URBAN SURVIVAL: 5 Dumb Things People Say They Can or Would do in a Survival Situation


- and Why They Won’t Based on Recent 3rd World Urban Survival Events

"If you jump really high the waves will just go under you bro"

After decades of studying, observing, experiencing and writing about everything Urban Survival, I have heard some serious fantasy about what people claim they would do during an Urban Survival situation. Not surprisingly most of this so-called ‘advice’ comes from people who have never been in a Urban Survival, ‘Fight or Die’ situation or have even stepped outside of the continental US with the exception of Bus Tours in their lives.

Most of the crazy shit I have heard comes from fake tough-guys, dudes who regurgitate stuff they have read on forums and keyboard commandos that make Bear Grills's advice look reasonable. Having spent the past 10+ living, traveling and working in the 3rd world, I have seen people (including myself) survive the worst possible situations and do what they had to do to either survive or die.

From my experience, the current 3rd world is what the 1st world would be like after a prolonged ‘event’. That may be a natural disaster, civil war, overwhelming violent crime, financial meltdown or pandemics. In my opinion, the best place to study what people will or will not do when the SHTF in the 1st world, is to study what people in the 3rd world have and are currently doing to survive day by day.

The following are 5 Things People Say They would do in a Survival Situation - and why it will not work based on what has already happened to millions of people in the 3rd world:

Bug Out on Foot

During an Urban Survival situation, I give someone about 15 minutes of walking down the street with a big-ass backpack and an AR on their chest before they get shot and robbed.

During the Jakarta, Indonesia Riots in 1998 people could not even make it 3 blocks without running into a homemade roadblock manned by a group of knife and club-wielding thugs looking to strip them of everything, and that was only a day after the riots started.

Given, the US (or the 1st world in general) is a bit more civilized, but I still give any major metropolitan city in the US 10 to 15 days before it is at the same level of chaos that a city in the 3rd world would be at after only a day under the same circumstances.

FYI: Considering the amount of firearms in the US replace ‘knife and club’ with 'AK-47 and Chrome plated .32 autos'. Now I know you are a bad ass and everything, but you can not take on 13 armed dug-in people, just not gona’ happen.

Even discounting all of the above, can you walk 100 miles carrying 50 pounds of gear, gun, kit and ammo – and forage for food and water along the way? No, literally millions of people during civil wars have tried and failed; the numbers are against you.

Look at any historical Urban Survival event in the 3rd world where people had to abandon their homes and go on foot seeking refuge somewhere else. How did that work out for them?

Drink their Piss

Take a Gatorade bottle, piss in it, leave it on your back porch for 2 days, do not drink any water during those two days and take a big gulp of warm piss.

Did you bust a blood vessel in your eye throwing up?

I have helped negotiate the release of (or to make their stay more comfortable) a dozen guys in 3rd world jails. Many times by the time I arrived weeks have passed by and the only water they had access to had been from a bucket shared with 20 other dudes. Despite the water giving them the most brutal shits they have ever imagined, they still drink the bucket water over a pee shake.

Trade for Goods

Ok, it has been a few months after some whacked event has caused your city to turn into Mogadishu and you need some supplies. You get into your moms car or hoof-it 30 miles to some unfamiliar and densely inhabited area. Next you toss your box of .22’s, Johnny Walker Black and issues of Hustler on the counter hoping to make a trade for Milk and Tampons.

Guess what happens to the bright eyed and bushy tailed new guy in every 3rd world Black Market?

If they are lucky, they only get robbed - shanked and man raped if unlucky

3rd World Black Markets are a necessary evil in my line of work - I have bought Booze on the black market in Indonesia, guns out of the back of a Land Cruiser in the Middle East and worked undercover in the counterfeiting biz in the US. They are environments where amateurs get killed or jacked on a daily basis.

So good luck with walking into a post-event black market with a backpack full of the most sought after and desperately needed supplies expecting people to obey the honor system.

Eat Someone

Sure, sure I know what you are thinking. Those soccer players who crashed on a snow topped mountain had a pot-luck on their friend’s asses when they got hungry. Well you are not on the top of a mountain after your prop plane took a nose dive. You are living in a city, and you are hungry for a Big Mac.

In an Urban Survival situation, you will not be held up in the hull of a crashed plane while your buddies die from exposure. More likely than not, you will be in an apartment or house, in the middle of white-bread USA.

For 99.999% of people, the act of taking a chainsaw and sawing off an arm, throwing it in a pot and digging-in, is not something they could do. Even in the cases of people who have been adrift for months at sea or Iraqis trapped in their homes during the awesome invasion of Iraq, no one resorted to cannibalism.

Why? Eating Long Pig is fucking disgusting, it is a psychological thing that the majority of people can not do no matter how hungry they are. It’s humanity baby, it’s what separates us from the dogs (and why eat Aunt Jenny when dogs are so delicious?).

Defend their House

During the Jakarta riots, thousands of Chinese tried to hunker down in their houses and apartments. No matter how well fortified or heavily armed they were eventually the human waves of rioters broke in and raped, robed and/or killed them. Secure US Embassy's, Military bases in Afghanistan and drug lord Houses in Mexico have all been taken over in resent times, proving that all buildings can and will be taken over if the opposing force is overwhelming.

No matter how well fortified you are you can not hold back hundreds of people, desperate people will crawl over body’s to get you.

Also - Have you watched the end of Young Guns 2 where the gang is held up in an old house? Now you know how to take a house filled with people who are superior warriors.

It’s called a match.

Eat Cat Food

This is the only one that I have seen someone do in the 3rd world, back in the day I saw an old dude eating cat food on the side of the road in Cambodia. Lord knows if he was actually starving or just a crazy hobo who ate handfuls of Meow Mix between bouts of yelling at mailboxes.

The big difference between some dude in Cambodia eating cat food and you Mr. Joe USA digging into a can of Liver and Kibbles cat chow is the Cambodian dude has been eating fried spiders for snacks since he was six years old.

Just like the Piss Bottle above I wish to invite you to dig into a nice room temperature tin of cat food and keep it down.

In conclusion:

Yep – you are fucked


~James G

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and eating dogs