Suburban Survival – Space to Secure vs Privacy

I get this question often so I answer it here.

“I would like to be part of a community or family larger than 2 or 3, but my extended family is worthless. My husband’s family is 1000 miles away, and don’t get the advantages of family either. My hope is to stick to our suburban home with a few good neighbors on our block. Is that a fantasy?”

suburban survival

Hello and welcome, fantasy is way too strong word, lot of the things can be turned from fantasy to the real things very easy. I think it is the worst scenario, to be in the suburban when sh!t hit the fan. Worse than even city, and for sure worse than rural.

Because of defense. In most cases people are further away between houses, so there is not too much sense of organizing something as a small group of neighbors. Too hard to keep it secure if you do not have the numbers.

It always depends on the space where you live. Few neighbors in close houses like in city make sense because you have less area to secure, more choke points. Few neighbours is way too little in suburban but of course always depends on your area.

But still if i found myself in the suburban areas, i do not think i can survive without some bigger numbers, and bigger organisation, on street level. The alternative would be to take neighbors in or secure smaller area like 2 houses instead of 6. So families of 6 houses move into 2 houses and secure those. I saw some families survive like this on outskirts of city.

We also moved all people (15) to one house, but we were in city so our defense setup was different anyway.

Problem is people, neighbors will want to keep their space, privacy and all that so most will not come. But as soon as neighbors family lies robbed and dead in the garden people will reconsider and trade privacy for security. Many people had to get hurt first or loved ones get killed before they learned. Learn now, that you and loved ones don’t get hurt.

73 responses to “Suburban Survival – Space to Secure vs Privacy”

  1. Eric says:

    Just found this blog a few days ago (read the whole thing in one sitting) and think it is awesome. I don’t have anything to say right now other than thank you for sharing the lessons from your brutal experience. It is much appreciated by us knowledge seekers who sense a SHTF situation is imminent.

    • JPM says:

      I want to add myself to this comment. Same thing, one sitting, amazed!

    • fdenando says:

      Thank you for the the post. Keep posting Brother.

    • littleb says:

      When I first reached this website I also read it all in one sitting, including all the comments! It is a truly mesmerizing website in its harsh truth and honest stories. Keep up the great work.. 🙂

    • Selco says:

      Thank you everyone.

    • Matt C says:

      Great site, a lot of useful info presented here.

      I was somewhat familiar with Selco’s writing by way of another board or two I belong to given to discussing SHTF scenarios. First time I’ve actually visited his personal website though, very enlightening.

      A number of years ago I read a book on the break-up of the former Yugoslavia by a British writer named Anthony Lloyd, titled “My War Gone By, I Miss It So”. It was the beginning of my education concerning the Balkan war of the 1990’s, and my interest in surviving any similar scenarios should they occur right here in the US.

      Matt C

  2. Daniel says:

    We that prep have a problem. The problem or dilema is if you tell your non believing neighbors or others on the street to alert them of the possible comming problems where does that leave you? We do not mind sharing with others as long as these shared items can be replaced (IE) you have a well with a hand pump. But do // would you share your essential prep items (food, ammo, medical… ect) that you cannot replace with those that did nothing to help themselves? And if you do try to alert your neighbors and they take no actions now will they remember you after and demand you share? Will they band together and try to forcefully take what you have worked for? So the question is; is it better to keep your mouth shut and let the sheeple be happy and ignorant OR try to advise them now and maybe suffer when “IT” comes? AND could you let the little ones of friends and neighbors starve to death? As I put away and try to prepare I cannot answer these questions… and many of you neighbors will call you crazy if you try to tell them also. HELP!!!

    • Sprunch says:

      Daniel, l agree that you/l/we have a real dilema on our hands.
      l wanted to make everyone aware when l first became enlightened to the prepper mantality, but like you said, you need to protect you and yours first.
      Many hard choices will be made and cannot be made in the comfort of the way things are right now. Selco has made me aware of this and it has kept me awake at night thinking about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘could l if l had tos’…l hope we will never have to find out, but l prepare for if we will be in a world where that will happen so l can take care of my Wife and kids.
      l have one good neighbor who is on board with this kind of thought, l haven’t brought it up to others for fear of being look at like l’m nuts. You never know who is and isn’t of similar mind set.

    • Selco says:

      You have to make decision to prep for how many people once and stick to it. Simple as that. No back and forth, decide now and stick to it. I would at least get one or two capable man in your house, probably along with their families to have some backup and people who can help with jobs.

      You and neighbor (who has own preps) are already two, prep maybe for another two extra people and then when shtf select the two lucky ones that join you. I have some suggestions what people to look for in upcoming course.

      • Jim says:

        Selco, Did you ever run into problems with the authorities trying to take away guns and food?

        One of my big concerns is that I am going to stock pile all this stuff and then some government goons are going to come in and say that are going to gather up everyone’s food and then disperse them to the hungry masses.

        Any ideas on this?

        • Selco says:

          Hello Jim,
          no everything happened so quick and at beginning of our hard time. We also had just one old gun first, but nobody came. If you are police officer and you decide to take care of job or family you choose family, if family needs you.

          Smart government might have a special plan for families of military / police maybe so men can still work…

          • Ordinary Joe says:

            Unfortunately Selco, they are not preparing to take care of police or military families. Those in charge suffer from the same problem as the rest of the sheeple. Those that I talk to, especially police, are concerned and will have to make the choice between duty and family. There is a storm brewing beyond the horizon, but you can feel it.

    • EJ says:

      First find out where people are as far as awareness. If people are thinking everything is fine, don’t waste your time. If they think there is problems in the future, ask them questions and be vague in reference to yourself. Don’t come out and say “I’ve got 2 years of food stored”. Ask them, “Do you think it could be bad enough to where the grocery stores run out of food?”

      Base your decisions on their answers. Also, I would take time to get to know them as well as possible. You have the time now to do so. Initially, they may seem like a good fit, then you find they crack under stress and pose a problem. I’ve seen this first hand.

    • Wayne Wilson says:

      Preparing for a disaster that not everyone see coming is a bit of a problem, before it comes , your a nut and after, your a target but consider the fact that it is and emergency situation and normal rules of conduct are suspended. If you have been running around telling people on your block to get ready and SHTF then not a big problem but if they know you have stuff and skills they don’t, that could be a problem. Think about it and pick your companions well, who can you trust and who has the skills you may need. It may see nasty but unless they are useful to helping the group survive then they can go somewhere else. Children I would make an exception for but adults are on their own, they should have been ready for something. I also have a good idea what my neighbors and area have to offer me , just in case.

  3. Aussie Mick says:

    Have been ‘prepping for about 12 months..but have had the survivor mindset for a few years. I live on a salt water river and used to think that this would be the ideal situation…fish and crabs in the back yard…10,000 litres of stored rainwater…the ability to turn salt water into fresh…2 metre high steel spear security fence..large dog…with me backing him up. 18 months supply of food storage…fruit trees…veges.etc Trouble is…in a surban situation…one or more ferals with a rifle can “pick you off” from a neighbouring property…then your family is at their mercy. So…I have a “plan B”…a rural property…4 dams…plenty of game…1000’ above sea level…away from the coast..bordered by only two properties..both are well established with agriculture…and willing to barter. Here is the ‘clincher’…I don’t own the property. Find the right location..approach the local land owners…tell them you are setting up a survival which they can ‘included’…find about six other families who think as you do…with the assorted skills that are needed in a survival situation. Why would the owner want to be involved? Security for his family….set up your infrastructure…used shipping containers…free building materials are readily available everywhere…second hand. What can half a dozen families scrounge up if they get serious? Just yesterday..we picked up 2 pallets of bricks..70 2nd hand sheets of corrugated iron…6 x 2 metre high security gates…unlimited quantity of second hand carpet…’If it’s free…ring me! Don’t worry about the sheeple…someone scoffs at you..tell them that you are not conducting a public opinion poll..move on. Remember..the only person you can rely on is YOU…but if you can find six or 8 YOU’S…how are you looking? How powerful is a small community of men and women who will do anything to protect their families? This site and forum will save the lives of countless people..keep up the good work.

  4. Wills says:

    As a general rule you should keep your preparations quiet except to people you trust whom you know will be there to help after the SHTF. There is nothing wrong with talking to neighbors about these issues in general to see where they stand and help you gauge whether they will be standing beside you after SHTF or whether they will be the ones trying to take what you have carefully prepped. The time to learn all this is before, not after. There are going to be enough suprises as it is without having to wonder about the people who live around you and you thought you
    knew well. Many people are actively vetting and recruiting their SHTF groups now. Your location and resources will help determine how large or small of a group to have. As Selco said, I do not recommend a urban or surburban locale for anything longer than a week or two. Have a plan to get out of Dodge, even if its just an RV parked in a rural place.

  5. azurevirus says:

    Thanks for a very good article once again in the States things are changing very fast to seems now that ppl that prepare are becoming more and more targets of the government under the Patriot seems a prepper is falling into the catagory of a possible terrorists..and either now or soon ..they can arrest and detain one indefinately..I will be so happy when this administration is no longer in power, then “maybe” things will change for the better…probably not…but maybe.

    • Crooklyncat says:

      More on the ‘probably not’

    • MissJ says:

      Daniel I share your plight in so many more ways than you could ever imagine!!!

      My answer is not wise or perfect, but strategic and only works for preppers who have extra cashflow.

      But….what I have decided to do is to prep for more than our nuclear family. I don’t have spcific people in mind…but I figure we can accommodate up to 3 families of average size with our acreage, indoor housing and general storage– depending of course on the nature and expected duration of the problem.

      My thoughts are that it will be first come first served up to a point. If my best friend and her husband and child show up and they are smart enough to come here fast and first and they are at least relatively healthy and able bodied then we will take them in and we will all benefit from eachother in some form or another.

      Is it fair that they get to use all my stuff? nope. Is it wise that I hang myself out to dry with no friends, family or allies in a SHTF situation because they did not listen to my wisdom when it really counted? nope.

      If another group shows up later, then depending on the circumstances we will probably have sufficient resources and we will then have to take a vote on which is more important: do we need more adult defenders, or our stored resources more? If there is a tie, then as the original prepper my vote will be the tie breaker. It’s not a perfect solution because it involves me solo prepping for at least 10-12 people when we have only a family of 3…but on the other hand I cannot find any other people to prep with and more than anything we will need trusted “brethren” more than we will need candles or ammo or food we will need good people watching our backs while we sleep. We will need people that will care for our child if we die and vice versa.

      Sometimes in imperfect worlds and imperfect situations you just have to make the best of what you’ve got. And if all you’ve got is a bunch of people who you love to death who think that prepping is crazy and paranoid then you make the best of it….I just hope you have a few extra bucks to compensate ‘cuz prepping ain’t cheap!!!!

    • EJ says:

      Not to be off topic, but keep in mind that more Democrats voted against the NDAA provision than Republicans (total vote was 93-7). Yes, Obama will sign it, even though it doesn’t have ENOUGH bite for him.

      Point is that if you think a new administration will make things any better, you are fooling yourself. Look at the comments by both Newt and Romney in relation to preppers. They are right on board with the rest of the crooks in Washington. It is us vs. the politicians/elites and they know it… that’s why they pass NDAA and the Patriot Act.

      • tex may says:

        as an outside observer azurevirus the current concerns seem to me to be more of an issue with the direction and loyalties of your congress than with that of the current administration… look at who wrote and voted for the NDAA!

      • Tommy says:

        This is why anyone with a brain needs to vote for Ron Paul. Ignore the media BS that says he can’t win. It’s all a mind control game, if we all vote for him, HE WILL WIN. He is the only one who will change the status quo. Tell everyone you know to vote Ron Paul in the primaries and then the general election. ANY other vote is a vote for business as usual.


        • aarroozz says:

          Tommy, I read the legislation being passed and see the purposeful manner in which the Wall Street owned media suppresses his word and that of his supporters. Ron Paul is the only candidate or potential candidate that does not lie for political gain. Your choice is to believe the liars or believe Ron Paul.

    • DrB says:

      WAY more on the “probably not”, because the alternative to the current bunch is the group that started the whole “Patriot Act” business in the first place. Why should they reverse themselves?

      Part of a successful mindset in the US is to get rid of the political programming that the TV perpetrates on you every day.

      As soon as preppers realize the truth, that there is no real difference between the so-called political parties, that’ll be the day they start seeing the situation as it is.
      This whole Left-Right Liberal-Conservative game is fake, and a method of dividing and controlling people.

  6. Emily says:

    Selco, thank you so much for saying something on this topic! Just about everyone in America either lives in the suburbs or has loved ones in the suburbs, so it really concerns all of us in the prepper communities.

    I would have to say that the suburbs will be a death trap during shtf. They all have homeowner’s associations which outlaw gardens and chickens (absolute stupidity!). Sure, some people will try to tear up their beautiful lawns and plant some corn, but too many people in the neighborhood will protest that this sort of thing isn’t allowed and will be punished when things return to “norma,l” as they are absolutely certain that things must eventually return to normal. It’s like a religion belief that “things always return to normal, eventually” with them. As Selco smartly pointed out, these types of people aren’t going to take the situation seriously until they start seeing some their neighbors getting robbed and killed.

    Plus, look at where the suburbs are in America. They’re a good drive from everything and didn’t even exist until after the popularity of the automobile WWII, After shtf, suburbanites will get very tired of walking to and from the city (where possible government handout distribution centers are located) or to and from the rural areas (to trade with the farmers). They will face an even worse situation if they can’t travel because the government has set up check points and road blocks. Plus, they will eventually be priced out of buying gas and groceries due to the inevidible dollar hyperinflation.

    I just don’t see any way for someone in the suburbs to survive anything longer than an ordinary blackout. It’s sad, because all of my family live in the suburbs.

    • Gardening Fool says:

      For anyone living in the suburbs, with a homeowners organization, even if you are not allowed to have a vegetable garden, there are SO many ways to get around this. You just can’t plant something obvious like a big ole patch of corn. In the back yard, you can probably get away with tomatoes on an attractive trellis, planted with a few morning glories, roses or other climbing flowers. The same tactic would work for snap peas, pole beans, climbing cukes, blackbirries/raspberries or melons. Most local garden centers sell ornamental kale; although the edible kinds are less fancy, they provide a very attractive foliage. Peppers and potatoes also provide attractive foliage, and can be mixed in with traditional perennials like peonies, etc. Other perennials, like echinacea (coneflowers) and achillea (yarrow) are important medicinal plants. Most herbs (lavender, sage, rosemary, basil, thyme) are decorative plants in their own right. And if you’re especially ballsy, you can plant things like cabbage and just stick in a plant label indicating that they are “Ornamental French Late Cabbages” or some BS. As long as you take good care of your garden and it looks suitably ornamental, you can get away with a lot. And surely you are allowed to keep a couple of fluffy bunnies for pets! The important thing is to get started NOW because raising a decent amount of produce can be very challenging, especially in bad years.

  7. harry n. uckles says:

    YOU ROCK SELCO! can’t say it enough always glad to see you in my e-mail

    • Jose says:

      Hello Becky,

      I also have a pesky HOA where I live. Never again will I make a that mistake. I have planted a garden for the last three years in my back yard behind the fence. In areas where it is visible, I have replaced useless bushes with oregano, thyme, sage, lavender to name a few. All these bushes are low maintenance and don’t catch the eye of the HOA. I also have plumb trees in the front which bloom very nicely and provide fruit. So long as don’t let the food rot on the ground, so far I have not been told anything.

  8. Jose says:

    Hello Selco,

    Thanks for another great pearl of wisdom. I, like 99% of middle class America live in the suburbs. The space separation between houses is 16′. Yet, I still could not hear if someone was strangling my neighbor next door.

    One thing I’ve considered is building a network with neighbors using our own routers. Most everyone has a router and it can be used to broadcast a signal that can be captured by other neighbors. Now, there are some creative things that can be done in a close intranet such as ringing an alarm inside my neighbors house if my house alarm goes off.

    If SHTF the monitored alarm systems will be useless because the police may not be available to respond, so instead wiring it with routers in a close network with other neighbors can be a good solution.

    I know electrical power may be a problems in a war zone, but in the typical economic collapse, the government still provides some level of utilities services. Nonetheless, a router and alarm system can easily run off solar power.

    Another thing I don’t often hear too much in the prepper community is getting the wife trained with firearms. An AK or AR is a force multiplier regardless of who is shooting it. A woman can do patrol duty just as good, if not better than a man, if she is well armed and trained.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the role that women played in keeping the house and family safe in your experience.

    Thank you.

    • JPM says:

      My wife and I have been learning to shoot together for the past five years. We go to the firing range and rent a large variety of weapons to familiarize ourselves with as many weapons as possible.

  9. alc says:

    It’d be nice to simply string up all the HOA officials from lamp-posts but it’s not time yet. That time will come. In the meantime, planting herbs and fruit trees and keeping them neat is a good idea. All of these lawn-laws are like something out of the USSR, no, wait, they’d not be that stupid. OK so, start your *neighbors* planting herbs and fruit trees too. Pretty soon, when half the lawns have herbs etc., it becomes the accepted norm, and you just have the accepted norm keep creeping toward the old “victory gardens” of WWII.

    As for not being able to hear your neighbor being strangled, it’s why we need to live more like tribes. When/where I was a kid I was a hated minority (white) but we never had a home invasion, never had problems at our house. And we were surrounded by hostiles, some quite close! The thing was, there was always someone at home, generally more than one. Plus, we had 2-3 dogs who would give their lives to defend us. The dogs had to stay in the house with us almost always, to avoid their getting poisoned or trapped and eaten. But even then, we were barely safe and without a functioning police system, we’d have been toast. And this was in the US, in the 1970s!

    As for alarms, not only is it best to always have others with you but the best alarm system I have seen is used by a neighbor. Now, I live about 35 miles from Google, am in a pretty high-tech region and in fact my own (stupid) life choice was to go into high tech. Now, about the neighbor’s alarm. They have a f#cking BELL. Now it’s the 80-something Mom and her 50-something sons, plus the daughter of one of the sons and her boyfriend. If the mom needs help with something, she rings the damn BELL. Now THAT, is high tech.

    I’m sick and tired of all these prospective alarm systems everyone’s gonna come up with and I NEVER see anything done. And I keep telling people, get a goddamn BELL and hang it where you can ring it in alarm. Get your neighbors to do the same. You hear the bell ring 3 houses over, everyone grabs their guns and heads over. Same goes for 3 shots. You hear 3 shots, everyone get over there. Computers, even telephones, are delicate. They fail all the time. This is why towns in the old days always had bells. Stores have fire alarms that are stone-simple. Hand-cranked sirens predated the newfangled ee-lectric ones. You have to think stone-simple, independent of a grid or an internet, easy to use, etc.

    • Jose says:

      The bell is a good idea but in an emergency I rather spend precious moments arming myself than ringing a bell that will give away my position.

      • alc says:

        Hell I’d be set to shoot the fuckers, and from age 7-8 on, should be trained to shoot the fuckers. Eskimos/Inuit have “boyers” (young boys) trained to shoot rifles and do all sorts of adult-type shit, it’s worth reading about, it’s amazing. The young boys take care of bad-business like bears while the adults are doing intensive seal or fish fishing.

        Yes, your neighborhood tribe should be trained to run *toward* gunfire, “What’s the excitement, and how can I get in?” sort of attitude.

  10. JPM says:

    My situation is I live with my wife in a 27 unit condo in Miami. The structure is a five story concrete cube with an inner courtyard and should be easy to defend, but we have few weapons in the building and not much ammo. Our food supplies are also inadequate. We could easily collect rainwater from the roof drainage. Solar could provide basic electricity.

    • Bob says:

      I’m not too far north of you, JPM, and our most likely threat is 2 weeks without power after a hurricane like Irene or Andrew. Fortunately, we can see that coming for last-minute water or food preps. I just saw a custom “bag” that fits in your bathtub (link below) that holds 100 gallons of water in food-grade quality (link at bottom). Depending on where you are in Miami, it might be wise to get the heck out, but with only a few highways to choose from I’d rather hunker down than get caught on the road. Better to have enough water and food to not have to go join the desperate crowds waiting for a handout, and a good neighbor or two that can take turns keeping their eyes out at night. Fortunately, we had power right quick after Irene, but family nearby was 2.5 weeks.

      • Spud says:

        Ya’ll best think about them woods, just the other side I95. Lot better place to go. Just ask Selco, he states go to the weeds boys. That’s my plan. Only a bit further north of ya’ll, up by Holopaw. Get the hell away from the coast boyos…

    • Crooklyncat says:

      Bette get started!

    • rufus13 says:

      Florida resident lacking firearms and ammo can remedy this in less than 2 weeks (if you have some funds).

      1. Google search for local FFL who is willing to accept a transfer of a weapon from out of State. Look for kind of weapons you would want to own. I would recommend Glock pistols in 9mm or .40S&W, full-frame style (G17) that allows 2-hand shooting. Consult your local FFL about ordering and pricing.

      2. Cheaper Than Dirt or other retailer will sell you factory magazines. You need at least 2 more full-capacity (17 rounds for a G17) magazines. Buy factory brand, new magazines, not other brands.

      2a. Other stuff you will need: eye protection goggles, hearing protection (ear plugs, over-the-ear cans), training on safe handling of pistols, long arms, cleaning, maintaining. Local Sheriff may have a range where the public can shoot and get some good-priced training.

      3. Buy ammunition in large lots, not by the box of 20 or 50 rounds. You need thousands of rounds to become proficient, so you might as well buy them in bulk and save on shipping. is a site with updated good deals. For practice, you want FMJ (full metal jacket), which is the least expensive type of ammunition. For personal protection, you don’t want FMJ, you want hollow point or soft point and they will be more expensive per round.

      4. Save your brass. Pick it up and put it in gallon ziplock bags. Even if you don’t want to re-load, someone will. Trade some brass for some training on how to reload, or just get a few dollars toward the next ammo buy.

      • Tommy says:

        My wife bought this SE Florida boy a Lee reloading press and a few accessories for Christmas. God I love that woman. All I need is to pick up the dies and a scale in the not too distant future and I’ll be reloading .40 S&W and 5.56 Nato (.223). I’ve been saving the factory brass for a while now, but I’ll still need to acquire some more to top off my stash. Reloading, even using new or once fired brass is still much cheaper than factory ammo. It allows me to load defensive type rounds for the same price as ball ammo. After the first go round it gets even cheaper when you save the brass. Not to mention reloading will be an in demand skillset when the SHTF I’m sure.


    • tex may says:

      No electricity means no sewer and probably no water. Where you gonna go when the s–t comes for you?

      • LFMayor says:

        Sewers are typically gravity drains, your commode will still work if you can haul water and pour it into the holding “flush” tank on the back of it, or even just pour water into it.

      • Emily says:

        Build an outhouse and collect rainwater just like people have done for thousands and thousands of years.

        • tex may says:

          that will work in the suburbs, but dig an outhouse in a high rise? when the day comes, lack of clean water and proper sanitation not to mention power to run the elevators and light the dark spaces will decimate large parts of most cities in very short order. And that is before we talk about food.

          • Selco says:

            I agree, no dense populated area will be desirable. But for prepper bugging in who also made plan for sanitation, water and food, many structures in city offer better ways of securing them.

  11. Emily says:

    Become a historical re-enactor! That’s another piece of advice I give to people. If you like to dress as a pirate, a viking, a Confederate soldier, or a medieval knight and like to live that way for a weekend, then you can easily do that during an emergency. Every re-enactor, no matter if he’s a Daniel Boone or a Ghengis Kahn, still lives in a tent, cooks over an open fire, and eats basic foods. I know of some SCA medieval re-enactors who enjoyed themselves during Hurricane Hugo and saw it as an extended SCA event.

    • alc says:

      Yeah. Re-enactors FTW.

      For instance, I live “pre-sewer” and in fact consider Roman-to-Modern type sewers to be effete and in a way, barbaric. People do not take responsibility for their own shit. Plus, weird smells and toilet-sounds. Earth toilets are *so* much more civilized! As for water, sure we have a grid-powered well pump but also windmill, solar, all kinds’a shit to get the water up out of the ground.

      Live the Apocalypse, now! And enjoy getting off the American treadmill!

      • Mike says:

        As regards sanitation, google “making paper with felt”. It’s easy to do though the product is rude and rough. It’s better than wasting good rags and it can be traded.

  12. jim says:


    Just a couple of questions …. (ok first I have to say I really appreciate your time and effort in sharing your experience) … I am from Canada, which does not mean much, except in the prairies where I live .. you can see for miles and miles and miles ..LOL ….

    1) In your experience (and I hope you or your readers do not think it is sexist) … with your extended family living together … did you find the division of labour was (or became) more of a traditional stereo type of activities … the “men” did take the risk activities and the women more of the “domestic” activities .. making the meals, etc. Not sure what your experience was but how were duties and chores divided? Did individuals get a say in what their role was? or was it given by someone who was “in charge” and that was that?

    Second question is (and it is more open ended) but how do you see the difference in your original situation (where it was a “civil war) – sorry but I do have to make a comment about the term “civil war” … what war is ever civil??? and the next potential SHTF which may be economic in nature. Do you think the preparations are any different?


    • Selco says:

      Hi Jim,
      yes the roles were back like 100 years ago. Women staying at home (in our group). But that was luxury because we had enough men go out and get stuff. Other woman had to do mens job to survive.

      Civil war just means people fighting against each other. Not army against army but people against people.

      I do hope things will be better and less violent in next SHTF. Shelling and sniper fire made things more bad in our case of course. But fight people against people, for food and resources, I expect the same.

      • Emily says:

        Selco, again thank you so much for speaking about your experiences and giving such useful advice!

        Would you say that the people you knew and who survived changed their thinking because of that year long war and are now a “die hard prepper” for just in case that happens again or are they more like “That was bad. Hope that never happens again,.” and doing nothing now to prepare for a future shtf?

        • Selco says:

          Most people prepare somehow. Some people have almost not enough money to survive this month so they have no preparations. I have to take things step by step as well.

  13. Patrick says:

    When one has little to no money one of the easiest preps you can do and perhaps the most important is to work on a plan. What would you do if such and such happens? Have you given any thought to what will you do if your house burns down and other such disasters that are more likely to happen where you live. It costs nothing to think about it and you can start by organizing important things like papers so they are easy to grab if you must run in a moments notice. Once you have planned and taken care of the things that cost you nothing but time to think and plan, then worry about the extras like food, candles, and lighters and so forth. Put a gun and ammo high on list of things to get for sure. Thanks for your story Selco it brings to light that a societal collapse SHTF can happen in today’s modern world.

  14. Ranch says:

    Mr Selco. Thank you for sharing this information, thank you for your time, and your honest advice.

    I have a question. Would you please take a moment to explain your own prediction of how SHTF will occur in USA? How do you think it will be different than in your own country? How do you predict it will start, and how will it spread? Finally what is your prediction of how will SHTF end? Of course it is only your personal prediction but I highly value your words. If you would respond to this question I would be most grateful. Thank you.

  15. J:H says:

    Thanks a lot Selco for your web, it´s the best and the more interesting I´ve seen.
    I was there , at the end of the war, first with ONU and second with NATO, (with the spanish army).Since then I´m a prepper , I saw it so near the situation that I´ll never forget.
    Here you have some photos of that times.
    Thanks again for your web, it´s not the typical theoryc survivalist web made in USA, yours is real.

  16. kevin says:

    hello Selco. I would first like to echo other comenters, and say thank you for your time and insight. I to, could not stop reading your blog, and read all your posts in 1 sitting, after I first found it a week ago. I to, fear for the future. I believe a world WIDE war is comming, all the money printing, to the financial cituation of the world, and the corruption in all our governments(something is in the air). Reading your blog, I sometimes get the feeling you doubt that you are a “good” man(due to some of your actions during your countries hard time). I do not know you, You do not know me, but I would like to tell you that your blog has complietly changed my thinking about shft, I used to just think about getting “stuff” stockpilled, now ALL I can think about is other peoples reaction to shft, and the violence it will bring. THANK YOU! You ARE a good man, and if what I think is going to happen, actually happens, you will be HERO to the many people, who have read your thoughts, and insights and have adjusted their strategies to more of a realistic situation of shft. I do not know what countries will be on what side of the comming war,, But I know everyone reading this blog is on their families side. History will show you saved many lives on OUR(families) side. During the hard time, I am sure you had to take some life, but I believe, your thoughts,insights, and experiences shared, to others, will SAVE many, many more . God Bless!

  17. Crooklyncat says:

    When’s the next article coming out? I need my fix!!!

  18. Wills says:

    While Mr. Selco is thinking about this question, I am curious about his reply as well, I will give my thoughts.
    I think we are on a gradual slide to economic collapse as we try to spend our way into solvency with an overdrawn checking account. The largest part of our 15 Trillion debt goes to supporting people who do not contribute anything to our national income, including paying the lion’s share of the IMF’s attempt to bail out the EU. This carelessly (or maybe deliberately) constructed house-of-cards will collapse when there is another large scale disaster such as a 9/11 or even a major health epidemic. I personally think the post-2012 presidential election may bring it on no matter who wins. The OWS crowd will be pissed and mass if their guy doesn’t win and the conservative party will bring too little too late to the Oval Office. If we do manage to hold on till then the inevitable crash of the euro will drag us down with it.
    After that it will be pretty much as Selco experienced with police, military and militias fighting and civilians caught in the middle. Here in the US gangs based on race, black, hispanic, skinhead etc.will try to carve out their turf.
    There will be a few enclaves of well prepared people who will fight anything that threatens their security.
    Change the players and it looks like Bosnia of 1992 with Muslims, Serbs and Croats trying to slaughter as many of the other as they can. Like Selco says, it doesn’t matter how it happens, the end result will be the same.
    I doubt any foreign power will come to the aid of the US to restore freedom and liberty, if anything they,(read
    hostile foreign power) will come to impose their favorite form of tyranny.
    I am afraid our two hundred year old experiment in individual liberty and freedom, that served as a shining beacon to the rest of the world, is about to come to an end and then its, lights out, hello dark ages again.

  19. Blueskies says:

    Thank you for an excellent blog.

    I will relay my experiences from South Africa where the situation is not as bad as Balkan during the 90’s but which currently has the highest murder rate in the world.

    Urban city centers are extremely violent and dangerous and not somewhere you want to live. People living in isolated areas e.g. farmers are even more vulnerable as they are far from help and are targeted for resources like guns, food, payroll etc.

    It doesn’t matter how well armed you if you try to make it on your own you will probably fail.

    The most effective way people have found to protect themselves is by banding together in communities. In suburbs this means setting up a neighborhood mutual defense group. Booms are erected across certain key roads leading in and out of a community with armed guards. People entering the community are questioned. The men of the community work in shifts with guns and radios patrolling the neighborhood. It is not foolproof by any means but criminals will for the most part move on a softer target and a community that is not offering organized resistance.

    As for rural communities the same system has proved the most effective with extensive use of radio networks and set check in times. If any farmer spots something suspicious he radios it in and there is an instant armed response from the neighboring farms including tracking dogs.

    You also need to harden your home and include several layers of defense such as high walls, razor wire, burglar bars, guard dogs, steel doors etc.

    Luckily I now live in Canada where I don’t have to worry about such things anymore.

  20. David says:

    I was inspired a bit by Selco’s comment about having no boots ( taking some from a corpse) when I saw a couple of pair of used work/tramping boots in my local Sallies store. I tried them on and one pair is a bit tight.. thin socks only.. but fine and with a lot of life left. No price.. but when I asked..$3 each.. maybe it is my grey hair..:-). You couldn’t buy new laces for $3.
    As Selco says .. boots in rough country may be a life and death issue. I am very pleased to have backup pairs.. if not for me.. then my son in law will fit them fine. If you keep your eyes open .. there is sill really cheap survival stuff to pick up. There is a saying in the military.. One is none.. and two is one. ( you need backup spares and parts, ESPECIALLY when your life may depend on it).

  21. Shawn says:

    Sounds like it is time to get out of the Cities and Suburbs before TSHTF. There are many desirable rural communities where people are more self sufficient and NORMAL. There will be no excuse for those of us who have read the accounts that Selco has given us, to be unprepared WIAGS (when it all goes sideways). Not a moment to waste…!

  22. JSmith says:

    Zdravo Selco!

    I know some guys from Croatia and showed them your website….they agreed in all terms. Except they lived in a small town in the countryside….they had no guns when the gangs came – but most of them were former military and organised guns pretty fast….once good neighbours also became murderers and molesters…they protected their small town against gangs…killed a lot and most of them survived the war! They are also prepared now….

    Thank you for sharing your past!


  23. KobeDaRott says:

    From USA point of view, they are trying hard to keep people in the cities, easier to control the populations, locking down a city, literally takes maybe an hour tops. The biggest threat is the US govt. I personally, don’t know why but I would rather be fighting in a country where people fight back against tyranny then sitting here waiting to be thrown into prison from some stupid unconstitutional law. People in America are ignorant and completely entertained, they do not stand together, it is actually like they are all brainwashed.
    Your experiences are helpful, but in my opinion some things are worse than dying. America is turning into a communist slave concentration camp in our own homes, everything is illegal nowadays, and the govt, is obviously preparing for something.
    I definitely recommend a SHTF bug out bag, prepared to never return.
    Obama has declared the war on terrorism over but it is now turned towards the American people, TSA, Homeland security buying 750 million 5.56 hollow points, drones in the skies, checkpoints everywhere, surveillance cameras at almost every corner, FEMA buying millions of long term food storage.
    All this while the average Joe spends his time watching TV, playing games, drugs, everything but paying attention.
    It’s rather biblical when the world’s super power is about to collapse after it has tragically started more wars than I can think of. It is sad the American people don’t know that 52 cents of every tax dollar goes to killing innocent people all over the word. ARROGANCE.
    I think God will get his revenge on America with out a doubt.

  24. Mark says:

    hi Selco,

    I have a question and would be great if you could write up an article about that – or just answer me 🙂
    In case SHTF I find it a good strategy to group up with close friends (as I have no family) and work together. My issue is around the idea I don’t know how to get in touch with them after SHTF. I mean… they are not preppers or something, also don’t live close to me (most of them though in town but that means 10-20-30kms on road).
    So worst case scenarion I’ll have to organize ourselves into a team after SHTF kicked in; probably after no land line phones or mobiles available any more, the roads (by car & GPS, maybe on foot too) could also be dangerous and if they are not at home, I’ve no idea where they can be.

    What do you think about that? How can one gather up with close friends in the other corner of a big city, and build out a good communication way/channel “from nothing” to get in touch with them after SHTF?
    Or if it happens, distant people are “lost for me” until internet/mobile/etc comes back online again (if it ever does)?


    • Selco says:

      Yes, it is huge topic. But in short you need to have plan that includes exact locations of meeting and exact triggers for that meetings. What that mean in reality? For example you and your friends have agreement to be on exact location in exact period of time if for example there is a terrorist attack that includes dirty bombs or similar. Locations need to have back up locations, your routs need to have back up routs (car, bike, foot ) You need to have some help on the way there (possible hiding places, food stash…) etc.
      You can not rely in communications means like phones, mails, radios etc. That does not mean that you do not need to have radios and to try to communicate, but plan need to be set for worst case scenario, no communications, hostile environment, rioting etc.
      Just go and talk about plan options with your friends.

  25. Terri says:

    Selco, I live in the suburbs, which are supposed to be hard to defend????? I read that more adults in the house would be safer, but is there anything else that could be done?

    On the good side there is the garden and the fireplace and a child’s swimming pool that could be used to collect rain water from the roof. But, yes, there is a rather large space between us and the neighbors.

    • Selco says:

      Of course, for a start check neighbors in your street. Check what kind of people they are. How many of them gonna be dangerous when SHTF, or how many of them gonna be useless. Check is there any among the with who you can speak maybe about your thoughts today. Maybe you can form some kind of network of people in your street so you gonna be much safer and stronger when SHTF.

  26. Terri says:


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