Ponder the Unthinkable (pt36) Nails and Wheels

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Thread: Ponder the Unthinkable (pt36) Nails and Wheels

  1. #1

    Ponder the Unthinkable (pt36) Nails and Wheels

    In The Western World, we are all familiar with the phrase, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease". The loose translation for this idiom is that, if you need assistance, you speak up.
    An old Confucian adage is the counterpoint. It states that "The nail that sticks-up, gets hammered". Meaning: In a project, all nails must be flush, and those that aren't get additional whacks.

    Too many people in "the developed world' are used to that first frame of mind. There are always resources available, and people are nearby to help. Most of the rest of the wold understands the truth of survival: Resources are finite, and many folks will want to take what you have... if you look worthy of plundering.

    So, the paradox is simple: How do I live a productive, normal life and not attract the attention that might get me killed?

    If you live in a good neighborhood, with civil order and police protection, the aforementioned quandary is a nonsensical. You can drive a fancy car, wear good clothes to a fine restaurant, and just plain look fat and happy. As a matter of fact, if you run into any kind of trouble, you are more likely to receive assistance from the general public and authorities. Being a squeaky wheel is advantageous.

    Now, contrast that with a farmer / tradesman from a "third world" country. If he runs into trouble, there are a bunch of poor, hungry, opportunistic folks that will not hesitate to capitalize on the middle-class person's misfortune. It may be as simple as selling the victim a part for ten times it's normal value, or outright assault and robbery. If the police / military do show-up to help, there is a very good chance the cops will extort the victim before offering any aid. If the police decide to stick their necks out at all. In this case, it is a no-win situation appearing to have resources worth taking.

    In my Ponder the Unthinkable series, I cover a great deal of topics explaining tools and skills. This new mindset is more than a skill. It is something that may save your life, simply by doing things just a bit different. Let me introduce you to The Grey Man.

    The concept of being a Grey Man is simple: Don't be "the nail". In a SHTF or WORL scenario, it makes absolutely no sense to be "the squeaky wheel", either. If you cry for help, no one will come. If anyone does respond, they will decide if you are worth robbing. Be smart: Don't literally ask for trouble.

    Some survivalists insist on hiding your preparedness prior to a SHTF event. I am not one of them. Trying to hide stuff draws more attention than just going about your life. A peek into my backyard would reveal a good sized garden, a chicken coop and some rain barrels. My neighbor Robin (Tribal Police) has seen me take guns out to my truck for range practice. Hell, we've both been in line at the WalMart ammo counter. Some of my neighbors know I'm prepared, some don't. I don't deny anything, but I don't go around telling everyone either (and neither should you). Barbed wire and cammo nets around my garden would be dumb.

    Being a Grey Man does not mean being "invisible". Nor, does it necessarily mean "camouflage". It means not attracting attention. Consider the Zebra. A hyena will not attack a herd of zebras. To confuse predators, the zebras blend in not with the savanna grass, but with each other. The only way a hyena can cull a zebra is by stalking them. Eventually, a hyena will find a young / old / infirm member of the pack. At the right time, the hyenas will strike. Then they run, then strike again. The victim zebra looked just like the others, and stayed with the herd. He just demonstrated the slightest indication that he would be easier prey than the zebra next to him.

    With people, the execution is different, but the concept is the same.
    First, understand the concept of camouflage. This has nothing to do with foliage, and everything to do with understanding your environment. For example, if you live in a city or suburb, you don't want to don military-style utilities two days after a SHTF event. You may as well hang a sign around your neck saying "Follow me home for great survival supplies!". Conversely, if you're a business woman in a rural area, ditch the polyester pants suit asap. Find a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt. Tuck your hair under a ball cap. In today's world, I don't have to explain why. In a world WithOut Rule of Law, it is not an option. Pretty attracts ugly.

    In the chaos of a SHTF event, deception will abound. Road blocks will go up that, at first, look like National Guard checkpoints. They will primarily pop-up at major intersections and along large highways. 9 out of 10 of these "checkpoints" will be gangs of highwaymen in "uniforms". Also, you may be begged by some pretty young thing for assistance along the roadside. This is a Honey Pot. A Grey Man does not travel the main roads, nor offer assistance to folks he doesn't know. Otherwise, he is The Grey Corpse.

    But it's the little things that may kill you. If you're armed, do the best to hide that fact. Armed good folks probably have something worth protecting, armed bad folks may have already gone "prepper shopping". Any bullet-proof vest must be worn under other clothing. If you need to go to a food / water drop location, don't smell like you are ready to go on a date. For that matter, in public you should look more like a homeless person than a survivalist. Have dirty hands, dirty shoes, and avoid eye contact. The result you want is that when the average person (or predator) looks at you, they look past you. Or through you.

    When travel is appropriate, move in small "fire team" sized units (3-5 people). Less, and it's not enough to help each other. More people, and you attract attention. Moving more people means more separate teams, not bigger teams. Spread-out. Have weapons ready, but not obvious. Conceal magazine pouches if you can. Think loose fitting clothes and jackets. Unless it's 90 degrees outside... everyone knows what's under the coat. To sell the fact that you are hungry wanderers, randomly pick garbage up, like you are looking for food.

    Some of this will vary from place to place. If you are in a less-impacted area, looking like a bum may not be appropriate. In a chaotic environment, looking brave, strong and confident will attract attention as well. That is how camouflage works. Woodland cammo does not work in the desert. Desert cammo is not effective in the arctic. There is not one set of tools, or strategies that are appropriate for all situations. The amount of time into a SHTF event will change the environment. At days after, the scene may be chaos. Two weeks later, it's eerily quiet. Then after two months, survivors emerge.

    Think about how the average person would look after two months of limited food and water. They haven't slept, and may be even shaking uncontrollably from stress. They look dirty and smell, because the water isn't running. Most people would have that "hollow" or "far away" look in their eyes. They might have lost loved ones. There has been no reliable radio updates for a couple of weeks. Besides, all the batteries are all dead now. Someone in the house may be sick, and there is no medicine. Most folks that venture out have probably been shot at, on a trip to a grocery store with bare shelves.
    Do you have that picture in your head?

    If you are a "prepper" (or Survivalist), after two months you're doing okay. You have food, water, medicine, batteries etc. If you went out, and someone shot at you, you shot back. You might smell bad, but you don't look bad. You are probably afraid, yet still confident that you have the tools and knowledge to overcome what comes your way. If the radio ever comes back on, it's not that much of a concern. You feel confident, and it shows.

    Now, imagine that the "average survivor" meets the "prepper" out in town. The other person does have much to lose, whereas the prepper does. Now, let's say there are ten hungry, desperate survivors, and one prepper. Or more than ten? It's obvious what will happen. The drive to live will overcome all societal restrictions. It's hard to appear hungry, but you must try to look like one of the "average survivors".

    When a "wolf" encounters you, thinking you are a "sheep", act as a sheep (as long as you can). There will be a lot of bored, wanna-be tough guys roaming. For the first time in their lives, they feel powerful. Let them feel that way as long as possible. As soon as they threaten you, drop the sheep's clothing and correct them quickly and forcefully. Then walk away.

    Besides your person, there are other factors to consider. Scatter some trash and belongings outside your house. Perhaps break a window. If you can pull it off, light a small fire next to one wall. Make it look like your house was ALREADY picked clean. The best way to defend you family is not having to fight. If every house in your 'hood is trashed, and yours is not, that's a dinner triangle ringing. And, for God's sake, if you have any of that freeze-dried food, do not throw the empty shiny pouches in front of your house. Trust me.

    Vehicles are a specific concern. If all the gas stations are empty after three days, and two weeks later you start your car... that will attract attention. Maybe you just want to make sure it still runs? Wait for a distraction. A helicopter flying overhead or a gun-fight nearby may give you a minute or so to be less noticeable. If a few vehicles are running, and you need to go out, don't look like a rolling grocery store. A big new Suburban, or a rugged looking Jeep with a snorkel both scream "Come and jack me!". If you can use a vehicle like a '92 Toyota Celica, that's your sweet spot.

    You're pretty much outta luck if you plan on using a generator. That's really ringing the dinner bell. Find a way to muffle it, or else. If you're lucky, a thunder storm may be in the forecast (but you won't know, 'cause there is no news of any kind). But generators have to run for hours to be effective. Good luck with that.

    Eventually, all survivors / survivalists will look kind-of the same. We'll all be armed, gaunt, and working toward rebuilding our society. Everyone will have been hungry, scared and lost loved ones. We'll all need each other, because our potential to the community out-weighs any short-term gain by assault and robbery. And y'know, thieves will be shot on sight by pretty much any member of the community. It will be a hard existence, but it will be a life. Getting to that point, a year or more after, is "the trick".

    But it really is no trick. Be ready. Keep your head down. Be alert, and adaptable.
    It's more than adding hot water to your Mountain House lasagna and having fully loaded magazines. Survival means not being a Squeaky Wheel Or a Nail. It means being a Grey Man.

    Unless you enjoy getting hammered.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"

  2. #2
    A nice strong start and very well laid out, easily one of your better articles of the series. Loaded with lots of information in an easy to read delivery it comes across as very professional and well thought out.

    Your writing style continues to get better, offering a folksy style laden with just good old fashion common sense.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"


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