by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:
Did you ever wonder, deep down in that secret place where you question yourself, how you would behave in an all-out SHTF catastrophe? Would you take charge like some kind of superhero? Would you hide the entire time, terrified of being discovered? Would you actually be able to put into practice all the skills you’ve learned for all this time, just for that moment?
We can all guess how we’d respond, but until we’re in the situation, none of us actually knows what we’d be like when the SHTF. The one thing I learned from Selco’s newest compilation of stories is that there are many different ways to survive, and not all of them are noble or heroic. In horrific situations, people do what they must to live through it. Sometimes they do what they’ve wanted to do all along, and sometimes they accept their fate as the only alternative to death.
The following scenarios are taken from Selco’s new book, SHTF Survival Stories, Volume 2. If you read his book, SHTF Survival Stories, Volume 1, you’ll know that he doesn’t pull any punches when he tells you about the grim reality of a longterm survival situation and this book is no different.
In one story, Selco talks about a person he knew who became a member of a gang to survive the SHTF. The man shared the fact that he never slept in the same place two nights in a row.
When we moved through the city, we learned quickly in those days, adapt or die. We saw many people die.
We always changed location, every day or night a different location. We lived on the move. Enemy groups want to know a bit of the territory before they strike so we did not give them chance to spy out our location. The next night we would be somewhere else. Every night.
When I needed shelter, cover, a place to hide or sleep I always chose the second floor in a house…
…A lot of time we moved from house to house with a plank of wood (think of something like in pirate movies to enter ships). We just placed that wood on windows of one house and on the balcony or any opening on other neighboring house and walk or crawl to that other house…Nobody wants to be on the street in no man’s land. (source)
He goes on to explain how they chose their hiding places. The surprising thing to me was that it seems like a gang member would be less fearful, and still, he spent his nights on the floor of abandoned buildings. But after reading many of these stories, it seems as though avoiding notice was the MO for many, many survivors.
People do things they would never have done before.
Selco wrote about a guy who played the guitar at weddings before the SHTF. After he was thrown in prison and beaten, his captors learned of his talent.
In one occasion he mentioned to those who imprisoned him that he is good with guitar playing. From that day, he become something like their member, he played for them while they drank and beat and tortured other folks.
It was hard for him to focus while other people suffered but he played encouraging songs that made some men beat others in frenzy… (source)
He survived by playing the guitar to entertain men who were torturing his neighbors.
He grew so desperate that he – a simple musician who was anything but a fighter – undertook a daring escape from the country as soon as he got the opportunity, like something from a suspenseful action movie.
People accept things that would not have been okay before.
In one experience, Selco ran into a former colleague. He was shocked when he was offered her “services” by the man running the group with whom he had business.
But what was more shocking was this.
She was not a prisoner, well not obviously, but you also need to understand that if she left that group she and her family would lose protection and steady income of goods. And kids needed to eat something.
I do not know what husband thought about all that (he was a bit of weak guy before SHTF) but rumors were that he agreed with it, in order to survive everything.
So, it lasted like that for months. And they survived.
So, is that good or bad? It’s nothing. It’s survival. Blame her husband? No… becaus e they survived. If he would have become the fighter he might have died and with him, his family. (source)
In ordinary times, this would not have been an option. In SHTF times, the woman made some choices that nobody should have to endure. And her husband accepted things that truly were not okay. They wanted to survive and they did what they had to do.
People get creative.
Some people avoided doing terrible things by getting creative and giving the illusion that they were protected and dangerous. In one example, a man who survived alone – a feat that not many accomplished – because of one of his first actions when things started to go bad.
He was a lawyer before SHTF, he never fired a shot from any weapon, and violence was completely strange to him. When SHTF in the chaos he found himself on the street, looking at how a bunch of folks were breaking in malls and shops, taking whatever is useful.
In 5 minutes, he was in a local museum with some young people who were breaking stuff and taking whatever useful things they could. He said, “When I saw local policeman completely drunk trying to take on German uniform and helmet for fun, I realized that we are starting to live in interesting time.”
He took the machine gun from a glass box, together with some bullets strips and went home.
Ten days later some punks tried to loot his home armed with knives and screwdrivers:
“I put those bullet strips on me, took a machine gun, stand in front of them…(source)
And that was the beginning of what would become a fascinating story of survival. The machine gun was a museum piece – totally inoperable – but still, the lawyer became powerful during SHTF without ever firing a shot. He did so by using his brain creatively and pulling off bluff after bluff.
People become the dark person they always wanted to be.
Not everyone was a good person who found themselves in a bad situation. Some of the people survived by tapping into the darkness that was there inside them the entire time. One man that Selco knew before everything happened was a factory worker. He was the kind of guy who you had coffee with or drank a beer with, nice enough, and unremarkable.
Until the SHTF.
Then he became a guy who forced people to run through the area where snipers were shooting people, then followed that with shooting at them himself. He was powerful and the people around him did the things he told them, and in return, he protected and fed them.
There is nothing deep and philosophical in that guy’s behavior and mindset. He was just a normal guy who turned bad because he loved power and was in a world without rules where he could play.
He lived on the bad side and lived a fast and evil life. He liked that SHTF situation.
But SHTF did not create that guy. He was there all the time. His real character just waited for SHTF to come out and play…(source)
According to Selco, this was not at all uncommon. He wrote, chillingly:
Now, this guy was not alone. When the SHTF, a whole bunch of weird and sick folks emerged. The point is that you never know what kind of people are living around you, or even with you.
And to make things worse, as I said, this guy was something like “normal” guy before SHTF.
Besides those normal guys who turned bad, there is a whole army of scum and criminals who are just waiting for SHTF to happen, so they can go out and be something like small dictators. (source)
I don’t know about you, but there are people I know who I could easily see turning out like the guy Selco described above. Today they’re “normal” but there’s sort of an “edge” to them that you can discern. If they were put into a situation with no rules, how would they behave? It’s something to watch for, certainly.
The important thing is to know what to expect when the SHTF.
While there’s no way to predict how you’ll act if you’re ever in a situation in which all hell breaks loose like Selco was, it’s vital to know what to expect. Understanding human nature is one thing. Understanding human nature under pressure is entirely different.
I strongly suggest this book by Selco as part of your personal SHTF preparedness to get a glimpse at human nature in action.
And I also suggest you resist the urge to judge these people. Of course, I’m not talking about the crazy sadists – I’m talking about the ones who lost their dignity in order to live through a terrible time. It’s easy to say, “I’d never do that” or “I’d rather die” but until you’re in the situation, hard and fast statements are all talk.