28 Inconvenient Truths About TEOTWAWKI

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bright light looming over the planet

In the early days of the prepping craze, 2009-2014 or so, TEOTWAWKI was on every prepper’s mind — The End Of The World As We Know It. Wherever it originated, it struck a chord with Americans, in particular, who looked at the steep decline of their home’s value, the loss of their jobs, devastation to their hopes of retirement and any savings, and wondered if the end of the world as they knew had become a reality.

A new surge in prepping consumes us now as a pandemic and the fear and uncertainty it brings grips our attention. What if the world as we have always known it has ended, or as one of my readers said, “I knew all along that the end of this will be the beginning of something different.”

As humans, we don’t care much for uncertainty. We like knowing what tomorrow will bring and how to plan weeks, months, and even years into the future, but it seems that God or fate or the universe has other plans for us.

So what are some inconvenient truths about TEOTWAWKI? Here are just a few of my personal observations and expectations, and let me warn you, a few may make you uncomfortable. Of course, I could be proved wrong.

  1. Not everyone will survive. Ouch.
  2. For many, circumstances will trump preparedness.
  3. Preparedness will cost money. There’s no way around it.
  4. If you talk about preparedness, you’ll be ridiculed. If you keep your mouth shut, you’ll miss out on establishing a support system that could become necessary to survival.
  5. A rural retreat may not save you as some believe.
  6. Stored food runs out, eventually.
  7. Even the best-prepared survivalist Navy Seal can be brought down by an infected ingrown toenail.
  8. You probably aren’t tough enough for what’s coming, but then again, you might surprise yourself. Some who survive, long-term, might not be the ones you expect.
  9. Gold and silver may be useless if a world currency is established. Their use may even be criminalized. I’m not sure that money will be the answer when the S hits the fan, find out why here.
  10. In a time of plenty, it’s impossible to imagine the reality of true scarcity.
  11. Survival is easy for armchair quarterbacks.
  12. Most survivalists and preppers are overly optimistic when it comes to how much food store, what scenarios to plan for, and their ability to survive off the grid.
  13. TEOTWAWKI will change the way you and your children and grandchildren live. Forever.
  14. The minute you bug out, your chances of reaching your retreat destination are slim. When you think of  The End Of The World As We Know It, how survival-friendly is your location? Do you live in a state where survival in hard times will be easy or impossible? Learn about the best states to live in here!
  15. You’re kidding yourself if you think your hidden caches won’t be found by others, eventually. Or, alternatively, you’ll forget where you hid them. As proof, how many “buried treasures” have been lost to history in spite of maps indicating their locations?
  16. You won’t know if you’re ready for TEOTWAWKI until you’re in the middle of it. After that, it will be a case of day to day survival.
  17. Ultimately, a too-powerful government will be the biggest threat to your survival — either a totalitarian government or smaller fiefdoms where “might makes right.”
  18. Life will become cheap.
  19. Free time will become a thing of the past if there’s a long-term power outage. The bulk of your day will be spent scrambling to survive in one way or another.
  20. Damage to our power grid will bring about TEOTWAWKI, no doubt about it. Wondering how you might survive the early days after an EMP attack? Get my free report here.
  21. There’s nothing wrong with preparing for natural disasters, but if you’re not ready for a collapse of the American economy or similar worst-case scenario, you’re not ready. Do you have a skill that would bring in money or that you could use to barter? The more sources of income you have, the better your hedge against unemployment or complete economic collapse.
  22. Tough times will threaten even the best of marriages and other close relationships. Sadly, children will bear the brunt of much of this.
  23. Growing your own food is a bigger challenge than you ever thought possible.
  24. Savvy, desperate people will be able to easily identify the plants found in the typical backyard garden.
  25. Dealing with human waste and trash will become your new part-time job.
  26. You’ll discover exactly what you’re capable of when your family is threatened.
  27. Formerly strong and capable people will escape their new reality through booze, drugs, and/or suicide.
  28. Protecting and nurturing close family ties will become one of the most important things you can do.

Those who can accept and adapt will find survival easier than those who hold on to the past or have unrealistic expectations of the future.

lightning strike in neighborhood

 

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 9 years.

121 thoughts on “28 Inconvenient Truths About TEOTWAWKI”

    1. Love the truth in this post! I’ve seen it around the world………
      I’m sure the people in Venezuela are finding it out. Probably be there next.

      1. Jacquelyn Howard

        I have been training my boys for years, even though they don’t realize it. Playing ” macgyver ” is their favorite.

  1. Seems overly pessimistic to me. And I’ve been known, to my Lady’s annoyance, to use the phrase “Always expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.” on more than one occassion. Some of them are dead on (no pun intended). Others make assumptions that aren’t necessarily true (5 is a good example. This assumes that the US government, UN, or anyone else will have the logistical and operational capability to do anything in a TEOTWAWKI situation). If I accepted this at face value, I’d just adopt the “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die” philosophy. Prepping isn’t just about buying stuff and learning stuff. It’s about a mindset. It’s about planning. It’s about getting a running start on the bad times ahead, which will make it easier to adapt. Do what you can and plan for what you can. Leave the rest in God’s hands.

    1. I agree. We must do what we can, and then trust GOD to help us with everything else. He fed millions of people in the wilderness for 40 years, He multiplied a little boys lunch and fed 5,000 people with it, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    2. Calvin Grimalkin

      while it is true that the U.S. or the United Nations, or any other large group will not have the logistical capability to “Take Over” after a teotwawki event, but within a short time, ‘warlords’ will emerge to take over individual localities.

      I’m suspecting that on every military post there are a few colonels or generals who, having access to and control of serious military equipment, and having command structures available to them will emerge as these warlords.

      Whatever the cause of the teotwaki event, these folks will be some of the first to know the extent and implications of it. Most bases will have a certain level of food and weaponry to remain cohesive until they realize how bad things are.

      Certainly some soldiers will desert to return to their families, but large numbers of them will gladly become enforcers of the warlord for the food and other benefits.

      Think Somalia or something like that.

      I suspect that folks who are currently living off the grid in places like remote alaska or the like will be the last folks to be affected by something like this, purely because of their remoteness. But, I think that most city, suburban, and even rural dwellers will eventually become subjects of the warlords.

  2. Alex Jones interviewed James Wesley Rawles, author of the book Survivor and others, last week And JWR said that when the power grid goes down that 80% of the population will die. He mentioned not only hospital services and home health care services, but meds won’t be available…welfare won’t be available and so people will get hungry and angry. etc. etc. As far as the gov’t is concerned, they have their store houses stocked (remember the shortages of freeze dried foods last year, maybe Harvest House because the gov’t place a huge order!) so that the elite leaders of the country will be in the bunkers and everyone there will be safe and secure and fed. Jessie Ventura talked about one of those bunkers near DC when he did his conspiracy program a few years ago. It is all a grim scenario!

  3. I hope that, in some ways, life will be better. That we will develop real, face-to-face relationships, that we will learn the meaning of hard, but honest work. That we will begin to distinguish between wants and needs. That we will appreciate the blessings God bestows upon us instead of always being insatiable. I don’t mean things won’t be tough and I don’t mean to simplify things and paint an unrealistically rosy picture. But like Jeff said, if it’s going to be all bad, what’s the point of prepping and even wanting to survive? Why have children if the future is entirely grim? My family and I are learning how to garden and trap and use herbs, etc, now, not just for preparation, but because we already like the homesteading lifestyle.

    1. This is the way I feel, Karyn. I really hope it gets us back to that kind of life. America as we know it has become a cesspool. I long for days like you’ve described. We just have to survive long enough to get there. And hope the government doesn’t ruin it for us all.

      1. the entire issue is the government! we can’t only have food. Look what DOD, DHS, and SS just stocked up on. AMMO! Too too much for our police, too much for our “war”, but just enough to take over us, the every day american, but more, the preppers and their prosperity.

    2. you will need to protect your live stock from marauders if things really get bad. remember in the old west cattle thieves would steal the cows, thee same would happen all over again but on a much larger scale and more dangerous.

    1. Todd; your right about #5, I prep light for hurricanes as I’ve been thru several bad ones in forty years with power out for days, no A/C, etc. I read about a prepper couple who had a nice house/ retreat in the woods and prepped heavy. The man died so now the wife has to sell everything and relocate near family in a city. In the last decade, devout preppers I knew have passed away, and their spouse/ heirs threw out their stuff instead of keeping it for their families. Many of us have small spaces that won’t hold prepping clutter either. y2k preppers have been there, done that, etc. Also # 6 and 9 make sense. If things get real bad, the storage stuff cannot be replaced as China makes most our stuff now, and food will run out.

    2. Most preparedness is about gathering information (while the internet’s still up). These 3 apply:
      knowledge = power
      know thyself
      know thine enemy

      And then there’s a final major point:
      location location location
      You must relocate. Your country won’t be safe AND you’ll be needing a cave.

      1. Find a cave,thats funny,HOW are you going to find a cave when your PAYING contactors to DIG OUT all the old caves and DRIVE heavy steel PLATES down in front of the caves entrance,and then rebury the front of the cave????????YOUR WOMEN HAVE DEMANDED ALL CAVES BE SEALED,to protect the CHILDREN,and we all know how stupid the children are now ,they don’t have enought sense to come in out of the rain,and besides its only a few billion dollars to make sure theres no caves to get into,hahahaha,your women have caused the death of your whole family………..NO CAVES………

    1. I don’t know Tracy if you have started any preps.. I have been “accumulating” stuff in prepping for hurricanes for a while. Now I am trying to add more due to my concerns if TSHTF..

      When I saw the “28” list I took a deep breath and walked away for a second. You never think what you have is enough.. kinda like you need that “bigger boat”.

      There are lists on every survival blog.. Begin by storing what you would need for three days in your home-if you had no running water or electricity.. Food, water, lights, communication, security. If you drive or ride to work, consider what you would need to get home if you ran out of gas and could not contact anyone to help..

      Pam .. I am not leaving my home or purchasing a bug out location….If my home suffers heavy hurricane damage I do have a couple of suitcases ready..

  4. Very well thought-out list. Is it overly pessimistic or overly optimistic? Are some items unrealistic? Unless someone has the ability to know exactly what the future is like, I’d say that the entire list is quite realistic and strikes a good balance.

    The whole point of this post (I assume) is to get folks to think – not to make pinpoint predictions. Use this list like you should use everything else at Survival Mom and other sources – as a learning tool and something to get you started thinking in ways you might not have done otherwise.

    Thank you, ma’am for yet another great post.

  5. What real downer of a list. Sounds like we need to prepare for a world-wide Nazi Germany, but at the same time it is useless to prepare for it.

  6. H. (eyes wide open)

    whew…that is one “punch-in-the-gut list! History shows us that this list is not far fetched. However, I am fairly new to planning ahead. The rose colored glasses are long gone. As a mom, I feel very good about this new awareness. The family is on board, thankfully. However, I have to stay focused on the positive side effects for our family that being prepared for whatever offers. This way of living is not a fad, it is common sense and fulfilling with the graces of God. Since it is new to me though, I can easily get frozen in my tracks with the feeling of despair. Now more than ever, we must pay attention to what is going on politically and vote while we still can.

    Thank you survival mom for this wonderful blog! God Bless!

  7. I’m really surprised at the gloom I’m seeing in these replies. Preparedness should be optimism. We have been thinking about and planning and preparing (to a greater or lesser extent) for this sort of thing. No, it won’t be a picnic, but everything is relative. Most of the rest of the world would be incredibly envious of the skills and goods that we have had the forethought to acquire. Looking back in history, even a reasonably prepared family in a serious disaster would still live better than Egyptian kings did in their time.

    Unless you’re just looking at preparedness as an interesting curiosity, something to be discussed at a yuppie cocktail party, then we are already way ahead of the game. For those who say, “why prepare if things will be so bad?” my reply to you is that you need to take action rather than just considering preparedness. Think about it. If you do ANYTHING toward making yourself and your family better prepared, then life will be far better than for those who have not prepared.

  8. If being told the truth brings you guys down and discourages you from prepping, you’re not cut out for this game.

  9. When people talk about bugging out, I always wonder — where do they think they are going? How are they planning on surviving when they get there? I think having a BOB is great if you need to leave your home quickly because of a natural disaster or something of that nature; but in the event of economic collapse or the like – what good is bugging out going to do?

    Also, living in the desert — I’m not sure long how any of us will last if the water runs out….. So I guess we just do the best we can…. until there is nothing else we can do, right?

    1. If you know how to get water in the desert when everybody around you is dying of thirst, then you stand a decent chance of being part of the 15% to 20% who survive. If not, you won’t. That’s what prepping is all about.

  10. GoneWithTheWind

    But here is what YOU need to know:

    1. It’s later then you think.

    2. Food will be worth more then money in the future.

    3. Someone you know intends to either sponge off you or take what you have when things get tough.

    4. Someone you don’t know intends to either sponge off you or take what you have when things get tough.

    5. By the time it becomes obvious to everyone it will be too late to prepare.

    6. If you don’t prepare then you are the one planning on sponging off someone you know or to take what they have when things get tough.

  11. The advantages of an urban environment are few. Having adequate clean water, the ability to grow and/or forage without a high concentration of gangs in the area, and personal security will always be an issue. People will be far less likely to help one another in the city. We have both an urban and rural residence and there is a huge difference in community attitude between the two. In a rural environment, there is far more of a community willing to help each other (and in TX armed and not willing to let outsiders roam the county roads who are up to no good) and there are far more resources. As a Christian, I do believe there will come a time when we will lose the right to own our property. But that likely will be a while, not until ‘reconstruction’. Meanwhile, our rural retreat will offer us at least the possibility of being able to sustain ourselves without the conveniences we are used to. And as far as bugging out goes, it is a matter of timing. If the banks freeze, most people will be in a state of shock. It will take a little time for reality to set in and for panic to take place. This is the window of opportunity that I hope will allow my family to make it to our retreat. And as long as it is timed right and they have gasoline, they should be able to get here. I rather prepare for these possibilities rather than assume it is hopeless, that you cannot bug out, that you cannot grow enough food, that having a rural retreat is useless, etc. With God’s help it is possible, and it is possible to have many of the kinks worked out with your plans before hand.

    1. I suppose if you already have that retreat and have a way to get there — that is a whole different thing. People who live in the city, packing their BOBs to head for the hills…..?? What the heck for? If you don’t have a place to bug out to then you have to bug in. I think there is a lot of confusion on these sites. Most people don’t have the luxury of some utopia up in the mountains with a Walton-type family to pitch in with the daily chores. I am a single mom with family 1600 miles away. And live in the desert to boot. It is what it is and you have to make the best of it.

      1. Sounds like a good weekend project to start scouting out areas you could bug out to if you absolutely had to. Even in the desert, there are places you can survive. And the kiddos might have fun with it, too.

        1. Find a place in the desert to bug out to? Are you serious? Have you ever been to the desert? It would be complete insanity for me to take my kids and drive (if you could drive) out into the desert, and try to hang out in the heat (it’s like a blast furnace out there right now), dust and cacti. There is nothing out there and no reason to go. You would need to take a tractor-trailer full of H2O and food to stay out there. Oh, yes, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a little window air conditioner for the cab of your tractor-trailer, either

          I’m sorry if I sound frustrated, but I truly am. It’s time to get real. Unless you have the funds to move somewhere (like where is going to be safe?? who knows) then you have to be prepared to stay put and face whatever happens as the days unfold. People need to wake up to THAT fact. BOB bags – whatever. If things get as bad as some of these sites talk about there would really be no point in trying to go anywhere because you would not make it very far.

          Come quickly, Lord…. when things get really bad – that is what we will be praying.

          1. Native Americans survived very well in the desert (and still do). I have spent a great deal of time in the desert (the beautiful Mojave) and I can tell you there are places you can hunker down for long periods of time if you are well-prepared.

            Also, there may be places that would be safer for you closer to a metropolitan area where you can hide (underground or on top of a building). Don’t just give up.

          2. Oh, Trish. I think you haven’t lived very long in the desert. There are a TON of different types of desert, even in Arizona. I currently live in one and was raised in the desert around Phoenix. It’s easy enough to get by IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Maybe you should make that a major part of your preps, right now.

            There is no need to be frustrated! Connect with people who feel the same way! Make them your backup “family”! Start teaching your children the desert survival skills all of you will need now! There are some really great desert areas that would make great bug out locations THAT MOST PEOPLE WILL IGNORE, because they don’t know how to survive there. What if you did?

            You should look up the books out there about some of the women pioneers here in Arizona. They did it without a/c or any family to speak of. I(n most I’ve read the women were almost completely alone, as their husbands were gone most of the time working.) I think you could, too.

          3. These are just scare tactics to sell more guns and ammo. Of course you should have a supply of food, water and munitions for an emergency, but in their Doomsday scenario, you are only gong to live long enough to use your last bullet.

            Life is too short to live in fear. There are two types of people. Those who live life to the fullest and those who live their lives in fear.
            Chose wisely.

    2. As far a not having gas, we have gathered gas cans and stored gas. So we can get to our rural destention if need be.

  12. What I am doing is relearning how to live with less. I am teaching my children to not be so materialistic…. Can we say this is sooooooo difficult in the way the society is. I have 3 children and one is completely with the “I Wants and Gimmy Gimmies”, that is kills me inside. The constant tantrum she throws b/c she is not getting what she wants, can, and does, at times drive a person insane. Yet, I still stand firm and tell my kids, NO, it is not a NEED! As they get older I pray they understand better what and why I do what I do. I not only teach my children how to clean, do laundry and make beds and bug out bags, because of prepping. But because they need to know how to help each other in the event that something happens to me or my husband. That is my worst fear. So all I can do is teach them and learn more and try things. Have faith and pray if you pray. I know what comes is not good and the bricks are starting to crumble. But, I am thankful everyday for each day good or bad, exhausting or not. I am thankful. Faith, what ever yours is, will get you through things you can not imagine.

    1. H. (eyes wide open)

      Hang in there JK5, you are doing a good thing. The kiddos may not realize it now, but living within or below our means is key to succeeding. Extending credit and mounding debt is one of the links to why we see our our society crumble. My husband and I have never bought the electronic extras that our kids want, they have always saved their money (gift money or allowance, etc) for these items. They always appreciate and take better care of them since they had to wait and earn them. They have part time jobs now and don’t always want the latest and greatest items. They are content with what they have for the most part.

      Stick to your guns, it’s worth it 😀

      1. H eyeswideopen: That’s how me and siblings were raised, we had to earn an allowance before we went to work doing babysitting, lawn moving, etc. charging things were rare, except ordering from Sears for school clothes.. Most our fun times were outdoors then with few toys. Family picnics at parks were common, not today. Bikes rated #l then and we rode them everywhere. I’m downsizing, trying to live with less and simplify. Stand up with Oath Keepers if and when the time comes for revolution.

    2. I say hang in there too! Remember, kids do what you do, not what you say. If you model the behavior, they will learn and they will follow suit. After they do a tremendous job of convincing you otherwise, of course. 🙂

  13. Great list but here is one more to add

    Those that are already unstable will become less stable.

    And maybe those realtionships such as marriages will become stronger, when you are home and working together on a common goal, and neccesary for rearing children.

  14. TEOTWAWKI (such as a massive EMP) is the ultra-extreme scenario and the horrors of it would be unimaginable except, perhaps, if one had lived through the Holocaust. In all those scenarios, you’re going to need the grace of God in addition to a well-stocked pantry, 4×4 and gun safe. Economic collapse is something the nation has experienced (1930s Great Depression) and we would deal with it – the infrastructure would remain intact (less maintenance, perhaps) and people would still have food but it may not be at a restaurant or from the gourmet supermarket. I’d ride my bicycles a lot more to save on gas.

    Part of preparedness, for me, is preparing for the possibility that these systemic calamities do NOT occur and that the only disaster I’ll ever really have to deal with is old age and outliving my savings. Meanwhile, I can reasonably comfortably survive a power outage for a couple weeks – unless it occurs during a heat wave, in which case we’ll uncomfortably survive. And that is the likeliest worst-case scenario any of us will ever face.

    You can’t entirely prepare for every conceivable disaster. Everyone just needs to wrap their head around that reality. And about those government bunkers for the powers that be: except for the President and VP, they don’t provide for families. So in an actual TEOTWAWKI a lot of officials would choose to ride it out with their families, just like the rest of us.

    Don’t lose heart, preps will be very nice to have when a garden-variety Cat-5 hurricane or 8.0 earthquake strikes.

    1. What do the letters EMP stand for? I notice many posts referred to it, and I googled it, and only came up with emergency medical products? I don’t think that’s it.
      Thank you enlightening me.

      1. EMP` can be generated by a nuclear explosion or solar flares.They affect most electronics but there are special measures one can take to protect specific electronics. Generally though you can expect the grid to go down in any significant EMP event.

  15. Prepping is hush hush in our church. I really don’t think many folks want to talk about it. Those who do are serious about it with old money resources to invest. And then there are the people who say “God will take care of us”. The other day I heard a guy say “Yes, God does take care of even the birds of the earth, but every morning that bird is out hustling for his food. He doesn’t just sit there and wait for God to drop something into his mouth.” I think for the short term storage is important, but for the long term skills are most important.

    1. When I hear that argument about God providing, I think about Joseph. With the blink of an eye, God could have prevented the drought. Instead, a 7 year window of opportunity was given to store up food for the coming famine years. At least they knew WHEN “the end of the world as they knew it” was coming! My own entry into this preparedness journey came from an urging from God to “be ready”. I initially thought it was just a spiritual warning but received further urging to “get” ready and it lead me more toward physical prepareness. I believe God DOES provide – He sometimes provides the impetus for us to do something!

      1. Two years ago, the Lord began impressing upon me to prepare, which was odd since I had always believed we’d be out-a-here BEFORE anything bad happened. But apparently GOD has other ideas. I entered into the world of Prepping (at first I didn’t even know the term existed). Over these last two years I have accumulated some food, water, tools, skills, and a mind-set that requires me to believe that God is aware of what is happening…that I will not go through this alone. He promised to never leave us or forsake us, and He won’t. But remember Noah and the ark? God told Noah to “stock” the ark with food and water, even though He could have provided it Himself. The important thing to remember is to ask GOD what you should do. Do you stay or go? And if you go, where to? If you can learn to hear His voice, then you will be “in good hands”, no matter what happens.

        1. Really_Old_Guy

          I’m impressed that most of the comments began way back in 2012…

          I, too, have been impressed by the Lord to prepare…only it has been much more recently…only a year or so for me and my wife.
          In retrospect, however, about thirty years ago the Lord provided our BOL.

          His timing (for me) as a retiree, is unmatched. He’s provided us with the funds to begin making some preparations. My hope is that we will have prepared enough to provide aid for immediate family members and perhaps a few others whom the Lord will send to us.

          I understand that no single person can (or should) try to feed the entire world out there, especially if there were to be a ‘total collapse’ and food became scarce.

          At the same time, I also believe that we MUST be willing to provide at least “a glass of water” to those who ask it of us. You can go a long time without food, but you’ll soon die without water.

          1. Thanks for your refreshing perspective. Too many preppers, including Christian preppers, claim they will shoot on sight anyone coming near their homes and have no intention of providing any help to anyone.

  16. Stealth Spaniel

    Great post to get the brain cells thinking-or maybe straining!! Making do with less NOW is a great start. The old adage of “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without” did everything to help a lot of people survive The Depression. I have found my wants and needs don’t necessarily cross connect. And that is a good lesson to learn now. I have tried to talk about prepping to relatives and friends-for those who blew me off-oh well. (You can lead a horse to water….) We prepare to survive, and we should be thinking of survival as before-during-and after. Even if our only TEOTWAWI is the Mississippi River deciding to run backwards, it would change our world. And we would change, adapt, and survive.

  17. Whew! That list is not something you want to read while sitting in a plush hotel room celebrating your anniversary… Kinda brings you back to reality. If the scenario is world wide calamity where most are not going to survive then personally I hope me and my loved ones go quickly (and hopefully painlessly). If it is something along the lines of a major economic depression or natural disasters then my belief is that my prepping could be the thing to keep our family alive until our area gets back on its feet. It also could be that our area is only indirectly impacted and my stored food, water, garden, etc. are what we need to keep going until some services are restored. I’m choosing to be hopeful….

  18. My older brother has a serious mental illness, with out his meds we would have to keep him locked up. He now lives in a group home but my parents would go get him and keep him at home. My kids would have a hard time at first but as long as they see my husband and I working together it will make it easier on them.
    We have neighbors we trust but alot of them are old, and we live close to an army base. I don’t know if that is good or bad. God will take care of us when we can’t, but as long as we can we are expected to. Stay positive but remember bad things can and do happen.

  19. Let’s all take a step back and catch our breath. Emergency preparedness is about… preparing for an emergency. There are a whole LOT of levels between normal and the death of most of the human race. Even in the US gets hit by an EMP, you’re still going to be able to get supplies in via a massive rail infrastructure in Mexico, ports in the US (the US Navy has a lot of crane ships to help out during amphibious landings). Not to mention supplies coming in from Canada, Europe, etc. Let’s not act like the world is going to just sit there and let the human race get kicked repeatedly in the teeth. If you can get the rail lines working again, life comes back. We didn’t go from first powered flight at Kitty Hawk to landing on the Moon in less than 70 years by being stupid and non-innovative. Do the best you can, and if things go REALLY bad, you’ll wing it and do better than most. Why do folks always assume there’s a world flooded with bigger/badder/smarter people than us when we’re the ones that have been working this stuff? Chins up, and carry on!

    1. I like the optimistic idea of the rail system being able to deliver goods nationwide in a post EMP situation, dear God , I hope it is true. BUT, here’s my take on the rail system, and semi trucks, etc, I.E., big league movers of goods across our nation.
      The fault I find with all with our transportation system is this: for the most part, EVERYTHING IS DIGITALLY CONTROLLED! In a serious EMP situation, most, if not all digital systems would be smoked. Plain and simple.
      I work locomotives, and electronically they are like a wet horse in a cool breeze. It does not take much for them to falter, need reprogrammed, change boards, or just electronically be repaired or rebuilt. Unless they have hardened systems, and as far as I know, they don’t. Trust issues here.

  20. The green garden being spotted got me thinking. Should we be prepared to do gorilla gardening. Droping a few seeds here and there , keeping track of where these are and letting nature take over. I know a few people who have ended up with watermelon vines from spitting out watermelon seeds. Are all these seedless fruits going to cause a problem?

    1. H. (eyes wide open)

      Yeah, I was concerned about my garden being raided by hungry neighbors if we were in such a situation. I live in the suburbs. Even if we shared the fruits of our labors, I am sure things would disappear in the night, and not to the usual garden pests, rabbits and the like. Even if we plant in random areas, others would be foraging for food so this would be quite the challenge.

      Yes the seedless variety are from “hybrid” seeds so you would need to purchase heirloom or organic seeds that will produce seeds.

      1. Remember that most people have no idea what wild edible plants look like. Perhaps scouting around your neighborhood now and identifying wild and ornamental edibles would not be a bad idea. I have a plant background, but I always have trouble identifying plants. So I bought a good book about wild edible plants in the west and I’ve already identified some good prospects.

      2. We’ve been eating dandelion leaves (sauteed with other greens) that grow among our veges. I imagine, after the SHTF, growing a whole garden of dandelions, and I’ll bet they won’t be stolen. Looks like the garden has been abandoned. Someone should post a list of edible weeds and fruits that others won’t recognize as food.

        I don’t think they’ll steal my mealworms either.

        1. The only bad thing about dandelions is they are really only decent to eat for a short time. Also, it takes A LOT to be of real sustenance. I’ve put them in salads, but never made them the star of the meal.

        2. Wild edibles vary according to where you live. Most people don’t know what they look like, but there are many. I would post some, but it would be information that’s only valid for my area.

  21. Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst is what it comes down to. Since I was blessed with parents who were born before and during the depression, I was given an insight of what life for them was like, limited food and repetition of food that was available. Imagine living on a cattle ranch during the 1920’s and you ate smoked pork and next no beef unless it was a special occasion. Your breakfast was cornbread with a can of milk for a child of 5 years old. Yes, my stepfather was in the saddle working the range and he worked just like an adult man. Laziness was not tolerated in our family, growing up we all worked hard and when chores were done we went campin, fishing, swimming.
    The life skills given to me I hope to pass on to my family, neighbors. If you are looking for someone who might have these skills look to your family members born, or lived during the depression era. If you do not have anyone that fits that requirement, look at your neighbors, chuch members. They are out there and just remember “knowledge is power”. I find myself still learning and adding it to a binder I keep for those who come after.

  22. Dang there are some gloomy ideas floating around the comments. I think in #5 SurvivalMom was simply saying a rural retreat is not a panacea for all your preparedness needs. It comes with its own challenges and issues. Are you going to be better off in a rural area vice a large city in most situations? Sure. But dont get complacent.

    I see this mostly as a reality check and good on her for writing it. It doesnt bring me down, make me scared or discouraged. Dont be a fearful prepper, that may be an indication of an anxiety issue (temporary or otherwise). Prepping is a lifestyle, and it should be a lifestyle that is fun and fulfilling. If you are prepping out of real fear…stop…treat the fear and consider prepping later when you are on an even keel.

    Also remember that prepping can be largely between the ears. If your current situation doesnt allow a lot of material preps concentrate on being a good cook, skill building, physical fitness and other aspects that will set conditions for when you do move somewhere that allows more material prepping.

    1. Chem, you are so right about my intentions with that fifth comment. Between government regulations affecting rural and farming areas, natural disasters, and the difficulty of earning a living when you live out in the boonies, a “survival retreat” may not be what it’s cracked up to be.

      1. Really_Old_Guy

        Survivalmom,
        I realize the original posting is quite old, but I’d add a couple more items to your original “28”.
        29 Water. Without it you die. Where will you find it? What competition will you encounter? How will you store it? How much water can you store? How will you purify your water for drinking purposes? If you have a well, how will you get your water out? If you rely upon gutters and downspouts, will you be able to store enough to get through a drought? Where will you store water: in-ground pools/ponds? below-ground tanks? above-ground tanks?…each possibility requires foresight, planning, permits, treatment options, possible catastrophic circumstances, protection/security, etc., etc.
        30 Killing (and eating) your beloved pets (when their food runs out) may be harder than you or your family has ever imagined.
        31 Turning your back on your starving/dehydrated neighbor (who was either NOT prepared or was LESS prepared) and watching his kiddos starve/dehydrate WILL be difficult for even the most callous individuals.

  23. re: wild edibles… on my land in the ozarks I have poke, winter cress, chicory, plantain, burdock, broad leaf dock, hickory, oak, sassafrass, redbud, yellow pine, fox grapes, persimmons, mulberries. I’m sure theres more but thats off the top of my head. also I have jerusalem artichokes and sesame in the garden that wont likely be identified. My garden is not in an identifiable bed all those weeds and more are growing there.. Recently I had a gardening friend come for a looksee she even had a hard time finding my tomatoes in the riot. Weedies is good. They grow in the drouht and hide my “normal” food.

  24. Great post! Too many people in this country have their heads buried in their phone to see what is really comming this way. Number 1 will be a reality.

  25. I like this list (though I agree with other readers who think the UN and the US government are not going to be in any position to come for your stuff in teotwawki). First though ought to be “water is going to be a serious problem” which isn’t anywhere on the list. I do especially like the points that bugging out is not a magic bullet (another person phrased it as “don’t be a refugee,” which you can glean in a hurry just from watching The Walking Dead) and, hand in hand with that, the importance of community and a support system.
    Getting back to water. Where we live in SoCal, water relies on electricity. In a power outage, they use backup generators and ask people to restrict their use so that water is available for emergencies like fires breaking out. In a longer situation the generators would run out or in an EMP just wouldn’t work at all. Once that happens, we are running down the clock here. We would die of dehydration long before we ran out of stored food, the chickens long before they ran out of feed, and the garden would start to keel over within a week. If not of dehydration, I assume I would die among the mass exodus of people trying to get out of the southwest United States. It’s just the reality of where I live.

  26. In all of history one thing is certain, an unpopular government will not survive. They know this. I suspect that we will face a lack of government. Plan B is what to do when there is no answer for a 911 call. I can tell you what happens when it all goes bad.

    1. The wealthy activate plan B, “leave with the goods”
    2. Beurocracy goes on a permanent vacation.
    3. By the time the people realise whats happenning it because their fending for themselves
    4. So we fix things, patchem up, then do it all over again

    Our constitution had the perfect blueprint for government. All we had to do was follow it. Many died to give us those rights. What will we now celebrate on the 4th of July ?

  27. If you don’t know God and His Son Jesus Christ, no one will survive this. The most poignant statement above is about the most-prepared SEAL incapacitated by the ailment. You are whistling in the dark and only pretending you have positioned yourself and family to survive if you don’t have God’s protection. Please know I am a prepper and many times over these past seven years the Lord has reminded me to seek HIM above all preparations, that while the Lord expects us to be prudent and wise to prepare, those preparations are meaningless without Him. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL things (peace, security, provision, all things) will be given unto you”.

  28. Pingback: Gardening with Zombies « Chism Heritage Farm

  29. so manyhere crying about what may come and the hardships it will put upon us, Ithithe list is a little thin on description. I believe within the first month over 60% will die, a month later half those will be gone. all due to simple unavoidable factors. suicide for the weak in mind and soul, disease/infection will take the majority, fighting will take the rest. what will be left will be hardy people with a pioneer spirit and the will to survive whatever is thrown upon them

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  31. I really like this list. Many people forgot about modern medicine and the electricity needs to run all the equipment. All the people that require o2 to live on a daily basis or are on insulin. Look at the damage hurricane sandy just did. It’s not unreasonable to be prepared.
    The comment about couch surfers is interesting. I wonder how many people stating to be prepared have actually worked a 2 acre farm during the summer. No heavy machines all hard labor. How many people plant enough food in the garden they have now to last the whole winter? Does the food go bad before its used?
    Knowledge is only power if you maintain and utilize the skills learned. You can’t just read a website about gardening and expect to be eatting from it in the fall. It is back breaking and time consuming. Not to mention if you have a medical condition.
    Just saying…. We should all understand that just surfing the Internet and packing some bags is not going to keep us being the 20% of the living if disaster strikes.

  32. JohnPaulJackson has spoken on “The Perfect Storm.” A message he relayed in 2008. What grabbed my attention was the fact that he prophesied that there would be a 500 mile hurricane. Well, we’ve seen SAndy. God will use 5 elements to get our attention….geophysical, war, economy, politics, and religion. Seeking God will be critical to our survivial… He wants for us to return to HIM. You can have all the O2 absorbers known to man, but if God allows the enemy to strike your wheat, your wheat will be useless.

    “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2Chronicles 14

  33. You poor fearful people. Why don’t you try contributing to society than play these childish games. Say the worst does happen….do you think that decency goes out the window? Say that you last a few more months or even years than others….at what cost? If you live by fear, that will be your life. Sad…sad….sad people.

    1. Sage, I am sorry to say, yes I do think decency will go out the window when TSHTF. Most of the people commenting here and living a prepper lifestyle contribute more than you could ever imagine to society. Some are law enforcement, firefighters, nurses, emergency responders, etc. Even if they are not, we all still have jobs, families, and are contributing members of society.
      When things get tough, many people will not rise to the occasion, but will fall to their base desires and needs. Life indeed will be cheap.
      Don’t be the grasshopper; be the ant.

  34. Pingback: The Survival Mom™: 28 Inconvenient Truths About TEOTWAWKI

  35. While much of this list might be true for most people. On the other hand those of us who have been trained and prepping most of our lives will be just fine. My parents grew up in the great depression and have always been self sufficient and taught me to be also. My siblings didn’t really want to learn but my dad taught me carpentry, gardening, hunting, basic woodsmanship, etc. since I was little. I recieved further training in the military in jungle survival, desert survival, mountain survival, marksmanship, as well as the use of most hand, power and pneumatic tools. We will bug out….with two hour notice I can be out of the major city we live in and a quarter of the way to our destination. Plan is to make it to the family ranch in the mountains where we have cattle, chickens, 3 natural springs and a river, two stocked fish ponds, stockpiles of food, guns, ammo, fuel, generators, solar power, etc. and in case we need to ditch the trucks and hoof it part way I have bug out bags ready. .40 Sig, .45 Kimber, .25 emergency backup pistol, .270 BAR, .22 rifle for small game, shotgun, compound bow and blowgun, throwing knives, 4 separate ways of starting fire, filtering water, $400 first aid pack, tent, military sleep system for each, knives, e-tool, SOG tomohawk, fishing gear, hand chargable radio and hand charger for phones and ipads, playing cards and dice for entertainment, etc. and I have the training and experience to survive anywhere. The last thing I will do is stay at home in a city of millions. That is the ultimate stupidity. While people like you have exhausted your bug in preps and have posted sign on top of house begging for government help while fending of mobs of murdering thugs looking to rape you, murder you and steal your supplies, my family will be camping in the woods for as long as it takes. We will have rabbit, squirrel, lizards, snakes, fish, deer, grubs and anything else we can find to eat to supplement our supplies. WE will survive and we will make it to our final destination where we will live in relative comfort. By the way, silver never loses it’s intrinsic value. Even if they outlaw it there will be a barter system in place. People will always trade for silver. Even the soviet union only lasted 70 years. Eventually the tyrants must fall. Lastly, with 21 million pissed off vetereans It won’t be long until the nation is restored. Your list might pertain to someone without training and experience in survival but I guarantee you that we will be hunky dory living deep off the grid.

  36. end of the world and we are “worried” about gold being illegal to own, right? 🙂 man, that’s FUNNY. People will be eating each other within 90 days of shtf and you are scared to own gold?

  37. open the lid to one of MY caches and it will set off the mousetrap .22lr noisemaker. Then I will emerge from the dugout and put a subsonic, suppressed .22lr into you from 100m away. They sound like a BB gun. If I lock shut the action, they are inaudible beyond 50 ft and if I let the action cycle, they are inaudible at 50 yds. A .22 in you means death from infection, without modern medical care. With gear like that, I can hit 3 men at 100 yds, before they realize that they are underfire. Since they can’t tell where I am firing from, I will hit 2-3 more before they can figure out which side of the tree “cover’ lies upon, and then I will vanish, to repeat as needed. I bet that the rest of them wont think that one drum of food is worth getting another 1/2 dozen of their members shot. The hitttees will be screaming their heads off, and have to be shot by the others, in order to end their pain/noise, and to take their stuff.

  38. Pingback: Use Your Freezer in Your Food Storage Plans by Blogger, Mom with a Prep | Love My DIY Home

  39. I just found this article when checking out something else and decided to read through the comments written in 2012/13. Here it is 2015 and I can’t help but wonder if any opinions have been changed since then. Yes, I guess this list is a bit pessimistic if 2012 was the first truly serious thoughts being given to survival practices and supplies. On the other hand, if you’ve been raised with “emergency preparedness” before there was such a term then this is simply a review of what some of us have practiced all our lives.

    For those of you who are planning to “bug out” I have one question. Do you truly think you are the only one thinking of the particular location you’ve chosen?? Remember, hunger can/will do strange things to people’s heads. Does that mean people shouldn’t plan to “bug out”?? NO, it simply means you need to be realistic and plan to defend, to the death, what is yours. Is that pessimistic, NO, it’s realistic. Oh and PLZ don’t let your guard down just because someone convinces you they are Christian, not all Christians are true Christians.

    In other words, take those rose colored glasses off and get serious about protecting you and your loved ones. Truly hard times, like people in this country have never seen before, are coming whether we are ready or not. I’m one of those who plan to be as ready as I possibly can be under my current circumstances.

    1. Yes, and aside from hunger doing strange things to people’s heads and thought process, let’s also be aware that people suffering from severe starvation can smell food from as far away as a mile, sometimes further. They can smell their way to you from unusually long distances. Just be aware everyone.

  40. Pingback: 25 Terrible Truths About TEOTWAWKI | Prepper Center of America

  41. I have a number of medical conditions that require medications. I have been able to build a reserve of about a month by always ordering refills as early as allowed (usually two days early). Are there any other ideas that would assist in building a stock of required meds?

    1. Some people have received an extra month or two by asking their physicians for a “vacation” prescription — they’ll be out of town and need the extra doses to cover the gap of time before they can get to a pharmacy. Would that help?

    2. I took several years to slowly wean myself off all medications, including my thyroid supplement. I shaved off tiny amounts over time. My only reason was to be ready to have no access to them. There were a couple slow years while my body started to make what it needs again. Obviously, this is not recommended for everyone. I’m 67 and more healthy than in previous decades.

  42. Navy Seal brought down by an infected toe nail? Really? That’s hilarious. The point about hygiene and being careful is valid. No argument there but no highly trained special forces operator is going to be taken down by an ingrown nail. I am an army combat engineer, Sapper, Airborne and a combat veteran. I served 5 years. Have been through jungle training, stationed in the mountains of Germany so am trained in winter and mountain survival also and was in Desert Storm so I am very well trained in desert survival. Not really going to get flumoxed by a little infection.

  43. Also, gold and silver being outlawed is irrelevant. The feds banning the use of precious metals will be about as effective as prohibition or the war on drugs. Owning gold was banned once before and people still kept their gold. Metals will still be used in a black market and frankly gold and silver are more of a hedge for rebuilding after the world goes to hell and things are getting back to normal…..not so much for buying stuff in the middle of the event.

    1. They won’t have to outlaw gold and silver — just make it illegal as a currency. What better way to force citizens to use an approved fiat currency? Whether or not people will continue to use it on the black market remains to be seen. I agree with you about precious metals as a hedge and useful post-collapse, but I don’t underestimate any government’s tendency toward tyranny and gold and silver represent real wealth — not wealth as determined by a government.

  44. As a young child, we lived quite a lot like people will have to live to survive TEOTWAWKI. Huge garden, chickens, pigs, canning and drying food, etc. Our clothes were made from cotton flour sacks. We bought very little at the grocery store, just sugar, flour, spices. Almost everything, we grew or gleaned from the forest. Heated with wood, cut with a crosscut saw and split with axe, wedge and sledge hammer. It is a tough life. We now have a mountain retreat with significant food storage, gardens, well and septic tank. In addition, we have and are planting food plants dispersed in the forest. As a 75 year old man, not in peak of health, I fully recognize I may be an early casualty, but perhaps our children and grandchildren will not be. I only wish I was reasonably assured of an opportunity to pass along the knowledge they will all need. Instead, I am compiling a library of books. Hopefully, that will be enough. BTW, I do not believe EMP will render vehicles unusable. Additionally, I believe peoples belief in “normalcy” will freeze most in place for a few days until they really panic and begin to try to flee the cities.

  45. Unless it is a natural disaster like a solar EMP, any TEOTWAWKI event will be controlled by those who caused it because globalists want maximum control with minimum hassle.

    My guess is greater governmental control through Agenda 21 and 2030 will be our future. If our economy will collapses it will be when globalists want to collapse it and they will control the collapse for their purposes which will not be ours.

  46. It’s all about the skills. They can’t take what’s in your head. My benchmark is what it took to live like 100 years ago and work from there on the basics.
    And for those concerned about Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030–try to remove yourself from the government’s eye as much as possible. (remember that if you’re too low-key you attract suspicion just as much). Read a lot of apocalyptic fiction too; there’s a surprising amount of tips there.

  47. Pingback: 28 Inconvenient Truths About TEOTWAWKI* – Survival Mom – Wolfdancer's Den

  48. Your poster at the top of the article is missing the second ‘W’ in ‘TEOTWAWKI’. Is it the end of TEOTWA(W)KI as we know it?

  49. Richard Steven Hack

    The biggest inconvenient truth?

    “TEOTWAWKI” is bogus. Short of a major asteroid strike, it’s not going to happen. And if it is an asteroid strike, you aren’t going to survive that, anyway.

    There is no historical precedent for any disaster being other than local (with the possible exception of Krakatoa – and 99.99999 percent of the population survived that one nicely, too.) I suppose you could talk about the ice ages – but humanity survived that, too.

    Prepping is for local disasters – earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, bad weather, power outages, and perhaps local conflicts (riots, terrorism, etc.) It’s not for “TEOTWAWK”. There is almost zero chance that anything is going to happen in your lifetime (or anyone’s lifetime) that is going to affect the entire world or cause civilization to collapse.

    Now, for the US, the real problem is nuclear war. Both Russia and China have the capability to destroy the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas of this country – and everyone else who isn’t in north-eastern Nevada or south-eastern Oregon is going to get hit by the radioactive fallout. That *will* cause the US to collapse – totally. The fact that the US will probably destroy most of Russia and/or China as well isn’t going to really help anyone here.

    But even then, the immediate attack casualties will only – only, think about that – be in the range of 100-200 million people – one-third to two-thirds of the population. Even with radiation effects, that still leaves probably 100 million or so people alive to rebuild the country over the next X decades.

    But your odds aren’t very good if two-thirds of the population die immediately and the rest have cancer at some point in their lives (assuming they can find food and keep their neighbors from killing them for what they do have.)

    You can’t “prep” for that situation – regardless of what Cresson Kearny tells you.

    The definition of a “survivor” is someone who isn’t there when the SHTF. Which means being somewhere else when WWIII starts. There will probably be a fair amount of warning that the situation is out of control. At a minimum, any significant amount of conventional war between the US and either China or Russia is a signal to leave the US for somewhere else that you have hopefully prepared to be able to survive in.

    Most “prepping” is intended to make you either a refugee or a fugitive. You don’t want to be either. You need to plan to be either a survivor or an “operator” or both. As I said, the definition of a “survivor” is someone who isn’t there when SHTF. The definition of an “operator” is someone who has a mission and a plan to deal with perceived threats. That should be the orientation around your preparations to deal with serious threats. Forget about Hollywood movies about “TEOTWAWKI.”

    1. You make some good points, but I disagree with you about the possibility of nuclear war. I don’t see that as ever happening. What would be the point for any of these countries? China has done a much better job crippling our economy, buying up real estate and land, and buying major American manufacturing plants and politicians. Why would they choose to devastate their own investment? At this point in history, “warfare” is going to be different from what we’ve experienced before.

  50. I don’t agree these are all ‘truths’. We get too wrapped up in the Prepper culture and don’t really truly evaluate the potential situations. A “group” is not required to survive. All groups I have ever seen has power struggles, freeloaders, and cheaters (especially spouses). And, you are not immune.
    You best bet is to have associates you know. Keep your preps to yourself. Wait until after the ‘event(s)’ and make alliances with the sturdy survivors, after all the non-performers disappear.

  51. The Word of God calls this the “seven years of tribulation”. Good news!… if you follow Christ, you get to miss out on all this!

  52. I believe put your trust in god.prepare for the worst and always pray for peace because the the worst stuff happens people will resort to their animal instincts to survive

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