The situations in which survival skills become desirable or even
necessary cover a wide range of possibilities.
For example, if you are in what is euphemistically referred to as the
"Golden Years," and your own government decides to manipulate
interest rates to the point that the fixed income you rely on to survive
falls into negative territory, survival skills will quickly come in handy,
but survival skills of a different sort than, say, those required to stay afloat
in a failed economy such as Zimbabwe. On that front, we'll hear from a
Zimbabwean a bit further on.
Taking things to an entirely different level, there are the extreme
frontiers of a complete breakdown of civil society, such as is recounted in Words from a Bosnian Survivalist
Simply, in the case of the oldster, surviving will likely include some
or all components of the following:
- Cutting back on non-essential spending.
- Moving earning assets out a bit further on the
risk scale (for example, by selling CDs and putting funds into
high-quality dividend stocks).
- Taking a job, almost no matter how menial, to
provide some small offset against the daily cost of living.
- Going hat in hand to a well-off relative.
- Taking out a reverse mortgage (but only after
having done your homework, of course).
- Using spare time to learn useful new skills,
starting with how to be a better investor. But also, perhaps, how to
produce a marketable craft or repair household appliances – anything
By contrast, as you'll read shortly, a person caught in the middle of
an apocalyptic fight against determined foes in Sarajevo will be better
served with skills such as:
quietly at night.
- Having a winning personality and/or a big
family so you'll have people available to help you fight off intruders.
- A willingness to eat rats, or pretty much
anything else that offers a modicum of nutritional value.
- A basic understanding of how to treat various
types of wounds and illnesses.
As with so many aspects of our human existence, however, there are
nuances to this topic.
For example, anticipating when survival skills may be necessary. If,
as is the case with so many people currently living in the civilized,
developed countries, you have grown up in a period of almost unbroken
economic prosperity, it is only natural that you will not anticipate the need
to develop the skills required to survive in a collapsing economy.
And while the United States has been at the center of pretty much
every shooting war of any consequence since the end of WWII, these wars have
all taken place in someone else's back yard. Thus, for an American, the
pressure to learn the skills necessary to cope with physical threats from an
opposing force is nonexistent.
As a result, the biggest blowback from 9/11 has been the country's
panicked and mind-numbingly expensive and destructive scramble to defend
itself against the bogeymen who are determined to
bring the forever war to US shores.
The Israelis, on the other hand, know to the level of DNA that they
live in a dangerous neighborhood and have developed all the necessary skills
to keep the barbarians off the gates. That these skills involve dirty deeds
done right is beside the point. The first rule of surviving is to survive.
Being sensitive to the damage done to those you feel are a threat ranks
somewhere pretty much right at the bottom of the list.
Likewise, if you came to believe that running around a foreign country
playing cowboys and
native indigenous first
nations' peoples with real bullets would be a good use of your
talents and so signed up for duty in Afghanistan, you would certainly pay
close attention during boot camp. For the simple reason that you would
anticipate needing the prerequisite survival skills being taught in the near
In contrast, if you were to believe the politicians and their cronies
on Wall Street (or is it the other way around, I can never keep that
straight) and come to believe that the economy is on the mend and will only
be enhanced by the current flood of funny money, then you will be steadfastly
unprepared for the coming inflation that will decimate your net worth… then
decimate it again, year after year.
Fortunately, there is a system that professionals in the survival
business have developed and refined that can help you anticipate levels of
risk and adopt the correct level of preparedness. I have written about that
system in the past, but as it was some time ago and is appropriate to today's
musings, I'll mention it again.
The Cooper Color System
While the government, in its usual fashion, has bastardized Cooper's
Color System to the point where it is now largely a laughingstock – you know,
the "Alert Level Yellow" signs in airports – the idea of the
original system, developed by ex-Marine and pistol fighting expert Jeff
Cooper is very sound.
The color codes developed by Cooper were designed to assign an
appropriate assessment to the level of risk inherent in any given situation
and, more importantly, to trigger a level of mental preparedness to handle
The basic levels are:
White – no risk. For a pistolero, this
would be akin to having a gun with no chamber loaded, no magazine, and the
safety on. In other words, you assess that there is no risk whatsoever. In
the event that you were mistaken, therefore, you would be the proverbial
In terms of economic threats, this is the state most people in the
developed world are in.
Yellow – relaxed alert. While you
sense no specific threat, you might be out of your house in an urban mall or
a strange part of town. Generally, this state of mind reflects the basic
truth that the world can be dangerous, so you keep your eyes open and remain
prepared to act if necessary. In other words, unlike White, you are mentally
alert to the potential of needing to take action if a threat suddenly arises.
In terms of economic threats, an equivalent might be deciding to have
10% of your portfolio in gold – "just in case."
Orange – specific alert. In this
condition, you recognize that something is wrong and that you are facing a
specific threat. Using the pistol analogy, in this condition you would
chamber a bullet, though still keep the safety on. As mentioned above, though,
the most important aspect of Cooper's system is that the alert status is
meant to trigger in the individual a mindset that is appropriate to the
threat. In the Orange alert status, the mindset you might adopt is, "If
that person does 'X', I will need to stop them," and be fully prepared
to do just that.
From an economic-survival perspective, you might adopt the Orange
alert level based on observing the actions of the Fed and the government over
the past few years. For example, by saying, "If the Fed adopts
open-ended quantitative easing and the politicians make no serious attempt to
reduce the deficit, then I'm going to buy gold and gold shares on dips until
they make up 30% of my portfolio. Furthermore, I'm going to begin trading my
fiat currencies for other tangible assets, including property, spread
throughout a number of jurisdictions."
Likewise, viewing things from the perspective of a person who values
personal liberties, you might shift to Orange status when the government
approves using drones for domestic
police actions and mentally prepare yourself by saying something
like, "The first time an American is killed on domestic soil by a drone,
I'm getting the hell out of here."
Of course, you'll have to define what constitutes your own line in the
sand – my point here is that if you don't take the time to think this stuff
through, you are far more likely to be caught by surprise.
Red – fight. In this case, you have a bullet in the chamber, the
hammer is cocked and your safety is off. Your mindset at this point is that
the condition for taking the next action in the Orange level has been met,
and your next move is to take out the threat.
From an economic perspective, your equivalent action would be to take
the steps you mentally prepared to take above, or others that are more
appropriate to your circumstances.
From a personal-liberty perspective, the options are fairly narrow. In
my view, moving to less threatening environs is pretty much the only rational
choice, if you can manage it.
As I have tried to demonstrate, Cooper's Color System can be adapted
for a wide range of circumstances where threats may arise... including those
involving personal safety, economic security and threats to your individual
In terms of the biggest threats I see at this point, there are two.
- The failure of the global
fiat monetary system – alert status Orange with tinges of Red. Monetary scholar Edwin
Vieira has studied the life cycle of monetary systems and found that, on
average, they collapse after about 27 years. Nixon's closing of the gold
window, which set the dollar completely adrift from an underpinning
tangible value, occurred in 1971 – so the current dollar-based global
fiat system is now about 41 years old, pretty much at the extreme end of
the range. All the signs that the endgame is near are now evident, with
the world's central banks united in adopting massive money printing and
engaged in what is essentially a currency war.
Confirming me in my opinion is that, according to a just-released report
by the World Gold Council, central banks are now purchasing much more
gold than the gold ETFs. The central bankers see what's coming and are
preparing for it.
What would cause me to shift my assessment to Red? When US interest
rates begin to rise uncontrollably, and the government begins to take
increasingly draconian measures to buffer itself from collapsing under
its massive debts and unfunded obligations.
The chart shown just below, snagged from the just-released edition of The Casey Report,
shows the clear downtrend in US bonds and gives rise to the potential
that the long bull market in bonds may be coming to an end.
(Click on image to enlarge)
The question of interest rates is, of course, of monumental importance.
Once the government's monetary machinations and manipulations lose their
effectiveness, it's game over for the bond
As far as taking action to survive the collapse of the bond bubble, and with it the fiat monetary system, the
single most up-to-date and useful way to understand the situation is
found in the current edition of The
Casey Report, released this morning.
In addition to the technical work done by Dominick Graziano
in identifying the trigger points to watch so you'll know that the
bubble is burst, Casey Research Chief Economist Bud Conrad goes all out
with a slew of proprietary charts and data to help you understand when
and how the end to the government's manipulation of rates will come
about, and the consequences thereof.
The edition is topped off with "Decline and Fall"
by Doug Casey, in which he talks about the fundamental roots of the
Greater Depression now gripping the world.
It is, I believe, one of the best editions of The Casey Report in
months (which is saying something). But don't
take my word for it. Sign up for a three-month trial today, download the
current edition right away, take three months to decide whether the
publication is right for you, and if it isn't, simply cancel by email
for a full refund.
You literally have nothing to lose, but much to gain in terms of
understanding today's mega-trends and how to profit. Details here, but only if you
make the effort to click this link.
- A transition in the United
States to a police state – alert status Orange. In my view, the country is
one or maybe two headline-grabbing incidents away from completing the
transition from a country where individual liberty is sacrosanct to
where it is granted entirely at the leisure of the state. Yes, you may
fly, but only if your papers are in order and you haven't tripped an
algorithm from some secret agency. Sure, you can buy a gun, but only if
you pay a big tax, pay for special training, have a clean criminal
record (no DUIs allowed) and pass a government exam that assesses your
What would cause me to upgrade my alert status to Red? The next 9/11.
Since the World Trade Center went down, the US government has spent an
incredible amount of resources developing and distributing
expensive hammers (drones, surveillance systems, high-tech weaponry,
body armor, laser weapons, etc.) for every institution from the military
right down to the local constabulary. All that's missing now is the
Importantly, as was seen this week, the odds of the next attack coming
from a US military veteran are high. Which means when
the hammers start to come down, they will be coming down on home turf.
Summing up, it behooves us all to do our own personal threat
assessment. For example, do you live in or near a big city that might
experience problems should the government's ability to continue
redistributionist policies be hindered?
As one hard-ass ex-military type recently reminded me, one of the key tenets
of personal security involves physical distance from the threat. Even if you
don't decide to move away from the city, you should at least go through the
mental exercise of determining, in advance, what would trigger a move and
then be fully prepared to act should that trigger be tripped.
Likewise, you need to develop financial strategies, held in reserve,
should the moral and fiscal debasement in Washington DC (and other world
capitals) continue unchecked. Personally, I am already at the Orange alert
level, which is no small part of the reason why I am writing you looking out
the window on the street of a happy little town in
Northwest Argentina, not just far from the maddened crowd but incredibly
successful thanks to the steady influx of tourists and the booming wine
(Speaking of which, the annual Harvest Celebration is close to selling out.
If you're interested in escaping the Northern Hemisphere winter and joining
in on the festivities, March 14-19, drop Dave Norden
a note at dnorden@LaEst.com and he'll rush you out all the
While we all hope that things will turn out for the best, and they
very well might, I suspect that, like me, most of you sense that something is
fundamentally wrong in the world today.
Trying to ignore the risks, effectively keeping your alert level at
"White," leaves you woefully unprepared. Now is the time to think
this stuff through, while you still can do so calmly.
Now, moving on, I want to share with you stories from two individuals
faced with severe disruptions in the norm – one from old friend Roger S. from
Zimbabwe, who reports on the current state of things there and the other from
an individual who survived the war in Sarajevo.
Update from Inside Zimbabwe
By Roger S.
It's been just about four years since Zimbabwe's coalition
"inclusive" government was formed and hyperinflation was stopped in
its tracks with the abandonment of the Zimbabwe dollar and the adoption of a
"multi-currency regime," effectively the US dollar.
But although hyperinflation can be stopped abruptly in this way, it
takes much longer to fix the economy. In the 2011 Human Development Report, Zimbabwe was ranked
173 out of 187 countries; Foreign
Policy magazine placed Zimbabwe sixth in the 2011 Failed State
Index; the country was #132 out of 142 countries in the World Economic
Forum's Global Competitiveness Index 2011/12, and in the World Bank/IFC Doing Business Report 2012,
Zimbabwe was ranked 171 out of 183 countries.
Most manufacturing industries ground to a halt during the years of
hyperinflation and irrational price controls, and now that there is no
exchange control, it is much easier for retailers to import finished goods
from neighboring South Africa than to wait for industry to start up again.
In fact, few industries are in a position to do so, as their machinery
and equipment are in need of upgrading or replacement, they have lost skilled
and experienced staff to the diaspora, and they have lost their markets.
Trade figures for 2011 suggest that the manufacturing sector imported more
than five times as much as it exported.
But the absence of exchange controls since dollarization has enabled
those with money to move it around. And 90-day term deposits on the money
market can earn at least 7%, with up to 11% apparently available for
The political situation is such that, although the environment is not
as unstable as it was a few years ago, there is not a great deal of
confidence in the future at the moment. Parliamentary and presidential
elections are due to be held later in the year, but it still seems unclear
whether they will produce a conclusive result.
But Zimbabweans have gotten used to living in a kind of limbo and
"making a plan" for whatever might come next. We always expect that
"next year will be better"!
David again. Roger and his wife Cheryll remained in Zimbabwe throughout the entire Mugabe
regime, a despised minority in an economy where inflation was measured in the
millions of percentage points. His demeanor is quiet and unassuming, go along
to get along, and despite all the travails, he always remained an optimist
even after being tossed in jail twice for pushing back against a corrupt
However he managed, he did indeed manage. But I suspect his survival
skills in a collapsing economy would have been sorely tested in the next
scenario, that of the collapse of civil society.
Words from a Bosnian Survivalist
Translator's note: This tale had
originally been recorded in French and then translated by two Russian
survivalists who met the man. The Bosnian is anonymous for reasons which will
soon be made clear from reading the articles. –MicroBalrog
I am from Bosnia. You know, between 1992 and 1995, it was hell. For
one year I lived, and survived, in a city with 6,000 people, without water,
electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any
kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Our city was blockaded by the army, and for one year life in the city
turned into total crap. We had no army, no police, we only had armed groups –
those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared, but most of the
neighbors' families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols, a few had AK-47s or shotguns.
After a month or two, gangs started operating, destroying everything.
Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more
police. About 80% of the hospital staff were gone. I
got lucky – my family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large
house, 6 pistols, 3 AKs), and we survived (most of us, at least).
The Americans dropped MREs every 10 days, to help blockaded cities.
This was never enough. Some – very few – had gardens. It took 3 months for
the first rumors to spread of men dying from hunger and cold. We removed all
the doors, the window frames from abandoned houses, ripped up the floors and
burned the furniture for heat. Many died from diseases, especially from the
water (two from my own family). We drank mostly rainwater, ate pigeons and
Money soon became worthless. We returned to an exchange. For a tin can
of tushonka, you could have a woman
(it is hard to speak of it, but it is true). Most of the women who sold
themselves were desperate mothers.
Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries
and food. We fought for these things like animals. In these situations, it
all changes. Men become monsters. It was disgusting.
Strength was in numbers. A man living alone getting killed and robbed
would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.
Today me and my family are well prepared, I
am well armed. I have experience.
It does not matter what will happen – an earthquake, a war, a tsunami,
aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The
important part is that something will happen.
Here's my experience: you can't make it on your own. Don't stay apart
from your family, prepare together, choose reliable
1. How to move safely in a city
The city was divided into communities along streets. Our street (15-20
homes) had patrols (5 armed men every week) to watch for gangs and for our
All the exchanges occurred in the street. About five kilometers away
was an entire street for trading, all well organized, but going there was too
dangerous because of the snipers. You could also get robbed by bandits. I
only went there twice, when I needed something really rare (list of medicine,
mainly antibiotics, of French origin).
Nobody used automobiles in the city: the streets were blocked by
wreckage and by abandoned cars. Gasoline was very expensive. If one needed to
go somewhere, that was done at night. Never travel
alone or in groups that were too big – always 2-3 men. All armed, travel
swift, in the shadows, cross streets through ruins, not along open streets.
There were many gangs 10-15 men strong, some as large as 50 men. But
there were also many normal men, like you and me, fathers and grandfathers,
who killed and robbed. There were no "good" and "bad"
men. Most were in the middle and ready for the worst.
2. What about wood? Your home city
is surrounded by woods, why did you burn doors and furniture?
There were not that many woods around the city. It was very beautiful
– restaurants, cinemas, schools, even an airport. Every tree in the city and
in the city park was cut down for fuel in the first two months.
Without electricity for cooking and heat – we burned anything that
burned. Furniture, doors, flooring – that wood burns swiftly. We had no
suburbs or suburban farms. The enemy was in the suburbs. We were surrounded.
Even in the city, you never knew who was the enemy at any
3. What knowledge was useful to
you in that period?
To imagine the situation a bit better, you should know it was
practically a return to the Stone Age.
For example, I had a container of cooking gas. But I did not use it
for heat – that would be too expensive! I attached a nozzle to it I made
myself and used to fill lighters. Lighters were precious.
If a man brought an empty lighter, I would fill it and he would give
me a tin of food or a candle.
I was a paramedic. In these conditions, my knowledge was my wealth. Be
curious and skilled. In these conditions, the ability to fix things is more
valuable than gold.
Items and supplies will inevitably run out, but your skills will keep
I wish to say this: learn to fix things, shoes, or people.
My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He
never went hungry.
4. If you had 3 months to prepare
now, what would you do?
Three months? Run away from the country? (joking)
Today I know everything can collapse really fast. I have a stockpile
of food, hygiene items, batteries… enough to last me
for 6 months.
I live in a very secure flat and own a home with a shelter in a
village 5 kilometers away. Another six-month supply there too. That's a small
village, most people there are well prepared. The
war had taught them.
I have four weapons, and 2,000 rounds for
I have a garden and have learned gardening. Also I have a good
instinct – you know, when everyone around you keeps telling you it'll all be
fine, but I know – it will all collapse.
I have strength to do what I need to protect my family. Because when
it all collapses, you must be ready to do "bad" things to keep your
children alive and protect your family.
Surviving on your own is practically impossible. Even if you're armed
and ready – if you're alone, you'll die. I have seen that happen many times.
Families and groups, well prepared, with skills and knowledge in
various fields – that's much better.
5. What should you stockpile?
That depends. If you plan to live by theft – all you need is weapons
and ammo. Lots of ammo.
If not – more food, hygiene items, batteries, accumulators, little
trading items (knives, lighters, flints, soap). Also alcohol of a type that
keeps well. The cheapest whiskey is a good trading item.
Many people died from insufficient hygiene. You'll need simple items
in great amounts. For example, garbage bags. Lots of them. And toilet paper.
Non-reusable dishes and cups – you'll need lots of them. I know that because
we didn't have any at all.
As for me, a supply of hygiene items is perhaps more important than
food. You can shoot a pigeon, you can find a plant
to eat. You can't find or shoot any disinfectant.
Disinfectant, detergents, bleach, soap, gloves, masks…
First-aid skills, washing wounds and burns. Perhaps you will find a
doctor – and will not be able to pay him.
Learn to use antibiotics. It's good to have a stockpile of them.
You should choose the simplest weapons. I carry a Glock
.45, I like it, but it's a rare gun here – so I have two TT pistols too
(everyone has them and ammo is common).
I don't like Kalashnikovs, but again, same story – everyone has them,
so do I.
You must own small, unnoticeable items. For example: a generator is
good, but 1,000 Bic lighters are better. A
generator will attract attention if there's any trouble, but 1,000 lighters
are compact, cheap, and can always be traded.
We usually collected rainwater into 4 large barrels and then boiled
it. There was a small river, but the water in it became very dirty very fast.
It's also important to have containers for water – barrels and
6. Were gold and silver useful?
Yes. I personally traded all the gold in the house for ammunition.
Sometimes we got our hands on money – dollars and deutschmarks. We
bought some things for them, but this was rare and prices were astronomical –
for example a can of beans cost $30-40. The local money quickly became
worthless. Everything we needed, we traded for through barter.
7. Was salt expensive?
Yes, but coffee and cigarettes were even more expensive. I had lots of
alcohol and traded it without problems. Alcohol consumption grew over 10
times as compared to peacetime. Perhaps today it's more useful to keep a
stock of cigarettes, lighters, and batteries. They take up less space.
At this time I was not a survivalist. We had no time to prepare –
several days before the shit hit the fan, the politicians kept repeating over
the TV that everything was going according to plan, there's no reason to be
concerned. When the sky fell on our heads, we took what we could.
8. Was it difficult to purchase
firearms? What did you trade for arms and ammunition?
After the war, we had guns in every house. The police confiscated lots
of guns at the beginning of the war. But most of them, we hid. Now I have one
legal gun that I have a license for. Under the law, that's called a temporary
collection. If there is unrest, the government will seize all the registered
guns. Never forget that.
You know, there are many people who have one legal gun – but also
illegal guns if that one gets seized. If you have good trade goods, you might
be able to get a gun in a tough situation, but remember, the most difficult
time is the first days, and perhaps you won't have enough time to find a
weapon to protect your family. To be disarmed in a time of chaos and panic is
a bad idea.
In my case – there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio,
he had shotguns – I traded the accumulator for both of them. Sometimes I
traded ammunition for food, and a few weeks later traded food for ammunition.
Never did the trade at home, never in great amounts.
Few people knew how much, and what, I keep at home.
The most important thing is to keep as many things as possible in
terms of space and money. Eventually you'll understand what is more valuable.
Correction: I'll always value weapons and ammunition the most. Second?
Maybe gas masks and filters.
9. What about security?
Our defenses were very primitive. Again, we weren't ready, and we used
what we could. The windows were shattered, and the roofs in a horrible state
after the bombings. The windows were blocked – some with sandbags, others
I blocked the fence gate with wreckage and garbage, and used a ladder
to get across the wall. When I came home, I asked someone inside to pass over
the ladder. We had a fellow on our street that completely barricaded himself
in his house. He broke a hole in the wall, creating a passage for himself
into the ruins of the neighbor's house. A sort of secret entrance.
Maybe this would seem strange, but the most protected houses were
looted and destroyed first. In my area of the city there were beautiful
houses, with walls, dogs, alarms and barred windows. People attacked them
first. Some held out, others didn't – it all depended
how many hands and guns they had inside…
I think defense is very important – but it must be carried out
unobtrusively. If you are in a city and SHTF comes, you need a simple,
non-flashy place, with lots of guns and ammo.
How much ammo? As much as possible.
Make your house as unattractive as you can.
Right now I own a steel door, but that's just against the first wave
of chaos. After that passes, I will leave the city to rejoin a larger group
of people, my friends and family.
There were some situations during the war… there's no need for
details, but we always had superior firepower, and a brick wall, on our side.
We also constantly kept someone watching the streets. Quality
organization is paramount in case of gang attacks.
Shooting was constantly heard in the city.
Our perimeter was defended primitively – all the exits were barricaded
and had little firing slits. Inside we had at least five family members ready
for battle at any time, and one man in the street, hidden in a shelter.
We stayed home through the day to avoid sniper fire.
At first, the weak perish. Then the rest fight.
During the day, the streets were practically empty due to sniper fire.
Defenses were oriented towards short-range combat alone. Many died if they
went out to gather information, for example. It's important to remember we
had no information, no radio, no TV – only rumors and nothing else.
There was no organized army, every man fought. We had no choice.
Everybody was armed, ready to defend themselves.
You should not wear quality items in the city – someone will murder
you and take them. Don't even carry a "pretty" long arm, it will
Let me tell you something: if SHTF starts tomorrow, I'll be humble.
I'll look like everyone else. Desperate, fearful. Maybe I'll even shout and
cry a little bit.
Pretty clothing is excluded altogether. I will not go out in my new
tactical outfit to shout: "I have come! You're doomed, bad guys!"
No, I'll stay aside, well armed, well prepared,
waiting and evaluating my possibilities, with my best friend or brother.
Super-defenses, super-guns are meaningless. If people think they
should steal your things, that you're profitable – they will. It's only a
question of time and the amount of guns and hands.
10. How was the situation with
We used shovels and a patch of earth near the house. Does it seem
dirty? It was. We washed with rainwater or in the river – but most of the
time the latter was too dangerous. We had no toilet paper, and if we had any,
I would have traded it away.
It was a "dirty" business.
Let me give you a piece of advice: you need guns and ammo first – and
second, everything else. Literally EVERYTHING! All depends on the space and
money you have.
If you forget something, there'll always be someone to trade with for
it – but if you forget weapons and ammo, there will be no access to trading
I don't think big families are extra mouths. Big
families means both more guns and strength – and from there, everyone
prepares on his own.
11. How did people treat the sick
and the injured?
Most injuries were from gunfire. Without a specialist and without
equipment, if an injured man found a doctor somewhere, he had about a 30%
chance of survival.
It ain't the movies. People died. Many died
from infections of superficial wounds. I had antibiotics for 3-4 uses – for
the family, of course.
People died foolishly quite often. Simple diarrhea will kill you in a
few days without medicine, with limited amounts of water.
There were many skin diseases and food poisonings… nothing to it.
Many used local plants and pure alcohol – enough for the short term,
but useless in the long term.
Hygiene is very important… as well as having as much medicine as
possible. Especially antibiotics.
David again. For the record, I included
that article not because I think things are going to get anywhere near as
dire in the West, but rather because I thought you'd find it interesting,