Societal Breakdown And Collapse – Who Will Be The Most Valued Afterward?

Do you have what it takes to be among the valued and therefore sought-after people after societal breakdown or even collapse of society as we know it today? I’ll get to that in a minute. But first…

Here’s a scenario… Societal breakdown and chaos is advancing and expanding due to a disastrous chain of events. It could be any number of scenarios. In fact, most of you who are reading this already realize that we’re living through a period of societal breakdown, right now. For a number of reasons. Extreme, and I mean extreme divisiveness to the extent I have never seen before. Polarization of views. Authoritarian persecution. Totalitarianism is thriving all around the globe. Most all of it by design. It will eventually lead to further societal collapse, and maybe (probably) eventual ‘breakdown’. But I digress.

Societal Collapse And Lots Of Increasingly Desperate People

Lets say that these events or the results thereof have left a large portion of the population in an increasingly desperate state of being. Poor. Scarcity. Or completely non-existent supplies. People are hungry, thirsty, and becoming aggressive to find and get what they need.

It gets to a point where the realization has set in that this is more than just a temporary setback. Many are anxiously and perilously setting out to find help for themselves and for others in their family or household.

The thing to remember is this: The more desperate the situation, the more likely you are to be confronted or challenged by others who may want what you have…

societal breakdown

There’s something that you need to understand… something that’s difficult for most to understand. That is this… how seemingly ordinary ‘good people’ may even hurt others during times of true and deep desperation for survival. Not only them, but, those who are ‘bad people’ to begin with. The reason it’s tough to really accept is because most of us have never been in that very desperate place, so we refuse to let those thoughts in. It’s not pleasant. It may be very uncomfortable to contemplate.

Also, don’t forget about people like “the Governor” as in The Walking Dead series. If government collapses, someone will come in and fill the power vacuum. Local economies may well re-institute and organize around such “warlords”. That’s a very real probability. By the way, I loved the Walking Dead series…

Anyway, I’m getting a little off track. It was just a setup for what ‘could’ happen (as one example) bringing on societal breakdown. My post though, is about who may be of value during such a time or the resulting ‘afterward’.

People Of Value After Societal Breakdown

There will be several significant groups of people with talents and skills which will be sought after following a societal breakdown of modern society.

These primary groups will be made up of those who have contributing knowledge, experience, and skills having to do with our basic and necessary ‘needs’ for long term survival. Within each group will be subsets of skills (some of which will reach across other groups). And these subsets will each relate and contribute up towards the the primary objective of each group.

The first of which may be this one…

Protection, Security

Wow. This one will be important. Societal breakdown will pretty much require increased security for one’s self, group, family, home, etc..

The first weeks to follow societal breakdown, you will especially need water, food, and the ability to keep it.

Anyone with particular experience and skills having to do with all things ‘security’. They will be very much of value. A necessary asset for the safety and production of surviving the aftermath. Those who can establish and implement defensive and offensive plans and procedures dealing with others who may wish to do the unit harm.

There is little doubt that during an all-out collapse that this group will be a very important asset. Especially during the initial timeline when the sheeple have just realized that they’re up the creek without a paddle… and the immediate months that will follow – if they last that long.

While just about anyone has the ability to use a firearm, the best in this group will probably be those with direct experience with such strategic and combat issues… military, ex-military, police, security, etc.

Gardeners, Farmers, Horticulture

Societal breakdown. Once can pretty much assume that food will not be plentiful or exist hardly at all for the masses. If it’s bad enough, many won’t even survive into month two or three if it’s real bad. Anyone with expertise related to the procurement of food, will be deemed valued and important.

Successful gardeners and farmers will be highly valued. Even more than those with hunting skills, because the probable situation will be a diminishing harvest of wild animal resources for consumption after a fairly short while in many areas. The skills for raising livestock will also be important, although these animals will need food and water too…

The fact is, humans can live from the right foods grown in the ground, and those with experience in this area will be providing a life-sustaining asset to the group, and may be one of the most important of all.

A subcategory here would be food preservation experts and those who are adept at cooking from scratch!

Water Management, Environmental Engineer, Plumbing

Anyone who has experience with things having to do with all things ‘water’. Including procuring, storing, and treatment for drinking, waste management, irrigation, and the associated plumbing, construction, and electro-mechanical skills to build, power, and maintain these systems.

Safe drinking water. Sanitation. Watering/irrigating your garden. It’s one thing to deal with this for yourself, but it’s quite another to provide for a group, especially and potentially without today’s modern infrastructure systems.

Someone on the blog once said, “Folks who understand (well) how safe/effective sanitation should work (whether it is a properly functioning outhouse/honey wagons/modern sewers/dig a hole and bury it).

Construction

Anyone with the hands-on skills to build and maintain things having to do with ‘shelter’. Especially those with the ability to work with more primitive methods of building and constructing without electricity. These are the people who could build from materials that are available, things like shelters/home, barns/out-buildings, fences, and other infrastructure.

This group might include people who are knowledgeable in the field of alternative energy, which could be extremely valuable assuming that the associated materials and equipment have been procured and are operational. Utilizing water for energy, the sun, and the ‘how-to’ knowledge to apply it.

Doctors, Nurses, Medical

Anyone having worked in the medical field, especially doctors and nurses, will be a life-saving asset for injuries, which will surely happen.

Without the luxuries afforded us by our modern medical systems (hospitals, high-tech, etc.), any injury could rapidly become life-threatening. Safety should and will become a very important habit in a post-collapse world.

People Skills – Managers

Upon the collapse of modern society, it is the natural tendency of civilized man to organize. To that end, there will be a need for those who can organize people and direct energies. In a chaotic situation, there always seems to be one or more folks who step up and begin to direct traffic, so that individual energies can be put together to create a smoother operation.

Communications Specialists

Those who have, and know, Ham radio. Radio communication. When the SHTF, everything will become very local. There will be a great advantage to be able to communicate among the locality via radio comms. Additionally, Ham radio can be worldwide communication too. A great asset.

Jack Of All Trades

While there is good value in being very proficient at a single trade. There is also great value in knowing enough about many different trades to get ‘most’ things fixed or built. I consider myself among this category. Though I do have some specific more concentrated skills, I can also do many other ‘trades’ – just maybe not as good as the pros. I built a 2-story garage/out-building a few years ago and it hasn’t fallen down yet…

Survivalist

I’m adding this one because many of us may consider ourselves a survivalist. We’ve prepared. We know how to do things in this regard. We have situational awareness skills. Most of us are pretty good critical thinkers. We’ve learned the basics (and more) of being able to, ‘survive’ without present systems of infrastructure to varying degrees. We have an ability to adapt. Overcome. Move forward. We’re self reliant. Some of us are self-sufficient. I would say that we would be a pretty valued lot following societal breakdown :=)

In summary,

Being an able bodied hard working person with critical thinking skills is always desirable….before during and after a crisis.

I know that this is all pretty logical stuff having to do with rebuilding and sustaining a community, but it warrants thought. Many in modern society have skills which would be useless post-disaster. Knowing that…may motivate some of you to learn one or two ‘basic’ skills which may contribute to saving your life IF you ever needed them for real…

While the list above is off the top of my head, there are many others which who will be of practical and useful value following a societal breakdown / collapse. Feel free to add to the list with your comments…

[ Read: The Many Systemic Risks To Our Modern Lifestyle ]

[ Read: Survival Movies List – Voted Best & Popular ]

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96 Comments

  1. I agree with you and as always good topic.
    Having lived off the streets for a few years taught me just how little a person needs electricity, running water, sewage and garbage fees, phone bill, rent, insurance and bank accounts.
    If it comes to bugging out I hope that people in your group are contributing to survival. There will be a lot of hard work and fortitude for a small group of people to survive. That means everyone pulls their ow weight and then some.
    A group should not rely on others but there will be some like this article says that will click up together and try to take others survival equipment. The group I’m with are just good old boys that grew up in the wood and hunted as needed for meat. We have gone out for retreats to keep our skills on perspective and to get back to basic needs. That keeps us sharp and there is always something new to learn.
    Now I’m getting of subject. If TSHTF I believe that my group can stand against all odds. If blood be shed then so be it. THAT is our comment to survive.

  2. not sure if want the leo’s on our team but military is pretty decent.

    1. Raven tactical Prepper expert
      I’m no “expert”, pretty sure I don’t want some one like you in a group. Judgmental, pre-disposed attitude, and a prepper “expert” at that.

        1. Except most LEO’s have valuable experience with security, weapons, reading people, how to clear structures, vehicle assaults…. Just saying….

          1. Sorry to comment here, but bottom line is this – survival if the SHTF will mean the ones that last must possess a wide variety of skills- anything from building, farming, raising stock,cooking, making things you need, serious1st aid knowing about medicinal plants and so on.. there is a lot more involved than being a master at arms.. which is all that you have implied..

          2. Lady Prepper,
            In many places all those skills you list will be the most valuable, IMHO, not everywhere is going to turn into a Mad Max nightmare, many areas will just be tossed back into the 19th century

          3. As a retired military person and 20 years in law enforcement, the average Leo has in my humble estimation something way above and beyond most military types. 1. He thinks on his feet 2. Understand the locale and the people there, 3. He has learned to size people up and act accordingly. 4. Understands the team concept and willingness to contribute. 5. He has that ingrained sheepdog attitude towards people who might otherwise fail. 6. Most military types are trained to follow orders not question them, Leo’s are taught act in a given situation and not wait for a order. My choices for a group always gravitate to abilities, willingness, faith and positive actions, and most important the sheepdog inner strength to protect. Will Rogers, I hold in great regard he had a saying “ there are three types of people in the world, those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, those that wonder what in the hell just happened”. Those are your three choices for your group, who do you choose?

          4. Realist,

            You will find that many, if not most folks in this blog family, support and respect law enforcement. Several of the regulars here are either currently or former LEOs. The few that denigrate are usually hit and run types who get some sort of satisfaction from running other folks down. I suspect that they have anger and self-esteem problems in their day-to-day life and are not knee-deep in friends.

            Any who…enjoyed and agree with your observations…sometimes it’s hard to express what you did without sounding like you’re tooting your own horn…you got your message across in a respectful and well-articulated manner.

    2. Raven,

      Just because someone was in the military or former military does not make them a good person/asset by default. There are many documented cases of street gang members and other extremist that join the military to obtain training in firearms and small unit tactics. Secondly any person claiming to be an expert is the last person I would recruit, because they think they know everything, but usually know nothing.

      1. Having deployed with the military for five years as a DOD contractor in Iraq, I have a fair assessment of their qualifications in tactical situations. The boys that kick in doors (infantry, especially Marine and any range of special forces, such as force recon, rangers, SOF, combat engineers, and of course Delta Forces/SEALs) are the ones you are talking about for security. All the rest are supporting them in some capacity. The rest bring a military bearing that is of a better quality than the average citizen. The average lance corporal sees more “action” than most all of the above. Just my two cents.

        1. Most criminal street gang members have seen more action than most service members and still do daily, but I wouldn’t want them in my group. Only 35 percent of military personnel are combat arms, the rest support the 35 percent. Well over half of active LEOs are veterans. Best of both worlds!!!

    3. Except most LEO’s have valuable experience with security, weapons, reading people, how to clear structures, vehicle assaults…. Just saying….

  3. great post ken,
    water,water, water, i keep harping on this but it is the most precious commodity that we can possess. a good well, or access to running water and a way to purify it. it’s all about location.
    if you have a ready access a water supply then you will become either a valuable asset or a prime target in a short period of time, 3-6 days should weed out most looters through lack of or drinking contaminated water . plan your defenses accordingly. me, i’m going to plan for a month just to make sure. family and close neighbors here can get all they wan’t. most all here are on the same page as me, most all here are country folks who farm and raise livestock. some farm and some raise livestock, i think as a community that it would work out good, hope we never have to find out.

    i have a deep well with well buckets as well as rope’s to pull it out with, 3 gallons at a time, as well as do three other homes in our small community.
    stack food to the rafters but be aware that it will not last forever. plant gardens, plant twice what you think you will need, put up as much as you can and plan for two years, get your’s first and either share or barter the rest . gardens can be hit or miss some years. also a good way to preserve it. i have got over 2k of lids now put up now but they won’t last forever. drying foods will be an option but that’s something i have not tried yet. i need to get started on that with something in the sun that does not require electricity, i’ll build something this summer and try it with some things from the garden, if the garden makes. root cellars here are not an option as it just gets to hot.
    any ideas for a solar dehydrator would be appreciated. Ken?
    good luck all, and thanks in advance for any advice

    1. Scout – what about a smoke house? BTW- I agree with you. Water is a must thinking of installing an additional hand pump well my relatives installed a solar well just incase ..I think those of us that were raised in the “country ” off the land, building things,fixing what ever broke ourselves, gardening, fishing, hunting, cooking from scratch & raising stock will be better off than most..but this is a life style choice we made that many others did not. I am proud of being a Wife,Mother,Electrician for over 20 yrs & a Country Girl. We keep our circle of friends tight and are careful about anyone knowing what we have for fear of issues if things go bad. Raven sounds just a little bit too gun happy but maybe I read too much into what he said..

  4. If I were part of a group after SHTF, I would think I would want to be around positive thinkers. Those with the “Oh well….what are we gonna do about it” types. That attitude is catchy. And as Romeo Charlie says, a sense of humor is important. VERY IMPORTANT. My focus is not so much on the oh shit of the moment….but my long term goal of survival. The “can do attitude” will give the weaker ones in your group confidence and be an inspiration to them. Someone with “real” tracking skills is of great benefit for security as they can read what lurks around your outer perimeters and identify numbers, their physical / medical condition, direction, and actual skill levels, tactics, to name a few. A true “scout” in the group is one you rarely see in camp…..they work alone….they like it that way. If your group comes across an true enemy scout….take em out first….your group will live longer.

  5. I would be a little leery of having someone on “my team” who…

    Would automatically exclude someone who has undergone extensive background testing, psychological testing, firearm training, first aid training, engaged in numerous physical confrontations, de-escalated dangerous situations…in every kind of foul weather imaginable…coached your kid’s baseball team, sang in your church choir, taught your Sunday School class, volunteered for the neighborhood watch group…and yes, probably did a hitch in the military…

    Nope…I would avoid such a person like the plague…they would have more in common with the local meth heads than with me…of course, I was a LEO for 34 years…met very few that I wouldn’t trust…and even fewer that lasted long in the profession…and…I make my judgements based on actual experience, not based on what the media bombards me with….

    Gotta go now, put a few rounds downrange with my non-tacti-cool pistol …

    1. it all comes down to getting to know the people in your area. it doesn’t take long to get a feel for them.
      are their garbage cans full of pizza boxes and fast food bags. it’s a sure tip off.
      and yes we here notice that stuff.
      it’s what we do. nosy neighbors, yes. -do we get into their business, No. but they are watched.
      it may be wrong but it truly takes years to be accepted into most small communities., most are very clannish.
      we are aware of who is around us. we don’t care how they live, but we are very aware of who they are.
      their are only two rental properties in our area and people come and go, but they are higher priced places, most who move in are the professional types.
      hell we may be scaring them off, it’s not for everyone here, it’s to quiet for most other than the occasional range therapy sessions. and that unnerves some people.

    2. Anyone who has ever enforced a leftist law against a conservative has proven himself or herself to be a hessian who will do anything for a paycheck. Conservatives will never get anywhere until they recognize cops who enforce even 1 leftist law from a penny of tax to diversity laws to gun laws to mask laws as the bad guy. No, we don’t want people who have proven themselves to be the enforcers of our enemies. Without these enforcers, the words of judges and politicians have no weight.

      1. Johnny Walker,

        You sound a whole lot like a “sovereign citizen” advocate. I’ve met a few of those…don’t won’t them anywhere near me or my family if things go south…or during “normal” times for that matter. The ones I’ve encountered have more in common with anarchists than conservatives….more to do with rejection of any authority, not left or right laws.

        But that’s ok…knock your lights out…it’s America…you have the freedom to think and act out as you please…until you either run afoul of “authority” and exercise your right to question the constitutionality of the law being enforced in court…or somebody stomps a mudhole in you for violating their interpretation of freedom.

        1. Yeah…..and when they get stomped, who do they call for help? Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

          1. Why would anyone in a rural area need a cop anyways. Just call your neighbors and handle it yourself. the sovereign citizen movement is pretty cool and it’s a way to get back to the normal of what we had.

    3. de-escalation training…. Like pitting a pregnant woman’s car for “8 mph over the speed limit” no thanks i can avoid having those who would enforce illegal laws on my team. Firearms training give me a break cops are like the majority of the military lousy shots who shoot once a year.

      I’ll handle Military, EMS, Nurses and doctors but i’ll avoid the power tripping above the law types.

  6. Ok I’ll say it and set a fire… Your gonna need Young Fit Women with good child bearing hips.
    At some point you will need to breed a new work force of farm hands. This is one of the reasons Farmers had larger broods of children before the Industrial revolution. Just saying you got to set ur self up as a IV Level Prepper this is the way to do it! 😏 Time to trade your 44 in for a 22… 😃

    1. Yup, It’s well known that ‘farmer families’ are big. Not unheard of to have a dozen kids… at least years ago. Today? It would prohibit having that McMansion…and other such ‘luxuries’. /sarc

    2. White Cracker,
      Good point. My mother was the youngest of a farming family of 10 and the first 5 born never finished high school as it was during the depression and everyone had to work on the farm. Tough times makes for tough folks.

      That reminds me the first tractor I learned to drive when I was 10 was an old John Deere B model tricycle gear with an open side flywheel and hand clutch. You learned real quick to never get off on the right side and never wear loose clothes around a PTO shaft.

    3. they had no TV and nothing else to do back in the day.
      ya gotta make your entertainment : )

    4. White Cracker – I agree…..but from what I see around me, even the Amish are having smaller “herds” now. Ya gotta feed what ya breed. Hey….”go throw the horse over the fence some hay.” I have friends in the Amish community. I admire their sense of family and community. A lot can be learned from them and their ways. Not so much though in the area of security. Maybe that’s where I might be useful….and hopefully they wouldn’t even realize it. I made a career of protecting the “English”…. maybe time for me to re-direct my “focus” from a-far.

      1. SoulSurvivor,
        our Mennonite community here has cut back on planting corn for feed and will be planting sorghum for livestock feed next from what they have told me. now is the time to plant corn in our area. sorghum in the next few weeks depending on the weather.

    5. Cracker, most 44 (and above) women I know run circles around the 22s. The 22s don’t know how to cook, clean, or even truly have a relationship. Many are on meds because life is too tough for them. But good luck with your daydream. Men and women need to carefully choose their life partner as you are a team and both parts needs to be thinking and working.

    6. Dang White Cracker- have you met many 22 yr old women? Most of them can’t even read a can of biscuits if it’s not on tik tok. Any if you really believe the vast majority of them are going to do any physical labor and make babies, think again..the millennials are a large part of the problem with their left wing policies in our government now..they grew up with video games & watching TV all day not getting spankings for mis behavior..it’s true..! ( not all of them but more than not)

  7. Huh,,,

    So ya dont think someone with a degree in political science or gender studies or the like will be the most sought after folks?

    HaaaaHAAAAHaAAaaa

    These people are barely useful in the world today, add a bit o dystopia and yhey become completely useless other than to feed some cannibals……

    1. I know what you mean. Personality, character and skillsets are important. I just thought I would note one of the younger trappers on The Last Alaskans has a philosophy degree. He, wife and now infant spend trapping season off grid using sled dogs. But he grew up in a small town in Nebraska along a small river where my late FIL grew up. FIL recognized some of his older relatives that visited the show. I started off in poli sci but ended up in accounting. But I grew up without indoor plumbing at home, school and church for a period of time. As a teenager had a 1 acre garden with all the excess preserved. Raised our own meat. Those skills are still in use despite my day job and my degree.

    2. C’mon, man!
      Don’t you know if you’re gonna survive, the first thing you will have to come to grips with is deconstructing your whiteness?

      Seriously, I don’t think the “studies ” department graduates of our fine clown colleges will cope well.

  8. Food for thought: Watch the original RED DAWN with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. That will give you some idea who you will want or not want to be anywhere near you. In a SHTF situation, the greatest threats to you and yours will be withing five miles of your home. Think about it. Plan accordingly. Bleib ubrig.

  9. Can anyone say Amish?
    Just asking they know how to love off grid. If there any in your neck of the hemisphere, pick their brain. Might help.

    1. they pay the English to take them shopping at stores so they can shop for food supplies… Without the “english” the amish wouldn’t last very long

      1. Raven,

        Not the amish I know. The only thing they pay the English for is to take them to far away train stations for travel. And they’re more than adept at feeding themselves, though they have weaknesses, as do we all. The strength of their community bonds trumps any I’ve seen, and the ones I know didn’t turn away from their faith when ordered to stop practicing it during covid restrictions. Guess my amish friends are different than yours.

        1. Farmgirl,
          the Amish and the large Mennonite communities in my area will be here long after we are gone.
          they have lived the lifestyle for generations.
          there is so much that we could learn from them if we were to reach out and listen. every one i have ever known is eager to share their knowledge. great people if a person has the right attitude with em. respect.
          hat in hand.
          always remember that we learn more by listening than by talking, ask good questions. it’s important.
          and always remember that just because they live simple lives that they are not smart. most are smarter than me.

        2. Don’t get me wrong they have the farms and fields… they are just not “totally independent of the system.

          They are worlds above the sheep in the city.

          1. Raven tactical Prepper expert – Yes…some Amish are “slipping” but it is their work ethic and commitment to community that grabs me. Everytime I transport them somewhere, they offer to pay me (.80 per mile) but I refuse to accept payment. They don’t abuse my generosity and end up doing something in return for me. My friend (David) is head of his family. He constantly asks me about Jesus…and is like a sponge soaking up who Jesus really is, and the relationship we should have with Him. When the SHTF they won’t miss a beat. It will be a minor hiccup to them. They are truly good friends. Where I live, rush hour traffic is 3 horse and buggies traveling in a convoy.

          2. My concern for the Amish and Mennonites is their faith prevents them from taking up arms against another human. Even in self defense. Someone from outside their community would need to step up and defend them from slaughter by the unwashed masses in a SHTF situation. Much like defending children or the infirm in such a situation. God will provide for them according to His will.

          3. SoulSurvivor,
            Do you know what goes “Clop, Clop, BANG! Clop, Clop, Bang! Clop, Clop, BANG!……..

            An Amish drive-by shooting.😆😆😆

          4. Romeo Charlie – Stop……Stop already! LMAO. I gotta smile at 0200 when I hear the youngsters, in their buggies (youth night), coming down the road singing along to their getto blaster. One night they hit my mailbox. Wonder if they were smoking “green corn” or sipping “juice”? Didn’t say a word to them…..horse didn’t get hurt. Would that be considered a hit & trot crash? Not covered in the Vehicle Code definition section. They were very quiet righting the mailbox. Did a good job too! No foul.

          5. They do have a major drawback, no firearms, don’t think pitchfork is going to protect you or your family from armed gangs or marauding zombies.

    1. agreed and republicans along with the dems can stay out…. they both ran the country into the ground.

  10. In this type of scenario, we’d expect rational people would congregate around their own kind (racial/religious/ideological) like they did for 5000 years (at least) before we started to get mind warped by globalists who literally control what our kids are taught in school or see on social media.

  11. Initially it will be bare bones survival at best. There are many that can not or will not strip down their lifestyle to an almost animalistic existence. For those of us that have prepped, the transition will be more gradual than having to drinking puddle water within days and eying rodents as possible food, if you could catch one. My estimation of the percentage surviving is similar to that of “One Second After”, 10 to 20%.

  12. Back in the Navy, my boat had a guy (Jackson) that could get you ANYTHING. He always knew somebody, who did something, that did someone… We needed some freon cleaner for our instrument detector cables to pass minimum noise checks and nobody in the shipyard was allowed to store freon or possess it because of environmental ozone concerns, so we set Jackson loose with some cans of coffee to barter with. Two hours later Jackson shows back up with a bottle of freon cleaner and a box of chocolate.
    You could drop Jackson off at the gates of Hell with a dollar and he would come back in tux and a date. Jackson is the kind of guy you need in a societal collapse. If he couldn’t fix it, he would barter for a new one or work a deal to secure a better one.

  13. Survival, like most endeavors in life, is all about people and stuff – people who have stuff, people who know stuff, and people who can do stuff. As always, a nice balance, working together, will be successful.

  14. We are close friends and attend church with many Ranchers, besides our own ranch. Many of us have Livestock, farms, gardens, fruit orchards, and guns. Lots of 4-wheel drive trucks. There are like 20+ medically trained Members also in our church.

    As the songs say, ” Real Men Love Jesus” and ” A Country Boy Can Survive” .

    1. Great system…..

      We started our own homestead church with about 4 other local homesteaders… Couldn’t stay in the main stream churches anymore… Just weak leadership and weak messages.

  15. When I started out my journey to join a fire crew, I did not know much but I was willing to volunteer for many different and dirty jobs from scrubbing firehose to removing dead bodies from difficult locations. Many times, these jobs were big enough that teamwork was required. (hauling a 400 lb person down narrow stairs on a stretcher). For such jobs, You must be able to work with others. Nobody does these jobs alone. My second season, I was sent to police academy because Reagan was president and he wanted us Federal employees to be cops. Once again, I volunteered. Some days I carried a shovel to dig fire-line, other days I carried a rifle or shotgun and manned a roadblock. A sense of humor is essential in order to maintain your sanity. (the right way, the wrong way and the Federal way)

    Now I work as a nurse and I just finished a shift where I trimmed a guys toenails because he was too obese to reach his toes. I passed meds and passed out toilet paper and took out the garbage before i gave report to the oncoming RN. You cannot be too proud to do most any job and you must be willing to do the dirty jobs out there that need to get done. I have never been in the military. I suspect the Federal Agencies I have worked for were more messed up than most any branch of the military.

    Tracking was fun. Learning to read sign and cutting trail is fascinating to me. I grew up doing it on my uncle’s farm. My formal training in tracking came from the school run by the Border Patrol. If you go, get in shape because you walk a lot and you are in the heat wearing kevlar vest, gun belt and weapon.

  16. Calirefugee – Tracker School – Tom’s River, NJ. Well worth the time and effort.

  17. Good article Ken,
    I wonder how many folks on this site, actually do things? Typing about it or reading about it doesn’t count. Have ya ever delivered a baby? Yes, several and one was breech. Can ya fix a plumbing leak without numerous trips to the hardware store? Can ya replace your “extra” well pump? Build antenna? Understand comms? Hook-up solar/wind systems without an online tutorial? Can ya just “make it work?”

    What it comes down to is knowledge/experience and self-motivation. If ya think you can or ya think you can’t, you’re correct either way. Though I’m familiar with weapons, I’ll definitely defer to others with tactical knowledge/experience. No one knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Know when to be a general and when to be a soldier. As long as you can contribute, in a meaningful way, you can be an asset. The keyboard commandos will not last long.

    I have zero sympathy for those who choose to NOT help themselves. You can become a licensed ham in a couple of days. That would require effort, so not likely for some folks! Then again, it doesn’t require actually doing anything, just a mental exercise, so maybe it could be done from your chair? Nah, why bother!

    1. @Plains, Not everyone has your interest of Ham radio. I wouldn’t berate others just because they’ve not gotten a Ham license. Why be mean about it? I know you evangelize it quite often, but I’m just saying… Additionally, I suspect that quite a few on this site actually “do things”. Each of us have our own interests, talents, and ambitions. We are all unique.

      1. Yep,
        Spot on as usual Ken,
        I have capability to talk to local contacts, can monitor farther away, if it comes unglued i will be less likely to be concerned about anything 1000 miles away and even LESS worried about transmitting or receiving without a license, click n scoot, kinda hard to triangulate that, just sayin is all.
        Plus my grumpy old neighbor monitors all sorts of comms, ill keep him in the veggies and venison and he can give me updates

      2. Ken,
        Not trying to be mean. Time is short. Many fine people have physical ailments. Can’t dig latrines or walk extended distances. Ham is just one way. There are several ways to be an asset. If you have limitations, learn/do something valuable. Reloading would be another skill that could be accomplished from a chair. I know I’m not as spry as I once was. If I’m not an asset, I’m a load on others. Just a fact.

        I know there are many who “do things.” That’s why I visit this site. To learn from those who DO. We all know those who “talk” a good game, but do little. I’m dealing with an extended family member like that. Not looking forward to that mess. Think I’ll take a little break.

        1. Plainsmedic,
          i’m not as physically able as i once was and i believe most here are older persons. but how to knowledge is king. what you and others here offer in knowledge is irreplaceable.
          i have worked in many trades in my life and although i may cannot do them for a living now physically, in a day to day work environment, it’s the knowledge that i still retain. hands on know how in a grid down event will be important i think.
          pass the knowledge on.
          i’m gonna eat me a sammich and go back out.

    2. Just use the ham radio and forget getting the License nobody needs one

    3. @Dennis – I have truly enjoyed your posts about the knowledge you are passing on to your granddaughter – how lucky she is to have you!! She will be a “doer”!!

  18. Also people who know how to analyze gold and silver, diamonds and other stones will be in high demand as well as those who can reload amo.

  19. In reviewing the title of this article and re-reading it, I am not surprised by the high number of responses by mostly older males The only responses I read from females were from Mamalark and farmgirl. After the societal breakdown or collapse, recovery and rebuilding needs to be addressed. For that, I have not yet seen input from other female regulars on this site like Mrs U, Lauren, SoCalGal etc. Society in the CONUS is over 50% female and this must be taken into consideration before all the alpha males lock and load prior to walking the perimeter or man the radios.
    This was one of the biggest differences I saw between police/fire/public safety agencies versus the world of healthcare. After the collapse, when there is the time to cook a decent meal and get clean and dry, there will be time to decide what type of future you want to see for yourself and your children. I am now in my 60’s and I am too old to track, carry out the dead or scout the high ridges.
    I forgot which season of the Walking Dead had an A-hole surgeon in the town of Alexandria that ended up killing the town founder. Just because someone has a lot of skills they are valued in a group. How much leeway do you grant them before you place them in stocks/banish them from the community or execute them? Some decisions are best left up to a small council gathering and taking a vote on what is to be done to address fairness.

    1. Someone asked how many of us actually “DO” things….We raise our own poultry, butcher our own, can our own including making bone broth, raise our own (incubation etc.) we do all our own home building/repairs and I don’t mean just DH. We built our previous ranch – literally from raw land to home, barns, etc. We grow fruit and herbs and veggies. We developed our generator back up systems in case of power failure and rotate our fuels. We hunt, provide security and re-load, again not just DH. I create homeopathic remedies just as my ancestors did as pioneer healers. I am a first aid instructor. I sew, quilt, and repair/replace wardrobe items as desired or needed. DH does leatherwork. We have cross-trained our kids and grandchildren, and keep a log of all capabilities should we all end up under the same roof. Dh is retired, but I still work full time+, but we are both techno geeks and capable of grid down communications etc. Pretty sure we have contributed to this site for 10 years or more to share both experience and enthusiasm for the life style. While we no longer raise our own cattle….we still know HOW and can butcher anything we might purchase or hunt on the hoof. Folks that pay attention on this site can gain a tremendous amount of know-how, and fortunately over the years we have all been willing to share from our mistakes or successes. No one should assume that just because we are chatting, that we are NOT doing! That would be a huge mistake in coming to our place unexpected!
      Keep living the lifestyle folks, it may be more important than ever in the near future.

    2. My siblings and I were extremely fortunate that our parents raised us to be what my father called “fully functional human beings” and education and learning how to “do” things was first priority in our household. This is the ethos that I have tried to pass on to not only our family, but also to those around us. My brother and we three sisters had to read every day and all of us were taught by my parents how to cook, clean, do moderate construction and repairs to a house, sew, repair “pre computer” vehicles, garden, etc. I have made wedding dresses and evening and christening gowns for the immediate family as well as restoring antique cars from the ground up (I did a WWII jeep in honor of my dad’s WWII service and took it to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D Day), make repairs to my computer equipment & appliances, repair / remodel the house and am a very good cook. While I occasionally run into surprise from people who don’t expect women to do what I can do, I have met many women who are equally, if not more, capable than I. I have taught the next generation in our family that one needs to have the right tools not only in the garage, but also for the kitchen, the garden and the sewing chest. I have been very heartened to see on the “university of youtube” that people from all around the world have been sharing their knowledge of how to do things and this gives me hope that these skills will not be lost. Yes, in the event of a catastrophe electronic media will not be available, but the mindset of “let me figure out how to fix this” still exists and those of us that do know how to do these sorts of things can share that info with those willing to receive it. I am what society classifies as “older” (late 60’s) but in my family is considered middle age (my 96 YO father lives in snow country and still shovels the driveway with a snow shovel in the winter!) and I intend to keep doing as much as I can as long as I can and to pass on what I know.

  20. to not so sure: The scrounger. There were several in the old movie: The Great Escape. The best morally corrupt example of this was in James Clavell novel called King Rat. With was made into a movie back in the 1960’s. How far are you willing to go in order to survive within the setting of a Japanese run prison camp.

  21. – I am one of those mostly older white males. I have done a good many things in my lifetime. I qualified expert with a dozen or more weapons during my time in the Army. I have been lucky enough to limit shots fired “in anger” to as few as possible.

    I have shaken hands with both of the first two men on the Moon. I have held a living human heart in my hand, and I talked to the owner a few days later. I have guarded two of our Presidents and heads of other countries.

    I have held and transported “special” weapons, one of which had been dropped and was leaking. I was 70+/- miles from Chernobyl when it blew its stack. I have delivered four new babies by myself in the back of an ambulance or under primitive conditions and been there as part of the team for the deliveries of 16 others.

    I expect that the majority of what post-”event” medical practice will be is stitching up wounds, setting broken bones and reducing dislocated joints, all of which I have experience at. I have even tended a few bullet wounds and cleaned blast injuries and lighting strikes. i can even provide some veterinary care.

    I have built and wired a house, and I can and have built manual well pumps and dealt with other plumbing problems. That’s not even a fourth of what I can do or have done.

    I’m just old now, and not as fast as I once was. Didn’t need a cell phone for any of that stuff. Don’t know if I would be particularly useful, though. Maybe NRP needs a junior assistant toilet paper bearer.

    – Papa S.

    1. Well, one thing I haven’t seen mentioned as I’ve scrolled through is that, if you have the patience and tolerance for it, anyone with at least half your skills would be an excellent child minder and mentor while the younger folk are out being do’ers. We’ll need people who can’t physically do other things to watch the children so we don’t have to worry. Depending on the number of young children (too young to do the work with the adults), it may even take more than one person to do this job at a time, in a communal group. And if the adults are working ’round the clock except for sleeping, maybe a night minder or few, too.

      It would be great to have someone with those skills and also storytelling, to teach the old ways to growing youngsters, and tell the parables and fables to illuminate morals and lessons for minds too young to grasp them, otherwise, and of course to pass on the group’s religious beliefs to ensure the children get everything they need to successfully live out history again.

      This was the role of our grandparents, for many of us while mom and dad were working, and it was a solid plan. It would be nice if parents could continue doing it, but many of them (except new moms) will likely just have too much else to offer that is practically and necessary to the group, to be able to just watch their child/children as much as they’d like.

  22. Ken,
    Think you have the groups here well covered.( even our ‘jack of all trades’). One important aspect that is a “must” of any of these people is the ability and desire to share and patiently teach others all they know. What good is a doctor or engineer after he is dead, if he/she has not passed on as much knowledge as he can to the next generation?

    1. Well said. I believe we all have the responsibility to share our talents and experiences. I was fortunate to have ALL of my grandparents well into my adult life, and they were delightfully generous with their knowledge while I was growing up (they all made it to 100+) I hope to do as much for my own grandchildren….many of whom are either in or approaching college, but some are still little people. We try to spread our time as much as we can.

  23. I finally made it through the article in the comments. The title of who will be most valued is interesting because no one person generally has all the attributes needed… It’ll be a community effort to some degree to survive what will come. Individuals within that community will tend to be more successful than those that don’t have the added value of other people with expertise in various skill sets. Individuals can patch themselves, use herbals, and do some minor medical procedures, but there will come a time when you need a true doctor. I may know how to cook from scratch, taking the actual product from the garden or field, but may not be the best gardener. Animal husbandry is another whole subset. Hunting, fishing, tracking, processing any meat source – all skill sets. What’s the old adage…jack of all trades, master of none? Our plan is to be basic homesteaders with the skills that entails, and we have been working this for many years, while having a mastery of a particular skill. And we have others doing the same that have mastery of a special skill that is needed. As a community, we will manage as best we can while the dust settles.

  24. What I’m going to say is off the subject matter of this article, but, I have to say something about a current head line. Biden is blaming anything and everything for the high prices of nearly everything in the market place and it isn’t his fault. It is everyone else’s fault, but not his. Funny thing is that I don’t remember paying $4 plus or more for diesel fuel for my truck or almost $4 for my wife’s car before he took office ( I do suffer from CRS, as I’m an old fart ( kind of, sort of, maybe ))

    1. Obama era was about 4 ish for a time… but its going to go past 5 now.

    2. @alfie,
      If you feel that your comment is off-topic, then, we recommend that you use the open-forum for those discussions. (no big deal, but I’m just pointing that out for your information).

  25. Reply to Minerjim: I have been working on the teaching aspect since age 55 in earnest because I came to the realization that in California, I would have been forced off the floor into retirement. I am still working on the floor so much of my teaching is OJT for both new employees and float staff. I have become a bit of a scrounger being a long time employee and I know who to call and where to locate stuff within our locked facility. Being an old guy with high blood pressure, sore back and a limp, there are some things I can no longer do. I contribute where I can.

    One final observation from my AO. All this talk about surviving collapse/societal breakdown. If it is a war or a fast, cataclysmic event, what makes you think you would be among the survivors? Even if alive, you could be grievously wounded or gravely ill. Plan to survive and put away supplies and learn new skills but when bad things happen to people, sometimes luck plays a big factor about who lives and who dies. (wrong place, wrong time)

    1. Calirefugee,
      You are a blessed person to be passing along what knowledge you can to the next generation of healthcare workers. It may not seem like much, but it is incredibly important. Even if we can’t “do”, we can instruct, and that is what we should be doing at this point in our lives. As for surviving TEOTWAWKI, or whatever, you are right on the money. We can prepare and plan, but in the end the “much laid plans of mice and men” may still fail. For me my prepping also acts as a strong visual to my kids to practice the same. (you can talk til your blue in the face, sometimes you just need to shut up and lead by doing.) There does “appear” to be an element of luck in surviving. Truth is, God knows who will live, who will die. I acknowledge His Love and Grace to put me right where HE wants me to be.

      1. @MinerJim – +1 re Calirefugee! he is a treasure and a font of knowledge that he shares with us all. Also agree that others learn by observing what we do. During the Northridge earthquake and its multiple aftershocks, we hosted our neighbors on our patio using our coleman stove to make coffee & tea (SUPER important that morning and pretty entertaining with everyone in their PJ’s and robes) as well as meals. That night, we put a candelabra on the piano and hosted a “bring what’s defrosting in your freezer” get together for all the neighbors. It calmed everyone’s nerves a bit and everyone remembers it and talks about it still, 28 years later. When the power went out recently thanks to the utility company PSPS, one of the neighbors invited us to a cookout using their gas grill. Turned a pain in the ass into something fun!

        @Calirefugee – do you have a talisman for luck? :) just kidding!

  26. Ken, My last comment about luck being a factor along with good/bad decisions comes after reading a good book called Deep Survival by Lawrence Gonzales. It brings up a lot of things we may have never thought about. He has written many articles for Outside magazine and his book is well researched. After we set up our perfect homestead and have a good group of folks to be with, one could be killed simply getting on the wrong flight at the airport. This was why I brought up the topic of luck (good or bad fortune, act of God).

      1. Ken J.,
        i use to love to fly. it was the best way get from point a to point b for long distances in years past, but the last two times i did it, it was no better than riding in a trailways bus, i think the bus would have been more comfortable, with better people onboard, gee wiss. people in their jammies and shorts. no joke.
        the last time we flew, the plane sat on the runway for 30 minutes before we left while they worked on something. on the way back we sat for an hr while while they worked on it. that hr gave me time to look around and i realized that i was in the same damn plane, Delta, i’m an real aviation enthusiast and i notice those things. the pilot came over and said that it was something to do with the secondary power supply, nothing to worry about. that was the second time on the same plane. in my mind i’m thinking that at 32,000 ft- power is important.
        no i don’t fly anymore either.
        i’ll just take my chances on the road next time. i have nothing but time on my hands now anyhow. if it breaks down i’ll just pull over. more americana and scenery to see on the way anyhow : )

    1. Cali,that’s a great book. Everyone should own it or at the very least read it. It’s true about luck.its also true the harder you work the luckier you get. Having discernment and critical thinking skills improves your luck. Not putting yourself at risk unnecessarily will boost your luck. Now Fate is different. Fate like Mother Nature will try to kill you every chance it gets.
      I personally believe Fate favors the prepared mind. Hence what we t a little about here…

    2. Calirefugee
      There is definitely an element of randomness to “luck” , sometimes things just happen but over the last number of years I have come more to believe that an element of “luck” is like a sixth sense where subconsciously we try and set up things to succeed by putting a whole wealth of factors through our minds based on experience, situational awareness, weather etc. I have always been a believer in the old adage that we make our own luck partially by the factors I noted. With that said you can still get a kick in the pants when not expected and win the lottery the next day, assuming you bought a ticket lol!

    3. Calirefugee
      Local library has a copy of Deep Survival. I just put it on hold. Thanks for the heads up.

  27. – I was brought along in a system of see one, do one, teach one. If you couldn’t pass something along, you never did anything more than be momentarily useful. Having said that, when I worked in the emergency department in a military hospital, one of my ‘trainees’ was a newly graduated psychiatrist from Harvard University, who managed to graduate without a basic medical internship.

    When he came to us, he was a perfectly well-trained physician without practical skills. I took him aside and taught him the basics of an interrupted suture. You might have thought it was funny, the sergeant teaching the captain how to do a menial task.

    I had a good reputation among the hospital staff and surgeons, though. Just as an aside, that doctor is now the head of emergency medicine at a hospital in a large town a couple of hours drive away now.

    Teaching is just a part of the job, whether another co-worker, a curious child or most especially a patient who is asking. If you aren’t teaching, you’re wasting your time. Just make sure it’s appropriate to the subject and the student.

    – Papa S.

    1. – There is a bit of discussion above about flying, which I did a good bit of a couple of times per month for several years. Some of it in uniform, some more of it not. I carried a briefcase along with me for several of those trips, always on an American-flagged carrier.
      After 9-11, I had a note asking if I would be interested in applying to be an air marshal (I wasn’t) since it would require minimal retraining for me, and I would be at work quickly.
      The only thing is , I wish I had kept the note. I had already had a job that I might go to work on an average Tuesday and not go home for an extended time, and could not legally call my wife and tell her I wouldn’t be home or where I was going. Thank Goodness for my Sergeant-Major, who would call her.
      Having said all that, I no longer fly. I have the time and the inclination to just go ahead and drive if I have somewhere to go nowadays.
      – Papa S.

  28. To Mr. Realist:
    Most LEO’s are clueless about the real world or real life as are soldiers who take orders for both are totally “fed from the system” – tho soldiers are taught some temporary survival skills most LEO’s couldn’t fix their lawnmower nor grow a garden and without backup are totally terrified cowards = not some super human you make them out to be let alone a serious warrior in full shtf…!

    Tho yes in being “a part of” a remade social structure where they are subserviant = as WE have all seen the arrogant @$$whole cop in action being “large + in charge” but dumber then a hammer and worse then no help at all…!
    So get off your self aggrandized soap box for most cops w/out uniformed authority under control of “The People” are far more useless then real people that actually know things of real value and if anything can just get in the way unless directed by those of far greater knowledge…did you get that memo…?
    No disrespect intended only observation over decades; tho truly a rare thing is a really good, intelligent respectful LEO with a large grasp as to being a true and honest “Peace Officer” fully cognizant of their Oath to the Constitution in protecting “WE the Peoples” Liberty’s first and formost…yes true criminals must be made obedient to the law that enforces accountability to + for “WE the People” not the mayor, governor or President…!

    This being a real and true American understanding = that’s their true purpose and from where true authority eminates and must always revere this to where The People can see this in their actions…!

    *It takes a very special person to fulfill in subservience this role for the true benefit of society’s good and truly is a great sacrifice not a bully pulpit or “above the Law get away with crimes” sanctimonious position of power to Lord over the serfdoms of the peons while escaping accountability….and in the end accountability will be for us all to face…!

    1. mtman2,
      it sounds to me like you have been arrested many times for your obvious ignorance.
      good luck in your poor wasted life and go away, you will find no sympathy here.
      i know, don’t feed the trolls, i just couldn’t help it. stupidity just pisses me off.

    2. mtman2,

      It just so happens, there are numerous members of that “special person” group represented here, contributing valuable insight and helpful information. That’s what this site is for; not for broad brushing an entire group of people with tar and feathers. Save that for the ones who truly deserve it.

    3. mtman2 – Like it or not, we all must face reality. I was blessed in having been taught by the “old guard”. I was taught, by one of my very highly regarded instructors, to “enforce the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law.” For whatever reason, in time I came to understand that if the spirit of the law was evil…. then all bets are off. We are all a product of our training to a large degree. I was taught to be a “peace officer”…and that is exactly how I conducted business. My arrest stats were not the highest….but my clearance and conviction rates were exceptional, and the defense attorneys knew (word spreads) if I was the affiant they had their work cut out for them. I guess my superiors took notice and liked what they saw….the lack of suppression hearings and no law suites…..and I took no shit from anyone…including them. They made me a Field Training Officer (FTO). I did the best I could with the “new bucks”, but in time I noticed something in the process. The new crew, in general, lacked an important concept at their core. They loved the law more than they loved the people. Authority was their god. This seems to be more pronounced in the big outfits more so than the little ones….but you can see it in both. All that to say this…..In a lot of cases, unfortunately, you speak the truth mtman2. Society has changed…. and so have the New Centurians as they are the product of that society. There are some mighty fine officers out there today. Pray that you have the good fortune to deal with a peace officer and not a “LEO”. The true peace officer is a dying breed……”LEOs” are a dime a dozen. These are my observations and truth as I see it…..again, just my opinion. My ability to “make friends” does not seem to be my bag….nor do I much care. All I care about is looking in the mirror and not projectile vomitting. I’ll get there one day…..maybe.

  29. A wide age range , a couple truck farmers couple hunters – trappers a couple security guards nurse ,dr. food processors ,cooks. would make a survivable community that could flourish.

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