Selco survived one year in a city surrounded by the enemy army and cut off from the rest of the world. He has been through hell during the Balkan wars 1992 – 1995. Learn what it took him to stay alive.
Some three years ago the wife and kid of my friend were driving in the car, and on some intersection they hit another car. It was very small accident, both cars were driving very slowly and they only scratched cars.
In other car there were 4 pretty drunk guys and they immediately jumped out of the car and started to curse the woman and kid, she locked the car and called her husband.
Guys were young and drunk, and most probably they did not mean anything too bad other to look very cool and dangerous, but one of them pulled knife in order to scare lady. It was in the evening and without too many folks on the street, and even few people who came by did not want to interfere.
One of them did call the police. Her husband came very fast, maybe in 10 minutes and found them yelling at the car and his wife, the guy with the knife was piercing tires.
My friend jumped out of the car and broke the jaw of the guy with knife with his boot, then beat other tree dudes in few minutes. They suffered broken ribs, head fracture, jaw fracture and ruptured spleen.
Bystanders said that he started to strangulate one of the guys when two policeman came, they separated him from the guy, but then he turned over and started to strangulate policeman.
Finally other policeman knocked him out with baton. When he regained consciousness he was in jail.
He got out of the whole problem thanks to witness of the bystanders, and he got mild penalty because of attacking police officers thanks to his psychiatrist.
He is 170cm and some 70kg guy, and you may ask everyone (before the event) about him and everyone is going to say that ”he is very nice and peaceful guy, someone who always avoids trouble, actually someone who is scared of violence, guy who trusts in the system and love between folks”
I was with him during the war. Our SHTF 20 years ago and I know different. He was (and still is) one of the most dangerous guys I ever know.
Point of the story is not to say that violence happens, you all know that, point is more like that you never judge folks by the look.
To be more precise, really dangerous guys do not look for the trouble, they more look how to avoid it because they know what trouble may bring. It is same with “psychos”. If you come across someone wearing funny clothes and acting crazy he is probably just playing. Real psychos try to be and look normal.
Back to violence. When you have great experience in using violence, you may say that you join kind of club of people, and that changes some things for you.
People do not like to be around folks who have killed other folks, no matter why they did it, it is experience that changes folks. Actually once you did it you see that you are capable to do it, and you know you are capable to do it again, and again. A big taboo is broken once you killed. This is scary for people around you.
Some of those things are bad, but also other are giving you some advantage over the common folks.
Yes, you may be sure that after taking some lives you are not gonna be same man, you are gonna be outside of that group of common people.
During SHTF it makes sense to be known as a guy who is not taking sh.t easily, but only to a certain point, after that point your „fame“ of being tough guy may attract other, maybe tougher guys who want to take you down only because that gives them more „fame“.
If level of violence rises around you, you want to still “blend in”. Do not stick out as weak and not as extra tough. Maybe a bit more tough than average but that is enough.
Using violence in order to survive and using violence because you like it are two different things, and I have seen people who are „discovered“ themselves in doing violence because they like the feeling of power that comes with it.
I know the man who enjoy to do it. He was the family man who started everything just like most of the us when SHTF. He did what he have to do in order to survive.
Over the time he started to enjoy everything. After some time even his family members start to feel not comfortable in his presence because there is this guy who now has new option to act. He can kill and take life, just like this. This is scary for most people.
Keep in mind people talk about what happened. Just to process it or make sense. So people will talk when you kill. Stories come back to your group. Some people get wrong impression of you because they do not understand situation, they do not understand the high after you took life.
The guy I was talking about was no drug dealer, or some criminal mind. He was normal family guy, he just found something weird and dark inside him when SHTF.
He died when he became too careless because he believed he is way to strong and too smart. 20 year old woman stabbed him during a trade. He was too confident. It came as surprise for man who was proud and famous for being a killer.
This can happen to everyone. This story like other experiences from my time in war I share in my survival course are important lessons that never become out of date.
What you have to understand is feeling of being in power to take other peoples lives can put some strange ideas in your head, and we all suffered with different amounts of that, but some guys forget that this is not what survival is about.
Today in our world most of the „tough“ guys are tough because other folks are saying so, they are living on that fame and other folks fear. Reputation is everything, so most of the people believe in it and do not want to question it.
When SHTF having the man in your group or family who is something like weird version of action hero is not advisable, I mean it is no contest in body count, and blind wish to do violence all the time usually will bring you trouble.
In todays „normal“ world, when I walk in the evening and I see some trouble in front of me, lets say I see some guys drinking and looking at me, I see possible trouble, you know what will I do? I will avoid it, I will go to the other side of the street.
Now you can call me coward I do not care, but thing is that I know if I get involved in fight I ll do some things without hesitation.
I am known for what I am capable, and I am remembering (too well) what I did years ago when I was faced with violence. I would not have safety switches (or something that would tell me „OK now it is enough“) so I like to avoid it.
If you carry gun and brain at same time, you do not look for trouble too.
One of the other things that my experience brought me is some weird ability to „recognize“ dangerous guys, and I know some folks can see it in me too.
I am not talking here about some weird powers, I am talking about look in the eyes that says something like „Oh I know how to hurt you very bad, I did that before. And I will do that again if I am forced too, and I ll do it very efficient“. Someone who has all possibilities including putting you in extreme pain or ending life looks at you different, interacts different.
War vets with close quater fighting experience from anywhere know perfectly good what I am talking here about. Convicts and others who lived in violent environment know too.
At the end of the day, using violence is very bad thing, it destroys you. It can also destroy relationships of people close to you because it changes you and changes how people see you.
You can work on yourself on many levels and fields for years, but still that does not change fact that you are simply different man from majority of folks around you.
Years after the collapse that I lived trough I may only think that I am like everyone around me, actually I am not, and in the split second I am ready to turn back into what I was in that time. People who have not been there think this is good option to have… Selco is prepared… yes, but I carry this also around when I go to the park to relax and see families play together. This dark side never leaves you.
If you have experienced or been involved in violence, please share in comments how this changed your life or life of people you know.
We all like to think about and imagine how SHTF will change us, but it is almost impossible to know how we will react on whole set of new things that SHTF will bring to us.
People think that it will be something like sharp cut and prompt change, like today it is SHTF and we are different people with different reactions. It would be cool, but it is not like that for most of us.
Some changes will happen over the time, and we may not be aware of it at all. One of the obvius changes (and probably most interesting changes for online community of preppers because of movies) is different relationship to violence issues, for example over the time you learn to react different to violence, and doing violence.
Other may be living with dirt and being more dirty and accepting it. With each accepting of the above you are kinda losing your old life, becoming different.
Also some small things can provoke you to act like animal, some things that remind you of your old and normal life. Today I want to speak about experience I had during my time in war. It is related to this time of the year with christmas and holidays coming. It is about treats and pleasures.
Once, few months after the s. hit the fan, during one of the constant tours to find anything useful I stumbled across something special. This gives you idea how “low” you go, or better how high our standards are now. It showed me how thin that layer is that makes us „normal“ people.
It was around midnight and we chose some partially ruined house as a temporary shelter from fire outside and rain too. I was with friend there. We chose one room inside house which still had part of the ceiling above our heads to shelter from rain.
We were smoking one cigarette passing it between us when I realized that I actually sit on some box that is partially buried under the rubble. We started to dig and clear trash from it.
After few minutes we found out that it is big military wooden box, used for long term storing of various items. When SHTF and everything fell apart I remember seeing people dragging similar boxes from army storages.
It was pretty heavy, obviously full of whatever.
Of course we immediately started to imagine what could be inside, ammo, weapons, boots, maybe uniforms… My friend already whispered: „man, imagine, new boots maybe?“
When we opened it at the first moment in dark I thought it is full of some small toys or similar, because I saw big pile of small plastic packages, but then I took few of those small items and I froze like someone pointed rifle in my face from that box.
It was full of small packaged cocoa spreads, kinda like cheap spreads that can be served in hotels with your breakfast, or in this case it was probably meant to be used for military meals or similar. Something that you could find in a version of MRE.
It was cheap stuff and not really tasteful, in normal times I would not eat that stuff. It was like you trying to chew sweetened sand.
In that moment I could barely remember when I ate something sweet, something like junk sweet, chocolates, bars, candys, cakes or similar. If you ever go on longer hiking trip and eat same stuff every day for just 2 weeks and then come back to civilization and eat something you have experienced something like this. Now imagine months. My friend said: „Man! Screw the boots, this is jack pot“.
I do not remember how much of that stuff I ate there in that room with view on half ceiling and half rainy night, but I remember seeing my friend eating that stuff on a way that he put whole thing inside his mouth, chew the plastic package, eat spread, then spit chewed plastic.
Probably I eat it in same way, it helps that in dark we did not see how dirty the packages were, and of course nobody even remember to check expiration date.
I would eat even if it was printed „expired“ on it, or maybe even „toxic from Chernobyl“. It did not matter.
It was so sweet and good in that moment. It was not only food, calories, energy if you want. It was something like drug for us. Reminder of normal days. With chewing it and eating it we were living normal life for some time I guess.
I chewed it, and I know in that moment that I am probably gonna have some serious problems with my stomach that it „forgot to process“ stuff like that but I did not care.
People said that in some moments you can be turned in animal, you can be driven by simplest and maybe lowest instinct. And in the same time they imagine that happens only in certain situations, combat, great fear or similar. That’s not true.
I experienced before and later many similar events and feelings, many fights, blood, fears, you name it. But that event with those cocoa spreads was something weird.
Later while I was crouching outside my house, having diarrhea and throwing up at same time, I felt like shit, but I did not regret or wanting to trade eating all of those cocoa spreads. I kept some for myself and from time to time I ate it in something like ritual.
When all was finished, and war was over I forgot that. Years later I found something very similar like that spread. I bought it and tried it. It didn’t taste good at all, and I threw it away.
Point is that you never know how much you will appreciate things, until actually SHTF. So for your preps, stock some “pleasure goods” like cocoa drink mixes in little sachets or coffee mix, they will be valuable.
For the holiday season take your meal or treats sometimes with you to a place quiet and without distraction and enjoy them. It is easy to forget what we have now, so I encourage everyone be extra grateful in coming days.
If you are new to survival or want to find good gift for survivalists or preppers you know we have some suggestions. I updated our Survivalist Gift Guide from 2012 with new prices (but kept the old ones, so you can see what became more expensive and what cheaper). So make sure you check out our old guide for more gift suggestions.
When you read this, please also keep in mind that family gatherings and holidays are great options to talk to friends and family about survival and preparedness. Give someone some fire steel or basic survival set and head out to show them some survival skills after you had food. All fancy tools and preps are worth little compared to good working survival group so hopefully you can use the time to help more people understand why survival and preparedness is common sense (and our current way of living dependent on system is non sense).
We also have give away. If you share this post on Facebook or add a comment with another suggestion for great survival or preparedness related gift here on the blog you can win one of my favorite survival knife the Ontario RAT-5 Knife. We announce winner on 1st of December.
Here are our suggestions for survival and preparedness gifts for this years holiday season.
$4.69 Set of 10 Caltrops Tashibishi
These spikes dig through sneaker soles. Probably work for car tires too.
$7.18 Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool 9100C Silver Multi Tool
Spork, bottle opener and hex wrenches in one tool for key chain.
$9.99 Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Great drinking bottle that can be used to cook water too.
$10.93 Chainmate CM-24SSP 24-Inch Survival Pocket Chain Saw With Pouch
Another small and light addition for bug out bag or overall preps.
$11.99 Caldwell Ar-15 Brass Catcher
For those times when you do not want to leave traces.
$14.95 Self Defense Money Clip Silver
Money clip that can be used as beat knuckle.
$14.99 50 – Pk. Anatomy Targets
Get used to shoot at people (or images first).
$19.99 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Put in your car, bug out bag and show your kids and friends how to use them. Cheap, proven way to filter up to 1000 liters of water.
$21.79 Goal Zero 90103 Solar Black Small Crank Flashlight
LED technology made lot of progress. This is updated version of all around survival flashlight. Hand crank and solar powered.
$24.54 Butler Creek LULA M16/AR-15 All-in-One Magazine Speed Loader and Unloader
also available for $26.95 for Butler Creek AK47/GALIL LULA Loader, BUT24216
$24.97 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet All black version
Easy to use and can save lives. Have at least one of them with you if you expect to fight. Practice that you know how to use on yourself and others! Quick application is crucial.
$25.08 TekMat 12-Inch X 36-Inch Long Gun Cleaning Mat with AR15 Imprint, Black
Helps with gun maintenance, to avoid scratches and keeps gun in place.
$26.00 2-Book Safes, Diversion Safe made with a Real Book
Always smart to have way to hide some valuables.
$27.49 SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01TN-CP Tactical Tomahawk with 2.75-Inch Steel Axe Blade and Black Ballistic Nylon Sheath, Black Finish
Learn to throw it, use it as all around tool for urban survival to scavenge, breach open windows and more.
$27.95 MOLLE Compatible Military Style M3 Medic Bag, Combat Medical Kit, Rescue Red
Durable bag for medical supplies. Easy access to everything. I use one of these too.
$29 Lifetime Subscription to my Online Course
I’m happy that my experience from survival during war can help people today and in future.
$32.59 Cold Steel Brooklyn Crusher
Even in survival scenario you should be able to escalate use of force.
$33.61 Dpms Ar15 Armorers Multi-Tool
Handy tool for rifle maintenance.
$35.00 T3 Tactical Triage & Auto Rescue Tool
In my job in emergency services I have to cut people from their cars often. With this knife you can help yourself.
$37.37 United Cutlery Bush Master Survival Knife
Good starter set for older children or people completely new to survival. Sit down with person who gets the knife and talk about survival. Get a better knife like the Ontario 8627 RAT-5 Knife (Brown) for experienced survivalists as gift.
$37.81 Mosby’s 2014 Nursing Drug Reference, 27e (SKIDMORE NURSING DRUG REFERENCE)
Older edition would be good too but why not get the latest. One day there might be no Internet anymore and when you get your hands on drugs you can look up how to use them.
$37.95 Survival Seed Vault – Heirloom Emergency Survival Seeds – Plant a Full Acre Crisis Victory Garden – 20 Easy-to-grow Varieties
Get a seed stash with non gmo heirloom seeds so you can harvest seeds and keep planting in future years. Consider packing some in your bug out bag. You never know where you end up and they take little space and weight.
$56.42 Galco KT224B Kingtuk Inside the Waistband Holster – RH, Black, fits Glock 17,19,22,23,26,27,31,32,33
Quality holster for concealed carry.
$107.35 TSD Tactical Full Metal/Full Auto M9 Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol
These guns give people who are afraid of weapons, easy way to get started and develop feeling for it. Gas blowback slide delivers more realistic action.
$179.99 Wilton 22036 20 Pound Head, 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer
Helps a lot with breaching doors and walls.
$217.37 Benjamin Trail NP Hardwood Break Barrel Air Rifle (.22) powered by Nitro Piston®
Air powered rifles have come long way. This rifle can shoot 0.22 at 950 fps and can be loaded by hand (no need for gas). Good for small game hunting.
$227.29 M-Pro 7 Advanced Small Arms Cleaning Kit with Leatherman MUT
Everything you need for weapon maintenance in one package. Smaller pack available for $45.99 M-Pro 7 Soft Sided Tactical Gun Cleaning Kit (Black)
$299.9 Big Agnes Storm King 0F / -18C Down Sleeping Bag (650 Downtek)
Quality down sleeping bag.
$469.00 Armasight Spark CORE Multi-Purpose Night Vision Monocular
If you do not want to spend several thousand on new gen night visions, get good and flexible first gen with a good IR light such as $101.83 Streamlight 88704 Super TAC IR Long Range Infrared Active Illuminator
Out of ordinary survival gifts (not so serious)
$8.48 Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit in a Sardine Can
Fun gift for prepper who has it all already.
$23.94 CMMG Tactical Cooked Bacon, 9-Ounce
Bacon in can that says its tactical bacon.
£29.99 Muscle enhancing shirts
For people who want to look more intimidating. Like push up bra for men.
$37.95 ThinkGeek Tactical BBQ Apron
It is cold now, but BBQ is serious business. Attach mole accessories to this BBQ apron.
$245 Gerber 30-000601 Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit
Tools aren’t so bad, but you are probably better buying individual items. Decent starter set for someone who has no big knives yet.
$249.99 NEW OPMOD Battle Mug – with Carry Handle OPMOD-BM002
Massive mug with three Mil-Spec 1913 scope rails so you can attach AR 15 scopes and more and then drink beer from the mug.
$385 Titanium Utility Ring
Also perfect wedding ring for survivalist couple. For all those moment when leatherman is not in your pocket.
$850.00 X-FF Fiber Factory – Predator Motorcycle Helmet X1 Airbrush – Medium
Might work to intimidate some people or not.
$1,618.99 Sierra Designs Mojo UFO Ultralight Backpacking Tent, 2-Person
If you want to make your bug out bag lighter and have a lot of money to spend…
$19,999 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS
Not the most low key bug out vehicle but can handle some off road action for sure.
$30,000 Off road wheelchair
This can be actually smart investment for people who need it.
$629,000 Knight XV
Bug out with style and be at the center of attention with this luxurious SUV.