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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6 Responses to Tread Softly Lest You Die

  1. The first half of this essay is informative and thought-provoking in a positive way. Up to the point: “What’s your plan? Are you going to walk up and kick in the door?” If a person is thinking about kicking in someone’s door, that person has either an anger management problem or a death wish. If you go looking for trouble, you’re likely to find trouble. I’m not sure what the motive is for kicking in the door? Do you want to get yourself a house with a broken door? Or do you want to steal something that’s in the house? I would watch and wait patiently. Eventually, I would slowly and carefully approach, and make a friendly and peaceful attempt to communicate with the possible occupants. If I didn’t have much patience, and/or my gut told me the place might be booby-trapped, I would simply move along to another place. Live and let live would be a positive approach, I say.

    • Thank you for your analysis.
      Most reasonable people would also agree with you.
      Unfortunately in the civilised world and real life the mob out number reasonable by a HUGE factor.
      In real life hate, destruction, and death walk along the same path as reasonable too.

      So if the rule of law is no more, like in the various “disasters” that have occurred in a ‘civilised country’ like the US, a persons only protection is whatever they can organise on a local level or what he carries in his hand.

      After all when 911 is no more, who is going to look after you apart from yourself?

      Thus it is not unreasonable for people to raise preventative measures to protect their property let alone themselves.
      Yet what is reasonable measures? Signage, dogs, wire, or more?

      The simple truth is people stop thinking logically when they are desperate.
      Those kind take, seldom ask, and won’t accept no as an answer.

      Indeed the standard advice for survivors is NEVER TO SHARE with strangers for two reasons:-
      1. You never know who you are sharing with
      2. You never know when you will be able to resupply.

      That and never let them get close enough to cause you harm.

      Then you consider the mob.
      Them who are “rabid” often see opportunity in disaster.
      They will ignore reasonable from the get go.
      Take, take, and woe-betide those who stand in their way.

      A story from war to close the point.
      In the Balkans, whole villages were cleared or simply destroyed.
      Many were dispossessed and as such made their way to “safe havens” on foot in atrocious weather.
      Thus they would seek shelter on their travels.
      They came across deserted shacks, towns, villages, burnt out or whatever, and would try to enter the apparently deserted buildings.
      Occasionally to find parting ‘gifts’ from the scum who had carried out the ‘cleansing’.
      Push open a door, BOOM. Or find a reminder of their status hanging from the rafters.
      One particular team was particularly inventive and left supplies on tables. Usually hooked up to explosives.
      We heard reports of poison too.

      Well know paths were land mined. People shredders.
      AP was the usual sowing.
      Some wired together with that shitty thin off green or leaf mold wire that is so hard to see.
      Kids learned fast what to look out for, or not at all.

      As for sitting there and carrying out a recce.
      Walking up with hands held open and asking?

      After a couple of days of little food, bad water, and sod all rest.
      With your emotions shot to hell, cold and wet.
      Reasoned thought just doesn’t happen.
      Thus some may turn away when told to go, some will keep on coming, some will force doors.
      Think about that.

      So turn your thoughts now to today.
      How are you going to protect your home let alone yourself from “invasion”.
      What if you just left before the event turned REALLY nasty.
      Your plan for your own property may be to leave it unlocked in the hope it won’t be smashed open or stripped?
      Good luck with that. Most will take some precautions in the hope that the fools will move onto easier pickings.

      Now there you are, dispossessed, on foot after the fuel runs out, and this seemingly empty house.
      ‘After a couple of days of little food, bad water, and sod all rest.
      Emotions shot to hell, cold and wet, reasoned thought just doesn’t happen.
      Thus some may turn away when told to go, some will keep on coming, some will force doors’.

      Will you be one of those?
      Forewarned is to be armed and ready for the unexpected.
      Being trained is better than ignorance.

      Still you could just “wing it”.
      After all not everyone will be prepared to repel intruders.

  2. What you say has the ring of reality, and truth. I’m afraid that your insight regarding human nature is more accurate than mine. What you say about the mob, hate, destruction, death and desperation– I resist saying it, but I think you’re right on all counts. Have you thought about writing a book? You have a lot of insight to share.

    • Books are written by clever people. Something I’m not.

      I’ve just seen a bit, probably less than some, and more than others. Done a few things, some for the right reasons, and am trying to enlighten those who care to listen.

      So respectfully, I’ll leave writing books to the educated and the talented.

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