Author Topic: What does SHTF mean to you?  (Read 4583 times)

Offline ag2

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What does SHTF mean to you?
« on: April 27, 2011, 04:22:30 PM »
....and of course, I don't mean what does the acronym represent.  Is the point of SHTF a specific point or a gray area to you?  Is it when unemployment numbers reach a certain number?  Is it when inflation hits XX%?  Is it when crime rises to a certain point?

Share your thoughts.  I bet we have lots of interesting perspectives to share.
(I apologize in advance if this question has already been posted.)

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 04:39:27 PM »
Jack recently mentioned that a listener used the term "Sh!t hit's your fan" as a more accurate description.  If unemployment hits 25% but you still have a secure job, does it really matter?  On the other hand, if you lost your job tomorrow with 8.8% unemployment, the Sh!t has just hit your fan.

While I do find the acronym useful as shorthand, I think it misses a lot of what happens in the real world.  While we were watching the tragedy unfold in Japan and thinking 'that's a SHTF situation if I've ever seen it', I have friends that lived through it (one flew back to the US and returned 10 days ago, the other stayed and didn't miss a day of work).  If you don't miss a day of work, is it really SHTF?

When I use the term I'm talking about events that would cause a drastic departure from routine for everyone around you, not just you.  It doesn't have to be national; it might be a severe storm where me and all my neighbors are trapped and without power for a week or it could be a rise in violent crime to the point where everyone has to travel in groups.  As has been mentioned in other threads, things are not as they've been before; we're seeing events unfold around the world in a way that I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.  That points toward TEOTWAWKI, but not in the dramatic complete breakdown of society kind of way, but in a changing in the world on a level that, 40 years from now, we'll be telling our grandkids about when....

Offline Mike Honcho

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 06:18:57 PM »
What does SHTF mean to you?

Anything negative that temporarily, but completely disrupts my normal daily routine and/or lifestyle

TEOTWAWKI to me means a permanent change to my daily routine and/or lifestyle. In my opinion TEOTWAWKI can either be a negative or positive change

As an example, when cars became more prevalent on the roads than horses, for a generation of people it was "the end of the world as they knew it" in a positive way. For the newly unemployed street sweeper however, TSHTF when he suddenly lost his job and had to learn a new trade to feed his family with.


Offline Darkwinter

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 06:56:00 PM »
I have always considered TEOTWAWKI as the movie or book event.  The event that "could" happen but prob won't.  Mad Max.  Patriots.  One Second After.  Alas Babylon.  That kind of stuff.  I don't expect TEOTWAWKI.

I don't look at it as a change like the invention of the internet or the telephone.  Clearly life as we knew it was over when the internet or the automobile or the telephone was invented.  But, my personal life wasn't altered in a manor that I would categorize as catastrophic.  And that is the word that comes to mind when I think of TEOTWAWKI. 

SHTF happens all the time.  Kids got sick, the washer broke, the microwave went out, the S#%T HIT THE FAN.  The words I would use for SHTF are: Challenging, strenuous, stressful

Offline TexGuy

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 07:13:34 PM »
SHTF can happen at any time. But as a nation, as in when people should start to bug-out, the time is after the central bank starts buying bonds from the treasury. Which is now. Unless there is a trigger, we should just get slowly worse and worse. Which means we don't need a great garden going until the fall, or next fall.

However, a trigger could be something as simple as .... say ... Middle East/North African countries recognize a Palestinian state in July or September this year which could speed up our downfall and make you wish you had a great spring garden.  :o




Offline Ken325

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 07:21:04 PM »
I think SHTF means a breakdown in the systems of support but it could also mean anything that disrupts your life in a negative way.  It could be something personal like a medical diagnosis or losing a job.  To me SHTF is generally referring to something temporary although it could take a long time to recover.  TEOTWAWKI means something so disruptive that it is essentially permanent.   The difficult one to call is the slow disaster like peak oil.  This is TEOTWAWKI but it will occur over a decade or two. 

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 08:07:11 PM »
I think SHTF means a breakdown in the systems of support but it could also mean anything that disrupts your life in a negative way.  It could be something personal like a medical diagnosis or losing a job.  To me SHTF is generally referring to something temporary although it could take a long time to recover.  TEOTWAWKI means something so disruptive that it is essentially permanent.   The difficult one to call is the slow disaster like peak oil.  This is TEOTWAWKI but it will occur over a decade or two.

I want to PARTWAY agree with this assessment. "A breakdown in the systems of support" is the real key to it all. But I am kinda picky about when to haul out the phrase SHTF. I think there's a need to differentiate between a personal household-level crisis vs. a society-wide disruption to the normal functionality of civilization.

If just my measly little life gets tossed a curve ball, that would constitute only a very personalized instance of what is quaintly know as "shit happens." Everybody and their mother always experiences at least a few "shit happens" kind of moments in their lives. If I'm sitting on a park bench wearing my favorite $2,000 Armani business suit, and then one crummy bird in the trees above me suddenly poops his innards onto the shoulder of that suit, that is MY crisis and mine alone. Shit happens, and the world goes on. (BTW, I have never in my life owned an Armani, nor any suit with a value of $2,000.)

But to me a true specimen of SHTF is always going to be society-wide, so I always reserve that word/term/acronym exclusively when speaking of a society-wide upturning of the apple cart. Even the very phrase "shit hits the fan" implies it spatters and sprays EVERYWHERE, impacting a large area. Meanwhile, as Darkwinter said up above, a SHTF might not yet be TEOTWAWKI, but the collapse of the Soviet Union was certainly THEIR society-wide instance of SHTF. But life as we know it didn’t end, and the world went on in spite of their upturned apple cart. The world went on in spite of the millions of Soviet people who died under the crush of that apple cart. Also, I think Iceland has suffered their own SHTF. However, a true blue bona fide TEOTWAWKI is (in my outlook, and in full agreement with Darkwinter) the big-budget Hollywood SFX summer blockbuster kind of thing, like Mad Max or The Postman or The Road or Omega Man or The Day of the Triffids or 28 Days Later or The Day After Tomorrow. And so far THAT level of planet-wide disruption has never really happened in human history that we know of, except for a possible meteor strike that we think MIGHT have hit the Earth about 20,000 to 50,000 years ago (the one that hit Arizona and made that mile-wide crater in the desert).

Maybe I have a sliding scale here that might look something like this:

Shit Happens = personal/household-level crisis
SHTF = Society-wide disruptions and breakdown of normal funtions of support within a given nation, such as: police, fire, sanitation, hospital services, government payrolls, banking operations etc.
TEOTWAWKI = The whole human race just got blind-sided, a la Mad Max, The Postman, etc.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 08:24:01 PM by Oil Lady »

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 08:22:14 PM »
Several SHTF stories here with a little more impact than bird shit: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/25/texas.wildfires.aftermath/index.html?iref=allsearch
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 10:30:04 PM by TexDaddy »

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 08:47:20 PM »
Several several SHTF stories here with a little more impact than bird shit: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/25/texas.wildfires.aftermath/index.html?iref=allsearch

It's all just word preferences and some analogies to clarify those word preferences, Tex Daddy.

What's your own take on a definition of SHTF?




Offline TexDaddy

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 10:59:42 PM »
...What's your own take on a definition of SHTF?

Well, I never fail to give my opinion when asked.

To me, SHTF can apply to any number of people, from 1 to 10,000,000,000. It is the incident that forces that person or group of people to make a wrenching change in the way they live. For instance, the people in the videos about the wildfires have had a double throw down, real to life SHTF incident. I was especially moved by the one showing the folks returning to their homes to see what was left of what they had to most likely find nothing. Even if only one person or family lost it all, for them the SHTF. Even if insurance covers most/all if the monetary lost, still much was lost that cannot be replaced.

An automobile accident which leaves a person paralysed would be another example. About 25 years ago, that did happen to one of my brothers-in-law. He is in that wheel chair to this day. For him and his family, the SHTF that day.

Many SHTF incidents can be recovered from, either partially or totally, but rarely without leaving a scar.

To me, TEOTWAWKI implies a society wide phenomena, precipitated by one, or more likely, several SHTF incidents striking near the same time, or in a sequence,  in critical locations. To me, it implies the turning point from which society can only evolve into something new, never to return to what it was. Both World Wars were such incidents.

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 11:25:00 PM »
Sorry about your brother-in-law, Tex Daddy. That's really awful. I was once a personal assistant to a man in wheelchair (spinal cord injury) so I have some idea of his limitations.

And holding up WWI and WWII as examples makes a lot of sense from the perspective/criteria you're applying here. Both wars definitely changed the world forever, each in their own far reaching ways.

I guess I continue to get swayed by the likes of some of the phone calls Jack gets and then plays back on the podcast. Again and again people in those phone calls will phrase it one of two ways. They'll either say "If the shit hits the fan," or else they'll say "If the shit REALLY hits the fan," and in both instances they are nearly always referring to society-wide disruptions. Maybe SHFT and SRHFT can be seen as two separate things?



Offline TexDaddy

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 11:55:07 PM »
Sorry about your brother-in-law, Tex Daddy...
Thank you Oil Lady. It didn't take long for Wes to get himself together. He married, had children and has worked out to make his upper body very strong. You don't ever want to let him get a hold of you, 'cause you will never get loose.

...I guess I continue to get swayed by the likes of some of the phone calls Jack gets and then plays back on the podcast. Again and again people in those phone calls will phrase it one of two ways. They'll either say "If the shit hits the fan," or else they'll say "If the shit REALLY hits the fan," and in both instances they are nearly always referring to society-wide disruptions. Maybe SHFT and SRHFT can be seen as two separate things?
Well, there are certainly degrees of it, IMO. From an auto accident to a blitzkrieg, lives are affected and changed.

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 05:38:51 AM »
Thank you Oil Lady. It didn't take long for Wes to get himself together. He married, had children and has worked out to make his upper body very strong. You don't ever want to let him get a hold of you, 'cause you will never get loose.

Glad to hear he has worked it out ofr himself. And yes -- a paraplegic is usuallly a person with powerful arms.

Well, there are certainly degrees of it, IMO. From an auto accident to a blitzkrieg, lives are affected and changed.

I guess that's why we're all here at TSP. :)


Offline JGreene

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 07:56:38 AM »
Drastic decrease of loss of support systems.  Inertia of money almost zero (nobody is  spending).  The general public grows more panicked and tries to hoard available supplies. 

Until the Royal Wedding, and then everything is Ok again.

The cause isn't necessarily important.  And I don't think this would last long.  It could even be regional, which would be unfortunate for the surrounding communities.

Offline dheisner

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2011, 01:42:51 PM »
I live in Alabama.  For me, SHTF Wednesday.  Fortunately, we only lost 3 sections of fencing to the back yard and power.  Thank God for my new generator!  Fortunately, I lost no friends, but I did have friends who lost everything.  Thank God that I have been listening to the Survival Podcast now for a couple of years and applied what I learned.  Otherwise, we could be in a world of hurt.

If you guys are close, we can use your help.  Birmingham and Tuscaloosa are a mess.  If you want to know where to volunteer, go to www.churchofthehighlands.com/relief

We need all the able bodies we can get.

Thanks!

Danny

Offline incendiary_dan

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Re: What does SHTF mean to you?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2011, 03:02:10 PM »
Sometimes SHTF is a normative situation.  The fact that women still can't walk alone at night in many areas means they need to adopt some survivalist strategies.  In the '60's in parts of the south, if you were black you needed to adopt survivalist strategies (I've been watching documentaries on Robert F. Williams, who formed and trained a "Black Armed Guard" to defend the black community of Munroe against the Klan).  If you're an indigenous person living on the rez, and can't find work, you probably need to adopt some survivalist strategies.  And hell, if you're a college grad working three jobs and making barely enough to pay the bills, rent, and buy groceries, it's a damn good idea to adopt some survival strategies.