Survival lesson Re-visited: Staying Out Of Trouble

Picture of Selco


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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This new article is actually a re-post of one of the my old articles that I wrote almost 3 years ago.

The guy that I wrote about in that article died few days ago, and that is the reason why I am re posting this.

I use to knew him very well, the man that he became at the end was almost a stranger to me.

He did not die shooting an AK47 at the politicians who once “pushed” him to war with their “infinite honor” and “our cause” stories, he did not wrote book about his experiences, he did not become hero.

At his funeral there were 9 people, including guys who are paid to finish the job with shovels.

This man was “eaten” by cancer, and I am sure that cancer started in his soul first.

I drunk few gins for his soul and decide to re-post this.

Message of this is same. Stay out of the trouble and simply do not believe everything, especially if the message is coming “packaged” and in “big words” (Students in USA should take special note of this now…)


Looking for goods and usable items during the war often meant I got myself in some weird situations and scenarios. I knew lots of guys who risked their lives just to go to some destroyed places because they knew they could find some items that meant a lot for them personally, but actually those items were useless in given situation around us at that time.

But people often act like fools and if you find yourself in a survival situation it is the perfect time to lose your life if you act like fool.

Like a friend who lost his eye, just because he went to his house and searched through a closet full of audio tapes in order to collect some of his favourite punk band titles. Not to mention that electricity in that time was something like faint memory, and he could not do anything with those tapes even if he did find them.

Anyway booby trap exploded, luckily he survived, but he lost one of his eyes.

When you have young people or in general, inexperienced people and fighting around you, it is the perfect combination for some people to act like fools.

There is something in dangerous (and new) situations that makes you want to act like fool, and to do stupid things, young folks do that mostly, but it can happen to anyone, it happened to me too.

Good old „stay out of the trouble“ advice is one of the best survival lessons one can learn.

Whenever I read on survival forums, threads about gangs and how during SHTF people should get organized and simply defeat them, I remember how young and enthusiastic I was about that too, but luckily enthusiasm went away quickly and I survived.

The problem here is holding onto old concepts and not accepting change. One day you have law and order and you can call someone when you see trouble because it is not right, next day suddenly there is no one to call and you might feel you have to jump in to make things right.

You may find it cowardly that man wants to stay put when bad things happen around him but in reality in most of the situations you can not do anything without huge organisation that helps you and a big personal risk.

My relative was outside the country when the war started, he was working for an electrical company in the middle east. Contract was good, and he had a monthly salary there equal to 6 months salaries here at that time.

On first news about fighting and war, he returned to the country to join the army and fight. Blockades and battles already started and his trip back to his town took lot of time and troubles.

He was 26 year old back then and he told me that when he entered the country at a small city where he and few other guys wanted to join the fighting forces, he saw that war is not like in books and movies…

Military unit that welcomed them asked who they are and what they wanted, they said that they wanted to join the fighting forces. He said he expected some kind of questions about their military experience or similar, but instead of that the small unit commander asked them : „Do you want some women?“

They starred at him like idiots so he explained „We have some enemy women in prison close here, so go there first if you want“.

My relative was raised by his grandmother, he was nice kid, no cursing, not too much drinking, he said to me that shock was so big that he could not open his mouth to even say „No man!“

He told me that later he find out that fighting includes doing lots of things in order to win fight and stay alive. He went through lots of fighting, earned the reputation of a tough guy, and one day they got caught up in ambush and he was one of the few who survived.

Machine gun from close distance destroyed his legs and belly. He was removed from the country for rehabilitation, his legs are still there, but only for „pictures“.

He is „glued“ to wheelchair forever, and no kids, no wife either.

He lives today in small apartment that looks at big chimney of a disused factory, elevator is usually not working, and nobody cares to lift him up and down.

Nobody visits him too much, he is no hero, he fought for something that is now considered „ wrong and not needed war“ as they say.

Now and then I visit him in his city and that apartment, and every time I conclude two things:

First how lucky I am. Even with all my issues and traumas from the war compared to him, and second is that every time when I left him in his misery and bitterness I am expecting to see in few days in news something like „old war veteran in wheelchair went crazy and start to shoot from AK47 at people in street from his apartment at 6th floor.“

I asked him once why he returned to the country at the beggining of the war while at the same time thousands fled? I expected to hear something patriotic or similar, but he said „Man, at that time it was something so exciting and new!“

So just listen to first survival and most important survival lesson: Stay out of the trouble. Life is very real and it is easy to forget how brutal “real life” can be. With real life I mean life without our civilized society or just life without all support and help we take for granted.

I hope I will never have to use everything I trained for or any lesson I share with you here ever again.

Do you have examples when staying out of trouble was hard and about consequences of this? Share in the comments below.

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18 Responses

  1. A very good story and lesson.
    Thank you for reposting it. My impression is that we must educate our children about reality to help them when we are not there. Fights hurt and people are never perfect outside of a book.
    People do not know they can die from a tooth infection faster than violence in a war zone.

  2. Pat Tillman? teach your kids simple skills for survival, handle a gun, close combat strategies, etc. without stimulating a desire to use them. Kids today are so inept they can’t even ride a bicycle or drive a car with a manual transmission. both of which could save their lives or the lives of others. SHTF school is fantastic! keep up the great work and opening peoples eyes to what we could see.

  3. War benefits somebody, otherwise it wouldn’t happen. The ruling class, mostly, and their cronies the arms manufacturers and suppliers. If you are comfortable being cannon fodder for them, then go for it.

    I was an idiot 18-year old who joined the Marine Corps to fight in Viet Nam. Fortunately I was so idiotic I signed on for 4 years, which meant the Marines could put me into a specialty with heavy training requirements and they could recoup their investment (repairman for an air control computer). This in turn meant I didn’t go to Viet Nam since there were maybe 6 of these computers and only 1 was in Viet Nam. I am forever grateful I had exactly the right amount of idiocy to survive.

  4. I am a VN Vet. This is what I know. War is about money and the control of it. Young men are easily influenced by propaganda to join a battle group for adventure, for an ill-considered sense of patriotism, for a false sense of glamour in “doing what is right.” War should only be fought by fully developed, adult, older men, after much deliberation about cost-benefit. Some wars Must be fought in order for the people, culture, history, language to survive a few more seasons. Fight these wars as hard as you can and as viciously as necessary to end it as soon as possible. Fight only when you must, and then fight like bloody hell and end it. Do Not fight not for bankers, not for industrialists, and not for government Poges. Avoid adventurism. Have lots of babies and raise them well.

  5. In 2013 I found out how it feels to live the disaster not just see it on the idiot box. Forest Fire. The first cop telling me to evacuate was in my yard 2 hours after the fire started. Packed what I could, took lots of pictures of the rest. I was sitting on the bridge in front of my home waiting for it to burn before I left still hoping for a miracle. The army was up fast with the choppers making water drops[ some one way up the food chain lit a fire] and a Chinook made a drop 200 yrds from my place that put the fire mostly on the ground. At the same time a whole bunch of firemen and women showed up and game on.. I stayed and fought, I drove an antique 3000 lb crawler tractor fitted with a blade into the fire that night and lived to tell the tale. Yeah the Oliver had to be rebuilt afterwards and I needed time to heal from burns but I still am here. I should have never stayed, I should never have gambled with my life for what are just “things.” I did gamble and won. WHY? I could give all kinds of bullshit but the simple truth is stubborn pride. Be careful what you wish for in life and remember it is just stuff and can be replaced, life cant. THINK before you act and try not to let you feelings rule. FOOT

  6. Selco,

    Sorry about the person above.
    Sometimes things work out. I was a caregiver for a person bedridden for years. Their short-term memory was lost but underneath the long-term memory was sorting out past events (Many from WWII Yugoslavia). Then one day they told me “I’ll be leaving now” and two days later passed away. They had come to terms with their past issues.

    When I was drafted for Viet Nam I told myself it was my duty to go. Years later and having talked to returning veterans and seen what the experience did to them I realized “What the HECK was I thinking!?”.
    I now believe in Guardian Angels.

    Ironically, the draft-evaders were pardoned after the war. I heard some self realized motivated soldiers walked out of Viet Nam to Thailand, raised a family and started an import/export business. Lower class Capitalists.

    Note: There is a reason Viet Nam was called “The Children’s Crusade” as most the people there were close to eighteen years old and totally unprepared for what happened to them. Granted one in nine went out on patrol and fought, the rest, support, were still affected and turned to available drugs and alcohol.
    Veterans who spent years, say twelve, fighting various wars said only THEN they were equipped set foot there. And even then, considering their assumed life expectancy of one to two years, they had the ‘Fifty Thousand Mile Stare’.

    Your quote from above,
    “Message of this is same. Stay out of the trouble and simply do not believe everything, especially if the message is coming “packaged” and in “big words” (Students in USA should take special note of this now…)”

    I got a laugh out of the latter part regarding “students” as some are referred to as “Snowflakes”. Not all but mostly say in the liberal arts degree programs as their Socialistic professors use them for their purposes.

    Example, recently an instigator (controlled opposition) came to our area. Warnings were announced that it would be better just to stay away as a confrontation might break out between those who opposed the other’s viewpoint.
    Some professors cancelled their classes and suggested to their students to go express themselves at this event even though the possibility of violence was strong (mostly from the students). Due to heavy police presence, nothing happened. The bill for extra police and overtime was passed to the city residents, about a million dollars.

    I asked one of the students why trust their professors as many professors invest their disposable income into rental property that the same students paid a very very high rent for what the property was worth. This indicates the professors don’t care for the students. Or in other words the students were getting it from both ends. They were being used.
    I was told that I was hateful and a ‘N*z*”.
    Go figure.

    (Sic) It was said if the Snowflakes had a meltdown there would be floods.
    I see them as lost souls without direction who think it is ‘cool’ and fashionable to be told by their professors what to do, without considering without a useful degree the future holds for them low paying jobs and a student loan that they’re never can pay back.
    Again, this does apply to all students.

  7. Harp,

    Not to get off tropic or start our own blog on Viet Nam … but Urban Myth or Not it’s an interesting concept that some people can see thru what’s been told to them and strike out on their own even in SHTF. Blackmarketing , whatever.

    (After Tet it was acknowledged the war was over, not only because of the newspapers and general opinion at home and from the boots on the ground. Check the Frigging rate. After that it was more of a matter of just keeping alive.

    So why fight a war that is lost or has nothing to do with you?

    Yes, the war was hot till 1974/75 but notice the NVA entered Saigon when US 1 was finished as they were waiting. Notice in 72’ we went off the Gold Standard, we were broke from the war. The French didn’t do much better. They underestimated General Giap as we did. Every mistake made at Dien Bein Phu we repeated but at a grander scale, ie, hedge hogging/fireplaces. Except we had a prototype rifle that got a lot of soldiers killed malfunctioning in the field.)

    Sorry, I’m babbling and off topic but as Selco’s Blog illustrates to me, some people adapt during hard times.
    (Hope that dovetails back to the current blog.)

  8. A gnarly old veteran once told me when I was green………”Never be afraid to let someone else do your dying for you son”. Sounded cowardly at the time but later I knew exactly what he was talking about. So right Selco, even in the shit, stay out of trouble. Here today, gone tomorrow.

  9. Whites flee from internal struggle, always pleased to leave the strife behind and thinking that the policeman will always be there to rein in the Evil, but now there is no where to run. Without a White homeland, it becomes a shell game of White flight and gated communities with no future.

    At some point, cornered and alone, Whites are going to have to fight. The history of the world is the struggle of races to survive.

  10. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Selco. Yes, you didn’t know him much in later years, but somewhere inside you is the memory of who he was when you were both younger. Remember him that way.

    His lesson is not wasted. When I was younger, I used to be the guy that jumped in to make things right. Now that I’m much older, if it doesn’t effect me directly, I don’t care much. I did a couple years in the U.S. Army when I was young, and was excited about the possibility of adventure in other lands. Duh… stupid kid I was. Now I see what the other posters see… most war is so someone can get rich or gain more power or more oil or whatever. Unless someone is invading our mainland or gearing up to do so, I don’t think there are many reasons for war. It’s a waste of otherwise useful lives. Every dead soldier or civilian is a person of lost potential. Don’t let that become you (all of you).
    Prepare. Make ready. Train. Stay in shape. Know how to fight to win, viciously and immediately. And most of all, pray for a peaceful life.

  11. Only a fool seeks personal glorification through the death of others… Righteousness is a lie we tell ourselves to help deal with the aftermath of our actions. The ones who suffer the most are the ones who can’t believe their lie.

  12. I wish more of my fellow citizens here in the U.S. thought like the folks posting here but it is now a truly a mercenary Army who will go where their paymaster sends them to make $ for the military-industrial complex and Wall Street.

  13. I was a young man minding my own business walking along a public street with an older cousin and his motorcycle gang-looking friend and we were 20 feet from the door of the pizza place when a car stopped and three new hot heads claiming to be Marines jumped out and came yelling about us “freaks” — honestly I was NOT ready to fight, but it appears at the end of ten minutes or less they who attacked were not either. They were beating down had their ribs and back kicked with motorcycle boots and their bodies hit with a metal trash can before they drove off not to come back. I was attacked another time while by myself fishing when out of the blue two guys rode up on the bikes and started throwing mud clods and rocks at my back to knock me in the water. I stood my ground they really had the advantage but must have had enough and laughing they rode off. Now, I won’t allow a stranger to get too close especially if they exhibit any signs of “aggression” — I should know better as an American Indian.

  14. Selco-

    I am sorry for the loss of your friend. It sounds like he had a rough time of it the past few years.
    I have a question for you: How did you deal with the grief of losing a loved one during the time of SHTF? I mean, as in a close family member. I am going through a similar situation now, but without a SHTF situation…on the outside, anyways.

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