The Cost of Violence

cost of violence ptsd

I have been in war with lot of people, I mean I spent lot of hard time with folks who in that time I could call friends, or at least some kind of allies.

After that I lost contact with most of them, sometimes I heard something about someone, or see some of them, but real „buddy“ contact with people from that time and events is rare.

People who have not gone trough experiences like war probably imagine that there is something like annual meetings of old buddies who used to shoot together and kill other folks, and on that meetings there is huge barbecue and drinks…

And on that meetings we all like laugh and remember how hard it was and we are lucky that we are alive. Actually I was on some similar meetings, but it was everything but fun, so I stopped with that.

People there mostly look at each other and we all see how destroyed we are. I have met many broken people there and the question is has life screwed us or we screwed up in life. And at the end, we all drink, but without music, we just look in fire from barbecue, angry because of some triviality and asking why we are here.

Actually we do not have common topic to talk, after we spent time talking about all topics like weather or bad situation in country we know that sooner or later some of us will start with that „do you remember how S. got killed?“ or that famous „man we are lucky to be alive“.

But in reality we all know how S. get killed, nobody needs to ask „do you remember?“. Most of us think about how S. or M. or L. or whoever got killed every night at home, because many of us do not have families, most of us are unable to have normal lives with someone close to you anymore.

And when we come home later we drink alone, because people like us drink alone in most of the cases. Without false modesty, those of us who made it are best of the best from that time, real survivors, we survived everything because stupidity got punished very hard back then, usually with death. It still has burned much out of us.

People without purpose and aim. One of us work at parking lot. It is job that barely can keep him alive with minimum money for food only. No wife, no kids, no real friends, no possessions except maybe weapons hidden somewhere because you never know.

He was a lion once, man without fear for his life and without respect for enemy’s life. I asked him once how he feels when he is charging for parking ticket to the guy who is 25, drives brand new BMW with couple of pretty drugged girls, who earned that by being crooked politician and who looks at him like he is not even human, or worse like he is invisible, like there is ghost who charges for tickets.

He said “Oh man, I try not to look, it is life, and I am too old anyway to care”. He is 45. I think one day he will jump from 16 floor, or simply dig out his favorite TT gun and blow his brain out. One other guy is unemployed, officially unemployed, but he works whatever needs to be done. To say it shortly, when someone needs to scare someone, or harm someone he is guy for that.

He keeps telling me one story, actually it is his dream or wish more than a real story. He said:

Man, I am dreaming and wishing that one morning I wake up and there is a decision inside me, one of the old feelings that I carried through the war.

You know what would I do? I would go to my place with my stuff, take two pistols and rifle and as much ammo I could take. I would put on my old combat vest, lucky boots, put on my armband that we used for recognitions.

You know the government (local) building? I would go there, enter through the steel door, there are two security guys, I would use pistol on them, two shots in the head, for each of them. Guys are young and inexperienced, full of steroids and stories from the GYM. Big chests and arms, but small brains and balls.

After that I am wishing that I could somehow weld that steel door, with me inside of course, so no soul can go out, me neither, but maybe I just somehow block it, or use explosive there.

You know the put steel bars to the windows, those crooked bastards, to feel more safe, I would have them there where I want. And then, I would take off my rifle from the shoulder, and go slowly from the one office room to another. Everyone, every last greedy m$%#@#%ker of them would go down.

On some of the most important faces there I would use my knife, you know, faces that like to be on TV, like to take shots and interviews after doing some charities, or visiting schools and hugging the kids because good grades in front of the cameras, faces who earned their first million by selling baby food in war mixed with plaster, or taking someone’s wife for two pieces of canned meat.

I would like to go slowly with them, piece by piece. I think I would be pretty much done before special police squad would come to the place, remember I was pretty quickly done with some of the buildings we took during war.

After that I do not care what would happen, I think I would blow my brain out, or maybe I would take few police guys with me too. They are young and full of movie ideas. Dirty games are something that is strange for them, it would not be a problem.

Every time we end up by laughing about his dream. He is saying all of this like joke anyway more or less. But sometimes, I guess when he is feeling down too much or when he sees who is in charge today ruling over us or simply when memories got to him too much I see something in his eyes and that is no joke.

For all this that I wrote here, people have name, they label it with words PTSD. But real point is that once violence enters your life, once it becomes part of you, you belong to that violence. To the rest of the life. In the famous US series Dexter he calls this “his dark passenger” and this dark side will stay with you.

Nothing romantic about it. And every time when I see on TV or wherever some anniversaries of military events, and when I see those guys under the banners and old flags, no matter what country and what war they have same expression on their face.

The hand shake with politicians, take pictures with them, kids take photos with them, they calling them heroes and liberators and what else. It might be truth, but means nothing probably to them.

But when politicians go away with their limousines and security, and when newspapers guy, and TV crews leave with their stories, those guys stay alone with their thoughts and memories until next year when they get another pat on the back.

Two main lessons here.

First is that violence like it is glorified in action movies, games and sometimes media should not be taken easy. If you might look at your weapons at home you see them as that and pictures of shooting come up in your mind. If people who fought do this picture of bullet impacts on human body come up.

The smell of people dying, the sound of last breaths, the mess someone leaves behind. Every time you use violence the dark passenger in you grows and it will not leave, it is part of you. So if SHTF and this website and everything else is long gone maybe you remember this and tell yourself and people around you that all this comes with cost.

Second lesson here is that you should think about time after collapse. I have friends in US army and I know some of the veteran services are bad but at least they are there. I read in history book that soldiers in earlier wars had less PTSD because they travelled together for longer time from area of conflict. If you lead a group of survivors during SHTF think about giving them rest, think about sort of debriefing time.

Please share your experience with traumatic events and how to deal with them in comments below or our community forum.

35 responses to “The Cost of Violence”

  1. TK556 says:

    Many, many good points. Once you step over that line, it owns you, true. It has a way of resurfacing when you least expect. From my abusive childhood, to my service in the military, stuff still pops up. Less with the passing years. What helped me the most was talking it out. Find SOMEONE, Army buddy, friend, spouse, lover, whomever. Talk it out. Get it out of your system. My best friends are Veterans for the simple reason that they are the only ones that understand me.

    In America today, it is unfortunately very stylish to shout “support the troops” from the rooftops, but when it gets down to it, it isn’t real. I was in a class at the Union Hall and myself and another Vet were openly talking about re-enlisting. You should have heard the SHIT storm we came under! Started with snide comments, went to jokes, then it was game on. Hated those people. And the teacher let them. That’s the real pisser.

    So the takeaway here? Yes, find a way to help your people decompress. Do what you have to do to get back home. Don’t derive any pleasure or pain from it; just do it, and move on. Comments?

  2. Donny says:


    Thank for the candid, honest and heartfelt reading above. Most of us cant imagine the horror you experience(ed) but really appreciate you conveying it nonetheless. Brother, you and your friends/allies matter. You’re alive and by surviving you can hopefully transmit the knowledge to others for when, God forbid, that time may come when we have to be in a similar situation.
    God bless you brother.

  3. Dave says:

    Every blog I read these days from so-called “patriots” in USA talking bad-assed shit about what they are gonna do after SHTF and daring the police or, government to come and get them or saying they are looking forward to society collapse makes me want to laugh at them for being idiots and posers who have never seen real combat and will probably be the first to cry like babies when they do. I prepare daily for this eventuality and pray to God it never happens. I will die happy if I go to my grave with people thinking I was a eccentric old man who was too concerned about TEOTWAWKI. On the other hand, if it does, I plan to make a difference in aiding the survival of my family and friends.

  4. Rob says:

    I’ve never been to war, but I’ve faced violence and possible, likely death.

    I’ve never been to war, and I do not want to see it on my home soil. I also do not want to ever see my fellow Americans being gathered for genocide and/or killing other Americans. I hope I never see a suicide bomber in real-time.

    I’ve never been killed before, but I know what its like to fight off death.

    All the “LOL…wait till the bullets are coming AT you” type veterans out there were not born under fire and likely did not learn to walk while returning fire. Everyone is a New Soldier at some point. They will survive, or they will not. Everyone is a “first something” at some point. You survive, or you don’t.

    Not many American soldiers have ever fended off aggressors who were trying to kill their very family…to take them from their home…to rape and murder their daughters. You have, by vast majority, been veterans of foreign wars for this nation. We are very very blessed to have never seen an enemy bullet enter our homes.

    The “LOL, watch him drop his rifle and run” vets will be in new territory as well. We will ALL be steeped in natural motivation to save or homes. families, food, freedom and possibly our nation. Those with survival and defense in their nature will do what emerges as a “need.” When and where have you heard of the armed home owner who drops his .38 and runs out the back door when the thugs burst in? Answer: You never hear that! We’ve seen 88-yo ladies shoot home invaders without hesitation. What is at work in a young mother’s mind when she realizes that 911 is not gonna save her child? Answer: Killer survival instinct!

    As War Vets, your confidence and my respect is well earned. Your arrogance however is not justified. Rather than boast about Johnny Nexdoor crapping his pants when lead flies, maybe you could leave messages of hope for your your fellow American. Maybe you can predict your leadership rather that laugh at someones likely death. MAYBE you could lift-up your fellow American rather than encourage the fkg enemy!!! Who’s bloody side are you on?!

  5. Johnny Bailey says:

    Many of the folks on this site have never seen combat. Hopefully most of us never will. If the US collapses into social and economic chaos, many will be facing some tough life and death decisions for the first time. While inexperience may be prevalent, one component must be present within to survive and protect your family…. RESOLVE.
    Before the first shot is fired, the first offensive action via govt, the first round of thuggery or the first impositions rendered by unprepared people, inner resolve must be found.
    Survival is not simply a cumulative cluster of actions taken to promote same…. Survival IS A DECISION.

    • Selco says:

      Problem is that lot of folks imagine real combat completely different then it is. And in the same time they are wishing it.

  6. SonOfSam says:

    I’ve never been in war or combat and neither have those big mouth know it alls. As if its ANY of their business what YOU choose to do. Betcha they all think of themselves as “liberal” and tolerant too….. ever notice how people like that will cut slack for anyone and everyone but YOU? stupid fucks.

  7. Selco:

    Another good post. I’d be curious to find out what you think of some of the books Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Ret.), has written about this subject- On Combat and On Killing. Haven’t got the chance to read them myself, but I wonder if they might not give some of us who haven’t been in such situations an idea of what’s involved. No substitute for the real thing, of course.

  8. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    those who have not been in a war or violent conflict

    know not what awaits them. THAT is the most frightening.

    First, prepare MENTALLY.

    Second, prepare SPIRITUALLY.

    Third, prepare PHYSICALLY.

  9. Sean says:

    Although it’s been a long time since I killed anyone, it always comes back to me how easy it was, almost nothing. I think that is what a lot of the reaction is that sets in on a person, that to kill was easy, and then nothing after that. We’re told from infancy not to hurt others, and expect some great emotion or culmination if we do. Then you kill, and then, well, nothing. It’s just something you do. The reaction comes from having almost NO reaction to taking a life. It’s as if you’re grilling yourself about your lack of emotion, or regret at having done so. Thing is, if it’s done in a way to save your own life, or some one else, or your stuff (survival situation or just protecting what’s yours) I don’t think you’ve got a beef. For a long time after my first kill, I looked at myself as some kind of emotionless drone. But in time, I figured that I had done right, and some times you have to do something like that, for good reasons. Tough, but there it is. And another thing to consider is that men and women have been killing each other since they first could, and will until the end of time. It’s just one of those things about the human condition. If you get dull, or just withdrawn, after you take a life, you’re lucky. You could be dead, instead. Some thing or some one is going to kill you anyway. So relax, have a drink, and try and enjoy yourself in your remaining days, you’re going to box it, no matter what you do. I’m not cold blooded, just a realist, and I feel just fine. Some folks can’t deal with it. You don’t deal with it, you just live, until you die. Little kids and babies live in a make believe world of happy times and easy conscience. Good for them. When you grow up, grow all the way up, and understand this is the world we live in.

  10. pdxr13 says:

    These preparations must be done in an integrated fashion, not one then another. There is always more to do, so focus on what you can do now and soon, as well as what you have a deficit in.

    The moral is to the physical as three is to one.

  11. j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

    Thank you Selco – this subject must have been very difficult for you to write about. I have a few family members who were in the military and their thoughts confirm what you wrote about. It all stays with you, especially when you have nothing to occupy your time and thoughts. Memories of Bad Times just keep flooding back.

    My condolences to you and your fellow survivors – I hope all of you find peace eventually.

  12. Lt. Greyman, NVA says:

    While I agree that War can damage souls, so can dwelling on the negatives so much that when it comes time to see the elephant, you can’t bring yourself to do it.

    The Spartans embraced the “Phobos” or fear of combat, of the ugly, taught it to their children and hardened them with violence and for 600 years, they never saw the campfires of the enemy from their city walls and were only conquered by technological revolution (the Pylia). Perhaps we have softened so much that we are like sickly sheep, thinking being sickly sheep is normal.

    No other people in history would tolerate the invasion of the South, or the predations of the negro on our women or children, or the utter corruption by foreign nations of our Country’s manufacturing and business base or the debasement of our money, yet we tolerate all of this and more.

  13. Darius says:

    Respect to you and to your work, for writing articles in the website.
    Thank you.

  14. Knuck says:

    Selco, Once again you have written a great article. There is nothing glamorous or wonderful about the taking of human life.My Dad and his generation that served in WWII and Korea did not talk much about it until they were ravaged with senility and dementia. The Demons reared their ugly heads and they had no control over the carnage and death they had witnessed and/or inflicted.We are basically aggressive primates, although we like to elevate ourselves to another self-anointed level beyond that.I feel that you write from the heart. I hope that your writing and sharing of your experiences gives you some respite,from your own demons. Peace,as a concept,is based upon superior,overwhelming force,being dealt out. The level at which you are willing to,”deal out the peace,” has a direct correlation with you living a life beyond the violence. Psychopaths and sociopaths can inflict great amounts of damage and violence ,with no remorse or regret. These are the people that are currently running the show. I don’t know if it has ever been any different in mans brief history. Again,thank you for your writing. Whenever I get feeling cocky, you bring me back to reality. Knuck

  15. TimeHasCome says:

    Selco I always enjoy your articles. Your absolute dread of any violence comes through in your melancholy writing style . I believe more lives will be lost through lost hope and depression/suicide and self medicating with drugs and alcohol.
    We are living in very sad times where voting no longer matters . Your opinion nobody wants to hear . Powerful oligarchs hold sway on all those we call leaders . The last wrung on the ladder for those that want to be free is violence. I can see no other future but one not unlike the popular movies such as Hunger Games . Because those with a firm grasp on power are not going to relinquish it.

  16. Rob says:


    I think very few Americans today are willing to give up their cable tv and cold beer, in exchange for a commitment to the resulting strife. How many Americans have ever met hardship of any degree?

  17. Daddyotis says:

    Well said, Lt. I often have the same thoughts about how much we put up with today (ie: how far we have fallen)…things that we’d NEVER have allowed to happen in generations past. We are the most pampered generation in the history of mankind, yet we still see fit to complain (even more-so than in previous generations). It bothers me so badly, my current response is to throw up my hands to it and muse on the idea that we need a reset VERY BADLY.

  18. Maddie says:

    My dad was a WW2 vet. He was in VA hospital during height of Vietnam and he talked, and talked, and talked to the guys coming back from Vietnam. He came to the conclusion that what helped him and his generation of warriors was being on that troop ship for a month. It gave them time to talk it all out. The only story he ever told us was about shooting in the caves while he was in Phillipines and if kids came out, they fixed them, if Japanese, they killed them. The Vietnam vets were put on a plane in the jungle and let off in a airport the next day being spit upon by the peace protestors. They had no chance to decompress, just like the guys coming back from Afghan and Middle East now.

  19. Dave says:

    I highly recommend starting the education with Col. Grossman. One of his major points which he elaborates in detail is that you can gradually over time “inoculate” yourself to endure the mental and physical anguish of combat. Much the same way kids today are inoculated by violent video games which may have a direct impact on the number of school shootings we see today. His foundation has done some worthy work in studying combat.

  20. HIllbilly Mama says:

    Unfortunately, “wrong” thinking isn’t just today’s kids. For example: I was sexually abused as a child, from age 5 to 12. I made the decision that it would NEVER happen to me again and took appropriate steps to learn self defense and acquire the weapons necessary and the mental mindset to employ them. In the 80’s, hubby and I had a martial arts supply shop down south. We sold gis, pads, belts and accessories to the various local studios as well as the public. One day, a group of girls came in and were inquiring on a self defense item in the display case, a key chain made of a solid steel rod with two opposing steel rods protruding, meant to be carried in the hand and protrude between the fingers. I was demonstrating how it could be used to strike an opponent, towards the eyes, the throat, the solar plexus, or upwards into the groin. I was careful to point out that in case of attempted rape, use any means necessary to injure then escape, when the girls all agreed that they couldn’t use such a weapon, because it “WOULDN’T BE LADYLIKE”! I remember saying in astonishment, “Getting raped is ladylike?” and they ALL agreed they would rather be raped than be unladylike enough to defend themselves. I will never forget that moment, or the looks on their faces when I described actually striking a man who was attempting to hurt me. For my part, I pity those poor clueless girls so long ago. Even back then, the mindset was there. All we can do is try to educate, like Selco, and resolve to do our part, should it happen, God forbid.
    Selco, my husband was in Vietnam. Like you, he is a good man who had to do things he would prefer to forget, but that isn’t possible. A couple of things he has said that really stuck with me are “Certain demons haunt you more. Some demons may never go away. It’s up to you to find a way to cope. But that’s the price of violence” and “Put the memories in a closet in your mind and lock the damn door. Just know you can unlock the door and bring it back out, if it’s needed.” I hope that helps, along with my own heartfelt thank you for sharing such painful memories while never knowing if you are actually making a difference by doing so. I can assure you, you are.

  21. Stephen says:

    Imagine a slaughterhouse run by lunatics, with a patriotic speech every morning by a socialist rock star master butcher. Think ISIS, going global, and most towns like Ferguson. It’s not a world any sane person would want. Selco does more to bring home the reality of SHTF for me than anything else I read.

  22. Big Country says:

    I’m a ‘combat vet’ from Gulf One, (even tho I didn’t see shytte. I spent ten years in the US Army doing jack. As a contractor in Iraq (2004 to 2011) I’ve seen it all now… how foolish and young and stupid I was at 35… I thought I had ALREADY seen it all… I just turned 45. How dumb I was….

    I try to keep my demons at bay… Selco, you ARE a fellow traveler in my book… except you saw YOUR OWN society disintegrate from inside, whereas I only got to see just HOW QUICK things can turn, and I was an outsider both ethnically and religiously.

    I totally understand your buddy. I feel the same way… wanting to desperately ‘bring it’ to those who profited or made light of the hell we were in… Hell, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been married 23 years and have two great kids (whom I’m desperately trying to SEE what >might< be coming) I'd probably already have made the news, if only that I'm FAR better trained, equipped and experienced than anyone out there in 'authority'…

    Bless you bro for passing on your knowledge and keep up the good work…
    Best Regards
    Big Country

  23. Grey Ghost says:

    Dave Grossman is the real deal. Army ranger, taught psychology at west point, smart, passionate and well researched. On Combat is the only book of his I’ve read, but I’ve been to his “bullet-proof mind” seminar. In both he has a lot to say about PTSD, etc. Check it out.

  24. mikeb says:

    Memories of bad times ALWAYS come back, that’s the point of them you see.
    They come back as a defensive mechanism to keep you prepared for in case it happens again, so your not caught short.
    That type of memory is formed when strong emotions, whether good or bad are in play ie if your in a fire fight and your mates head vaporizes next to you chances are you’ll remember it very well.

    Its there so you analyze the situation remember what your mate did wrong and for you not to repeat it in case it happens to you.

    Like dogs with a shock collar, eventually they realize barking is associated with something bad, so the don’t repeat it because they don’t want the bad again.

    The trouble with humans is that they have feelings and emotions, which end up getting attached to those memories, we think to much, we are aware of ourselves, dogs don’t spend time thinking about their place in the world, they are just them, they aren’t even aware that they are a dog.

    After all you don’t see dogs moping around the bar drowning out the memories of being beaten as a pup, they just flee human contact or the closest they get to bad memories is they may piss themselves if they think your gonna beat them or they may turn and bite you.
    I suppose that’s them in survival mode.

    Technically your supposed to remove any feelings from the equation.
    no feelings equals memories but no sadness, pain or other negative effects.

    But we all know that’s easier said than done.

    The other way is to turn it positive, I find this slightly easier it works for me so what can I say.

    Many people call me cold and unfeeling, surprisingly, I do actually have emotions, deeply repressed as they may be.

    I found it beneficial to suppress my emotions, like the Vulcans on Star Trek for any Trekkie’s out there.

    Then when bad memories came along when I’m lying in bed or alone somewhere, I look at the positive outcomes of the situation.

    Don’t get me wrong there’s not always a positive, sometimes when the incident occurred we should have done more or we may have failed in some way and let a loved one die.

    As they say hind sight is a wonderful thing and if we went back to those times with the knowledge we have now, how differently they would turn out, whats done is done, past is past you may feel the pain of those times but those people do not they are dead and the dead don’t feel, only the living feel.
    Try and replace those painful memories with fond memories of those people, every time a bad thought comes, force a good memory.
    Eventually with hard work, the bad times fade and more good times come back.
    Yes the bad times remain like a shadow but in the background now not filling your mind.

    I try as I said to find a positive in each thing, that way I have less regrets and pain.

    Yes my squad may have been wiped out but it could have been worse, I could have been there.
    I call that a lucky escape,call that cold and heartless if you will but to me I’m important and I’m glad I’m here.
    I believe in fate and Karma.
    I believe if you survived you did it for a reason.

    For example Selco, I believe Selco survived to pass on his knowledge.
    How many of us are more prepared today as a result of the war and Selco’s experiences and his pain and suffering?
    Was it good for Selco and his friends and family?
    Absolutely not and I feel deep sadness at his and everyone eases losses, I wish we all never experienced them.
    For good or bad, fate has given us a path to travel, Selco has helped me personally in so many ways with his knowledge, his recollections and this site in general as most of the comments can contain useful information that we should glean to stop us suffering in the same way.

    Pain and suffering should never be wasted, it is a bad thing but yet it can be turned to good.
    If we forget history (experiences) we are doomed to repeat them.

    I for one will not let my past define me, I will not let my past destroy me or my family that I am lucky enough to have.I did that for a while and paid the price, now I define me, I control my pain, not my pain controlling me, Painful memories are a demon that needs to be chained and kept in a cage where people can learn from them.

    I pass my experiences down to my children so they will know what to do hopefully if things happen again.
    I am determined to protect them that is my role, my job. hopefully I will do that.
    But if ever I fail to protect them, I know I will avenge them, that will alleviate the pain.

    Avenge those who wanted you dead by surviving and thriving, be happy again, fix yourself, find a life again you deserve it, don’t let the bad time consume you forever, mourn them, remember them in case you need the memories to help in the future but look after yourself, live life and enjoy as much as you can remember the fuckers that made you suffer, you living, loving and thriving eats them up every day.

  25. pantsupdontloot says:

    Now there is a comment I can understand. Couldn’t be said any better than you said it Stephen, thanks and God bless.

  26. Dave says:

    I think I already mentioned whose bloody side Im on but in case you missed it, Side 1= Me, my family. my friends. Side 2= everybody else.. You want me to give some uplifting and hope and leadership ?
    OK here: The main point Selco alludes to and wants readers to infer is : folks should be very careful, there are psychos among us masquerading as normal people. When the thin veneer of civilization is stripped after SHTF, you will see their true colors and you won’t like it but will have to figure out how to deal with them.
    The main point I make is; Be very careful whose banner you fall in with. Many of the keyboard commandos beating the war drums on the internet are not who they seem. Some are government trolls stiring up s##t ( Operation Patcon never ended), some are the psychos Selco mentions, and some are very sincere Christian capitalist God-fearing people like America’s founders. You will have to do the homework yourself to figure out who is who.
    As for passing on martial skills I have mastered, I already do, to very select small groups.
    Why is it that when I post stuff like this, I always get asked “Whose side are you on ?”

  27. RC says:

    I think the real difference today is that people know that they are being baited. They want the fight. They have the weapons to obliterate us, and the desire to do it, they just need a reason, and eventually they won’t even need that. Self preservation dictates that I will begin shooting when they come through my door not a moment sooner. This republic is circling the drain, like it or not. nothing can save it now.

    It’s not worth taking the bait, it won’t make any difference

  28. Dave says:

    If any of you think I am blowing smoke about Operation Patcon then read this;
    A couple of years ago the Second Amendment patriot community was in love with this guy. Now we know he has infiltrated several militias and turned over all their personnel records as well as participated in a couple of federal raids on alleged “domestic threats”.
    Start getting ready now folks, the forces of evil are way ahead of you. If you think you can sit on your backside until SHTF and then people you can trust will magically show up at your door, you are seriously deluded.

  29. CharlieTango says:

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to share your experience. I know a lot of people in both military and law enforcement that deal with the effects that seeing, experience and being a part of violence has on you.

    This is a discussion that I have had with many preppers/survivalists and it is always amusing to see people who have never dealt with violence puff out their chest and act like they know. I myself don’t know what it is like to take someones life, let alone see it. I have dealt with my share of violence, enough to know that it changes who you are.

    You never truly know how you react to taking another human beings life, not until you actually do it. You’ll never know until after if you will “come back” from it . . . if there is any “coming back” at all.

    I always wonder about all the variables that factor into how someone deals with it and why some get PTSD and some don’t. Is it a change in society? Is it their upbringing? Does it have to do with the belief and conviction in their justification for taking the person’s life?

    I had a friend who talked about a theory that there is a small percentage of people (I forget the percentage) that will run towards a catastrophic event to help/intervene. Whereas a majority would run the other way. Is that small percentage the few who could deal with it? Or is it all just chance?

  30. Berlinger says:

    Charlie Tango: I might have a clue about your last question. I did scientific research about people who had suffered severe trauma far earlier in life. People with rather similar experiences could be divided into several groups. Some were broken down completely, some had pretty normal and quite happy lives. The two main causes seemed to be:

    – Upbringing and the ability to handle tough things. As mentioned above, talking is a great relief, and as the first Veteran poster so wisely put it, talk to someone who can understand. To relate to Selco, I have met soldiers who served for the UN in Bosnia. They were never involved in fighting, but their experience anyhow altered them as men. When they came back and friends complained about their job or something else, the ex-soldiers felt strange because they had seen “real” problems. Their view of world changed and they were now strangers among their friends. Selcos comments about how violence affects man coincides with everything I’ve heard. Considering how men are affected just by seing suffering, Selco has a true point in what actual acts of violence do to men. That is so far worse. However, it depends on who you are. I recall a gathering with ex-special forces soldiers and how one guy asked another one “how many people have you killed?”. My friend answered and then they continued to speak about something else. I think it was apartment prices in Bulgaria.
    – Genetic factors. Some people are just born with the ability to cope and move on.

    To Selco: Thank you for your blog. It is the first survivalist blog I considered worth reading. Have a background in long-range recon so I’m pretty familiar with the practical stuff like fire, natural shelters and field medicine etc. As a second opinion from a reader, I think that your blog is most valuable for several reasons:

    – You speak from experience. I’m happy to say I don’t share your experience and I’m happy I don’t do it..
    – You point out (some) planning, but above all flexibility and adaptability. Plans tend to break down and then you are left with your skills, your mindset and your ability to adapt. I personally hate Youtube videos with people who present gear or their BOL:s. If someone has an RPG-7, they might easily “modify” that prepping plan.. Not to speak about the ideas about pick-up trucks with trailers.. I’d rather adher to your “gym shoe” plan.Anything above that is luxury. Which leads to the question of fitness.. You can probably not remain fit during SHTF but keeping fit, even with a few extra useful kilos, is probably the best prepping of all. Maybe we get SHTF. (I’m 50+ and never thought that before, but now I’m kind of scary. I see the signs but I might be too early and might have died of old age before we see the result. But, your analysis seems correct. Being a great admirer of the United States, I feel extra sorry for the americans. Some are proactive, but the rest is naive. It is a pity for a very nice kind of people.) Assuming that we e.g. have 5 million preppers in the US. Some 40% of them are more likely to die from metabolic syndrome than from SHTF because they are fat. Being fit in the first phase of SHTF would provide a great advantage.

    Then, I sympathize with your description of gatherings. Yes, when the bottle begins to get empty, memories pour out from everyone. I’m a scientist and not a Veteran, but I know this all to well. From family, I can relate to most of what you write. You have partially written my family history, from a cruder angle and considering another time, but nonetheless you are spot on. I hope that readers of your blog read all of your postings. Concerning trading, I’d like to share some experiences from Hungary in the 1940’s with you over a beer or two. You will smile and recognize some things.

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