Why You Should Not Blindly Follow The Rules During Disaster


Trust your instincts instead of blindly following ‘the rules’, or ‘orders’ from authority figures during a disaster. While this message has no ill intent towards emergency responders, the fact is that YOU are responsible for YOU.

While most people are ‘followers’ and will quickly ‘fall into line’ or ‘snap to attention’ when an ‘authority figure’ dominates their psyche, apparently all too often these same people will subsequently stop thinking for themselves – as though they are now ‘saved’ and someone will take care of the situation for them. Please don’t be one of them. Instead, continue to think for yourself. It’s still a (somewhat) free country and you can take responsibility by the reigns and ride that horse all by yourself…

Here are a few tragic examples of what I’m talking about:

In the World Trade Center disaster, many people who were used to following the rules died because they did what they were told by authority figures.

An employee of Aon Insurance Company on the ninety-third floor of the south tower had begun his escape but returned to his office after the security guards made a general announcement that the building was safe and that people should stay inside until they were told to leave. Before he died, he spoke to his father on the phone. “Why did I listen to them — I shouldn’t have.”

Another man, an employee of Fuji Bank, actually reached the ground floor lobby, only to be sent back in by a security guard. A third worker called a family member and recorded a final message on the answering machine “I can’t go anywhere because they told us not to move. I have to wait for firefighters.”

The examples above (sourced from the book, Deep Survival) are tragic. These people had already made the decision to get the heck out of there because their gut instinct was telling them to leave the building. However they immediately lost their conviction when one man told them to stay. Was it because the man was wearing a uniform? Was it the uniform? Or was it the probable forceful manner (Type-A?) in which the orders were being given (no doubt there was extreme stress during that time)? Did those who turned back actually believe that if they walked past – that the security guards (for example) would chase them down? Did they forget that they had free will in a country that’s mostly free to move about?

It is interesting (at least to me) how the apparent majority of people are seemingly afraid of authority figures, and are easily put under their thumb (so to speak). I am not advocating a rebellious attitude, but I am suggesting that you continue thinking critically while in a situation where you may be in potential danger. Trust your intuition. Sometimes only YOU can save YOU…

Do you have any examples to share regarding how following your own gut instinct turned out better for you rather than having followed or obeyed a command or order or rule from ‘authority’?


  1. But then you have Hurricane Katrina where they were told to leave, but they didn’t.

    1. @Thox Spuddy,

      That’s a great observation and comparison.

      A few thoughts:

      Prior to the hurricane setting in, I wonder how many of those affected by Katrina had a gut feeling that they ‘should’ evacuate, but didn’t – even while ignoring what they were being told as well as their instinct?

      I wonder if it’s more mentally difficult to make a decision to leave one’s home rather their place of work (as in the WTC disaster)?

      Given the frequent drama that the mainstream news uses to sensationalize ‘weather events’ these days, I wonder how many have been de-sensitized by it all, and therefore less likely to take warning seriously (although Katrina was pretty obviously very serious…) ?

      1. Ken, very good point

        “Given the frequent drama that the mainstream news uses to sensationalize ‘weather events’ these days”

        almost daily/hourly, if one turns on the news, one will get that sort of “drama”/hype, about some event/some weather/etc.. It does/has gotten to the point where it / these types of “breaking news” gets shoved to the back of one’s mind. Yes, suspect this contributes to folks not taking some warnings seriously. They just don’t get “noticed” amongst the rest of the drama.

        1. Yes, Every weather “event” has become some type of a -mageddon. and is sensationalized beyond belief. When is a snowstorm just a snowstorm? Or a hot day just a hot day? Good news though- we can all tune it out an cancel the Cable……….as long as it’s ok with the wife;-)

      2. And I did not make that post to contradict your point, in fact right now there is a news story how the administration is watering down numerous warnings about the severity of the ISIS threat for political purposes. That is something to be aware of.

        Your recent topics all point to an unusually high expectation of a ‘black swan’ event of major proportions. We should all be on the lookout from the watchman, “one if by land, two if by sea”, with a high probability we might see three lanterns. Thanks for excellent insights to be aware of.

    2. I have a problem with the whole ‘mandatory evacuation’ thing. If you have a fire or hurricane closing in on your location, should you really wait for someone to tell you to leave? The idiots who stayed in N.O. knew full well the city was below sea level.

      1. Look at the difference between N.O. and the Mississippi Gulf coast, N.O. was a total disaster because the blacks sat around waiting on someone to “take care of them” as usual. The mostly white Mississippi coast took it on their selves to fix their problem in spite of FEMA and the federal goverment.

        1. Not only that but N.O. blacks complained that they saw whites cleaning up houses on the news, but no white people came to clean up their houses. How dare those whites clean up their own houses before helping them.

    3. How many of them stayed for the looting? Before Sandy hit NYC the Trayvons were on twitter talking about getting to loot. Some even shot at medevac helicopters.

  2. Very excellent points Ken! So called authority figures and “experts” do not know everything. There’s only one authority figure I know of and He is not of this world.

    On a side note, I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I want to thank you for getting the last few blog posts out earlier in the morning. I’ve been able to check the blog before I head out to work around the cabin in the morning. :)

  3. There is an excellent book called The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley that goes in depth as to why people act the way they do during an emergency. It was a very enlightening read.

    1. I’ve read that personality traits often reverse themselves in times of crisis. My personal observations seem to bear out that observation.

  4. Ken, I like your posts 99% of the time however in this case I feel your advice is quite dangerous. I believe your intention for the article is a bit off of how it has been conveyed. Maybe you should rethink how you approached this article as telling people not to follow instructions of authorities is a pretty good way of inciting panic and creating chaos which will cause increase in the casualty rate. Your article only uses examples of security guards giving direction during a mass casualty incident. Lets be clear security guards are not an authority. If a security guard told me to stay put and my training an experience told me better I would be gone, security guards are untrained and there purpose is certainly not to triage a mass casualty incident like those you referenced in your article. A better way to approach this article may be to say “hey, unless your getting instructions from police and fire responders go with your instinct” The issue you face here is you have leaders and followers most will be followers and unfortunately in both of these examples first responders were unable to reach most of the victims due to the circumstances. So the follower types, looking for an escape route is going to listen to security guards or better yet the orders sent down from their bosses through the security guards whom have no experience in these areas. The examples you have given are also way out of the norm for any incident that had occurred before them. They are history markers, people did the best they could with what they knew. Unfortunately now we live in a world where we have to prepare for this type of incident. Its heartbreaking to realize how much different our world is compared to just 15-20 years ago.

    in response to Grits, You are correct experts can’t know everything. This is because MCI incidents are never a black and white structured event. It is a constantly evolving set of problems that need to be solved very quickly. There are smart people out there that spend 20-30 years making on demand stress decisions in an effort to save lives. Be smart and listen to what a police or fireman tell you if not for your safety then everyone else.

    1. I understand your point and sort of agree with some of it. However when discussing authority figures one should consider this, police are for enforcing laws and maintaining order, fire fighters/paramedics have a singular focus on saving lives. You cannot lump them together. I would be far more inclined to follow instruction from a fire fighter than a police officer in a catastrophe.

      Nothing against police officers, I respect them and give them kudos for the job they do, but it is a different job than fire fighters.

      Like said, we each are responsible for ourselves and should use our own good judgement.

    2. I’ll go with Ken’s advice and think for myself. Regardless of who is wearing the uniform, we are each responsible for ourselves and family. If you end up worse off for following orders, you are the one that suffers the consequence. Also, many of the orders in an emergency situation are given for the sole purpose of protecting and making the responders “duties” safe or easier, and are concerned about the “public safety”, not individuals.

      1. Im with you on this, prefer to take care of myself, if I want help I will ask, otherwise stay away from my farm and leave me alone, our local “officals” are great for the damn tourists, im good thanks.

    3. @notcool, I believe that I understand your feelings on this — which might focus on the behavior of the so called ‘followers’. I do believe that the majority (unfortunately) of people today are ill equipped (mentally) to think critically for themselves – and might make bad decisions for themselves – depending…

      With that said, the intended intent of the article includes the word, “blindly”, as in to blindly follow the so called ‘rules’ or orders — that is to mindlessly do what perceived ‘authority’ tells them to do during a disastrous situation in which people (to a great extent) might be ‘on their own’ as ‘authority’ becomes largely concerned for control beyond that of your own personal immediate situation. Their motives and desired outcomes ‘might’ be different from those of your own. Therefore to take responsibility for one’s own security is the preferred route of action (assuming that one has the mental and physical ability to do so).

      The article was not meant to downplay the actions of first-responders, police, or firefighters.

      We will have to agree to disagree with your statement, “…unless your getting instructions from police and fire responders go with your instinct.”, because there is no ‘unless’ – because they are not the boss of ‘me’ (except if ‘under arrest’ for example). With that said, chances are that their instructions will be beneficial, but I will not go ‘blindly’ into the night ;)

      Thanks for your comment. Good discussion…

      1. The OP has a very solid point here “notcool”. I was there on 9/11 and I was also in the building the day they blew up the parking lot under the towers in 1993. When they blew the van up in the parking garage, I was trading on the NYMEX 8 floors up in 4 WTC. A building attached to the Towers base. The floor vibrated as a deep rumble shook the trading floor, the lights flickered and 5000 people on the trading floor simultaneously gasped “whoooaaa”. After about 10 seconds, trading exploded back into action. Everyone whispering to each other it must have been a transformer blowing in the basement. No announcements, no info, no nothing. 20 minutes later my wife called from home, to tell me it was a bomb, its all over the tv, get out! I called the trading desk in Connecticut and informed them I was leaving for the day. They said yeah go get out of there. They of course were seeing the same news that nobody in the building was privy to. I left the floor, one of only a few at the time. As I stepped out of the elevator into the main concourse at the WTC, it was clear. EMS crews working on bleeding and injured people here and there, and smoke starting to filter into the main lobby. This was way worse than any of the people in the building were aware of. Of course within the next hour all stairways and elevator shafts were clogged with thick black smoke, and the whole complex had to be evacuated in terrible conditions. Most of this could have been avoided by starting evacuation earlier.

        On 9/11, it was another example of the sheeple watching things happen to themselves as their minds are hopelessly stuck in neutral. I was in the new NYMEX building directly across the West Side Highway from the towers. I watched as the second plane struck the WTC, live on the office TV as I was preparing for the trading day. I was instantly switched into evacuation mode. Grabbing my keys and wallet and heading for the stairway, I tried to imagine the chaos I was about to encounter outside. What I knew was only that a small plane had allegedly hit one tower, and I saw a large fireball erupt from the 2nd tower on TV. (I didnt know it was 747’s, I actually assumed it was some type of bomb. The plane had hit the building from the other side of the traffis copter’s POV and all I saw on TV was the carnage busting through the other side). As I hit the street I was shocked to find no panic or sense of urgency on the people outside. I was expecting a bum rush for the ferry docks and subways. Nope. Herds of sheeple standing in the courtyards of the World Financial Center, sipping their coffees and smoking their cigarettes as they stared blank faced up at the twin towers with huge gaping holes and paper,smoke and flames pouring out of them. I was shocked! I walked over to the ferry dock. A ferry slides in and 100 or more people get off, as just me and 1 other guy get on to leave Manhattan. It was about 20 minutes later when the 1st tower fell and the sheeple in the streets turned to wild panic.

        The point is, you NEED to think for yourself! Turn off the auto-pilot, turn on your educated mind and think critically. It could and does save lives.

        1. @Iwasthere,

          Quote, “As I hit the street I was shocked to find no panic or sense of urgency on the people outside. I was expecting a bum rush for the ferry docks and subways. Nope. Herds of sheeple standing in the courtyards of the World Financial Center, sipping their coffees and smoking their cigarettes as they stared blank faced up at the twin towers with huge gaping holes and paper,smoke and flames pouring out of them. I was shocked! “

          Stunning! This is the very behavior that seems to exist in SO MANY PEOPLE (sheeple). They are blind to what’s going on right in front of them. They do not see the signs. They are suffering from severe normalcy bias. It is amazing, and it is a state of mind that I have difficulty understanding…

          Thanks for your comment. I’m constantly amazed at the variety of people who happen upon this blog. You are one of the ‘thinking’ people ;)

    4. “hey, unless your getting instructions from police and fire responders go with your instinct”

      I have a problem with that statement. Many, many years ago I read an article about a car accident. A woman involved in a car accident was sitting on the ground near her car, when a police officer came over to her, she stated that she was feeling dizzy. The officer told her to put her head down between her knees. She did what she was told and it cost her her life. It turned out she had a broken neck, and by putting her head down between her knees, her neck separated causing her to expire.

      I believe regardless of who is directing you, go with your instincts. If you are given instructions from an authority figure and it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. Even the authorities make mistakes and don’t know it all.

    5. You have a point for those who are ignorant people, but police in my case were ignorant of the laws and put my life in jeopardy, so I was forced to move from that county of 3 bumbling deputy idiots and DNR game officer 13 years ago to save my life.

      I had talked to a swat team from that county this summer and told them of the incidents and they apologized and felt bad about what happened. Seems that is unheard of these days, law authorities admitting fault with their department and let go some unworthy of wearing the badge.

    6. First off I agree as a LEO. Security guards can not restrict your movement in public space per say. As a LEO I would never tell someone to go back into a burning building or other situation that may put them into further danger. I want the uninjured out of the way and if that means them leaving the area fine. I have never met a fireman that arrived at a house fire or business fire and told the people to go back in. In the case of the WTC the building management cost an untold number of people their lives. The fact is at the end of the day it is still your responsibility for your own safety.

      1. In defense of security guards… not really, but just some thoughts:

        1) Hindsight is 20/20!
        2) The WTC was supposed to be crash proof and fire proof, the idea of the superstructure heat to the point the metal melted was never considered a possibility.
        3) A jet, and jet fuel were raining down from the impact zone,
        4. People clogging the streets around the towers would have slowed down FDNY and NYPD.

        5) In a planned terrorist attack you always need to be worried about secondary devices or agents such as a bug.

        The only right choice is the one that ultimately helps you survive. You ABSOLUTELY should listen to PD and FD, but not necessarily obey them…use them for intel, if you can get them to talk about the nature of the threat and why they are recommending whatever response they are propsing.

      2. A cop would have a hard time ordering me to do something contrary to my instinct. I wouldn’t advise trying to restrict my movement. I will resist so far as humanly possible.

    7. The cop or fireman doesn’t care about you at all. If their direction conflicts with my self preservation instinct, fook them. I have been adivsed by my employer that if a shooting incident were to take place, and if I could, use the PA system and say SHOOTER, SHOOTER, SHOOTER!! No chance of inducing panic there, eh? I’m surprised some pissed off temp hasn’t already done that out of spite.

    8. Well one group was pretty smart, despite being a significant portion of first responders no women first responders got hurt/died in 9/11. While NYC wont say so its obvious that when 1/3 of NO cops abandoned their posts the majority of those that ran away like little girls where women. With the exception of the 2 black female cops seen on video looting Wallmart in uniform.

  5. if is to blindly follow “instructions”, then one has to assume they really do know better/have good intentions. Such is not always the case.

    I have seen many cases where someone did not follow instructions/the crowd, and it worked much better for that person.

    also, in an emergency, disaster,
    it is important to try to make some calm, rational assessment (of your own)
    quite often in an emergency/disaster, the only ones who get out/are safe, are those who ACT. often waiting “traps” folks in unsafe situations

    thanks for the article, Ken

    1. Keep in mind that what I am about to say would apply to disasters like the Twin Towers or an Earthquake or a shooter in a theater. No Warning events.

      In the initial stages of a disaster no one “knows” everything. In fact,in most cases, no one “knows” anything. Key word is Initial.

      As facts are determined a picture begins to emerge. Based upon a few known facts and whatever personal experience a person may have, some conclusions can be made and action taken. Sometimes a critical piece of information may not be known and when it does become evident a change in plans and tactics must be made.

      Additional information may require additional changes in response. Reassessment of the “known” situation is continuously required.

      Initially NO “authority” figure is going to know more then you do. Remember that.

      1. “Initially NO “authority” figure is going to know more then you do. Remember that.”

        VERY good points. Thanks for your comment.

  6. I think this ties back to common sense, situational awareness, foresight, and the ability to THINK during an emergency. I have, sadly, been in a handful of emergencies and can stay calm and keep my cool. I am confident that I could get myself out of most emergencies, because some things are completely out of my control. But there are so many, so, so many that don’t have a clue what to do when bad stuff happens. These are the reactive people, not the proactive people.

  7. The following is a great example of how stupid it is to just follow the rules, the ” blind following the blind”.

    The COMEX has just issued its latest publication on the gold market. The report clearly states that for each real physical oz. of gold there are over 200 oz.s of paper claims for that oz. of real gold. Investors are told everything is o.k. just purchase more paper gold and they do. My gut reaction is ” oh my God we are headed for that perfect storm”. When the gut reaction of the investor finally kicks in there will be a global crash in the financial markets never seen before. And we ( man on the street types) will all feel the pain! The only thing that will have any value are physical assets( things you can feel and touch), bullets, band aids and beans. If you are an investor in paper get out now.

    1. It’s probably pretty much the same for silver. Just remember, possession is 9/10’s of the law. If you don’t have the actual gold or silver, you are S___ out of luck.

  8. The first couple sentences are key here. Maybe this could have been presented more strongly as an option vs a hard and fast rule. Our world has much more info available at our fingertips now than 2001 for sure, so even 9/11 is an historic example. The main problem here is that most people have very, very small amounts of experience making life & death decisions in high stress scenarios. What’s good for you as an individual may not be best for a group and vice versa. It’s an excellent point to bring up that distrust in current authorities influences these ideas. Example: I don’t trust the president or FEMA so now I don’t trust any authority because everyone is secretly working as undercover agents of a gov’t that doesn’t deserve trust. Good point! Except that there’s always people out there that do understand the times and have a head on their own shoulders. They may work in positions of authority that can and do save your life in these situations, because they have the experience needed to truly evaluate and act on information. Learning to evaluate a scenario and it’s “leadership” quickly with wisdom and discernment would be the real key to open the door to a safe outcome. Automatic trust or distrust can have devastating consequences for you and possibly many others if misplaced! I agree entirely that we are responsible for ourselves! We should all be more and more as times progress.

    But we can’t all be Moses. Someone has to lead and many have to follow. Moses could have left without the group, but that wouldn’t have produced the best or intended outcome. I truly believe recognizing what true authority is in this regard is what can make the difference. Like situational awareness taken to the next level. It may not come from an official title or a uniform or a badge. But if you see true authority in a person leading the way, you need to be awake & alert enough to follow them. Or maybe you are that person and need to be willing to lead even if you don’t automatically consider yourself the leader because you carry true authority?

    1. Is it ever a bad idea to leave a skyscraper that has just shuddered violently and is filling with smoke and fire?

      1. No… Not saying that at all, but it could be a bad idea to run out of a building & get hit by a truck because you wouldn’t stop when the person in front of you did. They even told you to stop, but the were a security guard so you didn’t trust them and kept going because you were only concerned about yourself!

        Ok, exaggerated scenario, but again my point is that following is NOT inherently evil! It’s the following BLINDLY that is the issue or being to BLIND to follow a good leader!


  9. With all the plans that the military, DHS and FEMA have documented for us.
    With the laws being broken by politicians and the UN Agenda 21 about to be emplimented, I think the plans for Americans are not with our best Interest in mind to say the least!! Consider what you would do if what is stated below actually happens!!!

    Future situation, 1 to 4 AM, grid is down, no mobile phone service, you hear your front door being banged on. You open it to a military personel telling you that an immediate mandatory evacuation is taking place, they may state a nuclear attack has happened, a nuclear power plant is failing, ETC. School buses have come to take you and your family to a safe location. REFUSE!! REFUSE!! REFUSEEE!! TELL THEM that you will drive yourself to evacuate!!! OR JUST DON’T ANSWER THE DOOR!!!

    With all the chaos that is happening around the world, be prepared, have a plan and communicate those plans with every family member. Use judgement on what should be said to small children.

    Also have a plan “B”!!! Try to have a plan that could work if all vehicles were not working due to an EMP. Having a route planned that would provide natural cover for concealment while traveling on foot should be considered if riots and/or martial law is emplimented.

    Knowing that 3 day packs have been provided to schools for children and survival packs to Treasury Employees that work a major banks, I think plans for an event to happen during day light hrs on a normal weekday are more likely!! If this were to actually happen, having a muster point to meet up with family members that is centrally located to your job, school and home might be considered. Having that get home bag in your vehicle would certainly come in handy!!!

    A reminder!

    Stay Aware of your surroundings!! Every time you enter a building know where the exits are other than the one you entered
    Every day!!!

    Stay Safe!!!

    1. If you start looking, it’s unsettling how many lighted EXIT signs don’t work, and how many emergency exit doors are chained shut.

      1. When I find doors that will not open or exit signs that are not working in a commercial establishment I make a call to the local Fire Marshall. They have never failed in getting the problem fixed. I have even gone so far as to check on the condition of fire extinguishers.

  10. Use good common sense and stay aware of your surroundings is good advise. Don’t be a sheep and follow the first nut case that comes along. I agreed that most politicians don’t have our best interest at heart. Think about what’s best for you.

  11. In the case of TWTC it was pandemonium. Every responder was doing what they thought was best it was a judgment call with little coordination. In Katrina it was not having a plan or the supplies to literally weather the storm. I am solely responsible for my and my family’s welfare. If an authoritarian figure tells me to do something I feel is unsafe I will use my OWN judgment. I trust my ability to think and act. LEO, Firefighters, Military are well meaning but are trained to take ORDERS. If clear directions aren’t given they are not individual thinkers. I will do what’s best even if I face arrest as long as my family is safe.

    Part of my prepps is cash one envelope is marked BAIL MONEY .I alone am responsible for my actions and survival.

  12. Please consider these facts if you haven’t started to Prep!!!

    OPEC along with Russia are pumping oil as fast as they can, but why when inventories around the globe are maxed OUT. Typically when inventories are high oil producers cut production to maintain profits. What is currently happening has NEVER been done. OIL Storage is about to enter into the use of tankers and barges which will invite mutiple enviromental disasters!!!

    I think the oil producers know something is about to happen!!! Something that will shut down their incomes completely!! So they are pumping as much as they can while they can before they run out of time!!!

    Pray and Prepare!! WWIII may start soon!!!!

    1. Part of that is to try and destroy the US oil industry, The US has been going full tilt into fracking dropping dependence on OPEC, in Saudi the oil comes out easy and inexpensively, fracking on the other hand is expensive (both monetarily and environmentaly) so if oil prices are lower than production cost the corps will eventually fail, Saud can dump oil cheap for decades, these folks have deeper pockets than all the billionaires we read about combined. Its all a big screwed up game.

      1. While the Saudis produce the largest amount of oil of the members of OPEC, they don’t make up the entire OPEC organization nor have influence in Russia. This reduced price is crushing Venezela economically!! not just the Fracking industry. additionally once Russia’s pipeline to China is complete the pumps from the largest exporter will stay open. War, I think has been planned well in advance of this energy deal between Russia and China who will be allies for a very long time.

        I would really like to be wrong, but with Russian troops now on the ground in Syria, not just the Naval base on the coast, the momentum is heading in the wrong direction for peace.

        Another factor, Israel has warned more than once that they will not allow Iran to develope a Nuclear weapon. The current version of this peace agreement about to be voted on by Congress will be the signal for Israel to take the action they deem nessesary for their safety!!

        The number one question most South Koreans have asked of the world is WHY WASN’T MORE DONE TO STOP North Korea from attaining Nuclear bombs, because they have to LIVE under that threat everyday!!

        I feel our fate has already been sealed by the actions of our society and the unwillingness of most of our citizens to stand against the unlawful actions of our Government!!!

        May God have mercy on us!!

  13. There is an excellent book that I read called the “Survivors Club” by Ben Sherwood. In the book a John Leach who lives in Lancaster England teaches and writes papers on every important study of survival. The US Air Force’s survival school in Spokane Washington teach Leaches most important findings. Leach came up with a theory of 10-80-10. The first 10% will handle a crisis in a calm, and rational state of mind. This 10% usually survives. The second group and majority of people fall into the 80% group. This group of people, “in a crisis” will be stunned and bewildered. Reasoning is impaired and thinking is difficult and behave in a reflexive and almost automatic or mechanical manner which is easily led by an authoritarian figure. The last group, the final 10% are people whom you will want to avoid in an emergency. They behave inappropriately and counter productively. For lack of a better word they “freak out”.

    I have generalized this for space but for a good study and read on real survivors and using a proper mind set in an emergency situation, I recommend reading The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood.

    1. I guess not much has changed since ancient Greece but of course he was only talking about white people. There is an 80/20 rule that 20% of people do 80% of the work.

      “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” ― Heraclitus

  14. Even if you ARE getting instruction from police or first responders use your head and do what’s right for you. One example I can give is I was in one of those famous fires we see every few years in Southern California where over 400 houses burned. At 10:30 am there was a very small fire up in the foothills miles from the city and probably 7 miles or more from my home. I went to the gym and lunch and around 1:00 pm that fire was quite large but still miles from the city and my home. I called the school my children were in and was told that the children would NOT be released early and would certainly not be released without notifying the parents. At 2:00 pm I went outside and the smoke was thick overhead. wind was 30-40 mph and the fire was bigger. Still miles from the city and my home… but I was uneasy. I drove home, ten miles with thick smoke 50 feet above me and ash falling. I got home and my son and daughter were there, the school had released all children and the staff left for their own homes. The fire incredibly was still miles away, the wind if anything was picking up, my neighbor was on his roof with a hose wetting down his roof. At 3:00 pm I drove my children some clothing and a few important items back to the main part of town. Smoke was thick and scary, I mean the smoke was 30 feet off the ground for a distance of perhaps 5-7 miles across with ash falling from the sky and the sun blotted out into darkness. By 5 pm the news was of evacuations, homes burning, firemen unable to save them, whole neighborhoods burning up. We stayed at a friends house until about 1:00 am the next morning. The fires were still burning a path about 10 miles long and two miles wide but the wind had died to zero and the smoke was rising straight up and you could easily see where the fires were and were not. I drove home, I was turned back once on the main roads so I took back roads avoiding the police and found our neighborhood was intact. The fire burned right up to the block wall that surrounded our neighborhood. We spent the rest of the night in our own beds.

  15. I do not follow all the authorities, many have been ignorant of the laws, made bad decisions, and have ignored the needs of safety. Having experienced all this from unqualified authorities, I do what I think is best.

    I try not to get in situations that will jeopardize my safety, and most times when something comes up that sets me uneasy, I get out of them asap. It doesn’t mean I don’t take some risks, but I am prepared.

  16. In my first career I drove ambulance at age 20. That led to jobs fighting fires (Yellowstone in 1988) and responding to riots 12 years later. (Rodney King riots in South Central Los Angeles 1993)

    Back then I looked for the guy or gal that was local, with gray hair who had service stripes on their sleeves or the dirty, worn turnouts and battered helmet as THE incident commander or Head-Mother-F_cker-In-Charge. Frequently the ones making the most noise and waving their arms are the idiots in a crisp, new uniform that are acting reflexively because their brain has stopped working OR they want to be in charge so bad they can taste it. (Thinking of their promotion or book deal after they go home.)

    The ultimate indicator was to look in their eyes. If I saw fear or the fact they were overwhelmed, I did what I had to do. I’ll apologize or pay the fine later. In the meantime, You are an idiot, get out of my way.

    Now days, I am the one with the gray hair. I still work in the medical field and am in charge of training new medical staff. The toughest thing to teach is independent thought when sh_it happens (and it will happen). At my place of work, the guy in charge of emergency response is a young man from California with a PHD (in emergency management). He was in primary school when the Loma Preita Earthquake flattened highway 17 in the San Francisco Bay Area. (double decker freeway pancaked cars and trucks beneath tons of concrete)

    Once we got there to “rescue” people, we found 2 distinct groups: The survivors were unscathed but seriously freaked out or: the people were dead (crushed beneath tons of concrete and rebar) Even the Red Cross spokesman said on the news: “Stop sending donated blood. We don’t need it.” The psychotherapists of the Bay Area had their couches filled for years afterwards. CALTRANS brought in the cutting torches, jackhammers and bobcat tractors to break up and haul away the debris within days and they were busy cleaning up for months afterwards.

    I apologize if what I said sounds cold and will no doubt offend some out there but in the mass casualty events, somebody has to make decisions of what to do (stay or go) (treat on scene or evacuate to Emergency Room)
    Don’t shut your brain off. Stop for a brief moment, assess your current situation then go to a safer place if available. Do not be the person running from the frying pan into the fire. In the San Simeon Earthquake, the only fatality was a young lady that left the building she was in to run into the street only to have a wall of unreinforced bricks fall on her in Paso Robles, CA. If she stayed inside the beauty salon, she would have survived.

  17. In all fifty states in the Republic,NO STATE allows LEGALLY for a private security guard/officer to forcibly order ANYONE back INTO or ONTO any private property. That action is called “kidnapping”, unlawful detention, unlawful detainer, false imprisonment, in many states.

    IN the case of the World Trade Centers, those who mindlessly allowed themselves to “follow orders”, from private security personnel, got the natural consequences of that mindless decision.

    Panic kills, Reaction kills.
    Responding rationally does not. Be rational, swallow the natural fear, and be in charge of YOUR OWN DESTINY.
    Trust your gut. It’s kept you alive this far…

  18. I’ve debated whether or not to share this story, but here goes. Almost 20 years ago I was in a motorcycle accident. No loss of consciousness but I found myself on the side of the road afterward with a compound fracture in both my femur and tibia. The tibia was completely shattered. I tried to get up but soon realized I couldn’t. At first I wasn’t aware of what was going on and thought there was a stick sticking out of my leg. I reached down to pull it out and that’s when I realized it was bone. This was before cell phones were so handy so a friend I was riding with rode his bike down the road to find a call box and call 911. The paramedics arrived and checked me out and were preparing to put me in the ambulance. My leg was bent, but not at the knee, it was bent at the fracture point. They put me on the stretcher and one of the paramedics started to straiten my leg so I could lay down. It didn’t feel right to ME so I made him stop. He said he needed to straiten it out so I could lay down in the ambulance. I told him to leave it as it is and prop it up with a pillow or something. He said they didn’t have anything to do that with and protocol was that I need to lay down in the ambulance. I refused, thinking that snapping the bone back into place in its jagged state could possibly cut the femoral artery. So I raised my other leg up next to the broken one and told him to tape them together I and would hold it up myself. So eventually that’s what we did and off to the emergency room we went. After about a 20 minute ride to the hospital (we were riding up in the mountains in California) the doctor in the ER vindicated my theory. He said it was a slight risk but was still possible to have cut the femoral artery. Of course being in an ambulance with paramedics I probably wouldn’t have bled out, but the notion was still in my mind. Anyway, nearly 20 years later, my leg is still a little gimpy but I can walk short distances without my cane. If I had blindly listened to the paramedic there’s a slight chance I might not be here today. I listened to his advice, but went with an alternative instead.

    1. @ Grits
      I have to admit I shivered a little at your predicament. Sometime we have got to listen to our own selves. And insist on “this is the way it is”. Other times maybe not so much. The decision is a crap shoot whether at times we are correct or not. But it’s our decision to turn right or turn left. Unfortunately the path is never marked very well.
      Thanks for sharing your story.

      1. Thanks NRP, one other thing besides the doctor’s words vindicated my decision. The fact that I needed a transfusion of two units of blood. I don’t have a medical background so I don’t know if that’s a lot, but I still often wonder how much blood I would’ve lost if the artery had been nicked at some point even with medical professionals at the ready. Of course I’m grateful for the job everyone did at putting humpty dumpty back together, but I’m also glad I kept the leg the way it was until I got to the hospital.

    2. They had hare traction splints 20 years ago, but saying that I have seen a girl EMT trying to put one on upside-down on a patient. Of course me being mean to her was worse than her incompetence.

      1. @Anubis
        Sounds interesting, and of course it’s too late to do anything about it now. I just looked up some info on it because I’ve never heard of one of those devices. But does it still work when the femur is protruding from the skin just above the knee? Heck, not just the skin, it was sticking out through my jeans too. I’m just glad for the shock I was in. I was able to observe everything going on as if I were a bystander. Didn’t feel any pain till I got to the ER but that didn’t last long thanks to the morphine drip.

        Oh one question about the hare traction splint. Does that device still work when the patient also has a shattered tibia in the same leg? From the pictures of the device I wouldn’t think so. Of course, that may be why they didn’t attempt using one. In the end, they did end up using a titanium halo (external fixator) that I had to wear for about a year. Oh what fun! :)

        Anyway, thanks for the info, I enjoyed looking it up. If it would’ve worked who knows maybe they could’ve patched me up enough to return me to active duty rather than forcing me into medical retirement.

  19. The controlling powers don’t care about the human costs it might take to achieve their goals. The statement about WMDs in Iraq prove this!! All of the false flags since then prove it!!

    Please stay alert because the biggest false flag is yet to be performed!! Its purpose will be to cause again, a massive amount of fear in Americans!! So that those not aware will welcome the control of their lives for a so called safety for the greater good!!!

    1. @ being watched
      I will admit I’m not much od a conspiracy theorist. But I will agree with you about false flags and control by the government, current or past, they all do the same thing. With that said I do “feel” the current band of outlaws will be pulling some sort of illegal BS, in order to retain control of the White-House. They have worked very effectively to “stir the bucket” so to say and get the peoples hate to a boiling point, as seen in the staged riots and hate crimes. My fear is with one signature this debacle of a president can declare Martial Law and deem himself King. In addition the Global Economy is to the breaking point, plus many other things in the mix. Add to that the “dumbing of America” I see a full on crash within the next 18 months, I hope to GOD I’m wrong, but the writing is on the wall, Barry will find a way to stay in power of the most powerful country in the world. With his finger on the Hate/Destroy the US button.

      1. B will not still be in office. The Dems and Repubs are in cahoots. He is the scapegoat. Once he leaves, all the “conservatives” will blindly allow all the next Republican to put all the anti-freedom legislation into place. I honestly believe that killing him to make him a martyr is part of their plan.

      2. All those idiots that saw the 3yo boy on the beach and didn’t even realize it was a hoax or planted. No cyanosis of the fingers, head toward the water with arms legs pointing straight uphill. Hair not tousled by waves or in direction of gravity.

  20. Note: There will be an article tomorrow morning whereby there will be opportunity to focus on 9/11 and the opinions thereof…

    I point this out because I see that some of you are voicing your opinion (rightly so – given the examples portrayed above) beyond this article’s notion of ‘blindly following the orders from so called authority figures’. 9/11 is certainly a hot topic in and of itself…

    1. @ Ken
      Wellllll you DO love to get us FIRED UP….. HAHAHAHA
      It’s good to see people voicing their opinions.
      Thank you again for a GREAT Blog.

  21. It’s my opinion that a vast majority of people would (will) blindly (automatically) respond (react as ordered) to someone who is presenting them-self as ‘in charge’ during a situation while spouting orders, etc.. – no matter what the scenario – within some limits of logic or reason.

    Why do you think that is?

    1. Why? It’s simple human nature. We’re programmed that way. In most cases following the crowd is what has allowed us to survive this long. Of course the opposite is also true and there have been many cases where following the herd has been fatal. Historically we may have lost some along the way but following the crowd was the safest way to go. Somehow I think history is changing and following the crowd is no longer the way to go. At least not when you see where the crowd is going. Free will is also another interesting concept, sometimes it’s actually very difficult to NOT follow the crowd. Emotions and instincts have a lot to do with it, just look at how quickly a peaceful protest turns into a violent riot just because one or a few in the crowd throws a bottle or rock or something.

      I remember a show a few years ago (I think it was on discovery channel) where they explored this very idea of why people follow instructions from people in uniform. It’s was in a comedic format but still informative. In one segment they taped a section of the floor in an office building and had someone in uniform tell people to walk around the tapped off section and they did. Another told a few people to stand and wait inside the section, and they did. Another told people to walk along the tape (in a circle) and they did. A few people just looked at them funny and went about their business, but most just did as they were told. It was funny, but interesting.

      1. That’s a great observation:

        “…how quickly a peaceful protest turns into a violent riot just because one or a few in the crowd throws a bottle or rock or something”

        The ‘follower’ instinct definitely has something to do with this. Even when the actions are clearly wrong, people join in and follow in kind…

        Knowing and understanding that people (generally) behave this way, it is something to remember regarding one’s own personal security – and it provides some insight into potential behavior during post-SHTF to some extent.

    2. I do not think it is natural

      no two yr old/ no teen naturally does this

      we are socialised to

      1. No? Then why is “fitting in” the most important thing for teens and pre-teens?

        1. Grits

          fitting in is only important to a point. They all want to have the newest this/that etc, to stand out in some way. and, for a teen, fitting in, is a bit different than following “authority” / “someone in charge”…That group of teens which hangs together, is just as likely to ignore/f..u/prevaricate if someone in authority tells them to do something as not. And , if they do do what is told, it will like be with enough foot dragging, complaints/slowness, etc.. so..all truly understand they are really only doing such and such because they now choose to, etc..

        2. Anon
          I have to disagree. Fitting in is very much the same as following. Following the trends, getting the same shoes, hair styles, skinny jeans, and latest phones, etc. Maybe they’re not so interested in traditional authority figures (their elders) but they do have the same genes directing them to follow. It has been a valid survival tactic for many millennia. To them their authority figures are the trend setters, and perhaps maybe even the loudest voices amongst their peers. They all believe they’re independent and the world revolves around them, but deep down even the most rebellious will follow.

          What happens to the kids who don’t fit in, or follow the crowd? They’re ostracized and marginalized until they’re pushed aside or find another group where they can fit in. Following is just instinctual, no one wants to get banished from the tribe.

          That is until society steps in and says we’re all the same and can’t treat people like that and they start handing out the participation trophies.

      1. @Thox
        Thanks for bringing that up. I remember seeing that experiment, and I believe it was probably on the same show with the people in uniforms telling people to walk in circles in the office building lobby. I can’t remember the name of the show but I bet it’s still available on on demand on cable somewhere. They ran several experiments during the show highlighting our vulnerabilities to authority figures.

        Also, if it weren’t for people’s natural tendencies to follow I don’t think the grey man concept would be viable.

      2. It may have been an episode of Mind Games. I haven’t had cable in years so I don’t know…

      3. Sorry, I did a better search on it and I think it was called Brain Games, possibly the Peer Pressure episode.
        Mind games was a drama, disregard that one.

  22. WMDs: In the buildup to the Iraq war Germany, France and a couple of other European countries stood beside Russia and China to stop/slow the war. It took almost two years and in those two years we watched a steady stream of 18 wheelers going to Syria in the Bekaa Valley. What do you suppose was on those trucks? Baby milk?

    Germany built much of the infrastructure in Iraq for making WMDs. France also provided infrastructure along with Holland. Russia built the infrastructure to manufacture biological weapons and provided them with the materials as well. In the buildup to the war Russia had a steady stream of jet transports flying into Iraq to pull out the biologic WMDs and the equipment to make them.

    China sold Iraq 99.99% of all the conventional weapons, bullets, guns, rockets, artillery etc.

    In addition to these WMD’s that were whisked out of Iraq while the UN fiddled Iraq had 550 tons of yellow cake uranium which they were in the process of refining and building underground refining facilities (again that infrastructure and equipment was provided by our European allies.

    So where there WMD’s in Iraq on 9/11? Did the U.S. know this before 9/11? Of course they did but to admit it openly would have been the equivalent of admitting that Bill Clinton screwed up royally and didn’t make Saddam abide by the treaty he signed. Everyone knew Saddam was making WMDs but politically it was too hot to touch so everyone kept quiet about it.

  23. I think that is…because many people are never truly challenged and thus feel disempowered and overwhelmed. In a crisis, the first decision for a group may be to simply follow the voice that is loudest or to look for someone who appears to know what they are doing. Unfortunately, in a true crisis, the leader’s first decision may lead to more casualties to save the group and there is often growing aggressiveness among individuals who have never truly faced their fear. Thus, the issue can grow to one about people rather than places or things.

    Trained to follow orders, and to train others, I stress task and purpose over the letter of the law.

    One does not wait for disaster to strike to consider the validity of rules.

  24. Gone w/Wind, There is a town called Halabja that knows Saddam had chemical weapons. There are plenty of open-source areas of information that will help lead you to where he got them. Remember who aided Saddam in his war against Iran. See Donald Riegle, for instance, and Senate testimony. It is part of the public record.

    1. The U.S. gave Saddam some satellite data to let them know where Iran’s troops were. We did not give him weapons.

  25. Do not forget— the Dems, all of them, Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, Schumer all were talking about the WMD that Saddam had before Bush was ever elected.

  26. Does anyone else find it odd that men in uniform were discouraging evacuation of the Twin Towers? Let’s for a moment consider the possibility that this wasn’t what we are supposed to believe it was, an attack from a foreign enemy. Besides discouraging evacuation from an impending disaster, the American public was solidly united against this enemy and we held back at nothing to seek and destroy them and to tighten up our free society no enemy could even make a phone call that we wouldn’t know about it. Were we following ‘orders’? Were we not used to decimate our liberty and privacy? After over 10 years of Americans (and other nationalities) died over in the land of our enemy, we just walk away? A major terrorist nation, ISIS, rises out of the heap and wages a brutal assault with sophisticated weapons and is competent in technology as if trained by military advisors of advanced skills, and we have a president who downplays the threat? If you wanted to use the American public to be a willing partner in allowing you to grab control, total control, without them being all that aware of what was happening, how could you come up with a better plan? Is anybody seeing this the way I do?

    1. “it is ridiculous to claim that there was any American involvement or complicity with the 9/11 attack.”
      I made a point of not suggesting that. But I did suggest a takeover intention.

  27. I think that there is a certain ammount of arrogance involved. Here in America, nothing really bad happens to us…not us personally, always the other guy. Our day to day life is relatively uneventful…so, if something happens to upset our “normal” day, the severity of the event could be clouded…I think it’s referred to as a “normalcy bias”. Couple that with authority needing to show that “they got this” and you’ll easily be swayed into thinking all is under control. We want to believe everything is fine, so we’ll end up going back into the building…besides, if it turns out to be nothing, and you didn’t get back to work…well, you could end up looking for another job.

  28. I think it depends on the situation. Remember the stadium incident during Katrina? It’s counterintuitive to place myself in a “camp” situation as I’m sure everyone else here agrees. Yet, people did it and suffered. Even worse were the number of people who were shocked the stadium situation went bad.

  29. Following is engrained in us all. It’s how you survive as an impressionable baby/child growing into a world full of rules and people demanding obedience to them as your authority. That’s not all bad, although if one is never taught to think for yourself or figures it out, it most certainly can become a major problem…

    The blind lead the blind and they both fall into the ditch!!!

    1) Don’t be blind

    2) Don’t be led by the blind

    3) Don’t fear following someone who IS NOT blind (someone who has true vision and true authority)

    4) Repeat

    PS Don’t forget to help others who don’t want to be blind!

    My opinion is that many even here who can see might easily get stuck for both lack of willingness to follow someone worth following or lack of willingness to be a leader for those outside of your very small circles…

    Thanks Ken for being willing to lead others into whatever is coming our way! I pray we are fully prepared for what lies ahead!

  30. 911 at the WTC and the Pentagon were not in anybody’s playbook with the exception of the terrorists themselves. The plane headed for the Pentagon was driven into the ground by passengers who chose to make their last act to be heroic ones similar to the young men that subdued the heavily armed “robber” on the French train last month.

    It is impossible to train for a mass casualty event on the scale of the WTC. Mistakes were made. Mistakes will be made. After we memorialize the 14 year anniversary today, the best we can do is try to learn from our mistakes and move forward. Now we have a playbook.

    1. And it just so happened to take out the investigation into Trillions of dirty money. If a plane crash took out HilLIARy’s server before she had a chance to turn it over would you be suspicious?

  31. There’s no greater story of survival than the Jews in WW2 …. and no better example of why you shouldn’t listen blindly to authority ….

    The Jews that thought for themselves saw the danger early on – cashed out and headed for friendlier parts …. the sheeple of the time sat back and listened – not to the gooberment but to THEIR authorities in the Jewish community …. the rabbis, church councils, civic leaders, business leaders ect ect – the power brokers of the time …. and the elites fed the sheeple into the trains going to the “resorts” …. “better them than US” – they were the very last to go and the greater majority even survived the concentration camps because of their authoritarian guile …

    don’t become a pawn for the back row elites in the real life game of chess …

    1. Laws were changed to keep people (Jews) from leaving and taking much of anything with them (capital controls, happened in South Africa when it was handed to mandela et al). Some people love their ‘stuff’ too much to leave it behind, even when they can really smell danger. Now it’s commonly called normalcy bias.

      I’ve read that this is why so many Jews got into the jewelry business. You can put millions in diamonds in your pocket and walk across the border. Cash is almost always good for bribes along the way.

    2. Actually the people who survived the Jewish Bolsheviks during the Holodomor are the greatest survival story. 60+ million white Russian Christians who had their guns taken away by gun control, then the jewish Bolsheviks took away all their food including seeds.

      AH was so bad at killing jews that despite there not even being 6 million jews in Germany on the jewish census done between WW1-2 but there where 3.8 million jews collecting benefits from Germany as survivors after.

  32. Forward he cried, from the rear;
    And the front rank died.
    -David Gilmour

  33. I read a book called Worst Case Scenario Handbook. One thing I really took away from it was – when there is a disaster or anything gathering a crowd of rubber-neckers, go the other way. Get out of there. Move. Move. Move. Go as far as you can. Find some way to get around the crowd and police and firefighters and get your butt out. The author sites a number of occasions when a suicide bomber did something to draw a crowd before detonating. It’s an excellent book.

    1. Bombers often use the tactic you spoke of. Set off a small bomb to “herd” the sheep towards a specific exit. Then comes the main event. Been happening for decades.

  34. OK this is working again. Rules are like driving,always leave yourself an out meaning know your exits. Drive defensively, walk that way too. Be alert, don’t be distracted by phones know your surroundings. If you don’t think its a good area to park your car why would you get out there. Just a thought.

  35. Infants are placed in daycare because we have a two-income lifestyle in this country. By two-yrs-old they know to stand in line, take turns & always follow directions. I’m a retired kindergarten teacher, and by the time I got them as 5-yr-olds most of them were well indoctrinated. Of course we need discipline but we also need to teach children to assess situations, to think before acting, and if it doesn’t seem right, question! And before I get slammed by working moms, I know many people have no choice when it comes to working outside the home. I was a working mom myself & it’s tough. Not criticizing, just saying perhaps we need to find a way to make our children a little more independent.

  36. From my comment above, but feel it’s worth repeating…

    “… it could be a bad idea to run out of a building & get hit by a truck because you wouldn’t stop when the person in front of you did. They even told you to stop, but they were a security guard so you didn’t trust them and kept going because you were only concerned about yourself!

    Ok, exaggerated scenario, but again my point is that following is NOT inherently evil! It’s the following BLINDLY that is the issue or being too BLIND to follow a good leader!”


  37. The airliner catching fire in Las Vegas is an interesting point of many people thinking for themselves and thinking wrongly. When the evacuation order was given they stopped to retrieve their carry on luggage. I believe the instructions were to leave it and proceed to the slides. You can imagine how this impacted the exit time. Placing other at risk of being burned to death in order to not lose their possessions. Not a good thing.

    Now to change the subject a bit and please forgive me. Does anyone know offhand what calibers are stopped by 1/4″ Lexan?

    1. Yes I saw some of those idiots standing on the tarmac with their luggage. To put everyone else in danger so they could retrieve their possessions is stupid.

  38. Why not mentally go through as many disaster/collapse scenarios as possible, thinking through how to possibly respond in each case. Of course plans and actual response may be totally different based on the circumstances. But at least you would have put some thought into it in order to familiarize yourself with various possible options.

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