most people think about survival they usually imagine themselves
hurling crude spears at boars in the Amazon, or brushing snow from
their beard as they slog through waist-high snow wearing a bearskin
overcoat. These images come from the most common survival scenarios
(Disastrous Jungle Treasure Hunt & Arctic Plane Crash,
respectively) but it’s important to remember that in some rare cases
you may need to “survive” in urban environments as well. In this guide
we’ll discuss some useful urban survival techniques such a tailing a thief, surviving a riot, and gently stroking your
zombified uncle’s thinning hair as he sputters and dies of multiple
shotgun blasts to the face and eyes.
Part 2 – Jungles
Part 3 - Mountains
Part 4 – Urban Environments
riots can be a good time for those doing the rioting, they aren’t
usually too much fun for the people being “rioted” upon. In
any riot, some people are going to suffer more than others. Television
shop owners are one example of this. Rioters are always going to throw
those first bricks through the store windows which contain the plasma
screen TVs. You can’t really blame rioters for this; it’s their
blue-collar consumerist background which is at fault. Surely you
wouldn’t expect to see rioters gleefully battering down the door of an
antique store and carrying out armfuls of thick 16th century Persian
throwrugs and dusty jade figurines; that would be madness. In any
event, here are the three main rules you should follow in order to
survive a riot.
- When in doubt, join in. If
you find yourself being eyed suspiciously by a group of rioters, don’t
be afraid to damage some property. Little things like kicking in the
front door of an ethnic bakery or heaving a heavy mailbox through the
windshield of a parked car are usually enough to gain their respect. And if you happen to come across some young men who’re
having a difficult time in overturning a small bus full of elderly
tourists, why not offer to lend a helping hand? You might even make a
few new friends in the process.
- Travel in a group. The
old saying “safety in numbers” couldn’t be truer here. A hate-filled
mob is much less likely to attack a group of people than some guy
wandering the streets alone. The only exception to this rule might be
if a lot of black people are having a race riot. If you’re black and
all your friends are white, I would suggest that you shrug, tip your
hat to them, and wish them good luck on their journey through
- Cowardice = Survival.
This might seem like common sense, but many people have the foolish
tendency to try to be brave or selfless in survival situations. Sure,
it might make you feel all warm and fuzzy to try and help out those
blind orphans who’ve become trapped in that burning car, but think of
how much it would hurt if your hands got burned from opening the door.
It just isn’t worth the trouble. The golden rule for survival
situations is: If you hear someone shouting “Help!” it means there is
definitely trouble in that direction. Turn around and start running the
someone in your family is a no-nonsense lawman or FBI agent who doesn’t
play by the rules, there’s a high probability that you’re going to be
kidnapped at some time or another. The most important thing is to have
a good time with it, and show the kidnappers you don’t mind. If you
follow these instructions you have at least a 23% chance of not being
shot in the head and tossed out the door of a taxiing jet by an
overacting Nicholas Cage.
- Don’t resist. If
you’re in a dank underground parking garage or a dimly-lit stairwell
and someone grabs you from behind and throws a wool blanket over your
head, do not struggle or fight back in any way. They’re just going to
hit you over the head with one of those little black club things if you
make a fuss, so save yourself the headache.
- Be good. In
the ensuing car ride (or any other time you are transported) you should
be on your best behavior. Don’t annoy kidnappers by kicking the back of
their seat, making annoying sound effects, or complaining loudly that
you are hungry or need to use the bathroom.
- Make the safehouse a safehome. Once
you’ve arrived at the abandoned warehouse or derelict home where the
hostage-takers have set up shop, don’t be afraid to add a personal
touch to the pitch-black closet you’re tossed into. You might even
surprise the hostage-takers with a “welcome home” party if they go out
to run some errands. Try hanging up the oily cloth they gagged you with
and ropes they used to bind your arms as streamers, and if they have
you hold up the day’s newspaper while photographing you to prove you’re
not dead, you might keep this and create an origami centerpiece for the
rusted radiator in your cell or even party hats.
- Assert yourself. Criminals
respect strength, so don’t be afraid to let them know who’s boss here
(you). One good idea might be to really rile them up by constantly
attempting to escape, insulting their masculinity, and deliberately
using rude or offensive language when small children are around. If you
do this, they will almost certainly pull a gun and threaten to blow
your brains all over a wall. Now you’ve got them. Jeer at them and
clearly explain that they certainly can’t kill you because otherwise
they won’t receive any ransom money. Take away the power, and you’ve
tamed them. Well, that or they’ll just feel powerless and become
blinded by insane rage and shoot you without thinking, but this
probably isn’t too likely.
To Catch a Thief
wallet is stolen from you in the middle of the city. I’m sure
you think you probably know exactly what to do about it too, since you're sooo smart. Yeah, right about now you’re probably sighting your superiority
rifle at me and muttering to yourself, “Clever girl…” but don’t be too
hasty. Because now my teaching attack comes, not from the front, but
from sides; from the two knowledge velociraptors you didn’t even know
- Get a disguise.
You don’t want the pickpocket to recognize you or he will just start
running, so I would put on a fake beard and a pair of goggles if you’ve
got some handy. If you don’t have either of these for whatever reason,
take off your shirt if you’re wearing one. In fact I recommend you do
all three. That way if the thief looks back all he’s going to think
when he sees you is, “oh that’s just some regular old shirtless bearded
goggle-eyed Joe whistling along back there, certainly not the person
I’ve just knicked a wallet off.”
- Affect a limp. Come on, it’ll be fun!
- Stay close… but not too close. You
don’t want to be walking behind the thief giving him flat tires by
stepping on the backs of his shoes (satisfying as that might be). Stay
20-50 feet behind him at all times. If he enters a store, enter behind
him, and pretend to browse the shop’s wares. But put your hand to the
side of your face if he walks near you so as not to arouse suspicion.
- Don’t call the police. Running
to law enforcement is not the answer. If the thief learns that you’ve
gone to the cops he might become scared and drop your wallet down a
sewer grating or eat it, and then you’ll never see it again. Also, if
the police somehow end of catching him, your wallet and everything in
it becomes evidence in a federal trial. You’d have to pay to get it
back. Imagine giving the government money for a wallet that belongs to
you. It’s insane.
- Pull the “old switcharoo”.
When you see an opportunity, run up to the pickpocket, snatch your
wallet out of his hand, and continue walking ahead of him. Now you’ve
turned the tables; the hunter has become the hunted. After you’ve done
this, losing him is easy. Step into a store and quickly put your shirt
back on. When the thief enters, puts a knife to your chest, and demands
the wallet back, just say “I’ve never seen this man before in my life.”
That would probably work. Otherwise just approach a busy intersection,
timing it so you reach it while the “Don’t Walk” sign is illuminated.
Then just dash madly out into traffic without even looking. You might
just make it across, but even if you don’t: At least you tried.