Survival’s first lesson: Staying out of trouble

survival lessonLooking for goods and usable items during the war often meant I got myself in some weird situations and scenarios. I knew lots of guys who risked their lives just to get to some destroyed places because they knew they could find some items that meant a lot for them personally but actually those items were useless in given situation around us at that time.

But people often act like fools and if you find yourself in a survival situation it is the perfect time to lose your life if you act like fool.

Like a friend who lost his eye just because he went to his house and searched trough a closet full of audio tapes in order to collect some of his favourite punk band titles. Not to mention that electricity in that time was something like faint memory, and he could not do anything with those tapes.

Anyway booby trap exploded, luckily he survived but he lost one of his eyes.

When you have young people or in general inexperienced people and fighting around you it is the perfect combination for some people to act like fools.

There is something in dangerous (and new) situations that makes you want to act like fool, and to do stupid things, young folks do that mostly, but it can happen to anyone, it happened to me too.

Good old „stay out of the trouble“ advice is one of the best survival lessons one can learn.

Whenever I read on survival forums threads about gangs and how during SHTF people should get organized and simply defeat them I remember how young and enthusiastic I was about that too, but luckily enthusiasm went away quickly and I survived.

The problem here is holding onto old concepts and not accepting change. One day you have law and order and you can call someone when you see trouble because it is not right, next day suddenly there is no one to call and you might feel you have to jump in to make things right.

You may find it cowardly that man wants to stay put when bad things happen around him but in reality in most of the situationz you can not do anything without huge organisation that helps you and big personal risk.

My relative was outside the country when war started, he was working for electrical company in middle east. Contract was good, and he had monthly salary there equal to 6 months salaries here at that time.

On first news about fighting and war he returned to the country to join the army and fight. Blockades and battles already started and his trip back to his town took lot of time and troubles.

He was 26 year old back then and he told me that when he entered country at a small city where he and few other guys wanted to join the fighting forces he saw that war is not like in books and movies the first time.

Military unit that welcomed them asked who they are and what they wanted, they said that they wanted to join the fighting forces. He said he expected some kind of questionary about their military experience or similar but instead of that the small unit commander asked them : „Do you want some women?“

They starred at him like idiots so he explained „We have some enemy women in prison close here, so go there if you want first“.

My relative was raised by his grandmother, he was nice kid, no cursing, no too much drinking, he said to me that shock was so big that he could not open his mouth to even say „No man!“

He told me that later he find out that fighting includes doing lots of things in order to win fight and stay alive. He went through lots of fighting, earned the reputation of a tough guy, and one day they got caught up in ambush and he was one of the few who survived.

Machine gun from close distance destroyed his legs and belly. He was removed from the country for rehabilitation, legs are still there, but only for „pictures“.

He is „glued“ to wheel chair forever, and no kids, no wife either.

He lives today in small apartment that looks at big chimney of for years closed factory, elevator is usually not working, and nobody cares to lift him up and down.

Nobody visits him too much, he is no hero, he fought for something that is now considered „ wrong and not needed war“ as they say.

Now and then I visit him in his city and that apartment, and every time I conclude two things:

First how lucky I am even with all my issues and traumas from the war compared to him, and second is that every time when I left him in his misery and bitterness I am expecting to see in few days in news something like „old war veteran in wheel chair went crazy and start to shoot from AK47 at people in street from his apartment at 6th floor.“

I asked him once why he returned to the country at the beggining of the war while at the same time thousands fled? I expected to hear something patriotic or similar, but he said „Man, at that time it was something so exciting and new!“

So just listen to first survival and most important survival lesson: Stay out of the trouble. Life is very real and it is easy to forget how brutal “real life” can be. With real life I mean life without our civilized society or just life without all support and help we take for granted.

I hope I will never have to use everything I trained for or any lesson I share with you here ever again.

Do you have examples when staying out of trouble was hard and about consequences of this? Share in comments below or forum.

21 responses to “Survival’s first lesson: Staying out of trouble”

  1. Shockwave says:

    This is excellent advice that would incredibly difficult for good people to follow were society to collapse: you might find yourself having to watch a woman being raped, or a child murdered, and have to fight yourself into silence as you witness those horrors.

    Thankfully most of the situations you’re referencing are much less difficult to deal with, and really amount to making stupid decisions for emotional reasons that ignore reality of the situation.

    I really enjoy your website Selco, and I wanted to thank you for putting this information out there for those of us who know what we don’t know and want to get our heads straight.

    • Selco says:

      Thanks!
      It is in human nature, at least for some folks, to look for the trouble. I have gone trough that too.It is problematic when you are thrown from normal life to the SHTF and have that attitude, simply because stakes are much higher.

  2. c says:

    Boredom has killed more farm boys then anything else. Learning how to entertain yourself is a good survival skill.

    • timgray says:

      Which is why every BOB and other stash I have has a deck of card and a couple of dice in it. Simple small items that nobody ever thinks about but have huge survival value.

  3. Tom says:

    Reading real accounts of the Troubles in Northern Ireland will disabuse you of the notion that Civil War is new and exciting. Your articles always do the same for .

    I truly hope it can be stopped but it doesnt look good from here now.

    Thank you for all you have done to try to help people Selco.

  4. Darren R says:

    this does not just apply to all out war.

    here in the states, i am thinking of our riots in baltimore. the urge to take a ride into town & sight-see is quite strong, especially among those in their teens/twenties, or among students living at towson state or johns hopkins university.

    if one is a parent, this is an excellent time to say “hell fkin NO, you are not going *anywhere*!!!”

    anybody who wants to see what’s going on can make use of youtube & live streaming. no need to be hit by a car spinning donuts, have skull smashed by a brick, or have one’s life ruined by getting arrested/criminal record because they were in wrong place at wrong time when cops finally do act.

    even after things ‘return to normal’, riots embolden criminal elements for months afterwards. so the city is a good place to generally stay out of if at all possible.

  5. GeneC says:

    IMO the FIRST lesson is . survival is the ability to make the RIGHT decisions. WRONG ( bad) decisions will kill you.

    I never understood , “don’t get into trouble;” What? That’s like “Be careful:” HUH? What does that mean exactly?

    NEWS FLASH: YOU DON’T REALIZE THAT YOU’RE IN TROUBLE UNTIL YOU’RE ACTUALLY IN IT. THEN IT’S USUALLY TOO LATE. Like “BE Careful;” YOU DONT REALIZE THAT YOU WERE NOT CAREFUL UNTIL YOU GET HURT. THEN IT’S TOO LATE.

    BTW, the thing about making the RIGHT decisions is being in touch with REALITY. IF YOU MAKE A DECSIONS BASED ON EMOTION, THAT A WRONG DECSISON. IF YOU MAKE A DECISON WITHOUT ALL THE INFO, THATS A BAD DECISION.

    IN THE USA, WE WON’T HAVE WHAT THEY IN KOSOVO MORE OFTEN, WE HAVE NATUAL EVENTS. THE ONLY REASON YOU SHOUD LEAVE A PERFECTLY GOOD SOLID SHELTER IS IF YOU CAN’T STAY AND CAN GET TO A BETTER SOLID SHELTER.

    IF YOU ENGAGE IN A FIRE FIGHT , YOU HAVE LOST AND ALOT OF MUCH BETTER PLANS HAVE FAILED.- BAD IDEA. IF YOU THINK FIRING A GUN IS OK, YOU;RE OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY. A GUN IS A MAGNET FOR BAD GUYS AND/OR YOU COULD BE PERCEIVED AS A BAD GUY- BAD IDEA.. SAME WITH A FIRE. IF YOU THNK A FIRE IS OK, YOU’RE OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY. A FIRE IS A BAD GUY MAGNET, SAME WITH COOKING. YOU MIGHT AS WELL HANG OUT A NEON SIGN- BAD IDEAS. BTW GRABBING A PACK AND HOOFING IT, WELL, ANYWHERE IS A BAD IDEA. YES, BO IS A BAD IDEA. THE ELEMENTS WILL KILL YOU , WILD ANIMALS WILL KILL YOU AND EAT YOU. WILD PEOPLE WILL KILL YOU AND EAT YOU., UNLESS YOU’RE A GIRL.

    See my videos n You Tube :CCHGN

    • Selco says:

      Actually it is simple, if you are see people rioting in the street lot of people would choose to go and check what is going there, even if they do not have clue why folks are rioting, lot of people gonna choose to steal TV from smashed stores during the rioting, both can be described like looking for the trouble.
      Same is for weather events, people choose to go out of the “safe boundaries” for the reasons that are not worth.
      Stop for the moment and think about “staying out of the trouble”.
      I would love if you not gonna have anything like Kosovo there in US, but at the end everything come to the same – too many people and way to little resources. Names are not important, fighting for resources is pretty same at the end.

    • timgray says:

      “NEWS FLASH: YOU DON’T REALIZE THAT YOU’RE IN TROUBLE UNTIL YOU’RE ACTUALLY IN IT. THEN IT’S USUALLY TOO LATE. Like “BE Careful;” YOU DONT REALIZE THAT YOU WERE NOT CAREFUL UNTIL YOU GET HURT. THEN IT’S TOO LATE.”

      Yes if you are blind and have zero situational awareness, that is true. If you pay attention and use your head, then that fades away.

      For example, a heavy snowstorm and fools on the highway continue driving down the highway at full speed slamming into the stopped traffic that they just can not see until it is too late. While those that think about what they are doing and use situational awareness, drive a lot slower knowing they just can not see and the risk of danger being ahead is high.. They avoid crashing into something at full speed. The smarter ones decided to not even go on the highway, that is risk assessment.

      These same people also pay attention behind them, ride on the shoulder further to avoid the fools that simply go as fast as they can blindly. Thinking, Situational awareness, and risk assessment will save you more than anything else can.

  6. liviudn says:

    Good job, Selco!

  7. Paul X says:

    Actually the urge to intervene is not hard to understand. It’s not just a matter of getting some excitement (even if kids fall prey to that). It’s also that it is threatening to survival to let one’s neighborhood turn to shit by letting rapes, theft, etc. happen with no response. “Today it’s my neighbor, tomorrow it will be me.”

    The difficulty is understanding when the risk to intervention exceeds the payback of stopping the local collapse of society, of knowing when you are standing in the path of a tsunami. Also, one has to pick and choose who to help. A lot of people are not worth the trouble. For example in most of the US these days, it is quite easy to get a gun to prevent rape. That many women refrain from doing so, what does that say about them? Are they worth helping? How are they dressed, what is their behavior like? Did they invite it? If they do not understand that they need to take reality into account, maybe a rape will help them learn that. But why help people who ignore reality?

  8. Desertrat says:

    Curiosity can make you dead. When Charles Whitman did his deal from the Univ. of Texas Tower, the radio stations yelled, “Stay away! Stay away!”

    So, some folks hopped in their cars and drove to the campus area to watch. A few were shot. Curiosity-type bystanders got shot. Me, I was behind a large tree as soon as I learned what was going on. A guy I knew was standing out in the street–and got shot. I later paced off the distance as right at 420 yards. No big deal; I’ve killed deer that were farther away than that.

    If you can see the firing point, the guy there can see you.

  9. Son of Liberty says:

    I fully admit, I’ve not lived in a war torn area, a rough neighborhood, or gang infested area, So my experience is very minimal when it comes to these things. I do have a high sense of responsibility and strong moral ethos, however. I do remember sitting in a fast food restaurant late at night taking my two sons to a Christian rock concert, and seeing a young man loudly abusing the woman who he was with. His cussing, berating, and slapping her was more than I could stand, so I started to get up to help ‘straighten out things.’ My sons restrained me, and fortunately at that moment the manager stepped in and took charge. I don’t know what might have happened had he not taken action.

    Some people step in, like I almost did, because injustice cannot be allowed to continue.

    However, that said I don’t know what I would do if I saw a group of young men raping a woman, killing a child, or beating an old man/woman to death — and I was the only one standing against such atrocities. I’m not sure I could live with myself If I allowed it to continue without trying to intervene in some manner.

    May God grant wisdom, and mercy on us all — for such days are coming.

    Blessings,

    Son of Liberty

    • Nick says:

      A good post, Son of Liberty.

      I think one of the things to consider in your hypothetical scenarios is “can I win this?”. And if not, perhaps don’t try. Better one victim than two.

      Also, what could I lose if I try? If you are with your kid, and you break up a domestic dispute, and the guy stabs you to death… you have just orphaned your kid over a woman that had decided to stay with her abuser, and may in fact defend him in court. Ask any cop about how abused women lie to defend their abusers. I’ve seen it myself.

      Now, if I saw a group of men beating an elderly woman to death, and they were unarmed, and I had my rifle… I’d mow them down in a heartbeat. I can win, I have little to lose… ok, save the person. But if they are all armed, like I am, I’m going to leave the area. I can’t win, and I’ll just end up getting killed like the elderly woman. That’s a waste.

      That’s my take on things, anyway. What is there to gain, what is there to lose, what are my chances of winning, is it worth it?

      Like you said, may we never have to face such things.

      God bless you too,
      Nick

  10. Ghost Prime says:

    Selco, this is a great post, one every reader should remember as their lives could depend on it.

  11. messenger says:

    Sir, I sincerely with all humbleness apologize to you and all of the people who suffered as you did for my tax dollars being used to inflict such unnecessary pain on a defenseless society. I am sorry!

  12. Wyzyrd says:

    Great article, as usual, Thanks.

    When reading reports of robberies/assaults, etc. here in the States, there is often an “excuse” like “I was minding my own business, buying gasoline at 0230, in a bad part of town….”

    I may well be wrong, but it seems to me that, unless you have an extraordinary reason (maybe a long trip and only open station?), just being in that situation in the first place is a form of “asking for trouble”. If it looks/feels bad, be elsewhere. That is the root of all situational awareness.

  13. Isabel says:

    On the ambulance, our first commandment is “Do no harm”, followed closely by “Make no more victims”. Meaning, if I get hurt, I can’t help someone else, and take my crew away from helping others by needing help myself. Applies universally, I think.

  14. Mark Z says:

    Sadly, I can be absolutely still and trouble will find me. Yes……I’m a Crap Magnet. In fact I have a Crap Magnet patch on my BOB.

  15. Hillbilly says:

    I live away from town, I like it that way. I used to be a butcher in a very busy retail outlet, while I much prefer the solitude of living in the forest, I’m good with people, always have been. In a situation that I can avoid detection, I do. If your not in a position to deal out authority, accept it and move on. Sometimes if a certain situation or person/persons need a moral ass kicking….Regroup and make a plan, deliver a can of whoop-ass, as a gift and then disappear. Give it thought before reacting.
    I hope that you never find trouble, and if you do, give it back tenfold..

  16. hillbilly chic says:

    Hey selco been a while as always love your posts ,always good info,one thing that always strikes me when I read one of yours is you seem to be a very humble man, not a gunho type,makes me trust your advise, if I can say I have an actual plan its just about exactly what you said minus a natural disaster type thing happening ,more likely a tyrannical type thing being more likely in my opinion, I’m for staying as far away as possible from any kind of troubles in my bowl long as possible then into the deepest thickest briar patch available in the deepest woods around and staying put as long as possible,doing a lot of praying for peace while preparing for war,you stay safe now where ever you are.

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