“We need food, not guns”

I’ve been following the events in Venezuela for a while now, watching the ramp up and the fall out, studying it. Its ugly and getting worse. Its also a good time for those who are not experiencing the same things to understand the issues at play and the reactions to situation.

First, for context, here are a few snippets from the Miami Herald:http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article73657547.html

Many Venezuelans believe the country will explode much sooner than in 12 to 18 months. Prices go up daily, supermarket shelves are near empty, there are growing electricity shortages — Maduro has declared every Friday in April and May a non-working holiday in order to save energy — and crime statistics are skyrocketing.

The Venezuelan currency, the Bolivar, is increasingly worthless. Not even robbers want it: a few months ago, news report quoted an engineer named Pedro Venero as saying that he was attacked by armed robbers who were looking for U.S. dollars stashed in his home, but refused to take Bolivars.

There is an interesting discussion on reddit about this. people living in Venezuela have attempted to describe the conditions they are living under.

“Venezuelan here, living in Venezuela. I shared with you guys what life was like living in Venezuela a few months ago, but incredibly it has gotten worse. Back then we didn’t have that many power outages. Now there are 4-8 hour outages everyday. Weekends start on Wednesdays. Water is coming super gross through the pipes. What I’ve noticed recently is that the country has nearly stopped “moving”. That and you hear about looting nearly every week. Doing anything at the bank or at some public office takes you so many, unnecessary days because of the power outages.
Most people I feel don’t even want to work anymore now because the wages are too low and even if their wages were high there’s not that much to buy. Food is the new money in Venezuela. If you have a lot of food then you are rich. It kinda feels like a Zombie Apocalypse but without the Zombies.”

When asked why don’t people just leave the country and live somewhere else, it was said due to hyper inflation they can’t afford to buy any tickets.

“I’m a middle class Venezuelan, and while I would love to get the fuck out of here, not I, or any other low to middle class friend I know can get out.
I would need to work about 25 months on minimum salary, without spending any of it to be ABLE TO AFFORD the tickets to get out, I even dread how much would I have to work to rent something or have enough US dollars $ in cash.”

Another fascinating account of life during this complete meltdown of their economy and civility: https://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/4ha9pa/venezuela_nearing_total_collapse/d2ox7k5

The parts in this whole thread that made me think were when someone from the US asked if they can get guns to defend themselves. Of course this is a natural thing we would would immediately wonder. The replies were “you can’t eat a gun” and that guns are not a priority when there is no food. Someone asked well don’t you want to protect yourself? The answer was “I have no food or money, there is little anyone could steal from me and I have to feed my wife and children.”

Another person said they were from Serbia and during their war in the 90’s the region was full of guns but also very little food. He claimed that having a gun did little to help people survive. Having food and toiletries were the main focus of the general public.

It just goes to show that having a gun helps you keep what you (should have) been storing, but having stacks of rifles and ammo is of limited usefulness. Fun and interesting sure, but virtually worthless if you don’t have food and water stored as well. Sexy it is not, but gardens and toilet paper are the priorities. As an Argentinian survivor recently wrote: “I see Venezuela and think of Argentina and the steps to take are basically the same: Store food for SHTF, save money, have a gun for sure, and if things go Venezuela wherever it is that you are, just get the hell out of there before it kills you or drives you nuts.”

If it lights off here, for many reasons, I’m not going anywhere. First of all I think that if the US falls to these ways, nowhere you could go will be better. I’m a fairly simply middle class dude and that sucks. In places that experience these downturns, there is no middle class. Its a mass of poor, some of them former middle class, and then a handful of extremely rich people pretending that things will get better.

I loosely wrote this type of collapse into my books and had many people wave it off as a crappy fantasy scenario. “Riots out of nowhere? Please…”

When civil discontent reaches the level of civil disobedience, when demonstrators begin organizing and grouping together like its going to change things (sorry, soapbox topic) it is a very, very short step into lashing out at anything and everything. We have seen it time and again. That part sucks; the aftermath sucks more. Now there is just even more of a mess and a feeling of discord and helplessness as the issues continue on.

Fiction novel SHTF fantasies are just that, a fantasy. A good concealed pistol and knowing how to use it along with a working rifle and shotgun with a little ammo and you have more then you will probably ever realistically need to protect yourself. The real need comes in a good base level of supplies along with friends, family, and a decent community (hard to find). That is what pulls through the real disasters.

Lets talk about that for a moment. Singularly, producing food is hard. As a group, simple math says that you need more food for the more people you have helping you do the work. Even in today’s hippie dippie – I say it with love to my parents – local produce, eat fresh, eat local, whatever the buzzword campaign of the day is thats cool to print on your menu, very few people or areas are 100% self sufficient foodwise and even those that are rely heavily on infrastructure. The meaning behind that dumbass  quote comes back to haunt us: “You didn’t do that yourself.”

Start with having the usable land, tilling it, any machine upkeep let alone fuel, getting the seeds, planting the seeds, watering, fertilizing, harvesting, preserving, selling, transporting… theres a reason there arent any small time farmers around anymore; its a full time job and its too damn hard to feed yourself. Modern western ag is a highly developed science that allows massive yields with (relatively) low risk. Your backyard garden, not so much.

Now I’m saying crops but it extends to animals too. I like a good steak as much as the next guy but I need a well balanced diet to not feel like crap and go insane.

So whats the answer? Network. Good neighbors in a good neighborhood are the best start I can come up with. Eat your stockpiled food while the crops grow, trade, barter, protect… all things that need to be learned and practiced now lest they be needed later.

 

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