Food for Thought from Selco Who Lived Through SHTF

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

A couple of weeks ago, I recommended the link to SHTF Survival Q&A: A First-Hand Account of Long-Term SHTF Survival.  I was fascinated by the first hand account by Selco, a man who lived through a SHTF scenario during the Bosnia collapse in 1992.  He described what it was like to live for a year in a city with no infrastructure:  no running water or sewer, trash pickup, no electricity; no food available, currency was useless and no rule of law.  For many of us urban dwellers, this would indeed be the dreaded SHTF situation, unlike anything we have ever faced.

Selco had some kind words about Apartment Prepper, and I asked him if he would mind answering questions that I had always wondered about.  I sent him a list of questions and he graciously responded.  I posted the responses “as is.”

Question 1.  On the forum where you described your experience of being under siege, you mentioned that you had no electricity or running water.  How did you and your family handle the toilet (sanitary) conditions?

Selco:  We had a small yard and digged holes for toilets, we thought it was temporary so the holes were small but later on we digged bigger ones because we realized this is long and world might have forgotten us. It was not nice but at least we did not do it in the house like many others. Whole area started to smell bad anyway, stench from dead people is worse than a bit poo.

Question 2.  A lot of my readers are women and they would want to know what did the women, children and elderly members of your family do on a day to day basis during the time your city was under attack?

Selco:  The roles were back to hundred years ago. Before war we were modern society, but as soon as SHTF the women, kids and elder stayed mostly at home. They wanted that, no questions. Happened automatically. Did the washing, cooking, cleaning and taking care of sick people. Just sometimes when shelling was a bit less some women came along to gather herbs or MRE if food aid was coming that time. Not often. We always had some man protecting the home, women, children and elderly.

Question 3.  From all the weapons that you used, what was your preferred weapons for when you went out into the street OR when you were staying at home and why ?

Selco:  Always had the same weapons, TeTe gun / some russian gun and AK47. Simple choice, most ammo for these weapons. We had only a few of those so we exchanged them among us. Did a good job, very reliable weapons. AK47 has good stopping power, just not very good on fully auto. Can make a mess out of a human.

Editor’s note:  An example of the gun described that I found was the Tokarev TT pistol, a Russian made gun.
Question 4.  A lot of apartment preppers will probably decide to stay in their homes and this has raised a lot of discussions on the pros and cons of staying in the city.  Some people say that by staying in the city, the infrastructure will be restored first, and that those living in the countryside would be attacked by roving bandits.  The other side states that those living in the countryside have greater chances of survival as they would be more self-reliant and not dependent on resources from the city.  Based on you and your family’s experience, which would you prefer and why?

Selco:  RUN!   If you lucky yes, city might be better off but if not it is so much worse. Bug in for a few days until first madness settled and then bug out. Also depends on the weather. Might stay at home in winter and risk getting robbed / murdered instead of going out and freezing to death. Only run if you know where you run to.

Editor’s note:  I was very curious about the answer to this question.  Intuitively I believe it would be bad in the cities in a total collapse.  I would like to be able to leave, but like many city dwellers, currently do not have the means to own a designated place.  We would need to decide on a destination that we can run to, should it get to that point.

For more information from Selco, check out his blog at SHTF School.


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  1. Its hard for many people to imagine this happening, but for those that realize its possible it really helps to hear from people that have lived though it. Thanks for this post.

    1. Hi David, Yes, it is very hard to believe things can descend into chaos very quickly, and not many people want to think about that. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Very informative Q and A. The Balkans is the scenario I always bring up to those who are naysayers. They went from having the Olympics there to killing each other inside of 15 years. A modern society can collapse pretty damn fast.

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