This is reposted with permission from the author (Private Forum). Very Interesting Story Please do not copy and repost this article without permission Thanks, melbo ---------------------------------------------------------------- I've been asked to comment on some issues and I wrote this, I think some might find it usefull. I'm nothing more than an amateur when talking about this issue, but somehow US folks seem to like what I wrote. I'll start with a brief story on my country so you get in touch with the big picture. What exactly happened in Argentina? That's a tough one... We could write books and books and books on the subject. The run down is somewhat like this... (there are many omissions, this is just a quick run down) Since the early times when the Spanish came here and setup the cities they didn't care about any other thing than loot the precious metals and make a fortune with importation and exportation taxes. Not protecting the local economy or anyhing, but just to have a "federal" income taxing stuff. At the same time and for a long time, we exported nothing but prime materials, like meat, wool and cereals. Since the owners of the land were just a handful of people, they didn't need to get more money, as they were already filthy rich just by selling prime materials. There's a paradigmatic case in which we sold the Dutch wool just as it comes from the sheep for X money... Then they clean it and wash it (aka no real industry to do that) and then they sold it to the English and French clothing manufacturers for 5X... But the local landlords didn't care about that, as they just pretty much enslave the workers, making them for almost nothing, paying them with coupons (instead of real money) that they had to use on the same landlord's warehouse, at the prices the landlords setted. And in the cases that the people revolt, the landlords just call someone on the administration and they'd send the Army to shoot them all. Now, this kind of mentality went on until 1900 so we're talking about a country that remained exporting prime goods in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, without caring about the future of the country (this is something I'll get to in more depth later) because they were getting even richer supplying all the new demands of this newly created Industry worldwide. The decade of 1920 was really luxurious here (of course for the richs, not for the entire population, that was being exploited to the max by just a handful of landlord families) So in the next decades the people got fed up with this, and some popular revolts ensued. Extreme poverty and poor living conditions were the exact recipe for what came next.... Peron. Peron fucked over the companies and acted kinda like Chavez now in Venezuela (actually, Chavez's acting like Peron...) So the opressed people got a better quality of living, got to own houses, etc, etc. It was a socialist dream. We went from one extreme to the other. It wasn't exactly welfare like we understand it now, but the results were the same. One good thing to say about Peron is that he made 5 year plans for his goverment and the progress of the country, and they were all in the pursue of a greater nation. I might not agree with all his policies, but he had a plan. Nowadays the administrations only think for 4 years (or 8 if they want to get reelected), but if you get another administration, they just erase all the good stuff the previous one did, just beause they're on oposite sides of the political spectre. (Off course that's not gonna happen any more anytime soon, as the Peronistas are the only ones that can run the country now... They managed to get all the popular bases covered and can take out any other party president in 6 months if they want to... And came as Saviors later) But I disgress... When Evita (and then Peron) died, his wife Isabel -she was vicepresident at the time) took power, and it all became unmanageable... She had witch doctors to advice her, the corporations and landlords wanted the power they had before Peron back, the communist guerrila started to appear and placed bombs and kidnapped people, the Isabel goons started to act like SA stormtroopers... It was all down the basket, and lead to a military coup. So up to now we have social trends that get that extreme that are irrisistable any more by the people and lead to even "extremer" measures, that are not always good... For anyone. Now, the period in which we were ruled by military (military coup in March '76) was fucked up to say the least. The only thing I'm gonna say about this (other than at an economic level) is that both bands -The State and it's military and security forces and the communist/montoneros/guerrilla- behave like fucking animals On an economic level, our international debt grew like Hell, as all the military adinistrations (they changed several times) took IMF funds like there was no tomorrow. And when the economy seemed like it was going to collapse, they changed the currency denomination at a huge inflation rate and the state absorbed all the private companies debts. After the Malvinas war, it all went to the toilet rapidly, Galtieri went to war trying to touch our patriotic side and gain support, but it backfired on him (taking many good people's lives on the way) So in 1982, we regain our democracy, and the economic stuff doesn't seem to matter for some time, as we're all enjoying the new freedoms of a democratic goverment... But the inflation was rampant, people started getting paid weekly (here the majority of the urban people gets paid monthly) Prices were upmarked several times a day, you could enter a supermarket and see different prices at the moment you entered and at the moment you checked out. It was insane, and for us middle classers it was very rough, for poor people it was imposible, so in 1989, Menem had to take over the presidency about 4 months before he was suposed to (he was rightfyllu elected some months ago) as the riots and lootings got really bad in some places, and for a week, several places of the country were a chaos. So with Menem and his Economy Ministry Cavallo, they re estructured the currency and all of a sudden $1 = USD1 Everybody was happy, it allwed us to make some quick money and buy imported products and live in stability again... However, this administration was, quoting The Simpsons, "Corruptus in Extremis" Privatized all Public companies (water, phones, roads, gas, oil, etc, etc) and took HUGE kickbacks on those deals. The companies were a joke to begin with, but the way they were privatized and how the contracts were written was a shame. So with this huge quantities of money coming in from the sales, everybody was happy too. But the problem started to arise when the factory and land owners (and I'm not talking big corporations only here, but any John Doe with a small factory or small place to grow cereals) started to realize that they couldn't compete with international prices now that our currency had the same value as the USD (at least locally) But the ordinary people on the streets didn't give a shit about that, as with their pesos equating dollars, they could buy imported products instead. So after 10 years of this, most factories and small land owners went bankrupt and the industry of the country dissapeared, coming back to a a prime materials exportation economy as well as importing all kinds of crap from China and other countries instead of developing our own industry. This generating 25%+ rates of unemployment. After Menem's second term, a Radical Party (Peronistas traditional adversary - Menem called himself a Peronista, but he was not. He got elected with a Peronista look and speech but he changed that as soon as he took over) candidate won and his complete ineptitude, along with the aformentioned crisis, threw the country to the basket again. Since the coalition party made to defeat the Peronistas were of so different ideologies, and the president was a real moron (among all the economic problems the country had) in December 2001 the shit hit the proverbial fan in many places, and people started rioting and looting... President instaured a curfew and the state of emergency and the people told him to go fuck himself by marching to the presidential palace (what it would be our "White House" but without all the lawn in front, it's entrance is right on the street) so the police started to barricade everything, there were riots, snipers, etc, etc, and 20 something people died while the president resigned and evacuated the palace on a chopper... Really peachy. After that fracass, we had up to 5 presidents on a week as nobody wanted to take charge, or when somebody stepped up, other people on the same Peronista party made him resign, etc, etc... So finally we got a president to manage stuff while general elections were called, and then our actual president came in. All I'm gonna say about this administration is that they seem to fixed to the 70's and they seem to be demagogic to the max and control the poor oppressed masses as they depend on the Goverment tit for "welfare" checks. For the record, Argentina as a country is screwed up right now and in the near future it will only get worse with this current socio/political events. The few of us that live relatively well (even though I had to cut a lot of stuff due to 200-300% price variations -I'll give you an example... Before the economic catastrophe of 2001 a can of tuna was $0.70... now it's $4.3 and I used to love that stuff - Ketchup was $0.8 and now is about $4) live like we do because we live in mayor cities and have a somewhat wealthy family to back us or had the fortune to score a nice job or have some conexions to get a decent paid job. There are exceptions, but that is the norm. With official (ehem...) numbers more than 70% of the population is poor, and from those 70%, almost 50% is indigent. I live in a bubble, and every day I realize how big the social difference is just by going to the supermarket and seeing what I buy and what other people buy. And I'm no wealthy at all. By US standars I'd be fucking poor. I don't even own a car (altough I own my small department, I don't rent - priorities... many people have cars and rent... I just can't understand it) One of the MAIN problem with this country... There is no middle ground really, both the right wingers ("kill 'em all") and the leftists (70s communism is the best!") are so extreme that if you're a thinking person, you don't belong to either side really. The other is the welfare state for people that will NEVER work again in their lives and will just procreate more welfare recipients. (And the leaders that took over that once legitimate movement and now are hearding the people like sheeple to picket and cut streets for their own personal economic benefit) If you wanna see the future of the US with the current trends, start studying what happened in Argentina in the 90s. Some stuff that happened right after the 2001 crisis Stocking up in Euros (stashed on a safe) would've been cool too (You could've bought Euros at $0.8 and sell them later at $3.7) Gold was a good investment, it's keeping its value and gaining some more too. People that had USD on the banks, eventually got paid about $1.8 for each USD, but MANY people couldn't wait or just chose goverment bonds to vest in 10-20 years to compensate them and of course, had to sell them at 50% face value to speculators or even to the banks. If you had the funds and time to sue the State, your odds got better, but face it, if you just got all of your savings frozen, there's no much chance you can haggle and not take what they're offering you right now. The country debt grew astronomically because of all of the measures to save the Finantial Entities (banks) (The State took private debts as federal ones once again) People that couldn't get bank loans in the past (remember more than 50% of our economy is "in black" - kinda like hiring an illegal there, but with own citizens), made transactions with lawers/finantial companies, and many of them lost their mortgaged homes when they couldn't afford to pay them. At that time I was working on a company, theoretically making $1000 a month (USD 1000) I said theoretically because they never paid me in full and owed all of us employees like 3-4 accumulated salaries. And we couldn't resign as we couldn't get another job at the time. In the end, the directives pocketed the company's money and we got fucked (With the current exchange, they'd owe me $30K that I will never see again. - So you get an idea, my department, with 2 bedrooms, a living room and the other regular stuff - plus a huge balcony- is worth $120K, so that's 1/4 of an apartment!) After the crisis, I managed to make some money to survive selling stuff on eBay as a side job. If it wasn't for that and my savings (pretty much depleted by now) I would've have to go to my father's and ask him for money. Adapt, overcome. You just can't stick to do just one thing. As with your investions, you have to diversify your line of work, so if one thing falls down, you're not on zero but had other stuff to do. Learning English was the best decision I could've ever made. I know many of you don't want to do it out of pride, but learning Spanish is a must in the US right now, specially if you're preparing for a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario. All of these stuff I just wrote on guns, food, goods, etc, are from personal experience of mine (except when noted - those are educated conclusions based on observed facts f my reality, but I can't just say they're from personal experience) I just wrote them on the go, so I might of forgotten about some stuff, but I think it's cool advice nonetheless. I live in an apartment on heavily urbanized place, so my advice is going to be about this scenario. GUNS Have all the guns you want for your collection, but rely on the ones with a simple design that you can get repaired locally, or even better, learn how to do your own gunsmithing. Keep spare parts and know how to exchange them. Use guns that are readily available in your zone so you can get spares or ammo without any problems. Extra mags are a necessity, keep 1/2 next to your nighstand gun and memorize to grab it when you go investigate a noise. You never know if there's just one intruder or 5. Also use a flashlight to ID your targets. (That's from logical thinking, never had to ID anyone luckily) Regarding this, since I live on a big city, there's always some kind of light on the outside that allows me to check on strange "objects" with the lights off. I have my place memorized and I got a pretty decent night vision myself, so tritium sights are all I need if I want to make a shot. Living alone, theoretically I wouldn't need to ID anyone, if they're inside my house, they're up to no good, but there's always the chance of having something go wrong, so I'd rather press the clicktail of a SF for a second, with the gun already ready to fire, and if I assess that "object" is a threat, act accordingly. Again, this is what I came up myself, after reading a lot about it and knowing the local laws and my moral codes, I have no actual experience with this. Cool sights are, well, cool, but master the art of iron sights, both with handguns and rifles. Stuff breaks and you probably won't be able to change it right on the spot, even if you do have spares. Have back ups for everything, hell, have a back up for the back up, just in case! Right now I'm relying on a SW 686 for self defense because I broke the sights on my 1911 and my CZ75 had a sear problem... Having a 3rd back up is good. I can't legally own a centerfire semi auto rifle, and living on an apartment I don't think I need one. In any case, at one time I tried to move around my place "clearing" it with a 10/22 just to see how it'd be to use a shotgun for it and I ended up with a scratched barrel... What does that tell me? It's too damn big for an apartment. Plus, in a really CQB situation like it'd be in my case (my rooms are not really big) I feel way more comfortable with a handgun that I won't stick against walls. And to top that, (and this is from observation, not because I actually fired a shotgun on my apartment) from what I've seen on one of the range I go to (indoors) I don't think I'd be able to do anything properly after my equilibrium had been affected by the sound of the shot. If a shotgun sounds that loud on the range while I'm wearing hearing protection, I don't want to use one on a smaller place, while wearing no protection at all. Don't advertise you own guns, even if people bring the subject to a conversation. It's none of their damn business and will do more bad than good. I can't legally stock up much ammo, but it'd be something good to have planty of if legal in your country, as gund need that to work as intended... GOODS Have a handfull of flashlight or different power and batteries type. Use them according the arised need. 60-200 lumen incandescent Surefires are cool for some stuff, but LED Inovas are cooler for other stuff. Have a decent supply of batteries for all types. On a SHTF scenario you will be OK with a decent stocked pile. Buy CR123 batteries in bulk from places like Surefire, they have a 10 years shelf life and they're cheap bought that way. Depleted batteries from Surefires are still good to go for some hours in low wattage LED flashlights, so re use them! Have some battery powered radio and/or portable TV to keep in touch with reality. MP3 players and stuff like that is cool too for relaxation. Buy the ones that use AAA or AA batteries, propietary batteries are useless if you don't have an active outlet to plug the charger in. Have some rope (or better yet, climbing equipment, with harness and all) so you can rapel out of your place to the street in case the building halls and stairs are not a safe place to be. This works for fires and other emergencies too. Over calculate the rope to your weight, as you'de at least carrying 10-20 more pounds of stuff if you're forced to leave in a hurry. I don't forsee myself escaping from my apartment this way on any othe circumstance other than a fire, and in that case, I'd have to take 12 pounds from my cat already, so that's something to take into consideration too. FOOD Two words. Canned Food. Period. Allow me to illustrate this... Some 8-10 years ago (may be more or less, I'm terrible with dates), some places of the city went without power because of some explosion on one of the power company main generators. Was is sabotage, an accident or use of lesse quality materials? We won't never know for sure, but to the ordinary citizen on it's place it doesn't matter. I was lucky enough that my place (I was living with my mother at the time) was affected by this, but somedays we got some 2 hours of power between 3-5 in the AM, which somewhat allowed the motor time needed to pump some water to the water tanks located on the top of the building. Besides that, Army water tank trucks were delivered to some hot spots to refill those water tanks. My building got some of that water. Now, I tell you this so you can see that we still got some help and got water and power and yet, that time sucked ass big time. Those were 7-10 days of shame, I still can't believe a civilized country like this had that problem. Keep in mind it was before the economic fall down of 2001. Well, at that time I didn't have the mindset I have now, but I wasn't a sheeple either. Lucky for me it was summer vacations time, so I didn't have to go to College. My mother, in the other hand, did had to go to work, so she used to wake up at 4 am to be able to take a short shower. I tried to use the less water posible, so I showered at the gym, where they do had water running. With that said, rice is a nice option if you are on a rural area with plenty of water and can make fire with woods to cook it and stuff, but on an apartment or on a BOB it's a lousy choice. In order to cook rice, I need water, some kind of heat supply (a camping little thingy will do) and a pot. Well, with my water supply gone, I depend on my water savings... And since I live in an apartment, I can't have 100 gallons... 100-150 liters are the most I can store, apartments are not really big and I really don't have space for my everyday life stuff plus all the stuff a guy can have on a house. That water you have has to serve you to drink, to clean yourself up, to dispose of urine/feces on the toilet, etc, etc. You can't use it to cook everytime you gonna eat (many people say they just keep rice and tuna cans) and then to wash the dishes... It's too damn water. And of course, you just can't leave the dirty dishes on the sink cos you'll get flies, cocroaches and stuff and in some days worms, and they you'd have a complete new problem in your hands. And if you're on the go, it's kinda stupid that you have to stop and cook something, your main priorities are others, eating is something that you just do to keep your body on the go, so making food shouldn't be a special issue or take extra time. Open can, grab fork/spork, eat. I've never bugged out myself, but I did go on camping or hiking trips, and sometimes you just need food, but can't stop because you need to be someplace else at certain time, so if you brought something that needs cooking, you're screwed, you're not eating. And if you don't eat, your body weakens and you're not as good as you should be. So my choice would be tuna cans (in water, not oil) and canned vegetables. We here have some thing called "Spring Salad" that's a can with little dices of carrots, potatoes and peas that's very nice with some mayo and tuna. Now, this brings more items to the table... I live alone, and one can of salad and one can of tuna is too much for one serving portion to me... My can can take some tuna (have stocked up food for your pets too!) but it's still much... Well, I'm gonna have to eat it all anyways, and skip the other big food of the day maybe, you just can't leave an open can with food. No power no fridge. You don't want rotten stuff around you if you can't clean properly because of the lack or power and water. I choose food stored in water as you can drink tha water in the case of the salad and just leave it there on the food in the case of the tuna. It might not be super tasty, but it's water to the body and saves water from the water storage. Plus, if you throw that water on the sink, then you're gonna need to use some clean water to clean it up, as if you leave like that, it will attract insects and bugs. Specially if its Summer time. Dressings are good, but once opened, if not refrigerated, they rot, so it's cool to have a supply of individual servings as in McDonalds. Tabasco is good too as it doesn't need refrigeration. Other important thing to store are crackers and sweets. Crackers are good to eat for breakfast or if you're hungry or bored cos you don't have anything else to do. Pate cans are good too, cos you can place it on top of the crackers and have a quick dinner. Sweets are good cos your body will ask for one sometime and it's like a nice little treat for yourself in the middle of a screwed up situation. Instant coffee (Nescafe) and powdered milk are a must too. To finish this, in addition of eating and drinking, you have to take care of washing or disposing of the items you've used. A fork is easy to wash, it's all metal, just a little water will do. but dished are bigger and it will demand more water to wash them, specially if you've used an oily dressing like mayo, so what I reccomend is that once you dispose of the water of the canner vegetables, wheter on the toilet, sink or drinking it, you eat a little to make room for the tuna, and then mix both cans in there. Once you're finished eating, you have nothing to wash but the fork, so no water is wasted on that. What you have to make sure it to have many plastic bags and duct tape to seal your thrash from every meal, with as little air on the bag as posible. Once it's sealed, throw it on a big and thick plastic bag. This way you'd keep a clean place even if you just can't take the trash outside. BARTER ITEMS AND PRECIOUS METALS It never got to the point that we had to use barter items or precious metals here. As always, cash is king, and you should have some in your place, as with the ATM out of order, or the goverment doesn't allow you to take your own money, you're screwed if you don't have anything in you. The major supermarket chains will not take barter or gold/silver for payment. They will take Euros or USD, but you will get a somewhat lower exchange than on the regular market. Not much low though, about 3-5% less. Small Korean/Chinese places will probably take gold, but I have no personal experience with this, and you'll probably get screwed with the rate. The way I see it (personal interpretation, not real experience), silver is good for nothing, is so cheap nobody would want it, and gold is too expensive that you can't just go buy groceries with a Krugerrand... That's about USD 470... I can buy food for myself for 2/3 months with that cash. So I'd need smaller coins... But those are more expensive than the big ones, so it wouldn't be really useful, mostly because if I buy gold from a bank, I have to pay an extra (let's say I'd have to pay USD 490 for a Krugerrand) so if the market value of the gold didn't go up by the time I need to sell it, I'd loose USD 20 on the spot (in the improbable case that I get market value for my gold) So the way I see it, cash is king. Buy gold if you want to save for the long future, but on a SHTF scenario you won't get really what you invested on it. I live in Argentina, so a handfull of USD or Euros in cash I can go a long way, even if the SHTF event is a collapse of the economy that makes the peso worthless, so if you're in the US, you should keep some cash on a foreign strong currency. Of course this will work with an educated city dweller... Try a hunter in the boonies to take Yens/Euros... You might have more luck with this guy with a US Golden Eagle. SOME CLARIFICATIONS Why I continue to live here? First, it's my own damn country! Two, where exactly am I gonna go? The US? I'm not gonna go as an illegal, and green cards are imposible to get. Plus I'm not really keen on the whole PC thing, I'd get sued the first time I try greet a female coworker with a kiss. Some years ago I went to a training program in CA and there was this cure oriental girl that just had a somewhat radical haircut and the co workers were making fun of her, and I really liked how she looked like that (and I had ZERO "romantic" interest on her) so I told her something to the lines of "I really like it, it really scents the shape of your eyes and matches the style of clothing you picked for today" and all of a sudden they all made silence and I realized that I was in the US, not in my country, and that stupid little "make happy" comment was WAY out of line. So far I'm OK here, I don't make a ton of cash, but I don't do bad (on a simple life scale - I don't really care about the stupid stuff the sheeple care about). Plus some of my income is in USD, so that helps a lot too. I don't know how to really explain it, but you just block some stuff from your mind and end up living well if you have a decent income. My own problem isn't about security or money (although I'm not inmune to that and I'm not wealthy - I could use a lot of more stuff) but just realizing everyday the kind of people that common people is.... Sheeple, rude, ignorant... Since I resigned on that company I wrote about it, I work on my own, I can't stant corporate world... The stories my best friend tells me about his coworkers are just unbeliavable... Why can't I get a rifle permit? They're not issuing them anymore... I have friends that bought stuff 10-15 months ago and they still can't go pick it up at the gunstore as they didn't get it issued. It's a permit per rifle/submachine gun, not per person. (Actually .454 Cassul and .50 AE handguns also require the same permit - but I'm not sure if they're issuing this or not) So even if they're legally allowed, they are de facto prohibited. I don't consider myself an expert on survivalism or anything, but it looks like just living here, even if it's in a regular big cosmopolitan city, molds your mind into a superior level than the regular US citizen. And I'm not saying this to deminish US citizens, but for what I've read and seen when I went there, MANY people just take things for granted, and would not have an idea of what to do if you changed they're everyday squedule. In here is more of a "fuck, this shit again?" and switch with the current events. People here are sheeple like in the US too, but since our quality of living doesn't even begin to compare with yours, it's different. It's like in here, people want the right to eat and sleep well, but in the US they want the right to a plasma TV, a jacuzzi, one SUV for each family member, etc, etc, and they DEMAND that to the goverment... So when TSHTF in here, we take it as lowering our quality of living, but in degrees of the same scale, while in the US they're gonna be driven to a complete different world, SO different that they're not going to even be able to assimilate it. And THAT's what's important... Acknowledging that the situation changes ASAP and modify your behavior accordingly. If it takes a week to realize the goverment isn't going to airlift you to the Hilton, you're dead. When NOLA people complained about the MREs being cold and about having to drink water, I've almost lost it... SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU INGRATEFUL ASSHOLE!