Tread Softly Lest You Die

I’ve got this pet hate list. It’s sort of what I don’t want to happen to me.
Burning is my main horror, no air is the next and is followed by a long list of nasties I’m not going to bother to list.

Everyone has their own bête noire (nightmare) scenario or fear.
Especially those who have seen what man will do to man on a whim.
Any ex-grunts nodding to that one? I’m betting there are a few.

Only man to man? No, that’s not quite right.
What I mean is human to human or even human to animal.
You’ve heard of the term collateral damage or even friendly fire. Glib isn’t it?
Political, mil,  or media speak for someone who was not the desired target being hit. Innocents or your own being mangled at best, destroyed at worst, by a mistake, an accident, or even intent.

Yet one of the biggest killers of innocents (let alone good guys) is land mines, especially IEDS varieties, And I KNOW mil know about them!
So what’s this got to do with prepping let alone survival?

In a war zone PLENTY but back home, on safe ground, among friends?
Some are probably thinking WTH is he on about.
Others will be thinking terrorism, and I suppose that’s kinda where I’m coming from.

Only terrorism takes many forms.
Terrorism and its big brother Guerrilla warfare is a political or religious statement turned nasty.

Whilst the reason for why it is happening is immaterial, the way it is carried out is.
Guerrilla? A small group using non standard military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, hit-and-run tactics against a vastly bigger force, aka you against the government!

As for Terrorism? (deep breath).
The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social
(they forgot the word religious) objectives”.

What a mouthful and typical government speak.

Except it doesn’t stop there.
What about self-defense, the warped mind, or even revenge?
For instance:-
The guy who is fed up with people taking his stuff so when you open his shed door to ‘borrow’ this hose reel you collect a chest full of #00 buck.
Only it doesn’t always go BOOM. It can go “FRY”.
Try a door knob only to find out it is connected the electricity supply.
That bottle of milk? Laced with poison.
He doesn’t like kids. Same poison but in sweets.
He hates dogs or cats. Same poison on animal treats.

As said, human against human, against animals.
What some call man’s inhumanity to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING!

Right, fast forward to TEOTWAWKI or a simple disaster.
You are seeking shelter (you and a million other bodies) and you come across a dwelling miles away from everything that is happening and seemingly deserted.

What’s your plan? Walk up and kick in the door?
That’s  stupid man, I mean REALLY FRIGGING STUPID.
Walking up might expose you to booby traps which may include IED’s, mines, other booby traps,  or even the families fur coated razor blades.

Kicking in a door could make it go BOOM, fry you, or simply end up with you being shot from behind having not noticed the camouflaged one man spider hole.


So is there a correct method of approaching a suspect device or area?
Too right there is and you’d better learn it quick.

Only that’s not often an option on these gun hoe paramilitary Rambo in a week courses.
Breeching maybe as that’s fun and really macho stuff.
A team, door in, 2nd and 3rd man go in, sometimes heavy or by simply putting a frag grenade through the window. The stuff of the green machine and Hollywood.

Yet do you need to do that?
Occasionally yes only we’re a bit blessed here in the UK.
We haven’t got many RAMBO’s here or people with the kitchen chemistry skills to brew up anything that can go boom with great effect. Thus if you pick and choose carefully, hazards can be minimal. Note the word MINIMAL. Only a fool thinks they know everything.

So hows about spending a bit of time scoping out your target. (Recon)
Sometimes it’s not only who’s present but what is present.
The pile of something in exactly the “wrong place”.
Neat house, pile of rubbish by the drive.
CCTV ? Yeah I know some will say in a grid down scenario there will be no electricity.
To that I only say two words, Solar Panels.

The obvious route in, foot traffic sign, or no sign at all along the obvious route.
The carefully manicured grass (with the square edges) in the midst of chaos.
Cat scrapes that do show up in the frost or dew if new. Dips and depressions as soil settles.
Or the other one, beautiful grass with a 5″ round lump in the middle!
Curtains open at night, or closed in the day, lights on timers, or non lights at all.
Smoke from a chimney, or not.
Smells, waste, vehicles, animal sign down to their waste.

I could go on only I will miss things as I write.
I’m also not one to re-invent the wheel and there is an old Field Manual 1965 (FM 5-31) which is all about booby traps and things that go boom.

Chapter 6 is what most will be interested in for self-preservation purposes.

OK, its way out of date and identification of modern devices (IED’s) needs instruction or at least a troll through the web, which I’ve just done, to sort of bring you up to speed on what’s out there.

Or, updated a bit is FM 3-34.210 (FM 20-32) EXPLOSIVE HAZARDS OPERATIONS
Chapter 7, Booby Trap and Improvised Explosive Device Operations.

Is that the definitive guide to all nasty things then?
That’s a no, it’s just what they want you to see.

BUT, you’ve also got to think outside the box.
Improvisation of devices and traps often goes go hand in hand with what is available.
Some Vietnam vets and trappers knowing more about what can be achieved using basic tooling and materials than the experts of today EVER WILL!

To that thought add this.
You don’t need to be a Rambo or young and fit to make or set traps.
Traps made by women work just as well as that made by men.
BOOM can also be initiated with simple things like a burning cigarette and match book fuses, a cartridge and nail, the spilled contents of a bottle to name a few.

Now I’ve got a question for you.

Having read this scribble,
Do you still feel like rushing up to a door and kicking it in having walked up a neat little driveway, across a lawn, by clambering over a fence, after trying the garage door or using a garden gate and picking up that handy ‘whatever’ just left lying around without an owner attached to it?

NO? Good, then my work is done.
YES? Please leave your kit neatly bagged and labelled for someone else to use.

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With the rain

With the rain came the scene I tried to forget
Of a tin roofed house screaming pain.
His wife is a mess and her man held down
While we’re working like mad on his legs.

His crime was to walk to a field to plant
Crossed by a track we all used.
Only before he rose to do his days work
Someone had planted his death

An ounce of charge is all it takes
To fragment or shred a boot.
But even with help you can usually say
You’re going to lose that foot.

Today was good as God he had smiled
The damage not all it could be
But soon after that the reaper did call
Infection having speeded his quest.

We called in anon not knowing his fate
With supplies for the woman and kid
To a rough-hewn box and an open lid
With that smell that we all knew well.

The wife took our bread, it seemed in a dream
While others were cursing our deed
We left to a mob who were screaming abuse
Blaming us for the loss of their kin.

It’s tough to see why they turn on their own
When it’s us they are trying to kill
It’s worse for their kin for evermore
When their own get laid out dead.

Paul Gray

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Tories and the unravelling begins

Interestingly ten police forces and the Electoral Commission are looking into the claims that the Conservative (Tory) party overspent by thousands more than the law allows during the general election.

Are we looking at possible indictments?
I really hope so. It’s about time the Tory party answered for its actions.

(Yep I’m evil and won’t ever make it to heaven)

David Cameron’s closest friend and political strategist Steve Hilton is now saying that Britain must leave the ‘arrogant and unaccountable’ EU, further claiming “the UK is ‘literally ungovernable’ as a democracy while it remains in a club that has been ‘corruptly captured’ by a self-serving elite.

As for Osborne’s pet the BOE’s head honcho Carney?
Hilton dismisses claims by Mr Cameron, the IMF and the Bank of England that being in the EU makes us more secure. WOW heavy poo time don’t you think!


Cameron’s career light is almost out!
Tell me David, do you even know where the torch is kept?
Let alone how to use one.

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Posh Boy’s Eton speak

Boris Johnson is beaten by the boys and staff of Eton as two-thirds say they want to stay in the EU.

One of the most “prestigious” schools that turns out nothing but bankers, politicians and other low life’s of the same ilk, doesn’t want the UK to leave the EU. The future top 2% of the stuffed shirt, fat cat world, totally out of touch with the reality of living in the real world.


I’m still waiting for the survey of 1000 cats and dogs before I decide to definitely vote:-



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Project fear enlists failure

In a dramatic intervention in the EU referendum debate, the former chiefs of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and B&Q say leaving the EU would have a devastating effect on the economy.

The former chiefs, why former? It could be that:-

  • They saw the market collapsing and ran before they copped any blame.
  • They left before the SHTF too hard about their firms failures.
  • Or they were ‘encouraged’ to retire.
  • They all left to pursue a career in politics.

Which is basically the same thing as saying bye bye, with some politely advised:-

Don’t let the door smack you on the behind on the way out.


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The intellectual and the practical

The strongest will always survive!
No, not always.
Nature has its strong guys and they fade for little reason just like humans.
In the main it’s the most adaptable that survive, the opportunists and the scavengers.
Them, the lucky, and those who shouldn’t.
Kind of weird isn’t it?

As for human kind?
Well most humans are basically food waiting to happen in nature and sometimes within their own environments. Wolves and sheep, the two extremes in personalities, the opposites which govern survival. At least that’s what some of the more ‘macho’ brethren think. Only they are wrong, BIG TIME.

In combat I’ve been blessed to see the weak win through and ‘horrified’ to watch the macho fold like little girls.

So is there one strong attribute that will aid or increase your chances of survival?
Is that going to be pure intellect or a jobbing versatile practicality?

Before I continue I’m going to say that I’ve worked with all sorts of people, all with talents, strengths, and weaknesses. I’m always surprised by people, sometimes ‘disappointed’, and often impressed. Only here’s where I think I’m going to get unstuck but bear with me.

I find that most strong intellectuals think.
WOW, that’s one stunning statement but they do!
They think and analyse everything before they act.
That’s if they act at all.

That will probably come across as bad and it’s a ‘coloured judgement’ having worked with educators, paper pushers, geeks aka scientists, and probably some of the worse aholes of every example.

Anyway some of us mere mortals (who had a problem surviving school and not a cat in hells chance of making college) have either been trained, or acquired by life’s experiences, a number of different skill sets which are sometimes practical and useful in survival.

Yet does that guarantee ‘our’ survival above intellect?
I don’t think so as I think you need both a thinking mind and practicality to aid survival.

Most of my foraging skills were acquired from unlikely sources.
An elderly poacher, a tramp (hobo), and a wee lass called Megan who taught me urban survival skills on the streets of London.

Only here is the interesting bit, the tramp.
He was a professor in some big shot university who burned out.
A mind like a razor still but lived what some folk call a ‘simple off grid life’.
What does that prove? Something or nothing I suppose yet thinking intellect over practical, it flies in the face of everything I’ve ever thought about.

Only here is another thought. It’s called life skills.
Just because you’re young, or old, some never acquired those.
For example. Hands up those who have a respect for those chumps who come out of university with a shiny new degree and think they are something. A cut above the rest of us mere mortals. All those brains but no common sense to talk of at the tender ages of 21 to 25. What gauge you of their survival chances?

For most it’ll be their age and resilience that will carry them through.
Only now compare them with a 19 to 21 year old grunt with 2 or 3 tours beneath his belt.
Or an apprentice jobbing builder of the same age range.
Out of the three, who’s your money on, the degree, grunt, or builder?

Difficult isn’t it?
“No promises in combat”, I’ve heard that loads of times and as some think survival is combat, can anyone accurately gauge who will walk away unscathed out of the intellectual, practical, youth, or those carrying the experience gained with age.

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Is survival ‘war’?

You could be forgiven for calling survival ‘war for civilians’.
When the rule of law has collapsed it seems to me that every survival scenario written ends up in combat.

I read an article about “the predicted big die off” and it was centred round the end of oil.
I kinda like the way the basic figures were presented i.e.
Starvation kills roughly half of the population in developed nations within a few months. Another third dies within a year.

Now I think they were a bit conservative and in cities the predation rate would be much higher. Bottom line for the UK was that within a few months, 26.8 million are left standing, and within a year, 17.9 million are left standing. Which puts the population back to about 1812 levels.

Is this a numbers game pure and simple?
No, it isn’t because where are all these people going to be living?
And there is the rub, nobody knows.
I suspect for the majority it’ll mean rural living round food growing areas in pre-industrial type conditions. Settlements raised round farming, old school history book style.
As such violent behaviour won’t be tolerated for long on a local level.
It’s simple, if you kill off the work force, or disrupt growing, or interfere with trade, nothing works. Solution? The disruption must go.

In the UK, around 70% is land is used for farming, 11% is called “urban” and 19% is either industrial or just not used.

So does that mean that urban and industrial will become wastelands?
Not at all and industry in its most basic of forms (especially if electricity is still available) and cities will still exist. Apart from a few idiots (and every area has them) violence won’t be tolerated there either.

Only here is the crunch for the gun hoe. Law enforcement may become simpler.
With none of those scum sucking legal profession to get in the way, punishment may simply become summary justice.
Especially if there are elements of the armed forces stationed there.
So don’t just think “Oh goodie the one stop shopping mall called England is all mine”.
In built up or occupied areas there will be law enforcement.
It may differ from the rural version but it will exist in some form.

Now betwixt those two areas i.e. Rural and Urban, will be an interesting place.
At last the gun hoe may have a playground to shoot anything moving.
Gangs, marauders, free world militia or whatever.

Only in real life it goes like this.
Farms produce food, with the excess transported to centres that have things they want and trade ensues. It’s actually been like that for ever, the only difference is they’ll be no supermarkets so food will actually be fresh for a change.

Money may be barter, food for oil, meds, knitting needles for all I care BUT trade will ensue.

Then up pops the highwaymen living betwixt Rural and Urban.
Intercepting convoys, taking what they want.
Killing travellers for the contents of their back packs. Mad Max the sequel!
Just how long do you think that will take to p*ss people off enough to deal with the threat? Not long I should think and the trees will bend with the swinging dicks who get caught.

Now I can’t speak for the US. War is behind every bush there.
Everyone is armed, violence an everyday thing, it will be a last man standing  sort of place.
Which is utter B.S.

OK you have more land than the UK BUT the same principles will apply.
Settlements round food production will be established, industry will function on a basic level, and trade will still be carried out.

As for the highwayman, gangs, marauders, free world militia or whatever.
Summary justice is the same bitch when you think about it.

Is survival war? Possibly short-term. Long term, nope.
You can’t fight and subsistence farm (let alone trade) at the same time.
You can’t live in a community and remain violent.
You certainly won’t be able to coerce people into servitude for long.

Perhaps you gun hoe need to keep at least one rig out pouch full of what will matter in later survival. Seeds, and items for trade like needles, fishing hooks, salt, dried yeast, etc.

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