> TEOTWAWKI Blog: What will TEOTWAWKI look like?



What will TEOTWAWKI look like?

While trying to predict the exact cause and magnitude of an unexpected, low probability Black Swan type event is difficult and potentially futile, having some kind of reality-based risk assessment is essential in guiding your preparations.

"The end of the world" could come in a great many forms. It certainly has if you look back over examples found in history--from war to natural disaster to pandemic--crap hit the fan events have come in many shapes and sizes.

Many take the approach of preparing for the literal worst-case, Mad Max-level scenario. EMP, nuclear war, the zombie apocalypse--if you're prepared for any of these, you're prepared for anything, right?
While focusing on such a severe event can ultimately square you away for most anything, it can also lead to some unintended consequences like:
  • Allocation of scarce resources (cash, time) to things that will ultimately help you out in a few, very extreme cases (e.g., blowing thousands to have an EMP-proof vehicle, tens of thousands on a fallout shelter, hundreds of thousands on a remote mountain retreat, etc.)
  • Similarly, draw focus those resources away from assets and skills that will help out in more common cases (e.g. financial safety net, skill with a handgun)
  • Leaving would-be survivalist-types feeling intimidated or exhausted by the scope of preparations needed 
There are many in the survival blog-o-sphere who talk about keeping 'preparations' practical and reality based, versus going off the deep-end into selling everything you own and dumping it into a bunker in Northern Idaho.

I try to be one of those practical, reality-based dudes, though I am certainly as guilty as any of being occasionally unfocused and easily distracted, bouncing around to projects and leaving many halfway finished. Keeping things grounded and focused on where they should be is a regular struggle.

To me, the smartest way to keep things practical and focusing resources in the right places is by having an accurate assessment of the scope of risks--how bad things are likely to get.

War gaming potential scenarios is one way, but can often slip down the path to the fantastical. Analyzing current and historical events from around the world is another.

Economies collapse, governments go bad and civil wars break out fairly regularly, so one doesn't need to look too hard to find examples. Do you think your neighborhood will become like current-day Ciudad Juarez?  Argentina circa 1998-2002? 1970s Rhodesia? Sadr City circa-2008? WWII-era Stalingrad?

How do people survive those kinds of environments? What are the impacts? What do successful survival strategies look like? What is useful, what isn't?

There are endless examples out there to work from and some good resources from been there, done that people in the survival-sphere like FerFAL from Surviving in Argentina and Selco at SHTFSchool.

Of course, these guys are drawing from a sample size of one - what they went through during their event. You can't predict what your situation will look like, so it's especially helpful to look for common themes across events to draw from. Across real world events, what did successful survival strategies look like? What strategies failed?

For example, there are countless examples of people bugging out to safety, but it's not usually strapping on a 70 pound backpack and heading into the mountains to live off the land. It's more like throwing the kids into the family sedan and driving through the night to safe territory, sneaking across the border or bribing your way onto a flight. 

I'm actually kicking around the idea of doing some data gathering and pulling together some analysis around these kinds of questions--various crap hit the fan-level events, their impacts and survival strategies that worked versus those that didn't have. No promises on whether that will materialize, but it would be interesting.

Anyways - some thoughts that I've been bouncing through my skull.

What's your point of view? What scope of event are you preparing for? If a crap hits the fan event hits, how bad do you think things might get? Do you take current or historical events into account when planning?