Consequences of killing in post collapse world few people think about

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.

About some survival myths

World of survival and prepping is full of prejudices and misconceptions so you can read and see lot of stuff, some of them do not have anything to do with reality because people are so used to believe what they want to believe.

Other opinions are there because more sinister reasons, for example someone want you (us) to think that something is true just because it is nicely packaged. Get this latest special close distance gun and you are safe! When every gun in good hands can do this.

Few years ago I read about idea that some guy wrote on some survival forum that using a skateboard for as transportation device to move in urban enviroment when SHTF is a good idea.

Other guys commented (mostly) positive on that idea. Fact that the guy who wrote that never actually experienced urban SHTF is important here, neither he or guys who appreciated the idea.

So after reading that thread, and after reading positive comments on idea you could easily conclude that riding the skate trough the city when SHTF is absolutely cool idea.

You gonna form your opinion based on some guys idea, and other guys positive comments. Everyone agrees and their reasoning makes sense too. So now this idea can spread.

And of course people gonna figure out when SHTF that riding a skateboard trough the city make sense just like screaming „I am idiot, please shoot me“. Maybe later you gonna use it as a fuel for fire, or setup for some primitive cart, so I agree, having a skateboard is better than not having anything.

Using a skateboard in dangerous urban environment where you should move slowly and careful? Good idea too because it speeds up natural selection.

Examples are numerous, and while some of them are just funny, other are more serious, and can kill you in a post collapse world.

Very often you find discussions about battle, combat and similar on blogs and forums and after reading most of that you may come up with a lot of decisions, and because most of the discussions about combat are nonsense you will make some wrong decisions probably.

While driving skateboard when SHTF sounds stupid, you will probably see that it is wrong idea very soon, but remember that when it comes to battle wrong decisions today will probably kill you when SHTF.

Nobody gonna forgive you your wrong decisions when SHTF. Your wrong decision is another guys lucky day.

Let’s go over the few usual „truths“ about combat, battle, fighting, violence etc.

Right (good, truth, God…) is on my side, I (we) will prevail, win, survive…

Forget it. Nobody care for reasons and what is right and what is wrong when SHTF. If you think that you have an advantage just because you are good man you are so wrong.

First thing that completely breaks apart is concept of good will win or “fairness”. We only have these ideas because of living so far removed from nature.

Nature is brutal and good dead man is still dead man. You gonna find yourself in situations when you wonder why this guy died and why this family vanished. People now hope for system, like epic fight of good vs evil. Not gonna happen.

Everyone’s life is in danger, we are just preparing to make it harder for nature and others to get ours.

And history is written by the winners, so do not trust too much in it. Very rarely you gonna see full and true story of survival without make up either because political or commercial reasons.

Those who are prepared and are willing to adapt will survive. Those who can throw out society conventions fast and see all possibilities will have advantage.

Of ourse I strongly suggest doing good, SHTF or not SHTF, but please do not expect that being good will save you.

Violence is reserved only for certain type of people

Why people do violence is topic for some other bigger discussion, but it is wrong to think that only certain type of people will (efectively) use violence.

I have seen school techers stabbing other folks, or skinny ladies shooting from machine gun. That moody evil lady down the road? Might become vicious killer.

Especially when things start to settle after first weeks, do not turn your back to anyone you do not trust 100%.

You also have to be sure that you are able to do violence. And what is more important you need to be ready to do violence, physically and psychologically.

With thinking „Oh I can not do that“ you are one big step closer to losing the game of survival right at the beginning of SHTF. In regular society violence is not normal, in post collapse or survival situation violence is part of life (even if it is just hunting or slaugthering animals if you are lucky and live in countryside).

How people REACT to violence is different thing. And you need to be ready to have problems after doing (and suffering) violence. You can not get away from that.

I have seen people crying like babies after doing it, other puking, some had nightmares…

Even toughest guys who had gone through whole period like „tough guys“ suffered years later. You can not escape from that. Be prepared for that too.

I have most beautiful (expensive) equipment, weapon, ammo… I will survive

Yeah, it is cool to have best stuff. But do not get yourself in situation where stuff own you, instead you own the stuff. Good stuff does not make up for lack of skills.

I have seen guys (women and children too) getting killed just because they were not willing to leave their stuff and run when time came. It is stupid to get killed just because you love your possessions too much.

When it comes to your stuff be sure that you are ready to leave it in split second if situation asks for it.

What that means in reality? If you choose to defend your home from looters even if that means that you will be killed for sure it is very stupid. Your escape plan is as important as perimeter defense plan.

If you own rifle that is just too precious, too different it does not make too much sense either.

I am very skilled shooter, I know how it is gonna be, I ve seen it (in movies, documentaries…)

I can write pages and pages about being in battle and still you could not get real picture because it is something pretty much unique.

It is chaos.

Forget about movies where guys making jokes while shooting from machine guns at some folks. Sometimes I would go through one whole ruined apartment building, shooting at same time, and later I could not really recollect all details.

It is so intensive that you are burning out in that short moments of intense physical and mental stress in order to stay alive, to survive that fight. It is like being in some sort of tunnel and you become very much like animal.

People say this is good, because it is very old and real side of us that comes up and tries to protect us.

I knew guy who was screaming while he and few others fight with some group. He was screaming all the time during that fight, maybe some 20 minutes or half hour,and he was not even aware that he was screaming. When all ended he found out that his mouth was open, and he was trying to continue to scream but nothing was coming from his mouth.

He lost his voice for few days.

After some time I am gonna get used to violence

Well, yes and no at same time. You can do violence better (more effective) after some time of doing it, but you are not gonna get used to it in terms of that you do not care about it, or that you not gonna have some issues because it.

Rare people can do that. You are probably gonna have some periods of „numbness“ on violence, or periods without feelings actually, but that will pass.

I’m not jolly good fellow bringing only good news and definitive solutions to keep you alive. (There are none, you can just make chance to get killed or dying smaller by knowing more and making better decision)

But it is important to understand this side of survival. It is not romantic, it can not become comfortable no matter how hard we prepare. If you like to hear more about this, join my survival course in which I talk about my whole year of surviving in city under siege.

Lessons in urban warfare from Syria

We are at interesting point in time. It might be point that changes human history if some of those who rule us (sorry to call it like that but that is situation right now) play their game and it escalates. Im happy to know most of you have already proper storage and skills to try your best when storm hits. Let’s hope we don’t need anything of this.

If you have time, stop eating (but maybe get drink) and spend half hour to watch the video below. It is just out since 4th of September 2013 but shows bit older video footage of people fighting for their survival in Syria in current conflict. It’s bloody and maybe disturbing for some, so maybe dont eat. I speak a lot about how I moved through city and fought in my survival course and see many similarities. Too many, so I had to take some breaks looking at this. Anyway, I have comments about this video below.

Be aware that this video is clearly pro rebel propaganda. I do not take sides and have this video here for the urban survival and fighting in it.

3:33 and 11:29 You can expect whole kind of injuries, and being kid does not protect you at all. Both injuries looked horrible, but kid with the bloody head probably just lost part of his scalp, so it is good for him. Nature of fighting in crowded space is brutal. There is no discrimination with explosives and if opposing force thinks of you and your family and friends as nothing more than animal then everyone is target. Look for small parts of shrapnel, they can penetrate deep and go unnoticed.

7:33 SHTF in your city is something like slow process of accepting the fact that everything around you is going to hell. I remember watching my city burning years ago, it looked like magic, big fires in city without electric lights, later I was looking how places that I know for years disappeared from the face of the earth, and from my memory too. And some time later I learned too not to give damn for places disappearing around me, because I learned that people disappeared (got killed) too, so it became my bigger goal to stay alive. If things get to this point, prepare to be in free fall with everything (and everyone) around you changing and turning ugly.

11:55 Guy with the bad dreams did see only small part of his bad dreams. He is under the pressure, doing some hard job and his every moment is filled with tension. Later, years later bad dreams gonna haunt him, when he goes back to „normal life“. Actually he is gonna figure that there is no normal life for him anymore. Sorry man, world becomes different place.

12:24 City moving during the fighting is some other moving then you use to. It means that you need to „draw“ some other map. Move through the ruined buildings, holes in walls etc. Moving trough the normal ways is usually way to dangerous.

13:48 „We have enough shown to the people. Do something“
I have been there, only this dude has opportunity to say this to someones camera. I was asking myself for days „is it possible that no one is seeing that people getting killed, children dying, people starve“. Later I figured that mostly people do not care for that, because of many reasons, and I figured too that there are no sides, only people suffering, dying,fighting, surviving… I talk more about this after comments here.

16:56 Guy throwing the „home made“ bomb, usually made from the unexploded stuff, while his buddy is taking cover few meter behind opening without revealing himself. Basics of urban street combat. Shooting is done from small openings or with just your hands raising (with rifle) above some cover and spraying. Progress is made when civilians learn to fight. They speak about how warfare changed from spraying and random shooting to snipers and ieds in this video.

19:41 does this guy look like he knows what he is doing? No, he is not so familiar with the weapon. SHTF also means lot of guys with weapons, and many of them do not know how to use them too, some of them seeing it for a first time probably. And shooting does not mean that you gonna hit something always, there is also other reasons for shooting, so it is good idea to have huge amount of ammunition. When you go out with group for first couple of times… stay away from them. Friendly fire is real and I saw people get taken down by friends and family or shooting themselves.

26:41 That is the picture how most of the cities gonna look when SHTF, it shows some of the streets, and you can say that it is war there, and it is not gonna look like that in „my SHTFcase“. But still you need to consider that in any disaster and survival scenario for whatever reason, with time and lack of the city services, violence and ruins because of fight for resources, it is pretty much similar. Consider this when you are taking some advices and plans for moving through the city during survival scenario. “Smart“ advice like „usage of skateboard for moving trough the SHTF city“ just does not make sense.

I feel like I describe something that can not be described, but video helps to imagine. Imagine things go bad and grim and then add more to it.

Another survival lesson that can be learned

Do you see how long this conflict in Syria going on? People are getting killed, dying, starving, no proper medical care, no common services etc. Does that look somehow irregular to you in some way?

I hope not. Look at situation in Syria and yes there is some help coming from other countries but many people survive. That you are lone survivor 3 months after SHTF is another myth in “survival scene”.

People will die in huge numbers, but also it will be crowded with lots of bloody fights for resources. People have ability to adapt, so we all can eat food with worms, learn how to shoot and kill, live without showers etc. People will die yes, on many ways, but not so fast and not so easy like many maybe imagine. It is gonna be fight for survival and everyone is invited.

Who will go first?

Not necessary the weakest one in terms of strength, expect to see first casualties among the people who are most dependent on society and have very bad ability to adapt.

So while 70 years man surely looks like guy who is gonna die among first one when you compare it to the young athletic looking teacher (or whatever) in reality that old guy might be able to adapt faster, because he comes from poor background and grew up in sort of the same survival scenario. That athletic looking dude is maybe lost because his strong faith in society and good human nature.

International intervention or not?

Personally I do not know enough about situation on ground and media reports are very different, so I can not say if helping rebels is good or not. If you are there and see this and experience it you want to help them, you can be sure about that. If you only see this from the distance it is different. Best thing really would be if everyone goes home, stops fighting and Assad leaves. Not gonna happen.

Maybe now is not the time for US or international troops to get involved in this, but leaving mad dictators like Assad kill harmless demonstrators in streets? I think this is situation where every way is wrong. Now it is just about finding which is not too wrong. No need for world war 3, no need for atrocities on civilians, maybe best to wait and see before doing something wrong.

This is what I have to say about this. Share your thoughts and opinions on scenes in video and situation in Syria in comments.

The temptations of being evil in post collapse situation

Jay and me always talk about stuff and think about next article to publish here. Last week he came home from driving somewhere at night and told me that he is not sure if he wouldn’t get “power rush” once SHTF. With power rush we mean that you take advantage of absence of law and order and play god in post collapse situation.

He asked me why I didn’t do that. Because of few reasons: I am not man like that, yeah I did shoot at people for fun actually, and also I have seen how some man gets destroyed after doing things like that.

Either go crazy or gets killed in gruesome way. So this kinda belief in destiny, karma and those things, helped me to stay away from dark side. Not in religious sense but its just general principle that I saw repeating around me.

So at the end what you do eventually hit you back in the head. Situation was bad enough so no need to make things worse.

To make things more understandable for you, I thought like Jay before war, I mean about that things. But as soon as you get involved in real sh!t you see that real things are different.

I thought I will be guy who makes decisions like god (I mean like “i will kill rape, steal, have fun”) but then I realized that when SHTF you are able only to make decisions in that small circle around you, I mean you just want to stay away from events like that, you do not want to risk anything and be part of creating more suffering.

In real SHTF people get killed so easily. Somebody who is about to get shot and knows this tried to bite the guy who shot him. It failed, but still.

Few times I already mentioned young guys (and some older too) on many survival forums, who have opinion that when SHTF it is something like mix of Mad Max movie and PC game, so all you have to do is to have gun and go around and take stuff from people and kill them and thats it.

It is not like that in real life. Doing acts of violence will shock you hard, and depending what kind of person you are deep inside and what kind of training you have be prepared to suffer consequences because of what you did.

Why people do bad things is question that is as old probably as mankind is.

Truth is that you do not know what kind of man you are and how you will act before you find yourself in SHTF situation.

You know that when times are bad all kind of scum crawl out to do their job. Kill, rape, torture, steal. But you may be surprised that monster does not necessary need to look like monster.

Gang members, criminals, addicts, they all gonna prey on people when SHTF and you will expect that of course.

But also expect that your first neighbour who is local bus driver for example, and your kids played with his kids, turns out to be sadistic maniac when SHTF.

SHTF may be his playground.

I knew lot of psychopaths who become „important“ in terms that they were deciding about life and death of folks and lot of them were nobody before SHTF, absolutely nobody, not even „decent“ criminals, point is that they always were bad deep inside, they just waited for their chance.

In most of the situations SHTF does not „make“ bad people, it just „pulls out“ the bad in them. They already were bad but often too scared because of laws to let all hate and anger and crazy ideas out.

I had many chances to maybe go easier through my time in war, but it would have required from me to do very bad things. I did not do it because I am not that kind of man.

Did I do some bad stuff? Sure, very often, but in order to survive and protect me and my family and not just for fun or to feel powerful.


During the period of my SHTF time I met all kind of folks, in all kind of situations. Bad people, desperate ones, lost ones, confused, dead ones.

After some time I had this idea that I know all kind of human characters, or even that I am some kind of „expert“ when it comes to knowing human nature in bad times. Of course I was wrong.

During one of the night looking for resources my neighbour gets caught by one of the enemy groups. He simply stumbled in the middle of dark in their hands, however stupid that sounds.

After they disarmed him and give him few casual kicks in kidneys they took him to their captain. Captain was big dude, dressed in brand new uniform, with rank markings and barret on his head. Completely in contrast with his soldiers who in short looked and smelled like animals.

Neighbour said that man looked and smelled nice, and always had smile on, but when he heard that his folks call him Baron he freezed. Baron and his unit were something like mercenaries fighting for anyone and against everyone, as needed.

They were quite popular for few things: they had private prison, their headquarters was something like mix between Roman and crazy seventies parties, with lots of women, violence, drugs and alcohol, but most famous thing was that they beat and kill for fun.

He asked my neighbour few questions, then start to beat him even before he answered it. My neighbour said that he stop with beating only after the few punches because he seen blood splashed on his uniform.

He looked disgusted with that blood on uniform and go to clean it with water while my neighbour lost one tooth in that few minutes.

His soldiers kick him few more times and then throw him in something that was before the war tiny weather observation post. Nobody came to check him all day, he spend it loosing and gaining consciousness. He awakened in the middle of the night because of strong noises, similar to shots, but not really shots. Then he realized that something was hitting that container where he was locked.

Through the small hole he sees soldiers running everywhere around, and laughing and screaming like they are having fun. Then he realized that Baron camp find itself in way of airdrops, and MREs were literally raining all around.

Maybe one hour later one of the soldiers unlocks the door, came in carrying hands full of MREs asking him : “Are you hungry?“

My neighbour did not answer anything. Guy repeated question. My neighbour said „yes“. Guy kicks him in the stomach and asked again „are you hungry?“ My neighbour said „No“.

Guy said „f#ck it man, so much food is all around and you are not in the mood“ and left the room. He lost account of time, he remembered that they gave him bottle of water to drink but no food.

And then their leader Baron came in. He carried steel bar in his hand and had smile on face.

My neighbour said that it was clear that this time he is gonna beat him to death with that bar and he tried to make some kind of peace with himself and world.

Baron started to ask questions about his family, kids, where he lives and similar stuff. My neighbour started to talk in panic about everything and he mentioned my name.

Baron stopped and asked him again about my full name and how do I look. Neighbour tells him that we are neighbours and kinda friends.

He look for few moments at him and then called two of his guys and ordered them to help him to get on his feet. They put some big bag on his shoulders, very heavy for his state. Two of the guys helped him out of their camp. When they released him Baron told him „say hello to him“.

Neighbour walked some 200 meters like in dream, expecting to get shots in the back as a part of usual game. He said he tried to remember any kind of prayer, anything, but his head was blank. But nothing happened. When he was safe he checked bag and realized it was full of MREs. Small fortune. His weapon was there too, without bullets.

He also realized that during that 200 meters he peed in his pants, he said later it was because hits in kidneys, and I said yes, but we both knew that those 200 meters were longest 200 meters in his life.

Later when we met each other and when he tell me that Baron sends greetings to me, and because that greetings my neighbours life was spared I was surprised, because I knew that man from the bad stories, but I never met him.

Anyway we split the bag of MREs sure that it was some kind of misunderstanding about that greetings.

Years later, after all was finished, and lot of things forgotten, I read small news in newspaper. That famous Baron was shot to death in overseas country during bank robbery. He was living there for years under the false name.
His picture was there and his real name too.

I realized that we went together to elementary school, play football together, listen same music, once we fall in love with same girl. I was something like his older brother or protector because he was always kinda weak or scared of conflict.

We were friends, he was shy kid and I cannot remember he ever got involved in any kind of fight. He could not stand the blood. We lost contact after elementary school.

I had mixed feelings when I read that news and realized that infamous Baron from the war, and my shy school friend were same person. He turned out to be bad man, but again he spare one life maybe in memory of that school playground or Iron Maiden LPs. Weird.

Life has very strange paths, and some very strange ways to show you that somehow everything is connected.

When SHTF you ll see that man who have power and force are making decisions over life and death and it is kinda temptative and addictive thing.

Do not get caught in the thinking and acting that you are invincible or can play god just because there is no more law out there and you have gun. Sooner or later you are gonna realize that you are vulnerable and that there are meaner people than you are and you get what you give.

Stick with your family or group and try to survive. To survive you want to minimize your risks and playing those evil “games” is not worth it.

More about my experience during war in my survival course.

Boston bombings: How surviving a bomb blast feels and what you can do to help survivors.

Imagine this:

Last thing that you remember is that you were standing with few of your friends in street, now you are laying on ground and looking around you and there is blood running next to your leg, there is something in your throat and it suffocates you, you are trying to remove it with your fingers but nothing comes out, you are trying to swallow it but it is of no help, you are trying to scream but nothing comes out of your mouth. And thing that scare you most is that you notice blood on your pants in groin region, and you think that all future fun is gone.

Your friend gets you on your feet and his mouth are moving but you can not hear sh!t. With his hands he is explaining you that shell exploded some 50 meters from you and your friends.

You are (hopefully only temporary) deaf from blast, you can not talk because blood in your throat because you bite your tongue when that thing exploded. “Luckily” blood running next to your leg is not yours, it is your friends , he is seriously wounded.

And that wet stuff running down your legs and on your pants is not your blood, you just lost your bladder control when detonation happened. It happened unconsciously not because of fear, you did not have enough time even to feel fear.

And then (thanks God) you pass out. Everything starts to hurt later.

This all happened long time ago, but I still remember everything like it is happened yesterday, or like it is happening everyday. I feel very sorry for those innocent killed people in Boston.

I feel sorry for wounded too. Even when they recover they will be wounded for the rest of their lives.

Few times people told me that my experiences are war experiences and they are not applicable to some future SHTF scenarios. Horrible event in Boston clearly shows that you do not need to be at war to have civil victims because of explosions.

I witnessed numerous explosions, blasts, detonations etc. And also I helped many bomb explosions victims, during war and later in emergency services. Unfortunately here carrying small bomb with you is not so unusual (even today). Its considered here weapon just like knife or gun and we have bombings in our area still every month.

So I have been with people immediately after the explosions and later too during the course of healing.

Also I helped lot of people to cope with psychological injuries that they sustained from similar events. And I suffered from that too.

Being at the scene of incident that involves many injured people will „hit“ you like a train, and even if you do not succumb to the widespread panic and start to help injured people it will require some kind of training and knowledge.

Never forget one thing: in any kind of incident your absolute priority is your safety. If you get hurt or killed you are not gonna help anybody. Always assess safety of scene.

Of course you are gonna help injured people in any way that you can, but in order to give as best help as you can you need to understand what actually happens with people with blast injuries.

Explosion and injuries from explosion can be divided into the three parts.

1 Phase

In first phase injuries are caused by the pressure wave of the blast. Injuries like pulmonary bleeding, pneumothorax, perforation of the gastrointestinal organs. The pressure just blasts your soft part inside.

Important thing too is that wave can cause severe damage or death without external signs of injury. Common injuries in first phase are also burns on the body area that are exposed to the side where explosion happened.

2 Phase

In this phase injuries occur from the flying pieces of glass, wood, stones metal etc. So you are gonna see lacerations, burns, fractures.

3 Phase

In this phase body of the victim is becoming missile and is thrown against object. So you can expect injuries at the point of impact. Usually trauma injuries and some bleeding, depends on where body lands on.

Now this three phases maybe look to you not important in terms of helping the victim, so you could say that injury is injury whatever phase it is.

It is not so simple, especially when specialised help is not so close, you need always to suspect the most serious injury until it is ruled out.

For example after some explosion you find man who looked perfectly OK, but actually he suffers some serious internal injuries from whom he can die in half hour without proper treatment. You can not help people with internal bleeding much but you can make them priority to get professional help. Transport them before transporting others and so on.

Some of the signs of internal bleeding can be:

  • Pain and swelling (pain and swelling in the leg can be caused by fracture of thigh bone for example)
  • Victim looses consciousness (internal bleeding in the brain)
  • Abdominal pain can be sign of damaged internal organs and bleeding
  • Disorientation of victim, dizziness and fainting

Most of these signs do not necessary need to be signs of internal bleeding, but point is for you as a man who want to help it is very important to always suspect worst case injury, let the professional medical services rule bad conditions out.

Don’t forget laws if they still exist

We are talking here mostly about time when there is no law, but still we need to mention (just in case) that you need to be familiar with laws in your area.

So in some countries you could end up in jail if you try to help victim and actually you do some harm (by mistake, or lack of knowledge…) in some other regions law is actually protecting you.

Level of knowledge

It is all up to you what kind of knowledge and skills you are gonna learn and use when SHTF. There is a system of course today so you can choose to go for first aid classes knowledge or EMT or you are gonna choose to learn what you think it is important to know.

Nobody says it is forbidden to you to go online and research how to stitch (sew) wounds or splint broken leg.

What to expect and how to act

Now we are coming to most important part of all this. You need to prepare yourself mentally to deal with injured , possibly dying people.

Some says that there are people who are born to stay cool in stressful environment, other say that training is key. I can say that after more that 20 years in medical field, including SHTF period that on some things you can not get used to and dying people is one of them.

What you can do with proper knowledge and training is to reduce the moments between shock and reaction, and to act how you are prepared (train).

Emotions and stress

Nature of emergencies are that they are stressful. Be ready to be overwhelmed by emotions and be ready to cope with stress.

Stress alone is huge topic, and you are gonna deal with some events even after 20 years, but important thing is to DEAL with it. Do not be alone with your problem.

Jay has background in psychology and has helped people with traumatic events here is his part on what everyone can do to help people after disaster, even without any training. I see these things also work every day in emergency situations at my job.

—–Jay about helping survivors in the acute aftermath of traumatic events—–

1. If you are safe, make sure other people and victims of the event feel safe as well. Tell them what happened and that they are safe now (and help is on the way if that’s the case). If necessary affirm the victim multiple times that they are safe now and the event is over. They just experienced something that was very hard to even imagine for them before and they need to come to terms with that. They will show all sorts of emotions, from anger to fear to depression and disbelief.

2. Make sure they are in a comfortable position. Do not make them move if they don’t want to, they might have injuries that you do not want to make worse. Let professionals take care of this unless you know what you are doing.

3. Talk to them in a calm voice and ask them neutral questions about what happened. What happened before the event and what lead to the event? Let them run through everything step by step. Ask specific questions and try not to get emotional in any way. This will calm them down and help them to understand what happened.

4. If you set off to find out more about friends or relatives of the victim who might have been also injured or killed, explain what you are going to do and that you will be back shortly. Give people the feeling you are there for them as good as possible.

5. Be honest about the information you share. If someone got killed say it in a compassionate way. Lying about this and then the victim finds out about it because the corpse of her relative gets carried away just means a deeper fall and loss of trust in you which can make the situation even worse (what else might be the wrong information? Am I really safe?….)

7. People after traumatic events sometimes act as if nothing happened. They might want to find transportation to get to where they planned on going to or call work to let them know they are late. This is normal because many people simply do not accept that what happened is part of their reality. Its a protection mechanism. If it doesn’t hurt the victim try to be supportive and borrow them your mobile phone or help them in any other way.

In general people can handle natural disasters best, while man-made disasters or violence is the worst because the fundamental trust in people is destroyed.


Here is some personal advice from me.

I experienced many explosions, I mean very close explosions, not sure how many but it was way of living for year.. From hand grenades, tear gas grenades, mortars, tanks, howitzer, improvised bombs…

But all comes down to same. Jump down and pray to God, later you stand up, clear debris from hair and clothes, throw up maybe from smell and blast that shocked your organs and go on. If you survived, and without injuries. Only thing that changed over the time that we all (more or less) became numb to all of that, so we just care for everything less and less.

I describe how I transition from normal young man to this numb creature that just wants to survive in interviews in my survival course. I bleed from ears several times after the explosions. I hear poorly on my right ear for the rest of my life.

Events like mass killings, bombings and similar will change you completely, and you are not gonna be same anymore. Event alone is traumatic with injured people, screams, blood and all that, and there is few basic rules in helping the victims and helping yourself to cope with everything.


Sometimes listening to victim is gonna be only thing that you gonna be able to do. You can not „treat“ victim with listening only, but trust me to man who is in pain, great fear and uncertainty is he going to survive to have someone beside him makes a great difference. Maybe you are gonna find yourself in situation that man is dying, man who is total stranger to you, but he is gonna have only you for comfort.

Anger reactions

Because fear and shock, you can expect all kind of reactions from injured people, and very often that reaction gonna be angry one. Just be tolerant, that anger is not actually directed towards you.

Help yourself

After being involved with dealing to the victims of some catastrophic event you can also experience excess stress. It can be triggered by simple traumatic event or many of them. For someone it can be caused by watching a car accident for example.

Some of the symptoms of stress are: problems with concetration, irritability, anxiety, loss of sexual interest, nightmares etc.

Dealing with stress (this has worked for me):

  • Change your food habits. Avoid fatty foods, nicotine and alcohol
  • Exercise.
  • Relax. Try meditation or check what relaxing techniques are good for you
  • Spend more time with your family and friends, talk to them and just go and include them in your stress problem solving.

This is what Jay and me think about this. The bomber from Boston is not only one who benefits from people being afraid. People who are scared are easier to control. Just dont let the bomber be a prepper…

Please share in comments what you think about Boston bombing and maybe also personal tips how to deal with traumatic events.

Types of real survivalists: 1. The bad man

types of real survivalists

During SHTF I was jack of all trades. Resource gatherer, fighter and defender for my family and also just young man who wanted to enjoy life as good as possible in these problematic times.

In this and following articles I want to talk about different types of real survivalists. I dont want to judge here. If you have lived normal life you maybe only know glimpse of your survivor mindset. What kind of person you are when SHTF and you fight for survival. Important to know is that people show very different faces or mindsets when it comes to real survival.

Normal people like to think that everything can be solved with doing good, so they are trying to do good. Right now here it is not important are we talking about people who believe in God or not.

We all seen TV shows where preppers are showing their stuff, talking about their plans and things for time when SHTF.

I have seen lady, she is preparing for some possible scenario and showing her food storage and talk about her plans when SHTF. And she is storing whole lot of everything, much more than she and her family needs because as she explains there is gonna be whole lot of people who have lost everything and her plan is to help them.

I feel everything best for her, she is great person. Man who wants to help other people is good person, period.

But when SHTF she is going down. Sorry for being so “negative” but when people have to decide either they die or this nice lady for many answer is easy.

When SHTF things are upside down so it is not working like people imagined. We are all living our lives today aware that bad people exist, but that bad and evil kind is more or less (depending where we are living) controlled or locked away from the society. So we are actually not aware how many bad folks are around us. You might be living with one… yourself.

When SHTF I was rudely awaken from the illusion, actually my illusion was shattered to pieces when I saw what “normal” people did to just survive. So bad people will be around.

The bad man

I knew a guy before SHTF who was nobody. Ordinary worker from one of the industrial machine parts factory. Actually I did not really know him other from usually “hello” on the street, or football discussion sometimes in the neighborhood.

He lived alone, looked decent, and had a typical work and afterwards “coffee house / bar with friends” life. If someone asked me to describe him, I would say “just a guy from the neighborhood” or typical “normal dude”.

When SHTF, he emerged as one of the leader of local groups. And he was popular, he had something that make people want to follow him. Problem was that he had something that make bad kinds of people follow him. He was pretty much something like psychopath.

Murders, rape, robbing and everything else that goes with that was their way of life in that time. And to make things clear here I need to say that whenever I met him and his group out on the street I would go and hide even I knew him from his “former life” as normal guy.

This guy was now someone very different.

It was not a movie, I was prepared to confront them and fight only as a last option, but Batman was not living in the city in that time, even if he was there he probably would have given up so chances of superhero versus group of bag guys was not realistic.

How bad?

They liked to catch sometimes a guy and make him run over the open space where snipers were active, if the guy survived that (rarely) then they shoot at him. If he survived that shooting too, then he would live. He called that “God will decide are you going to live or die”.

Some people have certain type of charisma, and he had lot of it. When you add fact that he was bad, or evil if you like you got explosive combination. He was something like bad kind of hero, man who weak people want to follow. And they will obey his command. Also when you add fact that he provide security and food for them that counts too.

I was once in their nest, or headquarters if you like to call it like that. That was place like taken from weird fairy tales, or like some drug induced nightmare.

On the ceiling there is a big disco ball, on the wall there is a big target drawn with paint with holes from bullets. Some women were laying on the couch giggling, drunk or high watching at me.

On the floor in one corner one man was laying, I was not sure is he dead, drunk or just sleeping, I passed around him careful. I was “wearing” my “I do not care” look because in situation like that if you show fear you may find yourself in bad situation, for example guys could make practicing target out of you just for fun.

Also to look to bold was not good idea.

He was sitting in the bus seat taken from somewhere, and he had hat on his head, kind that you wear with tuxedo. If that all was movie that i was watching i would laugh a lot. But it was not a movie and I did not laugh.

My friend who brought me there introduce me to him and told him that I need MREs. That friend suppose to be something like my protection or something similar, but very soon I realized that I just like everyone else there were depending on his good will.

His first question to me was “are you going to her concert?” I was confused, then he showed me poster on the wall announcing some folk concert that happened year ago in some different world. I did not know what to say. He said ” I can get you tickets” And I said “OK thanks”.

Nobody smiles, some guy behind him were taken apart some machine gun and clean that with oil.

Anyway, we finished our deal, and I went home. While I went out he said “do not forget to pick up your tickets” with big fat smile.

I thought that he was crazy, but actually he was not crazy at all. He just had a big great time since SHTF, and enjoyed to terrify people to feel his power. He lived his dream where everything is allowed, where there is no punishment from society other then some other stronger and more wicked guy.

There is nothing deep and philosophical in that guy behavior and mindset. He was just a normal guy turned bad because he loved power and was in world without rules where he can play.

He lived on bad side and lived fast and evil life. He liked that SHTF situation, but SHTF did not create that guy, he was there all the time, his real character just waited for SHTF to come out and play.

After some time he ended up stabbed to death, and then burned. I also knew guy who did that and he was even worse than him.

Now this guy was not alone. When SHTF whole bunch of weird and sick folks emerged. Point is that you never know what kind of people living around you, or even with you. And to make things worse, as I said, this guy was something like “normal” guy before SHTF.

Besides those normal guys turned bad, there is a whole army of scum and criminals who are just waiting for SHTF to happen so they can go out and be something like small dictators.

You can be sure that they are perfectly prepared for that. They already living in their own version of criminal SHTF, with their rules. When real SHTF they gonna be ready for it, they just gonna jump out fully organized and ready to take over, go open, and be very mean.

I was surprised, I was like “why are so much mean and bad folks suddenly”. Answer is actually simple, bad people are all around us, some of them are aware of fact that they are bad like organized crime members, gangs etc. Others are gonna see SHTF like their chance to fulfill their secret wishes and indulge in power over others.

So no doubt once SHTF you run into bad man from time to time. More typical types of people who survived war in following articles and my course.

How do you expect will your local gang members or bad men be when SHTF?

Being in a city under siege

After last post and the video about Homs in Syria I received some more questions about how it felt in city under siege. So today I share some details about this kind of chaotic urban warfare situation.

first aid

When SHTF there might not be army outside shooting at you, but there might be gangs who prey on you to get your supplies. Being under siege feels like someone takes the ground away you walked on.

Nothing is like it was before. When you defend your home you need to have mindset change. Home is not cozy secure place anymore. Home is the place you chose to defend yourself and loved ones. You will feel very different about place you used as defensive base forever.

To stay protected or to try to protect against firing and shelling required some skill, knowledge and in lot of the times good luck.

I can say that at the beginning people acted very brave, but on the other side that was not courage, it was more like lack of knowledge how easily man can be killed. People went out like kids with water pistols only that getting wet might be own blood or blood of friend on you.

So i watched few times how man attacking another guy who is hiding behind some cover. Attacker is just running towards the guy behind cover and constantly shooting. Other guy behind cover just leans forward for second, gets timing right, and kills the foolish attacker.

When you have bunch of civilians with lot of weapons, some strange situations can occur. Remember i am talking about people that most of them did not know too much about war, fighting, tactics and everything else.

We did not had some smart philosophy of street fighting, especially not in the beginning. But as the time goes some of the obvious things get figured, or learned if you like.

If somebody wanted to attack someone who is inside house, most usual way was to use RPG or hand greandes on some of the opennings to shock people inside and create some shrapnel flying around.

In some other situations (quite often) guys used human shields to get to the house, lot of guys get killed because they thought it is not OK to kill some poor prisoner in order to defend house.

Imagine that three bad guys come towards you and they push two older woman in front of them. Terrible situations. After some time most shot at everything that looked suspicious… no matter what.

Most of the fighting in the city was like shoot and hide, fight while moving, like fighting with shadows, they are everywhere and each shadow can kill you. You often fight people who you do not even see good, so to walk or run lightly was key. Often you do not see enemy and shoot at whatever. Sounds bad but in lot of the situations very good thing was to shoot at anything that looks even close to suspicious, and in most of the situation not even stop later to check.

You never know how well you hit. Just grab your stuff and move. Move… move. I remember that. Always on the run.

Psychology in urban warfare

Fear was one of the greatest ally of fighting, so if one of the group wanted to kill or expel other group from some street, position or building. Usual method was to talk to them for hours over the megaphone device. Maybe from this perspective looks ridiculous but if you listen for hours or days for one and same story how you are gonna be treated good if you surrender yourself, after some time lot of folks are gonna start to belive in that.

Or in other case you may listen for an hours what that guys gonna do to your family and you if you do not surrender youself.

Hard to imagine how wrong things can be

After watching video of Syria and people in Homs some memories came back. It was good that Jay visited me for making the survival course here and ask all those questions. Some dark memories hide deep inside of me. Not easy to get to them. But this is one that came back.

My friend got caught with his comrade in one house, actually two of them are left something like behind enemy lines, in basement of destroyed house. Enemy group, some 150-200 men was doing sweep trough that street, robbing, and killing civilians who had not time to run. He said to me that they spend two days in basement, covered with all kind of junk, watching outside trough small opening, few meters from opening was a corpse of girl, maybe 10 years old.

In order to see if somebody is coming to their basement, one of them needed to be constantly on that small opening, watching. He said he managed to watch atrocities that those people did to civilians and somehow push that deep inside his brain, over the time, to put these memories away. But to stare at dead kid, all the time, with her eyes wide open, blond hair, he almost lost his mind.

One of them had a pistol and few bullets, other one had a rifle , 30 bullets and homemade grenade (made from unexploded tank grenade).

They make agrement, if they see enemy is coming to the basement, they gonna fire everything and blow themselfs with that grenade. Nobody came in basement, burned house was not interesting for other guys. After two days enemy group just pulled back.

They survived war, both of them. One of them became drug addict, lived very fast few years and died from overdose.

Other man is still my friend, he is in mid 40ies, prepared, armed, strong, skilled. He have two kids, boy and girl, teenagers. Both of them know how to shoot, how to defend themselves.

I can only write here but reality is a whole different thing. Once things turn ugly, some things can feel so wrong they can not be understood or processed with normal mind.

Actually there is no way to deal with that, sometimes with friends we can speak about these things, sometimes we laugh, other times some of my friends are quiet for days, I do not know, I have periods like that too. I think none one of us is dealing too good with that, maybe pushing it away from time to time, I have for example some periods when I am too agressive, easy to explode, rarely, but I still have it.

While this site and my course is about urban survival I hope we all never have to go through this (again). But when time comes, I’m ready and you should be too.

Violence in Syria

Those scenes feel strangely familiar.

This short documentary shows many aspects. People queuing up for the few food that is left, makeshift hospital that does not work well and the human tragedy that comes with all this.

Often street fighting was very similar. Spray and pray. What you see after 2 minutes are civilians with guns. Not aware of risks and without much of a strategy. We have been like that in beginning too. After some time you figure out what to do and what not. What people there do is so dangerous because they underestimate angle of fire from attackers. Enemies have to get out of cover just a little bit to shoot people, while they have to move several meters to get back to some sort of cover. Crazy risk indeed.

You also see crowd dynamic. Who believes those people will ever give up fight? Nobody. They will win or die. What you see in video is that crowd is exctatic for fighting, for freedom, whatever.

What you do not see in video is what is going on in background. Maybe situation is not desperate enough yet, because this one bakery shop still operated, but if situation continues like that people will turn against each other. Team spirit was gone in second month after we got cut off from supplies and that is when pillaging, raping, torturing start to become common.

I hope someone ends this situation over there. I prepare for situation like this and when you watch this, this should be reminder that things like that can happen to you too, not just in far away country. People really wanting to kill each other looks same worldwide.

Here is another video from other side of things. Filmed by Syrian Army snipers.

If you have other videos / reports about situation over there feel free to share in comments.