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7 Ways To Stay Alive In A Post-Collapse Society

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There have always been times where we inadvertently put ourselves in precarious situations. In this case, your best bet is to trust your gut. If you don’t feel the situation is right, find the nearest exit and leave the area. We covered some of these times in our most recent article regarding attackers and how to handle them individually or en-masse.  In the article, we covered a lot of ground for scenarios that may occur during these “Good Times” prior to a societal collapse or nuclear war.  This article is taking those suggestions and applying them in a collapse environment. Before we begin, you must understand that the biggest difference is that in a post-SHTF scenario there are no rules.

In a SHTF world, it’s a different story.

The sad thing with laws and rules is that they only help protect the citizen from the law-abiding citizen: the system focuses on self-discipline and restraint.

7 Ways To Stay Alive in a Post-Collapse Society

As is extensively detailed in The Prepper’s Blueprint: How To Survive Any Disaster, life will definitely be different when the SHTF. You will not be able to rely on the law to protect you; however, you will also not be prosecuted under the law for some superficial or superfluous reason: your life and your family’s lives take precedence.  That being said, what do you do?  How do you handle these attackers…people that are intent on taking you down and taking what you have?  Let’s outline some basics that you can use post-SHTF.

  1. Never travel anywhere alone: always go in pairs with one to guard and watch over the other one.
  2. Never go anywhere unarmed: preferably with a rifle or shotgun, a main sidearm (pistol), a backup sidearm/piece, plenty of ammo for all of them, a fixed-blade knife, and a folding (lock-blade) knife at a minimum. Read more about SHTF firearms in this article. Yes, that is a lot of stuff.  Let’s make some further suggestions on these.  Mossberg 500 series 12 gauge shotgun.  .45 ACP main pistol.  .22 cal lr revolver or pistol…suppressor is optional but highly recommended.  Gerber Mark II fixed-blade knife.  Spyderco police model folding knife.
  3. Never travel anywhere without the rest of the family/group knowing where you’re heading: Don’t mess around with this one. If trouble arises, you cannot go off wandering on your own and expect anyone to come to your aid.
  4. Consider all strangers armed and potentially dangerous: If you wish to be the “Good Samaritan/Mister Rogers,” this is your choice. After the SHTF, however, the rules are off, and it is (paraphrasing Jack London) back to the Law of Club and Fang.
  5. Keep your distance when talking to strangers: As President Reagan phrased it so eloquently, “Peace through superior firepower.” Watch their eyes, watch their hands, and conclude your discussion in a businesslike manner.  Don’t waste time: get to the point and then get going. Along those lines, pay attention to the way you carry yourself in public. Your body language can be very telling. Predators normally watch their victims before they strike and look for key indicators.
  6. Meeting strangers: You may wish to have a couple extra people roaming around at a distance to watch for the approach of an ambushing force. Many attacks begin by placing people at ease and using a larger force held in reserve to swoop in when the parlay has begun, and everyone’s guard is down.
  7. Territory: You need to stake it out, post it (warn others), and enforce the fact that it is your territory. Many times, attackers will be “persuaded” to find a softer target: one that is less organized with people not in a readiness stance at all times.

Related: 10 Ways To Avoid Marauders and Looters After the Collapse

These Post-Collapse Rules Will Keep You Alive

There are some rules to follow that are hard rules, but will serve you in good stead.  They apply in a wartime situation, and they will apply equally in a disaster such as an apocalyptic event with societal collapse.

  1. Everybody Wants Something: they aren’t traveling toward your home turf for nothing.  They want something: food, water, clothing, shelter, tools, or interest in the opposite sex.  This last we’ll cover as an “individual item.”  You need to find out what they want, and if they’re willing to trade something for it or if they’re just out scouting to raid (the more likely of the two choices).
  2. Discretion is the Better Part of Valor: Keep a cool head, a steady hand, an unflinching eye, and the ability to go into fighting mode in an instant.  An aggressor will notice these things.  He will want to assess your abilities.  This also means keeping your cool.  It doesn’t mean shutting up and allowing yourself to be verbally bullied into a corner.  The enemy can sense weakness, as well.  Mr. and Mrs. Hallmark?  You’re going to have to step up and do your own dirty work…your own fighting for once.  Better be smart and don’t bite off something that is bigger than you can chew.
  3. Interest in the Opposite Sex:  This is a fact of life.  The primary groups will be groups of men that are correlated directly with ancient hunting parties of old.  These groups of men will no longer have rules they have to follow and they will want your wife, your daughter, or your sister.  They will adhere to no rules or propriety.  They will want children as well: girls or young boys.  Let me be perfectly clear: you will have to kill them when they come for such.
  4. Cannibalism: Yes, cannibalism is always something you may have labeled as a “fluke” event, such as “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors,” but it is not.  There was an Army study years back that found that 1 human out of 1,000 will actively hunt other humans for food.  I’m here to tell you, that number is grossly underestimated.  Cannibalism begins almost immediately, at least within the first 1 to 2 weeks following a disaster.  There is plenty of history out there to document it, such as the Donner Party, as well as a presentation done by the Discovery Channel.  Be aware of it: they’ll be out there, and you need to be ready for them.

You need to continuously assess your fighting skills and training.  Assess these realistically, and take into account your shortcomings.  Learn to “pair” your preference with what is most effective.  Although I can more than handle myself in a knife fight, I prefer to meet an attacker carrying a blade with a nice 24” Aluminum T-Ball bat.  I’m here to tell you, when the bat is swinging?  The bat is singing, and the song it’s playing is all mine.  You have to find your own personal weapon of choice for “close encounters” where a firearm may not be able to be used.

In the end, taking care of yourself is a stance, and when the “S” hits the fan, the rules will disappear: they are as fragile as society itself, as fragile as cobwebs drenched with dew in the summer sun.  A strong wind will blow them away, just as an event will blow down the Hallmark houses made of straw and blow away the thin veneer of civilization masking the underlying, atavistic barbarism along with it.  Now is the time to assess yourself, make your plans, and execute those plans to strengthen your body, mind, and spirit to prepare for the times to come.  JJ out!


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.

38 Comments on "7 Ways To Stay Alive In A Post-Collapse Society"

  1. Shortend on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:21 am 

    Good advice…sounds like a good life to LIVE…can t wait for it to start!
    Right Doomed Gooners

  2. LetStupidPeopleDid on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:27 am 

    Why people want to survive at any cost even in miserable conditions is a mystery to me.

    I think it is time that we the human specie recognize that life is only misery and pain with sparse and short pockets of happiness.

    Maybe it is time we let the human specie die slowly be stopping reproducing.

  3. Outcast_Searcher on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:28 am 

    In a world where the vast majority of people in many first world countries, like the US, don’t even save adequately for retirement:

    cannibalism? Really?

    Wouldn’t it make FAR more sense to teach people to have proper spending priorities (i.e. pay yourself first, i.e. make saving and investing a top priority)?

    This, more than anything else, would help people become financially secure.

    And note that it’s not just “the poor” that don’t save. An appalling percentage of upper middle income folks are in terrible shape to retire at 65, even in their early 60’s.

    Should a doomstead, etc. which might have a 5% chance of actually being needed be a priority over retiring comfortably, which might have a 90% chance of being needed (and 100% if someone doesn’t die prematurely, or their health makes working a problem before age 65)?

    I’m sure for the people writing Cassandra and FUD newsletters, they make a living. For hobbyists who enjoy doomsteads and fantasies of shooting people, they get enjoyment.

    But just a wee bit of practicality would be in order. After all, the Cassandras predict likely or certain doom every year or decade, decade after decade after decade, and yet BAU persists. Human adaptability makes it likely BAU will persist for decades or centuries hence, like it or not. New problems and technologies or not.

  4. Outcast_Searcher on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:34 am sells a bunch of overpriced stuff they likely couldn’t sell to most non fast crash doomers, so it’s obvious what their motive is.

    For the fast crash doom prepper, aside from getting financially screwed by such charlatans, what do you get again?

    Oh yeah, the fantasy of pretending you won’t get shot or die of whatever most people are dying of that caused the crash (radiation, poison, etc).

    A sucker is born every minute.

  5. JuanP on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:54 am 

    Stupid “Why people want to survive at any cost even in miserable conditions is a mystery to me.” The reason why people want to survive is called the survival instinct and it is our most primal guiding force. If you don’t understand this then you must not understand much because this is pretty simple and easy to get.

  6. JuanP on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:58 am 

    Outcast “Human adaptability makes it likely BAU will persist for decades or centuries …”
    You forgot human intelligence, creativity, curiosity, and imagination. LOL! Centuries? Really? You are living in denial.

  7. JuanP on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 10:08 am 

    I can’t wait for MM’s input on this! LOL!

  8. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 11:57 am 

    Simple really….when the World Economy Collapses everything shuts down…the end… We’re talking about grids down all over the world and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in short order. The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once. I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close..

  9. Cloggie on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 12:09 pm 

    Interesting that mr Johnson does not elaborate about possible SHTF scenarios. War? What war? Is he seriously expecting Europeans or Chinese storming the US beaches?

  10. Outcast_Searcher on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 12:45 pm 

    Minimind makes another empty “in short order” prediction. Soon to be added to the giant pile of the rest of his nonsense.

    In the mean time, I’m so skeered by his FUD!!

  11. Roger on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 1:13 pm 

    “…does not elaborate about possible SHTF scenarios. War?”

    More war is certain, but here’s my speculation as to the “trigger”:

    “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1Thess 4:15-16

    At which point, all restraint will be removed, and men are free to follow the satanic philosophy “Do what thou will”. Then, the SHTF.

    “I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close.”

    Yes indeed, in the words of my Lord:
    “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Matt 24:21-22

    But, even before then, a great leader will arise to — apparently — solve the problems of a desperate world. The entire world will follow him:

    “And through his shrewdness
    He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence;
    And he will magnify himself in his heart,
    And he will destroy many while they are at ease.
    He will even oppose the Prince of princes,
    But he will be broken without human agency. Dan 8:25

    That’s my take. The One who made the oil (and everything else) knows when it will peak.

  12. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 1:28 pm 

    ‘In History, stagnant waters, whether they be the stagnant waters of custom or those of despotism, harbour no life; life is dependent on the ripples created by a few eccentric individuals.

    In homage to that life & vitality, the community has to brave certain perils & must countenance a measure of heresy.

    One must live dangerously if one wants to live at all.’

    — Herbert Read,

  13. Darrell Cloud on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 2:09 pm 

    I grew up reading things like On the Beach and Alas Babylon. As a kid, we expected to get nuked during the Cuban missile crises. When the truth came out about Vasili Arkhipov, I realized my adolescent fears were not far off. We are all incredibly lucky to be alive. Had this man bowed to the pressure of his peers, it would have been lights out in 1962.

    In 1962, we raised our own beef, chickens, pigs and vegetables. We had electricity and running water but we had no air conditioning and no TV. The sewer system was a septic tank. The water system was a well with an electric pump. Pop kept a pitcher pump in the barn for just in case. Mom canned our vegetables, and the meat was just out back foraging on whatever was in the pasture.

    The level of resiliency we enjoyed in those days is beyond the reach of most individuals today. We are totally dependent on a just in time supply chain that stretches around the world. I have not butchered a cow or a hog in forty years.

    When I look at the fragility most of us live in, I am quite concerned. A couple of snipers took out 17 transformers in 19 minutes shutting down a California substation just outside Silicon Valley. According to the Wall Street Journal, taking down nine substations when the demand for electricity is greatest would shut the grid down for a year. The EMP Commission estimated that we would lose 90% of our population within the first year.

    I have lived a grid down scenario five times in my nearly seventy years when five hurricanes made their way over the top of my house. If you have not lived it then you have no concept of how things are interconnected. The gas pumps fail. The water systems fail. The sewage system fails. Law enforcement disappears.

    The people who want to make it through the bottleneck need to think these scenarios out.

  14. Ty on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 5:03 pm 

    No Food, but Thought – conventional weapons are not always relevant.

    In the decade of 2010 to 2020, methane bulges began to appear in in great numbers across Siberia and other regions, foreshadowing a new stage of climate disruption.
    At the same time, digital computing and intelligent machine learning were creating a new social reality where all repetitive tasks, and even some creative tasks came to be performed by digital bots of all kinds, some physical, and some that existed only in the digital cloud.
    The climate was changing so rapidly that only digitally managed intelligent farms could continue to produce food.
    At the same time, traditional employment essentially ended.
    This created a society of dual realities that lasted about four years from 2041 to 2045. This was called the Duality.
    The digital elites controlled the means of production, and personal digital weaponized robotic armies. Thousands of people from every country on the planet each possessed the ability to wage private wars with no personal risk, and complete anonymity.
    This contrasted with the 99.9% of the population who did not have enough means to personally control digital technology. Among these people were what came to be known as the Digital Samurai, who possessed great digital knowledge, and who would work for those possessed adequate capital, but insufficient knowledge. These consisted of about 0.9% of the population.
    This left the 99% who lost access to almost everything – food, water, and eventually shelter.
    The beginning of the Duality is given as the year 2041, as this coincided with the first global food riot during which the death toll surpassed 1% of the population, or about 110M persons. The end of this period corresponds with the 7 Minutes War on 9 August 2045.
    The 7 Minutes War was a pattern of digital activity exhibited by digital systems that first emerged in society while capital was still largely transported using Money or Currency, and people invested in companies on digital trading platforms called Exchanges. From time to time, trading patterns would cause automated trading bots to react to each other’s trades, causing the Exchanges to spiral out of control.
    The 7 Minutes War was the same. One digital elite’s robotic defense force unintentionally triggered a defensive response from another person’s defense force. This set off a chain reaction, and within seconds, billions of weaponized bots and drones were fighting each other all over the world.
    As with most digital processing, the result was quickly obtained. There were no more digital armies to control, the means of digital production had been destroyed, and there were no more elites.
    What followed was a digital-industrial agrarian lifestyle based on salvaging what remained of the digital age, and coupling this with coping strategies of the pioneers and early industrialists.
    During this time, it was not uncommon at all to find a sort of “Digital Barnyard” with a homestead atmosphere where many tasks were still performed by robots of varying description, though of generally decreasing sophistication.
    And of course, the climate was changing fast. Very fast.

  15. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 6:57 pm 

    Russia is ready for the world cup!

  16. "Lucifer" on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 7:19 pm 

    Good one Roger, lol.

  17. Darrell Cloud on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 8:21 pm 

    Kunstler gives us five years on Zero Hedge.

  18. "Lucifer" on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 8:28 pm 

    I made some good deals this week, so Darrel i am going to be generous and give most of you a maximum of ten years.

  19. Bloomer on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:09 pm 

    Hopefully I will be at the epicenter when the first nuke reaches it target. If not I have a few extra boxes of Kraft Dinner and a 1/4 tank of petrol.

  20. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:25 pm 

    I have lived a grid down scenario five times in my nearly seventy years when five hurricanes made their way over the top of my house. If you have not lived it then you have no concept of how things are interconnected. The gas pumps fail. The water systems fail. The sewage system fails. Law enforcement disappears.
    I lived a year in Micronesia without electricity or water (got it off the roof- into a split bamboo and into a 55 gallon drum). Spearfished for food and exchange.
    After a couple of months, you don’t notice.

  21. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 9:28 pm 

    Hopefully I will be at the epicenter when the first nuke reaches it target.

    Move to Guam– no worries about instant vaporization.

  22. Cloggie on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 10:06 pm 

    “U.S. in Early Talks for Potential Summit Between Trump and Putin”

  23. Boat on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 10:13 pm 


    #12 wants to meet with #1. Ukraine for fewer sanctions? We dump NATO for Putin dumping IRAN? Lol Cheapass ancestors.

  24. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 10:18 pm 

    Putin and Trump are thick as thieves..Just wait till Trump stabs Putin in the back..He will..He is loyal to no one but his elite deep state masters..That is why he picked Bolten and Haley..His war against the deep state is fake..He is the deep states biggest bitch ever..

  25. JuanP on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 10:22 pm 

    Boat, You are completely delusional. Russia will not let the USA deploy missiles in Ukraine and they will not betray Iran. It is the USA that abuses and betrays its allies, not the Russians. Long live Russia, the BIGGEST country in the world with the capacity to completetely destroy the USA in a few minutes.

  26. JuanP on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 10:25 pm 

    And, Boat, the sanctions are helping Russia become stronger, more self sufficient, and united than ever before. The USA has no leverage left. The USA has already lost its war against Russia.

  27. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 11:07 pm 

    While visions of sugar plums danced in cloggs head..

  28. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 11:21 pm 

    OPEC’s Barkindo warns of underinvestment in global oil industry

  29. GregT on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 11:28 pm 

    “We dump NATO for Putin dumping IRAN?”

    We? LOL.

  30. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 11:32 pm 

    Shale oil has a refining problem, and Morgan Stanley thinks investors can profit

    “Our thesis is that the US refining system is close to being maxed-out on the amount of shale oil it can process,” wrote Morgan Stanley

  31. MASTERMIND on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 11:49 pm 

    The European Union was a construct of infinite prosperity

  32. Anonymouse1 on Tue, 5th Jun 2018 12:31 am 

    Boatietard is a legally retarded trailer-dweller from texASS, who has no idea what any the words he types even mean. For him, it is major victory to string a semi-coherent sentence together. This is not something that occurs often.

  33. Kat C on Tue, 5th Jun 2018 3:52 am 

    While it is true that we are imbedded with a strong survival instinct people also can reach the point where things are so bad that they just give up. (Hospice and living wills are testaments to the fact that many people don’t choose earlier death rather than pain and suffering). When the worldwide grid fails coal plants will stop spewing particulate and global dimming will stop and temperatures will rise dramatically and quickly triggering more releases of methane. Runaway global warming will ensue and temperatures will soar. At some point they will rise high enough that our will to live will become irrelevant.

  34. Darrell Cloud on Tue, 5th Jun 2018 6:15 am 

    Duncan, my concern is not the loss of power. My concern is the millions in Miami heading north looking for something to eat. Zombie is simply a euphemism for some good old boy or gang banger who has not eaten in a week.

  35. deadly on Tue, 5th Jun 2018 6:20 am 

    What did Mike Tyson say?

    “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    There are about six trillion barrels of oil with the Orinoco Basin and the Athabasca Tar Sands.

    One hundred million barrels consumed each day, 6,000,000,000,000/100,000,000 or 60,000 days of oil.

    The end of the line is 60,000/365=164 years of oil burning to go.

    More than enough coal out there, it can be burned until the cows come home. It is burned until the cows come home.

    A lot of huffing and puffing, hand wringing, sky is falling, call the cops, call the fire department, the world is ending as we know it, we are all gonna die, predicting nonsense is easy.

    Surviving is not that tough to do. Eat, sleep, have fun, work enough to have a couple of hundred billion dollars at the end of each day so you can buy another sh*t sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch.

    business as usual, you gotta do what you can to stay alive and keep from getting killed.

    Just like every day there is.

    There is no heaven, only hell. See you there.

  36. MASTERMIND on Tue, 5th Jun 2018 8:20 am 


    Heavy oil from Canada has to be blended with lighter crude oil..Its not much of a substitute if it can’t do any substituting? And its a slow process that uses just about as much energy as it produces..Not all energy is equal..Expensive oil is not a replacement for cheap oil..

  37. Kat C on Tue, 5th Jun 2018 1:51 pm 

    MM “Expensive oil is not a replacement for cheap oil” Well said!

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