Posts Tagged ‘what would you do if’

I wish I knew about this a while ago. I was kayaking and when I disembarked on a rocky shore, my sandal broke. If you happen to break your sandal in the urban jungle, you can use this life hack.

sandal life hack

A recent article was published in the Wall Street Journal regarding how higher economic status may be linked to unethical behavior.  It quotes a study that was conducted by Berkley.  Here is the full study.

So why should us urban survivalists care about what people think about those in a higher economic status?  Because, you may be one of them; or be PERCEIVED as one of them.  Again, so what, why should you be worried?

We at Zenshin LLC, do not care much for politics, be we care about and study human behavior.  Our last post was about surviving a gang attack and the victim of that attack was described primarily as a driver of a Range Rover SUV.  The news outlets focused not on the victim as a person but on his status (what he was driving).  All you need to do is keep track of the talking heads and there is a serious trend to demonize those that have money.  Again, we do not care if this is justified or not, but it does add to the possibility that one’s socio-economic status may now be a factor in determining whether you are targeted individual.

Those who have money just are not helping.  Take this rich girl for example. She basically says “Let them eat cake.”  Well, we know what happened to the last person who said that.

RS_RUA4139.jpg

She went on a rant that went viral about how she is sick and tired about being put down by poor people.  Here is her rant.

So I ask you, when there is a black-out or a natural disaster and a mob forms because they felt they were left behind and not treated fairly because they are poor, who are they going after?  Other poor, left behind, disenfranchised people?

So where do you fall in all of this?  Check below to see (2010 statistics).  Note, half of this nation’s wage earners make less than $34,338.  That is potentially a lot of angry people going after the top 25%.  If you are in the top 25%, I would worry.  The top 1% can afford to get on their planes and get out of dodge.  What are you going to do, get in your Range Rover SUV?

percentage earners

This YouTube video recently had over 11 million views.  It discussed how wealth is perceived and what it actually is.  The general population actually thinks there is greater equity and they are better then they really are. Now, with videos like this, people are now being educated on where they stand on the wealth inequity scale.  Over 11 million people watched this video. It’s not going to be pretty.  The question is, what are you going to do?

I know this post was reserved for the second part of the Surviving a Gang Attack post, but since we now have averted (temporarily) an apocalyptic financial crisis, I thought I would take the opportunity to at least discuss urban survival during a financial collapse.

When we discuss urban survival we are almost always preparing for the worst case scenario.  In the event of a financial collapse of government we look at runs on food supplies, mobs taking to the streets and ways in which we have to barter, if needed.  What we haven’t looked at is the process by which this occurs and how to survive the process.  Fortunately we already we had examples of people breaking down as a result of the crisis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EngVoMRnK4w

Lucky we have averted a financial crisis but it allowed us to glimpse what the process could be and how long it will take until we have to start skinning squirrels for lunch.  Let’s look at the potential issues we may face during the process of a financial crisis.  What issues will come up before we hit the apocalypse.

Income:  Almost 1 million federal employees were not paid for 16 days.  If you are living check to check you will have to make some hard decisions.  These 1 million employees now cannot pay someone else for services.  If they can’t pay someone else those people will lose their jobs… etc, etc.  How will you pay or your food, clothing and shelter?

The government governs us:  We forget how much government actually governs our everyday lives.  For instance, what would happen if you could not pay the mechanic who fixed your car because you were suddenly out of work because of a government financial crisis?  The mechanic cannot float you because he is suffering also.  He can go to court and put a mechanic’s lien on your vehicle and you would have to go to court to get it back.  That means you no longer have a means of transportation. Let’s say you are divorced and pay child support.  If you cannot pay you will be subject to sanctions including jail.  You can, though, go to court and ask for help.

In both these cases, since the government is closed, and the courts are closed, there is no way to remedy this.  Interestingly, some parts of the government were open.  In the case of child support, the courts were closed so the person could not ask for help but the enforcement section was open. That means, it is possible that this person who could not pay child support because of the government shut down could be jailed because there was no place to go to ask for help.

The government will not be there to help you.  If you needed a passport or needed to travel you were severely hampered during this time.  Most essential services were up and running during this time.  If it went on longer we can use the example of what happened during (click here) Hurricane Katrina to see what can happen when essential services are not there for you.

Okay, so now that we received this wake up call, what should you do?  In order to survive a major catastrophe like a total government collapse due to a financial crisis, you will have to survive the process.  Don’t wait until it happens, everyone else will be doing the same.

1. Assess all the areas that the government has a role in your life or may have a role.  Do not get sucked in to the idea that some things can never happen to you. So even think about what you would do if the unlikely would happen to you.  What would happen if you were arrested, how would you handle that, who can help you, etc.  I was never arrested and I don’t break the law, but I know what to do and who to call if I am arrested.

2. Have some cash around so you can buy the basics (food, clothing water)

3. Keep information such as passwords and important names and phone numbers printed and in one place.  I’ll emphasize print the material in the event there is no power or God forbid no internet. This includes information who to contact and where to go if you need help.

4. Know how you can reduce your need for consumer goods.  Have some good recipes that are cheap, easy and inexpensive.  Here’s some ideas to start with.

5. Hunker down, get close to family and friends and try to have a realistic positive attitude.  The attitude will get you to where you need to be.

prepared

I have been challenging myself recently to ascertain if I am truly prepared to “be able to” survive.

This attitude is different from ensuring I have everything I need to be prepared. I have my bug out bag, the tools and items (such as water, fire implements and food) to help me if needed and have educated myself in those things that I think are important for urban survival; self-defense, fire making techniques, water purification, etc.

Although I have tried to challenge myself and put myself in situations that could test these skills, it proved difficult to do. You simply can not create a realistic survival environment in an occupied city. Yet, I wanted to try and really test my own personal preparedness. The only way to truly do this is to endure an urban version of Les Stroud’s “Survivorman.” Not so easy in our everyday city environment. I learned this the hard way when I tried to start a fire in a public place with a battery and steel wool in NYC and ended up having a long conversation with New York’s finest.

So how does one test their urban survival preparedness? I came up with a few ways and this series will chronicle these experiences. Today, we will talk about testing how I can move around the urban environment without using conventional means. Next week, I will report back on my diet experiment (do you know a city squirrel has 26 grams of protein?) and how that effected my ability to perform critical urban survival tasks.

So, the scenario is that the city is not safe to travel in the usual manner (streets, sidewalks and open areas). How can I get around to obtain the necessities to provide myself with food, water, shelter? More importantly, will I be able to travel this way if needed?

Okay, in the wilderness there may be trees and mountains that can be traversed if one did not want to walk on the forest floor. How can we move off the city floor in the urban environment? The most obvious solution is to go vertical using the buildings that are in every urban environment. Not so easy. Doors are locked and windows are barred and I unfortunately lack the spiderman ability to climb walls. The solution I found was fire escapes. Many building have them but they are especially designed for people to escape fire and go down and to prevent people from using them for going up. There are many versions and Wikipedia has a good article on the variations. If you study them carefully you may be able to figure out how to get the ladder down from ground level. For a more detailed lesson you will have to take my course Zenshin, Urban Survival Tours. I can’t go into detail here because the information can be used to actually burglarize apartments!

The fire escape lesson proved challenging in that it required a lot of upper body strength and more importantly, balance. To help me with developing this skill I took to the ropes. I spend the day at one of the largest rope courses in the northeast. The course uses a tether so it is safe but is loose enough so that it requires you use your core muscles and focus on balance. The workout was surprisingly rigorous and in the end, the practice really gave me the confidence to not only be able to scale up a fire escape but possibly use ropes to navigate around. I suggest going to a rope course that provides many different difficulty levels and several heights. There is a rope course at the palisades mall that is 85 feet high and has over 75 different courses. Take a look at their course and if you are not near them look for one similar in your neighborhood.

If you would like me to try out a particular urban survival technique send me a comment and I’ll give it a try and report back. If you have done one recently, let us know about your experiences.

Next post: the Urban Survival diet.

AED sign

One thing that differentiates urban survival from wilderness survival is the availability of technology.  If you find yourself in a situation where you need to help a loved one or you just want to be a Good Samaritan, would you know what to do?

You can certainly take a great CPR course….

If not, you can at least try out this great AED simulator.  Thank you to my friend Ted who sent this to us.

So, go ahead…..give it a shot……. AED Simulator

Warning:

The video below is a security camera view of an actual unprovoked attack on a 16 year-old girl in the UK.

The victim was interviewed after the attack and gave this account.

The perpetrator was subsequently arrested.

This girl is an innocent victim and did not deserve what happened to her.  Given that the attack was caught on tape, it gives us a rare opportunity to learn from it. So now we can discuss both the actions of the perpetrator and the victim.  This does not mean that I believe the victim is any way at fault. The only one who is at fault is the person who perpetrated this crime against her.

There is one constant to predicting human behavior.  A person’s past behavior is a good indicator to a person’s future behavior. There are of course some exceptions, such as when a person strives and works on their own personal growth. Most people, unfortunately do not.  So when we have opportunities like this to dissect a crime between one victim and one perpetrator, we take it.  Knowing a little bit of history between the victim and the perpetrator allows us to predict what may happen in the future to others under similar circumstances.

For instance, the victim recounts the interaction between her and the perpetrator before the attack.  This interplay, whether conscious or unconscious, led the two of them to the end result.  Although there may not seem like a lot of interaction to analyze here, there is.  Unfortunately, discussing it all will take up more space than would be permissible in this blog.  However, we can look at one very crucial time in the attack and analyze it.  The moment just before the perpetrator attacks.

Slow down the video (you can press pause a few times). Look at what happens as the perpetrator comes within a few feet of the victim.  What does the victim do? (it’s okay, go back to the video.. I’ll wait).

She clutches her handbag……….  What does this mean?  It means she was aware of a danger prior to the  physical encounter.  She may not have actually been conscious of this danger but she reacted to it by protecting her possession, her purse.  Remember what I said earlier about human behavior?  The victim throughout her life probably had many more experiences protecting her property then her physical self.  So when she felt a danger, she did what she had learned to do, guard and protect her property.  That is why at Zenshin™ Urban Survival Training we teach the Psychology of Combat.  We teach our students to identify and pay attention to their unconscious driven behaviors that often help them “see” a danger before they are consciously aware of it.  With this extra time, we then teach them the best way to react.  Although this was an unprovoked attack, the victim had some time to react.  She did… she clutched her purse.

What would you have done? What are you doing to prepare your loved ones in the event this happens to them?

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us in the United States.  I find myself in the unusual position of having too much material to write about to focus on just one thing. A hurricane slammed the east coast, the Mayan calendar debacle had people worried about the end of the world and 20 innocent children were murdered by a psychopath.

The usual debates on how our society will address and solve future tragedies soon followed. If you have not thought about how you well you are prepared for an emergency, listening to those talking heads should have gotten you going.  I will not add to the debate, but instead say that being prepared means being prepared in spite of what policy makers do or not do.  It is taking ownership of your own preparedness.  This concept was reinforced when Sandy hit the east coast and for days the residents of Staten Island and the Rockaways were forced to fend for themselves.  We are always thinking that the next disaster would be a natural or man-made disaster; but what if it is a shift in society?  Are you prepared for that?  Below is an article regarding the thoughts of Jim Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum Fund.  He has some predictions regarding our financial societal future.  What would happen if people with money no longer have it and the power associated with that money shifted to those without it?

Article:

In 1973, George Soros and Jim Rogers co-founded The Quantum Fund. During the following 10 years, the portfolio gained 4200% while the S&P advanced about 47%. The Quantum Fund was one of the first truly international funds.

In December 2007, Rogers sold his mansion in New York City for about 16 million dollars and moved to Singapore. Rogers claimed that he moved because now is a ground-breaking time for investment potential in Asian markets. Rogers’s first daughter is now being tutored in Mandarin to prepare her for the future. He is quoted as saying: “If you were smart in 1807 you moved to London, if you were smart in 1907 you moved to New York City, and if you are smart in 2007 you move to Asia.” In a CNBC interview with Maria Bartiromo broadcast on May 5, 2008, Rogers said that people in China are extremely motivated and driven, and he wants to be in that type of environment, so his daughters are motivated and driven.

In 2002, Rogers said that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s “reaction to the stock-market bubble has caused two more bubbles to grow: a real-estate bubble and a consumer-debt bubble.” In 2006, Rogers said he was shorting US financials, home builders and Fannie Mae.

On November 4, 2010, speaking at Oxford University’s Balliol College, Rogers urged students to scrap career plans for Wall Street or the City, London’s financial district, and to study agriculture and mining instead. “The power is shifting again from the financial centers to the producers of real goods. The place to be is in commodities, raw materials, natural resources.”

In May 2012 he remarked during an interview with Forbes Magazine that “there’s going to be a huge shift in American society, American culture, in the places where one is going to get rich. The stock brokers are going to be driving taxis. The smart ones will learn to drive tractors so they can work for the smart farmers. The farmers are going to be driving Lamborghinis. I’m telling you. You should start Forbes Farming.”