We normally would not publish a piece on a single victim or survivor of a particular natural disaster, but we regularly follow the interviews and advice of trend forecaster Gerald Celente.
According to his most recent Trend Alert, distributed to subscribers on March 4, Celente was on the ground in Chile when the earthquake hit:
With so many once-dependable â€œSystemsâ€ taking a battering and breaking down â€“ and with the certainty that there will never be a return to â€œnormalâ€ â€“ The Trends Research Institute foresaw the need for new types of survivalist thinking designed to cope with future emergencies.
Our Winter 2010 Trends JournalÂ® provided practical guidelines and escape strategies applicable to a gamut of crises from economic meltdowns to terrorist attacks. (See Top Trends: Breaking Point 2010. â€œNeo-Survivalismâ€ Click here.)Â The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on February 27th put those theoretical guidelines and strategies to an acid test.
Institute Director Gerald Celente and colleague Gary Abatelli, on the last leg of a South American fact-finding mission, arrived in Santiago, Chile on Thursday, February 25th.Â Shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday, though in a 14th floor room with all windows closed, they were awakened by the wild howling of the innumerable dogs that roam Santiagoâ€™s streets.Â In retrospect, it was a wake-up-call â€¦ a harbinger of the mega-quake that would strike minutes later.Â The 5-star Crown Plaza Hotel lurched and rocked.Â Within the room the TV toppled, lamps crashed, drawers shot out of their bureaus.
Both close-combat black belts, Celente and Abatelliâ€™s decades of physical and psychological training would serve them well.Â Â Aware of Chileâ€™s long history of quakes, at the first tremor, Celente bolted from bed, put on his pants, slipped on his shoes, grabbed his jacket and ran for the stairwell.Â Â The two had just one thought in mind:Â get out of the hotel before it collapsed.Â Nothing else counted.Â Personal possessions (passports, wallets, money, watches) became instant non-essentials.Â When it comes to life and death, the only things to leave behind are everything.
During 90 seconds of violent quakes, they put into practice years of â€œwobble boardâ€ training: the art of maintaining balance while continuing to move forward no matter what is being thrown at you.Â Flying down 14 stories of convulsing, pitching stairs, in just minutes (Celente reckons no more than three), they were first to reach the bottom.
Astonishingly, except for the hysterical cries of Madre de Dios coming from an escapee from a few floors above them, the stairwell was totally empty!Â They would later learn, from interviews with hotel guests, that the majority froze in panic.Â Some called the front desk for instructions, others waited for tour guides to direct them, a few huddled under desks, found refuge in bathtubs, or sought shelter in doorways.
Trend Institute lesson #1: We put our motto, â€œThink for yourself,â€ into action.Â Luckily, though seriously damaged, the hotel stood.Â Had it collapsed, those within it who were waiting to follow orders from tour guides or hotel personnel would have perished.Â When survival is at stake â€“ physical, fiscal or psychological â€“ the only leader to follow is yourself.
Trend Institute lesson #2: Prepare for the worst.Â If the worst doesnâ€™t happen, nothing is lost.Â But if the worst happens and no preparations have been made â€¦ everything is lost.
The life-threatening element of the quake was past, but not the threat to life.Â Â In the few minutes it took Celente and Abatelli to make it downstairs, out into the street and back to the hotel lobby entrance, wolf-packs of screaming young men materialized, seemingly out of nowhere, even though it was 4 AM.Â Rampaging through the streets, they bowled over and mugged anyone unlucky enough to get in their path.Â Police were nowhere to be seen.
Out of harmâ€™s way for the moment, the next priority for Celente and Abatelli was finding a way out of Chile.Â The devastation was vast and the airport shut down.Â It was obvious that any sort of cleanup, to say nothing of repair and a restoration of services, would be slow to come.
Phase two of the Neo Survival Guide, as outlined in the Trends JournalÂ®, now came into play:Â â€œCommunal spirit intelligently deployed is the core value of ‘Neo-Survivalism.’â€
Abatelliâ€™s laptop was working and an email was fired off to John Perkins, their Attackproof.com close-combat mentor back in NY.Â Immediately, Perkins sent out an SOS to his worldwide list of martial arts practitioners.Â Within hours, advice was streaming in through a far-flung web of primary â€¦ then secondary and tertiary sources.
There were names and phone numbers of high-level Embassy officials; personal contacts in Chile and Argentina ready to help with funds and lodging.Â Access to the AttackProof.com network assured them that they would not have to weather the crisis alone.Â Â Among the dozens of suggestions, one held the promise of immediate escape:Â hire a car and driver to take them to Mendoza, Argentina, a ten hour drive from Santiago.Â From there they could fly to Buenos Aires and in fact were actually able â€“ despite other unforeseen complications â€“ to catch their scheduled flight back to New York.
The concepts of neo-survivalism and “prepping” go beyond simply stockpiling emergency supplies. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle. And one of these days, it may save your life.
Quick thinking! Interestingly, mass media had nothing to say about the “wolf-packs of young menÂ …. rampaging through the streets … “Â Â immediately after the quake.
Reading this lowered my esteem for Gerald Celente.Â I lived in Japan, where earthquakes are normal, so preparation for them is routine. The first thing the experts tell you is that the stairs are one of the most dangerous places to be. Do not go there. You should immediately go to the front door, open it, and stand there. (The front door is typicallyÂ in a metal frame.) Buildings collapse pretty quickly, so you do not get dressed. You just grab a bed sheet and wrap yourself it. It took Mr. Celente about three minutes to get out. Quakes typically do not last that long. In fact, according to the same article there were only “90 seconds of violent quakes”. Most of this time was spent in the least safe envioronment. While being paralyzed with fear in bed, or calling hotel lobby for instructions were bad ideas, these were much safer than running on a staircase during earthquake.
I am curious to know, what it is you think he should have done? Standing in a doorway 14 stories above the ground, will do you no good when the entire building collapses, and you fall 140 feet.