Who Will Survive When TSHTF?

I posted this question on the SHTFBlog Face Book page and thought I’d throw it out to the masses here at the main site.

My question is this:  if the TSHTF in a big way and society crumbles for a bit… who will survive?  Who should survive?  I’m talking grid down and no police to keep things safe and sound.  Maybe not as bad as what Mad Max faced in the Road Warrior (great flick), but still devastating to society.

There has been talk of the golden horde and how they might react, but this question is more fundamental than that.  At this time in the U.S. – at the peak of our technology – everybody has the right to not only survive, but to lead full lives.  There are many people out there contributing to society in a meaningful way, but there are many others who don’t.

What about criminals?  Should we – the people – take justice into our own hands after the guards decide not to show up for work?  Kill the murderers and rapists and pedophiles?  What about those who just robbed a house?  What about someone who stole to feed their family?  Who is going to decide these things when there’s no justice system in place?

If we turn the murderer loose they might just land on your doorstep later, but then again it’s awful hard to point a gun at a man who’s pleading for his life and pull the trigger in cold blood.  Could you do it?

What about those folks who don’t have any special skills – that just leach off society today.  Those who make a career out of welfare.  Some people really need welfare to survive, but you know as well as I do there are people out there who milk the system for all it’s worth.  How many times have you been in line at the grocery store and watched a woman pay for groceries with her SNAP card while talking on her iPhone?

After TSHTF and they show up on your doorstep begging for help or for food for their kids what are you going to say?

Quite honestly I personally don’t have enough food stockpiled to feed my extended family much less a deadbeat neighbor down the road, but on the flip side I really hate to see kids go without because their parents aren’t smart enough or determined enough to prepare for an emergency.

If the situation ever arises we’ll all have to make some tough decisions.  Best to think of how you’ll react now while you still have time.

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor




47 comments… add one
  • GoneWithTheWind March 12, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Who will survive. The hidden, the sly, the smart, the prepared, the lucky. Probably many of these same people will also not not survive too. It may all come down to a crap shoot. There is an old story that in WW II a machine gunner survives 52 seconds in battle. Why? Because he makes himself the most important target on the battlefield. So someone who stands out won’t survive, someone with arms and mobility, someone with food and assets, someone who is not skinny when everyone else is starving. Did you ever get close enough to a homeless drunk living on the street to really smell them? They will survive because no one thinks they have anything and even if they do no one wants what they have.

    • Jason March 15, 2013, 2:41 pm

      Hmmmm, smell like a homeless drunk …. I like that idea to hide in plain sight.

      BTW, I did keep my word & ate a Big Mac, a cheeseburger, fries & a coke at separate sittings but have to tell you, they tasted terrible – no flavor at all.

      I cook almost every meal & use fresh stuff always so my taste has developed away from fast food.

      I can tell you by comparison that whatever they’ve done to fast foods removed any semblance of “real” food & merely provide some sort of appetite suppressor. I seriously doubt there is little if any nutrients in that crap.

  • Backwoods Prepper March 12, 2013, 10:04 pm

    I would have no problem getting rid of the prisoners. I have said for years if you take a persons life while commiting a crime then yours should be taken also. That would cut down on so much crime. I know what people are thinking it’s not my job to judge and I don’t think it is. Only god can judge I’m just wanting to arrange the meeting. Will I survive? maybe maybe not. I will try my best I think living in a very rural area with like minded individuals like myself I have a better chance than most. We live so far back in the woods that the UPS delivers my packages to the post office. And I can’t get a mail box because no carrier comes close to me. So they give me a PO Box for free.

    • Traffix March 13, 2013, 12:31 pm

      I want to live where you are. I don’t want anyone coming to my place but patriots.

    • Anonymous March 15, 2013, 5:23 am

      Our mailman leaves a note in the box at the end of the drive to let me know there is a pkg at the PO from UPS. If I don’t have to sign for it, he drops it off at the house. Not bad since our driveway is 1/2 mile dirt and gravel road. We are very rural with hard working folks who know how to take care of themselves in East Tn mountains.

      • Backwoods Prepper March 15, 2013, 9:06 pm

        I hear you in east TN I’m in the southern tip of WV so we are neighbors.

        • farmgirl March 15, 2013, 11:42 pm

          Ya’ll are lucky.

  • JL March 13, 2013, 3:04 am

    I don’t know ; myself brother is a criminal but capable of great things. I think a lot of it has to do with situation and circumstances. We will need to make decisions on the fly, more so then precedent.

    • Al March 13, 2013, 7:20 pm

      I sure hope your brother gets his head screwed on right because the work force could use people with something to offer (besides revenue for the state/Fed). Your brother isn’t a criminal by accident so he’s not part of the solution – with that in mind, he’s going to be shown very little empathy or compassion in my neck of the woods…

  • Denator March 13, 2013, 8:45 am

    Being off grid with stored food weapons and ammo I think we would be alright for a time. My wife and I were talking the other day about what we would do with our dogs, we have 4, all big, we would run out of dog food within a few weeks, then what. We have food for the chickens that would last longer and they can pretty much fend for themselves. But like you said we have enough food to last us many months but that would go quick if and when people started showing up at our gate. I think its something to talk about and think about but like the first shot fired in a battle all your plans and thoughts might go by the wayside and circumstances on the ground will dictate your actions. All we can really do is prepare as best we can and hope we never have to put it all into action. Fair winds………

  • Calamity Jane March 13, 2013, 9:30 am

    One of my favorite writes just touched on the prison population issue. She writes from a peak oil/slow deterioration side of the SHTF spectrum. But it was still a good argument.

    “If you are SERIOUS about wanting to increase the diversity of your membership in terms of age, class and race, wanting to make your future communities more secure, wanting to expand local food and employment opportunities, wanting to do outreach into minority communities and offer something to those already hardest hit by the early stages of our society’s crash, I’d recommend one particular access point – find ways for your group to work with recently released prison inmates in your community.

    Why prison inmates? Why not poor single Moms or homeless veterans or (as is the American general perception) For Cripes Sake ANYONE but prison inmates who are bad people who deserve nothing at all from us?

    The answer? Because it needs doing, and you are going to have to do it eventually. It might also be the right and compassionate thing to do, but that’s not the only reason. The fact is that at any given time the US has more than 2 MILLION inmates. The enormous cost of the prison industry – in energy used for confinement and transport of prisoners, in economic costs – are not sustainable into the future. Sooner or later, as Dmitry Orlov first pointed out in _Reinventing Collapse_ we’re going to stop imprisoning such an enormous portion of the US population.

    Your community ALREADY has a population of men and women (mostly men) who go in and out of prison, and when out, have no jobs, few resources, and eventually commit crimes…..”

    Read the whole thing. it’s good.

  • Ray March 13, 2013, 10:04 am

    My dady used to say,”theres the way it ought to be and theres the way it is” .Who will survive? The lucky , the ruthless , the A-moral. The pretty girl who will whore for food and safety. The same bastards that ALLWAYS survive. The moral the Do-gooders , the church girls, DO have a chance IF they are lucky, smart and rock hard , in there hearts and minds. IF this global governance we live under ever dose fall… We get the great Dieing, nature takes its course and the natural order Re-assurts itself. WHEN the world we live in changes , we MUST revert to that earlyer time when people looked to there own,if we cannot do that all may perish. MANY will anyway. I long ago decided to save as many children as I could. But with that comes a hard heart, cause I CANNOT save them all. Weeding out the stupid ,the lazy, the cripples, the cronicly dependant , the ones that cannot survive without constant care, thats gonna be a realy bad day. Turning away someone is hard , watching my own die because I helped someone who cannot be saved would be worse .

    • sput March 13, 2013, 2:59 pm

      Watch the young ones, they can be the decoy that gets you killed. That young mother with the starving baby may have the pistol that kills you hidden in the swaddling, that 11 y/o looking kid may be a hardened gang member. Old guys remember the shoe-shine kid with the bomb in his kit, this generation deals with bomb vests.

  • irishdutchuncle March 13, 2013, 10:21 am

    a justice “system” will need to be established eventually. (it may or may not resemble what we have now)
    in the interim, I say, try to “live and let live”. only kill a human in battle. (except pedophiles. they will require inter-cranial plumbum therapy as soon as they’re caught)

    • Ray March 13, 2013, 11:20 am

      Irish , skip the bullet use rope, If we’d just hang anyone that did rape, murder, theft ,or run for office this would be a much nicer country.

      • irishdutchuncle March 14, 2013, 1:36 pm

        good rope may be in short supply, until manufacturing can be started up again. I want to keep full 100′ or longer lengths for use with block and tackle…

  • farmgirl March 13, 2013, 11:47 am

    I don’t have the answers, and I honestly don’t know what I’d do. My extended family thinks I”m crazy if I even mention the word “prepare” but I know exactly where they will come when they run out of food. Do I have enough for them? No.
    I recently attained emergency custody of my grand daughter. I’m amazed at how much food I’ve gone through just adding ONE little girl to my family.
    She was in a dangerous situation, and she brought that danger to our home. Once again I was shocked at how ill prepared we were for that. Nothing happened, but in getting ready for the “just in case” a gun jammed while loading, a gun was left behind when it should have been grabbed, but I was too scared to react. It’s been a nightmare, but also a very good lesson for us. In the end, this was nothing. NOTHING compared to when SHTF and I found out I am not ready. Not even close.

    • Ray March 13, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Farmgirl You might think on calling the local gun range and asking about an NRA biginer pistol class. It might just save your life or the life of your grandchild.If nothing else its cheep and offers some of the best safety and marksmanship training around

  • waterboy March 13, 2013, 11:52 am

    Great question Jarhead, but it may not have an answer. I think that natural selection will take care of this dilemma for us. Criminals will continue to think they can steal to live and will find out soon enough that, in a WROL situation, justice will become streamlined for them. Leeches and moochers will quickly find out that the kind of charity the government dispensed has ended. The former nay sayers and finger pointers (you know, the people who thought you some kind of weirdo for prepping) will find out that it’s a little late to start preparing when there is rioting in the streets. In general, I think the decisions about who should survive will sort themselves out quickly. IMHO

  • Lumberjok March 13, 2013, 11:55 am

    You forgot to mention the nearly 1 in 10 Americans who are on powerful psychotropic meds, you meet them on the street every day and they appear to be normal. These meds have to be cut back very slowly…when the supply runs out and they have to go cold turkey the result will be alot of violent loonies running around.

  • Spud March 13, 2013, 12:23 pm

    There are many versions of moochers and leeches in our society. Not all of them have SNAP cards either. Many live in 5K ft. homes…of what value will be the Banker, Stockbroker,Real Estate Agent ? Only those which have skills and provisions will have real value.
    SEE is the answer me thinks. Those who have that skill might survive.

  • Jason March 13, 2013, 12:30 pm

    Who will survive? In my opinion just 2 groups – the ‘haves” & the strong. I say the “haves” because they can hire the strong in some form.

    The rest will panic, waste enormous amounts of personal energy & will come to realize it isn’t a Hollywood movie. I don’t care how prepped you are, if you don’t have extreme mental toughness, you can kiss your grits good-bye.

    The answer is as old as time – you take ANY group, place them in any kind of SHTF situation & the results are the same.

    The famous battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC where 300 Spartans along with 700 other far less (mentally) equipped killed off over 300,000+ Persians soldiers. The stock market crash of 1929 & the subsequent Great Depression, same results – the strong & the haves survived. Survivors of the Holocaust etc, etc …. all have the same exact results.

    In my less than humble opinion, you can be prepped with supplies until kingdom come but if you don’t have a strong mindset, the toughness, resilience & the ability to get along without any creature comforts, you might as well crawl into the pine box & wait for the dirt to be thrown over you.

    • Spud March 13, 2013, 1:52 pm

      True Dat

  • smokechecktim March 13, 2013, 12:37 pm

    I’ve never thought that the golden horde or mutant zombie bikers will really happen. Most people will sit in the dark and wait for the government to come, like katrina. Most of the criminals stayed in their own areas (storm sandy) and simply preyed on the weak. These people for the most part will die where they live. As Ray pointed out the few that make it will be hard core survivors, but I dont think they will take up epic journeys into places they dont know. Those that do will probably follow the major highway corridors. The moral aspect of feeding others is a tough one and bloggers above have already commented on the difficulty. Would I turn away starving children and their mom? Would I put my family at risk for another family? The hardcore in me says no…my family first. The spiritual side of me might not be able to do it. Its fine to talk today about shooting mutants and criminals WTSHTF, but when faced with the situation in real time you might have second thoughts. Bottom line…there is no right answer.

    Participating in a gun buyback because you believe that the criminals have too many guns, is like having yourself castrated because you believe your neighbors have too many kids!

    • Backwoods Prepper March 13, 2013, 6:37 pm

      I would like to set up across the street from a gun buy back and offer them double lol

      • Jason March 13, 2013, 8:47 pm

        Wouldn’t that be great?!

  • HDinOR March 13, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Who will survive is a good question. Those ready have the best chance if they are truely ready. A lot has been said about being able to turn away a hungry child and his mom. While it may sound cold are they any better off getting one meal from you just to continue starving tomorrow? By feeding them one time are you just prolonging the suffering?

    If you are not truely ready to make the hard decisions then you will likely not survive. While I will feel for the people suffering I have stronger feelings for my family. The survival of my family must and will come first with me. Is that cold? possibly but I can live with that as that is the hard decision I have made.

    This is only one of the hard decisions you will need to make. Can you pull the trigger on another human? If you say no then you will likely not survive. If it does hit the fan then even good people will do bad things to survive.

    If you are ready and have made the hard decicions ahead of time you have a better chance.

    • Jason March 13, 2013, 10:16 pm

      All easier said in cyberspace than done. Could you pull the trigger on another human? Wait until you are confronted with that decision, it is not that easy my friend & the aftermath will do you in.

  • Steve suffering in NJ March 13, 2013, 7:18 pm

    Well if your too lazy to work chances are your too lazy to prep. So for the “recipient class” with no forethought past there next government check showing up things will be tough. Once things get tough they will again look for the easy way out, theft etc. Between the risks associated with theft and lack of forethought they will likely be the first to go. Google search Obama phone lady and you will see what I mean. And no, her race has 0 to do with my reference to her.

    Next over populated areas who are dependent on goods coming in on truck. NYC comes to mind. Rural areas will surely be better off just based on a lesser population. I really think people on a whole will keep there moral values and continue to love thy brother. But maybe I’m just ignorant. Prepared people are strong people. With food shelter and security what more do you need?

  • gat31 March 13, 2013, 8:37 pm

    Wow great question to which no answer and every answer is correct.
    Will there be a golden horde? Maybe. People who have no food left and no idea what to do or how to do it to survive. Some will think about things they have seen on T.V. and loot for food but even that will run out eventually. l also agree that some will just sit and wait for help that isn’t coming.

    As for the mom with kids? l have enough space in my yard for tents. If a mom is willing to help with watching kids, garden tending, house cleaning or whatever then yeah l’ll help her and the kids and offer them maybe some place to stay as well. Maybe a hot meal for the road if she seems the type that is above hard work. Right now l have my garden in and l’m scouting for a local place to maybe start a community garden as well. If l get it going maybe l’ll just pass out cards with the address on it. lol

    Now for prisoners? seems to me if it’s a grid down, collapse they are gonna kill themselves eventually. No way to get them out and no one to prepare their meals, seems they die a slow antagonizing death to me. We have a jail here and they have an awesome garden that provides most of the food for the prisoners so l don’t see anyone but their loved ones trying to get them out. l can honestly say the last thing on my mind will be getting people out of jail. l will be too worried about keeping my own safe and fed.

  • T.R. March 13, 2013, 8:40 pm

    I believe there is going to be a civil war , its going to be bad and suck everybody into it , one way or another ……………If you plan to fight the tyranny like I do , your work is cut out for you .

  • BQuad March 13, 2013, 8:46 pm

    Much has been made of the on-the-spot analysis and decision making. Some have indicated that they have thought thru the alternatives and know what they will do. But is that a real, iron clad no hesitation decision? If you have to assess, analyze and think before you engage, you are vulnerable. Odds are you will still be ok just by chasing folks down the road to a weaker target…..but there will be that few who have already made and locked in the decision and won’t have to think about what to do with you. You will pray for discernment and make the best decision you can as fast as you can when you must.

  • Pineslayer March 13, 2013, 10:18 pm

    This question is my nemesis. Planning on 6-8 bodies, could hit 10 if I’m weak. I have to realize that my budget and space only allow for so many. I can extend some help outside of food with gear, but my girls come first. They are a pretty fierce bunch and probably won’t let me stray too far with the resources. I have been hitting the rice and beans pretty hard at the store. Being able to hand a friend 2 gallon jugs of staples will go a long way in lean times.

    Unfortunately a lot of Americans are completely unable to survive without infrastructure. Team up or hunker down, either are right in the right situation. It’s going to be OK, those in charge have it under control.

  • Ken March 13, 2013, 10:32 pm

    I believe if you live where the game doesnt roam and the food doesnt grow , not only are you a moron you are doomed”IF and When”. I also love the stories about people using ammo for self defense that wont penetrate the walls and enter the house next door, where I choose to live you would have to be a fairly good shot to hit the next house with a rifle from outside.

  • Child of Odin March 14, 2013, 6:46 am

    Sounds cold, but in a true shtf situation, I’d be willing to put down the leeches and violent criminals because they will only make it that much harder for me to keep my own family alive. Though I doubt many of them will hit the high lonesome country… no prey of the type they like… innocent and unarmed or lightly armed victims

    • T.R. March 14, 2013, 4:33 pm


      • Yikes! March 15, 2013, 1:00 pm

        Prisoners are kind of like everyone else: they’ll just go home. If you don’t live near criminals now, you probably will never see the ones who escape after the apocalypse.

        It could be argued that there are no criminals when there are no rules. On the other hand, I suppose that prison is kind of a self-selecting bunch of imbeciles and shitheads. I guess you can kill em off if you want to… but only if there’s an apocalypse.

        • Jason March 15, 2013, 2:45 pm

          More accurately – people seek places of most familiarity & level of comfort – convicts or not.

  • The Duck March 14, 2013, 10:58 am

    I have a certain amount of “Charity” supplies, but once that is used up, I have no desire to give away or share what is stored, with those that refuse to prepare, or those that prey on others, and those that prey on others likely won’t want to share what you have, they will take it all
    You have to be tough mentally, and know you may have to plant your feet in dark and bloody ground.
    Appear weak and you will be eaten, appear strong and hope they pass you by, but be prepared if they do not.
    What is more important to you and your families lives or theirs?

    • Mike March 14, 2013, 1:11 pm

      You are right to a degree saying if you appear weak you will be eaten, but also if you appear to be strong they will get help taking you out by telling all the others around you have food water and other things that are needed and call you a horder ,the best thing to do is not to appear at all.

  • sirlancelot March 14, 2013, 3:47 pm

    Inmates live by the “law of the jungle” . In polite society it works against them upon their release and is the reason most re-offend.

    However in a SHTF situation their ruthless ways would come in very handy. Most are drug addicts and not inherently evil it’s just they haven’t learned any skills and will revert to what they know best, stealing and robbing.

    Of course there is the 10- 20% that should be put down like rabid dogs immediately after SHTF or they will most certainly prey on the innocents. Pedophiles should ALL be executed. If allowed to be set free they will disappear into the background only to show up as that helpful person minding the children while the adults tend to the daily life of a post-TEOTWAWKI world.

    This will be a tragic mistake as the children will go missing only to be found in a shallow grave near by.

    My prediction is a massive die-off for the first couple months followed by gangs and lots of violence. Those who are lucky enough to live outside Metro areas will fare better than those in the cities until those gangs decide to become mobile. With any luck like mined survivors will band together and slay this vermin.

    Maybe after a year or so things will return to the old days of local settlements with little or no strangers coming to town now that fast, easy transportation is no longer available.

    As a city dweller my only hope is to lay low, see what happens and then make a move if any. Traveling will be iffy and most likely very dangerous, but at some point getting out of the “war zone” may be my only option. There are others out there who just plan on owning a gun and TAKING what they need as their “plan”.

    For these individuals i wish a speedy demise.

  • T.R. March 14, 2013, 4:36 pm

    Im a strong believer in caches away from where you are currently living . The reason is , even the the best laid plans can turn to Sh_t real fast when things actually go down .

    • Ray March 15, 2013, 8:58 am

      T.R. The big problem with cashes is; Where to put them? I live east of the Mississippi ,and there is NO plact to burry a cash thats not on somebodys land. My family owns a farm in Ky. Every year we get two or more Prepers. from out of state , armed with a GPS and a pickup load of crap, looking to burry there stuff in the woods . Every year we have to call the sherriff on at least one of them, Cause “The map says this is the National Forrest!!!” Its gotten so bad the last two years that my mom fenced the land, The city turds started cutting the fences this year. My brothers now patrol with guns because “Bugging out” is rapidly turning into “No ones here so thats mine”.

  • Michael March 14, 2013, 10:10 pm

    The ball goes up for more than a couple of weeks and my dad’s dead. My dad’s elderly, doing chemotherapy for cancer that can be slowed but not killed, and has to use supplemental oxygen. A couple of weeks of grid down would be the beginning of the end for my dad.

    Ditto for everyone living in some form of assisted care. That autistic girl you see at the swimming pool? If she’s living in a group home and doesn’t have family near by she’s probably dead. Nursing homes: dead. Everyone in every ICU unit in the country: dead. Just had a hysterectomy? Your chances aren’t too good. There’s something like 600,000 hysterectomies done in the US every year.

    Lots of folks in the “diabetes belt” wont be healthy enough to make it the disaster. There are18 million diabetics in the US and most of them will be dead. The American SE might not smell so good for a while.

    Your neighbor that’s 100 pounds over weight has to wear T.E.D Hose stocking at take a flotilla of pills every day: dead

    Gasoline will go quickly and breakdowns, car wrecks, and locals putting up barricades will put an end to travel by car rather quickly. Anyone that has to use a car to get to food or water’s probably dead.

    Anyone that gets any form of serious injury and doesn’t have a support network is probably fucked. Running a chainsaw is probably a bad idea.

    One thing I don’t think we’d see is a lot of crime of the sort we’re used to now. Our easy and anonymous mobility fuels crime. Having to commit crimes on foot, in your own neighborhood narrows down who’s going to be out there doing that. Knowing that getting caught = getting shot lowers that even more. The fact that we all know who the creeps, meth-heads, and gangsters, in the neighborhood are will reduce it even more. Right now a “problem house” in a neighborhood gets dealt with by repeated calls to the police. Grid down the “problem house” gets burned down.

    So who lives? In a nutshell:
    Those of us who are reasonably healthy and physically fit.
    Those of us that have some food, water and fuel to cook and heat with stored up.
    Those of us who can do what little getting around we need to do w/o cars. Keep that bicycle tuned up and go for a ride every now and again.
    Those of us who lay low and don’t take risks.

    You could be young, could be old. Big cities, small towns, suburban, rural all have their good and bad points. I think survival’s mostly a matter of knowing your weak points and building them up, laying low, being able to get around sans motors, and not taking stupid risks.

  • Ned Ludd March 15, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Only the physically and mentally strong who are prepared and very lucky.
    Here is a real tough one: my wife requires daily medication which only has a 3 month shelf life. If all hell breaks loose and the supply chain completely fails I need to be prepared for what that will bring.
    Start looking around at your own group and see if there is anyone in it with similar circumstances.

  • Rastus McGee March 26, 2013, 9:22 am

    Add traps ,fish baskets, and snares to your beans, rice and rim fire. Also make sure of water sources AND be cagey around them. Predators like to hang around water holes!


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