Selco: Who Survives and Who Dies When the SHTF?

by | Jan 19, 2018 | Headline News | 77 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper


    Did you ever wonder about the differences in how people behave in a crisis? Why some people survive and some people die? Are there characteristics that we can nurture now in good times that could help see us through bad times?

    I’d talked with Selco previously about who lives and who doesn’t in a long-term emergency, and a great determiner is a flexible mindset. In this interview, we go deeper into who can withstand the stress of an SHTF event and who crumbles. Today he shares his insights from the Balkan War.

    What were the worst mental stressors during the situation in Bosnia that are probably common in many long-term scenarios?

    Obviously, it was a situation when violence was very widely used and in a sporadic way ( very often without any logic) so people lived under constant physical threat, and also in very poor condition.

    On first look that was mental stressors, but this part or field of survival is in my opinion very important and commonly overlooked in prepper community, and there is much more to it.

    It is a huge topic, but we can touch on some of this in the article. I researched it a lot. A few factors were important, and will be important in any future collapse event:

    #1) Loss of control

    If you are living a normal average life with your family, you have a job, kids go to school, you go to the physician when you are sick, kids eat their favorite foods.

    There are police for problems, there is law and order, everybody knows its place more or less.

    You feel that you are in control of your life and lives of your family.

    And then one day all that is gone. You find yourself in the world where very often things of life and death are a matter of pure coincidence or luck if you like, or a matter of event. For example, is there going to rain that day for enough water?

    People had a very hard time of dealing with it, you can be prepared very well to some extent, but also you need to be prepared that for a number of things (big number) you are simply not in control anymore.

    #2) Hopelessness

    Hopelessness is the big word when it comes to survival, and from my experience, it is hard to beat it.

    A survival event that lasts for few days, even a week or two, is like a camping trip, something like people go together, share food, help, there are nights spent next to lamps, violence is possible but not widespread because people see that event gonna last only for week or two.

    Some people gonna take chance and do violence or stealing but the majority is gonna keep it together to the end of SHTF.

    Events that last for month or two are harder, more violence and harder time, but still, people see that everything gonna go back to normal.

    When you are thrown into an event that looks (or you think ) like it is gonna be a permanent or very prolonged condition, rules change.

    From one side you have people that are not gonna be so nice and helpful to each other simply because they see this is gonna last and they gonna be forced to fight for resources and from the other side you gonna have hopelessness.

    Most humans need to see cause in order to operate on the proper way, or in other words, in hard conditions people need to see ‘light“ no matter how far it is, otherwise, you might just mentally “surrender“ because it is hopeless to push on.

    #3) Re-setting of the values

    In normal life, you are, for example, lawyer or clerk, or teacher, or famous writer and then one day the world collapses (let say because of EMP).

    In 20 days you find out that you are living in the world where you are valuable if you can quickly and efficiently chop the trees, or pickle vegetables, or repair weapons, or invent a setup to charge car batteries, or simply shoot from the rifle.

    I am not saying a teacher or writer is useless in SHTF, but values are “re-set“ and simply if you do not have any immediate useful skills you’ll be forced to learn it, and you’ll be forced to understand that your values (knowledge and skills) that you had prior collapse simply may not be valuable anymore.

    People had problems with this new “value system“.

    #4) Responsibility

    People have responsibilities in normal time taking care of their families. Those responsibilities are still there when some serious collapse come but because the system is out, all help is out too.

    For example, you are responsible for you old mother who has high blood pressure problem and there is no doctor anymore, there is no medicine. There is no help from the system for your kid who has special needs, for example.

    You realize that everything is up to you.

    Some people simply could not take that. People could not watch their sick kids because they could not help them.

    Some people would simply “surrender“ or leave everything.

    #5) Bending the rules

    Most interesting is actually how people would (or not) bend the rules that they had prior to the collapse.

    A majority of us live by some rules (mental and moral rules) that tells us what is right and what is wrong.

    It is wrong to steal, it is wrong to harm people. It is right to take care of sick and elderly.

    When SHTF you’ll be in a position to “bend“ these rules, simply because you’ll be faced with lot of tough decisions and choices.

    For example is it right to steal from others if that means my kid’s not gonna be hungry or die from infection?

    Is it OK to harm other people because of that?

    How are you gonna mentally live with that?

    I am not advocating anything here, and I cannot give you suggestions but be sure that you’ll have to bend the rules, and that you gonna be faced with tough decisions.

    It is up to you how much you gonna bend it.

    All of the factors mentioned above are examples, and usually, you meet all of them more or less, and in combinations.

    What kind of person tended to do better when everything went belly up?

    First, we need to formulate a definition of “person who tended to do better when everything went belly up.”

    I know people who were powerful in that time because they had manpower, a role in the black market, for example, they’d sell baby formula to people (sometimes mixed with plaster), or simply rob the people.

    When war stopped they ended up very powerful and they are still (years after) very powerful.

    But they are not in my definition of normal people.

    We are talking now about ordinary folks, and I use the term “small circle“ when describing how to live in those times.

    You need to mentally adapt to the fact that you’re gonna have to overcome some serious problem, but what is more important you need to adapt to the fact that some of the problems cannot be solved, some people will not survive, and you still will have to move on.

    That small circle is your family or your group, and while the world outside is falling apart that does not mean your family needs to fall apart. You will just have to adapt to the new world.

    Many people survived hard times, some of them by doing bad things. Other survived but fell apart when they found themselves back in normal times.

    One thing about who did mentally good in that times is that people who had support from other people (family, friends) in that time went good.

    It is very hard to be alone during events like that, especially if it is prolonged, of course, because obvious reasons for example security reasons (guarding home) or simply resources gathering. But when it comes to the mental aspect you need to have support from trusted people (just like they gonna need that support from you) otherwise resetting the values from topic above is much harder, or hopelessness  will kick you harder, or simply bending the rules may kick you in a way that you bend the rules too much, and at the end  turn yourself  in something that is more animal then human. 

    Do you remember any stories you can tell about specific people who thrived?

    Ordinary folks usually did not thrive. We all dragged ourselves through that way-too-long period feeling lucky if we were alive, with all parts of the body still there, and with families alive.

    Everything else was day by day.

    I remember this guy, I’ll call him Ed here, he was the man with information.

    You need to know that it was complete information blackout, and even if you could somewhere find radio most of the stuff that you heard on it (on local languages)  was pure propaganda junk.

    When you find yourself cut off from real information, all that you’re gonna have is a whole bunch of rumors and misinformation, and only then you realize how bad we people are used to having information.

    I cannot even remember what kind of ridiculous information I have heard in that times, and I believed in many of them because I kinda needed to believe in that.

    I have heard (and believed) probably 100 times that peace is coming in 3 days, or new big UN convoy with food for everybody coming to the city tomorrow, big enemy movements there.

    People need to know. It is human nature.

    And during very hard times people are simply ready to believe in a lot of things that look like clear nonsense in normal times.

    Note: have a means to communicate with other people, CB, radio, satellite phone, ham radio.  To hear correct information, it is valuable because of many reasons, and also it is mentally very valuable

    Ed was the guy who spread rumors-informations-news, and people would give him food for that information.

    I believe we all deep in ourselves knew that it is probably just rumor, but “Ed said yesterday“ was some kind of information, something to talk about, something to hope for.

    Ed survived alone whole event (pretty rare) thanks to the fact that “he had information.”

    What kind of person suffered the most?

    Survival is about being able to adapt to new things, and those new things are bad mostly.

    There are many factors here that are influencing how you gonna mentally cope with collapse. A few of those are:

    • how prepared you are (how many preps you have like food, water, medicines…)
    • how many usable skills you have (natural remedies knowledge, gardening, technical skills, fighting skills…)
    • how dependent you are of the system (you are living in city apartment building or in small rural communities)
    • what kind of group (or family) you have around you, what kind of skills those people have, how close (trusted) those people are…

    These are just a few examples, and even if you have everything above you still need to have mental strength.

    Or in other words, you may be perfectly prepared survivalist when SHTF just to find that you are falling apart mentally because this new situation is simply not for you.

    In my case (I am talking about people who were not preppers at all) people who suffered most were people who failed to recognize the new rules.

    We had (in that time, in my family) college professor, man that was pretty important in normal times. Students were kinda trembling when they use to see him.

    When SHTF he mentally fell apart and become useless because he felt that suddenly he become nobody, completely unimportant.

    Every scum with a rifle was more important than him.

    It is not about that we could not find a use for him, it is about fact that he was “plugged“ so heavily in the system and when that system was gone he felt there was no sense to anything.

    He did not want to try to be useful in any other ways.

    One definition would be that people who are “plugged“ or depended too much on the system had worst time when system disappeared (SHTF).

    What are some things that can help a person who is having a difficult time during a crisis?

    I mentioned that you need to have support from other people, but also you need to have peace of mind.

    It is easier said then it is done, but yes, faith and religion, or kind of spiritual-mental order helps a lot.

    I cannot say that religious people had less hard times, but I am sure that religious people went more peacefully through that hard time because it helps you to make sense of everything.

    Personally, I had kinda “philosophy“ over the time that went something like “I’ll do whatever I can, and the rest is not in my hands anyway.“

    Over the times it grew into “It will be whatever it has to be.“ It worked for me at that time.

    It sounds simple, but this philosophy helped me through some of the hardest periods because I understood that I can do only “this“ amount of effort, but there were so many things that were way out of my control, and way random. If I worried too much about it I might lose my mind.

    It worked for me then, but remember that I was not prepared. Preppers today are more prepared, and by combining that prepping with peace of mind, it makes even more sense.

    Remember that you need to find sense in life when SHTF. You need to have reasons to push on and on.

    God, faith, kids, love… you need to have some reason and to stick to it.

    It can be things like teaching others about herbs, or food growing.

    If you do not have good reasons you either end up dead because you stop caring, or simply you turn to an animal just following the most primitive instincts.

    What are the things that made people feel better and helped recapture some normalcy?

    I have to say that drugs and heavy alcohol drinking were in use very much, but not as a mean to recapture normalcy, it was more to get lost – to forget reality.

    You need to have a “vent“- it is different for different people. As I said, for a lot of people it was alcohol or drugs, for me it did not do the complete job and often it was dangerous to get “lost“ in times like that.

    It was very usual to see people smoking marijuana, people who never even heard of it prior the SHTF.

    For me, two things were like “charging my mental batteries“ – music and reading.

    Music was rare, and it was actually if you stumble on someone who plays guitar, reading was more available, and for me, it was like I was still there but I had escaped to a better place while reading or listening music.

    In some bad situations I did find myself singing songs, maybe I  looked retarded in that moment because that, but actually it helped.

    When you are dirty, hungry, frightened for security, worried for your family, and when all that goes for months, you need something that gonna make you feel fine for some time, not to forget all troubles (like with heavy drinking or drugs maybe) but more like to push all worries aside for a bit.

    Note: do not mix alcohol abuse with fact that it is a great idea to store alcohol for SHTF. Have alcohol for a trade, or drink, but do not try to solve heavy times with alcohol abuse, it does not work.

    Small snacks, like candies, are precious things as a mental help.

    Check today what kind of small things comfort you when you are down or having problems, and count that when SHTF those small things will probably comfort you 10 times more.

    Are there specific personality traits that we can focus on now which would help us through a situation like this? 

    A sense of humor!

    In that time friend with a good sense of humor for me was worth like 5 rifles or 50 MRE.

    A good sense of humor is an important survival skill and often overlooked. I am not joking.

    And storytelling.

    We had in our family old man who was guerilla fighter during WW2, and he combined both of these qualities.

    In hard times, when we were more or less desperate he would tell us stories of his fighting in WW2 – how they fled from the Nazis, how they starved, how they froze in the woods.

    And over the time it helped. For example, one of us would comment “Oh, there is only one can[of food] today for 5 of us“ and then he would say “Oh, you wimps, it is piece of cake, during the WW2 in the German encirclement I ate my shoe for a week.“

    And for whatever hard time in our SHTF, he would have a story of “Oh, you wimps, during the WW2 I…“

    Over time it became partly a joke, but also partly a serious thing.

    Even between each other, when we saw it is a hard situation, we would joke “S..t, this is bad, we are in serious trouble now, call grandpa with one of his “oh, you wimps, during the WW2“ stories.

    That old guy knew exactly what kind of mental relief we needed – joking and storytelling how someone else had hard times and how he managed to survive.

    He had a sense of humor, a gift for storytelling, and he had spirit.

    Thanks to him I grew the habit of using humor in hard situations.

    More articles from Selco:

    Stories from an SHTF Christmas: An Interview with Selco

    Selco: How to Stay Warm During a Long-Term SHTF Situation

    More information 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 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 Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide To Whole Food on a Half Price Budget.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]


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      1. Some good points! I agree about humor and information. The two combined (say The Onion or Mad magazine) can be very valuable in a crisis. Humor actually leads to hope. And humor also leads to creativity which is the best weapon of all for survival. That humorless approach to things you get from the American left and liberals is why they constantly fail to win people over or achieve their goals.

        And it is true values change in a crisis. I remember seducing female journalists just because it got me things. I had no feelings for them but breaking down barriors by having sex with them would get me favors done. You become mercenary like that.

        • That picture of the city burning is absolutely gorgeous. Was that Chicago or Detroit? Either would be equally lovely. Happy Friday, sure made my day.

        • You bang any famous ones? Who? Lol

          • He banged Mike Wallace from 60 minutes. Frank Thoughts is gay.

            • Haha that’s what I thought…Frank “Gay” Thoughts!

            • i want a “T” shirt that says, “ I survived reading fake accents”

      2. After a few months into a SHTF the people around me are going to wonder why I’m not losing weight

        • One officer in early winter of 1777 at Valley Forge told a portly General that is was treasonous to be as fat has he was while everybody was starving.

      3. one thing that seems to come about in a grid down extended situation is that crank religious organizations seem to proliferate like mushrooms and you end up following the wrong gods home (hat tip to Don Henley for that quote).

        • Yes. It is axiomatic that your faith be on solid ground BEFORE the SHTF. All types of charlatans will sprout like weeds to lead you astray. Faith matters greatly but the wrong faith is deadly.

        • I have not seen that. Can you share some examples?

          I guess ISIS would fall into that category, but ISIS made the SHTF occur in those regions of the Iraq and Syria, not came about because of SHTF.

          • Jim Jones. Late 70s.

            Considered “normal times” but was times when folks looked for a so called true leader. One to get them away from the results of war and poverty and drugs.

            The Jim Joneses will be everywhere.

            David Koresh. Early 90s.

            Again,”normal times” so called.

            Koreshes will be everywhere.

            Imagine TEOTWAWKI. Best have a foundation for your soul, prepared and ready.

            • there are lots of cults, but none that came about because of a SHTF.

            • even today, they walk among us…

              “I sold your soul to the devil,” Kyle Parker allegedly told the victim…

              ht tp://

              it’ll be MUCH worse in a EOTWAWKI

      4. Why the tiptoeing?
        All one must do is observe the difference in group mentality during Katrina and Fukushima.

        It’s easy to go around espousing “It Takes A Village” but the Japanese proved unequivocally they know the actual meaning of that otherwise useless idiom.

        • I can draw a few parallels to this article. It looks like I may be able to post again after them vanishing for the past week. Makes you wonder..

          #3 Resetting values…that one rings a bell or two.
          For what it’s worth, you will run out of things, one at a time, and they sometimes will never be available again.
          Tip: If you run out of coffee, if you’re like me, the headaches from withdrawal are ferocious.
          Half of a caffeine tablet will help.
          Best bet, to kick the problem, I’ve found, is after you finished your last cup of coffee and there will be no more tomorrow, or the day after, is to go on a short fast. Go as long as you can the first day without eating. Drink water.
          If you can go until dinner time, you should be over the withdrawal.
          Just some $.02 that worked in the past.
          I’ve been back on morning coffee for several years now and although coffee grows where I live, the picking and processing is way to involved, so I will sure miss it.

          • You can store green coffee beans as LTS. Just buy in bulk, roast later.

      5. I’ve always believed that Selco’s writings regarding SHTF make more sense than 99% of the other keyboard “experts”.

        I think his second point about how hopelessness changes the dynamics of a crisis is particularly important. Many folks assume that the goodness of people will prevail and people will band together. Short term, yes. Long term…..when it becomes obvious that help is not coming and folks are on their own……not so much. Then it will be the law of the jungle.

        • keyboard “experts” – good one.

          A phrase I often repeat to my wife as a word of warning……

          Desperate people do desperate things.

        • A95 – a perfect response. Selco isn’t preaching, teaching or trying to score some blog points. He just states what he went through and his personal observations and honest reactions he actually experienced and had to do. I’ve never heard any keyboard cowboy who comes close to being someone I’d listen to. And last… you’re absolutely right that the ‘law of the jungle’ will be the new rule. A whole bunch of buckaroo baboons will need to be culled from under the canopy.

        • Anonymous5, agreed about Selco. I’ve taken Selco’s course myself and it’s well worth your time. Anyone who doesn’t is inept.

      6. Yesterday at about 2:00pm I was driving down the streets in my town (in East Texas) and observed numerous people shutting their water off at the street.

        There were enough people doing it that I took notice.

        Sometime over the last 3 days, during the hard freeze, the pipes burst at these houses and business, but the leaks were not discovered until the pipes thawed, which was about 1:00pm Thursday. Then everybody was running to the street to shut off the water.

        This reminded me that you need more then food and security preps….. You need to be able to fix your own things.

        Do you have pvc pipe glue, lengths of pipe, couplings, elbows, faucets, etc. on hand without going to the store?

        Do you have the knowledge to fix such a problem without calling someone?

        You may have to extend your preps.

        • Yes, John, I do. Our municipal water, when we use it instead of rain catchment, comes through 1,000ft of pvc. I have 3 shutoff valves placed at different spots,all the way to the meter.
          Remember sandpaper to take the gloss off pvc before gluing.
          And make sure your pvc cement works “Wet or Dry” (on the label)

          • Unfortunately, that PVC cement does degrade with time, so buy some every six months or so and know that if there is a SHTF event, it will be on a count down to useless. (I don’t know if refrigeration helps this kind or not.) <bb

            • bb in GA….Ive had better results keeping my cleaner and glue in the bottom back of the fridge or the root cellar…turn the glue(but not the cleaner)upside down…make sure the lid is tight…you need to let the glue warm a bit before use then close it up tight and put it back into the cold(not freezing)this has saved me having to buy so much glue partiularly…hope this helps! REB

              • Same for masking tape, duct tape, etc. Keep it in the fridge. Heat will render it worthless.

        • You must be in longview?

        • thank you, john.

        • Too many miciver reruns maybe?????

        • There is nothing like PEX tubing some fittings a crimper and maybe some shark bite fittings to do wonders on plumbing repairs and pex can freeze without bursting. Shark bite fittings are a bit expensive but they will adapt to copper or plastic pipes and can be removed easily no special tools needed. Also handy for working in tight spaces.

      7. Who lives and who dies when SHTF? All I need to do is outrun the slowest in the group. Truthfully it all depends on your expiration date. And where do you find that? “In the Lamb’s book of life”. Don’t fret you’ll get the call.

        • I don’t want to “just live or die” in a SHTF.

          I want to live comfortably and continue my current quality of life in a SHTF.

          Any dipshit can go camp in the woods and eat baked beans for the next 6 months, but I intend to live comfortably, enjoying all my current leisure and life satisfaction, during the SHFT.

          • Wow you sound like one arrogant piece of work there!

            You are the type that will fall apart when you don’t have hot water and your morning latte.

            • I definitely will make adjustments to ensure I have my morning coffee (until it runs out). Gonna have to play the wind and use my old perculator over the fire.

              • I have about five or six ways to make coffee. But I certainly don’t define my day, or attitude, because things are not the same as yesterday.

                There is one constant in life: change.

      8. Unless there is a devastating pandemic, an EMP, or nuclear war don’t expect a scenario as depicted in the picture accompanying the article. Even if the economy collapses, and that would be really bad, it would not be the unwinding of civilization or even society. Economic collapse would not likely occur everywhere, there would be regions though affected, not as bad as other places. The lights will stay on, the water will not be shutdown, and cell phones will continue to function. Does anyone really believe in an economic crisis the gov’t (yes they bungle and lie about everything) would allow large regions of the country to not have basic utilities, that would only make things even worse and create more problems and render everything unmanageable. There would of course be martial law enforced in the extreme. Cities and areas of population would be lawless for awhile, but you can bet there will open season on bad guys. Even in most of Bosnia, where it was unbelievably horrible for about 4 years, decided enough, now 20 years later you would never know how bad it got back in the 90’s. The trouble makers and marauders when found were rounded up and shot wholesale by the locals. They were survivors, most Americans are not, the dumb and the dependent would die off early, the really bad guys will wreck havoc for a short time but are killed off. Just keep prepping and keep a low profile.

        • I have a family member that says, “the government would not allow that to happen.”

          I have had the opportunity to visit Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Dominican Republic and a number of other Central American countries. The smaller towns don’t have water service. Houses all have big water totes on the roof or rain collection systems. The government does not supply the water for those regions.

          I guess it is not much different for rural America where houses have water wells rather than government water systems.

          • JS,
            I have lived on rain catchment for the last 18 years. The government refuses to hook me up to the county water system. I have 34,000 gallons of water storage. I also am connected to a gravity Agriculture (non-potable) water system that easily supplies me 10,000 gallons per day. It is maintained by the state, eg. removing dead animals and debris, but it will work 24/7 without electricity.
            Rural America will survive.

            • Rellik, my BOL and the other relatives’ homes nearby all have rain catchment systems going back for many years and wells. Plus, the 30-acre plot where the cabin sits borders on a year-round creek on one side. 3 sources of good-quality water for the BOL. No water issues there.

        • for economic collapse, argentina in 2001 is the best case study. lights stay on -for those who can still pay for them. same for cell phones, etc. for those who can’t pay? shanty towns under the freeways. even for those who CAN afford to pay for stuff: massive increase in crime and corruption, any service (water, power, etc) had dropoff in reliability cos those things still cost money to maintain. water main burst? make do without for two or three weeks. too bad. in other words, it would still be major suckage for all but the ultra rich.

      9. The sense of humor is important, and it works. I have trained many men and women, and it breaks tension and lock-down focus on things. You have to do this in order to give people the ability to get things in perspective. Not everywhere and everything is in as a fucked up situation as you find yourself. No matter how bad it is right now, right here, you can change it, leave it, avoid it, or just ignore it, or fight it. Don’t forget to lead your people with humor and dignity. If there is no dignity, invent some, and give people titles. Give them something to believe in, starting with themselves.

        • During Hurricanes Rita and Ike 2005 and 2008, I was without power for 7 days on each event. The kids showing significant anxiety and were noticeably disturbed because their routine was interrupted.

          Once I got the generator up and running and turned the TV on, there was an instant return to normalcy and calm.

          Just taking a one hour break to relax can make a significant difference in mental stress of the SHTF.

          • Here’s a funny story about my cat and the TV. Now and then power goes out from a storm, etc. My cat gets really nervous and sticks really close by. She accustomed to having the radio or TV blatting along in the background and when there is complete silence, it seems all wrong to her. Power comes back on and life is normal again for her–not that she cares about lamps being on but she does like the pet food commercials.

            The other point here is that pets (especially those kept in your house) will notice a change in the environment. Even if they are a working breed such as a hunting dog, they likely will need some reassurance that all is well so they continue their work.

            I don’t know about normal outdoor animals such as goats or chickens, etc. They may only notice a change in routine and not be bothered.

        • I agree! I also love that Senco mentioned the old Grampa that told stories. I grew up with that kind of grandfather and grew up hearing stories around the kitchen table. Grandpas could play a mean fiddle, he grew up playing and didn’t read music, just played hillbilly fiddle music. There was always a hot drink on hand, usually coffee, but I am guessing tea would work too. Even if you don’t have any food in your belly, and heat is limited, having a hot mug of something in your hand is cheerful.

          Cards. I grew up in a family that always had a few card games. Rummy and Gin Rummy, cribbage. No one in the family gambled so all of the card games were basically point games. It gives people something to do with their hands, you can give someone a good ribbing if you get high (or low) points, it is a distraction from where you are. I always keep a pack of cards in my bugout bag. Sounds kind of stupid, huh? That pack of cards may save my life is my perspective. I also have an used copy of Hoyle’s on hand.

          I agree about reading. That is how I was able to endure growing up, be escaping into books. Keeps cheap copies of classics on hand. “Hamlet” or “King Lear” come to mind. Pass them around and let people choose a part and go around letting people take turns reading. It is another way to pass the time.

          • how-to books will be very important….better read ’em NOW, though….board games will be enjoyed, no doubt….my last wife was VERY stubborn….when we played the game “sorry”, we had to call it “that aint MY problem…

            • Yep. I have a goods stack of how-to books on hand. Nothing like seeing a graph / drawing on paper.

              I played lots of hearts and spades in the Army, too. I still like Gin Rummy. And cribbage. Backgammon is also good for a few hours!

      10. Bosinans and the coddled americans are very different. These coddled americans will perish if their cell phones are down for a day. they will go mentally bonkers. And they rely on fast food. they cant do nuthin without driving cars and spending money. There are so few ready willing and able preppers that I truly believe in the projected 90% die of figure. The very few preppers who are self reliant & have know how and are mentally and physically capable and just lucky is a drop in 55 gallon barrel. Think Stone Age. Prep for Stone Age and anything less will be a bonus.

        • HOPEFULLY many will perish in the first few days….

      11. Natural selection.

          • People like this pavement ape in the video will be the first to go in a shtf because they are the first ones who will go after others’ preps and get shot for it, feeling entitled to be handed what they didn’t prep/plan for. In a shtf, the entitled crazies are the ones to watch out for… and shoot.

          • A more accurate video title would be

            “Pavement Ape Goes APE-SHIT!!!”

          • JS, thanks for that video. Just another example of the lack of character in black people. And they wonder why they have so much trouble in life. Even when they look at themselves in the mirror they still blame their problems on white people.

            • JS, I forgot to add that people like her will definitely riot and/or loot in SHTF and get their stupid asses killed.

              • let’s HOPE so….

          • One baseball bat to the dome would fix her attitude permanently.
            Looks like a ghetto-ass McDonalds.

      12. Excellent actual prepper focused article and useful comments.

        I’ve experienced SHTF, but nothing as extensive as Selco.
        Poverty is a good teacher. If you, like I, have been poor, you have been forced to learn many of the lessons.

        Hitler wrote about how “such people often ‘cave in’ ‘under pressure’”. The professor reminded me of Hitler’s warning.

        I know it is not politically correct to say so, but I have found wisdom in Hitler’s book “Mien Kampf”. “My struggle” refers to Hitler’s self doubt as a young soldier during the First World War, and how he overcame and conquered this battle within himself.

        Love him or hate him, no one can honestly deny the amazing success this once homeless impoverished orphaned young man accomplished by rising out of the ashes of obscurity to become Chancellor of a great Country.

        Reading is so important. I prefer non-fiction most of the time. Reading with an open mind and no presuppositions about famous people is difficult, but I try not to judge as much as to understand the author, regardless of who it is. Auto-biographies are among my favorite books.

        I like Selco’s other suggestion music and story telling. These things, like poetry and art, cost little to nothing, but make life worth living in good times and bad.


      13. Me myself would find peace tranquillity and tons of opportunities in such an event

      14. I gotta say I’m quite impressed. No keyboard warriors today.
        Good artical. Very relevant.
        True if it were to completely collapse many will die within the first 6 months many more in the following months. Starvation disease violence or just check out on their own.
        I’d say those with young children and wives that think we’re a bit strange for prepping. I really feel bad for them.
        It would all fall to you to feed and protect them. And yourself. A broken leg is most certainly a death sentence for you and your family.
        Living in comfort while shtf goes on and others are starving.
        Too be honest I don’t think that individual would last long enough. Your one house with maybe 4-12 people to defend it??
        Personally Id either burn ya out or flood your house with propane and you’ll come out lol is you don’t 3-4 tracer rounds would finish it.
        Residential houses are not strongholds.
        Unless purposely built for that and still you have houses around you that can either burn obstruct lines of site.
        Someone’s gotta take the trash out toilets will stop working you’ll need to dispose of it can’t keep it in the house. Have look at the branch divisions they WERE prepared their structures were build to repeal attackers and they did last a good while. They held their position fought like hell in the end when tptb were bored m1a1 Abrams with a flamethrower and Not one survived men women children killed em all no mercy. My advice get out and last as long as you can.

        • what IS a keyboard warrior?

          • It means his keyboard can kick your keyboard’s ass

            • HA!HA!HA!

          • That would be our brother Braveheart… 😉

            Y’all play nice now. 🙂

      15. I have observed, not as much here but certainly in other online forums, where people admit that if this-or-this happens they admit they will be unable to handle it. Some have even mentioned suicide as a viable option.

        Mental attitude is everything. It has been a surprise, to me, finding out there are people that don’t have the will to live, the will to survive. I think I have been developing that will for many years. Giving up isn’t an option. I realize I may have to walk away from my house or liquidate my assets and move to another place. If there were an EMP, compared to many people, I think I would do fine.

        I like that Selco recommends people have alternative means of communicating. If you have a shortwave radio and can hook up small solar panels to batteries and you know how to make a cheap 2-way radio work, you will have proven your value to the community.

        I hate to say this, but most families in the US are spread over many states. Most people don’t know their neighbor’s. How do you break the ice with someone you don’t know and you need to teach them basic hygiene? Stuff is going to get personal, fast. Need to have a way to be able to teach people that are pissed off they don’t know some basic stuff (like dealing with human waste and boiling and filtering water).

        What happens when a neighbor shows up and says they will pay you $100 or $500 or $1000 for an MRE? Do you sell it to them? Do you lie and say you don’t have any more MREs? Do you answer the door with a shotgun? I don’t know the answer to that.

        • Selco’s notes on alcohol.

          If you need to have a discussion with a neighbor, bring some good liquor, try to just sit, relax and share a drink, over the second round, discuss your business. Only bring enough alcohol for those two rounds.

      16. Supposedly, when a man looks at a bikini, it activates the portion of his brain, responsible for tool use.

        This is how a useful person is viewed by opportunists. You will not be respected.

      17. Thrift stores have used paper backs for 50 cents each. And used games.

      18. Remember years ago when we all moved to Zerohedge cause the drama and fear porn here was too much? Do you even read the articles anymore, or just head to the comment section where the real gems of wisdom are found? Zero is not bought and paid for. I wonder where the intelligent discussion folks will settle next?

        RIP EPPE

        In his honor I tell the following dirty joke: A white horse fell in the mud.


        • yes, remember eppe!one day we got to do a joke day, in his honor!….RIP, eppe, you are SORELY missed!

      19. Townsaver, long time no hear from! How’ve you been?

      20. Possibly the best SHTF vehicle. A motorized bicycle? Unlike a motorcycle or moped it can be peddled home if broke down or out of gas. I put together a bbr tuning stage 4 kit. Loud as a chain saw. But fast. Need old steel frame bike . And lots of tricks. Only the mechanically inclined should attempt. But a 3 horse power 60 pound 100 mile per gallon 30 mile per hour vehicle results.

      21. What would be the fate of humanity without the culling of the tribulation? Look up and rejoice. Satan has ruled long enough. And the collateral damage will be significant. For the virgens with empty lamps? Believing isn’t good enough . You must prep? Fill your lamps? Or the door is shut. The wheat and the Tares are being separated. Pick a side.

      22. Hopeing for luxury during the tribulation might be problematic? If not for the hand of God no flesh would survive. Seems only the hard core preppers will make it? And maybe that’s what’s nesesary? Only true believers will be fear porned enough . The book of Revelation is the ultimate of fear porn? We have been warned. Take it or leave it?

      23. Even so Lord come soon. Whatever is nesesary to destroy Satan . We will accept. No matter the hardships, no matter the cost. Our short lives hear will be sacrificed. For eternity there. Just do it already. We can take it.

      24. Agree old guy americunts are soft. Too civilized imo.

      25. anybody heard from warchild lately? i know where he is, but i guess he aint posting for another few days…he’s ok, just in case anyone cares.

      26. OH!! This is good!

        We had (in that time, in my family) college professor, man that was pretty important in normal times. Students were kinda trembling when they use to see him.

        When SHTF he mentally fell apart and become useless because he felt that suddenly he become nobody, completely unimportant.

        And I expect this will be the case with most of them.

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