This month here at The Preparedness Experience we are covering what an economic crisis might look like and what we should expect. We have covered the different levels of a collapse, and how a disaster like this tends to sneak up on us.
This week I want to talk about what to expect from people if a large scale financial collapse occurred, or any SHTF Scenario for that matter. A financial collapse would be a nation wide event (and possibly global), but this applies to smaller scale events also, because people are people.
As preppers we all like to contemplate how different people react when the SHTF, but it’s probably not as simple as we give it credit for. Because our country is a melting pot of different cultures, different economic classes and different religious affiliations, people will all handle certain situations differently.
For better or worse, we all handle situations differently. Some of us are better problem solvers than others, and some of us don’t handle stress very well. A combination of upbringing, gene pool and our environment all play a role in how we develop.
The reason this is important is because today we have the option of separating ourselves from situations. or people we want no part of. In an SHTF situation we probably won’t have that choice. While we can do what it takes to stay in our homes and out of danger, we might be getting more visitors than we ever expected, and we need to be ready for them.
Possible SHTF Reactions
The scale of the disaster will directly correlate with how extreme people’s reactions will be, but even the smallest situations will give us an idea about how a person handles stressful events.
Here are a few ways people will react in a crisis. But remember, people will be very unpredictable, especially in extreme situations.
No Answer at All
For the most part, and for varying reasons, most people will not have any answer to any large scale event. This could be because they are completely unprepared to handle such an event, or because they refuse to admit that their perfect world is not so perfect anymore.
Who knows what the real numbers and time frame would be, but my guess is that at least 80% of the population will be gone in a matter of months in a large scale disaster. People who are 100% dependent on electricity, grocery stores and debit cards will find themselves with no choice but to cheat, steal and eventually die.
People Who Can’t Face Facts
One of the first stages of dealing with grief is denial, and believe me, there will be a lot of people in denial. While we look at how people lived in the past and ask “how can I do that?” these people look at the past and say “I would die if I had to do that!” Most of them are right.
Not only are people reliant on automobiles and cell phones, they are reliant on the fuel and electricity it takes to run them and get food to the stores. But if all that falls apart, the government has a plan, and they will figure it out right? not likely.
People Who Will Give Up
People who will just give up are similar to people who can’t face the fact that the S just hit the fan, but differ slightly because some of them have no idea how to handle a crisis situation. Some people have been so sheltered or so focused on what they think “problems” are that they will have no idea how to handle real problems.
This is exactly why I didn’t hand my children everything. Even though they hated it, they learned how to work their way through different problems, and if they wanted something bad enough, they could figure out how to get it.
People Who Will Take Advantage
There is no shortage of people looking for the easy way out even today, but when the hand that feeds stops feeding people who feel entitled will look for other options. It’s far easier to take something than to work for it, and this is why the crime rate will skyrocket.
People who are already criminals will go into overdrive, but even people that you think “would never do something like that” might feel like they have no choice. On top of that, in a large scale crisis, most of the police force will probably be staying home to protect their families.
People Who Think They’re Prepared
Without saying names, I know someone who has 3 freezers full of food. While they get an A for effort, they are missing one crucial step…electricity. They have no generator, no solar, and no way to keep that food fresh if the grid goes down or when they can’t pay the electric bill.
I can’t help but think of Doomsday Preppers and people saying “I’m preparing for an…” What they should be saying is “I’m completely unprepared for this, this and this.” If you put all your eggs in one basket you are bound to get blindsided by something unexpected.
People Who Will Adapt
Whether it’s genetics, upbringing or just plain luck, some people can step into a bucket of poop and still come out smelling like roses. Some people are better critical thinkers than others, and some people just have the will to survive.
In this article about the psychology of survival I talked about why some people will have a better chance of surviving regardless of what prepping supplies they have. Chance favors the prepared mind, and the tools in your head are far more important than the tools in your shed.
People Who Are Prepared
Hopefully this is you and me, hopefully we have done everything to give us the best possible chance for survival, but with that being said it doesn’t guarantee us anything. Luck and circumstances will play a big role in what, when and where things unfold in a disaster situation.
That doesn’t mean stop preparing though. The more we prepare, the better our odds are of surviving any disaster, and the better our understanding is of what to do when something terrible happens in the future.
Expect the Unexpected
With all this being said, desperate times will lead people to desperate measures. People with the most to lose are the most dangerous in my opinion. With criminals you know what you are getting, but a desperate mother trying to feed her children is capable of anything.
People who feel entitled, and are used to everything getting handed to them are going to justify taking what you have, because after all, they are more important than us right? The point is, it doesn’t matter what a person looks like, we need to be on high alert and consider everyone a threat.