Tonight was the conclusion of the second season of The Colony. This episode was ironically called, “Don’t Look Back.” I say “ironically” because the episode starts off with Tick and Jim scouting the “Militia Camp.” These are supposedly the people who keep attacking the Colonists, although there are only 8 people there…not 30. Jim and the other Colonists are “looking back” at how they’ve been wronged and fantasizing about how great getting even will be.
The colonists have lost between 7 and 38 pounds over the last 49 days, so the fact that they’re attacking an entrenched opponent with superior numbers, superior weapons, and superior nutrition COULD be a result of malnutrition. More than likely, they’re attacking the militia camp because the producers told them they had to, so I’m not going to comment much on it.
Sally the mechanic has a little pity party when the engine on the air boat won’t start. It’s understandable. But it’s not excusable. Sally is the group’s elected leader and the colonists at are at a critical point. They need their leaders to be focused on solutions…not on problems. Regardless of how weak and beat up she is on the inside, she needs to stay strong for the rest of the group.
This is true for leaders in real survival situations too. If a group of people is looking to you for leadership, they’re also going to look at the emotions that you show as an inspiration for their own emotions. It’s not fair. It’s just the way it is.
If you’ve got any personal stories of military or other leaders showing positive or negative emotion and influencing a group’s effectiveness under stress, please share them below.
The more respected the leader is, the more powerful the impact of the emotions that they show will be.
If you find yourself in a group where there is an individual who has assumed a leadership role because of great skills, but they don’t have their emotions in check, you might have to have a one-on-one conversation with them and let them know just how much influence their visible emotions have on their followers.
The Colonists decide to go ahead and loot the other group. This is stupid on almost every possible level, but I want to address one lesson that you can take away from this & that’s mental rehearsal.
Successful door kickers, whether they’re law enforcement or military, plan out their planned dynamic entry operations in advance and rehearse them in their heads and by doing dry run-throughs. The Colonists DID map it out and discuss roles, but the value of mental rehearsal and dry runs can’t be overemphasized.
3 lessons from the actual raid:
- The lady saying, “It’s for my baby!” had no impact whatsoever on the Colonists. Appealing to the sensibility of a violent attacker seldom works. Violence, or the threat of violence is a much better negotiating tool in a violent encounter.
- One of the militia shot off a fire extinguisher. This was a bad application of a great tool. In a house, one great strategy made popular by Clint Smith is to “Spray them with the white stuff. Then hit them with the red thing.” This is a multi-purpose tool that will probably ALWAYS be legal, never confiscated as a weapon, and just plain smart to have. If you have any gun safes, it’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher by them in case you can’t get the safe open fast enough in a home invasion situation.
- I’m not sure who set the explosions, but it would have been smart for the Colonists to cover their retreat with fire trenches noise makers triggered by trip wires, wait-a-minute webs across trails made from paracord or something similar.
Shortly after the Colonists get back to their compound, 2 trucks from VOPA pull up offering to take 2 people to another camp. Sian decides to go with them. Why she was willing to go with such an incompetent group so quickly is amazing. That being said, we see people put unearned trust in government entities after EVERY disaster everywhere around the world.
Putting yourself under the protection of a centralized organization in a shelter is rarely, if ever a good move. You’ll be disarmed, probably lose belongings, may or may not get food/water, and you’ll be subject to efficient treatment. In most cases, post-disaster survivors in urban areas do better fending for themselves in small groups. A big part of this, of course, is whether they have the skills to fend for themselves…which is why it’s vital that you learn and practice skills for survival on a regular basis.
And, with the whole VOPA distraction, the Colonists completely forget that they just attacked a superior force and MIGHT want to get the heck out of Dodge before they retaliate.
And the outsiders DID come. They put gas into the Colonists house and lit it on fire. Fortunately for the Colonists, the outsiders didn’t decide to walk after them along the shore and attack them. I say walk because they never tested the speed of the boat and it didn’t appear to go very fast at all in the channel. They panned the camera to make it look like it was going fast in the channel, but it seemed to hardly be moving.
One of the things that the producers showed near the end was how long it took George to make the transition from “normal” life to “survival mode.” This is a reality that gets re-learned after every disaster. Different people embrace new realities at different speeds.
After Katrina, for example, one security contractor that I interviewed told me about being in a hotel that was serving 5 course meals like nothing was wrong while bloated bodies were literally floating by in the street outside. My friend was in full-on survival mode and the people around him were talking about how good the basil tasted on their appetizer and how nicely the wine opened up after a few minutes of decanting. This type of behavior isn’t fiction. It really happens, and you can expect it after almost any disaster.
And the series ended with the Colonists arriving at their new house, only to find 10-15 defensive men, women, and children beat them to it. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
What could Tick and Jim have done to help protect the house while they went back to get the other Colonists? A lot depends on whether the other group was already aware of the house or not. If not, Tick and Jim could have taken one of their kills, put it in the house to rot, and marked up the house with skulls and crossbones saying, “Virus victims died here. We’re coming back to remove the bodies” It may or may not of worked. The sign, plus the reinforcement of the smell of rotting meat MAY have just kept the other group away long enough for the Colonists to get back and move in.
What survival psychology lessons did you learn from The Colony? There weren’t a ton of “physical” survival skills demonstrated, but this season highlighted psychological and human behavioral lessons in every episode.
Keep in mind that out of a random group of Americans, 1/6 have brain chemistry issues that they take daily medication for. 1/12 have diabetes. 1/5 are addicted to nicotine. 1/25 are alcoholics. My point? The behavior of these 4 groups of people can change quickly and sometimes dramatically and unexpectedly when their bodies don’t get the chemicals that they’re used to. In a random group of 10 people, you’re going to have people dealing with these issues and the Colonists didn’t have to.
With my readership being what it is, there are THOUSANDS of people reading this article who fit into one of these 4 groups. No judgment here…just make sure to study yourself so you know how you change when your body doesn’t get the chemicals it needs. In a survival situation, make sure to tell at least one person what you’re dealing with, how your personality might change, and what, if anything, they can do to help you.
AND, to the extent that you can, try to figure out if there are ways that you can make your body less dependent on these chemicals. It CAN be done. Comedian/actor Drew Carey recently completely cured his diabetes by changing his diet and exercise habits. There were many obvious benefits to this, but one of them is that he dramatically improved his chances of surviving a long term disaster because he’s no longer dependant on daily injections of insulin.
So…that’s it for Season 2 of the Colony. What did you learn from this season? Did the show provide any opportunities to start conversations about preparedness with friends and loved ones? TV producers & writers read this blog…both for personal reasons and to find out how mainstream preppers think. What would you like to see next year? Any thoughts on how to have “realistic” conflicts without seriously injuring people? (I don’t think this is possible. You either have rules and it looks fake or you don’t have rules and body parts get destroyed.) Anything else you’d like them to know? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below..