My name is Selco and I am from Bosnia. Did you know that there was hell from 1992 to 1995? During the year I lived and survived in a city with a population of 60,000 people without water, electricity, gasoline, medical care, civil defense, food distribution systems and other municipal services, without any form of centralized management.
Our city was blocked by the army for a whole year, and life in it was a real shit. We had neither police nor army, there were armed groups, and those who were armed defended their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared, but most of the neighbors' families had food for only a few days. Some of us had pistols and only very few had AK47 and guns.
After 1-2 months, gangs began to operate in the city, they crashed everything, for example, hospitals very soon turned into real slaughterhouses. The police no longer existed, and 80% of the hospital staff did not go to work.
I was lucky that my family was large at that time - 15 people in a big house, 6 pistols, 3 AK47.Therefore, we survived at least most of us.
The Americans dumped us dry rations every 10 days to help the surrounded city, but this was not enough. In some, very few houses were vegetable gardens. After 3 months, the first rumors of death from hunger and cold began to spread.
We removed all the doors and window frames from the abandoned houses, dismantled our parquet and burned all the furniture in order to keep warm.
Many died from diseases, especially because of water (two of my family), because we drank mostly rainwater. It happened, there are also pigeons and even rats.
The currency very quickly became nothing, and we returned to the barter exchange. Women surrendered for a jar of stew. It's hard to talk about it, but it's true - most of the women who traded in themselves were desperate mothers.
Firearms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries, food - this is what we fought for, like beasts. In such a situation, everything changes - most people turn into monsters. It was disgusting.
Strength was in quantity. If you live alone in a house, being killed and robbed was only a matter of time, independent of how well armed you were.
Today, my family and I are well prepared - we have reserves, I am well armed and I have experience.No matter what may happen - earthquake, war, tsunami, aliens, terrorists, shortages, economic collapse, riots ... The important thing is that something will happen.
The conclusion from my experience is that you cannot survive alone, strength in quantity, in the right choice of reliable friends, in the unity of the family and its preparation.
1. Did you travel safely around the city?
The city was divided into communities by streets. There were 15–20 houses on our street, and we organized a patrol of 5 armed men every evening to monitor the gangs and our enemies.
All exchanges took place only on the street. 5 kilometers from us there was a whole street for exchange, everything was organized, but because of the snipers it was too dangerous to walk there.
In addition, on the way there it was possible to run into thugs and be robbed. I myself went there only 2 times when I needed something really special and important (medicines, mostly antibiotics).
Nobody used cars - the streets were blocked by rubble, garbage, abandoned cars, and gasoline was priced at gold.
If you had to go somewhere, it was done only at night. You can not walk alone, you can not walk too large a group, only 2-3 people.All must be well armed, you need to move very quickly, in the shadows, through the ruins of houses, and not through the streets.
There were many gangs of 10-15 people, sometimes their numbers reached 50. But there were many normal people like you and me, fathers and grandfathers who killed and robbed. There were no "heroes" and "villains". Most were somewhere in the middle, and was ready for anything.
2. And the trees, it seems to me that there are a lot of forests around the city, why did you burn your furniture and doors?
There was no big forest around my city. It was a very beautiful city - with restaurants, cinemas, schools, airport and cultural centers. We had a park in the city, fruit trees, but it was all cut down in less than two months.
When there is no electricity in order to cook food and keep warm, you will have to burn everything that comes handy - furniture, doors, parquet ... And it burns all very quickly.
We did not have access to the suburbs and suburban farms - there was an enemy in the suburbs, we were surrounded. And in the city you never know who your enemy is.
3. What knowledge was useful to you during this period?
You have to imagine that this was actually a return to the stone age! For example, I had a gas cylinder.But for heating and cooking I did not use it, it was too expensive! I adapted it for refilling lighters - the lighters were priceless! Someone brought me an empty lighter, I charged it and took a can of canned food or candles for it.
I myself am a medical assistant by profession and in these conditions my knowledge was my capital. At such times, knowledge and skills, such as the ability to repair things, are more valuable than gold. Things and supplies run out, it is inevitable, and your knowledge and skills are an opportunity to earn a living.
I want to say - learn to repair things, shoes or people. My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He never went hungry.
4. If you had 3 months to prepare today, what would you do?
3 months to prepare? Hmm ... I would run abroad! (joke)
Today I know that things can change very quickly. I have a supply of food, hygiene products, batteries ... Stock for 6 months. I live in an apartment with a good level of security, I have a house with a shelter in a village 5 km from my apartment, the house also has a stock for 6 months. This is a small village, most of its inhabitants are well prepared, they are taught by the war.
I have 4 types of firearms and have 2000 rounds for each.
I have a nice house with a garden, and I know gardening.
In addition, I no longer want to feel like shit - when everyone around you says that everything will be fine, I already know that everything will collapse.
Now I have the strength to do everything in order to survive and protect my family. When everything collapses, you need to be ready to do unpleasant things in order to save your children. I just want my family to survive.
There is almost no chance of surviving by one (this is my opinion), even if you are armed and prepared, ultimately, if you are alone, you will die. I have seen it many times. Well-prepared, numerous groups and families with a variety of skills and knowledge are the best option.
5. What makes sense to stock up?
It depends. If you want to survive due to robbery, then all you need is a lot of weapons and ammunition.
In addition to ammunition, food, hygiene products, batteries, batteries, pay attention to simple things to exchange - knives, lighters, soap, flint. And also alcohol, which can be stored for a long time - whiskey (the brand does not matter), albeit the cheapest, is a very good product for exchange.
Many died due to unsanitary conditions. You will need very simple things, but in very large quantities, for example, a lot of garbage bags. And duct tape. Disposable plates and glasses, plastic or cardboard, they will need a lot. I know this because we have not stocked it. My opinion is that the stock of hygiene products is more important than the food supply.
You can easily shoot a pigeon, find edible plants, but you cannot find or shoot a disinfectant, for example. You must have a lot of detergents, disinfectants, soaps, gloves, masks ... all disposable.
In addition, first aid skills are needed, it is necessary to know how to clean wounds, burns or even a gunshot wound, because there is no hospital. And even if you find a doctor, he may not have a painkiller or you will have nothing to pay him. Learn how to use antibiotics and stock them.
Weapons should be simple. Now I wear the Glock .45 because I like it, but this caliber is not common here, so I have two more 7.62-mm Russian TTs. There are a lot of such weapons and ammunition. I do not like the Kalashnikov assault rifle, but everyone has it, so ...
We need things small and inconspicuous, for example, it is good to have a generator, but it is better to have 1000 “BIC” lighters. During operation, the generator makes noise and attracts attention, and 1000 lighters are inexpensive, they take up little space and can always be exchanged for something.
We mainly used rainwater - collected in 4 large barrels, and then boiled. Nearby was a river, but the water in it very soon became dirty. Water tanks are also very important. You must have barrels, buckets and containers for storing and transporting water.
O6. Gold, silver helped you?
Yes. Personally, I changed all the gold for ammunition. Sometimes we could use money (stamps and dollars) to buy some things, but these cases were rare and prices were exorbitant. For example, a jar of beans cost $ 30-40. The local currency collapsed quickly, in other words, we were constantly exchanging.
O7. Was the salt expensive?
Expensive, but cheaper than coffee and cigarettes. I had a lot of alcohol, and I exchanged it without problems. Alcohol consumption has increased more than 10 times than usual.
Now, probably, it is better for barter to stock up on cigarettes, lighters and batteries, because they take up less space.
I was not ready at the time, I did not have time to prepare. A few days before the shit hit the fan, politicians on TV kept repeating that all was well.
And when the sky fell on our heads, we just took what we could.
8. Was it difficult to get firearms that could be exchanged for weapons and ammunition?
After the war, weapons were in every home. The police confiscated a lot of weapons at the beginning of the war, but most people hid weapons. I have a legal weapon (with licenses), by law it is called "Temporary collection." In case of unrest, the government has the right to temporarily confiscate all weapons ... so keep that in mind. You know, there are people who have a legal weapon, but they also have an illegal one, in case of a possible confiscation.
If you have good things to exchange, then finding a weapon is not difficult. But you must remember that the first days will be the most dangerous because of the chaos and panic. It is possible that you will not have time to find a weapon to protect your family. Being unarmed in times of chaos, panic and unrest is very bad.
In my case, there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio, and he had a weapon, and I changed the battery for two guns.
I sometimes exchanged ammunition for food, and in a few weeks I changed food for ammunition. I have never exchanged anything at home and never in large quantities. Only very few people (my neighbors) knew how much I kept in the house.
The trick is to keep the maximum possible for the occupied area and money. Then, you will figure out what is most in demand.
I will clarify - ammunition and weapons are still the main position for me, but who knows, maybe in second place, I will put gas masks and filters.
9. What about security?
The defense was very primitive. I repeat - we were not ready and we used what we could.
The windows were broken, the roof in a terrible state due to the bombing. All windows were blocked with sandbags, stones. I backed up the garden gate with trash and used an aluminum ladder to climb over the fence. When I returned home, I asked to be handed over to me.
There was a guy on our street who completely barricaded his house. He made a hole in the wall of a neighboring ruined house - his secret entrance.
It may seem strange, but all the houses that were the safestwere looted and destroyed first.
In my area there were beautiful houses with fences, dogs, alarms and iron bars on the windows. The crowd attacked them. Some were able to fight back and resist, others not. It all depended on how many people and weapons were inside. Of course, security is important, but you need to keep a low profile. If you live in a city and this shit happens, you will need simple, modest housing, with lots of weapons and ammunition. How many ammunition? Yes, as much as possible!
As far as possible you need to make your home unattractive.
Today, I have steel doors for security reasons, but this is only to save me from the first wave of chaos. After that, I will leave to join a large group of friends or family in the countryside.
During the war we had situations, I don’t want to go into details. But on our side has always been superior firepower and fence. Someone always watched the street - a good organization in the event of a gang raid is of paramount importance.
They always fired in the city.
Again, our all-round defense was primitive - all exits were barricaded, only small holes for the barrels were left.Always at least 5 family members inside the house were ready for battle, and one person was sitting in a shelter on the street.
In order not to be killed by a sniper, I had to stay at home all day.
The weak perish in the very first days, the rest are fighting for life.
During the day, almost no one appeared on the street because of snipers - the line of defense was very close.
Many died because they wanted to investigate the situation, for example, and this is very important. I want to remind you that we had no information, no radio, no TV, nothing but rumors.
There was no organized army, but we were all soldiers. We were forced. Each carried a weapon and tried to defend himself.
I will say this to you, if tomorrow it happens again, I will be like everyone else - modest, desperate, maybe I will even cry, or cry.
No fashionable clothes. I'm not going to wear a super uniform and shout: "You all ... ... villains!"
I will be inconspicuous, well armed and prepared, carefully assessing the situation with my best friend or brother.
Understand, your super-defense doesn't matter, super-weapons, if people see that you should be robbed because you are wealthy, you are robbed.This is just a matter of time and the number of trunks.
10. How was the toilet?
We used shovels and any piece of land, closer to home ... it looks dirty, but it was.
We washed with rainwater, sometimes in the river, but it was too dangerous.
There was no toilet paper, and even if it were, I would exchange it for something. All this was hard.
I can give you some tips - first, you must have weapons and ammunition, and after that everything else, I mean everything!
Of course, a lot depends on your area and your budget.
If you have forgotten or missed something, it is not scary, there will always be someone with whom you can exchange. But if you miss weapons and ammunition, you will not have access to the exchange.
And yet, I do not see problems in large families and the number of mouths - more family, more weapons and more strength, and then, as with nature, people adapt.
11. And care for the sick and injured?
Injuries are mostly gunshot wounds.
Without specialists and everything else, if the victim managed to find a doctor, he had somewhere around 30% chance of survival.
It was not like in the movies, people were dying, and many of them died from infections. I had a supply of antibiotics for 3 or 4 treatments, of course, only for my family.
Often, completely stupid things killed people. In the absence of drugs and a lack of water, simple diarrhea will be enough to kill you, especially children, within a few days.
We had a lot of skin diseases, food poisoning and we could not do anything about it.
Used a lot of medicinal plants and alcohol. For the short term, it helped, but in the long run, it was terrible.
Hygiene is basic, well, and have the maximum amount of drugs, especially antibiotics.
Optional warring armies will shoot at you. Most likely, the danger will come from gangs that will hunt you to take possession of your reserves.
Everything will not be the same as before. When you protect your home, you must change your way of thinking. The house is no longer a cozy and safe place. Now this is the place you chose to protect yourself and your loved ones. Now you must have a different attitude to the place that you chose as your fortress.
To feel safe and to be protected from shelling and bombing requires skills, knowledge and a fair amount of luck.
It should be said that in the beginning people acted very bravely, but it was not courage, it was rather an ignorance of how easily a person can be killed.
People came out like children with water guns, but they only got wet not from the water, but from the own blood and the blood of their friends.
I had to watch several times as one person attacks another, who is hiding in a shelter. The attacker just runs at him, and the cover guy takes aim and kills the stupid attacker.
If civilians have weapons in their hands, strange things happen. Remember, I’m talking about people, most of whom didn’t know much about war, fighting, tactics and everything else.
M did not understand the philosophy of street fighting, especially at the beginning. But over time, some things that are obvious to us now, have become understandable, or learned, and so to speak.
If someone wanted to attack someone inside the house, the most common way was to use an RPG or a hand grenade for this purpose. This shocked the people inside, and even the fragments did their job.
In other, very common situations, the guys used "human shields" to get to the house.Many died, considering it wrong to kill a hostage for the sake of protecting his home.
Imagine a situation: three villains are approaching you, pushing two elderly women in front of you. A terrible situation ... After a while, the majority fired at everything that looked suspicious. It doesn't matter what.
Most of the fighting in the city was in motion - shot and hid. It's like a battle with shadows that can kill you all and everywhere.
Often you have to shoot at those whom you don’t even really see, so silently moving and running was a basic skill.
Often you do not see the enemy, but shoot anyway. It certainly does not sound good, but in many situations it was better to shoot at anything that might even seem suspicious. In most cases, do not stop to check.
You never know whether you hit or not, just grab your things and go. Move, move. I learned this well - everything is on the move.
Fear was one of the greatest allies in battle. If one group wanted to destroy or expel another group, from any streets, buildings or positions, the usual method was to talk to them through a megaphone.
Maybe today it looks ridiculous, but if you listen to the same story for several hours or even days about how well you will be treated if you give up, then after a while many people will begin to believe in it.
Or in another case, you can listen for hours about what these guys are going to do with you and your family if you don’t give up voluntarily.
It is hard to even imagine what terrible things can happen.
After watching my video from Syria about people in Homs, memories came back to me. And, despite the fact that some of these dark memories are hidden somewhere very deep in me, and it is very difficult to get to them, one of them surfaced.
My friend and his friend were in the rear of the enemy in the basement of the destroyed house. An enemy group of 150–200 people combed the streets, robbing and killing civilians who did not manage to escape.
He told me that they had spent 2 days in the basement, buried in all sorts of rubbish, observing through a small hole, and literally a few meters away lay the corpse of a girl of about 10.
In order to see if someone was coming to their basement, one of them had to constantly watch what was happening through this hole.He said that he had to observe the atrocities that were committed by those people against civilians and that he tried to hide what he saw deep in his brain in order to expel them from his memory. But seeing the constantly wide open eyes and the blond hair of a dead child, he almost lost his mind.
One of them had a pistol and several cartridges, and the other had a rifle, 30 cartridges, and a self-made grenade from an unexploded anti-tank. They agreed that if they see that the enemies are approaching the basement, they will shoot to the last bullet and will undermine themselves with a grenade.
But the burned houses were not interested in those guys and nobody approached the basement. Two days later, the enemy group simply retreated.
They survived the war. One of them became a drug addict - after burning his life, he lived for several years and died from an overdose.
With the other of them, I continue to be friends. At forty, he is prepared, armed, strong and experienced. He has two teenage children - a boy and a girl. Both of them know how to shoot and protect themselves.
I can only write here, but in reality, everything is completely different.
When terrible things really happen, some of them can be so terrible that they simply cannot be understood by a normal mind and fit into your head.
In fact, there is no way to cope with these memories. Sometimes we talk about it with friends, sometimes we laugh, and sometimes one of our friends quiets down for a few days, I don’t know - I myself have such periods.
It seems to me that none of us can cope well with this, perhaps only by driving away these memories from ourselves from time to time. For example, I have periods when I become too aggressive, I explode easily, although rarely, but it happens.
I certainly hope that we no longer have to go through such trials. But when the time comes, I personally will be ready.