Urban Survival Primer Introduction


That poor bird. I was sitting in the car a few years ago in the parking lot of a convenience store when I took this picture with a Motorola Razor. I remember thinking, "We're not going to make it." Of course, that is inaccurate. We will make it, we will survive just about anything. Sure, our world will probably resemble the fictional world you see in the movie "Soylent Green," but we will survive. Basically, THE BIG SECRET that people started dying over in the movie Soylent Green was the fact that hypoxia was so bad in the oceans that the oceans were dying. Hmm...something to think about...go and do some reading on that subject...there are dead zones in The Chesapeake Bay as well...and The Gulf of Mexico...The Mississippi River.

There is also apparently evidence that there was a problem with hypoxia in the past without the use of modern fertilizers, for example. So, there are cycles to nature, to our planet, that we don't quite understand just yet and in our rush to judgement and tendency towards arrogance...we think we do everything negative on the planet. When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, we never heard about "El Nino" or "La Nina." Everybody is freaking out about "Global Warming" which has now morphed into "Global Climate Change." Please don't E-mail me to tell me all about it because chances are, you don't know, either. When you consider we have only been keeping weather records since around the time of The American Civil War, and you combine that with the fact that the people that are promoting all of the weather-related gloom and doom cannot even accurately predict the weather next week, a year from now or three years from now, let alone decades from now, you begin to see we're being confronted with used car salesmen.

On to...Urban Survival...my own views of the problems associated with surviving in an urban environment - sometimes funny and almost always sarcastic. I hope...always entertaining and very informative for the most part. This "primer" was originally in pieces and written over a period of years and appeared in various incarnations on a couple forums, now defunct, and a couple blogs I have had. This "article" was a pile of blocks and I went in and arranged them just a little bit better and used a bunch of mortar to fill in the cracks.

This "article" is more like a small book but it is online and it is free. The only drawback is, it is disjointed at times because it is a collection of thoughts and was not really put together as a cohesive article in the classic sense. I'm sure that some online degenerate will steal the entire thing or whole passages. Happens all the time.

I'm not writing an article about grammar or proper English. Probably obvious, huh? Ignore the typos or stupidity that I am occasionally guilty of. Besides, I have read many online articles that people get paid to write and they make more mistakes than I do, so there!

Consider the "Parts" as "Chapters" with a lot of bleedover between subjects. Almost a "stream of consciousness" type of article...but not quite. I picked it up and put it down so many times. A month and a half after I re-visited Hurricane Katrina in this article, seven years later - to the day, August 29, Hurricane Issac hit New Orleans. I would write something about public shooters and then a couple would happen. Not prophetic at all, it just goes to show that some type of calamity is happening all of the time and we have better reporting of it and more and more craven politicians taking advantage of tragedies.

The ideas and multiple lists of things in this article are not all-inclusive. This is not the be-all, end-all guide to urban survival. In fact, it's not really a guide to urban survival at all. It's a collection of ideas and information about urban survival - just another piece of a very large and complicated puzzle. If you don't see something you think should have been in here, that might be because I forgot it, didn't know about it or...I just didn't include it for some other reason. There are some things I know a lot about but won't write about, you have to read between the lines on some things.

I had some fun with colored text in this article. If you like it, that's great! If you donn't, I'm sorry about that. But just because a guy in Fishtit, Wisconsin doesn't like it doesn't mean I'm going to change it or not do something like this in the future.

Also, this is very important - if you are offended by mild profanity, go no further. Don't E-mail me and tell me that you don't appreciate the language after you have been warned about it. I did not drop "THE F-BOMB" even though I am a totally fluent bombardier in that portion of The Classic American Vernacular. There is, however, some mild profanity. I don't "cuss" because I am "stupid" or "unintelligent" or "lack a vocabulary" and it's not because I am otherwise unable to express myself. When I "cuss," it is because I want to, that's the word I wanted to use. So, save any lecture on morality or intelligence you feel like writing. While it might apply to other people, it certainly doesn't apply to me and as far as the morality aspects, I don't think God cares about certain words. I think there is enough stuff going on in the world for The Creator to have his hands full without worrying about words...so, have fun. - Don


Charm City


Urban Survival Primer


Urban Survival - Types of Disasters, Sheltering In Place and Evacuating...

Just what is "Urban Survival" anyway?


Recognition - "We have a problem" or "Potential problems loom..." Types of problems - not all-inclusive...


Well, what a controversial topic! Urban Survival is a very in-depth subject indeed. We are going to talk about day-to-day survival topics and spice it up with natural and manmade disaster preparations, too. Also, don't let the word "urban" become a stumbling block. There is stuff in this article that applies to suburbs, rural and wilderness areas, too.

Natural and manmade compound disasters - two prime examples are Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana and the entire incident at Fukushima in Japan.

Hurricane Katrina was a powerful hurricane, everyone knows that. Fifty-three (53) tornadoes formed across six states due to the Hurricane Katrina weather system/event. Then the levees failed and the geographic bowl that is New Orleans filled with a toxic soup of sewage, every fluid you find in vehicles and more chemicals than I even want to contemplate from various industries in the devastated areas. This is the compound disaster - a natural disaster that combines with a manmade disaster and in this case, multiple manmade disasters.

I have this picture that I have saved, of a man and a woman in New Orleans with backpacks on, and they are wading through that toxic soup up to their chest. I can't use it because I don't even know who the original photographer is so I can ask permission. It is an awesome picture, really. Pictures can teach you things. You can ask yourself questions:

• I have sensitive things in my pack, what can I do to better waterproof my critical gear in the pack?

(There are "Dry Bags" used for various water-related outdoor activities like SCUBA Diving, etc. ALOKSAK Bags are like a Ziplok Baggy on steroids. Look them up and then purchase multiples of different sizes that suit your needs. Emergency equipment like wireless phones, portable HAM Radios and even pictures of your family can be ruined by one slip and fall into the water. Sure, it is an emotional thing, you can survive without pictures of your loved ones if you are evacuating but for a few dollars you can purchase a lot of protection for these precious possessions, so why not? Another consideration is having bone-dry emergency tinder to start fires with. One of my favorite devices for storing tinder are 2-Liter Bottle Pre-Forms. These are sometimes called by various names, "2-Liter Baby Bottles" and all sorts of things. Imagine an incredibly tough test tube with thick, plastic walls and threaded to accept a common 2-Liter Bottle soda cap. When these are placed on the proper equipment and very hot air is forced into them, a standard 2-Liter Soda Bottle is made. You can also obtain these for very little money on the Internet. Just one of them would hold hundreds of multi-gigabyte Micro SD Cards, for example. Use your imagination.)

• What if you stepped into an open storm drain? Better yet, how can you prevent that from happening?

(The drop into that system would have probably been a fatal one - hiking staffs and stout canes are not just suitable for "wilderness survival" but are priceless in some urban survival scenarios as well and this is one of them - as a probe to probe the ground around you for obstructions. It also gives maximum distance against knife-wielding attackers and attackers armed with bludgeons that are shorter than the staff.)

• Can I make a raft of some type if I cannot otherwise obtain a raft, canoe or small boat?

(This is also a crossover between classic "wilderness survival" and urban survival. Sure, floods like the mess in New Orleans are not every day occurences, but they do happen and sometimes it is just from massive rainfall.)

• If I could not make a raft large enough for myself and perhaps another person, could I improvise a raft at least large enough to carry the pack or more critical gear?

Fukushima. The name will go down in history with that of Chernobyl. The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami - natural disasters - led to this terrible event at this nuclear power plant - natural disaster leading into a compound, manmade disaster - and we don't even know the long-term consequences that we will all suffer from it. No one in a position to do so is interested in telling everyone the potential long term consequences.

Consider something like a massive outbreak leading to mass casualties from another round of deadly flu like the legendary "Spanish Flu" of the early 1900s. Look at how many nuclear power plants there are in The United States and consider our aging...and dare I say...antiquated power grid. If we had hundreds of thousands or even millions of deaths from influenza or anything like that type of outbreak which included several waves of the deadly flu from January 1918 to December 1920, how many of those power plants would be shut down properly before something terrible happened? Then, what would happen if those power plants were properly shut down but left vast portions of the country without power for months or a few years?

Serious things to ponder.

Earthquakes are, obviously, a very serious threat to the urbanite. Wildfires and mudslides? Not so much, but could offer some problems that could touch the life of the urban dweller. Magically, if you place "sub" in front of "urban," they become much more of a threat, don't they?

As I was updating a lot of this portion of the article, a train derailed near Columbus, Ohio and many people had to be evacuated out of their homes. The train had multiple tanker cars with ethanol. As a matter of fact, if you research train wrecks over the last half a century you will be absolutely stunned at the number of them and it has been pure luck that a real tragedy has not happened. Let me put it this way, if I had enough money to live anywhere in the country that I wanted to and didn't have to worry about being in close proximity to employment, etc., I wouldn't live within 75 - 100 miles of a railroad. Or a major highway, for that matter.

On to the real ugliness - there is the threat of social unrest which can be caused by financial crisis, unpopular laws being passed, globalism conferences, police activities viewed as unfair, illegal and/or immoral. The list is a long one but just the few things I have mentioned have happened in the last twenty years. It doesn't matter what your position is on "globalism" or some police department's use of force policies or should bankers really be referred to as "banksters?" What matters is, when these types of events occur, they can be life-threatening, that's all that matters. You might despise protestors but you have to understand that when something like a riot gets going, it becomes a living, breathing thing. And you can shout to the riot control police, "But I agree with YOU guys!" Basically, that isn't going to get you anywhere - you're probably going to get your ass beat. So, you have to be able to identify these types of situations and then avoid them because once you are in them, it's too late and your chances of escaping unscathed are greatly diminished. Again, it is important to remember that your political ideology, station in life, employment, none of that matters.


Sheltering In Place - a/k/a "Staying Put."


There are short, intermediate and long term survival situations which could befall any urban area. In the short term, it is probably best to Shelter In Place (S.I.P.). Even then, you may find yourself in such a dangerous situation that you can no longer extract yourself from it.

Worse yet, there are certain types of terrorist attacks where you would have to SIP but in so doing, you leave yourself vulnerable to danger in the aftermath of that terrorist action. What that means is, you can survive the terrorist action by Sheltering In Place and then fall prey to the actions of people who are more of a criminal opportunist than good neighbor.

Or maybe they will be incredibly desperate to the point of crossing over from "good neighbor" to "criminal opportunist."

How will you react if your "good neighbor" of over a decade all of the sudden turns into a "criminal opportunist" or a raving lunatic? This is the reality of these types of situations.

Sometimes, adversity brings out the best in people but I think we can all agree that what it really does is bring out extremes. It does bring out the best in people...it also brings out the worst in others.

There are all kinds of people but I am not going to sit here and say that everyone is going to turn into a monster and eat people...I am also not going to say that all of the predatory or desperate human beings are going to change and help their fellow man.

How would you react if a loved one could not obtain lifesaving medication? Please spare me all of the, ”I will prepare so well beforehand that this will never be a consideration…ALL looters should be shot on sight.” You are going to be one sorry individual if your plans go the way of many well thought out plans…right into the commode. No one can possibly make those types of predictions unless they are a hopeless optimist or a fool.

Anything other than short-term SIP?

Get out of the urban environment, you are already in over your head.

Now, some people can prepare and survive. Look at some of the people during Hurricane Katrina and in the aftermath of it in New Orleans.

Some of the people knew that they had high enough ground that they would be safe and they had food and other supplies stockpiled and they had the all-important gear necessary for real-world survival - firearms.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some people were disarmed by the police. I'm not talking about hoodlums out running the streets robbing, raping and pillaging, I'm talking about people in their homes not threatening anyone. They trusted the authorities and opened the door and told them the truth and they were disarmed for cooperating.

You have to think of all of this stuff beforehand and come up with workable and survivable solutions to deal with these realities because this is not stupid propaganda, these things actually happened and it is quite likely to happen again.

So...now...understand...firearms are not the panacea for all problems. You can have all of the high-tech armament in the world and you can know how to use it - but if you don't have a place to keep them so secure that you can foil confiscatory actions via a cursory search by military and/or law enforcement personnel then what good are they? I know how some of the more radical people will answer a question like this and I won't even talk about that sort of thing, it's a noisy version of suicide, so, it's your funeral.

In any event, firearms still won't purify water or do one hundred other tasks that you will need to know how to do. All of that having been said, you will find it hard and sometimes impossible in some situations to keep your supplies, especially food and medications, if you don't have the FINAL WORD of AUTHORITY when it comes to your shelter. If you don't have the means to repel boarders, they might just take your shelter from you...and a whole lot more. When dialing 9-1-1 is not an option because you get a recording saying all circuits are busy or the call won't even go through, you have to have the same basic capability of the police officer - the ability to put an end to a violent criminal assault. Very simple, not rocket science.

You will find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to use logic on someone who is illogical, reason with the unreasonable or be rational with the irrational. This is where force comes into the picture and, yes, I know that is ugly but reality is sometimes an ugly, unfair thing that we have to deal with.


Continue on to Urban Survival Primer Part Two

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