since they're already a little freaked out, and now you've got multiple problems.

The whistle and mirror are cheap and essential tools for lost folks. They will see a flashing mirror at a distance. It is very noticeable. You get hoarse very quick yelling. A whistle can be heard for a mile.

If you and your family have fanny packs, and they're stocked with cheap supplies that are practical, then it might be the edge to save them. More importantly, these tools will allow them to stealthily walk in the woods, hands-free so they can use them to make their way, and get out tools out as needed.

It goes without saying that buying one that looks different from others will be helpful if everyone is carrying specific things, or if you're taking ten kids or if you're trying to quickly find one in a pitch black tent at 3am.

Everything can be used in multiple ways. I used my signal mirror to shave once a week in the wild, just to stay human, and keep my neck from itching. Easiest way is a tiny bottle of oil to lubricate the beard(2 drops) and an el cheapo razor. All of that could be useful since I might have someone with an injury, and shaving away a little of their hair, and I clean the wound better. I could consume the edible oil for calories(not the tea tree oil that is an antiseptic). I could lubricate one spindle end of a bow drill. The oil from the sides of your nose work well. I could break the razor's tough plastic and fashion a tool. Get me? My personal fanny pack might have other things than a kid's. Make it your own. This one is generic

Generic Contents:
Parachute cord, whistle, signal mirror, waterproof matches, cheap lighter, magnifying lens, emergency blanket, $20, cheap lockblade knife (I paid a $1), snare wire, 3 Cliff Bars, Raisins, small nylons bags for collecting things in assorted sizes, 2 Garbage bags, a multitool, soapbox with cut up firestarter block, magnesium firestarter (not essential but helpful), sewing kit I got for free from a hotel (unused for a decade), fishhooks/lure/fishing line (all in one little kit unused. I'd probably make a fish trap instead), survival blanket, inexpensive LED flashlight (you checked the batteries...right?), candle, iodine tablets, tea tree oil, a few naproxen, bit of electrical tape, caffeine tablets, free small bar of soap from a hotel, etc.

The candle I carry, is a candle in a can. It's citronella, and I've used it for a long time. Weighs nothing, and since it's sealed, has never melted or been an issue, and may keep away a few insects. It;s calming, makes things homey, saves my flashlight, etc.

You can make a little first aid kit. Realistically most bandages fall off, and are of dubious value in the wild. A bit of electrical tape, if wrapped around the cut finger, works great in a pinch. Clean it with the tea tree oil. This is a very decent wilderness bandage. The naproxen works for me since it's strong, lasts long, and might help if I'm sleeping on the ground for many days. You adjust your pain threshold, same for cold. Caffeine tablets might be a Godsend in the wild. A little stimulation, and a coffee substitute, for a minimal weight. Caffeine potentiates other drugs. That's why it's sometimes added to aspirin to knock out a headache. You must investigate any drug interactions yourself.

None of that weighs anything. It has all the essentials except water. Water is tough to carry. Carrying a canteen is very helpful too. Nobody has ever made a great way to carry water that I have found for in the wild. Nalgene bottles are tough and drop resistant, but not easy to carry. Canteens are usually bulky. Water skins are okay, but can be damaged if you're careless.

Your own will have a lot of other things that YOU find will make things easier. Medication would be an absolutely important thing to put in it, if there's the slightest chance of not returning to the main campsite. Take just what you need, maybe three doses, not all of your supply, which will shake and bet broken. Mine has a bit of cordage I made in a fifty foot section, and I often will take a cheap water bottle, and fashion a sling with the cordage. Not perfect, but if any of it is lost, who cares? If really lost, and I drank the water, I'd refill my disposable bottle, insert the iodine tablet, and keep going.
[link to www.youtube.com] I've even used this method while rock climbing, which is thirsty work, but since you need to keep your hands free, it's difficult to handle a canteen. It dangles off to the side, you just have to watch busting the cheap container. I've never lost one. I dropped an empty one once, but it was easily retrieved.

I can burn a cup, or bowl, or spoon, if I need to, but many of you don't know how. If you can learn how to fashion basic tools, and teach them to your kids, then they'll make things if lost. Learning how to make a really fast but imperfect basket would be a great thing to learn.

If your kids have an essential fanny pack, strapped to their waist, as a common ordinary part of hiking, then if lost, they most likely will walk out alive. All this for an investment of maybe $50 over time. I spent far less.

Now you can buy emergency straws. They cost ~$10. They purify water, and look like a weird drinking straw. The water may not taste perfect, but the user can drink safe water from a lake, FAST. No collection, carrying, purification, etc. That would REALLY come in handy. I'm cheap, not used to taking them, and don't have one. 'Wish I did. They weigh nothing, and would easily fit in a fanny pack.
[link to www.campingworld.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Survival Baskets

The simplest survival basket. We are hard-wired to be hunter/gatherers. Think what you might gather: field greens, nuts, berries, or tinder. If you put some thing in it like a light rain coat or plastic garbage bag, if careful you can carry: an animal for harvesting, water, etc.

It need not be perfect. That's something you hone over time. You might need to make it fast. If you had the 50 foot cordage already made in your fanny pack, then stripping 7-8 mulberry branches to make a basket would be a cinch.

Of course you can use something like your tee shirt for a quick homemade basket. Not a great idea as it's easy to get scratched up walking bare chested, or if you lifted it up to make a bowl-like fabric container, then you might stain or crush what you were carrying, plus slow down carrying it.
The basket is best.

Any child can learn how to make this one. If you take care making one, it can be beautiful.

Leaving a trail

Most of the time, you don't want to leave a trail. When lost, you do. You're leaving signs of your passage so any rescuers know where you are.

Leaving a trail sign is easy. The simplest method, for folks wearing hiking boots, is to cut off one tooth on the boot in a distinctive way. Each family member will leave a distinctive trail sign. Of course, not great for survival stealth, but great for tracking. Despite what you think, you rarely have a perfect track. This should be obvious.

Breaking a branch at the same height, ever so often, regularly, will show your path. For a trained person, it will be obvious. They are looking for them.

Placing a stack of rocks works well too. Let's say you're walking along a river. You stack three rocks in a non-natural way. Some tracker will see that, and follow it.

For fun, I'd often leave weird track pattern or trail sign for folks while hiking. I'd put unusual things I'd find in an abnormal place. A pebble in an odd location the crook of a tree had to get there somehow. This is fun game for children. You place them like Easter eggs, with points, and see who finds them all. A great game. Sometimes you find cool things like an animal bone, and place it really high, such that there's no way it got there naturally, but still can be touched and seen.

These kind of ideas will help anyone trying to find a lost person. Leaving behind clothes as strips while helpful, hurts the lost person, as they often are improperly dressed for cross country hiking. I wouldn't recommend it, as you could end up colder and with more lacerations or abrasions. Taking off a bright red shirt, and placed high on a pole, as a flag, it a classic thing to do, and you can then put it back on, and go about your way.
Carol B.

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08/13/2011 02:30 PM

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OP, how did you come to know so much? Again, I thank you for all the great, wise info you are providing for all of us.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Tool making

If you're living in the wild for more than three days, little things should be done to improve it. Your prepped food is going to run out, so you'll have to supplement it. Traps will need to be fashioned. Baskets made. Cordage for clothes lines. Fire pits improved. A system for starting fires quickly and efficiently. These kinds of things make your campsite into a home.

Every tool that you can bring with you will save you 20 hours of work time.

As previously discussed, baskets are essential. A super website with excellent pictures is found here: [link to www.wildwoodsurvival.com]

You won't believe how important it is to make these. It is very hard to carry something any distance without them. As you harvest, the natural thing to do, is harvest from the closest area to the campsite. In a very short time, like two weeks, you will see a dramatic drop in firewood, field greens, and nuts and berries (in late Fall), rabbits, etc. You'll be making an ever widening circle and circuit to locate these items. You'll discover carrying capacity in a practical way based upon field experience.

If others are doing similarly, then you can imagine how quickly that will happen.

This governs relocating the camp above all else save security.

We're used to camping with pre-made fire pits, grills, and picnic tables, all of which you will not have. The hood of your car, and newspapers may serve as a food prep area. To save your back, you need a raised area to cut up things or prepare them for a meal. The very first thing may be a fashioned work space.

A cheap reed beach mat is light, easily carried since it rolls up, and make a great workspace when covered with something disposable. [link to www.amazon.com]

Many times they are available in summer time, in any area with a pool or a beach. I paid $3 for mine, and have used it forever. Discount stores sell them. They are great for spreading out an area to sit on and serve a meal. 100X better than a blanket. You can easily shake them out or clean them.

A bowl or platter is essential. They can easily be burned by using the method I detailed earlier. As they get dirty, they can be tossed, though of course they are washable. A little oil and sunshine extends their life.
[link to www.wildwoodsurvival.com]

A back rest is a very fine thing to fashion. [link to graphics8.nytimes.com]
You'll be making a lot of tools. Save your back. Make a table for your candle or light. Flat areas can be made with light branches woven together using basket methods, similar to [link to burwashwonderwood.com] This is more important than you think. The poles will be branches of squaw wood. They are probably less than the thickness of your wrists. They are lashed will all that cordage you're making. See how important these skills are and build on each other.

Campers often buy a camp chair like this. I have had mine forever and it wonderful:
[link to thegoat.backcountry.com] It insulates your bum, saves your back, you can rock in it, your kids will steal it!

A clothes line can easily be made using the tips on cordage. You'll be washing clothes. Very little soap is needed. You'll be washing less. You'll adjust your personal hygiene concepts. It's no big deal to go a week without bathing, as long as you can wash up every other day, but keeping hands and your face clean. Washing your underwear and socks is pretty important for your health. Fungal infections are common. As mentioned earlier, moist towelettes will get you through the first week, but then, you'll be getting creative.

Simple clothes washing can be done by wringing out the clothes in a pot of hot water and some concentrated but low sudsing soap like good old Dr. Bronners. The peppermint smell is a natural deodorant. Fussy people can use tiny droplets of apple cider vinegar under their arms or in the wash. This supplants the bacteria that naturally makes sweat smell.

Greenhorns try to wash out a muddy piece of laundry. Old hands, wait until it dries in the sun, dust off most of it, dip it in a lake, and then wash the clothing. This will save you hours when washing a lot of clothes. Kids should wash their own clothes and it's a good chore and easy. Yes, you can use a rock, it will get out more dirt. It will also loosen fibers, and weaken the clothing, especially if they are cheap. River pebbles are smooth, don't collect dirt, and if fist sized or larger work well versus trying to clean a rock to wash clothes. Sigh.

It goes without saying that it is far easier to disrobe when harvesting an animal, then to try removing any gore, debris, or blood. Sometimes common sense, when in the wild, is in short supply. I think it's learned not innate.

It makes no sense whatsoever to harvest water from a place where you're doing laundry or bathing. Go downstream a little for that. Have a little care. Children or foolish adults always need to be reminded about urinating close to water or running off into water. I have no idea why I need to explain this, but 1 in 10 will do this.

If you have light and it's late, you'll be very blessed. Most of the time people didn't have light, not that cast any length away from them. Flashlights will last a very short time, even the best LED ones.

Candlemaking is tough. You need special cordage for your wicks (there's that word again), and tallow, which is rendered fat. Not many plant materials generate enough wax to be worth while, but there may be local materials in your area like beeswax. Tallow comes all at once, since it means you're harvest a lot of animals, since refrigeration is not possible, and storing the fat isn't possible. Rendering fat into tallow is an organized community activity. See? Everybody harvests meat, pool their rendered fat, and make candles from the tallow. It is of course ordinarily a late harvest activity.

Candles burn inefficiently. They are hopeless by themselves. You make candle follower, and these are metal, so get them before you need them. [link to www.google.com] It limits the flow of the wax. Without it, it will drip. Candles without followers are foolish.

Lamp oil is great for lighting, but where will you get it? I have some stockpiled. You don't waste it. I foresee people growing sesame since this is an excellent source of lamp oil or food oil, tastes great, not too tough to grow, eminently marketable.

Note that paraffin oil while excellent and essential for stockpiling, is highly flammable, and if you spilled it, it would burn you horribly. I foresee people accidentally burning down their homes from this.

Most of the time, you will work until sundown, and then by firelight, and then sleep. You will not waste a lot of lighting as it is extremely hard to procure.

Most torches in any instructional video are made by cheating. You will not have most of those materials. [link to www.5min.com]
A birchbark and wire torch can easily be made. Naturally you have several of these made up, like ten or more. Paper birches can be found lots of places. You re-use the wire. It burns very quickly.

If you live in the Southeast, or apparently Scotland, you can make a fatwood torch:
[link to www.youtube.com] It comes from certain resinous parts of the Longleaf pine. It burns longer than paper birch and produces more lumens or candela, a measurement of light cast.

It would be excellent if you knew this craft as it would be extremely marketable post-SHTF.

Old timers added mirrors on the backs of their lamps to case more light on one direction. You can do this with your signal mirror rigging it up with wire.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Weapons and Hunting

Some evenings will be spent making weapons. Weapons are either close range or long range.

Useful Close ranged weapons
Spears can be made by fire hardening a wooden pole. A dual spear made from a forked stout branch will make an excellent fishing tool. Of course it is more prone to breakage. Spearing in water is difficult. You don't aim at the fish. The water bends the image through refraction. Fish traps are way easier, but of course, take time. Somebody will catch a carp this way, and be proud of themselves until they eat it.

You know a good recipe for carp? You take cow manure and rub it all over carp. You bake it in the coals, then you eat the burnt cow manure, because carp takes worse than crap.

Spear ends can be artificially flint-knapped with discarded glass. They hold up well for a few uses.
[link to www.youtube.com]
It reguires someone with common sense to produce since obviously a bad laceration can result. You'll need something like a deerskin for your work area, an old stump, a tool made of a branch and a piece of copper stuck in it, and the glass blanks. An excellent skill to learn. Of course, you'll progress to more advanced real flint-knapping, but that is a highly advanced skill.

As you can imagine, something as simple as a stout knife or hatchet will make a great weapon.

The Native Americans made war clubs. [link to www.seahawkauctions.com] That is a very excellently made club. Note the branch, and how it was fashioned using the natural and very common branch section. It is way easier to fashion something that is close to this, that to try to make something from scratch that looks nothing like it. Obviously, your hands are going to be really blistered unless you're used to making things.

Ranged weapons
The first ranged weapon other than a spear or javelin is the sling. Anyone can make a sling. You need two things, an old leather belt, and some cordage (there's that dang word again!). [link to www.youtube.com] The simplest ones are made totally of cordage. I like old belts. One end of the sling has a loop for your middle finger. The other has a knot. You control the knot slipping through or releasing them. You're hurling it overhand. It is a harassing weapon mostly. It is far more efficient to make a sling and hurl smooth rocks than make lots of spears or javelins. Good luck hitting a running rabbit with one.

If you're hunting rabbit, the easiest way is a throwing stick. [link to www.youtube.com] Do not dismiss this method. It will work, especially around 5 am, just when the sun comes up, when you come upon a rabbit, and they freeze up. That would be a blessed day. A rabbit for the pot, easily taken. The stick doesn't kill them, it stuns them, so you must quickly dispatch them by snapping their neck. It requires a lot of practice, is very silent, and remarkably effective at pretty close range. Don't make the stick too heavy, an inch in diameter and strong and smooth. Any twists to the stick will result in an eccentric cast, so have a lick of sense, and find a straight one. You'll use this one a lot, and get used to throwing that one, getting used to the weight, the heft of it. The hardest thing is not letting out a whoop of delight as the simplicity of it as a hunting method. You might get another one if silent. Rabbit tastes great, but it is low fat, and you'll get less calories than you're used to. You might want to east fat rich organs, but this is hard unless hungry. I don't like sweetbreads, but in stew, few people notice.

Bolos can be made with cordage and smooth rocks. They can work, but are actually trickier to fling than a throwing stick.

For people who are creative, the next step is an atl-atl. Search for it. I've never made one. I've used one, and though it was amazing as it directs the flight of the bolt, and is not too hard to cast. Pretty nifty. Everything else mentioned to date are things I've actually accomplished.

Bows and arrows should be brought along. Bow making is an advanced skill. Re-fletching is something you'll do constantly. A Native American style bow requires a lot of time to craft, you need material like tendons to make the laminations to enhance the curve of the bow. That kind of bow is very short range versus a modern recurve bow.

If I did risk going to buy last minute items, I'd buy a good bow and arrow set.


I'm guessing that a lot of people have never used a ranged weapon in their lives. It is not difficult, just reframing your thinking. Each of us is born with one eye being dominant. Hold out your thumb at arm's length and stare at the tip of your thumb. Close you left eye. Did the tip move or not? If it didn't, then you are right-eyed. Close your right eye only, doing the same thing. If it doesn't move in this case, then you are left-eyed.

When you shoot your ranged weapon, you want to sight it using your dominant eye, and accounting for windage, and the decline in its momentum and gravity. All hurled projectiles move in an arc. Gravity pulls it down. A decline in momentum bring it down. Wind changes the flight characteristics. Aiming with the dominant eye focuses the brain to work in harmony with the arm to aim it.

If the wind is behind you, your projectile will go further forward. If the wind is blowing across you, then the projectile path will be slightly altered in the wind's direction. If the wind is blowing towards you, most likely you will miss. That wind will reduce the velocity, alter the flight path, and be interfering with your aim.

If the wind is behind you, the animal can smell you. If you haven't bathed in days, then obviously they can easily smell you. Descenting with Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap or natural peppermint, as well as bagging your clothes with dirt, all help.

Shooting uphill with a low velocity ranged weapon will result in a altered arc of the projectile. Shooting downhill is easier as the arc goes further before hitting the ground.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Hey Carol B,

I spend a big part of my long life practicing and honing my survival skills. I'm a redneck, though you would never think it if you met me, just a redneck by location mostly.

I spent the majority of my time teaching other people wilderness skills, sometimes surreptitiously since the word "survival" is synonymous with "wacko". Pioneer or Native American used as a synonym is accurate, and less emotionally laden than survival.

From aged five, I've loved the outdoors, and spent most of my time there. I studied from books and from mentors in the earliest time, then took classes since I felt it was a priority. Much of it, I learned in the field through practical experience. I don't have much use for survival books, though the newer ones actually are written by people who use them, and they have improved. Some of the old ones, like the Brad Angiers ones, had some really bad information in them.

You cannot live outdoors for long, and not become a spiritual person. You can't. They go together.

I have always thought that teaching pioneer skill was vital. People can die in a very short amount of time, or they can survive or they can thrive in the woods simply by being prepared.

Those of us who are dedicated, are along a long continuum of beliefs. I've met some really New Age folks, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Wiccans, etc who all believe that something bad is coming.

The truth is that emergencies happen a lot. Most of us are shielded, but there are always people who have natural disasters happen to them.

You can simply lose your job, and in a few months not be able to pay your bills, and become homeless, as some people are discovering.

We could simply see a doubling of homelessness, and this alone would make communicating survival skills vital. Originally homeless folks were people who were cast out of state mental institutions, sometimes given vouchers, and told to make their way. Now homeless folks are often single moms, unemployed young men, elderly folks, etc.
Carol B.

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08/13/2011 03:40 PM

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Hey Carol B,

I spend a big part of my long life practicing and honing my survival skills. I'm a redneck, though you would never think it if you met me, just a redneck by location mostly.

I spent the majority of my time teaching other people wilderness skills, sometimes surreptitiously since the word "survival" is synonymous with "wacko". Pioneer or Native American used as a synonym is accurate, and less emotionally laden than survival.

From aged five, I've loved the outdoors, and spent most of my time there. I studied from books and from mentors in the earliest time, then took classes since I felt it was a priority. Much of it, I learned in the field through practical experience. I don't have much use for survival books, though the newer ones actually are written by people who use them, and they have improved. Some of the old ones, like the Brad Angiers ones, had some really bad information in them.

You cannot live outdoors for long, and not become a spiritual person. You can't. They go together.

I have always thought that teaching pioneer skill was vital. People can die in a very short amount of time, or they can survive or they can thrive in the woods simply by being prepared.

Those of us who are dedicated, are along a long continuum of beliefs. I've met some really New Age folks, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Wiccans, etc who all believe that something bad is coming.

The truth is that emergencies happen a lot. Most of us are shielded, but there are always people who have natural disasters happen to them.

You can simply lose your job, and in a few months not be able to pay your bills, and become homeless, as some people are discovering.

We could simply see a doubling of homelessness, and this alone would make communicating survival skills vital. Originally homeless folks were people who were cast out of state mental institutions, sometimes given vouchers, and told to make their way. Now homeless folks are often single moms, unemployed young men, elderly folks, etc.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1496915

I agree that you can't live outdoors for long and not become spiritual. As a kid, my Dad would take us camping in the Blue Mountains. Located in the s.e.corner of Washington State. I think I learned more there than in either of my two college degrees...
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

All of us are hopelessly inundated with things that stress us out. Here are some tips to cope with stress, particularly in a SHTF scenario.

Being single
I am assuming you are not alone. Being alone in a SHTF situation could be lethal. If that is part of your situation, I hope you band together with another single person or group to help you cope. None of us, has all the skills necessary to survive and THRIVE in the woods. One of us can fall into a crevice, or out of a tree when harvesting, or get a deep cut and be bleeding, or simply be ill with a bad bout of diarrhea and unable to forage or get water. Diarrhea was such a constant part of frontier life, since their diet was altered through a lack of roughage, or as illness set in, or if they drank bad water. They were far more prepared than we are.

If single, you will greatly destress, if you make plans now and find a like-minded person who is preparing, and that adds vital skills that you do possess. Make a list of what you think is important. Crack open some Foxfire books, and do a reality check of all the things that actually are important. There's far more important skills than a single person could possess.


When in the wild, we miss our routine. Little things happen at certain times. Maybe you take a smoke and a coffee break at a certain time, watch a recorded episode of “Breaking Bad” at a certain time, eat a cinnamon raisin bagel every Sunday before church, whatever. All our routines will be gone, and we'll generate new ones. These stress out people. You must make some new routines, and especially take care to make some routines that make you feel fulfilled, happy, and boost your morale. You'll be doing those things for your group too.


A few kind words, a bit of well-deserved praise, group recognition, a sweet unexpected kiss or hug, a massage to rub tired muscles, a specially prepared meal, a shared memory or story around the fire, sincerely communicated love with eye contact, all will be the most valuable things that the group will share.

Stressed people get sick. Think back to college. Remember right before Finals. You were studying like a mad person, concentrating on lots of information and trying to recall it, not eating or sleeping right, and you got sick, at least once as a result. Does any of that sound analogous to dealing with a SHTF scenario?

The solution to most of that is either more affection, or to simply recognizing that a group member is doing one of the mentioned things that can make people sick.

People crave physical affection, at least most of us. There are some through mental differences than need less, or want less. Most of us love to be held, stroked, touched, and cared for. Some people believe, and I am one, that many elderly folks and children decline because they are not touched enough. Not touching someone makes them feel ostracized. They become acutely aware that they are alone.

I wonder how many marriages would last longer if a nightly massage, that was sincerely and lovingly done, was alternated between partners? Can you imagine the closeness and tenderness from doing this? Sadly, I have been a giver more than a receiver. Where's my dream woman? :)

In early medicine, prior to 1920, massage was a regular part of any medical practice. Massage moves the lymph throughout the system. It moves blood into uncirculated areas. It stimulates endorphins in the brain promoting a sense of well-being. When massaging someone, you are looking at the quality of a person's skin, hair, nails and color, and all of these give clues to overall health.

If someone is older or simply is diabetic, then the circulation of blood to the extremities is less efficient. A huge amount of illness could be detected in very early stages, by simply massaging and checking people prone to diabetes or checking the feet and legs of older folks.

The only people who should not be massaged are sick people with a bacterial or viral infection. Almost everyone else can benefit. It will be one of the primary ways to destress, and give affection, and improve health, in a SHTF world.

If alone, you can massage yourself. All jokes aside, doing a deliberate and thorough massage can be done systematically from head to toes in about twenty minutes and will give you a lift.


In a serious situation, we will be working a lot to acquire supplies that normally take minimal time at the grocery or hardware store. We'll be making tools that we would simply purchase. Much of life will become drudgery. The harder people work, the more people need play. What one person defines as play is different than what another does.

A child will want some time off from chores. If younger they may want to play a game. If older they may feel a lack of privacy is making them insane. Give them some space.

A woman may be working so hard to hold things together and center a family that she's worn down to a nub, like a worn pencil. Build her back up with things like massages, cooking so she doesn't have to, gathering the firewood so she doesn't, lavish praise, romance, sweet teasing and joking that builds her up, and making special things that are non-necessities. Flowers are always welcome and abundant. Tell her she is beautiful even if she is not. Mean it sincerely.

A man may need to hear from his wife that she respects what he's accomplished for the family. He may need praise for bringing in game, it's not his job, no more than cooking is her's. Rub his shoulders, sneak off and have sex, wash in a lake together or heat up some water and do so. Make a meal alone, and send the kids off with a meal, just not too far off. Tell him he is handsome even if he is not.

The group will benefit from special meals, sports, long naps, taking each other's watches out of kindness, special things that help people based upon individual need.

If you find a talent in doing something, and it makes the group more efficient, and you can use that talent occasionally to make something special, then they'll appreciate it. They'll appreciate greater based upon their lack of ability.


Stressed people make mistakes. Sometimes they can be lethal. Stress leads to poor or incomplete or disturbed sleep. Combine a lack of sleep with stress and it can lead to terrible mistakes in the field, especially with watches.

Obviously eating a full meal, a warm fire, relaxing and soothing words, massages, rubbing your fingers through someone's hair, all relax people so they can sleep. A drop of essential oil from something light like lemon oil, is a very centering soothing smell. Little things like that can easily make a child or spouse nod off. You lend them your time and energy, and help them sleep, and then hope that when you need a little help, they'll return the favor.

Getting people all hyped up before bedtime with wild unsubstantiated rumor is the worst thing you can do. Some people are apt to spread rumors. You must talk to them, as it is infectious. Most of the time, the worst doesn't happen. Telling ghost stories to already scared kids is stupid. It can be fun on occasion, if they can handle it or like it. Now is not the time.

When people make mistakes, deal with it maturely. If it happens again, ratchet up the consequences appropriately. If you say something is the consequence, then that must be the consequence. Failure to follow through leads to more mistakes. Not punishing someone confuses them. Discipline must be maintained, creating order. Things can be looser and relaxed if there is some order. No one should ever completely relax, hence watches are done.
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08/13/2011 06:01 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

Earlier I stated to praise someone's looks even if not attractive. I forget who told this story, so I apologize about my old brain cells.

There was a Queen who'd gotten older. The King seldom called her into his bed, preferring much younger and riper ladies of the Court. She grew deeply sad, stopped caring about her looks, and declined in beauty.

Two passing gods noticed her sadness. They made a bet. One bet that she could make the Queen beautiful again. The other god picked who they would make fall in love with her.

A quiet minor treasury clerk was chosen to fall in love with the Queen. He was ignored by all the women of the court, and hardly handsome. When the spell was cast, he saw the Queen for who she could be. He was astounded by the difference. She was golden, sweet, caring, and lovely beyond compare.

It took his breath away. He could barely concentrate on his work. He began to make any excuse at all to be by her side. The slightest glance in his direct made his heart pound.

He wrote about it in his journal, but ached to tell her somehow. He began praising her in court to anyone who would listen. Some saw glimpses of her accomplishments, and word spread. The Queen heard murmurs, and felt flattered. She smiled more. She felt noticed. She held herself erect. She spoke with even more care, desiring more praise. She was careful about what she ate, since she she loved the complements of her Court.

The clerk grew bolder. He sent a tiny note, saying how much she meant to him. That she was his dream woman. That she was the perfect person for him.

The Queen grew curious. Her heart beat faster. Color filled her cheeks. She laughed. She stopped criticizing her court. She didn't know who wrote the note, but it was more precious than any gold or jewels. She couldn't bear to say a harsh word to someone who might have written the magical words.

By accident, she made the smallest complement to the clerk. His heart soared. He felt like a lion to be noticed, not a mouse to be stepped on. He wrote more notes. He risked saying what was in his heart.

The King could not help but notice his wife. What in the world had happened? She had always been beautiful. He'd loved her as a girl. Suddenly his old friend, comrade, and lover had returned.

The ladies of the Court grew concerned. Their praise and complements seemed more desperate and less sincere. They seemed to turn on each other, in their competition for the King.

The King praised the Queen. She was so different from her tired, run-down self. He praised her saying, “You've returned to the same sweet girl I fell in love with.”

The clerk noticed the King's affections. He loved the Queen, but loved his King too. He was happy that she was happy. Somehow, by loving the Queen, he'd been transformed into a new man too. She became his Muse. She inspired him, and it made him want to be a better man.

The woman of the Court noticed him for this transformation. He never got over his love for the Queen, but he also felt admired for the first time. People talked about the clerk. The King and Queen heard praise about his work. They promoted him, and in doing so, helped him ensnare the heart of a lovely maiden.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Wilderness Survival and Caloric Intake

As I've previously discussed, one of the main targets for us while surviving in the woods will be getting enough calories to manage well. To refresh your memory, the average 70 KG man (154lbs) needs around 2100 calories a day for maintenance. That figure is too optimistic for someone surviving in the woods. Without infrastructure, many traps created, supplies to draw from, abundant game, vegetable and fruit and nut sources, and something I call unmentionables, the maximum amount of calories for an expert hunter/gatherer will most likely be around 1500 calories. Of course, you will hit days of abundance. You'll find something and store it, using some of that to supplement on following days. Or you'll eat very well, and not eat anything the next day for a variety of reasons.

Maintaining 1500 calories in a perfect setting of safety and low energy output is tolerable. As anyone knows who has dieted, it is uncomfortable. When the body sees a change in diet, it adapts. This is not a rapid process. There are enormous amounts of money spent to calculate the perfect way to diet and minimize hunger and still feel somewhat satisfied. People say, “I'm dieting and I'm dieing.”

Bear with me. I know it's boring. I've avoiding talking about the details. It'll be over soon, and back to survival. You need to understand it, since it affects your goals in wilderness survival.

Yeehaw biochemistry yeah! The adaptation cycle goes something like this. Stored calories exist in our body in two main forms, glycogen and fat. Gycogen is stored in the liver or it is stored in the muscle. Fat is stored in the abdomen, but also in other places as more calories are taken in than can be used. If intake is less than 1500 calories, then the body goes “What a minute, what gives?” Sugar levels in the blood drop. We get tired. Our stomach circulates a variety of acids and enzymes in the stomach. The gurgling sound is the injection of enzymes from the duodenum to digest food. The whole body cycles chemicals to the digestive system based on routine eating times. Some blood is shunted there for some digestion. We feel tired some more. Most of the digestion happens at night while the rest of body shuts down. A good thing, because if it didn't, we would drag around with far less blood volume pumping around to muscles.

Some people say not to eat unless you can get 1500 calories. Well to be honest, that's considering a lost in the wilderness scenario, not a SHTF scenario. Really low caloric jump starts the drop in metabolic rate, and extends survivability some. This could give the edge, if you think help is on the way, but in our case, there is no help.

The brain needs sugar. It's the only food that the brain can use for energy. If the blood sugar drops, we get sleepy. It's that simple. The body says, “I'm tired, eat something dang it!” We get a response based on an empty stomach (it's not stretched and expanded) and the brain triggers a hunger mechanism. A classic diet trick is fill the stomach with water. It's stretched by the volume of liquid, and you feel less hungry. Sure.

If the body cannot get sugar, it will convert something to sugar, to maintain blood glucose. Glucose spiking too high works with the pancreas to release insulin. When starving, we've got the opposite problem that diabetics have.

The body locates the glycogen in the liver and muscle and through a boring complex process making sugar. The reason it stores it in muscle is availability. This minimizes the transfer of sugar in the most economical way possible. Long starvation creates very low blood sugar and ketoacidosis. It creates acetone breath that smell fruity, a warning sign that you'll already be all to aware of if there food. It is a very dangerous condition common in diabetics with very out of control blood sugar.

We're surviving in the woods. We're exercising more than normal. When the exertion is extended, the body sees this, and when the blood sugar drops, starts stealing from muscle glycogen. The hunger trigger goes off, enzymes and acids flow, and you think, “Wow I feel weak and hungry.”

Breaking down fat doesn't occur quickly. What happens is, as hunger extends over a progressively longer cycle, the body goes, “Wait a minute, the fires are burning too high.” It begins to lower basal metabolic rate. Your heart beat goes down, as does breathing. More and more energy intensive systems go into using lower amounts of energy. If water is an issue, and the body needs water for a ton of biochemical processes, that's an additional restriction. Therefore the body lowers metabolic rate even further. Keep it up, and you'll pass out or be listless.

Fat is a petty efficient storage unit for energy. It's twice as calorie rich, so more energy can be liberated. Thankfully for survival, by the time you start digesting fat, the metabolic rate is lower, and you're burning less normal calories. What this means is that the difficulty getting rid of fat, that you experience while dieting, will also help you maintain weight while getting less calories in the wilderness. It's a survival mechanism.

After a week of this, you feel pretty tired. Maybe you have headaches. Some people get a sense of well-being from exercise: the second wind that runners experience. Some of that is chemical, some of that is renewed confidence. It doesn't last. You are burning more calories than normal from activity. If you'd been burning fat, but still somewhat sedentary, then you'd be maintaining that weight. But you're not. You're burning more, eating less, and there are limits to the food sources.

In the woods, you're looking for calorie dense foods that you can gather as quickly as possible, using minimal energy for gathering and digestion. There's a very real reason that tribal people are not vegetarian. While some wild foods are rich in calories like nuts and some starches, most are not. Many of the items that you'll harvesting only can be harvested at certain times of the year. This isn't the grocery store. While there is an abundance of things to eat most of the time, it may not be in sources you're used to eating.

In winter, most people are sedentary based upon weather. You may not be. You're trying to keep your core temperature high. If you're outside in it, and looking for calories, you may very well be using much more than you could conceivably gain. Fishing from a pole or walking along with a throwing stick for a rabbit could expend a serious amount of calories, and put you into a deep caloric deficit.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Eating in the wild means deliberately making a mind-shift. Whatever used to be your diet, whatever times you formerly ate, whatever you think is edible or not, really has to be re-calibrated.

Whatever foods you do find, cannot be stored very well. Nature does a really good job of packaging food. That doesn't work when it's been picked or harvest or taken. Once you do harvest something, it generally must be eaten right away.

Few large meals are possible. Many of us like a big steak meal. Taking down a large animal requires a lot of expended calories. The times when we hunt something that large must be carefully planned. It most likely means several people in a hunt working in concert. Even if you took the animal, you need to clean it, prepare it, and store whatever was left over. Other members of the ecosystem will also want to partake of your harvest. Flies. It is very difficult to make jerky in the wild without a lot of people working to butcher the meat, gather green wood for coals, and dry it slowly with the low heat generated. It can happen, and did on the prairie with buffalo, a massive creature.

You'll be with a small party and minimal equipment. Most of your taken animals will be small. In the absence of winter, where meat might last a little longer, you'll be hunting as you eat. Hopefully, very little hunting will have to occur. You'll most likely be fish or game trapping. That is way more efficient expended calorie wise versus digested calories.

Animals go through growing cycles just like people. Many animals eat food and store it up, then use less energy in wintertime. Some move or migrate. This means far less game taken. A primary food, that you might not have considered are mice or rats. They are abundant, and many larger animals eat them like coyotes or hawks.

Turtles make a very fine meal. The larger the turtle, the more muddy they taste. They are easy to catch, and a treat. Be careful with snapping turtles. Snakes are easy to catch, particularly on cool or cold morning when they are sluggish. They will often sun somewhere, and then it turns cold, and you can gather them easily. Snakes can most easily be hunted with a forked stick with a very short V shaped opening. You pin the snake with the branch, and then cut off the head, taking care, because it can still bite you. Copperheads are very common poisonous snakes. You might very easily find a ratsnake They are very long snakes, and generally harmless, and easy to catch. Cottonmouths or water moccasins can be seen swimming in the water. They eat fish and turtles so both are nearby. A very unusual snake I've come across is the hognose snake. It will puff up it's head like a cobra! Definitely will startle you. I'd seen numerous rattlers and backed cautious away. The hognose made my eyed bug out the first time with excitement. Snake meat is bony, and cooking it into a soup is better as the meat will fall off the bone.

Most gathered plants are field greens: young dandelions leaves, young common plantain, wild garlic(smells like onions). Imagine a diet of healthy salad. Great for vitamins, very low on calories. A very delicious plant is a fiddlehead. It's nothing more than a sprouting fern. Yummy with butter, oh well. This can be supplemented easily with tubers. Tubers are roots, mostly starchy, and these will add calories in higher amounts. The easiest tubers to gather in woodlands around water are cattails. They are very recognizable. Another easily found tuber are Jerusalem artichokes. They have an unusual circular disk found underground with the tubers, and they're large.

In the late fall, there are a variety of nuts. Of course walnuts and pecans are delicious. They need to be picked and roasted. Far more common are acorns. Acorns can be made into a mush. The problem is they're very acidic. There are two main methods: blanching which requires an enormous amount of water, or burying the acorns along river banks and waiting for the acid to leech out (takes a long amount of time). Then they too must be roasted. Acorns are long term food sources, but it's a chore to change out numerous batches of blanching water. It is though an excellent and easy to find source of food subject to the season. Collecting and harvesting and blanching and roasting acorns is a community activity.

Many Native American starved. Two things helped them get by: stored honey and maple syrup.

Honey bees preferred nectar comes from the Basswood. I've come across them on more than one occasion clustered in them. I've never harvested in the wild, so I don't know much about the process. I do know some old timers said to very quietly walk up to the area, and the introduction of some dirt into the hive will cause them to abandon it. You do this, then come back, and hope you beat the racoons or opossums. Bees are slower moving when it's cold. That may be a more opportune time to harvest. I don't know. It's a sad thing to do, because bees are dying in the US and we don't know why. The bees won't come back to the hive, so eat the bee larva too and recycle the wax from the combs.

I have harvested maple syrup using a spile. A spile can be purchased at a farmer's feed store, a hole drilled in a maple (or birch) and a bucket hung from the hook on the spile. The spile helps keep the opening flowing. The collected fluid is quite large and then boiled down. The ratio of sap to syrup is 30-40:1. 35 gallons of liquidy sap boils down to 1 gallon of syrup. You'll be making tiny batches since you'll have small cooking pots. It all depends on the kind of maple or birch. Sugar maples are the best. It means less boiling off of the steam to create a syrup. It tastes 100x better than that junk most people eat. It's high in calories. This is best done as a community activity. It doesn't hurt the tree.

Yes there are the occasional berries, and finding them is delightful. They are not very common since you're competing with birds that can fly up to them, harvest in a large flock, and can spot them from the air. Unless you know when, where, and how to collect them, most berries are difficult to collect. I've seen abundant raspberries and mulberries and have harvested both. Berries can be dehydrated. I wonder though about their vitamin content?

Other fruits are much more difficult. Yes an occasion apple can be taken. Other fruits are very hard to find for the same reasons as berries. Competition. Apples dehydrate very well, if you're lucky enough to find several, you might do this. They also store decently in root cellars.

Game, fish, field greens, and tubers will be the majority of your food. You'll supplement that with unmentionables. By this I mean insects and sweetbreads.

Insects are easy to harvest and abundant. Pound for pound they are much higher in protein than meat. Some people think we'll all be eating them to solve world hunger issues versus eating livestock. Grasshoppers are the easiest. The American colonists learned from the Native Americans to dry them. The abdomens crumble into a powder when dried. This can be added to stews for protein. Other insects are not so great. You have to consider how many calories you'll get versus the amount of work to harvest them. Ants are mostly formic acid. Yes chimpanzees eat them as a snack. I doubt you'll want to. Earthworms can be eaten, but they're full of dirt in their intestines. They have to processed and cooked to be eaten. A little work. Bears eat grubs. Grubs can be found under logs and rocks. They're insect larva. If it's raining, you can collect slugs or snails. These can be tasty, put into the stew, and if you can find some wild garlic (onions) and other things to “kick it up a notch” then not bad.

Sweetbreads are normally discarded by most Americans. The most useful parts are the liver, heart, and kidneys. The rest is seldom worth eating. Realize that eating liver is not great for you. The liver processes anything that is not healthy for the animal, and filters it out for biochemical processing. Still, we're going for calories and protein, both of which are found there.

All of what you collect can best be eaten together as stew. Stew reduces the bonds that hold the proteins together. Any vegetables you collect will add flavor. Native Americans often collected berries as thickeners like blueberries. The tubers you collect will have starches and this will also serve this function.

The brains of animals have traditionally been used for tanning. Eyes have been used for making survival glue. If you're getting fancy, you can make some leather, and there are numerous websites which explain the process. I've seen the hooves and forelegs of some animals processed into handles. I doubt it's necessary except for purists.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Factors of a global economic collapse

There are many possible ways that a global economic crisis could unfold. The likelihood of a scenario is based upon the internal ethos of a country. The level of personal preparedness of the citizenry will be a factor. The level of agrarian infrastructure and culture will influence the progression. The amount of natural resources of a country will affect what happens. The depth of the crisis and its impact on multiple nations will be a major factor. The prevalence of organized soldiers and command within a kingdom will determine how things will play out. The level that crime has inundated a country will determine how that organization will respond. The literacy of a kingdom will determine the specialists to generalists ratio. The amount of spiritual citizens to non-spiritual citizens will affect outcomes. The amount of personal freedoms and written constitutions will determine those nebulous effects. The amount of eloquent motivating leadership and their ability to communicate over distances will determine to whom the people listen. The role of organized transportation will determine if anything more than carrying capacity will affect population hubs. The level of medical care, the overall health of the citizens, and the ability to reorganize medical practitioners will influence options and outcomes. The range of perceived wealthy citizens to impoverished citizens and everything along that continuum will be a major factor.

Another crisis might follow and influence the scenario. Usually when a disaster strikes, a combination of factors determines the success of organized relief to assist the population. It's not the one crisis that kills people, it's a combination. If an additional crisis occurs, any relief forces then must deal with both(or probably more) simultaneously and unfortunately they are synergistic.

Any relief force has multiple specialists that attack a host of interconnected issues: security, engineering, medicine, food and water distribution, transport, command. Then of course if there is not relief that is organized, commanded well, supported by unaffected outside people(who are funding it), able to transport essential goods and services, has a prepared cache of supplies, and is accepted by the affected population, it doesn't matter.

Did I leave anything out? I think I covered the most important, but there's no doubt other factors.

Has the color drained from your faces? Are you gulping yet? Do any of those concepts seem worrisome?

I cannot make a scenario based upon other countries internal struggles in a global economic collapse. Being an United States citizen, I do not and would not presume to understand anything in depth about your country. Anything that I write might peripherally make educated guesses on how other countries decisions or outcomes affect the USA.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Minor global economic collapse

Because US treasuries get downgraded, and thousands of municipal bonds follow suit, investors of major retirement funds, large mutual funds, other major governments, and the wealthiest 1% of families, look for places to park their money. Ordinarily cash is the safest place to park money. We assume that it sits in a bank in its most liquid form (it can easily be converted or moved).

Money is temporarily parked somewhere, usually cash or treasuries, due to liquidity, and then reinvested into another vehicle that makes a greater return.

Banks lend out far more than deposits. Many times more than 20 to 1 from reserves. Often in scarier amounts. You give the bank your money. Every dollar you give them, they loan out twenty. Surprised? They realize that less than $1 in 100 is used for transactions. Most wealthy folks don't need access to their money. May other investors based upon history also don't need their money right away. The bulk of the remainder of customers live week to week, hoping for new income to stave off creditors. Their money is not in the bank, they receive the loans.

Most of these customers have less than two months of income in an convertible form. Much of that is not very liquid. All of that is contingent upon continued employment or pensions received.

The banks don't have your money as cash. It's invested in someone's home, business, depreciable items, and their own investments in the market.

Real estate: both commercial and single-family dwellings plummets. Banks cannot loan money since while people have the desire to purchase things, their financial situation makes lending impossible. Lower demand = lower value. Other real estate investors with properties in construction phases have difficulty in making payments. These were almost always leveraged with bank money, but now that prices are falling, those investors decide to sell to stay afloat. Real estate prices fall in a cascade affecting everyone. No one wants theses properties. Owners become renters. The real estate collapse grows. Any occupation that has anything to do with banking or construction in any way has major unemployment.

Wealthy folks realize that their cash is NOT liquid. It takes progressively longer to receive cash withdrawals. Some investors desire to move their money to gold and silver. There's a big problem. There is not enough physical gold or silver to purchase. There are gold and silver deposits in the ground, but they must be mined, extracted, transformed and distributed. This takes time. Time is the enemy of liquidity. The traditional method of gold or silver purchase is through line entries or certificates. You give me cash or an electronic transfer of wealth, and I give you an electronic transfer of gold delivered on demand of physical metal.

The demand for physical gold and silver skyrockets. Any metal available now becomes more valuable than promises. It becomes very much of a multiple tiered system.

Special places outside of banks are created. They have security and vaults. They take hold of physical metal. People store metals in their homes. Robberies break out. Criminals of various levels steal them. All metal that is not secured is stolen.

Concern mounts on the value of the US dollar. Value is dependent upon demand. Lower demand = lower value. The average citizen realizes for the first time that the Federal Reserve and outside countries have been purchasing US dollars to artificially increase demand. Likewise, the US has been artificially purchasing other countries' currency to artificially increase demand. This realization take people aback. The majority of people are in a dim awareness of reality. They start to wake up.

There does exist one major demand for dollars. Oil. Oil largely comes from outside sources to the US. It mostly comes from Middle Eastern countries; countries that are terribly unstable. Russia has large reserves. Larges reserves exists in Venezuela and Mexico. China has some, but not per capita. Norway has a reserve that is high per capita.

Oil transactions happen in petro-dollars. The exchange of oil is transferred by purchasing dollars first, then oil. Middle Eastern countries work behind the scenes to gain more economic power due to their instability. Countries outside the US decide to switch to a different currency to denominate oil. Because of their bad experience with a single countries currency, a new currency arises.

While the US buys many outside goods and services, many of which are shiny toys, due to their instability to purchase those toys, they do not appear to be able to import items. Countries grow less concerned of any consequences of a switch from petrol-dollars to the new currency.

The value of the dollar plummets. Other countries do not artificially create demand for dollars. There is little reason to. To stabilize the dollar, the federal reserve purchases more and more dollars, each time with lesser effect. This creates inflation.

Prices rise for US goods since the dollar is weak. Most assembled goods, many agricultural goods, and other items like oil are transported to the US only because it is economically beneficial to those outside countries. This becomes very risky for them. The more risk = the higher the price.

Illegal immigration plummets. Less and less service industry or construction exists. Some are used in agriculture, those who cannot find these jobs return to their own countries. Those desiring to stay run into issues at the government level as state budgets are cut. Bad confrontation happen between illegal immigrants and frustrated fearful citizens.

Demand falls for shiny imported toys. The price of the toys, unemployment, the dollar exchange rate, transportation costs (mostly oil related), precludes a beneficial rationale for importing goods to the USA.

The low availability of goods + unemployment + loss of wealth + instability = chaos. It creates more unemployment as less service area workers are needed. {The service industries employ many of American works}. This perpetuates the cycle, cascading into other industry, snowballing into wide spread chaos.

The largest cities see riots. They last for a week, get extinguished, and break out in new metropolitan areas. Those without supplies die. Those who rely upon government income die. Utilities have difficulty operating. Military forces are transported to the hardest hit areas. Middle sized cities suffer since there are not enough military forces to divert to them.

Critical infrastructure laws are enforced. They had been written quietly with media knowledge during the pandemic scares. People in any occupation that is defined as critical have a loss of personal freedom, but a better chance of income and supplies. It is a rough marriage of convenience. Those marriages don't last since they are not based on love, affection, and trust.

In the absence of leadership in large cities, some gangs and organized crime loot supplies. Any cache of pharmaceutical drugs, weapons, food, camping supplies, etc are the new wealth sources. Few illegal drugs exist. They had often been imported or produced by hard to acquire chemicals, or diverted by willing physicians from legal drugs. Some had been grown locally and based upon season, those will remain. The drop in availability will occur for all of the same reasons that shiny toys don't sell, the same reasons affect illegal drug sales. What few illegal drugs are available are used to keep prostitution going. Criminal elements in other smaller cities get the same idea. Crime rises in areas with a power vacuum.

Military forces are called home. Many nations that relied upon US forces for economic reasons and political stability, may see crises particularly at borders. The returning military forces require supplies. These are commandeered. Drafts may be put in place for ancillary roles. Specialists may be drafted to fulfilled them. Some may initially come from metropolitan areas. The politicians of those areas will balk at this. Outside folks from progressively smaller towns and with technical skills may be drafted to assist the military. Those areas have low political power. Readers of my tale of history will see parallels.

Military forces engage criminal organizations. The effectiveness of the battles will be determined by superior firepower, command structure, transportation of supplies, and will. The worst battles are won, and intentionally communicated as a deterrent.

Many criminal or wannabees slip off with private caches of goods. They retreat at first to other areas of their cities. Some attempt to replicate their activities in smaller towns to evade the military forces in the larger locales. Many do not know the terrain, but are better armed. Skirmishes break out. Some areas already have their own criminal elements in positions of power. Unusually alliances of players will attempt to repel interlopers. The success of local skirmishes will be based upon the level of defense, local gun control, and will to repel. Supplies will get dramatically low, as less and less is available to steal that has any value.

The largest cities are occupied by the military. Some people within are put to work, to mobilize the forces, house them, feed them, and enable them to move inwardly. Something very analogous to the cavalry of pioneer days will be put in place. Smaller towns could see a return to medieval serfdom.

Owners of the new currency have massively increased wealth. The maverick investors with the disposable wealth who are willing to risk investing in the USA, purchase property and industry at greatly lower prices. They know that the US is capable of producing their own goods and services, it's systemic failure of leadership and fiscal responsibility that caused it in the first place.

As more outside countries send investors, those countries' policies may change. Large untapped resources, a literate but unemployed work-force, an infrastructure with excellent transportation and roadways, rail, or waterways, all help the outside investors and countries to make the decision. The most likely candidate will be countries will large oil reserves and hence more of the new currency, but having high stability.

Outside countries will have their own issues, all based upon the factors I illustrated prior. We cannot hope that other countries will come to our assistance. We had been the superpower for the longest time, a fact based upon a beneficial financial arrangement by the international power brokers and our military forces. I do think it's plausible though..

Petrochemical companies quietly begin to open oil reserves within the US in Alaska and other places that were quietly sit on. New construction of oil wells increase. Some workers in good health relocate to oil construction. Their salaries are entirely at the mercy of the petroleum companies as unemployment is high. The instability of the Middle East makes harvesting oil too dangerous.

The government drafts industrial leadership to retool factories. Those leaders will need construction workers and highly trained technical people to begin transforming old factories into ones that can as quickly as possible build essential items for the military and critical infrastructure for the largest cities. All of this will take painfully long, as very few items will be available, and materials will have to be mined, transported, and fabricated to make this a possibility.

This is a minor scenario of a global economic collapse, that doesn't include any outside disasters. Large drops in the population due to lack of food sources, medicine, clean water, and Hope will occur.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Minor economic collapse with the a strong unifying leadership

Let's say a similar scenario evolves. In this case, for whatever reason, a strong political leadership comes together.

Maybe a political crisis occurs, and the President steps down, and a new leadership rises. This would be volatile. Let's say that something comes to light that casts doubt on our elected president's past.

Our country is polarized by an equal measure of Democrat and Republican members. We would be at a stalemate save one factor. Some Republicans are liberal and join ranks on occasion to enact legislation. Other Democrats are conservative and break ranks on occasion to enact legislation. Such polarity is also reflected in our populace.

We are polarized by religion. Some liberal religious leaders may side with the President using Romans 13. Other conservative leaders may say precisely the opposite, reminding folks of the Colonial religious leaders' sermons on opposing government. Other religions may side with whichever one will benefit them the most and offer security.

We are polarized by race. Part of this is blurred by a mix of our ethnicity and personal identification. Some people will support one side based upon racial and ethnic identification.

We are polarized by wealth. A great deal of money is concentrated in very few people, many of who are empowered in government or run industry. The sides they chose will be an initial factor. Anyone with wealth that doesn't have hard assets and a secure means to defend them, may see a change in their status.

If there is a constitutional crisis, where we are unsure of the legitimacy of our leadership, people will generally choose the side that they most identify with, and that they feel will offer them the best chance of survival i.e goods and services.

Since no side will have enough political clout, in the absence of wealth, whomever the military sides with will determine the outcome. That is the way of history.

There is a very good chance that a coalition government could form. Such governments usually tear themselves apart by bickering.

Military leadership doesn't respond well to power vacuums. A strong leadership might evolve as a “temporary” military government. The defense industrialists will support this, as will most industries in critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure leadership is hard-wired to support continuity. A weak coalition government that acts in divisive impotent ways will very likely be subdued.

If a constitutional crisis doesn't unfold, the President may rise to the occasion. He may appeal to patriotism, but without a unifying focus, and such an appeal will fail.

A need for order, a strong military power, and a loss of economic might, could all be spun into rhetoric that persuades the populace, military, and divided leadership to go to War. Read your history books. You know the countries that might become our “enemies”. You know the language that is used to persuade the populace. You know the temporary economic benefits of defense spending.

This is a very likely outcome based upon any murmurs of War as a solution. Watch all the political action committees, their communications, and the media giants.

Most War cannot exist without dehumanizing the enemy. A mind-shift must be created to enable soldiers to kill them. The same mind-shift must occur for the populace to support it. Thoughtful and intelligent folks who have read history can see through propaganda.

The greatest enemy to a country is seldom without. It lies within based upon personal choices made, often financial, and fear.

Few countries can wage war in such a way that allow them to prosper financially and become more secure. Most often it bankrupts countries, and their leadership either transforms, or social upheaval happens.

If Middle Eastern countries are the target, most likely they will be overthrown, but only if total war techniques are employed, such that we have only rarely seen after the 20th Century. A complete mind-shift will have to occur that allow the most effective, but brutal dehumanizing tactics and strategy. That medicine is probably worse than the illness.

A shift to a different currency for oil backed transactions may be considered an declaration of economic warfare.

Empires that sacked cities, transferred wealth back to their own main urban population centers, and annihilated the enemy are the only ones who have used this technique successfully. Their leaders are very often supplanted by their own lieutenants. Their enemies also nipped at their heels, cutting off supplies, and destroyed them.

A target that has stronger deterrents with catastrophic effects cannot be fought using conventional warfare. While they may at first not use their strongest weapon, if they are losing, their resolve and focus will change, and they WILL use their strongest weapon rather than lose them.

Enemies without natural resources to steal after the war are not economically viable as targets. What would be the point?
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Minor economic collapse and a prophetic good leader

The most optimistic outcome of a global economic collapse would be the emergence of a brilliant, moral, eloquent, visionary leader who can motivate and build consensus: the miracle leader. In the absence of economic power, and owing to a lack of solutions, a great communicator with unique ideas for handling a global crisis, that can benefit all, will stand out.

A political leader that is not merely liked, but understands economics, and comprehends what motivates people to action, and can explain that in 15 minutes to the average person, will win the day. Ones that can miraculous speak in sound bites, and are well-liked by the media, will have an easier time of it. Unfortunately, people being shallow, will like beautiful or handsome people more for the same reason.

Seldom can good people work in politics without losing themselves in the process. While they may have entered innocently and altruistically, in order to pass legislation, and build consensus, they take political shortcuts and negotiate to get work accomplished. In addition to this already great obstacle, they must run for re-election which takes time, effort, and lots of money. The people that they take money from generally do this out of self-preservation. Preferential treatment or legislation or something of value is transferred through this process.

Because we are interconnected by globalism, only solutions which benefit global citizens will ultimately be successful.

I'm an isolationist. Everything that I think is focused on the things here at home. That probably will only work if it also doesn't hurt those abroad.

A leader that can find solutions that stabilize the economy within the country, must find some way to negotiate trade in equitable ways to suppliers of imported goods and services.

You send taxes to Washington. Legislation is passed to allocate those taxes. A bureaucrat manages the resources allocated to their division. Salaries and offices are paid. What is left over is dispensed. It is horribly wasteful. Such waste has ramped up so much, for so long, and in such a configuration, that cutting it is extremely difficult to do. Many papers have been written which eloquently describe the difficulties in doing so without creating anarchy.

Worse, since it is so expensive, and taxes come in based upon income, and since many corporations do not pay income tax, promissory notes are generated to make up shortfalls. These are sold to other countries, so in effect they determine fiscal policy. If corporations did pay income taxes then very likely even larger unemployment would occur.

Only a leader with fresh economic ideas, that think outside of this encircling doom cycle, will be able to solve a global economic collapse.

The chances of one person having all of the listed qualities in such a crisis is abysmally and infinitesimally remote.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Minor economic collapse and a solution

Say all the other things happen, and collapse becomes inevitable. There are alternative outcomes, good ones, though long term, and at a price.

We will most likely always be dependent upon oil. It is a natural resource that allows not only transportation to occur, but also fertilizers to be produced such that we can feed our growing population. In addition, it is used to heat our homes, make plastics, create asphalt, waxes, and lubricants.

Despite a huge amount of effort to create green jobs or alternative energy solutions, most have a high investment to begin them, and hence a great difficulty to make them viable.

What isn't generally know, is what I alluded to with petroleum reserves in Alaska and elsewhere. In addition, new energy solutions are available, it's just that most people have not heard of them. Both could be suppressed, as it is currently not in the best interest of the petroleum companies to share their power.

Government is a big part of the problem in its current role. There are limited benefits to any jobs created locally. Part of that is from government regulation.

Wealth creation in the current configuration is largely created from market manipulation. This most often benefits the uber-wealthy. They are a big part of the problem.

Engaging in a foreign war in the Middle East in order to secure oil, maintain the dollar as the currency for oil, and protect the availability of the energy that drives industry, is doomed to failure.

What if we let that situation go straight to Hell? What if we let it descend into anarchy, and pulled out entirely? What if we didn't spend one more dime protecting oil? What if we leave the people of the Middle East to figure out their own problems and stop meddling?

Instead, what if we made it very attractive to produce oil in the USA from our own fields? If there is a drop in the availability of Middle Eastern oil, then it might very well be profitable to produce oil from a stable location instead.

At the same time, what if we decided to develop the backbone to say, “You know what, buying something from an imported source, when we have high unemployment, is folly?”

What if we realized that some of this debt, internal to the country, much of it owed to the Federal Reserve, was electronically created, and is in fact, not debt at all? Ron Paul is working on this. He is the only brilliant man, that understands economics, and has fiscal responsibility, and I think moral.

What if we said, “You know, a precipitous fall in real estate, that results in wide-spread homelessness, and anarchy, might be solvable? What if we forgave the cascading debt that were toxic assets on the bank balance sheets AND forgave the debts to the Americans that owed them? For every dollar that people use to purchase renewable energy sources that have a demonstrable effect on reducing our need for public utilities, another dollar is subtracted from any debts owed from loans. What's more, for every dollar that generates two as wealth, subtracts two from debts owed. People who make more money, through investments or business or income, get progressively more subtracted from their debt.

What if we gave industry tax deferments based entirely and only on income generation based on employment. If 500 people are employed, then whatever those people earn, say $40,000 x 500= 20 million in tax write offs. If the government needs the product, the government negotiates with the industry for a reduced cost and additional tax write-offs splitting the difference. If the government doesn't need the product from industry A, the industry can negotiate with another industry B that does sell product to the government, but needs industry A's material. Cooperation between industries to put people back to work lowers taxes owed.

Rather than purchase any imported products, no import tax is created, but any corporations doing business in the USA that relies on foreign labor get zero tax benefits. In other words, let's say there is a shoe company called Nikki. Nikki making shoes in Thailand, gets no assistance whatsoever in any conceivable fashion from any government agency. ZERO. We make it very difficult to use foreign labor which is dramatically lower than any living wage in the USA. All sales of Nikki products are charged a dramatic utility fee and very high corporate taxes. Media centers who advertise Nikki shoes pay a severely high charge for any media license from the FCC. Transportation companies that move Nikki shoes from ports, across land in trucks, or by rail pay stupendously high fees on any any roadways, rails, or waterway passage. Stock ownership of Nikki is banned from the stock exchange. Mutual funds who invest in Nikki pay huge penalties that make ownership prohibitive.

It's not a tax, it's just no longer beneficial to send in cheap goods anymore. Owning Nikki shoes is considered very bad form and unpatriotic. Meanwhile we put our best minds together in engineering and the arts. We offer great reductions in student loans for every invention of an alternative and attractive shoe design that is inexpensive to produce and attractive to wear. Not only that, but industries can purchase the designs from anyone who can develop them. These funds are first deducted from the student's government backed loans, to help them leave college with progressively lower debt.

We do this sort of innovation in every possible industry within our country involving as many people as can work, design, or reduce costs while turning out superior products. People who develop the least expensive ways of growing nutritious, tasty, food in ways that do not harm the soil, get similar tax benefits and debt reduction. If one makes more debt reduction then can use them, they are either given away by choice by the creators, or sold to other debt holders to reduce their debts, but paying the person who sells them at a designated time after employment is reached. That income is non-taxable.

The most basic items that are used up the quickest, but are not created within our country, are the primary industries we begin to work on.

People who can motivate the ill to better health, and can show a reduction in medical costs as a result of weight loss, better adherence to prescription taking, reduced blood pressure, etc get tax deductions or simply pay zero tax on that income. The bad health of a growing older population, and an increasingly overweight general population costs the country an enormous amount of money.

Ms. Jones is 35 lbs overweight. She has high blood pressure of 160/90 and is depressed and on antidepressants. She's taking Prozac, HCTZ as a diuretic, and beta blockers. A voluntary benchmark goal is made to reduce her weight to 20lbs overweight, lower her BP to 140/90, and see about taking weekly group therapy as well as guided nature walks and volunteer time at a place of her choice. Another evaluation will take place in a year. If her goals are met, she will probably be happier, healthier, and the cost of her present medical care will drop. If she continues on a treatment protocol that continues to improver her health, she will likely greatly reduce her medical care costs, give back in meaningful ways, be happier, reduce her prescription needs, and everyone wins. The medical team that gets income from her treatment pays zero tax on any money that she generated if she makes her goal.

All income that generates new wages, allows for a reduction in government costs, makes our planet cleaner, etc is tax-free. Just like the medical team approach, a similar method of benchmarking is applied for innovation and improvement.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
A plausible worst case scenario

I've struggled with this one. We've seen many examples in the movies or in books. They are stories meant to educate, but also to make money, and hence they are very dramatic since that sells. It's entertaining to watch a hero struggle with a scenario, find or rediscover love, and save the day. The reason is simple, we love to be entertained. It pulls away from our own problems albeit temporarily.

Aristotle felt drama was cathartic. We see their lives played out, it generates empathy, we put ourselves in the role, all the same hormones are generated, and we live through them vicariously. It's also a roller coaster, and the excitement, buildup, fear, and release is enjoyable to most.

A worst case scenario could be horrific. Any student of history can look up wars and their effects. Look up Fort Delaware or Andersonville, and see Man's inhumanity to Man. Look up great natural disasters in which there were large inefficient delays in relief teams' efforts. Research refugees like the Sudanese Lost Boys, and generations in refugee camps, starvation, fear, abuse, etc.

In the case of a global economic collapse, Americans could die in enormous numbers from malnutrition, hunger, disease, abuse, murder, suicide, drug abuse, accidents, lack of medicine, execution for theft, or simply a lack of preparation. If everyone in other countries has problems, who will come and help us? Most relief efforts come from the USA, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Canada, UK, France, and Germany. Other nations are certainly involved and have done heroic things like Russia and China but not in as high numbers. Most of those nations will be in a similar struggle for their survival. All of them may be.

I think Norway is in pretty good shape, but what do I know? Go Norway! Viking people are tough. Canada has such a low density in population, they likely are fine. They know how to live when it's cold. They have abundant natural resources. Not too great a growing season though. They did get a huge batch of radioactive fallout from Fukushima, which is tragic.

In the US cities, we could see a drop of 90% of citizens based upon a lack of carrying capacity and the transportation of supplies. If we look at all cities, that would be equivalent to 276 million deaths, a number so large, a quarter of a billion people, that it is staggering and unfathomable, and hence dismissed.

The reason we dismiss that number is that it seems impossibly high. Think rationally, not based on fear. Imagine a lack of food. This means it must be shipped in. From where? How will it be shipped? Who will distribute it? Besides those issues, the larger issue is that the problem is not localized. If it were, then we could rob Peter to pay Paul. We borrow supplies, people, and transportation vehicles to deliver it there. Whoever distributes the supplies must similarly be fed, housed, and cared for.

The worst doesn't usually happen. Take a breath. Whew. We're probably not extras in “The Road” waiting for our death-scenes.

That said, if the SHTF in a dramatic way, it could get medieval. Worse really. Having a little common sense, and preparing, and knowing some skills, being part of the solution, could save a lot of lives.

In the worst case scenario, too little is done too late. Riots break out, and cannot be handled by the local police. Military cannot be transported fast enough. Criminals take over and steal critical supplies before they can seized by local officials and the National Guard.
Soldiers stationed overseas may be stranded in a worse case scenario. They could get cut off from their means of getting home. Enemies might attack transports to prevent resupplying. Even in relatively calm locations, a lack of working infrastructure could mean an inability to simply feed them.

Missing a critical window of opportunity several times could spell doom.

Citizens will be on their own to maintain some semblance of order. Most have minimal defense capabilities, not anything that will allow a standoff to work for any length of time. Gangs of marauders easily penetrate households. Horrific deaths and worse occur by people without scruples or morals.

Fleeing citizens, separated from the meager supplies, die from lack of food and medicine mostly. If the weather is bad, then a lot will die from exposure since they've never slept outside. Some campers will survive, for a bit longer, and having some food, they might make it until that runs out. Many don't or won't hunt. Hunters will make it, that understand the need to trap. They'll save their weapons for protection, will probably band together, and I hope can maintain their humanity. Some of this group will die, as some accidents happen, marauders repelled, and food becomes scarce.

Migrations of people will occur as local carrying capacity will not support the hunter groups. They'll move away from the populated areas, and look for areas of fishing and game. Abandoned houses will be checked for goods to liberate.

The dead will be everywhere and unburied. The rot will draw insects based upon the weather and season. Disease will be transmitted though the vectors of insects, rats, birds, and into the water supply. Careless survivors will also pollute the water supply.

Rural citizens will be spared a little, but have their difficulty after a month or two. Clashes between hunter/gatherers from larger cities and local rural hunter/gatherers might very well happen. That is entirely plausible. Nervous shots could be fired as either group is unsure of the other's motives. On the prairie, many deaths occurred because of competition for food or perceived or actual invasion.

Some soldiers, officials, and a handful of citizens might band together. I wonder for how long? Many are married and have families. They'll be worried unless their loved ones are taken care of. Food has been stockpiled, but it will have to be distributed, and since chaos will be going on, dangerous to move. Central warehouses of supplies may sit undisturbed with a few guarding them, and no one coming to get them, and then, the wrong people coming to liberate them.

Late refugees, half starved, will attempt to cross into perceived areas of plenty, and die of disease, starvation, exposure, or a lack of knowledge. They hid in the larger cities, harvested undiscovered supplies from the homes of the dead, but once picked clean, have nervously dallied too long to make a migration.

The winners of any late battles may be the ones who have eaten in the last 48 hours. It may come down to who has the strength to repel another, not arms or tactics, as people will be so low on energy that they'll be unable to be effective.

Most wounded people will die. Anyone needing surgery will die. Many more pregnant mothers will die along with their babies. It will far more horrific than Hell Hieronymus Bosch dreamed up.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Historical means of coping with severe conditions

As state budgets feel the pinch, and then burden, and the mounting concern of dealing with growing homelessness and poverty, look for some of these to be implemented. Most should be red flags as to the seriousness of the situation.

The USDA Commodities Program
Prior to the prevalence of the food stamp program, the commodities program created a market for US farmers. Food was canned in generic containers and distributed to supplement the poor. It was thought that this would improve nutrition, especially among young unwed mothers, who might be very young, and without mentors, who might not know what foods would be most nutritious for new families.

While there are some remnants of the program, as food stamp numbers increase, and little control exists over food purchases, a possibility exists for a switch back to this. It is expensive for the government to ordinarily warehouse food, create contracts for canning food, and working out any contracts from farmers directly.

Debtor Colonies
With issues in food prices increasing, and a large and growing unemployment, I can foresee debtor colonies being created. Unemployed folks may be assessed as to skill level. In some cases, I can see a relocation program to move poor unemployed people to debtor colonies to grow food, can it, or distribute it.

You know how that worked in the former Soviet Union. Let those with ears to hear, hear.

It may be sold at first to help with homelessness. Large numbers may either be prey to crime, or cause crime, and if there are events with theft, homeless folks may be blamed either rightly or wrongly.

Remember Manzanar. Remember Camp Blanding. Remember Fort Lincoln.

I know what you're thinking. I'm way ahead of you. Someone will oversee the running of these camps. The military is a probable candidate. Others may be hired to put them to work as guards.

CCC or Civilian Conservation Corp

During the Great Depression, there were many unemployed young men that worked in public works programs in a variety of ways. Some built state parks, or added to them. Others worked on crumbling infrastructure like bridges. Since we have both issues, you can bet someone is doing a case study to determine the feasibility of a work camp in central locations to feed and house the poor and put them to work to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. They'll most likely look at the cost/benefit ratio versus the political backlash and amount of spin-doctoring to get it to work. It could start out very innocently by well meaning people. If you see a lot of history being touted about the enormous help of the CCC, rolled out as pablum for the masses, you should wake up.

Illegal immigrant might also be placed in temporary areas, and slowly relocated in cycles toward the Mexican border and repatriated.

Drug offenders might be moved from prisons to reduce the costs of running them, and produce goods.

What other things from history can you think of that societies did to the poor? Debtor prisons comes to mind. Many times, those who couldn't pay their debts, or had no family to pay their debts, were given a choice or sent to remote colonies. If they paid someone off, and returned home, and were caught, they could be executed.

If you owe billions and are a banker, you get bailed out. If you owe thousands, and cannot pay, you might end up in prison.

Can you foresee a day, when you cannot pay your mortgage and loans, and become not only homeless, but in prison? The whole time, the interest keeps being added to your principal. You could end up with little recourse as you do owe the money and cannot pay.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Inertia and mind-shift

Inertia is a physical phenomena that can be easily observed. Inertia is a property of matter to stay in an unchanged state unless acted upon by outside forces that overcome gravity, one force that presses down upon it, holding it fast.

Inertia affects people too. If nothing motivates them, inspires them, and they are not acted upon by an outside force that exerts more than gravity, then they will generally sit there like a bump on a log.

A mind can wake. Some event happens, and our senses perceive it. We may at first deny the phenomena, but then experience (past observation) will lead us to make an analysis. “Does the phenomena pose a threat to my banal existence?” If so, we respond. If not, we dismiss it. If somewhere in the middle, we prioritize it.

When multiple events happen, and reinforces a survival mechanism, we act. If our analysis is weak, or lacks previous experience, or we don't have resources to act, then the means of response will be incorrect or not powerful enough to do anything that helps.

The fight or flight response is often poorly executed. Since it reacts, in the greatest speed, and uses lower cognitive patterns to determine a result, faulty response often occurs.

Waking up is the first step. The next is harder, it is to build experiences to determine proper analysis. The next step is even harder, it is to respond and not react.

The difficulty in responding is that it takes greater time than reacting. The military knows this. The only way to make better soldiers respond and not react, is to build muscle memory, teaching them how to respond through command, over and over and over again, until it becomes the conditioned response.

All of this is a gestalt of the process of the mind-shift. Very select samurai who studied Zen tried to do this, and do one more step: Mushin or “no-mind”

Mushin is one more evolutionary step on the mind-shift ladder. Mushin is an intuitive response that becomes almost “supernatural”. I don't like that word, it is inadequate. It implies something magical when it's is something attainable, particularly when a little beyond young, but before getting too old to respond.

It is a state of not thinking about anything else in that instant, and responding to that perceived phenomena in an appropriate response that borders on the supernatural.

The process of responding requires energy. For humans that comes from calories. Low caloric intake results in hunger and slower responses. Being able to secure a steady caloric intake coupled with experience and learning and adaptation and a proper response- these will save you and help you thrive.

Most of us are creatures of routine. We sleep-walk through life, in a state of deep denial and a lack of experience and a lack of response. It hurts our pride, but we are obtuse. Understanding that “our need for comfort has lulled us into becoming obtuse” is a very good start to beginning to prepare. Seeing that flaw in our character is part of the process of waking up. Observing the times that we act in a certain way, don't react, step outside of our selves, and then respond is called maturity.

Ever watch a caterpillar? Brother caterpillar eats and sleeps and moves to more food. Brother caterpillar is the state of being for most humans. Many never go further up the ladder of enlightenment.

Chrysalis is the next step. We cannot change until we consume enough things that nourish us, and dream of who we can become. We are “becoming” always. In that “state of the dream” many people get trapped. We call them “dreamers”: they are frustrated visionaries. Some never emerge from their pupa state, forever trapped and frustrated.

True metamorphosis is difficult. You might not have observed a butterfly emerge. It is a very powerful struggle, and a dark pigment that looks like blood drips from them as they shake, quiver, thrust, and finally break the pupa outer covering to emerge.

That process allows their wings to pump up with blood, the only way that they can fly. If someone tries to guide Brother caterpillar, it will fail. Is someone tries to open a Chrysalis too early, it will fail. If someone tries to help the new creature pump up their wings, they will break.

Mostly people are like that. Since we are the creature that reasons and learns, we can impart teaching, demonstrate it in our lives, and luckily guide other people, but never help them turn into the final creation.

What's more, the Way of mentors, what we think and do, is not necessarily the best way. It is often the worst way for them, and they must choose their own path. It may not, and probably isn't the ideal way for us. I call this the Way. The journey is the way of determining the best outcome and responding to course-correct that path. It is never straight. Outside forces affect its progress.

Humility is the centering force that focuses the straight path of the Way.

A butterfly lives a very short life once it finally matures. Sad, isn't it? By the time we figure something out, we are ready to die, either ready to return to the Source, or weakened by infirmity.

Sometimes a young person is accelerated along a pathway of understanding. We sometimes call them savants or geniuses. Most of the time, the other lack of maturity in their development hinder their progress.

Oh that we could either bottle experience and wisdom, or have the experience of Brother caterpillar at the same time. It's just not usually possible. The process of raising children is an attempt to do this.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/15/2011 04:51 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Altering and recalibrating and forming a mind-shift

What we initially think or perceive is rarely accurate. This is the reason, in a military operation, you seek new “intelligence”. We don't have all the answers. We don't know everything. What we do “know” is most likely wishful thinking or faulty.

Time and intelligence gathering hones our analysis.

Long periods of time pass, and only then does the truest analysis happen.

Hope is essential to community; hope however is not a plan.

What we need versus what we want versus what would be great to have versus the ideal is all part of re-calibration. We may want more food, a warmer environment, cleaner better tasting water, more meat, more sleep, less worries, etc.

In a SHTF scenario, many outside and random and intentional forces are acting on us. The natural response generally follows the Kubler-Ross model of grief: DABDA. This is an excellent thing to memorize. In a SHTF scenario, most of the sheeple or sleepers are grieving. You are too, you're just adapting better through recalibration of your outlook.

DABDA: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. This is the most important aspect of community coping that a leader will need to know. Most people will be somewhere along this journey of grieving. Stepping outside and responding is called “coping”. Coping happens by deliberate intelligent choices + affection and love. People are social creatures and cope within community. People without a community tend to become suicidal when grieving and not having a source of affection and love.

A leader doesn't allow the community to “react” and go through the stages of grief without mentoring them. Mostly, grieving people just want to talk and manifest their grief through words and actions. “We lend them our calmness and be present with them, with minimal advice and maximal affection.” What they desire is an acknowledgment of the legitimacy of their grief. They will come to terms with it gradually, working through the stages, and accept it, altering their mind-shift or outlook. Acceptance and Hope emerge.

You do not need everything that you are used to. You can survive on a lot less, knowing that at some point on the path you will have something more comfortable. This is Hope.

The more that someone has higher levels of sustenance, the more relaxed they are. The higher a person's coping skills, the less sustenance they need. Experiences that make sustenance gathering happen more often and more completely make coping easier. The three voices meet and negotiate to make an altered and recalibrated outlook. That process is a mind-shift.

Reframing what is food, water, acceptable temperature, and shelter will make responding easier. Children look to you for guidance. If you reframe that this food is acceptable, then they will too over time.

Laughter and commiserating with a joke are classic and healthy ways of coping. There's a scene in the movie Shoot to Kill. [link to www.imdb.com] In it, a FBI agent works with a mountain guide to help rescue his girlfriend who is also a trained guide. Her kidnapper won't let them have a fire, so she reframes, and bites into the raw fish she just caught and says, “Okay, let's eat sushi!” This is a very healthy way to cope through laughter.

Breakfast in some African communities is cow's milk and blood. For a Japanese person, it might be soybean paste soup, rice, and pickles. For a hungry American it might be something as small as a protein shake, a piece of buttered toast, or bacon and eggs. All of these are reframed responses to what is an acceptable breakfast.

Eating a reheated stew of grilled rabbit, some field greens, tubers, flavored with wild garlic, and boosted with unmentionables, may be your breakfast. It would be an extravagant one of plenty or a miserable one based upon reframing.

A debris hut could be an itchy uncomfortable dark horrible shelter, or it could be a perfectly camouflaged, warm, waterproof burrow of safety.

Gathered dew with a cloth from nearby grasses could cause you to feel repelled by concept of cleanliness, or it could be a life sustaining free gift from the Source, no less miraculous than mana in the desert.
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2011 05:01 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
if you live in a neighborhood... organize the residents to also protect the whole area... like close off roads with cars so no one can drive through and then take watches.

My good friends in New Orleans did this after Katrina for there were gangs with oozies running around. But they did not enter area that looked guarded. They went for easy prey. So my friends area only needed to shoot of a round of warning bullet and the gang left... It is better to work in larger groups like a full street or neighborhood. If you live in one with restricited roads it is easier to guard.

Make no mistake...living in the woods is scarier for if a group finds you and your family they can torture you for days and no one knows it.

when coming home, keep a eye out for anyone hidding to get you as you enter your front door.. This is another way people can hold up in your house, eat your food, rape anyone, etc. This is where most of the illegal entry happens.

Wasp spray will temporary blind intruders, and the police dept. told us this! It will spray far and with a direct stream... it is cheap and easy. Then you can duck tape them and throw them out in to the street... etc.