SELCO: Who Will Be Dangerous and Who Can You Trust When the SHTF?

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Author of The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

We are all witnessing how the world is becoming a more dangerous place. Actually what we are seeing is that people have a tendency to be more dangerous, or to be more precise – sicker and more perverse.

One of the reasons is that we are able to access information faster than 30-40 years ago, for example. If you have something wrong happening in another part of the world you will know about it pretty soon. You just need to do a couple of clicks with your mouse.

The world is a dangerous place to live if you do not follow some rules, and very often those rules are actually not rules that system “gives” us as rules of behavior.

Often you need to create your own set of rules and stick to them to be safe and in order for your family to be safe. SHTF or no SHTF.


The latest news about rich and powerful folks being able to manipulate and use young girls is horrible news, but it is nothing new. You just heard about it this case. Unfortunately, there are many events like that all around. We just never hear about them so it is like they have not happened.

All that is horrible, but I would like to point out here one very important thing:

The system allowed that man (and others) to do what they did.


Well, it is simple. Because they are powerful,  they can get out and do a lot of things most of us could not get away with.

SHTF vs. “normal” times

How all this can be transferred to our preparations for SHTF?

Actually, the SHTF that I went through had a lot of similarities, so for example, if you were powerful during that time you could do whatever you wanted – including a lot of sick and perverse things.

Another commonality between a warlord in the middle of the SHTF and this very rich dude in “normal” times is that neither of them is worried about repercussions or punishment.

In the SHTF time, a man did not worry about it because there is no law, and even if there is some, he had enough firepower to deter it.

In the other case – the current one – a man who is so rich and connected has enough power to bypass the law, to make the law invisible for him.

What to watch for

The million-dollar question that is always being asked is, “How do I recognize that the SHTF is very close?”

One of as closest answers possible to give there is this: “You know it is close when people stop worrying about repercussions (punishment from the law and the system).”

To go back to the beginning of the article: are there more sick and dangerous people now than before?

Probably yes, because of numerous reasons, and some of the reasons are simply the fact that the world is becoming a place where sick stuff is trying to be recognized as normal.

But for preppers, that is not the most important thing here.

You as a prepper need to realize and understand, deeply and truly for a fact, that dangerous and sick people are all around us.

Maybe your next-door neighbor or your co-worker, or even your family member.

You do not see it just because the system is there, so it keeps them from acting on their true thoughts, keeps them looking normal, and functioning normally.

When that system is gone, together with punishment and the law, only then will you see for real and recognize who is really sick or bad.

I have seen people who use to be family men holding rape camps when the SHTF, or average folks collecting ears from people.

Do not make a mistake – people are the same everywhere, the only difference is how bad society and the system will be stripped down.

OPSEC and what kind of people may become dangerous

OPSEC is a word that like many others in prepping world turns to a parody on its own, and it should not be like that. Right now, when OPSEC is being implemented through the survival world, it is often done in a way that actually makes YOU look suspicious.

It has all gotten so complicated. OPSEC is being practiced in a way that it messing with your average everyday life or even in so bad a way that you do not have a normal life. You can be discreet and still come across as an average person. It is not discreet to look overly tactical or to be paranoid.

Remember, the point of prepping is to be prepared, not to be scared to live your life and be hidden in an underground bunker.

Other million-dollar questions are “what kind of people do I need to pay attention to when the SHTF?” and “who is who when the SHTF?” or simply “what type of people should I avoid when the SHTF?”

The simplest answer (and kinda ridiculously stupid and lame) is – avoid the bad ones.

But the point here is how to know who is bad.

Well if we are not talking about usual “bad ones” like known criminals and similar you simply do not know, or cannot be sure, because as I mentioned before, the system through its levers push most of the bad people to behave in accordance to “a normal way of life”.

So we have the impression that most people are good.

But that isn’t the case. People simply behave like they are good so they don’t go to prison.

There are hints that people are feeling strangled by the system, and waiting for SHTF to express their real nature, but you cannot be sure until it happens.

What should you do?

So many words but no real advice about who is who when the SHTF, right?

Well it is real life and it goes like that, you simply can not be sure, unless as I said we are talking about known criminal elements. In their case, you can be sure that they will emerge immediately after something bad happens and will try to take advantage of those “levers of the system.”

That means for example if something bad happens and all organizations (government, system, etc.) fall apart you will have your local criminal organization (whatever kind that may be in your case) emerging and trying to take over things like:

  • Food distribution through the black market and pillaging etc
  • Power through organized armed groups
  • Law and taxing through setting rules of protection, areas of influence and similar

And so on.

What you as a prepper can do in terms of recognizing “who is who” on a personal and local level, or let’s say common folks level is simply to do what is prepping about:

1. Be ready to wait it out until people show their true faces.

That means in reality if the SHTF tomorrow in your place you need to be able to be independent from any service and need for some amount of time, the longer the better, until you figure out who is who outside.

To have food, energy, medicine, manpower, water…everything.

It would really suck if you needed to go out on the 3rd day of SHTF and check who is who because you really need something badly, like an antibiotic.

2.  Try to KNOW good people before the SHTF.

I always keep repeating that SHTF is a bad time to get to know people, simply because the stakes are too high. So you need to build a network of known people before SHTF.

For some, it could be a militia kind of group, a group of preppers who have known each other for years before the SHTF.

But if it is impossible for you (and for most people, it is impossible) then having one or two trusted people is good enough for the time when the SHTF.

Remember, there are a lot of sick and perverse people around us. We are simply not seeing them.

They are waiting for the SHTF.

About Selco

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.



Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Read more of Selco's articles here. Buy his PDF books here. Take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge by signing up for his unrivaled online course. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

Leave a Reply

  • That’s the best explanation I’ve ever read for why anarchy won’t work.

    For civilization to grow and prosper you have to have fair and equitable laws in place and confidence that they are being enforced reasonably well. Unfortunately there are a lot of abuses in the world and the U.S. gets worse every year. The left’s instance on making depravity acceptable is destroying the U.S. and, no doubt, having a like effect across the world.

    Selco’s best article yet!

    • I know what is fair/equitable. I don’t need some thug telling me that I’m mistaken and “enforcing” what he/she is telling me. That’s what you have now.

    • What you are describing is chaos, not true anarchy. True anarchist still see a need for “some” laws because they do not believe in bringing unwarranted harm or malice upon another or their property. Libertarism, volunteerism, anarchism…all fall into the same catagory of preferred ways of living life that does not impose upon others without valid warrant. So many have been thoroughly brainwashed by the CIA’s definition and the elites use of it to believe the word as being the exact opposite of what it really is. They just renamed chaos and made you believe this is anarchy when it is NOT. The koolaid has worked for most but not I. To be honest though, titles are a fool’s game and only divide and distract from the truth and realities of life. If the words anarchy, conspiracy, myth, legend, etc..are being used in a sarcastic, accusatory, malevolent way then you are likely being duped and led to an agenda you won’t like. All those things are almost always based upon a truth and then spun into lies by those scared of losing control. The koolaid has some “bad” ingredients in it and quenching your thirst for knowledge and truth is not its purpose.

      • Agreed; only the state, left unchecked, develops the means for pastiche ‘anarchy’ – extreme social chaos – to be even possible.

        Abusive rule of law eventually competes with then displaces the practice of moral common sense, then everyday common sense generally. People don’t worry about right and wrong, just what is legal, which amounts to getting away with whatever one can.

        Then one day remove law coercion, and there are no ingrained ‘good’ habits and understandings to fall back on that can survive on their own momentum.

      • Yes, I’m talking about chaos. What you are talking about is some idealistic philosophy that will never work in a TEOTWAWKI situation. What you describe sounds like a hippy commune of sorts. How many of those worked for more than a few years? Any?

        In this world there are power hungry people, sheep and probably some in the middle. The power hungry people will rule (and many will die, quickly, but not all). The anarchy you describe would be based upon cooperation, but the power people will not let such groups survive. It is you that are drinking the koolaid if you think such groups will be allowed to survive. If not destroyed from the outside, some power hungry person will take it over from the inside.

  • It sound harsh , trust no one. I keep reading and seeing videos about pairing up or communities again.
    My opinion, when things look a little scetchy there will be 1 or 2 people that will decide to take mtaters into there own hands putting you and your family at risk.
    I trust know one. And yes a still sleep at night.

    • I am with you. 100%. Not that all people are untrustworthy. But I do think that you can see
      the signs ahead of time. Do they believe in the same things as you? If not, most likely they
      do not plan ahead or are thinking. I know some people right out tell me, “well, I know where I
      can go to get some” when I encourage others. So. No. I only trust in God to keep me and mine

  • No one knows how anyone really going to handle a situation like Selco went through.
    Some may have a mental break down.
    Others rise to the occasion.
    That single mother of two, who has never been in a fight in her life till that point, just might bash someone upside the head to get antibiotics for her sick child.
    Then there are those who think some kind of society collapse will be great . . . till they are the ones who get beat up and robbed.
    Like to think there are some out there who can or will band together with their friends and neighbors. Some kind of basic rule of law will be needed to keep everything from descending into complete and total chaos and anarchy.

  • Thanks for the article.

    Who to trust?

    Family first followed by a grey area of close friends. But as an Afghanistan saying goes “You rent your allies by the week.”. Even the family is questionable say if there are other factors involved like money, power. I heard of someone who rather than go to jail set-up his own brother for a drug bust. It’s common.

    Which brings me to a subset of people to avoid by association.

    Anyone using drugs, or has a habit to some ‘vice’, ie. Addicting habits. When someone says they can “handle drugs.”, put some distance in between you two.

    Imagine a sliding scale of “intent”. On one end there the Mister Magoo’s. Their intent may be good, but their actions will get people around them in trouble while they wander off aimlessly. Include incompetent people to this list.
    A little further along the spectrum are the Bravado types who talk and draw attention to those around them but are nowhere to be found when the shtf, leaving you holding the proverbial bag.

    Along the other end are the Machiavellian types while appearing friendly their intent is bad. They would use other people as cannon fodder, a diversionary tactic or as human shields to camouflage their actions. An example would be to set off two groups against each other, and then wait to mop up afterwards. The Mongolian horsemen used prisoners on the battle frontline as shields to take the initial force or make the other side hesitate to shoot their arrows, allowing them to come in closer. Vice-versa, the people behind, or your flank, may consider you expendable. During WWII and the German bombing of Belfast (?) those who ran the power plant blacked out the city except the neighborhoods they didn’t care for. When the Germans entered a territory with the help of “Fifth Column” people who informed on their neighbors and then opened the gates to the occupiers they were the first to be shot since as the Germans explained to them, “If your own people couldn’t trust you, why should we?” In a war zone if someone allows you to pass them on the road consider yourself a mine sweeper.

    Adjacent to the above would be ‘controlled opposition” leaders while mimicking those around them, at the right time will do something intentionally stupid to discredit themselves or make the wrong decision effecting those following them.

    This is a small list. Any other types to put on this spectrum?

    In “old country”, even last century, it was considered not safe for young maidens to get too close the local area castles previously built by the Ruling Bishops, as they tended to disappear. Think Elizabeth Bathory.

    Paraphrasing very roughly William S. Lind, “When the State fails, those who can fill in the vacuum and provide some resemble of basic services and stability are the state”. Better to read Lind directly.

  • A quick Pop-Psychology 101 litmus test to get a fleeing glance into what a person thinks about themselves, used by girlfriends and kids testing the limits of their parents …

    Is to watch a person when they’re genuinely pissed-off ranting and raving. The mask slips off for a second. The worst curse words they can utter is what they think of themselves. Their native tongue comes out. They’ll repeat phases.

    Just play attention and make notes. Don’t provoke them. The worst thing is to use the word “you” when addressing them, if at all. When people get frustrated, losing patience they may get violent. The closer to room temperture their I.Q. is the more likely they will lash out. No quarentee that’s accurate.
    Conscience is a factor. The less conscience the less empathy towards other people. Historically when an organization takes children from their parents and rises them it could mean the greater chance you’ll have of encountering a walking monster.

    (If the person is angry at you and doesn’t say a word then don’t be surprised when something happens to you in the future and you don’t have a clue how or what happened. Or you’re been s/f/ or snake-bitten.)

    Of course this is most likely all B.S..
    Whelter this might help during SHTF (?).

    It’s humorous to consider that an Internet algorithm knows more about you than you do.

  • I look forward to your information, I am somewhat prepared and my kids and a few solid friends (reservists mostly) have plans on getting together at different locations. I am ALWAYS looking forward to learning more.

  • How confident we are of the principles we hold can at least give us some kind of assurance that we will not be the ones to go off the deep end and lose our humanity. Prepping for prepping’s sake leaves one in the overly tactical and/or paranoid category. Prepping with hopes of survival and rebuilding a moral foundation for society and government is a worthy goal. Those are the ones I hope to discern before SHTF.

    Tucker Carlson had a commentary recently where he highlighted the Left’s current agenda of changing our language to remove judgment from immoral activity. Instead of using the word criminal or victim which implies big social shame, the judicial system will now start referring both criminals and victims as “justice involved individuals”. Changing our language to accommodate the sensitivities of the guilty is the beginning of the end — especially in terms of creating a counterfeit cultural compassion. What a bunch of phony baloney.

    When people who are bad are called good and people who are good are called bad — that’s SHTF. I think that is what I’m hearing Selco saying.

  • “Profile of the Sociopath” by R. Preston McAfee is a quick introduction to the antisocial personality disorder.

  • I am afraid this is where it pays to think ahead of time. Be aware – if someone takes
    drugs (of any kind) or is socialist in their thinking, “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine, too”
    then just be aware. I would never brag or talk about anything. Hide it.

    If you can’t hide it, make your plans to be away from those people you are not sure of
    when SHTF. If you can. If not, have some to spare so you can share with them but…..
    pray and try to be away from them as soon as you can. Certainly don’t wait until the last minute to get
    things in order. 98% of the populace will be fighting over a can of peas they don’t even
    like but most likely will kill for it when there is nothing on the shelves. ATMs and store cashiers will not take EBT cards nor debit so if you don’t have cash, it’s going to be a “free for all”. First to go will be water, then food. I wouldn’t want to be out in it. God bless.

  • My neighbor just revealed she is a progressive who says she believes everything on CNN, CBS, etc. and the White House gave us COVID blah, blah, blah…

    …then she lit into me that I wasn’t wearing a mask (in my own backyard). “If I get sick that’s attempted manslaughter!” (Her & I had been courteous since moving in next door & she knows I am a military veteran.)

    Zero to Bonkers in 20 sec.!

    Guess I’m “glad” she revealed her brain damage now rather than later.

    I can get a higher fence.

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