SELCO: Observe and Prepare for the Confusion, Panic, & Mayhem of SHTF

by | Aug 7, 2018 | Headline News | 43 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Selco at The Organic Prepper

    I have been writing articles and doing survival courses for years, and while it is much easier to show the importance of basics in real courses, it is a bit harder to do that in my articles. That’s because we as humans tend to look for flashy things. We love quick and interesting facts that will occupy our attention. But you must also prepare for the basics so that you can perform those things during the confusion, panic, and mayhem of SHTF. You must observe your surroundings before anything terrible happens.

    Basics are simply that: basic – and because that we often overlook it, or forget it.

    For example, an article with news about the latest development in tensions between the US and Iran with all the flaming rhetoric will catch more attention than an article about how to grow tomatoes.

    We look for flashy stuff, but the majority of us need to go back to the basics (or at least to refresh them).

    Every now and then, I like to remind people about that.

    Why I don’t like list posts

    Lists about what to do and what not to do in the form of “10 things to do” or “10 things not to do” or “10 things to have” are not my favorite, because some people tend to think those “10 things” are definitive lists that solve all problems.

    But, as we write, it is easy to put it in that way as a concept. You as a reader must understand it is a list that continues, and as long as you understand that you need to constantly refresh your basics.

    Big world events usually will happen no matter what you do or think about it.  You need to operate in your “small circle” where you actually can change things for real.

    Let’s start small, inside our small circle, and let’s do only “2 things to do today”

    You cannot know for sure how your surroundings will change around you when the SHTF, but you can have a pretty educated guess. You just need to be observant.

    Observe people.

    Observe the people around you, it can be worth a lot to you one day when the SHTF because you might already have information that tells you who your neighbors really are and what they have.

    Think a bit outside of the box (like you should always do). Consider how observing things about the people that are close to you could have big significance for you once the SHTF.

    • Who of your neighbors will be dangerous when SHTF?
    • Who will be weak?
    • How many of them have weapons in their homes?
    • How many have resources or skills that may be useful (or maybe dangerous) to you?
    • Do they have addiction problems or “interesting” habits?

    Thinking out the box does not mean that you are going to sneak in other folks homes or ask them openly about these things. It means that by observing their activities you’ll try to figure out their settings.

    In real life, it does not have to be anything sophisticated. For example, if your neighbor has a “Molon Labe“ sticker on his bumper it can be used in your planning for the when SHTF.

    Think in terms how all of that might be used in your favor or against you once the SHTF.

    Observe resources.

    Resources are everywhere around us today, They are just not ours because we have easier and more practical (or more legal) ways to get resources today. Perhaps you are not noticing those other resources.

    Try to think here, too, out of the box and spot those “other” resources today that are gonna be important when SHTF.

    Gas tanks in gas stations, water pools or rivers, fruit trees, firewood, plants…and, yes, even shops that are close to you with all the stuff inside.

    You may think that something is illegal today, but in terms of very serious SHTF legal and illegal gets very blurred.

    When SHTF, those who take longer to adapt to the new rules usually have weakest results.

    In a real-life example from my own experience, by the time I realized that the S had hit the fan so hard and seriously, it was too late. I finally realized it was perfectly fine to go to shops or malls and take food (just take it) in order not to be hungry in the middle of a civil war, but by then other people already took most of it.

    My period of adapting was a bit too long there.

    Now, of course, use common sense. Maybe you are not gonna be in that kind of SHTF. If there is still law some things are simply illegal, but the concept is the same. Look for the change of rules and adapt to it.

    Observe interesting spots.

    “Interesting spots” are something that people who have not gone through a collapse sometimes have problems understanding.

    You cannot think about your surroundings in the SHTF with a mindset from normal times. Good advice here comes in the form of a saying that goes something like, ”if you are living close to a river, you have to know to swim.”

    Basically, no matter how well prepared you are you need to stop and think about how new settings are gonna look around you once the SHTF, and how all that is going to change your plans.

    To be literal, no matter how many or how good bug-out vehicles you have, or backup means of transport, bikes, airplanes or whatever, if you have river in your surroundings, you’ll need to be ready to swim across that river, even if it is not on your first choice of route to your BOL for example.

    That river is an interesting (or problematic) spot, and since an SHTF scenario by its definition, is something unexpected, it is a situation where you will need to adapt and probably change plans. You will simply need to acknowledge those “interesting spots” and be prepared for whatever comes.

    Another example, if in your surroundings you have a prison, it may look today just like that – a prison, a building with a high fence and guards, nothing really particulary important there. But once the SHTF, I see there are a whole bunch of dangerous people who might be free and out on the street.

    Or, if you have an army base or police station near you, during an SHTF time, it is place of huge violent events, and so on and so on.

    It does not have to be anything big. It can be simply a bridge near you. Today, it is a bridge, tomorrow when SHTF it is a checkpoint maybe – a huge danger and obstacle for you.

    Think about the interesting spots around you.

    You have to practice.

    I have been in situations where I would be awoken in pitch darkness, and I would be forced to eliminate a threat or move away from it in split second.

    It is something that rarely can be done in a concious way.  It needs time, practice, and the right dose of adrenaline.

    But I emphasize here the word “practice.”

    You need to practice.  Your most important decisions of life and death can happen in split seconds, and only practice will condition you in the direction of perfection.

    It is nothing new. It has been used for ages in different kinds of training.

    You do not have necessarily practice being awoken in the middle of the night and shooting the right person.

    Start with “small” things. For example, practice how fast you can wake in the middle of the night by an alarm. Then, without eletricity in your home, gather all the important items and leave home.

    Then check what you forgot. How much time did you need for that? Then work in the direction of perfection.

    Later you can throw in some kind of “complication”  – for example, you woke up, gathered important items, left the house, and tried to spot the intruder (your friend) inside the house, yard, or similar.

    Just throw in more and more obstacles and complications. By doing that you will spot a lot of flaws in your planning, and that is exactly the point of practicing.

    Everything is different when you throw in speed and adrenaline, and you can practice that too.

    Maybe you will realize that all your planning was good, but everything failed simply because your flashlight was not right at the reach of your hand when you woke up, or you do not know where your glasses are, or you cannot find your shoes in pitch dark because a small dose of adrenaline sent you the wrong way.

    You may have a perfectly good rifle or gun, or a good bug out bag, or bug out vehicle, but everything may go to s..t because you simply failed to have clear plan with your family members of what to do (or what not to do, where to gather in house, or hide, or use signs or…) if something happened in the middle of night in pitch dark and confusion.

    Do not forget, an SHTF event by its core definition is something unexpected. So you need to practice operating in that condition, in confusion, panic, mayhem.

    You need to condition yourself to it.


    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 like 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. Read more of Selco’s articles here: And take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge and advice by signing up for the outstanding and unrivaled online course. More details here:

    The Pantry Primer

    Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

    Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,.


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      1. Watching the Tommy Robinson case, and one side calling him a shill. If he is we need a lot more like him. And Anders Brevik. ? And rich old guys with Barret 50s?

        • Because of the funny handsigns.

          Cannibals in Western clothes vs vulgar police statism for the normals is a false, moral dilemma.

      2. Seems the confusion is starting to disappear? We all know who the domestic enemy is. And what they look and sound like.

        • Being a Lone Wolf, anything on this side of the fence line is Game on/ dead meat. I’m already bugged out, already here at my BOL… So not much stress to maintain a daily life in SHTF, that I already enjoy now.

          • Hmmmmm, prepare for panic and mayhem? Ok, I will shoot every dumbass that gets in my way to where I’m headed. That was easy! 😀

      3. “Who of your neighbors will be dangerous when SHTF?”

        The question should continue “and can you form an alliance and team up with them”.

        • I don’t think he meant that kind of dangerous. More like rat fuck, cop calling, whiney little beach, crackhead, butt burglars.

            • Judas Priest. What can one say, except, Salieri? Great band, great skills, great licks, not one song of theirs I can remember. Still, I liked this song, and it’s well done, lyrics and all. Good match-up, Genius, I like when some one does that and has a little imagination. The article by Selco is relevant. Watching and waiting is what’s called for now, AND post SHTF. The Apache fought each other, the white man, and the Sioux, almost constantly for nearly a hundred years. They knew that the first one to move and be noticed was often the first one to die. Observe, think, watch and wait. And think.

      4. Here in SW Florida I have lots of combat vet neighbors. Some landed at Normandy, Tarawa or Inchon. The younger guys spent time in the Central Highlands or Mekong Delta. A feisty group they are.

        • The Only Group of Vets I would even consider taking advice from, are Viet Nam Vets for upcoming SHTF, Red Dawn, Government collapse type of situation which I predict we will face, because they fought a guerrilla war on the ground, in the jungle, hand to hand combat, plenty of booby traps, and guts and the will to live that brought them home. Lear how to dispatch an enemy with a long knife, silent and deadly.

          All the rest of the wars thereafter, were phony wars, bombing from 30,000 Ft, coward style. There will be no doubt in my mind, that the Globalist will collapse the electric grid and most of America will be helpless, and surrender to a FEMA Type camp because they are unprepared to survive. And what you got as far as supplies when this all falls will be what you got, period. Good luck risking your live stealing and scavenging other people stuff. You will die quickly.

          Its gonna be a tough one coming up. Be more than prepared. Got to hand it to Selco, he is coming out of his shell with the gloves off in his latest articles. lol Kinda like he sees the same signs, coming to America he experienced. A total onslaught from the Globalists and Fascist Tech Companies.

          We may all be cut off of Internet coming up, so save your Lists and fill them up ASAP. I started Prepping and awoke back in about 2010 when That POS Obummer tried to ban black battle rifles. And the AMMO Shortages took place. I saw many people with AR15’s but could not get ammo to feed it. Buy it all now when cheap. Buy extra and extra and you can make a buck also, in SHTF when someone may trade you 6 months food for an AR-15 and a box of ammo. Just saying. All you need to do is be prepared enough to out last the 90% predicted die off. So at least 1 to 2 years food, and supplies. And get rid of your US Dollars for some silver. Also at the bottom for perfect purchasing right now.

          • Technology, specifically in regards to finding and tracking has grown exponentially since the 1960s. Drones and soon to be mini drones make hiding somewhere between very difficult to impossible. Defense from mass hoards is very do-able. Defense from military level technology virtually impossible. If “the gloves come off” expect bio-viral to be in the offensive inventory too.

          • Just one question! And I’m still trying to figure out, why exactly did that ammo shortage come about? And YES!!! Now is the time to acquire ammo while it is relatively cheap and available. As we saw in the past it can dry over night. Just for Informational purposes, Midway, SGAmmo and Palmetto Armory all have some super deals on ammo from time to time if you keep a close watch on them. Trekker Out. PS Palmetto now has a good buy on Hot 124gr 9mm ammo.

            • MT
              Good to hear from you!

              Thanks for the advise will look into it.

              Need to pick up some more 450 Bushmaster Ammo for the newest addition. I’m happy it uses AR mags. Have tons of them been buying them from back in the early 80’s. I load 45LC’s now and it uses the same slug. Got my reloading dies the other day and ready to roll some of my own. This is a nice addition to my Noreen 300 Win Mag. That dang thing can hit a gnats A$$ at 500 yards I think, seeing my longest range is 250, and I put the bullets in the same hole.

              Again nice to hear from you. and Thanks.


              • Sarg on the subject of A$$ I’ve been kicking mine for a couple of months, I believe it was back in May or June when Midway had IMI 62GR. green tips for $115 for 450RDs. and Free Shipping, and no Tax, you just can’t beat that. Why I didn’t back up the Truck, I have no idea. Hindsight is 20/20. 10 box would’ve been just about right. That was a 1 day deal, don’t know if it will come around again. Trekker Out.

                • MTY
                  Brother-in-law jumped on this for him and I. we got a case apiece.(450) I wish I would have gotten more. It is what it is, maybe it will be back. Did shoot 20 rounds good stuff.

                  • don’t beat yourself up. imi ammo has had some problems, that’s why it was so cheap. popped primers, no issue in practice, bad juju in real life. they love to fall down into the lower and get under the trigger tail. no click no bang.

                    • thank you, riverrider…….i have lots of ammo too, but how many rounds will i REALLY need? i like to think about the fact that when i’m shooting 500 round after SHTF……somebody is SHOOTING BACK….and yes, howdy mountain trekker!

            • MT ARE YOU a coastal SC guy
              Grand strand here

              • 2 dogs, I’m in the Wind River range of Wyoming. If I was in the East I think the Maggie Valley area would be my choice. Trekker Out

                • I agree trekker, my 2 locations are remote chesapeake bay area and remote Miss

          • I’d love for you to repeat that “coward style” comment to a Iwo or Guadalcanal or Saipan WW2 veteran >>>> even at 90 an ancient Marine would be able to shove his 1911 ohhhhhh sooo tite in ur azz ….

          • I love silver 😀

      5. K2:

        Anyone who landed in any of the WW2 spots you mentioned is a minimum of 90 years old and an Inchon hero is a minimum of 85. (unless they lied to get in the Service)

        How feisty can you be in your 90s ? Can most of those tough, old guys still see and hear well enough to ID a threat and squeeze the trigger?


        • bb in GA

          * a ludicrous or farcical event or series of events

          Florida is well known for its high population of retirees. It was intended to be lighthearted. Seriously however my recently passed neighbor was a Lt and landed a glider on D Day in Normandy and was recalled for Korea where he was an Infantry company commander with the rank of captain. We found out about this after he passed away.

          • bb in GA and Kevin2, speaking of WW2 Vets, I know of one that is 95 and he still elk hunts, I run into him and his friend up in the mountains quite often when they are horse back riding. I realize that he is an exception, but don’t count them all out. I know he can still squeeze a trigger. Trekker Out

      6. Hcks where are you my man you make this site !! Rest of you should repent end is near on this flat earth

      7. Establishing a beach head or a river crossing were terrible times in which your squad or larger is not defensible. Expect crossfire.

        A moat can be dry or wet. If dry, starting it on fire messes up the invaders whole day. You can attack the limited entrance and egress by intentional sabotage. If wet then movement is slowed especially when it’s muddy, apt to be full of water snakes, sloshing around and bogged down and then ambushed. It is an artificial SWAMP.

        There is nothing sleathy about crossing water unless you are a Navy Seal trained for it. Or to a far lesser extent, Marines. This is precisely how the Marines got their start during the Revolutionary period with amphibious infantry assault tactics.

      8. Two of the most effective tactics are fear by intense strobing to disorient ie using the Kryptonite lights, and fear by sound as it creeps people out.

        “Warriors…come to playyyyyy?” Remember that? Look up the Aztec death whistle. That is a terrific inexpensive EERIE psychological weapon. The goal is totally screw with their heads to weird them out and ruin their morale. It won’t be as effective on veterans but sure will screw with irregular raiders who already are demoralized.

      9. There are many threats to survival, and not all of them are major crisis like a world wide financial collapse, or an ice age, meteor, super volcano, or world war.

        If you totally prepare for one thing, something entirely different may take you unprepared.

        Without getting totally paranoid, just make simple changes. Get healthy. Take care of yourself. Get your teeth cleaned and repaired. Gold fillings are stronger than silver (mercury) or porcelain, and there may be no dentist for you.

        Take care of your vision. Glasses break. Most vision problems are due to malnutrition. You have to eat your greens. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, sweet potato, carrots, onions, garlic, avacado, walnuts, apples, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, eggs, fish, lobster, crab, oysters, sardines, etc. Avoid artificial sweetener like the plague. Keep your sugar intake low. Type2diabetes can blind you. Getting old does not cause blindness. People go blind and get stupid from malnutrition, free radicals. You can eat like a hog and still have malnutrition.

        Get your papers in order. Make out your will and trust. Get a passport. Pack your bags. Don’t stress. A change of scenery might be all you need.

        Practice being an active listener. Take an interest in the other guy. Nobody cares about you as much as you care about you. Once I was talking to “my scientist friend”. All I did was listen attentively. After our talk he told me, in effect, you’re not as dumb as I thought.


        • lol… Your Scientist Friend? We all heard that before on here, by Hcks.. Another casualty of schizophrenia.

          Definition: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation.

      10. Number 1 on anyone’s list is THE belive in DIVINE PROVIDENCE. GOD MAY NOT GIVE YOU WHAT YOU ASK FOR HE GIVES WHAT YOU NEED . As the squirrel in the forest The Birds in our world They prepare for Winter ,prepare and Know God and you get out of This World Alive .

      11. Living in the mtns I know all my neighbors are armed to the teeth and many are vets. It is common to hear the local militia group out training in the forest including large booms Gives me a feeling of security to hear it. people hear have lived in the mtns all their lives and hunted the land since childhood. They fish and camp out for fun. Naturals in a crisis time

      12. great article, selco! thank you for all you’ve done for shtfplan.

      13. how many of y’all have been to a lifesaving course lately? a very good skill to have after shtf.

      14. I am doubting the benefit of neighbors. 98% are not prepared for any SHTF scenario lasting over 3 days. A few might have a can of beans or rice and make it a whole week. But of this 98% you can bet that 25% will own or have access to a firearm. So when you open your door you will see starving neighbors toting a 2 year old and begging for food, or a committee of neighbors with guns going door to door in order to search for (i.e. confiscate) food to ‘share’ with the neighborhood.

      15. I have a question. Hank here. I live outside of Flagstaff Arizona. It’s not as safe a BOL as in the past either border problems and the hotter summers. Anybody know the best place in Montana that is close to a small town for supplies, but far away from the freeways and larger urban area? I need acreage, lumbar and obviously privacy.

        • Hank, try Yaak Mt. I’ve never been to Flagstafff, but it always held my interest from what I’ve read. Trekker Out.

      16. The best thing you can do is pray about what you think YHWH wants you to do as a bondservant. Otherwise you’re just pretending to be a Christian.

        Brave Christians did all manner of heroic actions during historical SHTF events even when it ultimately caused their martyrdom. They did not act suicidally, but pragmatically and with a measured Christian response.

        40And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
        Acts of the Apostles 5:40-42

      17. I am 10 miles from the LBL State Park in rural Western Ky. Miles and miles of uninhabited forest teeming with game and bordered by to fairly undeveloped lakes. Very little human traffic there even in good times. If I have to bug out in a real TEOTWAWKI situation that’s where I’m heade, have 3 catches of stuff stashed there and as I hike and camp in there frequently a pretty defendable spot picked out for a base camp. Only one main highway in and out of the place and judicious use of materials might make that rather easy to shut down,not that I would ever do such a thing. I love this article, it is exactly the type of strategic thinking I have attempted and will attempt to refine

        • I use to visit Kentucky lake as a teen to fish with friends.
          Most dont know its the largest man made lake by surface area this side of the mississippi. Since it connects with Lake Barkley with a canal together they make a massive lake with thousands of miles of shoreline. Nice place to retire or bug out.

          • Chad I didn’t know anyone else read old comments besides Big Brother. lol. Trekker Out

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