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By the author of The Dark Secrets of Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

It would be a cool thing for all preppers to have some kind of insight into what a real collapse would look like in their case. Like some kind of window where they can look through and see the collapse happening but they are still in safe place. Seeing a future SHTF today.

Only if that could be possible, right?

Well, guess what? It is possible. The SHTF is happening all the time (in real time) somewhere, in some city or country, for one or another reason—sometimes war, other times corruption, or bad weather. We are living in a time where we CAN see that and LEARN from it.

Why do we not see it and learn from it?

Well, for the usual reasons: we do not think it is relevant, we think people there are (somehow) different from us, or even some think people “there” (wherever there is) deserve that.

And my favorite, of course, is “It can not happen here.”

I do not want to discuss the reasons above, but I really want to tell you that it is good to learn from other folks’ SHTF experiences. It is much better than to wait for your own and be surprised.

Haiti is an example of a future SHTF.

Haiti’s situation is a perfect example of how bad things can go in some future SHTF, and to what depth.

It is a textbook example of what a prolonged collapse looks like, how it starts with one event and deteriorates more over a period of time (it can be the opposite, too).

It does support some of the basic SHTF theories that I wrote about, and it is also very similar to SHTF I went through in some (main) characteristics, so check Haiti’s situation’s main characteristic: there is no real vacuum in the rule of law.

No matter how bad the situation is, there will always be groups, larger or smaller, that represent “power” or “law” in parts of the country or even parts of the city.

That “law” can be the absolute joke of real law prior to SHTF, but that group will try to impose their “law” and rules through the oppressions and hard punishment for not obeying their rules, as well as taxing people under their rule for protection.

You can call them gangs, militias, or even government. Names are not important. When the SHTF, someone will try to rule you, OR you will try (with your group of people) to rule over your, let’s say, region, with your rules, laws, taxation, and whatnot.

Real Mad Mad Max lawlessness is rare. Some kind of chaotic organization will be there.


Your world will usually become smaller.

In the absence of normal (pre-event) law and order, your world might become your city, or even your part of the city, where your community is, where you know settings, and where you feel safe. Urban survival is staying small and staying protected within your network or joining some network if you are alone.

If not you might be joined (let’s say enlisted) into some group by force.

Old terms

Old terms like police might still be in use, but the police force might become actually just a group of people who are well trained and equipped from before. That does not mean they are going to stick to the law from before. Watch for that.

They are still people who have families. If the law and system fall apart, they are armed and trained people. Some of them can and will simply work for whoever pays the best.

It is fluid.

The situation is very fluid, and you need constantly to have (updated) info.

One day, this faction or militia is at war with that, and tomorrow, it is in alliance with others and whatnot.

Today this part of the city is safe. Tomorrow is not.

You are nobody without correct and accurate information. Without it, you will not be able to stay safe, move safely to finish a task, or find food or other resources.

It is changing all the time, and you need to be involved in a network of people in order to have that accurate information about who is who today.

Staying mobile

If your place becomes attacked and you are not able to defend it, you are leaving your place, and that’s it. A whole bunch of people are not in their homes because it is not safe to stay there, or they would be killed if they stay there,

They stayed mobile and moved to a safe place.

You can call them whatever name you like – refugee or whatever – but they survived. So be ready to be mobile in order to survive.

The dangers

Real dangers are not only gangs or being killed by them. People are dying because the system of delivering goods is broken. They are not only dying from bullets in the quick way but also dying slowly from poor nutrition, lack of hygiene, and absence of proper medical care.

Violence is not the only danger when SHTF.

You are not as unique as you may think.

Again, I know you’re going to say some reasons why your situation in the future SHTF can not be like in Haiti: your political system is better, your government takes care of people, or simply you believe people are more reasonable in your country.

Sit down for a moment and think about how many times you said something like “it can not happen here” in the last ten years, and yet it happened “here” and it happened to you.

The world is changing, and it is changing in a bad way.

Whatever you think or say, just go and research the situation in Haiti, check how things are happening there, and see what people are doing to survive.

It may be a smart investment of time for the future SHTF that could be coming to you.

What are your thoughts?

Do you use the situation in Haiti as a possible example for how bad the SHTF could really get? Or do you have a bunch of reasons why you believe you are different or somehow exempt from such things?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. 

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard, and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.