I officially became interested in survival (as opposed to daily surviving) when I first picked up John Wiseman’s excellent  SAS Survival Guide, an excellent publication and introduction to the world of survival.

Over the years I’ve picked up several other books and magazines, and practiced a lot of techniques learned from these publications.

Most of them deal with what to do if you are in the middle of nowhere and need to take care of yourself.

But recently there is also a growing volume of information available on surviving right where you live, in the city or suburbs, not out in the middle of the forest, and during normal day-to-day activities, not in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

Because our lives these days can be upended in a second by the actions of people around us, be they terrorists, criminals or mentally disturbed individuals. Take a look at the headlines if you think I’m exaggerating.

My wife and I have lived in a quiet suburb of Toronto for the last couple of decades. It’s an older neighbourhood with many elderly residents, but surrounding this group of bungalow subdivisions are several areas of rundown high-rises and Toronto District Community Housing, including one group of rental buildings which, for many years, has been the go-to destination for drugs and stolen goods.

It would be unfair to say that everyone living in these surrounding areas is a threat, but it would also be inaccurate to deny that that population contains a higher number of threats than average. And naturally, there is an overlap.

This post serves as an introduction to a series on what is currently being termed “urban survival”, not just in the event of societal collapse, but in day-to-day situations, in how we move around our city and how we keep each other safe.

To start with, I don’t expect much in the way of action from our politicians and officials. Last weekend, just a few miles from here, we logged three murders within 24 hours. That count has gone up this week and as of last night we have achieved fifty murders in the first six months of 2018.

The reaction from our mayor is a joke.

John Tory, July 1st 2018, Dieppe Park.

“The gun violence is a challenge for us. And, you know, that’s partly because guns are being trafficked in Canada within the current rules. And that’s why those rules need to be strengthened and I’ve made that very clear to government of Canada — it’s why we can’t have people getting out on bail 20 minutes after they’re arrested for using a gun.”

 Police Chief Mark Saunders, CP24 Interview June 20 speaks about a 21% increase in shootings in Toronto in 2018.
He also said, in an interview on CBC, that when someone fires a gun in a city of 2.8 million people, it’s “important to understand their motivation.”
Tory wants to blame legal gun owners for the violence out there, in spite of the fact that last week Project Patton took sixty brand new handguns off the street when they cracked an arms smuggling operation. These were not being sold within the current rules, obviously.
And Saunders doesn’t think this level of violence is anything to worry about and that we need to have a nice chat with the criminals to try to understand them.
So I think it’s obvious that we need to assume responsibility for our own safety and security, because by the time 911 responds, it might be too late.
I’m not advocating illegal activity or vigilantism, but what I am advocating is an eyes-open approach to living that will hopefully provide enough sensory input to do the most important thing in a survival situation–avoid the threat in the first place. But then again, that isn’t always possible, so I will also be discussing other options that we should be prepared to use for those times when the threat can not be avoided.
Please check back for more if you are interested.