posted on Jul, 1 2011 @ 02:58 PM
We have many different ideas of what that means, therefore our solutions and reactions vary widely depending on our assumptions. We have a thread
going on now where the OP wants to build hardened vehicles for wealthy ATS clients. I didn’t want to hijack his thread by diverting his topic, but
it got me to thinking that the whole idea begs the question of what actually happens. As one poster pointed out, “You’re going to run out of gas,
so get a horse.” That comment really illustrates the variance in SHTF scenarios. I propose a categorization scheme for SHTF Scenarios along the
lines of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind scheme used for aliens and UFOs, and I’d like to be collaborative and solicit your help. I’m not
sure what it would look like, but the following are some elements that might be included:
Breadth: Katrina was a SHTF scenario for New Orleans just as the bombing of Baghdad was for residents of that city. Both these were fairly
local events where the destruction was confined to a limited area yet they were vastly different. A hardened vehicle will not help you when the
streets are flooded. A larger SHTF was the Japanese Tsunami which affected the whole country, but not much beyond. The proverbial comet would suggest
yet a larger level that could range from flooding the coastal cities to an extinction level event (ELE) like the comet that got the dinosaurs (if that
Survivability: We have to assume that all SHTF Scenarios are survivable, otherwise there’s not much use talking about them. But it does bring
up the issue of population density. A situation where most people survive must be handled much differently than one where most people do not.
Potential competition and potential cooperation would be far different. This also brings up the question of what causes a change in population. Nukes
take out everything, including people. Plagues, on the other hand, take out only people and leave the infrastructure intact.
Resources: Potentially you could go from nearly none to abundant. A situation where supply lines are disrupted and people raid the grocery
stores and pharmacies is one scenario. No more people leaving full stores behind is another. People here are fond of saying, “Get a horse,” but in
some scenarios a gas guzzling 4x4 makes more sense. In “When Earth Abides,” for example, the population was decimated, but there was plenty of
gas. All you had to do was siphon it out of any gas station you came across.
Transport: Many of the SHTF Scenarios played out on ATS assume the necessity to move, what ought to be in your bug out bag, etc. I’m not a
fan of the “Head for the Hills” mentality. I think you would do better to stand your ground locally. Nevertheless, you’re going to have to have
some sort of transportation to bring in supplies. Even if you horde, you’ll eventually run out and be required to steal, borrow, or barter to get
more in. So if you’re going to go the horse route, you’d better get a wagon, too.
Duration: Not all SHTF Scenarios will last a lifetime. What is reasonable in the way of preparations? I have a certain amount of food. It’s
probably not very good, but it has calories and protein. I also have several hundred gallons of water and several hundred gallons of diesel. All
things being equal I could last from six months to a year without undue strain, depending on how I stretched it. After that I’d have to find
alternatives. An Arctic Express-style storm where the power went out for three weeks (It’s happened to me twice now) would be a piece of cake and I
would sneer in its general direction, but klarger disruptions wouldn’t be nearly so easy.
Militancy: In some scenarios there would be a degree of lawlessness that would require you to defend yourself. In others, cooperation might be
more likely. We saw how well the Japanese helped each other, but when the lights go out in New York City, you call it The Night of the Animals. You
have to choose how to prepare for this, whether to include your neighbors for mutual support, and to what extent you would be willing to use your
firearms. I live on an island, so the likelihood that the Bad Guys from the Big City would try to get me is remote. It would be much more effective
for them to invade the more accessible suburbs. On the other hand, if I lived in the Big City I’d have a completely different set of problems.
Government: Some people imagine a scenario where predator drones would be hunting you in the woods. I don’t see that myself, but
“government” might be a help or a hindrance, depending. Attempts to impose martial law could cause you to get unwanted attention. Whatever
“government” at any level decided to do will have to be factored in to any scenario, including the possibility that it no longer existed. Of
course, hearing, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” might be even worse.
Speed: Most people assume a SHTF would be quite fast. Boom. Guess what? But it needn’t be. Look at Detroit. The place looks like a bomb hit
it, but all it took was a combination of government corruption and changing economics and it took thirty or forty years to come to pass. In some sense
this is the “frog” in boiling water” scenario where if the water is gradually heated, the frog won’t jump out and gets cooked. Complacency is
your worst enemy here.
Those are some of the factors to consider. By all means expand. Now we have to take those factors into the rating system. I’ll attempt one below,
but I’m not wedded to it. It’s just to get started.
SHTF-1, of the first kind: This is a local scenario of limited duration. Survivability is high. You ought to be able to prepare for a SHTF-1 by
yourself by stockpiling food, water, and transport capability. Supply lines would be disrupted, but damage would be relatively low. You probably will
not need firearms and government might actually be able to assist. People, by and large, won’t panic. Examples: earthquakes, storms, other natural
disasters. Measured in weeks.
SHTF-2, of the second kind: A regional event of undetermined duration with significant casualties, disruption of supply lines and
transportation, and possible civil unrest and panic in some places, particularly urban areas. Examples: Large natural disasters, warfare with WMD,
sudden devastating plague. Measured in months to years. Survivability is medium. Government is severely hampered and may not function at the local
level. You may need to resort to self-defense. You must think beyond your personal stores.
SHTF-3, of the third kind: This is major, though it does not mean the death of civilization. National or continental in scope, this would
over-tax any individual’s resources. You would have to be ready to move to an agrarian existence involving barter, a break-down of government
control, and a rise in the community unit to take care of business. If you’re lucky you might be able to return to an 18th century style of
existence with little technology.
SHTF-4, of the fourth kind: Worldwide devastation. A pole shift, a major asteroid hit, a reduction in flora and fauna of 90% or more. Some
people would survive, but it would take several thousand years to get back to any semblance of civilization. Good luck with that.
Most people could survive a SHTF-1 event, albeit with some bitching. Many of us already have and we still talk about it. Only a few of us would be
able to comfortably survive a SHTF-2 event. These are the people who have stored some supplies and thought about this. Most Mormons, for example, are
prepared for this sort of scenario. Only dyed-in-the-wool survivalists who are already self-sufficient could possibly survive a SHTF-3 event. These
people don’t live in cities. They have a few acres and know how to bring in a crop. SHTF-4 is probably not worth talking about. What I do wonder,
though, is how we can help each other move up a notch, because I think that’s about all we can do.