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“The Media Told Us That Everything’s Going to Be Fine” – War Survivor On Why He Missed The Best Time To Bug Out

Posted 06/16/2014 11:36 am by

Editor’s Note: If you’ve done any research into worst-case scenarios and how to prepare for them then you have likely run across the work of Selco. During the Balkan war of the 1990′s he survived in what he calls One Year In Hell, which is also the name of his online survival course at his SHTF School web site. Selco often shares his perspective on the events he witnessed, the brutality of humanity, and survival strategies for making it through far-from-equilibrium situations.


But had Selco made one particular decision back in the 90′s there’s a strong possibility that we wouldn’t know who he is today – at least not insofar as his expertise on survival is concerned.


Ahead of the conflict that eventually led to a complete lock-down of the city in which he lived there were signs that something just wasn’t right. He, like many of his friends and neighbors living in a stable modern society, assumed that whatever was happening would either pass quickly or not affect him or his family directly. Admittedly, he was wrong and he says not heeding the warnings was one of his key mistakes. 


It’s certainly easy to judge the events of the day in hindsight, but going through them in real time and having to make quick decisions like relocating your entire family from your home to an unknown destination is not exactly an easy thing to do. This is the dilemma many will be faced with should a local, regional or national emergency strike our nation. As always, Selco has some interesting insights and discussions that may make that difficult decision a bit easier to execute. 



Bugging out: Why I missed best time to bug out
By Selco


Best way to survive is not being close to any problems. Like I describe in my survival course about my experience in Balkan war I missed my chance to bug out in time. I ended up surrounded by enemy army and trapped in city for a year without power and regular resources. Everyone fighting for the little what was left and being shot at by snipers and artillery from enemies did not make experience any better.


There are many reasons why people fail to bug out. Last week Jay (guy I run this website with) left Bangkok because of military coup. He first did not want to leave right away but then common sense won and he left. You can read about what happened in our forum. Nothing bad happened after he left, but it could have.


There can be many reasons like failure to recognize that S. gonna hit the fan, blocked streets on the way out of the city, problems convincing everyone to leave or just some special events you want to stay for.


I mention many times why I failed to leave city before everything became blocked. So I said that simply I did not see signs, or even if I saw something that looked serious to me, I assure myself that everything gonna be OK in short.


And of course media was there to told us that everything gonna be fine, nothing gonna escalate etc. and all of this above is true, it was like that, but as the time goes by I am able to see one more mistake that I have done that contributed to the my choice of staying.


Actually it was not really choice, I failed to see that I had big choice to make back then. We humans like to go with the flow and that is what I did. There was no choice, just years later and when your freedom is taken you realize you failed to make right choice.


So the big mistake I also made was the fact that I was simply thrilled and excited how events are unfolding in front of my own eyes, it was kinda mesmerizing.


You know that feeling that you are going to be part of something big, something that it is gonna be part of history books?


I had that feeling on some subconscious level I guess.


It was like being part of event that goes like this:


  • Day 1: Today we lost ability to phone outside town, sporadic shots were fired whole day, on the TV there is no news from our city, which is weird…
  • Day 2: I just saw tank on the street, went to check is there anything left in the store to buy or take, but actually there is no store anymore, tank was slowly rumbling over the street, guy who was standing next to me said „they gonna ruin the asphalt with that beast“ like that is important, but that guy still thought in old terms, like we all did. I think he thought that it is temporary, and tomorrow city gonna need to repair that street because tank ruined it, and we all pay that through our taxes, and so on, and so on.
  • Day 3: Our first neighbor shows up with rifle and said „I ll gonna shoot those mother……s „ I ask him „who?“ he said „anyone who approaches my house.“



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