I have been in war with lot of people, I mean I spent lot of hard time with folks who in that time I could call friends, or at least some kind of allies.
After that I lost contact with most of them, sometimes I heard something about someone, or see some of them, but real „buddy“ contact with people from that time and events is rare.
People who have not gone trough experiences like war probably imagine that there is something like annual meetings of old buddies who used to shoot together and kill other folks, and on that meetings there is huge barbecue and drinks…
And on that meetings we all like laugh and remember how hard it was and we are lucky that we are alive. Actually I was on some similar meetings, but it was everything but fun, so I stopped with that.
People there mostly look at each other and we all see how destroyed we are. I have met many broken people there and the question is has life screwed us or we screwed up in life. And at the end, we all drink, but without music, we just look in fire from barbecue, angry because of some triviality and asking why we are here.
Actually we do not have common topic to talk, after we spent time talking about all topics like weather or bad situation in country we know that sooner or later some of us will start with that „do you remember how S. got killed?“ or that famous „man we are lucky to be alive“.
But in reality we all know how S. get killed, nobody needs to ask „do you remember?“. Most of us think about how S. or M. or L. or whoever got killed every night at home, because many of us do not have families, most of us are unable to have normal lives with someone close to you anymore.
And when we come home later we drink alone, because people like us drink alone in most of the cases. Without false modesty, those of us who made it are best of the best from that time, real survivors, we survived everything because stupidity got punished very hard back then, usually with death. It still has burned much out of us.
People without purpose and aim. One of us work at parking lot. It is job that barely can keep him alive with minimum money for food only. No wife, no kids, no real friends, no possessions except maybe weapons hidden somewhere because you never know.
He was a lion once, man without fear for his life and without respect for enemy’s life. I asked him once how he feels when he is charging for parking ticket to the guy who is 25, drives brand new BMW with couple of pretty drugged girls, who earned that by being crooked politician and who looks at him like he is not even human, or worse like he is invisible, like there is ghost who charges for tickets.
He said “Oh man, I try not to look, it is life, and I am too old anyway to care”. He is 45. I think one day he will jump from 16 floor, or simply dig out his favorite TT gun and blow his brain out. One other guy is unemployed, officially unemployed, but he works whatever needs to be done. To say it shortly, when someone needs to scare someone, or harm someone he is guy for that.
He keeps telling me one story, actually it is his dream or wish more than a real story. He said:
Man, I am dreaming and wishing that one morning I wake up and there is a decision inside me, one of the old feelings that I carried through the war.
You know what would I do? I would go to my place with my stuff, take two pistols and rifle and as much ammo I could take. I would put on my old combat vest, lucky boots, put on my armband that we used for recognitions.
You know the government (local) building? I would go there, enter through the steel door, there are two security guys, I would use pistol on them, two shots in the head, for each of them. Guys are young and inexperienced, full of steroids and stories from the GYM. Big chests and arms, but small brains and balls.
After that I am wishing that I could somehow weld that steel door, with me inside of course, so no soul can go out, me neither, but maybe I just somehow block it, or use explosive there.
You know the put steel bars to the windows, those crooked bastards, to feel more safe, I would have them there where I want. And then, I would take off my rifle from the shoulder, and go slowly from the one office room to another. Everyone, every last greedy m$%#@#%ker of them would go down.
On some of the most important faces there I would use my knife, you know, faces that like to be on TV, like to take shots and interviews after doing some charities, or visiting schools and hugging the kids because good grades in front of the cameras, faces who earned their first million by selling baby food in war mixed with plaster, or taking someone’s wife for two pieces of canned meat.
I would like to go slowly with them, piece by piece. I think I would be pretty much done before special police squad would come to the place, remember I was pretty quickly done with some of the buildings we took during war.
After that I do not care what would happen, I think I would blow my brain out, or maybe I would take few police guys with me too. They are young and full of movie ideas. Dirty games are something that is strange for them, it would not be a problem.
Every time we end up by laughing about his dream. He is saying all of this like joke anyway more or less. But sometimes, I guess when he is feeling down too much or when he sees who is in charge today ruling over us or simply when memories got to him too much I see something in his eyes and that is no joke.
For all this that I wrote here, people have name, they label it with words PTSD. But real point is that once violence enters your life, once it becomes part of you, you belong to that violence. To the rest of the life. In the famous US series Dexter he calls this “his dark passenger” and this dark side will stay with you.
Nothing romantic about it. And every time when I see on TV or wherever some anniversaries of military events, and when I see those guys under the banners and old flags, no matter what country and what war they have same expression on their face.
The hand shake with politicians, take pictures with them, kids take photos with them, they calling them heroes and liberators and what else. It might be truth, but means nothing probably to them.
But when politicians go away with their limousines and security, and when newspapers guy, and TV crews leave with their stories, those guys stay alone with their thoughts and memories until next year when they get another pat on the back.
Two main lessons here.
First is that violence like it is glorified in action movies, games and sometimes media should not be taken easy. If you might look at your weapons at home you see them as that and pictures of shooting come up in your mind. If people who fought do this picture of bullet impacts on human body come up.
The smell of people dying, the sound of last breaths, the mess someone leaves behind. Every time you use violence the dark passenger in you grows and it will not leave, it is part of you. So if SHTF and this website and everything else is long gone maybe you remember this and tell yourself and people around you that all this comes with cost.
Second lesson here is that you should think about time after collapse. I have friends in US army and I know some of the veteran services are bad but at least they are there. I read in history book that soldiers in earlier wars had less PTSD because they travelled together for longer time from area of conflict. If you lead a group of survivors during SHTF think about giving them rest, think about sort of debriefing time.
Please share your experience with traumatic events and how to deal with them in comments below or our community forum.