Survival 101: The brutal reality of a post-SHTF world
By Virgilio Marin // Nov 18, 2020

An SHTF scenario is replete with hazards and challenges that will really push people to the edge. Resources will be running low and institutions that once held society together will no longer be around. Survivors will likely resort to thieving and other devious means to ensure their survival.


Making matters worse is the fact that not many people are prepared for a disaster. A 2020 national poll commissioned by Disaster Checklist, a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness of disaster preparedness, shows that 78 percent of Americans do not have enough food and water to prepare them for a disaster. That spells trouble as more people will need to compete for rapidly dwindling food supplies.

What to expect in an SHTF scenario

In a post-SHTF world, a good number of dangerous groups will likely emerge and bring more chaos to a collapsed society. Prepare to meet these people when SHTF: (h/t to


These organized groups are highly skilled in getting what they want. A survival situation can make them even more dangerous when they’re driven to survive on a basic level for food, water, and medical care. Chaotic times often generate widespread syndicated-style crime. So when SHTF, expect newly formed gangs crowding the scene with preexisting gangs.

Survivalists and snipers

These individuals pose the greatest threat due to their broad skillset and their weapons. They may also band together especially when their supplies start to run low, making them even more dangerous. While preppers typically belong to this group of survivors, they prefer to keep it low and avoid engaging in combat even though they have the skills necessary to neutralize a target. Nonetheless, it’s best to keep an eye on preppers like yourself just to be safe.


Walmartians are also known as “people of Walmart” due to their heavy reliance on the store. These people cannot survive without running to Walmart every few days and will fight tooth and nail for supplies.


Parents will go to great lengths to protect and provide for their children. Their parental instincts kick in when their children’s safety and well-being are on the line. While many parents might not be as skilled as survivalists and snipers, their resolve is a great asset in a disaster scenario.

Seemingly helpless people

A common trick employed by criminals is to use women, children and the elderly as “bait” to lure unsuspecting victims. These seemingly helpless people are typically used to gain access to a targeted home or group and are very effective as decoys.

Countermeasures against dangerous survivors

One of the most strategic countermeasures is to eliminate yourself as a target. If you need to go out of hiding, make it look as if you’ve just been robbed or are just as empty-handed and malnourished as the people around you. Wear oversized clothing and put soot or dirt under your eyes and cheekbones to give you the appearance of being starved. The rule of thumb is to look like everyone else and to avoid standing out.

Before leaving your bugout, study where you’re headed and the kind of people you will encounter there. It will be beneficial if you maintain a reliable network of people who can keep you updated about the people lording over the area. (Related: Learning from an American icon: 11 Survival lessons from Daniel Boone.)

As for a seemingly helpless person, ask yourself how this individual managed to survive long enough to find his way to your property. The truly helpless do not usually survive the initial phase of an SHTF event and will not be able to walk long enough to your doorstep especially if you live in a rural area.

Pay extra attention to your surroundings when SHTF and avoid being overly trusting. In times of chaos, it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than failing big time.

Sources include:

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