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    Argentina Survival Stories

    The following is a collection of posts by a person surviving the economic collapse in Argentina. It used to be available online but disappeared without explanation so I'm pasting it below.

    PS. If you are FerFAL and want these taken down send me a message and I will comply.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 1

    My brother visited Argentina a few weeks ago. He's been living in Spain for a few years now. Within the first week, he got sick, some kind of strong flu, even though climate isn't that cold and he took care of himself. Without a doubt he got sick because there are lots of new viruses in my country that can't be found in 1st world countries. The misery and famine lead us to a situation where, even though you have food, shelter and health care, most of others don't, and therefore they get sick and spread the diseases all over the region.

    What got me started on this post is the fact that I actually saw this coming, and posted on the subject here at Frugals, months before the new viruses spread over the country and the news started talking about this new, health emergency, which proves that talking, thinking and sharing ideas with like minded people (you guys), does help to see things coming and prepare for them with enough time. So I started thinking about several issues, what I learned (either the hard way or thanks to this forum) after all these years of living in a collapsed country that is trying to get out an economical disaster and everything that comes along with it. Though my English is limited, I hope I'm able to transmit the main ideas and concepts, giving you a better image of what you may have to deal with some day, if the economy collapses in your country. Here is what I have so far:

    URBAN OR COUNTRY?
    Someone once asked me how did those that live in the country fare. If they were better off than city dwellers. As always there are no simple answers. Wish I could say country good, city bad, but I can't, because if I have to be completely honest, and I intend to be so, there are some issues that have to be analyzed, especially security. Of course that those that live in the country and have some land and animals were better prepared food-wise. No need to have several acres full of crops. A few fruit trees, some animals, such as chickens, cows and rabbits, and a small orchard was enough to be light years ahead of those in the cities.

    Chickens, eggs and rabbits would provide the proteins, a cow or two for milk and cheese, some vegetables and fruit plants covered the vegetable diet, and some eggs or a rabbit could be traded for flower to make bread and pasta or sugar and salt.

    Of course that there are exceptions, for example, some provinces up north have desert climate, and it almost never rains. It is almost impossible to live of the land, and animals require food and water you have to buy. Those guys had it bad; no wonder the Northern provinces suffer the most in my country. Those that live in cities, well they have to manage as they can. Since food prices went up about 200%-300%. People would cut expenses wherever they could so they could buy food. Some ate whatever they could; they hunted birds or ate street dogs and cats, others starved. When it comes to food, cities suck in a crisis. It is usually the lack of food or the impossibility to acquire it that starts the rioting and looting when TSHTF.

    When it comes to security things get even more complicated. Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to be grown ups on the internet.

    Some facts:
    1) Those that want to harm you/steal from you don’t come with a pirate flag waving over their heads.
    2) Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.
    3) They won’t come riding loud bikes or dressed with their orange, convict just escaped from prison jump suits, so that you can identify them the better. Nor do they all wear chains around their necks and leather jackets. If I had a dollar for each time a person that got robbed told me “They looked like NORMAL people, dressed better than we are”, honestly, I would have enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but don’t expect them to dress like in the movies.
    4) A man with a wife and two or three kids can’t set up a watch. I don’t care if you are SEAL, SWAT or John Freaking Rambo, no 6th sense is going to tell you that there is a guy pointing a gun at your back when you are trying to fix the water pump that just broke, or carrying a big heavy bag of dried beans you bought that morning.

    The best alarm system anyone can have in a farm are dogs. But dogs can get killed and poisoned. A friend of mine had all four dogs poisoned on his farm one night, they all died. After all these years I learned that even though the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to small time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling of invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm, they will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I heard it all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds and tortured with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches. Big cities aren’t much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in the city. He will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and pretty much risking getting shot for what’s in his pockets or even his clothes.

    So, where to go? The concrete jungle is dangerous and so is living away from it all, on your own. The solution is to stay away from the cities but in groups, either by living in a small town-community or sub division, or if you have friends or family that think as you do, form your own small community. Some may think that having neighbors within “shouting” distance means loosing your privacy and freedom, but it’s a price that you have to pay if you want to have someone to help you if you ever need it. To those that believe that they will never need help from anyone because they will always have their rifle at hand, checking the horizon with their scope every five minutes and a first aid kit on their back packs at all times…. Grow up.

    SERVICES
    What ever sort of scenario you are dealing with, services are more than likely to either suffer in quality or disappear all together. Think ahead of time; analyze possible SHTF scenarios and which service should be affected by it in your area. Think about the most likely scenario but also think outside the box. What’s more likely? A tornado? But a terrorist attack isn’t as crazy as you though it would be a few years ago, isn’t it?

    Also analyze the consequences of those services going down. If there is no power then you need to do something about all that meat you have in the fridge, you can dry it or can it. Think about the supplies you would need for these tasks before you actually need them. You have a complete guide on how to prepare the meat on you computer… how will you get it out of there if there is no power? Print everything that you consider important.

    WATER
    No one can last too long without water. The urban survivalist may find that the water is of poor quality, in which case he can make good use of a water filter, or that there is no water available at all. When this happens, a large city were millions live will run out of bottled water within minutes. In my case, tap water isn’t very good. I can see black little particles and some other stuff that looks like dead algae. Taste isn’t that bad. Not good but I know that there are parts of the country where it is much worse. To be honest, a high percentage of the country has no potable water at all.
    If you can build a well, do so, set it as your top of the list priority as a survivalist. Water comes before firearms, medicines and even food. Save as much water as you can. Use plastic bottles, refill soda bottles and place them in a cool place, preferably inside a black garbage bag to protect it from sun light. The water will pick some plastic taste after a few months, but water that tastes a little like plastic is far way better than no water at all. What ever the kind of SHTF scenario you are dealing with, water will suffer. In my case the economical crash created problems with the water company, that reduces the maintenance and quality in order to reduce costs and keep their income in spite of the high prices they have to pay for supplies and equipment, most of which comes from abroad, and after the 2001 crash, costs 3 times more. As always, the little guy gets to pay for it. Same would go for floods or chemical or biological attacks. Water requires delicate care and it will suffer when TSHTF in one way or another. In this case, when you still have tap water, a quality filter is in order, as well as a pump if you can have one. A manual pump would be ideal as well if possible. Estimate that you need one approximately a gallon per person per day. Try to have at least two-four weeks worth of water. More would be preferable.

    POWER
    I spent WAY to much time without power for my own taste. Power has always been a problem in my country, even before the 2001 crisis. The real problem starts when you spend more than just a few hours without light. Just after the SHTF in 2001 half the country went without power for 3 days. Buenos Aires was one big dark grave. People got caught on elevators, food rots; hospitals that only had a few hours worth of fuel for their generators ran out of power. Without power, days get to be a lot shorter. Once the sun sets there is not much you can do. I read under candle light and flashlight light and your head starts to hurt after a while. You can work around the house a little bit but only as long as you don’t need power tools. Crime also increases once the lights go out, so whenever you have to go somewhere in a black out, carry the flashlight on one hand and a handgun on the other.

    Summarizing, being in a city without light turn to be depressing after a while. I spent my share of nights, alone, listening to the radio, eating canned food and cleaning my guns under the light of my LED head lamp. Then I got married, had a son, and found out that when you have loved ones around you black outs are not as bad. The point is that family helps morale on these situations.

    A note on flashlights. Have two or three head LED lights. They are not expensive and are worth their weight in gold. A powerful flashlight is necessary, something like a big Maglite or better yet a SureFire, especially when you have to check your property for intruders. But for more mundane stuff like preparing food, going to the toilet or doing stuff around the house, the LED headlamp is priceless. Try washing the dishes on the dark while holding a 60 lumen flashlight on one hand and you’ll know what I mean. LEDs also have the advantage of lasting for almost an entire week of continuous use and the light bulb lasts forever. Rechargeable batteries are a must or else you’ll end up broke if lights go out often. Have a healthy amount of spare quality batteries and try to standardize as much as you can. I have 12 Samsung NM 2500Mh AA and 8 AAA 800mh for the headlamps. I use D cell plastic adaptors in order to use AA batteries on my 3 D cell Maglite. This turned out to work quite well, better than I expected. I also keep about 2 or 3 packs of regular, Duracell batteries just in case. These are supposed to expire around 2012, so I can forget about them until I need them. Rechargeable NM batteries have the disadvantage of loosing power after a period of time, so keep regular batteries as well and check the rechargeable ones every once in a while.
    After all these years of problems with power, what two items I would love to have?

    1) The obvious, a generator. I carried my fridge food to my parent’s house way to many times on the past. Too bad I can’t afford one right now.
    2) A battery charger that has both solar panel and a small crank. They are not available here. I saw that they are relatively inexpensive in USA. Do yourself a favor and get one or two of these. Even if they don’t charge as well as regular ones, I’m sure it will put out enough power to charge batteries for LED lamps at least.

    GAS
    Gas has decreased in quality as well, there is little gas. Try to have an electric oven in case you have to do without it. If both electricity and gas go down, one of those camping stoves can work as well, if you keep a good supply of gas cans. The ones that work with liquid fuel seem to be better on the long run, since they can use different types of fuel. You can only store a limited amount of compressed gas and once you ran out of it, you are on your own if stores are closed of they sold them out. Anyway, a city that goes without gas and light for more than two weeks is a death trap, get out of there before it’s too late.

    A DIFFERENT MENTALITY
    I was watching the People & Art channel with my wife the other night. It was a show where they film a couple for a given period of time and some people vote on who is the one with the worst habits, the one they find more annoying. We were in our bed, and this is when I usually fall asleep but since the guy was a firearms police instructor I was interested and managed to stay awake. At one point the guy’s wife said that she found annoying that her husband spent 500 dollars a month on beauty products for himself. 500 USD on facial cream, special shampoo and conditioner, as well as having his nails polished! If you are that guy and happen to be reading this, or if you know him, I’m sorry, but what an idiot!! “500 USD, that’s a small generator or a gun and a few boxes of ammo” I told my wife. “That’s two months worth of food” she said. We were each thinking of a practical use for that money, the money this guy was practically throwing away. Once the SHTF, money is no longer measured in money, but you start seeing it as the necessary goods it can buy. Stuff like food, medicine, gas, or the private medical service bill. To me, spending 500 dollars on beauty products, and to make it worse, on a guy? That’s simply not acceptable. The way I see it, someone with that mentality can’t survive a week without a credit card, no use in even considering a SHTF scenario. And this guy is a firearms instructor?… probably the kind of guy that will say that a handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle… and his facial night cream…

    Once you experience the lack of stuff you took for granted, like food , medicines, your set of priorities change all of a sudden. For example, I had two wisdom tooth removed last year. On both occasions I was prescribed with antibiotics and strong Ibuprofen for the pain. I took the antibiotics (though I did buy two boxes with the same recipe just to keep one box just in case) but I didn’t use the Ibuprofen, I added it to my pile of medicines. Why, because medicines are not always available and I’m not sure if they will be available in the future. Sure, it hurt like hell, but pain alone isn’t going to kill you, so I sucked it up. Good for building up character if you ask me.

    Make sacrifices so as to ensure a better future, that’s the mentality you should have if you want to be prepared. There’s stuff that is “nice to have” that has to be sacrificed to get the indispensable stuff. There’s stuff that is not “basic need stuff” but it’s also important in one way or another. My wife goes to the hairdresser once every month or two. It’s not life or death, but it does make her feel better and it boosts her morale. I buy a game for the Xbox or a movie to watch with my wife every once in awhile, just to relax. 7 or 10 dollars a month are not going to burn a hole in my pocket. Addictions such as alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes should be avoided by the survivalist. They are bad for your health; cost a lot of money that could be much better spent, and create an addiction to something that may not be available in the future. Who will have to tolerate your grouchy mood when your brand of smokes is no longer imported after TSHTF?
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 2

    GRAY/BLACK MARKET
    Once the SHTF the black/gray market will take no time to appear all around you. In my country, gray markets were even accepted in the end. At first it was all about trading skills or craft products for food. Districts and towns would form their own barter markets, and created their own tickets, similar to money, that was used to trade. This didn't last long. Those tickets were easy to make on your home computer, there was no control and eventually people went back to paper money.

    These markets were usually placed on warehouses or empty land, and were managed by some wise guy and a few thugs or hired security. Anyone can go rent a kiosk inside these markets for about 50-100 pesos (about 20-30 dollars) a day and sell his goods and services. Peace within these markets is usually respected; lets just say that these managers don't call the police if someone tries anything funny, like stealing, fighting or taking advantage of women. Tha's not good for their business and anyone that tries to mess with their business finds out how much pain the human body can actually experiment or gets a free ticket to meet the Lord. Sometimes even uniformed cops manage security on these markets, for a small fee of course. As always, you still have to be careful. They may still try to pick your pockets or even attack you once you leave the market. Once you leave the market, you are on your own, as always.

    These markets evolved and now a lot of different products are available. Today I visited my local market, a warehouse that is fairly well set up and cleanly managed. They had problems for selling stolen merchandise and fake Brand name clothes a few days ago. What can be found at a local market? Mostly food and clothing, some have more variety than others but cheese, canned food, spices, honey, eggs, fruits, vegetables, beer, wine and cured meat are generally available, same as bakery products and pasta. These are less expensive than those found at supermarkets. Fresh fish is sometimes available but not always, people don't much trust products that need refrigeration and they get those at supermarkets instead.

    Clothes are also popular and you can find copies of brand name clothes, imitations, or even original stolen new clothes, the same goes for shoes and snickers. Children clothes, underwear, socks, sheets and towels are all very popular. Some sell toys, but they are always China made, mostly poor quality though there are some few exceptions. Others sell tools, also made in China can be found as well, but they are of poor quality. Some offer their services and repair stuff or offer work as handyman. You would be amazed of the junk that these guys manage to fix: TVs, CD players, Power tools, etc. They even manage to solder the small integrated circuits boards sometimes. Give one of these guys a screw driver and a bar of chocolate and he will fix a nuclear submarine.

    After food and clothes, the 3rd most popular item has to be CDs and DVDs, movies, music, play station 2 and Xbox games, programs, it all ends up there just one or two days after the official release in USA. Seems that they have a guy hidden under Bill Gate's desk or something. Anyway, almost everything can be found there, and if you want, you can ask around, talk to the right guy and buy illegal stuff like drugs or black market guns and ammo. The quality of the drugs is questionable, of course, and a lot of addicts die from the mixtures these guys sell. Guns are mostly FM High Powers, Surplus 1911s and Colt .45s, Sistemas, and old Colt Detective revolvers in 38 special that found their way from police and military armories into the black market. Condition isn't very good but if you have money you'll be amazed of what you can end up with. Everything that is used by the military and police, including SMGs a, Browning 50 BMG Machine guns, and even frag grenades, is available in the black market, if the customer has the amount of money and a little patience, of course. The big guns may take a while, but the handguns and grenades are readily available.

    GOLD!!
    Someone hit me in the head please because I messed up about the gold issue. Everyone wants to buy gold! “I buy gold. Pay cash” signs are everywhere, even on TV! I can’t believe I’m that silly! I just didn’t relate it to what I read here because they deal with junk gold, like jewelry, either stolen or sold because they needed the money, not the gold coins that you guys talk about. No one pays for the true value of the stuff, so big WARNING! Sign on people that are buying gold coins. Since it is impossible to determine the true mineral percentage of gold, small shops and dealers will pay for it as regular jewelry gold. What I would do if I were you: Besides gold coins, buy a lot of small gold rings and other jewelry. They should be less expensive than gold coins, and if the SHTF bad, you’ll not be loosing money, selling premium quality gold coins for the price of junk gold. If I could travel back in time, I’d buy a small bag worth of gold rings.

    Small time thieves will snatch gold chains right out of your neck and sell them at these small dealers found everywhere. This is VERY common at train stations, subways and other crowded areas.

    So, my advice, if you are preparing for a small economical crisis, gold coins make sense. You will keep the value of the stuff and be able to sell it for its actual cost to gold dealers or maybe other survivalists that know the true value of the item. In my case, gold coins would have been an excellent investment, saving me from loosing money when the local economy crashed. Even though things are bad, I can go to a bank down town and get paid for what a gold coin is truly worth, same goes for pure silver. But where I live, in my local are small time dealers will only pay you the value of junk gold, no matter what kind of gold you have. So, I’d have to say that if TSHTF bad, gold jewelry is a better trade item than gold coins. Forgive me for not talking about this before, but I didn’t realize this until today, when I visited my local market warehouse and saw a “Buy Gold” sign.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 3

    GUNS, AMMO AND OTHER GEAR
    After TSHTF in 2001, only the most narrow minded, brain washed, butterfly IQ level idiots believed that the police would protect them from the crime wave that followed the collapse of our economy. A lot of people that could have been considered antigun before, ran to the gun shops, seeking advise on how to defend themselves and their families. They would buy a 38 revolver, a box of ammo, and leave it in the closet, probably believing that it would magically protect them from intruders.

    Oh, maybe you don't think that firearms are really necessary or your beliefs do not allow you to buy a tool designed to kill people. So you probably ask yourself, is a gun really necessary when TSHTF? Will it truly make a difference? Having gone through a shtf scenario myself, total economical collapse in the year 2001, and still dealing with the consequences, 5 years later, I feel I can answer that question. YES, you need a gun, pepper spray, a machete, a battle axe, club with a rusty nail sticking out of it, or whatever weapon you can get hold of.

    A LOT has been written on survival weapons. Everyone that is into armed survival has his or her own idea of the ideal gun battery. Some more oriented to a hunting point of view, others only as self defense means and others consider a little of both, and look for general purpose weapons. Talking about guns, there is one special subject I want to rectify, and it's the point on what's the primary weapon for the survivalist, specially a urban survivalist that has to function in a society, yes, even after the SHTF. The primary defensive weapon for the survivalist is his HANDGUN. It's the weapon that stays with him when he is doing his business around town of working on the field. The survivalist IS NOT a soldier, even though you are a soldier or you once were the meanest mother on the battle filed, your home town is not a battlefield and it wont be, even if the SHTF. A LOT of water has to go under the bridge until the situation gets to a point where you can calmly walk down the street with a rifle on your shoulder. People, if you are interested in real world SHTF situation, and you want to prepare for the real deal, then understand that this isn't black or white. You wake up one day and listen on the radio that the economy collapsed and that the stock market closed indefinitely. What do you do? You still have to go to the office/work/whatever. Kiss the wife good bye and walk to the office with your AR across your back, or across your chest, Israeli style, ready to shoot? You won't get far. Someone will shoot you or throw you in jail, or in a mental institution.

    What I'm trying to explain, is that it's ok to prepare for China invading you country, Germans and UN or Martians. That is the extreme, less likely worst case scenario. There is an infinity spectrum of gray between the black and white. White being your average normal day and black being total TEOTWAWKI, lizard men invading the planet. Rifles do have a place in the survivalist's arsenal, and a very important one. But you have to understand that 90% of the time, the handgun will be the weapon you have available when you need one. You can't compare to a trooper in Iraq that has his weapon with him at all times. I ask you how many soldiers do you know that keep wearing cammo and totting their M4s around town when they return home?

    What works for war does not work for the survivalist, especially the urban survivalist. Even if you live in a retreat far from town, you have to work, don't you? Or do you have employees that take care of all your mundane tasks, leaving you all day to keep watch with your rifle ready? A soldier is part of a huge machine; HIS job is to carry that rifle, while others take care of other needs. A survivalist, one that is not part of a large survivalist group, has no one to cover for him. When a new guy looks for advice on what to get for defense, some will recommend a rifle or shotgun as a first defensive weapon. Let's say race riots start in this guy's city. He still has to go to work every day. What is he supposed to do? Shove his pump shotgun in his pocket? A handgun, even though less powerful, can be used for home defense AND go with you wherever you need to go. If the place floods, he can still hop into an evacuation boat without leaving his weapon behind. I'm sure no rescue team will pick you if you are carrying a long arm. They'll ask you to leave it behind for sure. What if your government, realizing that TSHTF and that they lost control of the events, bans all firearms indefinitely? Don't know about you, but if things are that bad, I'd like to be armed. You can hide a handgun under a jacket. You can't hide a long arm under your clothes.

    I think it was Clint Smith who said that the handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle. Man! That sounds "macho". I'd love to see him walking into Wal-Mart with his tactical M4, taking the subway, visiting the doctor or going to the bank. Over here Mr. Smith, you can hang you M4 right next to my coat. I don't think so. Guys, unless you have your own shooting school, you do not get to carry your rifle to work.

    OK, now that I got that out of my chest lets look at some options.

    Handguns: Revolver or Pistol? Pistol ALL THE WAY! Yes, I saw the video of the guy that accurately emptied his S&W in a second. I also saw the shooting range and the crowd behind him, watching the event. Can he shoot and reload that way if he is in his car, driving with one hand and shooting with the other, while a bunch of scum bags in another car are shooting at him? Hey, maybe he can. I know I can’t. Can you? Generally speaking, the revolver is more difficult to master than the pistol. The double action is hard and it affects speed and accuracy. It can be done, but I found that pistols are easier, as did many shooters. Also, even though they seem to be more simple, revolvers are not as rugged as service pistols, the mechanisms that cycles the cylinder and cocks the hammer is both complicated and fragile compared to auto pistols.

    Before anyone starts casting evil voodoo spells at me for insulting their prized S&W or Ruger: I own revolvers and like shooting them, I just don’t think they are the best option for self defense, and I see that everyone I talk to in my country who is worried about security as I am also chooses pistols. Quality pistols resist sand, mud and dirt in general better than revolvers, where a small pebble locked in the mechanism may render the revolver inoperable.

    I personally had a problem with a new stainless steel Taurus Tracker .357 magnum. After shooting it a couple of times I reloaded it and shot all 7 rounds as fast as I could and when I tried to empty it, I found that the empties were stuck because they expanded because of the heat. I had to wait until the gun cooled a little so I could empty the gun. Stuff like this can get you killed, even more in a 7 round handgun. I once saw a man walk into a gun store wanting to trade his 357 magnum revolver for a 9mm high capacity pistol. He said he was driving when thugs from another car started shooting at him. He was chased for a few blocks. He said that he pulled his revolver and started shooting at them, and ran out of ammo real fast. He wanted more capacity and fast reloading. I could not agree with him more. Some will consider this “Spray and pray”, thinking that all rounds should hit the target and if some don’t then it means that you need more time at the range. Those same people will tell you that they intend to use bolt action rifles as defensive rifles, making each shot count, without ever missing their target, one shot one kill. I don’t agree with this. One shot one kill is ok for snipers, but the survivalist should have other alternatives.

    I don’t see anything wrong with shooting four or five rounds at a chasing car. If those rounds make them think twice about their intentions, they are rounds well spent in my book, even if they don’t kill the attacker. Suppressive fire is possible if you have a high capacity pistol. I wouldn’t doubt on using such a tactic if it serves my purposes, or if it buys me time to get out of there. Also keep in mind that criminals are cowards and therefore attack in groups. The survivalist should be able to face more than just one attacker. Getting into a gunfight with two or three armed men while packing a 6 round revolver is rather hard to deal with. A high capacity pistol can load about 15 or 19 rounds, and that can certainly make a difference in a gunfight where you are outnumbered.

    A forensic doctor that used to live in my neighborhood got killed last year. He was ambushed when he exited a restaurant by 5 or 6 men. Even though they did kill him he managed to kill 4 of them and severely injure another. He shot regularly and carried a Glock .40. I’m sure he was lucky but I also think that his choice of weapon was also important in the outcome. If anyone is wondering, people in my country that are serious about self defense carry Glocks. Those that don’t have the money for a Glock carry Bersas, FM High Powers or 1911 surplus .45s. At first I wasn’t sure about the Bersa, but once I tried them I saw that they are very descent guns. I now own two Bersas and am pleased with they performance.

    The caliber choice calls for endless debate and it is not my intention here. Lets just say that 9mm , 40S&W and 45ACP are the obvious choices. 40S&W seem to be the most adequate, both in FMJ and HP, while 9mm lacks some stopping power and hollow points should be used if possible. Though the 9mm lacks power compared to the 40S&W, it is more popular world wide, a factor to consider seriously when choosing a handgun for SHTF. Besides, 9mm can also be used in a number of carbines and SMG, another important fact to be considered.

    SMGs and carbines chambered for 40S&W and .45 ACP are also available, but they at not nearly as popular as those chambered for 9mm. Whatever you choose keep 500 or better yet 1000 rounds of quality ammo for your handgun at all times. 100 rounds won’t last much if the crisis lasts long. Also consider that once the balloon goes up, governments tend to restrict guns and ammo.

    RIFLES
    I previously stated that the urban survivalist will be using his handgun 90% of the time he needs to defend himself and family from attackers. I didn’t pull this figure out of thin air; it is quite accurate based on what happens here on daily basis, even a little optimistic. Cold harsh reality has shown us that most attacks occur when entering or exiting your home, when you are more vulnerable. Almost no one is stupid enough to try to enter a barred house with armed occupants. Believe me people; the gene pool will clean itself rather fast once the SHTF. So, is a rifle necessary? Of course it is! There is still that 10%, and that 10% can still ruin your day. And this percentage sky rockets if you intend to use that same rifle for putting meat on the table. If you have to settle with just one rifle, go for a semi auto. Ideally you should have a bolt action one and a semi auto rifle. A bolt action and a semiautomatic 308 would make a nice combination. Whatever you choose, try to keep it within military calibers and military weapons if possible.

    It may seem that I have something against bolt rifles but I don’t. I think they are fantastic weapons, but I think that semi autos are much better fighting weapons. The idea of “picking them out” 300 meters away with your bolt rifle, as they come in a row blowing whistles and firing warning rounds is laughable at best. Bolt rifles do have advantages over semi autos, accuracy not being the most important one. Bolt rifles such as Mausers last forever and are harder than rocks, THAT’S important. They are simple, easy to repair tools that will serve you (within their limitations of course) longer than any other weapon. For example, the coil spring on my Mauser 1891 safety broke into 3 separate parts, after almost 100 years of faithful service. I dug into my tool box and found a spring left over from a kitchen shelve door. I cut it approximately to the length of the previous spring, replaced it and the rifle was fixed. There are not many weapons that allow this. And it is a very valuable attribute once the SHTF and spare parts are no longer available.

    Stick to common calibers, 223, 7.62x39mm, or 7,62x51 (308). 223 vs. 308? I’m not going there. If you prefer 223 because it has less recoil, it’s lighter, or you favor the AR rifle go ahead. If you think that 223 is more powerful than 7,62 sign up to Physics I. Just remember what I said before, a survivalist is not a soldier serving in Iraq, and you don’t have the entire USMF to back you up. You are on your own. You are not going to pin your attackers down with a questionably effective round and wait until someone hits them with artillery.

    About ARs… I wouldn’t trust my life to a rifle that has more versions than Rocky sequels… the way I see it, it means that the basic design was the problem and there is no solution. On AK … all has been said. The most popular rifle on the planet, and popular not because of politics, but because it works. It also fires an intermediate power, effective round, available world wide. SKS are also good, but I’d rather have removable magazines. Again, don’t use voodoo on me because I say I wouldn’t trust my life to an AR. If you keep your weapon clean, know its limitations and feel comfortable with it, go for it please. A couple of rounds of 223 will kill anyone just as well.

    If you want a rifle that can do a little bit of everything relatively well, do yourself a favor and get either a M1A or a FAL in 7,62 (308) with a carbine length barrel. Preferably with a red dot scope and some kind of light mount. Leave full length barrels to hunters and bench rest shooters. Do your homework on both guns and you’ll see what I mean.

    Choose 308 not because of the added range you can get out of it, but because of its power at all ranges, choose it because it turns cover into concealment. Think about all the possible cover material you can find in a city, like cars, trees, low walls and other structures. The 308 will go right through it, or destroy it after a few rounds. It’s a proven cartridge through out the years.

    SHOTGUNS
    Shotguns are good general purpose guns. The main advantage I see is the devastating stopping power and the ability to use special ammo, like slugs and less than lethal ammo. I’m not so sure about the role as an “inside house” gun. The muzzle blast is great and quick follow up are not easy, especially when adrenalin is pumping through your system or, even worse, when someone is shooting back at you.

    PISTOL CALIBER CARBINES & SMG
    If possible, I’d choose a SMG reduced to semi auto (only if necessary, of course, full auto selector is better if possible) or other kind of short, small, pistol caliber carbine. The combination of a 9mm handgun and a 9mm carbine or SMG reduced to semi auto or full auto class III has lots of advantages in my book and is a fine combination. Some think that full auto is a waste of ammo. I don’t think so, not if you know how to use your head, and use this feature wisely. If you can get a short barrel and collapsible stock, you’ll also have a weapon that can be hidden under a heavy coat. A red dot scope would enhance accuracy a lot. The advantage of having the same ammo for long and small arm is not to be taken lightly. From the logistical, survivalist point of you, this is one big thumbs up! Think about cowboys and Americans that lived in the west, they also knew the value of using the same ammo for rifle and handgun. They had single action handguns and lever action handguns chambered for the same ammo, the modern survivalist can have the same ammo for his auto pistol and his sub-rifle as well.

    Some think that a pistol caliber long arm is just one big clumsy pistol or a rifle sized gun that delivers pistol power and accuracy. This is BS. Anyone that ever fired a pistol caliber rifle or SMG knows that they are much more accurate, hitting torso targets at 100 yards is easy, and a little more if you have a red dot scope. Also, SMGs can manage hot ammo specially made for such guns, much more powerful than the one for handguns. Even if you use regular handgun ammo, the added barrel length adds a few extra feet per second making it more powerful. Just check the information on boy armor. Body armor that is rated to stop 9mm, for example, is not rated to stop the same 9mm ammo out of a SMG or carbine, because the added speed will make that same round penetrate the vest. Anyway, +P ammo is more than enough power out of a SMG or carbine; you don’t have to go looking for special SMG ammunition.

    If you can get full auto that’s one nice feature to have, not worth it if you are on a tight budget, but if you can get it, it may come in handy someday. Full auto SMG are giving police in my country a lot of headaches. A criminal with little or no training will put 3 or 4 cops armed with pistols and shotguns on their toes, just because of the sheer volume of fire these high capacity 9mm deliver. There was this case of a bad guy standing in front of a patrol car full of cops on a red light stop, pulling a 9mm SMG out of his coat and emptying it on full auto. The cops didn’t have a chance, he killed them all. The car looked like Swiss cheese with 40 9mm holes all over the vehicle.

    SOUND SUPPRESSORS
    All I’m going to say on this subject is: Have one if you can. That’s it. I’ll leave the rest of it to your imagination, don’t make me say it. Today it may seem like a “nice to have” feature… after the SHTF, it may be an “O God I’ve got to get a suppressor!!” feature. I’d buy a good suppressor instead of a ultra high dollar scope like the SOG. Buy a good quality scope, but don’t spend a fortune on it, and use the rest of the money on a suppressor. If you are serious about preparing for SHTF, you’ll thank me one day; just trust me on this one. 9mm and 45 suppress quite well. Not as well as .22, but there is much more power on the big bore ammo. Combined with a full auto SMG, the possibilities are much greater. Sometimes it’s just better to go unnoticed, especially in a SHTF crisis.

    BODY ARMOR
    Dear God! Buy body armor PLEASE!! It’s dirt cheep in USA. Preferably, get the police concealable kind (class II) then continue to work on it and get class III A military armor and some rifle plates, just as you do when you start buying guns. You’ll end up with 2 or 3 sets of armor which are great to have for family members and spares. Just so you know, I got so desperate about body armor I ordered it from USA through internet (bulletproofme.com), I ended up paying a total of nearly 600 USD for body armor that costs 200 USD in USA. Buy it while you still can. When the SHTF you’ll end up wearing it, believe me. I don’t wear mine all day long but I do wear it when I have to go some place dangerous, deal with people I don’t trust, or when I have to go teach Architecture Representation late at night, and must travel through a much dangerous road at 12 PM.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

  6. #5
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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 4

    INTERLUDE
    Studying the SHTF at the University: Dark omens.
    I forgot it! Darn, same as the gold stuff but worse, much worse. I've never been good at remembering some things, like numbers and names of people I meet, I forget those (instantly), they just flee my mind, uneventfully, but I do remember some other things that don't seem to be as important. I do remember living in USA as a kid. I remember my school, Pierce School, Don't remember exactly were it was, because we lived some in Boston, Massachusetts and some in New Hampshire. I remember my best friend, Freddy, and a girl (why is there always a girl?) Samantha, Sam. She was red haired and tall, I had a picture of her playing together but I lost it. Some time between the age of 3 and 26 I lost that picture that was so dear to me. I remember the smell of an orange shaped "scratch and smell" sticker my kindergarten teacher stuck in a small book we made once. But I almost forgot this forever. This, this was important, a moment where the life we once knew stopped existing, and a group of students, in a class room that looked like and abandoned building, realized it, all 60 of us at the same time.

    It's 1:06 AM over here. I just finished showering and my wife and son are asleep. I was putting shampoo on my hair, thinking about what I wrote today on this post, and remembered the exact moment when I realized along with several other people, not only that TSHTF (that we all knew) but that the world we once new no longer existed, and that this was not a hurricane, this was an ice age period, it wouldn't just go away.

    We understood it the same way a kid understands photosynthesis: Because a teacher coldly explained it to us, even used graphics. I slept 5 hours yesterday, 2 hours the day before yesterday. Saturday night I didn't sleep at all. I'm already used to it. Deadlines at the University, staying late at night, drawing in CAD 3D, waiting until Renders are ready. It's a competitive world out there, and no one sympathizes with what you are going through, they just want you to perform as expected, and the standard is always high. It happened 4 years ago, almost a year after the December 2001 crisis. It was a social studies class and this teacher, don't remember if it was a he or a she, was explaining the different kinds of social pyramids. God! Now I remember more! We even had a text book with those darn, cruel pyramids! The first pyramid explained the basic society. A pyramid with two horizontal lines, dividing those on top (high social class) those in the middle (middle class) and the bottom of the pyramid (the poor, proletarian). The teacher explained that the middle of the pyramid, the middle class, acted as a cushion between the rich and the poor, taking care of the social stress. The second pyramid had a big middle section, this was the pyramid that represents 1st world countries. I which the bottom is very thin and arrows show that there is a possibility to go from low to middle class, and from middle to the top of the social pyramid. Our teacher explained that this was the classic, democratic capitalist society, and that on countries such as Europeans one, socialists, the pyramid was very similar but a little more flat, meaning that here is a big middle section, middle class, and small high and low class. There is little difference between the three of them.

    The third pyramid showed the communist society. Where arrows from the low and middle class tried to reach the top but they bounced off the line. A small high society and one big low society, cushioned by a minimal middle class section of pyramid. Then we turned the page and saw the darned fourth pyramid. This one had arrows from the middle class dropping to the low, poor class.

    "What is this?" Some of us asked.

    The teacher looked at us, "This is us."

    "It's the collapsed country, a country that turns into 3rd world country like in pyramid five where there is almost no middle class to speak, one huge low, poor class , and a very small, very rich, top class."

    “What are those arrows that go from the middle to the bottom of the pyramid?” Someone asked.

    You could hear a pin drop. “That is middle class turning into poor”.

    I won’t lie, no one cried, though people rubbed their faces, held their heads and their breath.

    No one cried, but we all knew at that very moment that all we thought, all we took for granted, simply was not going to happen.

    “You see, the income from the middle class is not enough to function as middle class any more. Some from the top class fall to middle class, but the vast majority of the middle class turns into poor” Said the teacher.

    I don’t know how many people in that room suddenly understood that he/she was poor.

    The teacher continued “You see, we have a middle class that suddenly turns to poor, creating a society of basically poor people, there is no more middle class to cushion tensions any more. Middle class suddenly discovers that they are overqualified for the jobs they can find and have to settle for anything they can obtain, there for unemployment sky rockets, too much to offer, too little demand. You see they prepare, study for a job they are not going to get. You kids, you are studying Architecture because you simply wish to do so. Only 3 or 4 percent of you will actually find a job related to architecture.”

    We all sat there, letting it all sink in. After a few months, it all proved to be true. Even the amount of students that dropped out of college increased to at least 50%. They either so no point in studying something that would not make much of a difference in their future salaries, had no money to keep themselves in college, or simply had to drop college to work and support their families.

    Someone once said, in this forum, that if this had happened in USA, the social unrest would have been much worse, because people from S. America are stronger. At first, I told him that I didn’t think so, I said that all humans adapt when they have no other choice. But now that I consider it more, maybe he was right. Not that S. Americans are stronger, but they are more used to adversities. Most of us are children from grandparents that escaped civil war, either in Spain or dictators in Italy, our parents survived the dirty war, even more dictators, and therefore their children are of strong character too. Can USA citizens survive what we survived? Of course they can, though I think that there are too many that are not like you, many that don’t prepare, and take everything for granted. Those are the ones that will be responsible for the increase in the social unrest once the SHTF, those that were too lazy to take care of themselves before the SHTF, or that had gone soft through out the years, believing that the government will “take care of them because they pay their taxes”. But in the end, they will pull through. People will adapt, they always do. You’d be surprised. And those that don’t want to adapt to the new reality they live in, will die young, thus cleaning the gene pool and ensuring the continuity of the specie. It’s been this way for thousands of years.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

  7. #6
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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 5

    CRIME AND INSECURITY
    Even though crime has always been an issue in South America, my country was quite the exception. It was dangerous, yes but nothing like after the 2001 economical crisis. One used to be able to let kids play on the sidewalk, or walk back home from a party, a few blocks, and be somewhat safe. This all changed now. There are no kids playing on the sidewalks anymore. I should emphasize this a little more. There are absolutely NO kids playing on the sidewalks at all, at any time of the day. Maybe a kid rides his bike a few meters on the sidewalk, but always under the supervision of an adult. A kid riding a bike on his own will get that bike stolen in no time, probably get hurt in the process, therefore no responsible parent leaves a kid alone on the street. Teenagers present a greater problem. You can’t keep a 15 or 16 year old inside a house all day long, and even though they are big enough to go out on their own, when the sun goes down things get much worse.

    This is when parents organize themselves; either taking them to someone’s house or to a club and picking them up at a certain time. Taxis and remises are used sometimes, but there have been lots of cases of girls getting raped, so no parent worth a buck leaves his son or daughter in hands of a stranger. After years of living like this, almost everyone learned to be careful; sometimes they had to learn the hard way. Practically no one leaves a door or window opened or unlocked. Nor do they hang out in front of the house talking to friends. A bad guy might just see you there, like a sitting duck, pull a gun on you and take you inside your house.

    There are no “bandit’s law” anymore. One used to hear people talk about “You shouldn’t resist a robbery, give them what they want and they’ll go away”. That holds true no more. These guys are under the influence of drugs, epoxy glue, or just hate your guts so much, because you have a better life than they ever dreamed of, because they were abused since the day they were born, that they will hurt and humiliate you as much as they can. Letting a criminal inside you house almost guaranties you that he will rape/beat/ torture and abuse whoever they find inside. I personally drew a line a few years ago and decided, after one long, serious conversation with my wife; that no one would be allowed inside the house, no matter what. We figured that there are worse things than death. Having decided that, I make sure I always have a weapon on me. They’ll have to pay dearly for my life, plus interests.

    By far, the most dangerous moment of the day, is when I (or my wife) leave/enter my house. A solid, secure house cannot be broken in easily, so criminals wait until you are standing on front of the door with the keys on your hand to jump on you. This is why we are extra alert when approaching our house, look all around us and if we see anything strange, keep walking around the block or keep on driving. No door is ever opened when there is a strange person around. Whenever someone knocks on our door (and we don’t know him/her), they are answered from a second story window. Criminals sometimes disguise as electric company guys or something like that, saying that they have to fix something. NO! If there is something to be fixed they can fix it on the sidewalk. Anything inside your house is your responsibility and the company is not going to fix it for you. Either way, it’s always better to play it safe. Better to be rude than dead.

    On the car/driving issue, that calls for an entire post dedicated to SHTF driving. For now I’ll just say that windows and doors have to be closed at all times, a weapon must be within arms reach, and that stop signs and traffic lights have a hole new meaning once TSHTF. If your country ever falls as mine did, you’ll remember me whenever you see a traffic light. You never stop at a red lights or stop sign unless there is traffic, especially at night.

    At first, police would write you a ticket for not stopping at a red light if they saw you (another way of saying that they will ask for a bribe if they see you pass a red light), but after a few months they realized that nothing could be done, people would rather risk a ticket than risking their lives, so they decided to turn traffic lights to permanent yellow at night, after 8 or 9 PM. This is, of course, very dangerous. Night car accidents are both frequent and brutal since sometimes both cars hit each other at full speed.

    MissinLink asked some good questions that might interest others as well, and since we are on the security issue, here they are:

    quote:
    “Do the invaders of homes in the country just drive up in cars or trucks? Do they hide and sneak up? How do these home invaders attack a home in the country? A similar question could be asked for homes in the city.”

    Sometimes they just drive up to where you are working, if you are far away from the home, but most of the time they sneak up on you. Criminals are not stupid, and they will spend days checking the place and specially YOUR ROUTINE. For example, if they see that you lock the gate at night, as most do, they will wait for you behind a tree until you are close. This is done a lot. Dogs are the best alarm you can find, and criminals know that. They will poison them with pills when you go to sleep and attack the place in the middle of the night. I know of many that had their dogs killed. If they think that security is tight, they will just hide near the main gate, and wait for you to leave or return. When you stop at the gate and must get out of the truck to open/close the main gate, they attack. I’d say that the most frequent kind of attack is attacking by surprise when you enter/leave your home.

    quote:
    “Most common times of attack? Day night evening morning? I understand occur when coming or going from ones home, etc.”

    7 am, 9 am, 1pm 7pm, all are common times for attacks. There is no “safe” hour of the day. Night is particularly dangerous. Maybe attacks during the day are faster, they want to get some money or jewelry and leave fast, while at night they might stay inside more time, maybe till the next day. But there are no fixed patterns. If I could give one advice concerning SHTF security, it would be: Eyes and ears wide open when you enter/leave your home. If possible, keep a gun on your hand when doing either one. If something looks, even “feels strange, then go around the block and check again, carefully. If you see them still there, either call the police (if still available) or get help. If you approach the house with a large number of people they will leave. One time, I saw a couple of strange looking guys at my door. I went round the block and saw them still there. I started flashing the car lights and the horn and they left. I had a gun with me, though, so be careful when trying this. Also, remember that a car is one heavy, powerful piece of machinery. I know a guy that had one of those big chrome–tube bumpers installed on his truck, especially for hitting those that were stupid enough o try to make him stop by standing in front of the car.

    If I had a truck, I would do so myself. Though I would keep my mouth shut about it, as always. Just say that you think it looks cool or something. Every now and then someone tries to force me to stop my car by standing in front of it (I suppose there are still fools out there that get robbed this way), in the middle of the street. I just aim at them and accelerate at full speed. They always jump out of the way before I hit them. By the way, at first, doing this made me feel nervous, but can you believe that now it’s just common driving, as normal as changing gears? I guess it’s a little sad.

    Addendums:
    Packinup asked: “Very good observations and thanks! Oh and what have you noticed about bartering? Does it make you a target to show others that you have extra? I would think it wiser to keep your mouth shut and go your own way and do your own thing.”

    Packinup, I actually started to write on the development of gray/black market but I didn’t finish it, need to work on it a little more. I’ll include it on the second part. I consider it gray market because, even though some of the products are stolen or illegal imitations of brand names, these markets have turned out to be so popular that they are guarded private security and sometimes even police. Police taking care of markets that deal with stolen or illegal imitation products…who would have known… On your second question: YES!! You have to be very, very careful. Keep everything to yourself. For example, I dress with unknown brand clothes, even though I have lots of quality brand clothes, just because a little crocodile, Calvin Klein or New Man logo on your shirt can turn you into a victim. Even talking with a friend on the street about money is dangerous, the streets have ears. A relative living abroad is something you should never talk about openly, since kidnapers are always looking for good victims that can get hold of euros or US dollars.

    ProGlock asked: “I'm confused on the power situation down there. You mention you have no power for light, but you also state you were watching TV...the People and Art channel? What's going on down there?”

    ProGlock, power comes and goes, that’s what I mean when I say that services suck. Some parts of the power grid are worse than others. The apartment I used to live in was a disaster; I’d spend 2 or 3 hours every one or two days without light. Now I’m living in what used to be my parents house (moved to Spain) and it is perfect because it’s interconnected with 3 different grid branches, even though one goes off, the others may still work. I sometimes have light while my neighbors spend hours without light. Don’t be confused about the cable TV stuff; almost everyone has cable (within city limits, of course). Some poor people, they just connect themselves illegally ( I don’t, I pay for my cable) but I’m talking about wooden shacks with no tap water connection or gas, that have a Direct TV satellite dishes or they connect themselves illegally. I should get a picture of this so you understand it better, promise I’ll try to get one next week. By the way, the last cable employee that tried to cut them off, got out of the place with no fingers… Same goes for light, they just connect themselves illegally, companies figured out that they better loose some profit and not employees hands and fingers…

    Packinup asked: “I hate to ask but the old adage is "cash is king" in these types of situations. Does this hold true and has gold or silver played any part in day to day expenses? I was thinking that gold or silver may work for say a doctor’s services? or is the currency of the dollar and euro more preferable. I'll keep quite and wait for part 2.”

    Packinup,
    Absolutely, cash is king. And US Dollars and Euros are King of Kings. Just don’t display them in public too much or you wont live very long. That is why I recommend you guys to keep some Euros, just in case. Our local paper money lost its value (to USD) when the economy crashed in 2001 (lost 2/3 of its original value) Quality health services are expensive for most, and they adjusted to the new value of money accordingly, meaning they almost kept to USD prices. You can pay for these with USD. Gold and Silver did hold their value of course, but they are not used to buy goods and services, besides, displaying a gold coin in a public market is as good as committing suicide.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Wartrace:
    As quoted by FerFAL; "Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to be grown ups on the internet."

    Maybe in your experience the thought of 300 yard shot is for the armchair commando. To me its smarter than letting them get within their guns range. In my situation I have 200 yards to the road from my house. I have six dogs on watch. If I am fortunate enough to detect the intruder at 2-300 yards why shouldn't I have the gun I can use in the situation?

    "Ah! You said it yourself “If I am fortunate enough...” You wont be. Don’t prepare for an idiot shooting a Raven at you 200 yards away, prepare for the sneaky son of a gun that waits until you are distracted, fed the dogs some nice pills, and gets to you when you less expect him. THAT is much more likely than someone attacking you 200 yards away.

    I didn’t mean it as an insult to anyone, I’m well aware that there are cases of people shooting enemies 1000 yards away. That is war. Killing someone that wants you dead before he gets close to you is perfectly logical. Please name me one case of self defense where the person shot the bad guy 100 yards away. I had a guy try to steal my car a while ago while visiting a friend at his farm. I saw the guy next to my car about 300 meters away. I had my FAL PARA with me, since we where going to spend some time shooting that morning. I could have shot that guy from a safe distance, right? But you can’t do that in real life. People that shoot others 300 meters away for no reason, claiming self defense, are called psychos. I had to fold my rifle, hide it under my coat, walk to where my car and the guy where, and ask him what he wanted. When he said that he was there to take the car I leveled my FAL at him, and as it usually happens in real life, the guy almost pissed his pants, and left, babbling some BS story I no longer remember.

    If someone starts shooting at you 300 yards away, and you shoot back in self defense, that’s ok, but that rarely, if ever, happens. Any bad guy that has survived through puberty will be smart enough to get close, very close, maybe when you are distracted with some chore/fieldwork and point a gun at you, asking you to calm down and walk into the house. No way can you know what a man’s intentions are 200 yards away, unless he starts shooting at you like an idiot. And if he wants you dead that bad, he will get close enough and make sure that that one shot is the last thing you hear on this planet.

    As I said, dogs are the best alarm on the field, though those too can be eliminated, as it happened to my friend. A shame by the way, they were nice dogs. But if your idea of a self defense plan is shooting anyone that happens to be within your 200 yard range, do as you wish. You will not have to worry much about survival; State penitentiary will provide all you need. It is one thing to go to war, and it is another, completely different, to live your life in a SHTF situation. When you deploy in a war zone, you set yourself mentally to do a job, when the job is done, you return home, you turn the mental combat switch off. You cannot live your entire life as if you where in combat, it’s impossible. I’m as alert as I can be, all day long, and all night. Thanks to that I kept my family and myself safe, while everyone else I know has at least been involved in one or more violent crimes. I’m so wined up that the slightest sound will make jump out of bead at night and have my pistol ready even before I’m conscious of what I’m doing. My house is the only one in the block that has not been broken into, my wife and son are safe, safer than all the other stupid sheep that blame God for whatever happens to them, and do nothing to prevent it themselves. But still, you have to live your life, go to work, go to the supermarket… live a life! Do everyday stuff. The stress of living that way will be the end of you, I’m 26 years old and already have problems related to high stress like high blood pressure, migraines, insomnia, etc.

    ProGlock asked: “I'm confused on the power situation down there. You mention you have no power for light, but you also state you were watching TV...the People and Art channel? What's going on down there?”

    ProGlock, power comes and goes, that’s what I mean when I say that services suck. Some parts of the power grid are worse than others. The apartment I used to live in was a disaster; I’d spend 2 or 3 hours every one or two days without light. Now I’m living in what used to be my parents house (moved to Spain) and it is perfect because it’s interconnected with 3 different grid branches, even though one goes off, the others may still work. I sometimes have light while my neighbors spend hours without light. Don’t be confused about the cable TV stuff; almost everyone has cable (within city limits, of course). Some poor people, they just connect themselves illegally ( I don’t, I pay for my cable) but I’m talking about wooden shacks with no tap water connection or gas, that have a Direct TV satellite dishes or they connect themselves illegally. I should get a picture of this so you understand it better, promise I’ll try to get one next week. By the way, the last cable employee that tried to cut them off, got out of the place with no fingers… Same goes for light, they just connect themselves illegally, companies figured out that they better loose some profit and not employees hands and fingers…

    Packinup asked: “I hate to ask but the old adage is "cash is king" in these types of situations. Does this hold true and has gold or silver played any part in day to day expenses? I was thinking that gold or silver may work for say a doctor’s services? or is the currency of the dollar and euro more preferable. I'll keep quite and wait for part 2.”

    Packinup,
    Absolutely, cash is king. And US Dollars and Euros are King of Kings. Just don’t display them in public too much or you wont live very long. That is why I recommend you guys to keep some Euros, just in case. Our local paper money lost its value (to USD) when the economy crashed in 2001 (lost 2/3 of its original value) Quality health services are expensive for most, and they adjusted to the new value of money accordingly, meaning they almost kept to USD prices. You can pay for these with USD. Gold and Silver did hold their value of course, but they are not used to buy goods and services, besides, displaying a gold coin in a public market is as good as committing suicide.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Wartrace:
    As quoted by FerFAL; "Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to be grown ups on the internet."

    Maybe in your experience the thought of 300 yard shot is for the armchair commando. To me its smarter than letting them get within their guns range. In my situation I have 200 yards to the road from my house. I have six dogs on watch. If I am fortunate enough to detect the intruder at 2-300 yards why shouldn't I have the gun I can use in the situation?

    "Ah! You said it yourself “If I am fortunate enough...” You wont be. Don’t prepare for an idiot shooting a Raven at you 200 yards away, prepare for the sneaky son of a gun that waits until you are distracted, fed the dogs some nice pills, and gets to you when you less expect him. THAT is much more likely than someone attacking you 200 yards away.

    I didn’t mean it as an insult to anyone, I’m well aware that there are cases of people shooting enemies 1000 yards away. That is war. Killing someone that wants you dead before he gets close to you is perfectly logical. Please name me one case of self defense where the person shot the bad guy 100 yards away. I had a guy try to steal my car a while ago while visiting a friend at his farm. I saw the guy next to my car about 300 meters away. I had my FAL PARA with me, since we where going to spend some time shooting that morning. I could have shot that guy from a safe distance, right? But you can’t do that in real life. People that shoot others 300 meters away for no reason, claiming self defense, are called psychos. I had to fold my rifle, hide it under my coat, walk to where my car and the guy where, and ask him what he wanted. When he said that he was there to take the car I leveled my FAL at him, and as it usually happens in real life, the guy almost pissed his pants, and left, babbling some BS story I no longer remember.

    If someone starts shooting at you 300 yards away, and you shoot back in self defense, that’s ok, but that rarely, if ever, happens. Any bad guy that has survived through puberty will be smart enough to get close, very close, maybe when you are distracted with some chore/fieldwork and point a gun at you, asking you to calm down and walk into the house. No way can you know what a man’s intentions are 200 yards away, unless he starts shooting at you like an idiot. And if he wants you dead that bad, he will get close enough and make sure that that one shot is the last thing you hear on this planet.

    As I said, dogs are the best alarm on the field, though those too can be eliminated, as it happened to my friend. A shame by the way, they were nice dogs. But if your idea of a self defense plan is shooting anyone that happens to be within your 200 yard range, do as you wish. You will not have to worry much about survival; State penitentiary will provide all you need. It is one thing to go to war, and it is another, completely different, to live your life in a SHTF situation. When you deploy in a war zone, you set yourself mentally to do a job, when the job is done, you return home, you turn the mental combat switch off. You cannot live your entire life as if you where in combat, it’s impossible. I’m as alert as I can be, all day long, and all night. Thanks to that I kept my family and myself safe, while everyone else I know has at least been involved in one or more violent crimes. I’m so wined up that the slightest sound will make jump out of bead at night and have my pistol ready even before I’m conscious of what I’m doing. My house is the only one in the block that has not been broken into, my wife and son are safe, safer than all the other stupid sheep that blame God for whatever happens to them, and do nothing to prevent it themselves. But still, you have to live your life, go to work, go to the supermarket… live a life! Do everyday stuff. The stress of living that way will be the end of you, I’m 26 years old and already have problems related to high stress like high blood pressure, migraines, insomnia, etc.

    Hey guys, you are welcome, thanks a lot for the nice words. I’m basically new at this, compared to others in this forum that have spent a lifetime preparing for the worst. Those are the ones that have the best information and knowledge. I’m only doing what I can to keep my family and myself safe and healthy. Sometimes I get it right the first time, others I have to learn the hard way.

    Storm57, I live in Buenos Aires city, on the south part, where houses are placed consecutively, sharing the wall on the right and left, all around the block. Most houses in my neighborhood have gardens and swimming pools. Gardens are also separated by walls, unlike the American style were you can simply walk from one garden to another. Keep in mind that this has always been a 3rd world country, meaning that though our economical reality was completely different before the 2001 crisis, security in Latin America has always been an issue.

    “You mentioned that your home has been the only one in your block not burglarized, what do you attribute this to? Is someone always at home?”

    My house is particularly safe because it has a 7 foot iron fence with 1 foot long spikes where the property meets the sidewalk. There is also a small garden between the house and the fence. My home is a two story house that has barred windows as well. Anyone that wants to brake in has to jump the fence (risky, a kid that forgot the keys to his house and tried to jump a similar fence in my neighborhood, was found lifeless by his parents, still impaled on the fence) and brake the door or the bars on the windows. Shooting someone trying to break the door or bars would be like fishing in a barrel. The fence would stop a group of people enough to shoot them down. A large, well armed group would be needed to break into my house if I’m in it. The alarm also helps (needs to be upgraded by the way). Surprisingly, we did spend a lot of time out of the house, sometimes for 3 or 4 weeks, but I guess other houses are easier to brake into. My next door neighbor is a widow with children. I know that a couple of times they broke into her house and raped her and her girls. There is another family in my block that has a private security guard (not effective against determined criminals in my opinion since they lack training and proper weapons). Still, a couple of guys broke into that house and abused of the wife one evening. I suppose that they now take security more seriously.

    “Have you been able to form any kind of mutual aid agreements with your neighbors? That is to say, your neighbors will help you if you are in need and you will help them if they are.”

    No, they are sheeply and have sheep mentality. At best, they organize to pay for private and police security, which I do, but that is only good against small time thieves. I did offer my help to my next door neighbor, the one with the girls that got raped. I told her that if anything happens again she should call me or scream. I have to worry about my own family, but I just can’t stand that kind of stuff happening next to my house. Besides, she’s a widow, her husband died shortly after they married. I know that I have to be alive to help my OWN family, but we will all die some day. I’m a Catholic and I will not have animals raping people next to my house and do nothing about it. How could I explain that to the Lord, not doing anything? Leaving a woman with no husband and her daughters in the hands of animals and do nothing? I wont risk myself unnecessarily, I don’t have any hero delusions, but I’ll make and exception in this case if I ever have to hold true to my word and what I believe in.

    “Have you put any effort into building a fortified room in your home for your family to fall back to in case of home invasion? What are your thoughts on this?”

    Wish I had a “safe room”, but I just don’t have the money right now for one. The house is still very solid, with independent reinforced concrete structure and double brick walls. Not much protection against sustained rifle fire, but enough for pistol rounds and some random rifle rounds. Combined with the steel barred windows, its practically impossible for someone to brake in when we are inside. They would make a lot of noise, and need a lot of time to pry open the bars. Not likely to happen if I’m shooting at them from the inside. What I fear the most is someone pulling a gun at me or my wife when we enter or exit the house.

    “If you did have a generator how could you prevent it from being stolen in your circumstances?”

    The generator would be safe if I put it in the back garden.

    Brother Silicon asked: “FerFAL: I've been compiling your posts to make a mass mailing to everyone on my list. My question is: If your posts receive wider attention, will your security be affected? Would your govt. hunt you down and kill you if you become an embarrassment? I'd like to wake some more folks up but I don't want to increase your risk.”

    Brother Silicon, don’t worry about it. My government has no control of this country, nor can they care less about what we citizens think about it, as long as politicians can steal as much as they want, they are cool with your beliefs, that’s probably why we got here in the first place. This country is one big bad joke! Can you believe that the actual president has a logo for his that says “For a serious country” They are accepting that the country is not serious!

    I try to be discrete in my city, just because I fear information on my guns getting to the wrong people, magazine fed center fire rifles are almost impossible to obtain these days, even in the black market, so I keep quiet about it. But feel free to mail your friends; I hope they see that nothing is for granted. Even though today you may be having a hard time deciding between a new plasma TV or new jewelry, tomorrow you may be thinking about weather you better pay for private medical health or paying Police officers for security.

    December 2004 post – situation report on the fall of Argentina
    OK, here it goes, hope it helps. We often call unprepared people, the mass, sheep. Sheep describes them pretty well. They do as the rest of them do, don’t fight for their rights, accept almost everything and so on. But what happens when "sheep" get desperate? Well, that ´s what happened here.

    After years of closing factories and the destruction of the national industry, extremely low wages, people got fed up. This destructive economy by Menem, our previous president, one of the most corrupt presidents in the history, (he was into the bombing of the Jewish Embassy, managed the drug market in the country, just to mention some) plus the stupidity of the following president, De la Rúa, was a formula for disaster.

    One day the Minister of Economy declared that no one would be able to get more than 100 bucks a day from the ATM (correct?) nor close accounts. You could just get 100 bucks out of the bank a day. That was it. Then came the devaluation. Before this happened 1 U$S= 1 $ Argentine peso. Suddenly this changed into 1 U$S dollar= 2 peso then 2.5 even 4 pesos. Today 1U$S= 3 Pesos. The banks kept the people’s money, including their deposits in US dollars. If you had 1000 U$S dollars in Bank Boston for example, they turned it into 1000 pesos, that equaled 333 U$S dollars. They stole 666 dollars from you! Prices went up 200%, 300% and sometimes more. Imagine for one moment what your life would be like if today you go to your local 7-11 and everything has gone up 200%. How would you survive with your pay check?

    The sheep got desperate. First, because they had been stolen by banks and wouldn't return the money to the people. (The so called "corralito") then because the classes with the lowest income found out that their salaries weren’t high enough to buy the minimum food stuff to survive. The country marched asking for the president’s resignation. He had to leave the presidential palace in a chopper… Banks were destroyed by people that wanted their hard earned money back. Supermarkets and other shops were looted, as well as regular houses. This lasted for about a month, the chaos spread all over the country, concentrated in the largest cities.

    I remember being at a supermarket and the mob outside, negotiating with the manager. Sometimes, they would not destroy the place if the supermarket surrendered them the goods peacefully. Food got scarce. I mean, you could buy just a certain amount of milk or water, 4 bottles for example. And most imported goods disappeared. Electro domestics such as TV, videos, and refrigerators kept their prices in dollars, inaccessible for most people. The same happened with real estates, cars and luxury goods. Today this all seems far away. Not because it got better, but because us humans have this damn capacity to "get used to". How did our lives change? I cant even being to explain… everything changed! The streets are more dangerous than ever, thanks to the general poverty.

    Education suffered thanks to this as well, kids working or stealing to survive instead of going to school. How could I explain this to you? For example, tools are really expensive, since most come from abroad. Remember, our national industry was sold out or destroyed. Stuff like MRE, Emergency food bars are impossible to get. No one imports them anymore. (I paid 10 dollars for 1 MRE a guy had) Guns and ammo are really expensive and are sold in small quantities. Forget about buying a "case" of ammo! Forget it! I know its hard for some of you to imagine this, but you just can’t buy a “case” of anything. A large store may have 10 or 15 boxes of 308, 20 rounds each box. Small stores have 10 or less. Only common ammo is available such as 22, 38, 357. 9mm, some 40 s&w, 12 ga 308 and a little 223, that’s pretty much it. Ammo for my 357 sig is hard to get. I buy a box of it every time I find one around… and it's extremely expensive.

    IF you just HAVE to buy something strange like 300 magnum or 270 (strange for us J) there’s one place you can get them from but be prepared to pay +100 dollars for 20 rounds. While we are at it, there are also few models of guns, 70 % of it is used. You can find about 4 or 5 12 ga pumps, Mossberg 500, Maverick or Remington 870 in each store. Handguns are relatively plentiful, not the newest models but still there's some Beretta, Glock, Colt, S&W, Walther, Taurus, Rossi and Sig. Same goes for Mausers and bolt action rifles as well as side by side shotguns. Semi auto rifles are hard to get. Some big gun shops have 1 FAL each. M16 are quite rare and expensive. Saw a Galil and a SKS (600 dollars) the other day, but it's not common and the red tape is HUGE. I found a good FMK3, one of the few left around, and bought it for 250 dollars, but this isn't common.

    Shoes and clothes are also, expensive, even in U$S. Labor is cheep; you can have a maid and a gardener for 300 dollars. There’s no “safe” job. With 20% unemployment they pay you whatever they want and if you don’t like it there are 100 persons waiting to get your job. Owning a shop-business is hard. You have to consider armed robbery (some get hit 10 times a month) and still you have to pay the police for protection (from themselves) Hope it helps, at least so you can have an idea how your world would be if this happened in your country, hope you never have to experience it in the flesh… If you have any questions just ask away. Hope I can help.

    quote:
    Originally posted by stonerebel:
    FerFAL I have a question if do not mind. We all like to think we are prepared for a situation like this, but I am sure there is always something you are not prepared enough for. What one thing do you think you were not prepared for or what is something we might overlook?

    Well, one thing I learned with all this is that people adapt, people get “used to”. And finally, people accept. I have a hard time seeing people eat out of trashcans, that’s one thing I’ll never get used to. Every night entire families, wife, husband and 2 or 3 kids, little kids about 3 years old go throw trash cans in search of food. At almost every light stop there’s little bare foot kids begging, all dirty and skinny. That’s the thing that affected me most, the starving children. One guy in another board told me he didn’t care for this “bleeding Heart thing” and that Life is rough. Get used to it.” I told him that I didn’t need someone that lives in San Diego, California, explain me how rough life is. I’ve seen dead people, man, I once saw a guy “sew” his mouth shut with a piece of rusted wire he got out of a broom, and all that I can handle, but a 3 year old sobbing because he’s starving, I’m sorry, I can’t.

    Believe me, its one thing to see a little kid starving in Africa, you probably saw that terrible image a million times, but now imagine that that kid speaks English, with an American accent, and you see the Hollywood sign in the background. Both cases are terrible, but the one that looks as if he could be your son and not some kid in Africa or Croatia hit’s a nerve. Because “those things don’t happen here”. It happens to others, not in my country, not in my neck of the woods. Sorry, I’m babbling here. Back to your question:

    You guys have most stuff covered, but there’s some stuff I’d like to share:

    1) Don’t invest all your money in your country. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket, just in case economy goes to hell. Invest in a country in Europe, in Australia, whatever, I don’t know, but not in the same place. I did this, but most people didn’t and got screwed.

    2) Keep cash. Both dollars and Euros. I know some of you just don’t like the European money, but it’s the only way you have to cover most bases. Here the national paper money was worth 1/3 from one day to another.

    3) If you have land, have some animals. Even a few chickens and rabbits can make a huge difference and will complement your staple food.

    4) Buy guns and ammo. Not 20, but a couple of fighting guns, 1 or 2 Mausers and 2 or 3 handguns. You know the kind. Get lots of 22 ammo.

    5) Try to get 2 or 3 similar guns, like 2 or 3 AR, Fals, or SKS. This way you can use the same ammo and if 2 guns brake you may be able to fix 1. For example, if I were you, I'd buy 3 or 4 SKS and 3000 rounds of ammo. If your SKS brakes, you have a spare gun that you already know how it works and are used to.

    6) Spare parts are ok, but make sure you know how to replace them; a gunsmith may not be available. If not, get a similar gun as back up.

    7) Don’t trust the media. If you watch the news here, reporters say everything is ok, everything is fine. But then you talk to your neighbor and it turns out Mr. X got shot yesterday, the nice girl on the next block got kidnapped and raped, and today the boy next door was also kidnapped. This is the kind of conversations I have in my neighborhood, I’m not kidding.

    8) Keep 6 months- a year worth of food stored if you can and have a well or at least a good supply of bottled water stored as well a 2 water purifier and a good supply of filters for them. The water network works but it’s not safe. Some time ago an entire town got sick because of the contaminated tap water and lots of people died.

    9) B-proof vest. I’d sell my left testicle for one these days. I never believed I would ever need one and now here I am. Get one of those that can go under the regular clothes.

    10) Keep your passport and cash ready. If you can afford it, the best thing to do in such a country is getting the hell out of it! Maybe you have family somewhere else, keep in touch just in case. I did with my family in Spain and I going there as soon as I can.

    OK, that’s pretty much it for now, hope I helped a little.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Lawyerman:
    What about essential services like power and water? Were they always delivered reliably or were there blackouts etc....What about medical care, how do people get treated for injuries or illnesses? Is the crime mostly simple street crime or is it highly organized with gangs and cartels/mafia style? What about weapons training? Gabe Suarez an instructor I know is going to Argentina in the near future-April. Are civilians able to get good weapons training or are their laws on that-restricted to police etc....

    “What about essential services like power and water?”

    Power got cut some times but not for long, a couple of flashlights and your ok. Water is still working but you can’t drink. Most of the water supply in Buenos Aires shouldn’t be drunk, I used to drink it but this year the water was just too dirty. Even if we still pay our water bill and the gov. says it’s ok for drinking this water wouldn’t be accepted in the US. Here the water companies can bribe their way out of it. “We’re they always delivered reliably or were there blackouts etc....”

    There were blackouts, I remember once most of the country was without light for about a day. Buenos Aires was without light for 4 days.

    “What about medical care, how do people get treated for injuries or illnesses? “

    If you have private health you are ok, but if you don’t have the money for it you might as well put a bullet in your head. Free hospitalization, forget it, you’ll die because of an infection. They don’t have supplies; even sterile needles are hard to get in a public hospital. No way, if you don’t have private health you have a foot in your grave already.

    “Is the crime mostly simple street crime or is it highly organized with gangs and cartels/mafia style?"

    Both, the police handle most organized crime. The governors are the head of the organizations on each Province. The worst part is the kidnapping. About 2 or 3 persons get kidnapped each day in my neighborhood. For example, I keep 10 pesos (about 3 dollars) bills to give to the police if I get stopped when driving. You HAVE to bride the cop that stops you, the last time I got stopped by a couple of cops I played a little hard to get (pretended I didn’t understand he wanted money) the cop got really nervous so I just have him the money and he calmed down, he let me go. The cops are involved in most illegal activities like drugs, prostitution, robbery and kidnaps. That’s why I keep the high power Hirtemberg 9mm stuff and AP 308, because there a big chance the "perp" might be wearing a "Policia Federal" body armor vest.

    Tip: Have some AP, and not only for your rifle, but for your handgun. That may be the only weapon you have available and it should be able to penetrate a vest (well ate least in my country or in any other TSHTF situation). A good advice would be, for example, to keep the first 6, 7 rounds of your 9mm mag with +p JHP, and the last 5 with AP ammo. Or 1 JHP and 1 AP. Locals build their own AP with pointed all-brass bullets and a +P charge of powder, not "fancy" but gets the job done. It seems to work ok.

    ("AH! That doesn't work for the latest body armor from ABS " Trust me, it goes through the BA cops have here, that enough or me) I don't reload, but I got a couple of boxes of Hirtemberg petronen that work ok for BA.

    “What about weapons training? Gabe Suarez an instructor I know is going to Argentina in the near future-April.”

    Really!? The guy from SWAT magazine? Man, I’d like to meet him. I miss SWAT magazine, they don’t import it anymore after the SHTF. What will he be doing here? Do you know? There’s only one private facility that trains civilians that I know of. Jejee...he’ll have one heck of a surprise. Here, crime has reached sci fi levels. There was this gang that use to hit armored cars, they had a 50 bmg (stolen/bought from the military) Browning machine gun mounted on the back of a F-100…

    “Are civilians able to get good weapons training or are their laws on that-restricted to police etc....”

    The restriction is economical. The only facility I know of is very expensive.

    ”We really do appreciate your time in this. This whole site is about preparations and that's all fine to talk about but most of us haven't actually LIVED it like you have and so your insight is greatly appreciated.”

    Glad to help anyway I can.

    Dealing with Stress
    “How do people deal with the everyday STRESS of living that way of life. You had mentioned earlier of your mother's worry of what life is like for you and yours - how do many people cope with the situation that is beyond their control?”

    Oh man, I guess I SHOULD write a book after all...
    The stress that comes with insecurity, social unrest, unemployment and the constant fear of loosing your job, if you have one, is exhausting. Stress affects people in so many ways, some get depressed, the immune system is more vulnerable and heart problems, are just a few problems that come with stress. The percentage of people dieing because of heart problems has increased to the point where it’s almost the first cause of death among us. Funny way of dieing after TSHTF, right? To die because of a heart attack caused by the stress of living under constant pressure.

    How do you prepare for that? Psychoanalysis has become very popular, as well as anti depressives. Many, specially the older folks, choose denial. They try to convince themselves that things aren’t that bad, or that it’s the same all over the world. My grandmother will say “Look, USA isn’t better off than we are, look at all those hurricanes”. There’s no point in explaining her and people like her that what’s going on here isn’t “normal” that you shouldn’t have to fear getting robed or killed every time you walk out of your house.

    “For example, if their wife / husband / son / daughter leaves on their daily errands and don't return when they are supposed to - what then?” You get as scared as he!!. Even the most sheeply people wouldn’t do anything like that. You tell your family where you are and where you are going to be all the time. If you go missing for a couple of hours people will instantly think that you are in trouble.

    “How do the older generation of people, who thought they had saved up enough for their 'Golden Years' cope when they find they cannot afford to retire - work will be a fact of life for the duration.” That’s curious. Today, people organized a protest to stop the attack on old, retired people. Attacking old folk seems to be a popular crime these days. Today, they stopped a criminal band that specialized in attacking retired people. The leader of the band was an active duty police Sergeant. Poor old folks, these b******* beat them up, burned them with cigarettes, and electrocuted 70, 80 year old grandmas and grandpas. The old folks that have no relatives to take care of them; either live in constant misery or end up on the streets.

    “Children - what is the effects of the 'Argentinean way of Life for Now' on them. Children the world around are generally born pretty playful, stress free and see the world with open eyes. Living in 'black out' conditions after dark to avoid criminals, constantly being 'shushed - did you hear that?' - what does this do to the children that are around you?” Well, kids absorb the stress and tension going on the house. You just try to not talk about stuff like that in front of them so they don’t absorb that. Kids also miss a lot of experiences, since they can’t play on the streets on their own, they have no freedom. Take care.


    1. “How does Argentina’s current economic situation compare to other South and Central American countries?”

    Well, right now our economy is as bad, or even worse than other Latin American countries. What’s noticeable is that even though our economy is bad, our middle class cultural level (though now poor in its great majority) is relatively high compared to other Latin American countries. This is because you can still appreciate their higher cultural level even though they dropped in the social scale, the residual effect of what life used to be BEFORE Dec 2001 is still present. Most still have the relatively nice house, the good clothes, the car they bought back in the year 2000 (though they are getting older year by year) and the private school education they can’t afford for their own children.

    After a few more years, the change from middle to poor class will be more noticeable. Most wont be able to take care of their houses as they should, many will have to sell them, the cars will get old and most wont be able to buy new quality ones, and their children will have to go to the disastrous public schools. The next generation, the one that won’t be able to afford the education their parents had, will make the change more visible.

    This doesn’t happen in 24 hours, it takes a few years. You see more children on the streets, more scavengers. You see more prostitutes on the streets every year. You see them where there were none before. Restaurants, libraries and theaters, close and are replaced by stripper clubs, brothels, Bingos, casinos, and other facilities, typical of 3rd world countries. It’s sad.

    2. “Before the collapse, was Argentina’s economy better than other South and Central American countries or worse?”

    It was by far the best country in South and Central America. As a matter of fact, and I don’t mean any offence by it, the guys that worked at American airports would watch as Argentinean tourists packed piles of luggage, and they would wonder where these guys came from. Rich white guys, they though were Europeans, but the Spanish confused them .In the 90s our middle class was more wealthy than the American middle class. Just check what was the average income for the Argentinean middle class and the American middle class, both in USD, back in the 90s. That’s why the 90s are referred as the “sweet money” decade by our economists. You must understand that before Dec 2001 our salaries where in USD, a guy that earned 3000 pesos a month was earning 3000 USD. But after Dec 2001 the devaluation set the peso to a 3 pesos=1 USD rate. Meaning that you now earn 3000 pesos, but it’s only 1000 USD. And prices went up 300%, equaling the dollar. So now your salary only buys 1/3 of what it used to buy.

    Imagine if this happened to you TODAY, what would you do if your boss cuts your salary to 1/3 of what it used to be? How would you survive? Scary, isn’t it? This is why for months after the Dec 2001 crisis, trains where out of order most of the time: Every morning (3 out of 5 of the labor week) someone would commit suicide by jumping under one.

    3. “If you could ‘wave a magic wand’ and fix just one problem, what would that be?”

    Easy. I’d eliminate corruption. Corruption is the root of all 3rd world countries miseries.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 6

    Employment in a post SHTF scenario:
    I'd love to say that if you specialize in X or Y trade you are safe from unemployment but that's just not true. Maybe an economical crisis in USA wouldn't be as bad as it was here, but if it gets as bad I'm sorry guys but it will be ugly. A person asked me the other day "you say that you don't dare shoot a criminal 200 yards away, but that the police does nothing to stop the criminals, did SHTF or not?" I got a little mad and got all sarcastic, I'm sorry for that. I now see that what's pretty obvious to me isn't as obvious when you live in a "real" country, where police do actually investigate crimes, and services and institutions actually work as the are supposed to, most of the time, at least.

    Life isn't fair in general. But once the SHTF, it's WORSE. Meaning? Meaning that no one will be there to protect you but they'll darn sure be there to sue you. Meaning that even though you pay your taxes, you'll also have to pay for private health because the public health you pay for isn't worth a band-aid. Meaning that you might end up in jail, and even if innocent, you'll have to spent two years in jail until some drunk judge decides you deserve a fair trial and "Oops, guess you where innocent after all". And the same happens with jobs.

    You might be a very successful person, with a University degree and decades worth of experience in some of the most renown corporations, world wide, and you'll find yourself unemployed by the time you are 50 years old. That happened to my father, he was one of the finest managers in the country, he taught managing all over the world. From South America to Japan, USA and UK. Yet he found himself unemployed one day and moved to Spain, as did thousands of others, where someone had offered him a job. Yes, there are careers and skills that have more jobs than others. Doctors, welders, carpenters, accountants, managers, lawyers, they can all find a job, though the lawyers, manager and accountants may go for months or years before they can find a job that pays barely enough to survive.

    Keep in mind that unemployment here is about 20-25 %, even more if you see the BS the gov. considers "employed people". There are a lot of skilled workers waiting in line, willing to work for peanuts. And also consider that even by official numbers (which are favorably SUPER inflated) half the employed country earns less that 500 pesos (less than 170 dollars) while a person needs, AT LEAST 1000 pesos to survive. And I'm talking about barely surviving; forget about having a car, private health, or a real education, 1000 pesos is barely enough to put a shabby roof over your head and poor quality food on the table. If you want to have a normal standard of living, like a car, internet access, live in a neighborhood that doesn't look like Iraq, eat meat every now and then, and have some sort of education, you are talking about 1500-2000 pesos per person.

    So that's why the situation in this country is the one I describe, numbers just don't compute, people don't earn enough to live like people should, most barely survive like animals. Only 3% of the population makes more than 3000 pesos a month. The only way you have to live like you do now in USA after TSHTF is owning your own company. Owning large amounts of land and producing food products has kept high class society rich for as long as I can remember, so it's worth thinking about it.
    Farmers that own large amounts of land will sure be rich after TSHTF if they know how to run business. Small farmer will be swallowed y the big fish after some time. The rest of the rich society in my country is either politicians, (we call those thieves over here) Business men that found out how to profit out of the misery of other like the fellow I described that own the paper recycling company (hey, better them than me, right? If you can live with it, its an option) Or those that knew how to manage their investments, like my father did, investing in other countries, buying and selling properties, using the head to make his saving "work" for him. The trick is not to stick to one country. Had he invested in Argentina alone (he never invested much in this darn country anyway, whenever he invested a penny here, he lost it) he would be on the street right now, and so would I and the rest of my family.

    No safe job guys, just the "weapon" you have attached to your neck. Make as much money as you can in your current line of work, have a "Skill", that's always useful, at least like a "hobby" (I'd try mechanics, welding and fixing machines in general), and invest smartly as much as you can. Don't put all your eggs in the same basket. Have cash and gold, and well, prepare as we learn to do here, the stuff we talk about all the time.

    The real gem, the real "golden egg chicken" when it comes to survival would be this: Have a close friend or relative in another country that you could count on if SHTF. As many have discovered and as I discovered, the best, final solution to a country falling apart is moving to another country. Don't be afraid of doing so if needed. Maybe you are a patriot willing to "hold the fort" till the end, I respect that. But when there is no solution, I'd rather escape. "A soldier that runs away, lives to fight another day" as they say. Maybe you are willing to die instead of leaving your country, are you willing to sacrifice your children as well? Can you make that decision FOR them?

    Sorry, I got carried away.

    Stuff to think about.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

  9. #8
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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Part 7

    Tea with Aunt Sheeply
    "Why do you want to move to Spain? Here you can live much, much better. Her you can afford 3 maids, and a gardener, private school, private health and tennis lessons. You can live in what Europeans would consider a mansion".

    The argument was an old one already. My mother, my aunt and my grandmother where having tea in my parents living room.

    My mother was arguing with my aunt again. My father was gone before it even started. He went to fix something in the house as he usually does when my aunt is around. It's been years since he last had the patience to withstand even 5 minutes of the woman's narrow minded, sheep mentality ramble.

    "Alicia, I don't care about how many gardeners or maids I can afford here. You can afford to have that many people working for you precisely because there is so much misery that people will almost work for food. I'd rather live in a country where I can safely walk the streets and not have a maid. Don't you see that the same reality that allows you to have 3 maids and a gardener is the one that can get you killed every time you walk out of your house?"

    The argument went on and on, with my grandmother siding with my aunt. Not because she thinks that the reality of this country is good, no, but because she doesn't want to see one of her two daughters leave to a country at the other end of the world.

    Most Spanish immigrants, like my grandparents, hate to see the new generations, sons and grandsons, leave to the country they once escaped from, because it promises greener pastures. They escaped hunger, civil war, and now, 50 years later, they want to go back?

    Old folks just don't understand that. They had to leave everything behind, family, possessions, to give their family a better life. And in those days you just didn't take a plane, my grandparents had to spend a month in a stinking boat to get here. They all remember that trip, and they just don't get used to the idea of, thanks to airplanes, being just 24 hours away.

    For all of them, moving to Spain means that their loved ones are a month in a stinking boat away.

    There are many like my aunt in this country. People that, surprisingly, don't fear SHTF, but actually look forward to it.

    It means cheaper workers, cheaper services, and new exploitation opportunities. And I'm not only talking about locals, I'm talking about large international corporations as well.

    What locals seem to ignore, or simply don't care about, is that you still have to live WITH those that are in a much worse position. Maybe you are incredibly wealthy, yes, but wherever you go you will have to go with an armored car and bodyguards. You wont have freedom, not real freedom at least.

    As I said a number of times before, people will surprise you by being incredibly resourceful and/or incredibly stupid.

    Most of the "Herd" will simply sail through life being happy that their favorite soccer team won the finals and that they can go have a couple of beers with their friends.
    Notice that not much has changed since the ancient Roman times, where the emperor claimed that you only have to give the population "circus and wine" to keep them content and under control.

    People like my aunt, are the fools that love vacationing in Brazil, and think that Cuba's communism is the greatest creation right next to sliced bread. They will come back from Cuba in love with the place. Oh! The resorts, the food, so many cheerful people. They seem to forget that if Cubans don't put a happy face they get executed, and that they have a great time because they are tourists with money that can afford to live like kings. Why don't they move over there without a penny, and live as Cubans really do? Let's see if they like pimping their wives and daughters to survive, lets see if they like living like rats. Of course they don't.

    Another issue I want to point out. SHTF such as political crisis or economical collapses take time to settle.

    There won't be a declared SHTF day. Yes, there are events that are like landmarks, milestones in the course of history. But it will take time, society will change little by little, until the new reality is assimilated and accepted, consciously or not, by the entire population. After a few months, you'll see people talking about before and after a certain event that changed their world. For you it may be 911, for me it's life before and after the 1:1 (meaning the 1 dollar, 1 peso conversion) or life before and after the 2001 crisis. People use it on their daily conversations. "So, you've been to Hawaii?, wow!" , "Yes, yes but we went back before the 1:1, now it's impossible to pay for such a trip." "Yes, too bad."

    This time of uncertainness, until people accept that the world around them changed, takes time, months or even years, and it's a SLOW decline, slowly slipping down. One day you'll start seeing more people begging, more prostitutes, houses not painted, cars will start to look a little more shabby, because people don't have money to fix them, until one day you will tell yourself "wow, this wasn't like this 6-12 months ago." Things do not get accepted over night, a SHTF event may occur in a matter of seconds, but it takes MONTHS to sink in.

    That's why you should keep an open, independent mentality, and eyes and ears listening all around you, so as to stay ahead of the herd.

    Financial security, and the ability to move: The greatest survival trait

    Which brings me to my final consideration on survival, my final conclusion concerning surviving mayor crisis.

    Money.

    Yes, some paper money, gold, silver, but mostly money in accounts in a couple of "safe" countries and money invested in real estate.

    We had people going from middle class to poor over here. We had people going through some terrible situations, and it's safe to say that those that fared better where those with solid finances.

    Our society runs on money, people. Not only paper money, but accounts and virtual money. It would take a world wide collapse, practically the end of humanity for money to be useless as a concept.

    A country, or several, even a continent can go down into misery, dragging it's local paper money with it, but the other end will rise proportionally. I truly believe this, and history also shows that there are always losers and winners, conquered and conquerors, the balance, the ying yang always remains.

    A giant meteor could destroy earth and little green men could enslave us, yes, but in the infinite spectrum of possibilities, that scenario is the less likely one. I'd rather prepare for those that are more likely. And it's very likely that though your country can go down with an economical collapse, suffer civil war or natural disasters, you will probably have the possibility to escape to somewhere safe - greener pastures.

    Hell!, that's what thousands of Argentines ultimately did, what my family did, and what I intend to do as soon as possible.

    Just last week my parents told me that they ran across some old friends that recently moved to Spain. Bad guys broke into their home with them inside, don't know exactly what happened but it must have been ugly, so they got fed up of the insecurity and moved to Spain with their daughter.

    I consider myself a citizen of the world, and have no problem moving if I must. I strongly suggest you think about this, because it may be the ultimate survival solution. While I do believe in the stronghold, retreat concept, I do not believe it is possible to fight off an entire starved, crazed nation.

    If we are going to consider long term, permanent TEOTWAWKI, do consider moving to another country, far away, and plan accordingly. This means, having money in accounts, documents and passports ready, maybe even learn a second language.

    Now that I think of it, a solid financial situation and making sure his kids had a worldly, ample mentality, was all my father did, unconsciously or not, to make sure his family survived, and he sure did succeed where millions of others failed. Considering he lived in a shack with earth floor when his parents moved from Spain 50 years ago, he sure did better than the rest.

    My father's "survival arsena" ? A 22 semi auto, a .22 revolver and a box of ammo, until I convinced him of buying a 1911. Still, we did okay. Savings and investing was the key to our survival.

    The survivalist that has 5,000-10,000 bucks worth of weapons, years worth of food and a safe water source but no money invested anywhere is not doing things right. Even if you invest all you have on your retreat, and manage to get of the grid and live in your retreat without the need of anything else, you are pinning yourself down to one single point in the map, from which you can't move.

    Look to what happened to an entire generation of Spanish. They fled Spain escaping civil war. Look at what we are now doing over here. Moving to Spain, escaping from a economical/political SHTF scenario. See a pattern here?

    I know that some refuse to leave their country because of patriotism, but you still CAN be a patriot and still leave if you have to.

    Many of the most dedicated fighters had to leave my country during the "Dirty War" (civil war/dictatorship in the 70's). They where alive to come back and bring those dictators and murderers to justice, while those that stayed and fought simply got executed. Which would you rather be?

    Save money, invest, travel, make new friends, visit those long lost parents in the old continent, they will be happy to see you, travel around and learn about different cultures, how to be flexible and adapt to them. This is, by far, the best advice I can give you all when it comes to bad, bad, SHTF.

    Sometimes, you simply run out of options. Happened here, happened before, and happened in several places. It can happen to you.

    A person is not a survivalist simply because he lives in the woods, wears camo all day long, and always has a rifle hanging from his shoulder and looking for trespassers to shoot. That is not what I want in life, and that is not what I consider a flexible, adaptable person. In my humble opinion, the survivalist can feel as comfortable in the woods as in a cocktail party surrounded by sheep. He can play both games, he can adapt. He's a person that can smile back at those that think differently and keep his convictions to himself if needed. A person that cannot tolerate the presence of others that are not like him has a limited adaptation capability and therefore is limited when it comes to survival. Maybe he's great at wildlife survival, but not at the real-world, society surviving. He's good at the kind of survival required to survive a plane cash in the Amazons, which is great, but he can't deal with society and other people.

    You have to get over the idea of the retreat being the ultimate, final survival answer to a crisis. That's incorrect. The final, terminal solution is to leave the country or region. And that requires some social skills and savings. Keep that in mind before you spend every single penny you have on the ultimate retreat. Before anyone beats me in the head with a cinder block, the retreat/bug in house is very important, yes, it's the semi-last solution, it's the place that keeps you safe through small and medium crisis (which are more likely than big time SHTF), and it's also your home, the place you are more than likely to spend the rest of your life in if nothing goes WAY down the swage. But when TSHTF in a large scale, you have to get out, as many of you advised me to do.

    Final Thought: A Message of Hope
    Finally, I want to give a message of hope to you all, and remind you and me both that survival is about surviving, but not for the mere fact of living , but to live happy, rich lives.

    Prepare because it's the smart thing to do, and not because you are looking forward to SHTF and other disasters.

    Do not make the mistake of thinking that TSHTF will be a brand new start for you, and that all your problems will just go away and you'll have a new start in the brave new world.

    It doesn't work that way. Quite the contrary, everything will get worse, small problems will turn into bigger, more serious problems. If you have drinking problems, you'll drink more, if you can't keep a job, you'll spend years unemployed, if you have a disease, you'll see that it's harder to get attention and medications. Again everything gets WORSE.

    Someone once asked me, "How is it that you can't shoot a criminal 200 meters away, but police don't do anything to stop them?".

    SHTF, whatever type of crisis it may be, isn't fair. It will be absolutely unfair.

    You'll have good, honest people starving, while corrupt ones make profit, you won't have a cop to protect you but they sure will come after you when a criminal presses false charges against you. That's the way it works.

    So, anyone looking forward to TEOTWAWKI for a fresh start, better think again, and get your life straighten out NOW.

    Survivalists are often considered as dark fatalists, doomsday worshipers. This is not so, the real survivalist should not be like this.

    Negative people will have a hard time dealing with a crisis. It takes a positive, good natured person to make it through.

    Know that there are dangers, and situations you can not predict and prepare as best as you can for them. But never forget to live life at it's fullest.

    You and I, we don't know how long we have on this Earth, so make the best out of it, each passing minute.

    A survivalist should not be a pessimist, he should always be positive, happy and enjoying life more than anyone else because he understands that each minute of peace we have is precious and unique, and he never takes it for granted.

    The way I see it, the survivalist is a vital, fit, ever curious, good humored person. He's fit because he takes care of his body, and his body takes care of him, he's curious, because he thinks that it's important to learn new things all the time, and he enjoys learning, he has a good humor because he's sure of himself, and treats others the way he wants to be treated.

    That's how we should behave. Being a survivalist is 90% mental attitude. And even if SHTF does not occur in our life, that attitude makes our life more rich and fulfilling.

    There are things in life we can control and others we can't, the survivalist way of thinking makes sure we control those we can and accept those we can't.

    So, if you have that mentality, either by having a fully independent homestead or simply a few funds, some supplies, a couple of weapons and bug out bags, set that chin a little higher, walk a little bit straighter, no mater if you are a doctor or accountant, trucker or plumber, be proud my friend, because you are a dyeing breed.

    You are, without a doubt, a better person.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

  10. #9
    Expert TEXAS SOLFTAIL's Avatar
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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Good thread Lex, THANKS.

  11. #10
    Rifleman cavegeo's Avatar
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    Re: Argentina Survival Stories

    Great article Lex just wish he would post here, I have not seen him on some of the regulars site that he use to frequent.
    The whole point of being governed by a Constitution and not by men or directly by the people themselves was to stop incredible stupidity from annihilating our Freedoms. Tyranny of the majority is just as dangerous as any dictator. Especially when the majority is incredibly fucking stupid.

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