Adaptability: the Key to Ongoing Survival when the SHTF
ReadyNutrition Readers, this article (because of its depth) is going to cover adaptability
survival, and it will be in two parts. These two emboldened words are not two different topics: they are interrelated and pertain to the overall long-term survival challenges that you will face. This article is not necessarily for the faint-hearted that just wish to either “play” survivalist, or for those who intend to pile their supplies up to the ceiling in a remote area and hope for the hordes and the wars to pass them by.
I am going to give you a phrase that you need to memorize, for starters. Your basis for understanding this article is dependent upon the memorization and understanding of this key phrase. Here it is:
The mission remains the same, but the situation dictates the conduct of the mission.
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Read on. This is the key to placing adaptability as the cornerstone to ongoing survival. What is adaptability? Simply defined, adaptability is the capability that a person or people hold that enable them to meet changing conditions with changing actions (deviations) from the original plan to meet those conditions and triumph. Adaptability is a means of winning. You may wish to file this saying away in your mind with the first, and it applies:
Winning isn’t everything: it’s the only thing. Vince Lombardi, fmr. Head coach, Green Bay Packers
Do you like football? Understand that the game is very similar to warfare, minus the carnage that leads to death. Football is very similar in nature to military maneuvers and small-unit tactics. The game is played under constantly changing conditions that require strategic decisions and the execution of those plans in order to win. The sport is extremely physical, mental, and requires teamwork and coordination of actions.
Warfare is this way, and this is the bottom line: survival in a SHTF situation needs to be viewed as a form of warfare, plain and simple. The friendly neighbor of 10 years that you spoke with every day and had dinner with once every couple of weeks may very well be one of an armed group coming to take the supplies you have for his group/family/”team,” and take them by force. Your closest friend today can become your greatest enemy tomorrow under grid-down, SHTF conditions.
Above all, your mission is to survive.
The mission: to survive, with your physical well-being, your family’s, and your supplies intact, now and in the future. The challenge is ongoing. You will face dangers from weather, from disease, manmade threats (nuclear, biological, chemical), and men (foreign invaders, governmental oppressors, gangs, and marauders), among other things too numerous to list. You must work to resolve yourself how you will meet these challenges.
Scenario: The economy has collapsed, leading to wholesale rioting and the inculcation of martial law. In the midst of the chaos, the Russians drop a division of airborne troops, and they parachute right into your immediate neck of the woods. War is declared, and the U.S. is fragmented. Law enforcement has turned in their badges and gone home to defend their own families. More foreign troops are on the way. There is fierce fighting between your local National Guard units and the Russians, and half of your city is on fire. There you are with your wife and two kids, sheltering in your basement with about a month’s worth of food and water, and the fighting is starting to make its way into your subdivision/neighborhood.
“Red Dawn III” is now playing on your back doorstep, and this time it’s no movie…it’s for real.
What are your SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) that you and your family will follow regarding contact with enemy soldiers? With “friendly” soldiers that will confiscate your supplies if they enter your home? What actions are you planning on taking? How will you divert their attentions and hide your supplies? What methods of escape from a potential basement deathtrap have you outlined in advance, that everyone understands? Who is able to fight and who is unable to give battle in your family?
Most people will prefer to nonchalantly “game” such scenarios in their mind with no practice, and no forethought as to just how far they are willing to go to meet the threat.
Most stay at home and watch “Jericho” over and over again, thinking that the threat will not be as bad and that it will not last that long until “normalcy” returns. The first thing you must keep in mind to avert such thoughts is this:
No help is coming, and you and your family are on your own.
Reality is necessary to maintain between the ears. How many times have you taken your family to the range or worked with your firearms, as individuals and as a team? Are you prepared to take a human life when the need arises, to defend yourself and your family? Can you adapt to the changing situation? What happens if our own soldiers become “bad,” and want to take your supplies or “spend some time” with your wife and daughter while they’re “defending you and your family” in your basement?
You had better think of these things. Today’s friend becomes tomorrow’s enemy. You must set limits on what you will do and what you will not do. Are you a single mom with two kids? You’re about to become both a mom and a dad really quickly: you’re about to potentially become the only shield between you and your kids. The actions you take (or fail to take) may mean the difference between life and death for you and your family. Allow this to sink in:
The actions you take (or fail to take) may mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.
What are you prepared to do? YOU MUST KEEP AN OPEN MIND TO KEEP ALL OF YOUR OPTIONS OPEN! Are you prepared to move your family out by hiding them in a garbage truck for camouflage? Are you prepared to “appropriate” enemy uniforms and you (the newly conscripted “Russian soldier”) lead out your “captives” (your family) for “interrogation” (i.e. – to safety). Better be prepared, and know a smattering of Russian to go past the checkpoints.
What are you prepared to do? You and the family step out to the station wagon, packed with supplies, and find that a grenade has taken out the front two tires and put the blitz on the radiator. What is your backup plan? Quickly! You only have a split second to decide and almost no time to act. There’s a Snowball Truck parked at the end of your block. Weigh your options, weigh your morals, and weigh the gravity of the situation. This is where all of your formal and informal norms must be weighed against the need to act and act in a manner that you may have to act in order to save your family.
Can you hotwire that Snowball Truck and load it up with your gear? Will you do that? Will you act, or will you fail to act?
Formal and informal norms either strengthen your resolve or imprison you, plain and simple.
This article is not advocating actions that may break the precious rules and regulations that you have been so carefully conditioned to follow your entire life. The information here is not designed to elicit action; it is designed to enable you to consider the possibilities of actions you may need to take in order to survive.
We’re talking about a mindset, here, and using your mind to make choices that you don’t normally have to make in the context of our society. I will give you an example from Hurricane Katrina and my own personal experience. The hospital where my wife worked (just prior to the hurricane) allowed each employee one (1) vehicle to be stored on a specific floor of the parking garage…if they were working in the hospital during the disaster. Guess what? My wife stashed her car, and later on I picked her up in my van that night. The next day when we moved over to the hospital, the van was packed with supplies and goodies and we parked it on the designated floor.
Almost 90% of the garage (it had about 9 floors), and two adjacent garage-structures of the same, 9-floor size, WERE EMPTY when the hurricane hit! Those who followed the hospital rules and left cars behind at their homes had their cars submerged under about 8-9 feet of water and ruined. Case in point: it did not hurt anyone to break the rule, and we had two working vehicles after the hurricane had passed and the floodwaters receded.
You and your family must decide when the practical need arises to take such actions. This article is not advocating breaking laws; it advocates critical thought and the deliberate decision making process that will enable you to reach a logical conclusion to your dilemma. This is what adaptation entails, and it must be ongoing: last throughout the immediate problems and also carry you through until the end. Then guess what? Time to explain what ongoing truly means:
It never ends: this is the best, most simple definition of ongoing.
You must always be prepared to exercise that critical thought process and take actions that are necessary to preserve yourself and your family. In Part 2 of this series, we will more closely examine the deliberate decision making process and some personal training and preparation you can undertake that will enable you to follow this mindset and succeed. In order to do this, you must first reevaluate yourself, your capabilities, and your strengths and weaknesses. The evaluation must be objective and honest, and this, too, is part of adapting to meet the challenges you will face in the future.
Clausewitz (paraphrased): “No plan of action survives the first five minutes of combat completely intact.” You must keep this one close to your heart and realize that human beings survive because they adapt to changing conditions. This is part of your legacy as a human being and you can tap into this powerful capability that can enable you and your family to survive the worst when the SHTF. “Tune” back in again shortly for Part 2, and have a good day while you’re doing some good….and doing it well.
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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