Elzi Gang Member

preparing on a budgetAs some of you know I meet with some friends I have been with during that time.

I describe my experiences in detail in my course but here is how a friend Elzi spent some of his time.

He did not have choice and joined gang to fight. It was only way for him to get some resources and make it through year.

Most people joined gangs for the reason that they did not have any other way to survive, or they thought that was the easiest way to survive.

Some of them did not have food so they joined, some of them did not have weapon for protection and they joined, some of them just wanted someone to lead them.

Most of the folks I know who joined, did that because they were not prepared. Nobody expected what their life would be like.

It was trade with the devil, but trade that had to be done for many to save their families. (Gangs had power and resources, so being in gang meant having usually more food than others for example and of course weapons)

Last time I met Elzi we recorded some things (we recorded for hours, I will write more about his experience if you like).


Elzi’s struggle to survive

I joined because i did not have weapon in my house, and no food for me and my family.

Anyway i had some military experience before, never been in real battle before, but i had training, and know weapon and drill.

I joined group of 8 men, only 3 of us had weapon at the beginning. Our city was divided between many armed groups, maybe 7-8 big organized groups, with alliances and hostilities between them. Each of that big group had many smaller groups, loosely in some kind of alliance more or less. I had to go there because it was only way to feed family.

I talk now about first 5 – 6 weeks. I learned a lot later on.

We “acquired” weapon one night from smashed vehicle, i guess somebody shoot driver and passenger and car roll over. In the back there was 6 rifles, still fresh with oil and grease, i guess they were stolen from some military warehouse during the first days of chaos. In a wooden box we also find 5 mines, on sticks.

This helped us to become stronger group in our alliance and equip all our members with weapons. When we moved through city, we learned quickly in those days, adapt or die. We saw many people die.

We always changed location, every day , or night different location, we lived on move. Enemy groups want to know a bit of the territory before they strike so we did not give them chance to spy out our location. Next night we would be somewhere else. Every night. When i needed shelter, cover, place to hide or sleep i always choose second floor in a house. My group most of time stayed in no mans land. That land between enemy lines so after a night staying in one house, maybe next day we were already in enemy territory.

The front lines were not clear lines, just several rows of houses that were fighting zone. Our no mans land. At night of course we slept always with guard. Moving depended on situation. Because it was densely populated area, houses were close. Almost without space between two houses.

Lot of time we moved from house to house with plank of wood (think of something like in pirate movies to enter ships). We just placed that wood on windows of one house and on balcony or any opening on other neighboring house and walk or crawl to that other house. I became pretty skilled in that very soon. Nobody wants to be on the street in no mans land.

Place of hiding was chosen based on if it had safe exit. So actually in reality whenever i needed place to hide, i always looked for a safe and fast exit from that place. Without safe other way out of the place it was not acceptable, no matter how good looking it was.

Basements were death traps, no matter how good armed and equipped i was. Always higher floors with other exits. We placed a few traps outside, sometimes with mines and sometimes just with ropes and all kinds of junk so we had some clue when somebody was coming.

Getting captured and taken prisoner was no option. We had prisoners too and knew what to expect. Nobody is good to the people that try to kill them.
In no mans land taking prisoners was not so common. Better to end problem directly. The brutal reality caused many people to go through strong feelings of fear.

Lot of people died because of their fear. Because they run in panic or fight in panic. Often during attack there was one point when everyone panicked. When many people run away the massacre starts.

Run first or run last, do not run somewhere when everybody runs. Better to run before everyone runs. But when you run when everyone runs enemies shoot in frenzy. Stupid way to die but feelings were often stronger than smartness.

Another good thing in beginning during the fight was to stay away from bigger group during the shooting. In the panic folks just shoot at all directions and at every moving target. Adrenalin just gets you crazy.

In many situations during a fight it was better to be with one good person than with many. Safer. Quite a few people got shot accidentally by own people.

In reality what i did soon , i just choose position little bit behind my group in fight. A row of houses behind. Safe for shooting, safe for running away, first or second floor of some house or building.

Anyway people learned some things quickly. We became creative. Once we destroyed armored vehicle with lot of gas cylinders hidden in drainage ditch during the night, and next day we waited for vehicle to pass, blew everything up with one grenade.


Elzi made it through the whole year because he is street smart. While you sometimes need group to survive always acting like the herd can cost your life.

Got to make the right choices when it matters, I hope when we share experiences like this here and in course it helps you to get a bit of idea of what to expect when things get bad.

Small decisions can make big difference so every detail matters.

35 responses to “Elzi Gang Member”

  1. john says:

    When you say you join a gang, do you mean you form your own gang with your own friends? Or do you mean you join a gang that has a boss? If you join a gang that has a boss, what is the purpose of doing that? Did they pay you to do join them? did they pay you with food? If so, from where did they get the food to pay you? Or if they pay you with something besides food, where did they get that other thing to pay you?

    It is hard for me to understand why doing things that a gang boss tells you to do is better than doing things yourself and with your friends where there is no boss.

    • Selco says:

      There are many ways to form gang, I speak about it in course. Elzi joined gang for resources. Gangs fight for resources, they rob others and share with all gang members (and sell resources for profit). Gang with starving members is not a strong gang so the bosses did have basic care for members.

      • RD says:

        First of all, these “gangs” (thieves) as you call them, only had food and other resources because they “ganged” upon innocent people and stole items, while beating and killing innocent people. Unless you “ganged” upon your enemy to gather items (food, medical, firearms, etc.) you are robbing and killing your innocent neighbors. In other words, you have allowed the situation to give you “license” to become a raving lunatic for survival.

        • Aaron says:

          Survival isn’t that black and white, as has been mentioned previously. You have to do what you have to to survive, then go back to being normal when it is over.

          The situation is going to dictate the response. If you are starving to death, morality and rules are going to be nothing more than flimsy cardboard, that will be meaningless.

          Many people will be doing heinous stuff to survive. Is it right or wrong? Well, I know that starving to death is wrong, so anything I have to do to prevent that is right.

          Most decisions in life are a grey area.

  2. john says:

    OK, I can see the benefit for a young guy who is alone to join a gang like that. But what about women and children and old people? They can’t join a gang. Also, a young guy with women and children and old people that he must take care of can’t join a gang either can he?

    I have never been a member of any club or labor union or any group of any kind. I have been self employed for a very long time. It is hard for me to understand the benefit of joining something like this. If you can find food when in a gang, why can’t you find food when not in a gang?

    I don’t think I would be a good gang member unless I joined a small gang with only a few very good friends.

    • Tommy says:

      The old expression is “There’s strength in numbers.” It’s hard to defend your perimeter by yourself, or even you and your lady. By having a group “gang” you can help each other in all facets of survival. After all very few people are well versed in every aspect of life. I’m a pretty handy guy myself, but I don’t know everything. By having numerous members you might have someone who’s good with weapons, a medical person, a person good at “acquiring” things, etc. You’ll need someone to watch your back while you sleep, as fatigue sets in you will not be as sharp as required to survive.

      Remember another cliche that also happens to be true.
      “No man is an island.”

      Good luck to all.

    • Paul says:

      John, I think there is a difference in semantics going on here. I don’t believe Selco is using the word gang in the same way we in the US do. I think he is actually talking about what we might call a MAG (mutual assistance group).

    • frosty2 says:

      When you referred to “finding” food. I don’t think the gangs found food as much as took food from the weak. Hard to do alone. In Selco’s situation you can’t think that normal human behavior applies. It’s more like a dog pack fighting over a carcass. The strong, aggressive dogs eat.


  3. Seems like it would be better to form your “gang” ahead of time, with people you can trust.

    • Selco says:

      Of course, i always keep repeating that. Group, family, good friends, preparing together, different skills…

  4. sunflower says:

    Was Elzi able to feed his family? Did his family survive with him away so much?

    • Selco says:

      Yea actually his family survived, they been trough many sh.. but they survived, he lost half of his muscles on his upper part of the leg because some trap.

  5. Lord Insidious says:

    My guess is to survive the women served much like men. The were likely warriors, as well as medical suppliers, food preparers, and nobody abandons their children.

  6. Chris says:

    I especially like the advice of always knowing a quick and safe escape from where you are. This is vital advice. No matter how well protected you think your home or hideout is, someone can get in there if they want to do it badly enough.

    Excellent post, Selco. 🙂

  7. Selco says:

    I think i need to go in depth with some things. First and MOST important thing is that you all need to STOP to think in “normal time” terms. So when you said “gangs” most of you think about:” bad hungry people , who goes from house to house, killing, raping, torturing, stealing, bad people”
    And you dividing groups between good and bad, so you dividing people who protect their homes( good people) on one side and people who are attacking that homes (bad people) on other side.
    It would be very easy if things goes like that. In reality things are different, and mixed.
    So obviously there were many groups,gangs who actet bad, like real “gangs”. But also there were good people who did bad things, in order to survive, in order to protect their family, kids. Sometimes organized, sometimes not.
    So sometimes you had group of people who organized, did things together in order to survive, in order to feed kids. Sometimes they did bad things, sometimes they did good things, some of them were bad, some good.
    Important thing is: I am not judging, i am not saying that is good or that is wrong. I am just writing story about how things were, real things. Forget good and bad guys from the movie. Line between bad and good was blurred, only few men went out from that whole event clean completely, only few of them can say : “i did only good things in that time”
    Point of whole this is: Forget about stereotypes.

  8. HQ5thMar says:

    Thank you Selco,
    You do a good job telling how it was for you. Many people have lived such a sheltered life here they have a hard time comprehending any of this being possible here. I tried to talk to my best friend about this and he got angry. He believed we here in America are too good for that kind of behavior. He thinks we will all band together and help each other.

    I do not thinkwe are immune to any of this happening. I share your stories with my family. They understand and prepare with me. We live in the country 20 miles from a large city. That is only 20 miles though.

    • Selco says:

      I do not think that anyone is immune of some similar happening. Thing is: as better life people have, or better country to live it is harder for them to believe that this kind of things can happen to them.

  9. Peter says:

    Hello Selco and all

    Thank you for this post and all your work Selco, it really helped me understand some things and change my perspective in others. I think we all believe we are good people, but when hunger, cold, fear or anything else kicks in I don’t think we can all be sure that things will be the same.

    My issue has something to do with the bigger picture – let’s say we are faced with a world-wide SHTF situation. Not only do people need to survive the day they also need to survive in the long term and also, more importantly thrive and multiply. That would requite the appearance of communities rather than gangs. As I understand gangs are usually made up of people that want to survive. How would such a gang member react if he/she was invited to be a part of a community or a bigger group that would ask him to work for their common benefit?

    Thank you

  10. NCPrepper10 says:

    Selco is just describing what went on, not what he condones or thinks is correct. People will do whatever it takes to survive.

    A ‘gang’ could even be a prepper’s retreat group that has run out of food. (Think of all the preppers that depend too heavily on weapons and not on food) What will happen to them once it runs out? They might have been ‘good’ people before, and may still be after, but I am sure they will still do whatever it takes to survive and provide for themselves and their families no matter what.

    Thank you for all your insight Selco, it is beyond invaluable. Please keep your stories coming, every thing you write gives me a different perspective on what is important and what may come to pass.

    Keep your powder dry,

    • Selco says:


      In short yes, you are right. Adapting is important word in surviving. People adapt in different ways in order to survive.

  11. Hey selco, I’m subscribed to your member’s course. Any chance those interviews will be uploaded there as well?


    • Selco says:

      @Michael Messina

      Hi Michael, Elzi speaks in local language so what he recorded is not of much use without tanslator. If you have special question just write in the Q&A forum and when we have some questions to answer via interview I can ask Elzi and publish this in members area.

  12. Shawn says:

    The gangs that will rule US cities in a SHTF scenario are now being trained in the US Military… even the DOD is reporting that as many as 20% of those in the Military have gang affiliations and are in the military for the express purpose of learning Military tactics and skills that they can take back to their gangs to make them more efficient fighting organizations.
    WTSHTF you’d better be in Texas or one of the few other States where the Citizens have the mindset of Independence and Liberty and would be willing to pick up arms to defend it. My bets are on Texas!

    • Mike says:

      Shawn, I live in Texas and it will be precisely no fun in a SHTF situation.

      About twenty million foreign nationals will morph into one movement instantly. (About seven million in Harris county alone.

      This does not include a host of minor foreign national groups.

      Probably every country on this earth owns chem plants and refineries along the coast. Some will send their guard dogs to watch their property.

      Texas will be the only place with jobs. A flood of hungry Americans can be expected to fight over those jobs.

      Arizona and New Mexico can’t withstand a united assault by South and Central American and Mexican cartels. That will spill over into Texas. It’s an actual army. Rather savage.

      D.C. cannot stand the loss of production and resources nor the vulnerability that would result from a destablized Texas. U.S. troops under Nato and with Nato troops will be here.

      The Russians don’t have the manpower to actually invade, but they will have ther agents in the fray.

      Naturally the mossad wil be there to stoke the fires.

      The Vatican has powerful interests in Texas.

      The red cinese are not about to give up their stakes in south Texas crude. They could easily field a hundred million farmers with pitch forks to wear things down before sending their crack troops.

      It goes on and on and on…

      One big giant cross fire.

      But you are right. Texans have a history of overcoming the impossible.

      It will be interesting, to say the least.

      • john says:

        Sounds about right…except that part about NATO. I don’t think NATO will have anything to do with anything. NATO is mostly american forces so I don’t see NATO spending money on sending any troops to texas.

        • Mike says:

          You’re probably correct about that.

          What I’m feeling about this is that American troups generally won’t fire on their own
          friends and families, so D.C. will probably round up whatever foreign troops it can to do the murder under the label of NATO.

          I also feel that loyal American troops will be set up to be slaughtered over seas.

          • F.U.B.A.R. says:

            There is an ebook available written by Thomas Çhittum called ‘Civil War Two’ which shows the dividing factors bringing to seed the ultimate break up of the ‘United’ States or what he calls the balkanization of our multi-ethnic empire. God help us. We will need it.

  13. Tom says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I just think people do not like a word “gang” and all the negative feelings it comes with this. Replace the “gang” with a “survivalists group” and it gets much positive 😉
    Imho, you could call a Selco family also a “gang”. With this I have said nothing bad them, but somehow it sounds bad upfront.
    From Wiki.A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity or goal.

  14. Matthew says:

    One of the best things I’ve read in a while, thank you.

  15. Peter says:

    About the fact they used boards to get from one house to the other. Were they actually carrying such a board or were they looking for one on the spot?

    • Selco says:


      No, not really, few times they were carry some kind of ladders or something like that. But other than that, peaces of wood for that use were not too hard to find he says, from garbage from houses, roof support wood or similar.

  16. missj says:

    yes, I think we are dealing with semantics.

    it sounds like elzi joined in with a “neighborhood watch” kind of gang to have strength in numbers, and sometimes they may have done bad things or good things, and definitely made some enemies along the way…

    the real “defining moment” I think of his “gang” was finding that motherload of weapons and landmines which set them apart from other unarmed gangs in the area and so they may have been viewed as more violent or ruthless as a result (possibly because they WERE more violent).

    it reminds me of when Selco wrote about the USA food drops and how sometimes an armed gang would jump on top of the pallet with guns pointed at the crowd and claim “this is ours” depending on the circumstances you could call that bad people doing bad things. if you were on that mountain with hundreds of people and only enough food being dropped for a few dozen people….and your group had guns and most of those people didn’t have guns…what would YOU do? I mean really, really THINK about that….

    I’d imagine there was some robbing and thieving going on…before you judge him just imagine your own children starving and then ask your self what you would and would not do for food…

    oh….but you say “that’s why I store food” Well…..good for you! that’s why I store food too. But just think about how many other people out there do NOT store food….how many otherwise good and honest people do not store food. what will they do?

    this is eye opening…thanks for sharing it!!

    • es says:

      I know what I would (and likely – will have to) do, but if they are not prepared and then act as thugs in order to survive, they are just that: thugs.

      It was different in Yugoslavia because people had not been informed even if they wanted to: there was no info available.
      Nowadays in the U.S., everyone with half a brain knows that shit is coming our way, and should prepare.
      If they choose to continue living their lives as if all’s well (as the mother of my daughter’s friend does, and they spend money to go on remote vacations several times a year, but no prepping at all, and she even prohibited her daughter to come to the shooting range with us when the kid had read a scary “doom” book and freaked out about prepping for the worst), then it is their choice.

      They come breaking down my door to take food from my kids, I’ll shoot them.

      Don’t really know what to do about my daughter’s friend: she also just a kid. I’d probably help her and her brother. Unless my own kids were eating the last piece of food we had…
      That’s where Selco’s “gray vs. black-and-white” paradigm comes into play, I guess.
      No help to her mother, that’s for sure.

  17. Selco says:


    Yea, correct, it is easy to be strong with some decisions when everything is fine.
    When SHTF first thing to change is mindset. We can try to prepare it now, but it is hard, because people act like “that s wrong, i ll never do that, it is impossible” or similar.

    When SHTF ,people who are prepared are in advance of course, but people who are not prepared are not going to lay down together with families and die. No , most of them will do anything to survive.

  18. Elysatio says:

    “Most of the folks I know who joined, did that because they were not prepared. Nobody expected what their life would be like. ”

    prepare prepare prepare

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