In the preparedness community, the acronym SHTF means, to put it politely, when the Stuff Hits The Fan. It is generally understood to mean chaotic times or extreme hardship caused by severe disasters or apocalyptic events.
For the past couple of decades, high profile mega-disasters have been hot topics for discussion in many internet forums and other social media. Movies and books about a post-apocalyptic world have presented many possibilities that are uncomfortably close to the truth of what it would be like to deal with intense hard times because of things such as pandemics, protracted war, or widespread economic failure.
Most people are not prepared for SHTF scenarios.
Time and time again, historical events have revealed how fragile the fabric of human society is and how easy it is to tear it apart. Today, we are facing a fresh kind of hell that the world has never seen before. The gears of our highly computerized and industrialized society are so tightly linked that a series of bumps in the beltway can destroy our way of life. Unchecked interruptions in the normal flow of things could quickly evolve into the dreaded scenario that is often referred to as TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It).
Most of us know people who are not well prepared for ordinary disasters, much less extraordinary and widespread catastrophic events capable of producing a severe SHTF situation.
Although 60 percent of Americans believe that preparing for disasters is very important to them, only 17 percent claim to be prepared for an emergency. The Department of Homeland Security revealed this disturbing statistic in a survey that was reported on the disaster preparedness website, Ready.gov.
SHTF will bring out the worst in people, and some will be especially dangerous.
Some of us are more or less prepared to deal with the 17 percenters, but unfortunately, there are other kinds of people who are far more dangerous. Prepare to meet them when the SHTF:
Gangs: These experienced predators are highly skilled in getting what they want and will be even more dangerous if they are driven to survive on a basic level for food, water, and medical care. History shows that chaotic times often generate widespread syndicated-style crime. When the SHTF, expect newly formed gangs that will be just as motivated as preexisting gangs.
Preppers, survivalists, existing militia, and snipers: These groups may be formidable adversaries when their supplies run low. They may be more dangerous than criminal gangs because they have a broader skillset than most gang members.
Common thieves: Those who have made their living by stealing from others have honed their techniques to be as efficient as possible. Experienced thieves are experts in searching out and plundering their targets without being detected. If these individuals are motivated by stealing to survive, they will be a force to reckon with. Prepare to stay ahead of them in the game.
Walmartians: Many who are heavily dependent on Walmart and other big box stores may have difficulty surviving without running to a store every few days. When their pantries are bare, expect them to be wild-eyed and desperate. We are all familiar with this group; they are in almost every family and community.
Parents: Unprepared parents will probably be among the most desperately motivated people you may ever encounter. Normal parental instincts kick in when their children's safety and well-being are threatened. Sometimes this can involve extraordinary strength and drive. There have been news reports of superhuman feats by desperate parents, including mothers who lifted extremely heavy objects such as automobiles to free their trapped children. Imagine how dedicated some parents will be to ensure the survival of their children in the face of disasters…