Common sense survival. The return of natural selection

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I am Selco and I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year I lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water, food distribution, without any kind of organized law or government. The city was surrounded for 1 year and it actually was a real SHTF situation. Our allies were our enemies from one day to the next. Today I’m prepared and share my experience on this blog.

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How do you imagine real survivalist?

Is it a man hidden inside underground bunker with food for 10 years, completely cut off from outside world? Or is it guy with crazy haircut driving bike on methan, in full leather outfit with communicaton skills not more than screams and some strange gurgling noises, armed with swords from fantasy games and maybe a chainsaw on the back?

Both examples are something like strange fantasies or for some even wishes („I want to be like that“) that I saw on more than one survival forum, or TV shows.

There is also picture of the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks when SHTF, and survive everything. There is strange opinion in some people that having stance like „I ll do only that when SHTF“ either only good, or only bad in terms of pillaging and robbing will keep them safe. If you look at things are going in nature, you know, natural way does not mean happy end.

Lots of regular people in todays society see us prepper and survivalists as weirdos in camouflage suits, conspiracy nuts and similar. Most of them are right, lots of „survivalists“ also help in building that image of survivalists. It is hard for some people to just shut up and prep, what they should do to keep low profile. But some people make survival so much part of who they are they want to show off. Their choice.

Point is that there are lot of definitions of survivalists there, and each one of them is like „written in stone“. I think survival is more about how you are as person and not what you expect. Once disaster strikes, you will see tough guys helpless and regular guys become strong forces. True nature shows up.

Several days after the shooting started I arranged with friend that he will pick me up with car so we can go and finish some job. We went to relatives apartment to look for useful stuff but everything was looted already. In that time vehicles could still drive, but shootings were everywhere and checkpoints too. So violence within the group of people who were caught up in the city was on top of shooting and shelling from enemy army.

At this point in time, nobody knew who shoot who and why, and what groups stand on checkpoints, but people already got killed.

When he came to pick me up I noticed that rear lights on his car were smashed, broken. And inside car he had some kind of steel plates with hooks and wooden bars that you could kinda attach to the inside of the door.

He explained to me that he smashed rear lights when he concluded that people get killed when snipers and machine gunners spot them after they hit the brake in the middle of the night during driving (lights are not used anyway during the drive).

That driving with him was closest thing to the apocalyptic Mad Max version of driving. It was still possible to drive through the street, but it was full of junk, debris, and bodies here and there. He used big lights occasionally when he really needed to see something, but only for sec or two, other than that he was driving in the dark.

On our way back he changed position of some steel plates inside car because he expected different directions of possible incoming bullets.

We survived that drive. That dude was not ex special forces member, or guy that you imagine, some strong tough dude. He was simple family guy, he worked as a postman before everything.
He had no experience with violence, gunfire or anything similar other than dogs barking at him while he delivered mail.

You may say „oh, nothing too smart, it is common sense to not use brake lights and put something between you and flying bullets“, and yes you are right it is common sense, but point is that you need to know WHEN you need to start to use common sense.

Great number of people got killed because they „waited to see what is gonna happen“, other folks started to use common sense early and survived (at least more of them, because no matter what we do there is always factor X that you are simply at wrong place at wrong time).

Those who can switch fast and let ideas of normal life go, increase their chances for survival a lot! Many “fantasy” survivalists will wake up to big surprise that things are not like they thought. It is true you should understand and know what to expect but even more important is to quickly change your way of life, how you think about security. Flexible thinker survive because they have many options to do things and react if they have to.

Other time shelling caught us on the inside of one of the apartment buildings, group of some 5-6 of us. Whole floor collapsed around us and on us.

Few seconds later we get on our feet, and find out that one of us is half buried under the rubble, other ones get minor wounds and scratches. We started to dig to uncover the buried guy, after that we realized that he was almost shredded from his thighs down, and his feet were under the piece of concrete wall.

After one try to lift him, we realize that there is no way to do it.

His legs were in so bad shape that while I was trying to do some kind of bleeding control I realize that actually I do not have clue what leg is left and what is right. It was simply all messed up and mixed from thighs down. Under the knees I could see that all was mixture of white and red, pressed and mixed. And he was screaming big time.

Shelling started again, with pretty big chance for all of us to be buried under the walls. I would be liar if I could say that I did not wanted to leave that dude there stranded, and just get the hell out of there, but somehow I still stupidly was trying to stop bleeding with straps from the shirt.

Then (luckily) one of the guys stepped out and push me, then with rifle bayonet he simple cut of almost amputated feet from stranded guy who luckily passed out, took him on his back and said “OK, lets go“. After we left the place, it collapsed from shelling. And strangely stranded guy survived everything.

If that dude did not cut his feet off we probably all got killed, or would have just left that man to die there.

Luckily one of us had common sense to do what has to be done in very quick and efficient way, and he did not have any medical knowledge.

There are many more stories how people got killed in very stupid ways and stories how people who have common sense survived (more of that in my course), but you get my point.

Real survivalist is man (or woman) who know what to do in certain moment. Everything else is just talking and wishful thinking. If you want to increase chances to survive, learn to take action quickly. Your knowledge and your skills help you to make right decision and execute action better.

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16 Responses

  1. Selco,

    Your comments and stories are always so valuable –
    because there is nothing like experience.

    However, the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks,
    is necessary to society also.
    Things can only get worse for the time being.
    It is going to get many times worse than even you experienced it –
    although for any individual, local tragedy destroys all.

    There will eventually be a world experience so terrible –
    that humanity will have to change its ways –
    and that is where the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks –
    comes in.

    This is all something that hasn’t happened yet –
    so there is no way to speak from experience.

    Peace and love,

    1. Thanks Bruce.
      People who do good things and save others are great and necessary. But people sometimes get that as a some kind of life insurance. In reality it not works like that.
      I agree with you that we need big savior. But mostly there is no that man.

    2. “There will eventually be a world experience so terrible – that humanity will have to change its ways – and that is where the big savior, guy who will do only good stuff, save other folks –
      comes in.”
      The “big savior guy” is Jesus! Many believe that He is coming soon, be prepared.

      When all is said and done many won’t have a chance to survive so then what becomes most important? Where will we wake up? GBY

      1. if jesus comes now send him home.
        that book did not work 2000 years ago and will not work now.
        f@#k religion. in general the comunitie sence of religion i understand taking care of one and another.
        fact is religion and politics and multinationals will always dictate life.
        if jesus comes around the corner the multinationals will take 0.50 BMG and send him home in a heartbeat.

        people who party and not prep will take you down
        man or woman with child takes your food or meds
        military shoot you for being armed etc etc
        gangs will f@#k-up everyone

        i am from the netherlands we can not own any weapons
        meds only true doctor
        food more and more comes from import
        armys derease treu nato regulations so shtf we do not have enough coverment

  2. This is such a hard thing – to imagine what it will be like. We can only guess. I try to think about situations and how to deal with it, but when it hits the fan, all good and rational thoughts sometimes mean nothing. Instinct sets in – maybe survival of the fittest. I don’t know how I will react, but I am feeling quite confident that I just might find out the hard way one day when America collapses. Thank you for your first hand knowledge and sharing with us. You are the only one I know who has actually lived through this. Everyone else only speculates.

  3. “Everything else is just talking and wishful thinking. If you want to increase chances to survive, learn to take action quickly.”

    This is something that every single person needs to hear over and over and over.

    The guy that saved the injured mans life decided the risk to save him was worth it, Because sometimes the choice to let someone else die is the right choice. Carrying him on his back he was slowed down, and a sniper could have taken him out or he might have fell and broken his leg because of the added weight. Every action has risks.

  4. Thank you for the post Selco . After catching up with the Jan 11th post I see that you and others reading/posting suffer from PTSD , I also have PTSD and though I would share the few things I know in the hope it helps you all as I would not wish it on my worst enemy. 1. PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal go easy on yourself don’t beat youself up about your thoughts or behaviour. 2. when you are starting to not feel good try slowing things down and take time out to relax in my opinion this is very important.
    3. MEDITATION/BREATHING EXERSISE in any form helps it can be hard to stick to but keep revisiting it because it helps. 4.Make yourself aware of your trigger points for example one of Selcos was the SMELL of cut
    grass triggering disturbing memorys, for me it is loud NOISE , If you know what it is that’s causing you problems that helps.

  5. Many times, it is our gut instinct that proves to be the correct action. I think I’ve read the advice “Whatever action you do is right or wrong – do something!” Freezing in place is not the place to be.

    Thank you Selco.

  6. It’s interesting how really basic the best tools of survival are. Flexibility, ability to quickly size up a situation, the courage to realize there is no guarantee your plan will work and yet still do it with conviction, the ability to understand that whatever ideas of Good Triumphs Over All you have, you just have to look around and see sometimes it does, sometimes not so much. Does that paralyze you into inaction? If so, another area to look at.

    This forum and Selco’s course is an absolutely unique place to get a 360 degree view of real survival methods. I am so tired of going to other blogs and reading folks brag about their equipment/bravery/preparations etc. No one knows until they have been through it how they will react…we can hope, but we can’t know. Selco gives us the opportunity to think about these other angles on survival before having to use them, in itself a great advantage.

    I join the others in thanking you for providing this information in an honest and unvarnished way. It is a great service, as is your course.

  7. It is high time for the people of to be aware of this. People should be well-known about surviving in any disaster. For that they need perfect knowledge and for that I suggest them to check this

  8. This raises one of the most important questions every man should come to grips with.

    What would I rather die than become?

    Would I rather fight and maybe die for my values and my family/friends or would I rather place my survival as the highest motivation in my life?

    It would be best to galvanize that choice in your mind now and every day thereafter rather than let the fear of the moment make the decision for you instead.

  9. Jack Spirko often talks about normalcy bias. Selco, your article and many others you have written touch on this problem. In natural disasters people just literally can’t shift mental gears and continue as if nothing is wrong, or it’s not as bad as it looks. They take out the trash and get washed down the street or sucked up into the sky when they should have been heading for the storm cellar or roof top. In a pending firefight, a police officer gets trapped in a verbal loop, continuing to give verbal orders for the assailant to drop the weapon when he should have been acting aggressively to preserve his own life. People go back in a collapsing building to turn off their computers and die as a result.

    I’m not sure how one acquires the kind of mental and emotional flexibility to simply move with what is happening rather than continue to be rooted in what is normal. Perhaps some of it is as simple as “some folks have it, some don’t”, like the ability to wheel a race car or hit a hundred mph fast ball. I think military training can help, depending on how you served. I think learning to be flexible about life on a daily basis can also help, learning to let go of things that simply don’t matter or can’t be affected by myself.

    Thanks again, Selco. You’ve given me more food for thought.

    1. The Human species, by its nature, is capable of ferocity and ruthlessness far beyond what most of us can even comprehend. That is why, for example, we rose to – and maintain our position as – the “Alpha” species on Earth long before technology made it as effortless to maintain that status as it is today; we got where we are with rocks and sharp sticks living in caves, not rifles and shotguns and construction equipment. Inside almost every one of us resides that vicious, feral beast, but in order to have any degree of social structure we are taught from birth to not just deny, but absolutely bury and hide this “Dark Side” of our nature. When something happens that conjures up that “Dark Side” to suddenly emerge to save us (which is his job, after all), we mentally “short-circuit”,” Does Not Compute”, blow a fuse from the resulting overload of discovering and trying to keep our inner Demon from it’s intended purpose of doing what we won’t/can’t. I can’t help but to believe that much PTSD is a result of seeing inside the reality of what being Human truly can be, and just as any traumatic physical wound may never heal fully or properly, so does this terrifying insight to what we are/can be mentally scar the unprepared for life.
      We are taught by our families and the social structure we live in what is acceptable, and what is not. A cannibal tribe has just as much social structure, is just as civilized (don’t confuse “technology” with “civilization”), has just as many rules and restrictions as any other social group, but since theirs are (hopefully) different than ours we find their practices as horrific as they would almost certainly find some of ours.
      I’ve never been to war, but I have seen . . . things, having grown up traveling around the world (literally; from the Territory of Alaska to Turkey; from Scotland to Taiwan; from Italy to Guam – and more). Civilization is imaginary, a thin veneer stretched over-tight and at any time/any place may rend partially or even completely given the right stimulus. (Even here in the USA look what we did to the Native Americans; we’ve had the Civil War, Watts Riots, LA Riots, NOLA, and so much more.)
      In an absolute SHTF situation, each person will adapt and overcome their inhibitions and fears in their own unique way. If they can’t, they may become helpless victims of circumstance – or, of those that can/do.

      Chuck B.

  10. OODA Loop get thru it and make the decision. Second guessing and trying to please everyone is a big difference between certain groups of people. SHTF and sometimes regular life doesn’t allow for “correct choices” always. You go right your wrong, you go left your wrong. Make the choice and go and accept the suck. Remember the ultimate goal and that is you survive.
    Normal LOL I lost my sense of normal in your country and surrounding ones. Normal is a hope. I hope for a normal day, I hope for a normal life, I hope my kids can live normal but I KNOW normal is an illusion

  11. Matt in OK, Your post is dead on, normal ? whats that? I already live in a manner that falls in a un-normal category. Here in lies the difference, I kinda chose my surroundings. Today in the good ol U.S.A. not everyone is able to do so,perhaps this would apply to me had I not done so 15 years ago. So we factor in “chance” or perchance actually. Finding self sustainable property in this day and age is getting kinda hard to do, and if you do chances are that you will not find the sort of work that your use to.So there’s two words that are contradictory, normal and chance. Because chances are, things are going to be not normal in the not too distant future. We don’t have the money we use to, but we live in the middle of the Shasta/Trinity forest in a old log cabin.
    I see myself as in the “Un-normal prepper type in that I’ve been at this a while, have a secondary plan and basically all the preps. No man is an island, if I’ve learned anything from Selco, it’s that there is strength in numbers. Something hard to find around here, less you count the bears, lotsa bears. So to those of you out there that have “Networks” my hat’s off to you. There are some good people in town 16 miles away, but in a SHTF scenario, they want Me to go to them. Screw that!
    I will leave you with a couple of quotes from my favorite Major, ” There is so much to learn, and retentions a bitch son” and ” Smart people learn from their mistakes and that’s called Experience,so called experts are just at it a little longer”

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