This week Pakistan declared that if we, the U.S. ever pulled a stunt like the one we pulled the week before, we would be in big trouble. They would respond with ‘Total Force’. What’s that mean? Pakistani D-Day on a beach south of Los Angeles? Probably not. I guess they’re referencing their nuclear aresenal. They probably don’t have a delivery system that could drop Nuclear-grade Weapons directly on top of us, but maybe they do. Maybe? You really can never tell. Especially if someone’s thinking outside the box.
I think a good deal of us think about that. Notably we children of the bomb. Children who grew up under the threat of an impending Soviet First Strike. Everything doesn’t get murdered outright. In reality plenty of stuff survives. Major metropolitan areas might be destroyed but there is a lot of an in-between. People have thought about this so much that there are games such as Fallout and Metro 2033 that envision the big what if of life after Nuclear War. Ther’s a genre of fiction called Post Apocalyptic Fiction, or PA fiction. You’ll find it right next to the zombie books.
I think one thing everyone can agree on in this scenario is that society, national and international, will collapse for awhile. It’s happened before. Consider the Dark Ages. Most do not expect much beyond the strongest i.e. motorcycle gang, local warlord types keeping control over a limited area the size of say a town. Society collapses pretty fast when people have firearms and resources are scarce. Especially when there’s no recognized authority figure to enforce social contracts you are probably looking at some hard times what with the motorcycle gang and all.
So let’s say your one of the few who create it. You’re far enough away from the devastation which you may collect some supplies and endure. But what skills do you need? I have a friend who spends his entire life training for the apocalypse. He is constantly teaching himself new skills and knowledge so he will actually be prepared in case of. . .whatever. He is not crazy. In fact it’s really nothing more than his own syllabus as he continues to improve himself post-college. It is the way he spends his weekends.
And perhaps it’s not so startling. Society goes sideways pretty fast. When it is a flood. An earthquake. The government can not pay its bills. Even when you’re on vacation and the country you are staying in collapses economically. These skills can come in handy.
A list of things you may want to start learning. Danger abounds. Stuff happens. Things go sideways.
Learn how to purify water. Get comfortable with knowing how to find and identify drinkable water. Chances are the stores will be looted and vending machines operate on power. But there’s a crowbar for it.
Learn to shoot a gun. Yes for self defense. Guns are complex pieces of equipment. From the security to the cleaning and maintenance aspect, guns can be complicated. Not all ammunition matches all firearms. Some guns perform specific actions. Taking a basic gun safety class is a skill even those who oppose firearms should consider. The reality is, due to their very nature, firearms need a healthy amount of respect. Plus you may want to eat something.
Which brings us to another skill. Field dressing an animal. Sure you can take an animal and eat it. However, you may make yourself sick. An animal has to be field dressed before it could be skinned and then prepared for dinner. What’s field dressing? It mainly involves removing the bladder and some other parts so the meat does not get infected with waste and feces. Weird huh? Basic first aid. A course in basic first aid is most likely great no matter what. A friend may not go into shock as soon as they see downtown being burned to the ground, but they might have a heart attack in a restaurant or during a struggle. Understanding CPR and other first aid skills is likely handy now or following the collapse of society. Here you might want to have a craft. Being handy at a craft based skill generally allows a certain amount of familiarity at working with your hands and problem solving. Plus if society does begin to rebuild your job at writing code might not be there for the next hundred years. Understanding how to bake or make leather goods is something people will exchange goods with you . See they were right in camp when you learned to make leather wallets!
There are quite a few different skills you may learn. The majority of them end up being fun and you will probably never ever need to use them in an emergency, but they’re good to have. You can justify learning how to sail and other adventure skills in the interest of being ready.
I have thought about this subject and survival skills for a long time. I loved the survival aspects of Ernest Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA and I wanted to tell that story but set against a nuclear apocalypse. In the course of my search for the novel I learned about how to live in the desert, flora an fauna of the South West and how to create traps. Look at making this the year you attempt to learn at least one ability you might need if everything goes Ka-Boom.