Drinking the Kool-Aid if SHTF

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Drinking the Kool-Aid if SHTF

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koolaidMost people have a worse case scenario.  A situation where they know they would not be able to cope.  A hopeless situation where all they could look forward to is pain and suffering.  This is not pleasant to think about or even write about but I feel it is a matter that should be explored.

I am not alone.  In some states, including my own, voters have chosen to allow terminally ill patients to perform a medical assisted suicide.  It is not my intent to get into the moral dilemma one may face in this situation since in my opinion, this is a very private, very personal decision.  But the fact still remains that suicide in the face of grave and terminal consequences is very much on the minds of our populace.

And so today I would like to muse on the actions one might take in an extreme, TEOTWAWKI situation.  Or perhaps, not an “end of the world as we know it” but a true “end of the world”.  I am not thinking war or civil unrest nor am I thinking global financial and economic collapse.  What I am referring to is a catastrophic and undeniable end perhaps caused by nuclear devastation and poisoning of our planet, a worldwide pandemic, or even an imminent hit by a colossal asteroid.

Notwithstanding an escape in an alien aircraft, what would I do?  What would you do?

But first, let’s describe the term “drinking the Kool-aid”.  This slogan refers to cult leader James Jones who in 1978 ordered his flock to commit suicide by drinking grape-flavored Kool-Aid laced with potassium cyanide.  There are a lot of unknowns relative to what is commonly called the Jonestown massacre but the one thing that is known is that a lot of people died either by murder or by suicide.  There are also a number of conspiracy theories pointing to Jonestown links to the CIA with its true mission being an experiment in mind control.

I do not really care to speculate as to what really happened in 1978 other than to note the fact that in order to end their lives, there was a pre-ordained and well rehearsed plan to “drink the Kool-Aid”.

Another example of mass-suicide (or mass murder, depending on what you believe) occurred in ancient times, 73 CE to be specific.  The place was Masada and as the story goes, the Jewish rebels chose to die rather than submit to slavery at the hands of the Romans.  Speculation is that since suicide is a sin in the Jewish religion, 10 rebels were chosen and tasked with killing the other members of the community, 960 in all.  After that, they drew names and the person drawing the short straw killed the other 9, leaving a single person tasked with his own suicide.

This is quite the story.  Archeologists and historians say it is true but no one was there so we will never know.



Whether true or not, it is definitely a story of how a mass suicide may occur when the going gets rough.

Which brings me back to the present.  I can think of only one specific situation where for me, a drastic, suicide-type measure may be necessary.  That would be a nuclear war with massive nuclear fallout.  In this situation, death would be inevitable.  It would also be painful and horrible.  The scary thing is that this could really happenAnd if that were the case, I just might have to drink the Kool-Aid.

Any other situation and I think I could cope.  Preparing for survival by learning survival skills helps – as does having the knowledge and recognition that there is a “possibility” for TEOTWAWKI to occur at any time.  And of course staying out of the room labeled “denial” helps as well.

But what about that Kool-aid?  Would it be a vial of cyanide or a well positioned shot in the heart or the head?  Or would it simply be an overdose of otherwise legal prescription drugs?

These are tough questions that I hope I will never have to answer.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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8 Responses to “Drinking the Kool-Aid if SHTF”

  1. This theme is what the book”On the Beach” by Nevil Shute wrote in early 1960s and the movie with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardener, Natalie Wood etc., I recently watched it. It’s very profound, I’d recommend the movie and book to all. After reading or watching this I challenge you to be judgmental about the the choices anyone would make in those circumstances.

  2. You have a sobering point! In any crisis morale is going to plummet. Especially if faced with privation. For some it will be no more Internet or TV. for others, no food and no hope. Am planning on stocking up on plenty of St John’s Wort. It is an herb commonly sold over the counter on vitamin stands in drug stores. In Europe, St John’s Wort is commonly used to treat depression. it may not be as effective as prescription but prescription needs refills and coming off the prescription drugs is worse than the effects they treat. When depression sets in, even the most minor set back or adverse situation can be blown up into a life ending thought. Inability to cope. I opt for self treatment of St Johns wort in hopes that I won’t entertain a life ending thought over something that could be overcome with a better attitude and positive mental state. Hopefully the Wort is effective because I don’t want to kiss my gun barrel over something that better mentally prepared people would consider minor or trivial simply because I was severely depressed.

    • Ken – Good tip in the St. John’s Wort. I am going to look in to that. There is also marijuana – which is now legal in Washington State. Just thinking that might not be a bad thing to store for a dire emergency.

  3. Excellent post. I agree that things would have to get pretty bad to consider that. I also believe that our ability to prepare is key. Most people will lose their minds when things get bad. However, it’s when things get REALLY bad that the prepared will shine IMO.

  4. Reading this made me think about the movie “The Road” when his wife went out into the cold, never to return. I hope things never get so hopeless we’d have to consider a choice so final. Very sobering and courageous article.

  5. Now THIS is a sobering post, SW! I have given only passing thought to apocalyptic scenarios that might somehow force my hand into taking the most extreme and drastic measures. Drinking the Kool-Aid has never been a serious alternative of mine. Maybe that is because of my Christian upbringing–I’m not sure. Maybe because I haven’t the courage or strength necessary to take my own life–Not sure of that either.
    One thing is a certainty: it would have to be one hell of a mess, an apparent hopeless situation so dire and so horrid that death would be better, and welcome, as opposed to short-term living and suffering in a way that I simply cannot fathom.

    Here’s to hoping and praying that none of us are ever faced with such a sad, heart-rendering and most difficult choice regarding the taking (or not) of our lives.

  6. Very well written and real food for though. It makes a person think about what they would do. I have got to do a lot of soul searching. THANKS

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