Day to Day City Living, Self-Defense Concepts, Avoidance through Awareness.
Getting back to the fundamental problems of surviving in an urban environment. If you live in a city, you should be practicing your skills every day. That doesn't mean you SIP for a weekend and drink beer, there is a pun in there somewhere, every time you leave your home, you should be aware of your surroundings. There are so many situations, Self-defense situations, that don't have to happen if you are simply aware of your surroundings. Just like defensive driving, you should always be aware of what people are doing around you and constantly searching for your "Out."
Your "Out" is your escape route. The route to safety and you should always be cautious when people try to block (box) you in and limit your Out.
If people box you in on the highway, limiting your choices of escape, then you can get into a situation where you become involved in a vehicular crash. You see the event start to unfold and then, all too late, you search for the avenue of escape in a panic and then the crash happens. Check your mirrors every ten seconds or so. That's what I was taught in professional defensive driving courses I had to take. (No, not high-speed, low-drag courses like Bondurant. That would be a dream.)
Criminals actively seek out people who are not aware of their surroundings and who are not paying attention and they deliberately seek to put you into the situation where you have no Out or where the only apparent Out you have is blocked by the criminal's friends, family and associates in the form of an ambush. The ambush will be a very short and very violent act.
There are some situations where there is no escape, you will have to fight your way to the Out. Don't believe people who make a living writing books and articles who tell you otherwise. There are people that make a really good living telling people that they are going to be okay and that fighting is hardly ever the answer to anything. Or that firearms or knives or violence itself solves nothing.
Here is a common lie, "violence does not solve anything."
Here is a nasty truth - violence does not solve every problem. However, if you find yourself in one of those situations where only violence will solve the problem and you are incapable of producing the quality and quantity of violence that the situation demands, you will perish.
You have to have the capability to fight with and without weapons because sometimes the escape route is blocked or the only available escape route is a carefully planned ambush because your avenue of escape was given to you and that is the Fatal Funnel.
Living a life with these things in mind (looking for your "Out," etc.) is no more emotionally cumbersome than driving defensively, it is no more "paranoid" than defensive driving.
Ignore people that inform you otherwise.
Have you ever watched a driver do something in a parking lot that was so incredibly stupid and their car is beat all to hell from multiple minor accidents?
How do you think their car got to be that way?
They don't care. They're morons. Take note of their bumperstickers, you will learn a lot about people.
Speaking of bumperstickers...unless it is AAA and you have AAA, don't advertise all of your likes, dislikes, loves, hates...just don't. Political bumper stickers...hey...there are always plenty of people on BOTH sides of the political spectrum that are ready, willing and able to do something to their political opposition.
So, it's a pain in the ass to come out of the mall and see that you have some glass busted or a tire flattened because someone didn't like the message you thought so valuable and wished to convey to the rest of the world. Guess what? In certain survival situations, that's a death sentence. You get into some societal devolution situation and your bumpersticker can become a rage magnet. So, choose carefully! I don't put that stuff on my vehicle anymore.
Do you have any idea how many simple verbal parking lot engagements have ended up in fatalities as well as long hospital and prison stays? This country is so polarized and if you think people on either side of politics in this country are above doing stuff like this, you are obviously an incurable optimist and I have no idea why you are reading survival articles to begin with.
The NRA and other pro-gun decals are great. There was a time in my life that I have had them on my vehicles. No more. There are just too many authoritarian "think tanks" publishing "intelligence bulletins" and warning law enforcement about people with NRA decals and similar decals on vehicles. And they are not informing law enforcement that these people are good, law-abiding Citizens. Quite the contrary. So, act accordingly.
Watch the shadows around you in life, on the street, use storefront glass and vehicular glass like the rear view mirrors on your car to stay aware of your surroundings.
The two pictures above clearly illustrate how auto glass can be used as very effective mirrors. You can also look ahead to the glass on vehicles and sometimes spot people between vehicles that you would not normally be able to see until you were in close proximity to them.
(For more on this, please read this article which I wrote over a decade ago, "Using Your Environment." See? I'm an environmentalist after all!)
So, you have to cultivate this mindset that you are always looking for your ”Out,” for your "Safe Passage."
Now...if you don't cultivate that mindset that many people condemn as "paranoid" and learn those defensive skills you need and you become the target of some criminal, then you're on your own. You will have little or no reactionary gap to take advantage of.
You have to learn unarmed combat. Yeah, I said "combat." More than that, Practical Unarmed Combat. Be aware that most of what passes for Practical Unarmed Combat today...isn't very practical. Without dwelling on that any longer, you learn that and move to weapons, or the other way around, as long as it gels together and becomes a Safety Umbrella for you.
This is all a part of Urban Survival. Your primary weapon is Situational Awareness. If you do not have that, your chances of survival are greatly diminished. Some people use that reality as an excuse to not learn how to use weapons and to basically be "anti-weapon." They parrot "Situational Awareness" over and over again, "Without Situational Awareness, you are dead anyway, your precious guns, knives and all of that won't matter!" They use a very valuable tool, Situational Awareness, to condemn the use of other tools. What happens when you know there is a threat and you don't ignore the threat and you have to deal with the threat?
These are the same types of people that think a cellphone is a better self-defense tool than a handgun. They make arguments about people being unable to use a handgun effectively in self-defense situations...but promote the idea, the fantasy, that you can pull a cellphone out of your pocket and call the police while you are being stomped or stabbed to death or something. It's incredibly frightening what people believe.
Yesterday was May 23, 2013 and a British Soldier, an Army Recruiter I believe, was killed in the street in London. Not only did his attackers have enough time to kill him with kitchen knives and cleavers, they had time to behead him. Then one of them had time to basically give an interview to a witness with a cellphone with video capability - all before the police arrived. Did the various gun prohibitions help this poor man? No. Did the various knife prohibitions help this poor man? No. Did the various prohibitions against good people carrying anything for self-defense help this poor man? No. You cannot defend yourself in Great Britain and must rely on the police. Did all of the surveillance cameras in London save this poor man? No. Again - Here is a common lie, "violence does not solve anything."
Here is a nasty truth - violence does not solve every problem. However, if you find yourself in one of those situations where only violence will solve the problem and you are incapable of producing the quality and quantity of violence that the situation demands, you will perish.
Evacuating - Voiding - The Thunder Clap - fills the space you used to occupy...
What about the other stuff that doesn't happen every day?
Well, there is SIP, as we discussed before, and then there is getting out, escaping, retreating, bugging out, getting out of Dodge, whatever you want to call it. Call it ”leaving.”
How are you going to leave when everyone else with a brain wants to get the hell out of the area too?
In the picture above, I am on an elevated highway on the way into Murderland. A bridge over train tracks. If the traffic comes to a total stop and you are stranded, you have to weigh your options. Do you have to leave the vehicle? How much gear can you carry? Did the disaster happen while you were in the vehicle or are you attempting to escape after the disaster has happened and everyone is in a panic?
Write a list of possibilities and worst-case scenarios and possible solutions to those problems. If stopped right here in this frozen moment in time, with a decent road map that has railroads marked on it, this could be a lifesaver, too. Backtrack and get off of the bridge and make your way to the tracks and follow them out avoiding people on the road...safety depends on specific areas and situations. In some areas, the railroad tracks would not be safe because of unsavory human beings located there. You have to know your areas.
If you move to a new area, start to learn the area! This is especially important if you move to another state. Purchase some maps, do some Internet research. Plan routes (plural, not singular, plan multiple routes) to and from your residence and place of employment. Start planning like you are a Bodyguard - because you are your own Bodyguard - your own Executive Protection (Thanks to Jim Keating for that line of thought years ago!). Google Earth is an absolutely awesome tool for people interested in emergency preparedness. Do the research and then go out and drive it and walk it.
See where I spoke about not placing bumperstickers and decals on your vehicle because of the demonstrably paranoid authoritarians in society? Well, they have also singled out maps and atlases as something law enforcement should "be on the lookout for" (B.O.L.O.) in people's vehicles. They're serious. They're serious and we are losing our freedom.
These entities are very well funded and they're justifying their existence by being extremely paranoid and then demonizing anyone that criticizes them as being "paranoid."
Here is a very simple and elegant little trick just to keep something out in the open concealed from prying eyes. Use a UV Marker and have a small UV flashlight in your kit. You can mark various escape routes and other information that is concealed from anyone that does not have a UV flashlight handy. This is a method that survival expert John D. McCann came up with...at least he is the first person I have read about using this method in this type of context. This doesn't conceal the maps or atlases but it offers some concealment from prying eyes about where you might be going, etc.
Remember, almost everyone nowadays has a relatively good version of a Minox Spy Camera on their person at all times in the form of a wireless phone. They don't have to have a scanner or photocopier to copy a lot of your materials. All they need is a couple minutes and they have captured whatever information they can. With this simple UV method, nothing really appears out of place. The same goes for other types of nosey people and busy-bodies. If no one see the lines drawn, you won't have to answer the question, "Hey, what are all of these lines you have drawn on the map up to the hunting cabin?"
This UV method can conceal phone numbers, bank card account numbers, passwords and all sorts of information on pieces of paper in your wallet. What are the chances that criminals are going to carry around UV flashlights in the hopes of scanning all of the business cards and scraps of paper in wallets they steal? Just about zero. Search for "Bacon's Cipher" and begin to learn new and very valuable things. Start to think differently. Start to act differently.
Evacuation - that's a big problem, isn't it? Beating the masses trying to escape while evading the opportunists who might take advantage of this great criminal opportunity.
Do you remember the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005? Do you remember the roads in Texas and Louisiana where people ran out of gas and went nowhere? Hmm...at least if you have a brain and can utilize a search engine, you will now know that I'm not just making this stuff up - search for it!
If you want to be able to escape a city, you have to see the trouble coming and get out or you have to have a vehicle capable of trumping the other vehicles. Small 4X4s that can fit through spaces other off-road types of vehicles cannot - like Jeep Cjs/Wranglers, or being able to ram vehicles and other obstacles if necessary.
Be aware, however, that along with the spare fuel, you might want to seriously consider a mountain bike for everyone bugging out with you and have those mounted on the back with the gas cans.
There might very well be situations where you can only get out with the mountain bike. The mountain bike by itself is a very, very good idea. If you look at the horror stories of people being on the highway for well over 12 hours and only going a couple of miles, imagine how far away they could have been if they were zipping along at a speedy 20 MPH on a bicycle? In the time it took some people to reach the next off-ramp just a few miles away, they could have been 200 miles away from the area and that's including two hours of breaks/rest time (Figuring for 12 Hrs. @ 20 MPH).
There are folding bicycles designed to be stored in the trunk of a car. Sometimes you can get away with simply removing the front tire from the bike and all you would need is a good, suitably-sized crescent wrench to reassemble. You should have an excellent, basic tool kit in your vehicle, anyway.
If you choose this method, you will have to have a backpack that has all of your essentials in it and be ready, willing and able to ditch your vehicle and everything in it, too.
You will also have to be ready, willing and able to use force to retain your rather primitive mode of transportation.
It is a very simple and easy to understand dynamic - if you are actually moving and getting somewhere in a situation where many people are stranded there is a better than average chance that some violent or otherwise desperate miscreant is going to get the idea to take your bicycle from you. The sense of entitlement that some people in the "welfare class" have is mirrored on the other end of the economic spectrum at times as well. So if you think you're safe and in the clear because the guy is dressed like a banker, think again.
If you are in a State like Texas, you can have a concealed handgun license so you will be able to carry a concealed handgun for defensive purposes. This also covers some types of knives and pepper spray, etc. But it does NOT cover something like a blackjack, sap or baton, telescoping or otherwise.
States that have these laws that allow you to carry a concealed handgun and then don't recognize the impact weapon as a legitimate tool for a Citizen to possess actually force the handgun-carrying Citizen into some situations where they might be forced to shoot someone when they could have just hit them a few times with a bludgeon to physically dissuade them or knock them unconscious.
More things to consider and they are very important and should not be ignored.
Find a hole and crawl into it until danger passes.
You might have to learn a few new skillsets - like the ability to enter into areas you are not supposed to be entering into - not for the purposes of theft but for safe harbor - shelter. Enter, Exist and Exit without leaving signs of your presence or passing. The ability to manipulate various hardware and then to secure yourself in an area using wedges and "personal alarms" is a must. Bogota Picks.
One of the greatest resources for you to exploit is the Internet! Perform Google searches for "Urban Exploration" (UrbEx) and print out the articles and pictorials that seem the most intelligent and sane to you, study them and make a notebook. Condense that down and make your own personal guidebook.
You will notice that I am not telling you to go out and explore in the urban environment like a lot of people do. In a lot of situations, it's illegal. You can learn a lot from the adventures of other people who do this on a regular basis. You can also learn a lot about another form of urban exploration - draining - exploring storm drains. Thirty years ago when I was a kid, I used to do a lot of this stuff but my experiences pale in comparison to what some of these other people are doing.
Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, you can also watch many of these adventures online and you can learn a lot. Also, special mention at this time should go to a documentary that Ken Cook turned me onto: "Dark Days." It is excellent, find it, obtain it, watch it - amazing footage!
You can find shelter in the strangest places...here is a temporary shelter in a junkyard. It even has curtains. Think of it as a temporary efficiency apartment with attractive Landau Bars for decorations - Dreamcatchers for Goths.
Here is another extremely unpleasant reality about Urban Survival: there is another name for people who "evacuate" or "bug out" and that word is - refugee.
Every thing in life is a tradeoff, isn't it?
You have the threat of police or military action if you stay (S.I.P.) that might very well disarm you and then will leave you defenseless for the human predators in the area. Why? Well, it's because they care! (That's called sarcasm...)
Or you might be surrounded by a mob to such a degree that your possession of firearms and training and intent to use them will be meaningless. If enough people gather and they decide to burn you out, guess what? You might kill a lot of them, but you are going to die worse than they did.
I hope you didn't click on this article in the hope that I was going to tell you some secret that was going to make you safe in the city no matter what happened.
• Every house is different.
• Every apartment is different.
• Every neighborhood is different.
• Every city is different.
• Every local government is different in how they will or will not respond.
• Every local government's laws and various regulations are different.
• Every situation/disaster/incident is different.
Carefully consider the laws of your area but understand this, during a disaster, they can pass emergency laws.
When you figure out the answers, they can simply change the questions.
Laws that can take your shelter, make you shelter other people, take your food, take communications gear, take your weapons, make you relocate, the list is endless. Just like a local government can pass a "Burn Ban" for a certain period of time with little rainfall, they can do just about anything they want to and simply claim it's an emergency. Jurisdictions have banned the sale of ammunition when riots have flared up...Los Angeles County did as soon as the last round of madness gripped L.A. and all of the gunshops in the surrounding counties sold out rather quickly.
The last round of madness I spoke of was the Rodney King Riots. Since I wrote that portion, a former L.A.P.D. Officer went bonkers and declared war on the L.A.P.D. with predictably disasterous results for him. The uncensored version of his manifesto, complete with his wonderful thoughts on how all of the little people (Citizens) should be disarmed but psychotics like himself should enjoy the freedom to own whatever they want is quite a read. Of course the media, always in the pocket of the anti-gunners, edited all of this lunatic's gun control remarks out. Very few outlets offered the unedited version of his ranting declaration. I mean, really, we can't have a guy running around murdering people and declaring war on an entire police department AND saying we should ban guns, too, right?
Back to the grind...
I cannot possibly tell you to SIP or to evacuate. If I gave you a blanket response like that, I would just be lying to you.
You have to weigh all of your options and then you have to make plans, then you have to have backup plans and then backup plans to those as well.
That is a good way to make plans or assemble gear. It's easy to remember that way, always plan for THREE.
Vital pieces of gear like a knife, firelighting aid or a compass - Plan with THREE:
Sit down with the power of The Internet and bring up maps, satellite images and study them. Create viable Getaway Plans ("GITS")†.
Have a minimum of THREE GITS.
Go out on the ground and drive and walk the GITS. If your plans involve bicycles, ride them as well.
The repetition is not filler material for this article. Get used to thinking like that. If you embrace it and remember it, you will begin to think like that. Much like defensive driving, it's really not hard to do or to get into the habit of doing. The Game of Chess is all about thinking ahead. THREE or more moves in advance. So: 1, 2, and 3. Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.
Here is something incredible - "Rite-In-The-Rain" makes copier/printer paper so you can print maps, Google Earth photos and GITS and survival information on paper that is highly water resistant. Over two decades ago, the U.S. Military started printing Escape and Evasion Maps on Tyvek instead of Silk. Having your GITS and other vital information printed on these types of materials is priceless. You can read my review of Rite-In-The-Rain pocket notebooks here.
Originally, people like Ron Hood‡ popularized The Rule of Threes when it comes to survival:
• Three Minutes without oxygen.
• Three Hours without shelter.
• Three Days without water.
• Three Weeks without food.
• Three Months without hope. (Ron Hood added this one and you should seriously consider it.)
Look to the hardcore Filipino Martial Art (FMA) of Pekiti-Tirsia ("Close-Thirds" and there is that handy three again...) and incorporate yet another parallel line of thought, Rules of Threes, into your survival skills:
• Three Ranges - Close, Medium and Long Ranges.
• Three Levels - Learning to think ahead three moves. A simple expression of that would be an attack, a counter and a recounter. That's a real oversimplification. Just like a Chess Game.
• Three Attackers - Prepare to fight a minimum of three attackers.
There are other concepts like "Third Hand" but this is not an article on martial arts or knifefighting. But you should be involved in all of these things. (I am not a representative of Ron Hood's business or any Pekiti-Tirsia Organization.) Embracing this type of organization, by Rules of Threes, makes it easy to remember. Very valuable. Perhaps you study another Filipino Martial Art that focuses on edged and impact weapons and you can take that same concept, three ranges (Most FMA do this.) three levels as defined above and three attackers. That can be expanded to three weapons, too. The infatuation with 3's has nothing to do with numerology. The rest of the planet apparently shares it. Witness First, Second and Third World countries. Although most would look at the geopolitical and economic development guidelines to be antiquated for the most part.
Food Procurement - All Types
Next, the "dumpster diving" aspects of some people's Urban Survival "skill-sets" and "plans."
The thoughts go something like this: "People in Central America and Africa eat stuff we would throw away. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We’re just too spoiled…"
We are too "spoiled" when it comes to some things.
This is not one of those things...
They also have all sorts of lovely diseases in third world countries, too! Haven't you watched the commercials where they show the little kids you can save for fifty cents a day? How do you think people get sick? Maybe it’s because they don’t have enough food and the food they do have is BAD. Maybe because of life down there, they cannot afford the good food that does exist.
I’m not arrogant or stuck up, I just can’t stand people like that, idiots that tell people the most ludicrous things. How many of you have been around when the dumpster truck lifts the retched thing up in the air and then slams it a half a dozen times to get all of those powerful vitamins and minerals…uh…SLOP and GOOP…out of the thing?
You see, around restaurants, you can tell when the dumpster truck has recently visited the premises because there is a line of fluid on the ground leading from the dumpster and all the way out onto the road or highway the dumpster truck’s route is on. That line of fluid? I have a name for it. ”Dumpster Juice.”
Pretty nasty, huh?
Well, if you think you can dumpster dive from the rear-end (literally – the ass-end) of a restaurant, why don’t you go back there and get some of that Dumpster Juice and use it like steak sauce? Give it a try!
That lovely juice isn't just made up of mashed food particles, chopped up vegetables and raw pork, poultry and other meat products - they have baby changing tables in those bathrooms, you can get some baby shit in your dumpster juice, too. Bon appetit!
Using American homeless people as "proof" that “dumpster diving” for food can be done is just stupid.
In most states, homeless people, real homeless people, they tend to have Medical Assistance Identification of one type or another and they can get treated anywhere, no problem. If they get a nasty bug, they can go lie down in an emergency room for a couple of days with I.V. Antibiotics until it clears up...repeat as necessary.
Do you really want a gut-full of wilted lettuce and someone's discarded, sliced butter pickles that were sloughed off of a plate three nights ago and then mixed in with all manner of old, disgusting nastiness and a good, slimey squirt of the aforementioned dumpster juice? It's quite likely you will get something that Ajax won't take off and Cipro won't kill faster than the scraps will kill you.
You will please take note that every year during Thanksgiving, people are reminded by food preparation and medical personnel that they should be very careful because of cross-contamination between raw poultry and everything else you are preparing. In other words, when you pull the neck and other things out of the turkey's southern port in and around the kitchen sink or on a kitchen counter, you want to disinfect that area before you let any other foods touch it.
People have become very sick from this type of cross-contamination, a few die every year. Do you really expect to get something good to eat out of a dumpster that accepts rotting poultry and pork entrails along with the "dumpster diving food" you are looking for?
Hitting the deck cramped up with the squirts coming out of both ends on a sidewalk, or in a gutter, is not conducive to continued survival.
Most of the stuff you could eat if you were desperate enough would have already been taken by the homeless people who are generally far more savvy about such things than you are. (See where I mentioned the film "Dark Days" up above? Obtain it. Watch it. Learn.)
By the time you get hungry enough to be that desperate, all of the edible materials that are "relatively safe for human consumption" will be gone anyway.
The only thing that might possibly be left at that point is vegetable and meat "materials" that the homeless people found to be inedible.
Think about that for a moment.
That sentence: The only thing that might possibly be left at that point is vegetable and meat "materials" that the homeless people found to be inedible.
Now, a lot of these myths that people like to write about when it comes to Urban Survival and how homeless people survive is based on what people like my Wife have done for homeless people.
My Wife is from a small town in Illinois. She used to work at a small convenience store. Like many small stores, they can only sell their ready-made sandwiches for so long and then they have to throw them out. Same thing with sandwiches and doughnuts at places like 7-11. They are required by law to throw out food that's still good because they can't sell it up until the point it's bad! So, it has to be discarded early to make sure no customer gets sick. Do you see a theme here?
As far as I can tell, this time period is 24 hours. It's also hard to sell a sandwich that is technically still edible and safe but has browning, wilted lettuce on it and I see that every time I purchase gasoline at the gas station that passes for a convenience store on the way to work.
Anyway, there was a homeless person and my Wife used to make sure that she placed any good food into a certain type of bag, a black bag so no one else would see what was in it, the rest of the trash went in clear bags, readily identifiable as garbage.
(I also used to talk to the owner of a local 7-11 a lot and one of his employees gave a piece of old pizza away instead of throwing it in the trash and he had the employee arrested for theft. As in, a police officer arrived and arrested the employee and took him out of the store in handcuffs and he now has a criminal record, etc. I add this in just because I want to. Take from it what you will. I didn't talk to him anymore after that happened.)
Anyway, this story is the sort of thing that gets around and people think they can eat out of dumpsters, etc. If you are homeless, you can survive that way and if you make a mistake, you can, more often than not, obtain medical care to take care of that unpleasant mistake.
In a survival situation, it's all going to be gone anyway and you won't have the medical support to cure any mistake you might make. Therefore, dumpster diving is not viable at all. It's quite likely that anything the homeless people have left behind will not only be unpalatable, it will be inedible and totally unsafe.
These are lovely problems from eating food contaminated because of unsanitary conditions and drinking untreated water - E. Coli Enteritis, Campylobacte Enteritis, Cholera, Listeria, Staphylococcus, Salmonella - and a whole lot more! It's not meant to be an all-inclusive list, so don't worry about E-mailing me to inform me of Giardia, etc. I know...
I have tried to write about this very serious topic in a funny way. I didn't even have to invoke Chef Gordon Ramsay and refer to anyone as a "Donkey(!)" or a "knob." I'm a bit crestfallen.
I do mean every word I wrote about dumpster diving. If someone is telling you to do that - ignore them.
Please allow me to add this:
Dumpster Diving for usable materials to fabricate shelter, tools, etc., is a good idea.
Dumpster Diving for food under 99% of the conditions you will face as a survivor, etc., is a bad idea.
Fishing, Hunting and Trapping.
A small, discarded charcoal grill. Arrows in a dumpster? Yeah, you can find useful stuff for survival...the cardboard can make the classic inner city "refrigerator box" shelter, etc. Some homeowner discarded the little charcoal grill because they purchased a larger one. Or they tossed it because it was a little rusty - whatever. You can use it to cook food on. Homeless people salvage things like this and you can as well. The arrow? You can make a Hawaiian Sling easier than a bow. You can use a wristrocket type of slingshot to shoot arrows. Just another piece of urban detritus that you can utilize.
Oftentimes, you see discarded wire in dumpsters. You can snare squirrels and rabbits with wire. And since you need a lot of properly set and placed snares to obtain a squirrel or rabbit every day, hoard all of the wire and cordage that you can. There is a great part in Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" where two fellas are sitting around a small campfire and cooking a freshly cleaned rabbit that was snared by using fence wire. These skills are old and people used to be able to feed themselves quite easily.
Can you if the situation demanded it?
The time to learn is now, not when you have to do it in order to live another day.
The Deadfall can be very productive in the urban environment. Fishing in urban parks, streams, ponds and lakes and using fishing equipment to catch animals other than fish can be very productive.
Large Victor Brand Rat Traps can be purchased and stored for a long time and they will not only catch rats. They will work on squirrels and chipmunks and if you set them with a little bit of creativity, perhaps rabbits.
Conibear Traps are absolutely lethal contraptions that will keep you in small game for years if you take care of them.
Slingshots and Blowguns can be improvised but nothing beats a wrist-braced Trumark Slingshot with steel ball bearings or lead muzzleloader balls or a Cold Steel .625 Magnum in those categories. (Wrist-braced slingshots are banned in New York State. So, move to Pennsylvania.)
If something really bad happens in this country and the reset button gets pushed, a lot of people are going to die because of ignorance and adherence to a belief system, that of being a vegetarian or "vegan." Now, I believe in freedom so if people want to be a vegetarian, that's fine by me. As long as they don't become a vegetarian who wants laws passed to make me become a vegetarian. Then we have a problem. There is a very, very good argument for being what is now referred to as a "Pescetarian," someone who eats fish and will eat eggs and cheese and drink milk, but does not eat the flesh of beef, pork, fowl, etc. If I had a much higher income, I would be a Pescetarian for the most part as I love seafood. Unfortunately, high-quality seafood is quite expensive so I cannot afford to eat that way.
Fifty percent of vegetarians are going to switch back to being omnivores from being herbivores and fifty percent of them are going to starve or decide to make the change too late. We are not carnivores...but we are not herbivores, either. We are omnivores, look at your teeth, the truth is there for you to see. So, as long as we have this artificial environment where people can pretend they were born to be a herbivore, they can be one by choice. If that artificial environment should collapse, changes in the belief system will be in order for continued survival. Our modern world allows people to make these choices, which is fine. It's when they start proselytzing about it...that makes me uneasy. Our modern world allows for people to believe all sorts of stupid and mentally ill things.
Here are some tools to help you get some food.
• Thompson Locking Steel Snares, British Brass Snares, Snare Wire, Improvised Snares, etc.
• Victor Brand Rat Traps.
• Victor Conibear Traps.
• Hav-a-Hart Traps.
• Elastic Bands, Surgical Tubing, Thera(peutic) Bands, etc. Trap "engine" construction, slingshots, etc.
• USGI Military Gill Nets and Commercial Gill Nets for aviation survival kits, etc.
• Purse Game Nets
• USGI "Speed Hook"
Foraging in the urban environment.
Yes, it can be done. The safety of it is questionable and that is something you will have to research on your own in the specific area that you reside in. The ground can be contaminated by incidents that happened way before you were born and are long forgotten but if you eat plants that grow in that soil, you might suffer the consequences. Or it could be something as simple as living in an apartment complex and having some herbs you are growing contaminated because these areas are oftentimes sprayed with pesticides, etc. Naturally occurring vegetation is always going to be questionable in the urban areas because of these problems. All of that having been said, start learning now what you can eat and what you should avoid. You should learn all you can to maximize your ability to exploit the naturally occurring edible plants in your area as well as those in areas you plan to travel through and escape to.
Food Storage in the home...
Most people who encounter some type of unpleasant urban disaster are going to have to shelter in place, with or without electric power, for a very short time - a few days. Sure, there might be damage to your home or apartment and you might have to evacuate it, but in most cases, the incident will be much less complicated.
What will happen then?
You probably still get to use your natural gas powered stove unless you have an electric range, obviously, and you can eat some tasty beef stew type product and crack a light stick and experience the wonderful glow and afterglow of pooping by a chemical light stick. E & E! Not "Escape & Evasion," oh no... "Eerie and Exciting!" (Yeah, right...)
Don't purchase canned or dried goods that are part of some awesome sale going on...but that you don't regularly eat. The last thing you need during some emergency is having to muscle down some nasty food you are not used to. This is especially true for children. So, just because the Smoked Mussels go on sale three-cans-for-a-dollar, don't go for it unless you happen to like canned, Smoked Mussels.
• Purchase canned and dried goods you are accustomed to.
• Purchase food that doesn't rely heavily on water, milk, margarine or butter for preparation. The various type of noodle and rice dishes that are quite attractive and tasty usually require a combination of those ingredients.
• Learn the manufacturer's codes, when applicable, and mark the manufacturing date on the can and mark the date you purchased the can of food on the can.
• Rotate the canned food. Eat it before it goes out of date. Replenishing is on a constant basis if done properly.
• Keep a logbook if you want to.
For most people, this is all you will need along with having approximately four (4) 25 gallon water barrels and your other survival gear. You can supplement your canned and dried good foods with a couple/few dozen MREs, Freeze Dried Foods marketed to the hiking or "survivalist" communities, etc.
Not only foods but some other things as well. These are things that are easily thrown into a messenger bag or backpack if you have to evacuate but are also nice to have around the house.
• Peanut Butter
• Peanut Butter Packets
• Hazlenut Spread
• Hazlenut Spread Packets
• Honey (Especially Raw Honey.)
• Honey Packets
• Tuna Packets
• Sardines and Kippers (The empty can could be used to cook in or modified into small game traps.)
• Clif Bars (A special recognition is in order for the Blueberry Crisp Clif Bar.)
• Clif CRUNCH Granola Bar also in Blueberry Crisp. (Excellent new product for 2013.)
• MetRx Bars (Especially the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Apple Pie Crisp.)
• Lara Bar (Apple Pie and Cherry Pie.)
• Gatorade Powder "Sleeves"
• Starbuck's Instant Coffee "Sleeves"
• Tea - various types of Packets
• Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets
• Quaker Instant Grits Packets
• Idahoan or Hungry Jack Instant Mashed Potatoes
• McCormick's Instant Gravy Packets
Having some of those "sleeves" of Gatorade in the house probably saved me a trip to the hospital in the Spring of 2012. I don't know what kind of sickness it was that sunk its claws in me, but it was really, really bad. Diarrhea and vomiting and some of the most gut-wrenching cramps I have ever experienced. I became sick about 10:00 P.M. and by the time 4:30 A.M. rolled around I felt like I was dying and it was so bad, I didn't care if I did at one point right before I passed out from exhaustion. My Wife was so scared I figured if I passed out, I would wake up in an ambulance or at the hospital. I had not been sick like that for over thirty years, I'm not kidding. It was horrendous. The commode is next to the bathtub and this saves time sort of sickness.
After it was all over and I felt better I started thinking about getting sick like that in some type of survival situation. I mean, had this been in the wilderness or even in some other, "less wild," setting, there would have been a real risk of total incapacitation without the Gatorade. Maybe death. Buy a few containers of this stuff and keep it around, it's priceless when you really need it. And if you ever do need it and cannot obtain it, you are going to miss it. It also makes water that you have chemically treated a bit more palatable, more of a consideration for children than adults.
In a lot of British survival literature, if they get lost or realize they are in some type of bad situation...they advise you to sit down and brew up a cup of tea. A lot of people make fun of this...but it's really intelligent. For one thing, you are making something very important - fire. You are focusing on doing one of the most important survival tasks there is - making fire. Even though you might not need it at the moment except for the tea...you are gathering tinder, kindling and fuel and you're thinking about that. Then you sit down and you get to sort through your thoughts and wait until you get the cup of goodness. It keeps the panic down, doing something positive and enjoyable. I like tea once in a while but I'm not a big tea drinker. I am a coffee hound, however. I like to keep some of both in the backpacks.
When I started camping and hiking, there was stuff like Nescafe, Taster's Choice and Sanka. (Sanka is a word derived from the French for "sans caffeine.") I don't like any of them. Starbuck's has come up with an instant coffee that is more microground than anything. You cannot tell it is instant coffee. It doesn't have any of the negative aspects that you might think of and horribly remember when you hear the words, "instant coffee." It is, to use a word used much too often in our country, awesome. Purchasing these little sleeves of Starbuck's Coffee means that you are getting an excellent, LARGE, mug of coffee for under a dollar. You can't beat that! If Cold Stone would just come out with a powdered non-dairy creamer like the liquid sweet cream they sell in supermarkets, I would be totally set for the Apocalypse. Maybe.
So, now I don't need the black or blue with white speckles coffee pot to sit over the fire. I can have...not just a "decent" cup of coffee...but a truly excellent cup of coffee just by pouring extremely hot water in my GSI or USGI cup. Now...you want to talk decadence? A cup of this "instant" coffee from Starbucks and a Blueberry Crisp Clif Bar. That's just a great morning in the woods as far as I'm concerned.
I love wild game. I would not like to think of a world without standard McCormick's Black Pepper. While we are on the subject of wild game - a squirrel or rabbit over an open fire is a very tasty meal. A Rattlesnake over an open fire is an exotic, tasty meal. As far as the squirrels, rabbits and various species of squab are concerned, a canteen cup of boiling water and you carefully perform a mad scientist mix of instant mashed potatoes and McCormick's instant gravy powder and hypothermia will be the last thing on your mind. That is, until you let the fire go out around 4:15 A.M. the next morning.
Before you laugh at the thought of gravy as a survival food...listen up. I never thought of it until I purchased and inspected an old Vietnam-era Survival Kit! Some of them did indeed have packets of instant gravy in them. These were the small, personal sized kits, too. Even if you don't have food, if you are cold and you make a cup of instant gravy, you can drink it hot. Along those lines is another excellent hot drink - Instant Jell-O. Don't drink a lot of it! But it is really tasty and can warm you up double-quick.
Before a 2-liter soda bottle becomes a 2-liter soda bottle, it resembles a fat plastic test tube with a 2-liter bottle cap screwed on one end of it. These are called "pre-forms." They are placed on a machine that expels extremely hot air into the bottle and blows it up to the size of the common 2-liter soda bottle. The uses for these things are probably endless but here is a really good use for them in your pack.
Take one of them and fill it with Black Pepper.
Take another one and do a 75% Garlic Powder - 25% Onion Powder Mix.
Take another one and do a 50/50% Cayenne Pepper and Chili Powder Mix.
Yet another for salt.
I'm just giving you ideas, make them up as you see fit. Or, don't.
Water Storage in the home...and...sewage problems...
For survival you need massive amounts of water for just a couple/few people. Or, you need to be able to access water that might not be potable but can be made potable by filtering and then chemically treating or filtering and then boiling.
In an apartment? Forget it, three people at three to five gallons a day, more if it's summer? You are talking, literally, about one ton of water to have enough to last less than two weeks. In a basement apartment this might be possible. In any situation where you might have to trust the floor so that much heavy water doesn't damage the floor? Forget it. Older apartment houses tend to be dumps because they are not maintained properly or repaired properly after a failure to properly maintain plumbing, etc., and the newer apartment buildings - and homes for that matter - don't have strong enough floors. You can obtain water storage barrels and related materials online easy enough. Just don't purchase the huge containers like 55-gallon drums. You want to be able to maneuver them in the home or apartment and 25-gallon drums are enough to manhandle as it is. If I had the house and the funds, I would have a few hundred gallons of water in 25-gallon drums in the garage and at least another 100 gallons in the house. And a cistern outside the house...and a whole lot more...
A large Nalgene bottle is another good thing to have. Add a bottle of Potable Aqua or pack of Katadyn Brand Micro-Pur water purification tablets and you will be set for almost everything when it comes to purifying drinking water.
After earthquakes and other disasters, tap water can become compromised by sewage and other contaminants, even if the water coming out of the tap looks as clear as it has ever been, it could still be contaminated - treat it.
Two or three oversized, very large bandannas are simply must-have items. Bandannas can be used to pre-filter water like a Milbank Bag before you treat the water with tablets or run the water through a system like a Katadyn. In the urban environment, bandannas are must-have items in case of some type of fire or any other incident that can put dangerous particulate matter into the area in large quantities. Tie it over your mouth and nose. Search on YouTube for street level footage of the dust clouds on September 11, 2001. NIOSH N-95 Masks are also must-have items if you are making a dedicated kit. They have sturdy versions which take up more room and then there are flat types that are thinner and flat.
Then there are the unpleasant sewage problems the apartment dweller might encounter should the system suffer back-pressure, which can happen from flooding. Imagine three inches of raw sewage on the floor in your apartment. Now imagine a foot and a half of it. Terrible. You have to be prepared to evacuate if you are an apartment dweller. Like it or not.
All of these problems can be avoided by not residing in a city or heavy suburban area. For those that feel they must for convenience or whatever other reason, you have to make plans to get out and get out quickly or at least be able to deal with the problems of potable water and waste disposal, etc.
You also have to be able to dispose of urine and feces in a safe and sanitary manner. You have to have a portable toilet and the chemicals and toilet paper, etc., generally used by recreational camper vehicles or make other plans similar to that. Lots of sealable buckets, toilet paper, wet wipes and lots of heavy duty "contractor" bags you can purchase at your local Home Depot.
Putting aside the violence and all the other bad things that can happen in the city, the logistics of having enough water and food can be quite a problem. The mere fact you have them could cause violence, the list of problems are endless when it comes to urbanitis.
Some people are just not going to move, they are going to stay put for whatever reason, of those that choose to stay, half of them will try to evacuate when it's too late and will encounter even more problems. Only a few that stay until whatever incident is in full swing will be able to escape safely.
Now, I could just tell you that your choice is perfect and everything will be just fine if you have a closet full of MREs and a few jugs of water, but it just isn't so. What should you always have on you in case of an emergency? Opinions, as always, vary wildly.
Let's say that you have a shoulder bag, briefcase or a purse...and let's continue this in another volume detailing survival in Urbanus Lethalis.
† According to Director Michael Mann, "GITS" stands for "Get-away directions" as in "git" for "get," get it? I like to keep Classic Americana alive and that term is, according to Mann, Great Depression era bank robber-speak.
‡ Survival Expert Ron Hood died on June 22, 2011 - please visit Survival Dot Com where you can find the UrbanMaster DVDs, Volume 1 & 2, for A LOT more vital information.
Go Back to The Main Page
Go Back to The Survival Page
Go Back to The Urban Survival Primer Part I
Continue on to The Urban Survival Primer Part III
©donrearic.com 1999 - 2013 All Rights Reserved.