The SHTF Ripple Effect: How the Big Picture Affects Your Small Picture


    by Fabian Ommar, The Organic Prepper:

    I’ll start by outlining a few events you may or (may not be) aware of taking place worldwide right now. Then we’ll see the connections between these, the crisis we’re going through, and how the different circles, as proposed by Selco, interact with each other. Let’s dive in and study the ripple effect of the SHTF.

    Mexico’s Southwestern region of Michoacán

    The local population abandoned their homes in droves. The stuff is hitting the fan with the ongoing war between the Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generacion (CJNG) and Carteles Unidos (CU). The situation has reached a boiling point, with various towns and villages engulfed in a wave of chaos, blood, and violence. 

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    Civilians are attacking the Guarda Nacional (GN) agents deployed to control the situation, turning the life of the government into hell and adding to the confusion. Blockades, attacks, vehicles on fire, arson, and constant crossfire are instilling fear in the local population. In Anguilla, estimates say more than 1,500 residents have already fled the municipality in fear. That’s 10% of the city’s population.  

    Rio de Janeiro

    Drug and militia fights are frequent in the suburbs and favelas in the town’s hills. Last month Brazil shocked the international community (once again) when 28 people in the Jacarezinho favela in Rio were killed during a police operation to fight traffic and firearm smuggling and illegal commerce. 

    The UN issued a note condemning the action and the violence. There’s a heated debate on whether those victims were the dangerous criminals that appear all the time on the internet heavily armed with powerful semi-autos and pistols or innocent workers and family members. I honestly have no idea about that. But I see an escalation of deadly violence scaring the community.


    The manifestations in Colombia are reaching a tipping point. Dozens have already died since the protests against Ivan Duque’s government broke out a month ago. Experts and insiders say there’s no end in sight. Things could get worse and spread to other regions, maybe even contaminating neighboring countries.

    Here too, there’s a lot of chaos and confusion as to who is responsible for the deaths, who’s right or who’s wrong: the police and the soldiers deployed to contain the demonstrators or the more violent portions of protestors fighting each other and the authorities. For those suffering, does it matter?

    The situation in many western countries is not looking good

    I’m not trying to directly connect drug cartel wars in Mexico, police action in Brazil, protesters in Colombia, or crime waves in the U.S. But civil unrest manifests in many forms and various places, with increasing intensity and frequency as time passes. That’s what should matter.

    I’m constantly touching on the topic of crime because it’s a very present threat. If not in every SHTF, at least in the majority of instances. When the situation goes crazy, things become unstable and more people get desperate. The institutions are cracking and under attack by a growing unsatisfied part of the population, and this is a common point in most situations currently underway. 

    Confidence in the institutions is eroding at a fast pace

    Authority is now openly challenged everywhere. No one seems to believe in the capacity of the politicians, bankers, regulators, and leaders, elected or not, to lead us. With a few notable exceptions, leadership has explicitly been lacking and abysmal for some time now worldwide. Worse yet: the sentiment is that all these high players deliberately manipulate the system to their benefit. 

    Many theories are floating around. Conspiratorial or real, it’s hard to say. I have my own. I don’t see a highly coordinated or intentional action to cause these situations. In other words, I’m not sure this is by design any more than it is the mechanic of things, the natural cycle of history. 

    I’m not trying to excuse the elites and governments of anything here, just observing the dynamics with an eye in history. That has been the way of the world since forever. Other institutions such as church (and even religion itself), family structure, traditions, education, and science are also on the low. Maybe it’s all interconnected.

    Is the system rigged? 

    Yes. But we must look at our role in all this.

    There is a higher instance coordinating some of the policies, as always. But each part of the system is taking advantage of the context as they can, without much consideration of their actions’ potential consequences. And the ones at the top always have more power and resources, so they do what they can to keep their status quo. 

    There’s no fixing the problem just by pointing fingers and casting blames. Each of us is a cog in that exact mechanism, and the victim mentality is precisely what these elites want for us. It does no good, so we should be against it and favor taking responsibility no matter what.

    The truth is things have been building towards this situation for decades

    That’s how the world is. The pandemic has accelerated things, and the compressed timeline makes everything more visible and clear.

    There’s a conjunction of factors creating the conditions for the spreading and worsening violence everywhere: the economic downturn, the large-scale political movements, the social divisiveness, the widening of the wealth gap, geopolitical issues flaring up, and of course, the pandemic. Nothing of that is new. It all has happened many times before in history. And it won’t go away soon.

    I know about all that. What does it have to do with me, my family, my lifestyle?

    The answer is: everything.

    If we live in a connected world, and there are conditions in place for these situations to happen and get worse, how do you imagine staying untouched by what’s going on? 

    I have never been in war like Selco. But I agree with him on many things, two of which apply very specifically to the current topic:

    1. We have no power over the big picture (the big circles) but must follow the situation, so we are not surprised or caught off-guard. 
    2. In doing so, we must act and work on our level (small circle) in any way we can, be prepared, and do our best to lessen the impacts.

    Do you see a wave of discontent building? 

    As things accelerate, a resolution of some sort seems imminent. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with it all. And, even more so by all the work necessary to be somewhat ready and have some preparations in place. 

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