SELCO: The Brutal Truth About Violence When the SHTF

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by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Are you prepared for the extreme violence that is likely to come your way if the SHTF? No matter what your plan is, it’s entirely probable that at some point, you’ll be the victim of violence or have to perpetrate violence to survive. As always, Selco is our go-to guy on SHTF reality checks and this thought-provoking interview will shake you to your core.

If you don’t know Selco, he’s from Bosnia and he lived through a year in a city that was blockaded with no utilities, no deliveries of supplies, and no services. In his interviews, he shares what the scenarios the rest of us theorize about were REALLY like.  He mentioned to me recently that most folks aren’t prepared for the violence that is part and parcel of a collapse, which brings us to today’s interview.

How prevalent was violence when the SHTF in Bosnia?

It was wartime and chaos, from all conflicts in those years in the Balkan region Bosnian conflict was most brutal because of multiple reasons, historical, political and other.

To simplify the explanation why violence was common and very brutal, you need to picture a situation where you are “bombarded” with huge amount of information (propaganda) which instills in you very strong feelings of fear and hate.

Out of fear and hate, violence grows easy and fast, and over the very short period of time you see how people around you (including you) do things that you could not imagine before.

I can say that violence was almost an everyday thing in the whole spectrum of different activities because it was a fight for survival.

Again, whenever (and wherever) you put people in a region without enough resources, you can expect violence.

We were living a normal life, and then suddenly we were thrown in a way of living where if you could not “negotiate” something with someone, you solve the problem by launching a rocket from an RPG through the window of his living room.

Hate stripped down the layers of humanity and suddenly it was “normal” to level an apartment building with people inside with shells from a tank or form private prisons with imprisoned civilians for slave work or sex slaves.

Nothing that I saw or read before could have prepared me for the level of violence and blindness to it, for the lives of kids, elders, civilians, and the innocent.

Again, the thing that is important for readers is that we were a modern society one day, and then in few weeks it turned into carnage.

Do not make the mistake of saying “it cannot happen here” because I made that mistake too.

Do not underestimate power of propaganda, fear, hate, and the lowest human instincts, no matter how modern and good your society is right now and how deeply you believe that “it can not happen here”.

You’ve mentioned warlords and gangs in several of your articles. Were they responsible for the majority of the violence or was it hungry families?

Fighting of the armies through the whole period of war brings violence in terms of constant shelling from a distance from different kind of weapons.

For example a few multiple rocket launchers (VBR) could bring in 30 seconds the destruction in an area of 3-4 apartment buildings, and being there in that moment and surviving it gives you a completely new view on life.

Snipers were a constant threat and over time you simply grow a way of living that you constant scan area in front of you where your next steps gonna be. Are you gonna be visible and from where? Etc.

Most brutal violence was actually lawlessness and complete lack of order between different factions and militias, so in some periods there were militias or gangs who simply ruled the cities or part of the city where they were absolutely masters of everything in terms of deciding of taking someone’s life.

In lawlessness, you as one person could be really small and not interesting, or join some bigger group of people to be stronger, some family or militia or gang.

An example of a gang would be group of people of some 300 or 500 people who “officially” were a unit or militia and operate for some faction, but in reality they operate mostly for themselves.

That included owning part of the black market, having prison (for forced labor or ransom), attacking people and houses for resources, smuggling people from dangerous areas.

Violence from those kinds of group was the most immediate violence, the most visible in terms of SHTF talking.

If those people came on your door you could obey, fight, or negotiate, but mostly you could not not ask for help from any kind of authority, because there was no real authority.

In any society, no matter where you are living, there are a great number of people who are waiting for the SHTF to go out and do violent things. Small time criminals or simply violent persons who are not openly violent because system is there to punish them for that. It is like that.

Some gang leaders that I knew were actually completely sick people with a strange type of charisma that makes people follow them, weird situations that can happen only in a real collapse.

They are people who just waited for their time to rise.

Those kinds of people together with criminal organization that are already there in any city in the world will be the backbone of SHTF gangs.

Who were the most likely victims?

A very simple answer would be that the most likely victims were people who had interesting things without enough defense.

But it was not always that simple.

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