SELCO: When Our SHTF Started, We Thought it Was Just a Temporary Disruption Too

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

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

**This is an excerpt from Selco’s book SHTF Survival Stories

If you are not eating right now, take moment and watch a video of a monkey eating a gazelle. 

It feels very wrong for most people to look at this. This shows how much we are out of touch with nature. Most people want to eat meat but not kill it themselves for example. What happens to the gazelle is not good and not bad, it’s nature. It simply is. 

When you find yourself in a survival situation you get quickly in touch with nature again. And nature is cruel, and the concept of fairness does not exist. 

It is hard to be prepared for that before you experience it. But understanding how nature really is and that we only live in a soft bubble protected from the true face of nature, is the first step. 

Editor’s note: One of the most important lessons you can take from Selco’s stories is the value of realizing what’s going on early in the situation. When the rules seem to be changing right before your eyes (does this sound familiar?) believe what you’re seeing. Not allowing cognitive dissonance to take over could save your life. This lesson is especially appropriate right now.  How many people have you heard blithely talking about when things go right back to normal? Recognize that the disruption may not be temporary. ~ Daisy

Here is an experience I want to share. 

When SHTF started, the great majority of us thought that what was going on around us was something like temporary rioting that got a bit out of control. The city services still worked in some areas and everybody was waiting for the madness to stop. 

In that short period before the sh*t hit the fan with full force, people usually lost their lives because they did not recognize the situation. 

People were out rioting, stealing, fighting. But all that was still “moderate” in comparison to what was coming. 

At that moment, people still were “inside” the system, so we all were trying to hide more or less when looting was going on in the neighborhood. The police were still arresting people and trying to control things. People were shooting each other yes, but it was not yet like full-scale shooting and violence. Most people were simply scaring each other with shootings. 

One of my friends was involved in shooting in those early days. After looting some stores, he got wounded. The wound was not too dangerous – he was shot in the foot. 

As I said, most of the city services were still working and trying to bring order to that chaos. City ambulances came and picked him up and they rushed to the hospital with him. 

About one kilometer from the place where he got picked up, the group of people that actually shot him stopped the ambulance with an improvised barricade. First, they shot the driver and then they killed my friend in the back of the ambulance. They killed him a little bit slower than the driver, and more painfully – they used knives. We got there a bit later, but it was too late for my friend. 

Now this story may sound confusing to you. You may say “it happens in war.” But for 95% of folks at that time it was not war – it was just violent rioting. And 95% of folks still trusted the system. They had trust in police and government that they were going to restore law and order. People still trusted that ambulances were “protected” and nobody would stop them, not to mention shooting at one. 

In this story here, the wounded guy and the ambulance driver simply did not recognize the situation. He was a nice guy. Why would this happen to him? Back then, I probably would have gone with the ambulance as well if I was shot. It felt very wrong that this happened, but it was one of the first wakeup calls that fair and unfair were concepts of the past. 

My friend, in the first place, should not have been there in that time of chaos. The ambulance driver should have said, “screw it” and taken valuable medicines and gone home at the first signs of real violence and total collapse. He did not. It is easy to call him a hero and maybe the day before or hours before he helped save the life of someone else – but it was still too high a risk to be out at this point in time. 

It is easy to say that now but at first nobody realized what was happening. 

But in those times, we all still called things by old names, police, trust, government, law, system, penalty… 

If that happened maybe a day or two later my friend would have crawled off and treated his wounds alone, or the driver would have refused to drive, or… 

A few days after that event, the sh*t hit the fan with real force, and nobody had illusions anymore that something temporary was going on or that things would quickly get back to normal. 

The point is that lots of people died in that short period before realizing that things weren’t the same. You should not still believe in the good of people around you, but most people did. This ambulance event was one of many that ended with similar deaths. 

So next time, when some rioting erupts in your city, some violence after a football game or some protests because of high unemployment or similar, and you hear gunshots and screams, and words about people being killed on the streets, stores being looted, you need to hope that it is a temporary disturbance.  

But you cannot trust in that. 

Be suspicious, trust in your bug out bag, trust in your storage, trust in your weapon. Do not go out just “because everyone else goes out”. Avoid being greedy and going looking to have a bit more, even if it sounds easy.  

You prepare so you do not have to go out. 

When you realize the random and brutal nature of violence, then you realize you do not prepare to be a hero. You prepare to survive. That ambulance guy could have helped many more people in later months when we were fighting for survival if he would not have died. But back then, we did not understand the situation. 

If you enjoyed this article, please check out my book SHTF Survival Stories.

About Selco:

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 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.


Picture of Selco


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.

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  • So, is this a brand new book or something that Daisy published as a PDF? If its brand new, will it be available as a PDF?

    • Hi, Billybob – this is a compilation of several PDF books published before along with some brand new content never before seen. This one is only available on Amazon for now.

  • This article hits a lot of what I see happening here in Colorado. I see people going on with their day to day oblivious to what can and is happening. Yes they have enough Toilet paper to last 3 years but they only have enough food stuffs for maybe a week. They believe everything will be back to normal in a short time. They refuse to believe in the possibility that things will never be normal again. My personal belief is hope for the best but prepare for the worst and hopefully things will land somewhere in the middle. Yes I believe a lot of people are good but in a mob mentality all bets are off. Now my biggest concern is to bug in or bug out? Yes I have everything at home already but the location of my home is not easily defendable due to location and topography. I wish everyone the best but stay vigilant and stay aware.

      • With the type of planning those folks seem to be doing, maybe they think I can eat toilet tissue…Who knows? People think crazy and do crazy things in crazy time, do they not? They will turn on one another. We are to be vigilant, awake, aware, and alert and are to know the signs of the times that we are now living in… Most unfortunately do not have a clue. Knowledge is power!!!

  • Time and time again he gives sound “real world” advice. Obviously, he has been there and done that.

    Obviously, forearmed is forewarned. Meaning, if you see it fit to be armed when you go out so must be your enemies.

    Be ready. 😉

  • I read the book this is excerpted from last month, and although it gave me nightmares (probably I should read something lighter right before bedtime), I am glad I did.

    It sucked the glamour out of prepping really fast. It’s a reality check that most of us need right now. Selco is telling us that the most important thing to prepare is not food, water, and household supplies, but our brains and our bodies. Exercise! Learn to do something: garden, sharpen knives, or just how to cook a meal from scratch. I think most Americans can’t even cook unless it comes out of the freezer, a can, or a box.

    Thanks for sharing, Selco. I don’t think it was easy for you to put all that down in writing. And thanks, Daisy, for being a voice of reason when so many folks online and on TV are going off the deep end.

  • Daisy, I keep seeing more and more articles that back up what you’re saying. More of us need to keep stocking up because the food chain is highly likely to break, and when it does the SHTF will happen fast. I can’t believe how oblivious most people are, the cognitive dissonance is incredible. Besides this site, has been an invaluable resource for the worst case scenarios.

  • I understand there are to be protests planned for Michigan and an eastern state (can’t remember which one) for today and tomorrow. Protesting the stay at home orders as well as what is/is not deemed essential.

    We should pay attention to these protests and see if they are/are not peaceful.

    Also noted that meatpacking plants are closing around the country. Some for short periods and some indefinitely. Depending on which newscast you watch:

    1) there is plenty of meat stored in warehouses to keep the grocery store coolers full


    2) there will be severe meat shortages due to the closings

    My recent trip to Walmart and my small-town grocery indicate there is not enough meat. Coolers were partially filled with severe limits to how much you could buy.

    Keep an eye out – things indeed could change quickly.

    • ” 2) there will be severe meat shortages due to the closings ”

      Buy lots of peanut butter – plenty of protein.

      • I AGREE with Grandee as well as Daisy!!! Buy it today while you can and at today’s prices…When the SHTF it will likely be to late (a day late and a dollar short) as the saying goes. NOW is the time!!! Procrastinators beware!!! What about prescription medication? Ahhhh, something most don’t think about, elderly needs, baby/toddler needs…and just your basics will all need to be accessible to you. YES Peanut butter, things that don’t need to be cooked and what about pets?…they must eat and they must have daily water too…THINK AHEAD…those who wait and didn’t prepare will surely suffer!!! Bartering is going to become useful…

  • For the most part it sounds like an abundance of caution for laying low as soon as we start hearing about disturbances. But also being quick to know when to take action which takes the courage of your convictions. Everyone needs to gauge their level ahead of time. With so much law enforcement out of commission, how long before the criminal element start taking advantage of that when they get hungry enough? We know there are enough nutjobs out there who get high on lawlessness.

  • Commenting on your FTC comment at the top of the page that says… (Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

    One of the problems is we continue to acknowledge the government as our authority when we created them… We are the boss not them… So as long as we continue to bow to them and obey them we are screwed… Take the comment off about the FTC or change it… We have a right to work and make money and you do not have to tell me you are making money on a link… If I do not want to buy I wont, and if you make money on it fine… now if you are an elected official I would say yes you should tell me because you should not be able to use that position to make money off me…

    Stop being wimps an man up or we will all die from Bill Gates’s mandatory vaccination that is coming… Wake up people…? Get bold or die…!

    • Coins – I agree with you in theory – however, if I don’t put a disclaimer on my site, the FTC will remove it from the internet and/or fine me massive amounts of money. The other issue is that if I don’t have the ordered disclaimer, the people for whom I’m an affiliate will also be charged – so if I don’t have the disclaimer, they’ll cease doing business with me and are within their rights to refuse to pay me commissions earned.

      I don’t like it any better than you do, but I not willing risk my family’s income over it.

      Thanks for pointing this out – it’s an interesting discussion. How would you reword the disclaimer?

      Best wishes,

      • It is your website so… Try something like this…

        Psst: The FTC (which is part of the global mafia we call government) wants me to waste my time and yours telling you I will receive a little honest money (a commission) for providing links on MY SITE. The FTC allows many big companies and government agencies to rob, steal, and destroy our lives on a daily basis but we have to tell each other when we are doing honest business… I would not waste your time with this but the corrupt people in these agencies will send thugs after me if I do not do it.

        By the way the Corona Virus is a big hoax created by these same corrupt governments to hide the financial crash they created and the 5G death towers they are putting up in your neighbor…If you live through that you will be tagged like sheep by Bill Gates and friends and die from something far worse than the corona virus they inject right into your blood they will call a mandatory vaccine… For your safety of course… Beware of the corona virus test as well…

        • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! Glad you did your research, homework and are well informed, most are NOT. Sheeple yes, and you already know you can’t fix stupid!!! Being awake, alert, aware is beneficial in times like this…

  • I think “that” is why ceremonies are so important to humans.

    They seem to be the necessary boosters to the human intellect in comprehending and negotiating large or sudden changes in our habitat, a mental task that we generally suck at, it seems.

    Lacking any rituals celebrating or otherwise acknowledging the end of the last seaside vacation, it appears to me that there will be lots and lots still milling around the beach and beyond when the sea returns.

  • Selco, I have followed you for a long time, and understand city preparations well, rural also, especially medical being critical. I would really like to hear some rural advice you might have, a lot of us in America listening here are rural or small community in the heartland. I know others put up articles from South America, but sure would like a European insight. Dekuji!

    • The rural people will see a lot of the same stuff, the culprits and the timing my vary, but people are people and SHTF is SHTF.
      People thinking it will not happen in rural areas or that they will be safer there are suffering from Cognitive dissidence.
      In the Invasion of Ukraine, were the rural people any safer from the bombs and artillery and troops. than the people in the cities?
      No, they were not. The two situations had differences, but the basics are the same. Death, hunger, looting, etc.
      Thinking that things will be different where you are at, is the problem!

      • Why would my neighbors (rural) riot or loot? What is there around here to loot? The post office? It might be 300sqft big.
        If you read the article, you would of noted that by the time most people realized the situation had changed/SHTF, it was too late to bug out.
        Roadblocks. In the city they might be using cars, trucks, a bus as a road block. Within 3 miles, I know of two earth movers, three backhoes, and half a dozen tractors with front loaders on them. There is a logging business just down the road. If we were to make a road block, it would be something more like a 6 foot wide, by 6 foot deep trench (or bigger) at a key location where even if a 4×4 truck tried to go off road, would get stuck (it only dried out during a drought). Or a 6 foot high pile of logs 3 feet round, and 12 feet long. Nothing is getting over that unless it is a monster truck.
        Then there is the bridge down the road.
        On foot? Good luck with that.
        Dont think every prepper or farmer within an hour of a even small city has not thought this through?

        Warfare is a question of economics and logistics. The Russians are not wasting munitions shelling empty fields or farm houses unless their was some tactical or strategic significance to them. It has been noted both sides are striking bridges if they cannot take or hold them. We did the same thing during WWII. If we could not hold a bridge, we would drop it to prevent the Germans from using it cutting them off.

  • Most people are not prepped and will remain in that state until the moment they perish. Its not a crime to be stupid, but it is costly at times.

  • The sad thing is, save for folks on this thread here, most Americans are not ready for what is coming. I see it in the area I live in: Clueless sheep with their faces buried in their phones, not even possessing situational awareness of what is going on around them on a basic level. When SHTF, these people are going to lose their minds. They have had it good for too long, and have the “it cannot happen here” mentality. If starvation does not get people in these parts, the next long, dark, frigid cold Winter certainly will. It does not bode well for a bright future, that is for sure.

    • I would only say that the pandemic, empty shelves, have woke some of the sheeple up.
      I have noted a big increase in gardens and various sized livestock.
      Otherwise, I think your observations are spot on.

  • There is another aspect to this story that is not mentioned. That being; that well intentioned, other people can get you killed.
    If the ambulance driver would have immediately reversed course or turned off once he saw the makeshift blockade, they might be alive. Trusting in the “good will” of other people is risky business.
    His “good intention’ to take that route (probably the quickest one) to the hospital, was a bad idea. Not changing his route, upon spotting potential trouble was another one.
    Anyone setting up makeshift blockades are up to no good, Period.
    Be it Antifa, BLM, the local Militia and especially not, if done by the Government.
    It was the Ambulance driver who got every one killed thinking that people would have “good will” towards medical services.
    The patient and ambulance crew, all had cognitive dissidence to all kinds of dangers, not just SHTF or civil disturbances.

    Medical personnel and Firefighters come under attack all the time, in certain cities and areas of the US every day. Which is why they sometimes will not respond without a “police escort.” Just to ensure their safety.
    So this is not just a SHTF thing.

  • This will not be the zombie apocalypse seen in the movies – it will be the real deal. The real Zombie Apocalypse. Neighbor will eat neighbor.

  • You know, I’m glad you brought this up. Just the other day I was thinking about how everybody is going shopping, working in their yard, and doing the every day “thing” and I got to be thinking this is how they’ll all be BLOWN away by a nuclear bomb without warning. Hit them suddenly and they won’t even know it?

    But about that monkey thing. I now realize how Jane Goodall LIED to us about monkeys. I have since come to find out how extremely VICIOUS and VIOLENT they are to each other and to people that tragically own them.

  • Thank you, Daisy for this well timed article! Many are opening their eyes, and many more NEED to open their eyes.

    Prepare by getting Saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ!

    John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (You who is reading this), that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son (Jesus), that Whosoever Believes on Him, will not Perish, but will have everlasting life.”

    To learn more:

  • Selco, I’ve asked before but never got a response. Are you a Serb, Bosniak, Croatian or another group. i ask for a reason because some of your statements lead me to believe theres a partiality in your responses. The WORLD was brainwashed and poisoned into vilifying Serbia in the Balkan War and I perceive it here.

    • He must be Serb or Croatian from Sarajevo. But why does that matter? Otherwise, if catsups fall with their attack on Ukraine, Serbs (and the rest of the catsups sycophants) are going to get what they deserve really soon.

    • Selco prefers to keep his citizenship private. Many of the people he writes about are in positions of power now. Anonymity is essential to his safety.He is merely writing about his own experiences during this difficult time, and if you read more of his content, you’ll find that the biggest threat during the siege wasn’t just snipers and shells – it was the people around him who were desperate to survive. So, in that light, does it really matter which country he is from?

  • After last nights “creepy” speech I remembered this article and shared it in a local group I am in. We are just moms trying to make it in a world gone crazy.

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