Realistic Resiliency

“Solutions for Austerity and Hostility” – That’s what it says at the top of the page. But what does that really mean? Primarily we are interested in, and focused on, situations of immediacy that require dynamic action – Wilderness survival, tactical medicine, fight skills, and the tools and use solutions, that benefit these efforts.
There is a great need for these tools and skillsets – Most people would benefit from taking ownership of some knowledge on wilderness survival, medicine, integrated combatives and general better livin’ through not gettin’ killed. Those who spend a great deal of time outdoors, live/work in the back country, are armed professionals or are otherwise engaged in dangerous work have even greater needs for wild-surv, medical, combative and related skills. This is, and will remain, the majority of what’s discussed here.
But, is it enough to shoot, fight, survive and doctor in the immediate tactical or survival situation? Or should those skills be merely the dynamic end of a much stronger framework of capability and resilience? To the former, I say no, and to the latter, I say yes – Skills to serve the immediate need, should be supported by a capable lifestyle and a resilient one.

Few things are going to suck more than to meet and overcome the enemy (at work, at home, at the store), or survive the backcountry accident, and then to lose everything due to job loss, debt, an economic slump, or other situation of “ordinary” upheaval.

This may not be your idea of “survival”, but its a far more realistic one than the stereotypical survivalist’s 1980’s-hollywood survival wet-dream complete with mountain hideaways and resistance networks fighting off the commies. If you don’t agree with me on that, I’d suggest stepping back for a minute and taking a serious look at the world and current events. If you still feel you’re on the right track, by all means, press on. I will remain concerned about the things I see as much more possible. Not Red Dawn, or even The Road, but a realistic downturn such as we’ve been seeing in the US for the past year +.
You may be doing fine right now – And the current downturn may reverse itself and become nothing but a bad memory soon. But there is always the possibility for another recession, depression or even full on collapse – They’ve happened, and are still happening, world-wide. There’s also the possibility for local, or personal, crashes due to infrastructure damage, job loss, etc. The thing you’re likely to need to “survive” isn’t going to force you to grab your bug out bag and make a run for the hills. It’s likely to force you to stay where you are, and fall back on stockpiled resources and then essential skills to move forward. Or, if you do run, it will be during an evacuation to another city, or a refugee camp, or a friends place, to ride out a disaster, which is not a survival picnic, but damned hard, dirty, work. Worse, you might face being forced to take all the items from your home, put them in a friends shed and move your family into a Motel 6 while the bank auctions “your” house. There’s little possibility that you’ll be forced by day to hunt rabbits and deer in the hidden foothills paradise you’ve built Dick Proenneke style, while sniping communist insurgents by night. It’s far more likely that to deal with shortages you’ll be forced to choose between the soup kitchen, and doing jobs you never expected, like working at a farm/ranch and taking part of your pay in produce/meat, or fill your backyard with converted storage tubs “EarthTainers” and start growing food for your family and to trade with others in your neighborhood. If you have to shoot someone, it will be some starving wretch who saw you were doing better than he, and decided that violence was his meal ticket.
These are things which have all been faced in the US before, and are still being dealt with everyday by millions of Americans. We’ve done well to have not had to deal with them on the scale of other nations. Those of us who aren’t dealing with them, or who are only suffering mildly, are fortunate. Others are devastated, and still more will be as time goes on.
Some, maybe many, will say “It’s just the recession”, and they’re right to a point – Many of those situations are just the recession, and that is the same as saying some of them were “Just because of Katrina” or “Just 9/11”. Those things too are real world austerity, and within it is extreme hostility – Those incapable, or unwilling, to adapt see the thriving resilient communities and individuals as prime targets. These real situations have real, and dangerous, consequences both long term and immediate, and our skills need to have the necessary depth to deal with both things. The skills for dynamic survival should merely be the pointy-end of a resilient life.
Being a country boy, this idea of long term resilience and structures like localized (if not self-) sufficiency are not alien to my thinking. Alien to my thinking has been coming to grips with the fact that most people are conditioned not to think like this. The hard experiences of recent times have been eye opening for many, and there has been a marked increase in awareness (and acceptance) of ideas of resilience. A growth in trends such as “preppers”, self-sufficient/sustainable/small-scale gardening/agriculture, and interest in long term resilient communities are all glad signs. But there is still a long way to go.
Many people are still plugged in and slaving away at the old models, or trying to get back on their feet with the old models. As things move forward, this will work less and less.
And I don’t have the solutions. I know what I am trying – I keep stocks of food and basic essentials, to make it through situations of illness, unemployment, furlough or supply-chain destabilization. I also planted a garden this past summer, and have plans to plant a bigger one in 2010. I am taking my agricultural background, my ranch and farm skills, and applying them to studying and implementing a far more self-sufficient lifestyle in the modern world. This, along with stock-piling is more about offsetting the shortages, than living strictly dependent on my own production (at least for now). Beyond the agriculture skills, I also have abilities as a blacksmith and tool maker, as a firefighter and medical skillsets, all of which have real world value to keep me, and those around me, up and running. I am also, or have been (as many BFE Labs readers) in trades which put a lot of emphasis on “cert’ing up”, core skills certification more than a formal (and often useless) degree – Those trades are of great real value, and will continue to have economic value even in a localized economy (Such trades actually cover a wide range of fields: Police, Fire, EMS are obvious, but Welders, Divers, Equipment Operators, Information Technologists, and on and on are there as well). There is more to skill than simply possessing some certifications, but it is a way to accrue a diversity of knowledge in small increments, rather than one long investment of time in one or two specific areas.
Riffing off John Robb, over at Global Guerrillas, coming at the world (as a youth or a re-skilling adult) with some skill at making/repairing things, an ability to navigate and collaborate within the online environment, and a knowledge of how to sell what you’re offering will go a long way. Skill-at-arms, security knowledge, is also as saleable as being able to make/repair a physical product. If you can innovate, with either, more the better. You see this already in the fields we discuss here – Individuals with skillsets for security, survival, medicine and so on have already been using this model within our field (tactical wonk’s, et al) for a long time. Be it as contractors, consultants, trainers or whatever. It’s only logical to continue doing so. These sorts of things will always be in demand, and those with real world experience and an ability to develop, market and sell themselves will go far.
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t bring this up because I’m a subject matter expert on resilient communities or any of this, or because I have a meaningful solution to contribute. I don’t – We don’t. I am unsure currently what direct contribution BFE Labs has to make to this area. The obvious one is contributing “gray skills” (Those often monopolized or regulated by the state and industry, but not illegal to learn/know, such as medical skillsets) to those seeking a more reliable buffer against real world austerity. Beyond, there may be nothing we have to offer other than that underlying philosophy of long-term resilience driving those dynamic skills. None the less, I would feel bad having continued to focus on those things, without paying some attention to these things.
It is bringing this philosophy, these ideas, to the fore that has me posting this. We’ve always been about skills that the common man can put to use, as in our armed citizen focused gunshot/penetrating trauma material, and this line of thinking only furthers that overall goal. This is definitely within the threat realm relevant to the common man – It’s relevant to everyman.

Some sources worth perusing in regards to these ideas are:
Global Guerrillas:– John Robb tracks and writes about more than just resilience, to include terrorism and criminal networks. This blog and his writing are, in my opinion (having been a reader since 2004), fundamental for matters of security and resiliency.
Surviving in Argentina: – FerFAL has been here and done this, and has also provided documentation from others who’ve experienced collapse and crash elsewhere. He posts about a variety of things both long-term and dynamic, as is appropriate, with an eye towards everything being about long-term resilience.
(There are more, and suggestions are welcome. I’ll probably be returning to this as time goes on to add more links, or they’ll show up in the blogs followed on the BFE Labs blogger profile).

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