You get what you give – but different

Some things about mentality and about morality changed drastically, every men changed in some way, some of us more, other less. Some people welcomed that change in their thoughts and see whole new situation as some chance to do things that could not do in normal times, not without punishment from system.


Most of the people accept some things over the time almost without noticing it, so for example you wake up one day with thoughts that to steal things has become almost normal, useful, it becomes a „must do“ thing.

Even with some newly „accepted“ behavior, people still had some judgment about what is bad and what is OK. It was distorted, but it still was there.

Easiest way to explain it would be to say that almost everyone did things that normal people in normal times could not accept as a normal behavior, but comparing to some other people actions it was nothing. It was like the scale of what is good or bad was moved all together for everyone. Facing all the killing and misery smoking marijuana became accepted by everyone. Human look for an escape and alcohol was too precious.

But one thing is for sure, whenever i hear these days somebody says: “I will not do that if SHTF“ or „I ll do only that if SHTF“ whenever i hear that i feel sick. Wait and see…

Truth is: You never know how far you are going to go with some things in order to survive, there is no chance to know that before SHTF, everything else is only talking and discussing in front of PC, in nice and warm room, safe, not hungry or thirsty and not under fire or chance of losing life or that loved ones get murdered anytime.

And to make things clear, I am not approving some things that i wrote about, i am not advocating some actions, everyone has to find the line and choose his own „good or bad“ actions. I just share what happened and how I experienced it.

One thing is to suggest what kind of medicines you must have in storage, but on some other things there is no advice, it is all on you. It is a mindset thing and no equipment can help.

Most of the people, great majority of people is ready to say instantly: „I am good man, and i ll do only good things when SHTF“.

Truth is, when SHTF, lot of that good and nice people forget on that „strong decisions“, mostly after first few close gunshots or explosions, or after finding out that local food store is gone, just like any other store.

I like most of you (I guess) want to believe in fact that some kind of punishment gonna „catch“ all people who did or who gonna do bad things. So here is what might have caught up with one guy.

Before SHTF that man was a small thief, pickpocket guy who steals wallets, and do some small cons to naive people at market, smuggling some things, he was not even big criminal, actually he was nobody. When SHTF he „ recognized“ his chance and in short time he is managed from nobody to become powerful man with group of some 200 armed man. He was something like strong charismatic leader, kind of man who would know how to organise small groups of people from lowest aspects of life, he was like god to them.

In some time he was in control of some vital functions, like organising of food coming in that area, trough some convoys. In that time you could be rich with few bags of flour, so imagine amount of power and control if you get all from convoys of trucks with flour.

When everything ended he was a rich and powerful man, man with his own enterprise, and his own people everywhere. He did not leave area when everything ended, he was even more powerful. He become active in public life, some people would have given everything to be close to him. Media even call him philanthropist, helping poor, giving contributions to orphanages, or giving donations to rebuilding schools.

People whispered in cafés about his famous parties which lasted for days and nights, womens, drugs. Powerful and untouchable man.

And then one morning maid found him hanging from some window knob, naked, with his swollen blue toungue out, and his own dirt beneath him. Rumor was that he had nightmares for years, nobody knows for sure.

But i remember story from some other time when baby food for new born babies was very hard to find, and even when you find it to trade then trader could ask lot of things for that, well in that time he just kept baby food from aid and sell it for astronomical amounts, and even he mix that food with some things when it becomes very rare, things not good for babies to make it more, and then sell it to people.

I like to think there is a reason why he died like that, alone naked and dirty. So keep in mind even if scale or level of what is ok and what not shifts it still makes sense to only do what you have to do. Accept the new reality quickly, adapt to it and do what you have to do to survive.

People easily get seduced by the dark side and many will fall for it.

36 responses to “You get what you give – but different”

  1. mike says:

    Well Said!

  2. Chas says:

    I have to agree with you no one but those who have gone through such times can really say how they will react or what they will do. What a person does under pressure even simple everyday pressures reveals who they really are.
    I appreciate you talking about these areas. I sense it really bothers you that people are so sure they will just keep living a normal existance if things get anything near as bad as your experience.
    We have seen what happens to people with simple natural disasters like, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Ice storms. Many folks struggle to adapt to these situations where there typically is little violence (Katrina as an exception)
    These are challenges preppers and survial oriented folks need to take into consideration. Though they can only use them as stored information when things start to happen. Sort of like a check list where they will think back and say Selco said this will probably happen.
    I appreciate all these things you share, I hope it is helpful and not super painful for you to talk about these things. Most of us have no idea nor have ever come close to the suffering, physically, mentally or spiritually that you opening our eyes to.
    I also appreciated your article on the guitar player. I don’t think people plan to survive like this but, when it comes to survival the broader your mindset of possibilities the more chances your or those around you can actually survive.
    The comments on the Pickpocket were good. He survived, he even thrived, so not all survival options may be WORTH it in the end, but no one can be sure until after the fact.
    It is worth considering your suggestion of judgement over time. Somehow whether it is satisfying to us or not, circumstaces seem to be taken care of, over time.
    Thanks again for talking about this subject.

  3. Island Girl says:

    Your truth does more for us then all the prep sites around. I appreciate that you speak of human nature and the reality of who we are and what we might do or be in a SHTF situation.

    If possible, I would like to hear more of what you witnessed with the elderly, women and children during these times? How did they survive? Was an elderly person a resource of knowledge for survival or were they considered a liability? How did people protect their children?

    Once again, many thanks for this site.

    • Steph says:

      I too am interested in hearing about the elderly When you speak about “elderly” what age group are you speaking about? The children… my worst nightmare would be something awful happening to my 4 y.o. Grandaughter. Did people generally leave the children alone?

      I would also like to know how old you were when shtf and how old you are now speaking about it all?

      • Selco says:

        I will try to write more on your questions in next post. No people generally did not leave children alone.
        I was in early 20ies in that time, now i am in late 30ies.

        • Steph says:

          Thank you Selco, I found your article very enlightening. What I meant by “leaving them alone” was… would gang members and bad people generally not harm them? I would think even they would have limits on what terrible things they would do. I pray so. I apologize for not being more clear and using slang.

          Anyway, I’m going to let my father know what you’ve said in your recent article. Because of his age, he has felt less useful. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He stays busy helping us all day long. He’s retired but not really. He takes a 1/2 hour nap a day and the rest of the day is spent with him just as busy as anyone else. Physically he’s in great shape but mentally he can run circles around most people. I couldn’t imagine trying to make it without him. He can do darn near anything.

          I thought that might have been about your age at the time. It’s useful knowing your age when it occurred as it helps knowing how you would have viewed things then. I’m sure you are much wiser for your past experiences though, and grew up faster than many would under normal circumstances. What a way to get there though!

          • Selco says:

            Yes my English is not so great sometimes 🙂
            No problem, no need to apologies, i am the one who did not understand.
            About your question, i can say generally children were spared when it comes to worst things, again generally.
            In other words there s been cases of very bad things with kids.
            In times of chaos worst kind of human animals comes to surface, so you can imagine.
            I do not like to go in details about some events in those times, but as i already mention before, some scales were “moved” so in some ocassions 15 year old boy was acounted as a man, and 15 year old girl was acounted as a woman.

        • Steph says:

          I find it interesting that you didn’t go out and prepare in a major way after the hell you had been through. Being a person with your experience and the fact that you are increasing your preparations now should be a warning to all of us, and confirmation to some of us.

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you Selco! We are stil going to be shocked by what happens but you are preparing us, and that will give us an invaluable advantage to surviving. As Chas said above, we will recall your words when it happens and understand, instead of being immobilized and ultimately dead. I gotta go order more beans and rice. . . . and bullets. . . and another gun. . . . and some Xanax. . . . .

  5. azurevirus says:

    Another great article..and I understand it..having had some serious bad times in my past yrs..(nothing as bad as what you went through) I have done things Im not proud of and will never forget them..your post reminds me of an alcoholic or a drug abuser, and what they will do to get what they need..again, one never knows what they will do when they are against the wall, great post Selco!

  6. Lennie Metz says:

    Thanks for the articles. Very seldom have I come across modern writing about wartime experiences. Plenty of old accounts that describe similar things.

    I myself have spent 6 years in the Iraq war. I have seen a lot, gotten shot at with everything from katyusha, to AK and everything in between. Still my experience was more like riding a bicycle with training wheels so I did not fall over. I always had plenty to eat and drink, always had a bed to sleep in, and lots of vacations outside the war zone.

    I fear however that the situation you describe in your experience will happen again. The economic situation, the communist agitation, Iran, all conspire to bring very hard times to the world.

  7. Very good post, Selco. Thank you for your wisdom and experiences.


  8. dkclaymore says:

    The main prerequisite for any kind of generosity is a full stomach.

    • Selco says:

      Yes friend, there is a great difference in thinking and opinions when man have food,water,electricity, telephone,internet,security and when that same man do not have that.

      • Becky says:

        It is never the common people of any nation who wants war. It is the leaders, the military and corporations who will profit. Will mankind ever learn that they are being used by the very ones who are in charge? If all the armies of the world would lay down their weapons, go home and tell the powers that be to go to hell, the elites would be no more. We never learn from history and continue to repeat it over and over. Isn’t that one of the definitions of insanity? Everyone on the planet should look up Mark Twain’s ‘War Prayer’ and see what fools we are. How do parents celebrate sending their children off to war to kill or be killed? They fail to see they are fighting the rich mans war for power and more wealth. What a sad world this is.

        • SITW says:

          This will never happen. There are too many people who like to fight and too many people who are willing to fight for money/food/materials. If you removed all the worlds governments you would just have smaller versions of the same tyranny, only more chaotic. Whoever has the biggest gun will be the rule of law (or lack there of). This group would fight that group or this city would fight that city etc… The only way to stop all that would be for all of the good people to stand up against it. But then a new tyrant would rise to take his place, and probably be twice as bad.

  9. azurevirus says:

    Im just guessing here..but Im thinking the worse will come from the younger generations because as we grow older we get set in our moral and societal norms and tend to ahere more to them in times of trouble..not so much with the young folks..seems from my youth to todays youth..morals and such are not adhered to as much because they havent had enough time to sink in or havent been practiced at home enough or lack of a father figure maybe ..I remember back in the day ..I and my friends would walk 4 miles one way to play hours of basketball on an outside court in a school it seems to me the kids in my locale tend to want to get drunk or high (as even some of there parents do)..seldom is found any kids playing b ball on the public courts, and if they are there at all..they are dealing according to some of the neighbor kids I happen to know

    • Selco says:

      Good point.
      If SHTF happens today, it is going to be much uglier, there is whole “army” of people who are just like waiting for something like that to make chaos.

      • Ciakar says:

        Selco, I read your experiences, and I can imagine the horror you have experienced day by day and scarier night by night……I really like to hear from you the horrific you have experienced..
        that will give me a real idea what to do and how to do it……better places to hide and survive

        do you think this would be another chaotic scenario ?

        and another question where is a good place to hide guns and ammo?

  10. Shawn says:

    To be “prepared for anything” seems like the best way to insulate yourself against others who would take advantage of the SHTF senario.

  11. J says:

    Your articles are always enjoyable, informative and challenging. In this case, I also remember something that General Robert E Lee once said – that in a time of great hardship or deprivation, or in the fog of war, the true essence of a man will emerge. If a man is at heart, a coward, or a scoundrel, or even a traitor, polite society my allow him to live out his life without ever being revealed. But in the crucible of suffering or battle, a man whose heart is true and whose honor is real, will be seen for what ht is, and a man who is dishonorable will also be seen for what HE is.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Selco says:

      When man is under pressure,in real hard times,without support from system, his true nature comes out, and then you can see what kind of man he is.Only then.
      So expect anything from anyone,even from people you think you know well.

  12. David Nash says:

    Thanks for the post, I worry about the “preppers” that spend all their resources on guns and ammo and neglect everything else. I cannot help but wonder if their plans are to become bandits.

    • Jim says:

      Your completely wrong about preppers. Most spend there $$ on food, water filters, renewable energy etc. Sure guns come into play. They are not the people to fear my friend. Fear the guy with guns and nothing else. Perppers plan to defend them and theres. Its the others who will take loot and steel.

  13. Greg RN says:

    We are all capable of the tenderest Mercy or most Hideous Evil, the Quantifying element will be Spritual and Moral conviction, Fleshy people tend to decay rapidly into sophisticated animals, Spritual Men tend to become Leaders and protectors of the weak and fragile. The cities will burn first, those trapped therein will be forced to run the Gauntlet for simple substinence. The Elite and their Demons know the end game is near and soon the ones they’ve robbed and cheated for decades will not be placated and will be crying out for their heads. The ones they have turned into “Entitlement Dolts” will begin the madness, a useful distraction while the Elite attempt their escape. It is by design that we are at the point of open rebellion, The “Good Crisis” folks are not above creating one. The Ancient Lie, “You Will Not Surely Die” comes to mind. “Your Gonna Have To Serve Somebody”, appropriate lyrics and Sage admonition for times such as these. Whom will you serve? Keep in mind what was done in Kosovo and Serbia. This is a War of Ideologies, essentially between two of Abrahams Sons, Isaac and Ishmael, the latter gave birth to Islam. But all of the madness brought to you by the One “Who creeps around as a Lion”, “Seeking Whom He may Devour”. God raises up Warriors as well. Will you be one?

  14. Rurik says:

    There is the Golden Rule … And then there is the Iron Rule: Do unto others as they are fixing to do unto you – but first.

  15. Jeff says:

    Selco, as a husband and father of two very “independent” women. I’m interested in the role of women in your experience. Both of mine are excellent shooters and very capable in either the woods or at home. Were the women in your community stuck in the kitchen or bedroom or were they also fighting and scrounging? Like many others I thank you for sharing your experience and lessons.

  16. Ed Vaisvilas says:

    Just over a week ago, the power was out in a large area for nearly 7 hours. We are only a few miles from a nuclear plant, so it was anyone’s guess what was going on.
    Only an hour, or so, into it there were neighbors outside, wandering about like lost sheep. I was prepared, with candles and homemade oil lamps. So, the first thing I did, before lighting them, was to draw my curtains…just in case.
    If it was anything worse than a short inconvenience, I didn’t want my neighbors’ first thoughts to be, “If he’s prepped for no power, then he must be prepped otherwise.”

    • SITW says:

      Just a little FYI, (I used to work at a power plant) power plants almost never generate power for the local area. For example, I worked at a power plant in NC which powered a grid in NY. I don’t know why it is done this way, I never asked, but just because a grid goes down doesn’t mean that it is a local plant having problems.

    • Sandie says:

      If it was the real thing, shutting your curtains wouldn’t help, from the blast of the nuclear plant, but good thinking on your own made up oil lamps, wonder how good they are 🙂

  17. Wills says:

    “Good people can be induced, seduced, and initiated into behaving in evil
    ways. They can also be led to act in irrational, stupid, self-destructive, antisocial, and mindless ways when they are immersed in “total situations” that impact human nature in ways that challenge our sense of the stability and consistency of individual personality, of character, and of morality.”

    Here is a good read at survivalblog titled, Combating The Darkness Within, by Paul B.

  18. Steph says:

    I could not find where to reply to your above comment. Wow, if only I could speak TWO languages! Your English is actually very good. I know it’s off topic but where and when did you learn English? English is my native tongue, of course, and unfortunately it’s not the best 😉

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