Living in a High-Risk Environment: My childhood in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1990

This guest post is by By Georges Fahmy and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

Hello guys and gals, my name is Georges Fahmy, I’m a Lebanese national, and a long time lurker of this wonderful blog. I read this blog on a weekly basis and find most of the articles to be very informative and well-written.

After reading Tom B’s accounts of his stay in Lebanon during the early days of the Lebanese Civil War (LCW), I decided to talk a bit about my own childhood experience in hopes that it can help others survive similar situations, if, God forbid, they do arise in your country/ area.

At first, it would be best if you could read some history about the political/ sectarian climate that was prevalent in Lebanon, to ensure readers understand the why and the how of the conflict (Start, sustainability, and end). The section on Wikipedia is mostly accurate (80% or so), with some minor discrepancies and biases, perfectly understandable as it was mostly written/ edited by Lebanese from diverging confessions and opinions. Read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_civil_war

For those who can understand/ read French, the best book on the topic was written by a Frenchmen called Alain Menarques. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.fr/Les-Secrets-guerre-Liban-palestiniens/dp/2226121277

Please note that my account of the LCW is biased, as I am a victim of my own experience, my religious affiliation (Christian), where I lived (Muslim controlled West Beirut), and my political orientation (Pro-Western way of life, Pro-Freedom, Anti-communist, anti-socialist, anti-jihadist, anti- multiculturalist). I am not and never will be politically correct or sugarcoat the truth.

The focus of this article will be about how civilians survived during the civil war, in urban areas, with an emphasis on living in a hostile environment (In my case, as a Christian living with his family in a Muslim area with limited options to relocate or leave).

The article will also contain tips on violence survival, personal protection, and firearms acquisition and use. About my background: I am a member of Senshido International and specialize in teaching Personal Protection as well as firearms use in the Greater Middle East. Everything I teach has been tested in full-out Force-On-Force scenarios (Meaning full-speed, full-power, and with intent) and validated in the real-world. I firmly believe that if something doesn’t work with fully resisting opponents then it is not realistic self-defense and shouldn’t be taught. I’m not here to sell my seminars or promote my site, anyone interested just Google “Georges Fahmy Senshido” and you will find me.

A Brief History of Lebanon:

Lebanon has existed for at least 7,000 years and is very old as a country. It was listed 70 times in the Bible and was mentioned in three of the twelve tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The first alphabet, created by the Phoenicians, was drafted here. The Southern village of Cana was where Christ performed His first miracle, of turning water into wine. As a coastal country and a crossroad between the East and the West, Lebanon was invaded countless times, and ruled by all of the major empires that occupied it. Muslim jihadists conquered Lebanon in 634-636 and after a brief period of liberation under Crusader rule, the country fell back under the Islamic caliphate’s rule until after the First World War, when Ottoman Empire was defeated and the French obtained a mandate over the region.

This mandate ended on November 22, 1943, when both Maronite Christian Bechara El Khoury and Sunni Muslim Riad El Solh declared Lebanon’s independence. The National Pact, an unwritten agreement decided between the two leaders, distributed positions in government according to one’s religious affiliation: The Lebanese President will always be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the House a Shiite Muslim. The Deputies for the last two positions will be Greek Orthodox Christians. This confessional representation is still prevalent today for all sectors of government.

My Childhood recollections of life in West Beirut

I was born on September 28, 1980, in Hotel Dieu De France, a French established hospital in Christian East Beirut, where my mother used to work as a nurse.

The prevalent situation in the country was one of chaos, intense battles followed by a cease fire lasting from hours to a few days. The thing about the civil war is that it wasn’t constant conflict, but more like times of “relative” calm mixed with period of bloody skirmishes.

Being located in the Zokak El Blat neighborhood, near downtown Beirut, on the border diving West and East Beirut, meant trouble. In 1975, my father was kidnapped on Black Saturday ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Saturday_(Lebanon) ) by a pro-Palestinian Nasserite group, Al Mourabitoun, and thrown in an empty grave in a nearby cemetery. His crime: Being Christian AND an Egyptian immigrant that had escaped the socialist “paradise” of Gamal Abdul Nasser’s Egyptian Arab Republic. After finding out that my father had connections with some hotshot from Syria, as well as being a close friend of the militia leader’s brother, the group got scared. Not wanting to piss off their Syrian sponsors, they had my dad’s friend come over to get him out. The guy dragged my dad away while he was yelling at the gunmen that they were uneducated fucks and should apologize for laying hands on him (An excellent example of my dad’s temper LOL!).

Despite living in a Muslim area alternatively (As of November 2012 jointly) controlled by the Shiite Amal and Hezbollah militias, my childhood was mostly safe: Our building had taken artillery shells and a Katyusha rocket or two, but being well constructed, it withstood the hits with no issues. I used to go on the balcony when there was a lull in the fighting and pick up shrapnel pieces and collect them. Of course I got yelled at for venturing on the small veranda as you never knew when a sniper was looking and hoping to take a 7-8 year old looking to amuse himself out. (To clarify things, I did have plenty of cool toys but you all know how quickly even the best playthings become dull).

I listed down some of my childhood memories by category, making it easier for everyone to read:

  • Water: Potable water was a major issue. Tap water was, of course, undrinkable, unless you were itching for the “Beirut Belly” (Dysentery at worst and severe diarrhea at best). Plus, the pressure and flow of tap water was unreliable. We were lucky to have an artesian well nearby, and water reservoirs on the top of the building. Still, that water was barely good enough for hygienic purposes. Although we had numerous filters, set in series, with the water becoming cleaner / purer after it went through each filter, we still preferred to go to a cleaner water source and fill gallons. We would then drive (If we had gas) or walk back home carrying them. I remember going with mom when I was 7 or 8, and my younger sister (5 or 6) used to help and carry with us. Not a daily thing but if I remember correctly we used to go something like twice a week. By the way, washing veggies was done twice, first with tap water and soap, then with drinking water, so you needed to have enough of both.
  • Food: Everyone did their shopping when food was available. Bread, wheat, flour, sugar, coffee, meat, etc. were sometimes rationed, so we did our best to buy what we could and store it. While canned food were bought and eaten, we were lucky to have access to fresh vegetables and meat most of the time. I don’t remember ever going hungry but food access (Especially bread) was controlled by the Amal and Hezbollah militias, who snarled at you and only let you take a certain quantity of food. Sometimes, the militiamen were high on drugs or just plain assholes, and beat up / humiliated civilians (Usually males). There were a few incidents of people dying and being dragged behind jeeps for all to see but luckily I never witnessed it myself.
  • Personal hygiene: When it rained or relatively clean tap water was available, we used to collect it in big buckets, or fill the bathtub with it. We would boil it to make it cleaner before using it for showering, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc. Dirty water from those activities was then used to flush the toilets. Due to the bad shape of sewers and pipes, no one ever flushed toilet paper; we mostly threw it in a garbage bin. Many people used the bidet to wash instead of wiping as you often had more water than toilet paper. This method is cleaner and prevents rashes from using coarse toilet paper. Most of the time, we couldn’t afford to showers, let alone baths. Sponge baths were taken daily, and full showers once a week or every 10 days (Depending of course on water availability and our level of cleanliness).
  • Currency: The Lebanese Pound (LBP) in 1975 was worth 33 cents (3LBP = 1USD). It totally crashed and went up to 2,000LBP for 1USD. If you had cash, or jewelry, you survived. If not, you were literally fucked. Many people had a lot of real estate, literally millions in USD, saw their properties squatted by the Palestinians, used as barracks, or bombed by militias or invading armies. These people lost much of their fortune. Those who wanted to sell couldn’t do so before the end of the war, and the rent stayed the same despite inflation until 1990, where it was slightly readjusted. The currency was stabilized at 1,500LBP for 1USD, which kept rent ridiculously low, meaning property owners got maybe 400$ per year for an apartment instead of 600$ per month. (This is still prevalent nowadays but is set to change within a year or two as a new law was passed).
  • Gasoline and Electricity: Gasoline was scare but when you had it, you’d fill your car and extra gallons and store them. The additional gas was used to power Jennies and other type of generators. Those were the rage back then, and they’re still available as power is still rationed as politicians steal the gas and sell it, or give power to their electoral base. For example, as of November 2012, I get maybe 21 hours of electrical power a day, and 3 hours with no power at all (Phone lines still work through and besides, everyone and his grandma has a cell phone nowadays). So, it wouldn’t be surprising to get trapped in an elevator due to power going out and have to wait for a concierge or handyman to break you out. The best thing is to write down the times when the power goes, and take the stairs when the time gets close (If for example the power is scheduled to go out at 12PM, you’d take the stairs at 11:50AM, just to be on the safe side. Electricity came back at around 2:55 or 3PM). Many buildings or neighborhoods had backup generators, and paid monthly fees to have electricity when the state-given power went out. This is still prevalent today. In our case, although we had a subscription to both a neighborhood generator as well as to the government sponsored “Electricité du Liban”, we were out of juice most of the time. This meant going up and down the stairs (The generator wasn’t powerful enough to power the elevators) while carrying foodstuff or water, lighting your home with candles. Playing board games or reading was one source of fun when the TV was out.
  • Phone Lines: The telephone system operated on power, and since the power was mostly out, telephones rarely worked. Add to that the fact that telephone lines were above ground and therefore exposed to the elements and war. International calls were possible from centrals and were used to communicate with relatives living abroad. There were very few payphones available and those were mostly from inside shops.
  • Shelter (Apartment buildings, shops, etc.): Everyone had steel-reinforced doors installed, those were a necessity unless you wanted to wake up to a break-in and all the shit that it entails (Rape, beatings, theft, kidnapping, etc.). all shops had metal stores and doors preventing entry and access.
  • Protection: Everyone kept some sort of firearm in their home, to be used in case some shit happened. Handguns were expensive even back then, so the preferred platform was the ubiquitous AK47 or the M16 assault rifles. FALs, G3s, and VZ-58s (Nicknamed Slavia) were also quite common. In term of pistols, common handguns were CZ pistols (All types), STAR, Colt .45, Berettas, and revolvers. Sigs, HKs, and Glocks were uncommon and fetched high prices (Glocks made their appearance in 1987 among VIPs). Usually, the best protection was being “Gray”, letting no one know that you owned or had any firepower. This wasn’t so prevalent about preps or food, as many neighbors shared food/ tools/ etc. with each other. This is due to the fact that the Lebanese have a strong sense of community and helping each other in the time of need was the norm.
  • Cooking and Heating: It goes without saying that there was a no diesel available for central heating. Lebanon being mildly temperate, it wasn’t that bad. The big butane bottles weighting 12 or so kilograms was used both for cooking stoves as well as for heating; Portable heaters using gas were very common. We would light them up and keep them on during winters while careful ventilating rooms to prevent CO2 poisoning.
  • Hospitals and Healthcare: It was hard to get to a hospital, unless you had connections with militias members who controlled roadblocks and access to hospitals. The care was (and still is) excellent in Tier One hospitals such as Hotel Dieu de France (East Beirut), American University Hospital (West Beirut), St George Hospital (East Beirut), Trad Hospital (West Beirut), and a few others. The price tag was high, and if you didn’t have cash, you got no care or crappy care. For us living in West Beirut, the only hospital we went to was the American University Hospital (AUH). I was hospitalized on three occasions (Minor eye corrective surgery, accidental cut finger, as well as pneumonia) and the care was excellent but it was expensive. Many surgeries were performed in low light conditions, under bombing, so the experience the doctors got out of it was tremendous. Doctors who lived through the civil war became very experienced with treating traumas and often emigrated to the US, Canada, or France to work there as ER specialists. Medications were available most of the time, and in case it wasn’t, you’d get it eventually or if you paid more.
  • Schooling and Universities: Schools and universities were often closed due to bullets having right of way 😉 as a result, many young teens joined militias as there was little else to do, and they couldn’t get an education. Some did both (Went to school during the day and fought during the night). As a result, there were many uneducated teens or people with just the basics. This led to issues after the war, with many of those with limited working skills enrolling in the police and army.
  • Airstrikes, artillery barrages, rocket salvos, and other “fun things that go Boom”: West Beirut was mostly safe from airstrikes, artilleries, rocket salvos and similar stuff (At least to my experience and knowledge). The only time it got hairy was during 1982, when the Israel Defense Force (IDF) used airstrikes and went in West Beirut to oust the Palestinians, and in 1989 when insane General Michel Aoun decided to go all out against both the Syrians (Controlling West Beirut), and the Christian Lebanese Forces militia (Based in East Beirut and Christian areas of the country) during his war of “liberation”. The rest of the time, Christian East Beirut’s residential (Civilian) areas got the worst of it and was shelled daily by the Palestinians, their Lebanese Muslim and Druze allies (The communists, Baathists, Al Mourabitoun, Amal, Hezbollah, and other Islamist factions) as well as the Syrians, who had long range artillery as well as rocket launchers positioned all over. My maternal grandma that lives in East Beirut’s Gemmeyze district in the Achrafieh Region told me countless times when they used to run to the underground shelters and pray for a break from the shelling. My grandmother lost her balcony to a shell that totally pulverized the adjacent room (If anyone had stayed in that room, s/he would have died). Many friends and family members were lucky to escape those indiscriminate attacks.
  • Car Bombs: That was the second scariest shit you could face, as the cars looked ordinary, they would just go bang when you least expected it, usually during periods of ceasefire (Can’t let those pesky civilians feel too secure doncha know?). Many of them were stolen vehicles from a different region, fitted with explosives surrounded by filling (Nails, marbles, etc.) to ensure maximum casualties. Their aim was mostly to strike fear and cripple/ maim. Grand Theft Auto was common here, certain groups specialized in stealing particular brands, others chopped them or resold them, etc. Sometimes you’d get a call saying to bring X amount of money to a certain region to get your car back (This still happens nowadays, especially to people owning fancy cars. Moral of the story? Don’t invest in a fancy car, go for function over form).
  • Snipers: That was THE scariest threat to civilians. West Beirut was notorious for its high rise buildings, hotels, and plazas, offering Eagle Nests to anyone with a rifle and a scope. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that, while the Christians in East Beirut had a few snipers placed in strategic locations (Targeting mainly Syrian or Palestinian military units trying to infiltrate), the majority of snipers were from the Muslim part of town. The term sniper is used loosely here, as they were mainly drugged up pyschos holed up with gazillions of rounds, food, water, and a hunting license to kill anything that moved in their Area of Operations (AO). This most of the time meant civilians, usually women and children who ventured in the open. They were very good at targeting East Beirut civilians and often took shots in excess of 1 mile with devastating results. The most common rifle was the Dragunov SVD in 7.62x54R, a powerful round that can go through concrete and still have effect on target. One example was told by my grandma: Her building owner/ manager was shot through the wall of her kitchen (Concrete) and the round still had enough energy to shatter her spine, leaving her paralyzed for life from the waist down. Sniper alley was The Ring, a stretch of road connecting West Beirut to East Beirut. Snipers LOVED to shoot drivers, and were quite effective at taking them out, even those who drove really fast. The reason for that is that right in front of the Ring was Bourj El Murr (The Murr Tower) that was a well-known Syrian sniping position. The building was also used as a torture area, with prisoners set to be executed were dragged blindfolded to the roof, and told to run or they would be shot. The poor bastards fell from the top of a 40-story building to their deaths, to the amusement of their captors.
  • Clothing: Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate, but sometimes the winters were cold. Clothing was available but you didn’t get a lot of choices fashion-wise. Layering up was a good way to deal with the cold, not that we had real cold. Temperatures never went below zero in Beirut, and if they did, it was rare and didn’t last for more than a day.

Personal Philosophy:

Now, I am different from the overwhelming majority of Lebanese people, this is apparent in the way I live. My philosophy has been forged by my experience of living through the War, and being a person with simple taste. I am not a materialistic individual as I always favored function over form. Many people spend a fortune on bling or evanescent and superficial activities. I always preferred building my skillset and knowledge (Firearms, tactics, Combatives, fitness, useful attributes, etc.). For me, buying a fancy car is silly; I’d rather invest that money in learning new things such as languages (I am native in Arabic and French, almost native in English, and have conversational Spanish skills), abilities, and on how to use firearms proficiently. I’m blessed with having a girlfriend that supports my insanity so it’s all good. J

Guns and related recommendation for SHTF situations:

  • Lebanon and guns: There are no guns sold legally here, except for shotguns. All others, ranging from pocket pistols to fully automatic assault rifles and up to .50 caliber machine guns, are bought and sold on the black market. Be grateful that you can go to a gun store anywhere in the U.S, and, after passing the federal background checks and obtaining a CCW license, you can buy a brand new gun. In Lebanon, CCW licenses are supposedly free, but you won’t get one unless you have connections. Plus they don’t list the handgun serial number or even type; it’s just a license for “Generic Handgun”. Those with big connections can get a license for an assault rifle (Fully automatic of course) and it says “Generic Rifle”. Those with super-duper ninja connections get one saying “Generic Handgun + Generic Rifle”. Sadly, CCW licenses get suspended every time there’s an issue (Only people who get screwed and good law abiding citizens as bad guys carry without licenses anyways). The funny (or sad thing) about getting a license here is that you will never be asked where you got the gun from. Selling guns is illegal but buying them and licensing them is a gray thing. Another thing, you can have a license for both a handgun and a rifle but make no mistake, you can ONLY have one weapon type on your person at any time: Woe to you if you’re frisked and a cop finds a gun and a backup, you’d go to jail. Fucked up laws… you can own one weapon system per person (Maximum two) and have it at home, even without a license and you wouldn’t get in trouble. Store 3 per person or more and you’re begging for a conviction as a weapons dealer. Here, the term CCW is taken literally: If your gun shows, you go to jail. If you draw your gun in a self-defense situation, you HAVE to shoot, even if it is in the air, on the ground, on the bad guy. If you don’t, you get prosecuted for attempted murder. LOL I know, ridiculous. If you actually shoot someone, even if in self-defense, you will go to jail and your weapon will be confiscated. What happens if you have connections? Depends on power of connection, it can vary from being released with no charges and with your gun, to being sent to jail for a while and never seeing your gun again. Best thing? Avoidance, prevention, de-escalation, physical unarmed retaliation, only use a gun if the situation is really fucked. During the war, none of that mattered, unless you shot someone important or the member of a different militia, this would lead to trouble.  Even nowadays, you don’t pick a fight with anyone as you don’t know who the dude is or what his connections are. He could be a relative of a Hezbollah commander, meaning you’d be in deep shit. Or the son of an Army General. Prevention is always better than cure.
  • Gun Prices in Lebanon: I hope you’re ready for this…. Ok here goes: As of November 2012, a Glock 19 in excellent condition costs 4,500$ (Used if you find one is 3,400$), and a Glock 26 around 6,000$. The cheapest Star gun is 2,000$, Colts and 1911 variants 2,500$-4,000$, Sigs and HKs 5,000$, etc. Yep, you read right. As for rifles, a shitty used AK sells at 1,800$. With the civil war in Syria going strong, gun prices here go higher and higher. The average salary here is 600$ per month, meaning that only those who are wealthy can afford to buy handguns.
  • Ammo: You guys should really be more considerate, here, a box of 50 rounds of 9mm costs 35$ AT THE RANGE and 50$ on the black market (You can’t buy ammo officially except for shotgun shells). A 5.56×45 round costs 1.5-2$ and a 7.62×39 around 2$ a piece. Load up on ammo, you should have all your mags filled to capacity as a bare minimum. Best to store 1,000 rounds per weapon system, get in the habit of buying 10 boxes at a time, shooting 10 rounds of each box of 50 to ensure that it works well in your gun, and getting some training at the same time. Don’t buy ammo and store it without testing it thoroughly, you could have a bad batch.
  • Calibers: it’s a no brainer really, any caliber will kill a man, and it all depends on placement. Stay away from exotic calibers as once the shit hits the fan, those will be gone forever. I am a firm advocate of the 9mm round, as its effective, accurate, readily available, and relatively inexpensive. Focus on what’s prevalent in your area, and stock up (Around 1,000 per caliber). In Lebanon, it was mostly 9mm for handgun as well as 7.62×39 and 5.56×45 for rifles. About effect on target, people died equally from .45 and 9mm, depending on placement and quantity of lead donated. Usually, and it has been said before, 80% of people shot with handguns survive, 80% of people shot with rifles don’t. Despite that, I heard many incidents of people shot with .223 rounds that kept fighting/ running, while a hit from a 7.62×39 round got them down fast. Both hits were center mass by the way. Those are eyewitness accounts and I’m just putting this here as food for thought. An important thing I forgot to mention, militiamen were usually coked up, thus explaining their higher tolerance to pain. This doesn’t mean that the 7.62 is better than the 5.56, far from it, each has different dynamics and ballistics. I personally prefer the 7.62 as it’s more potent (Although it has less range than the 5.56), cheaper, and more available.
  • Handgun recommendations: I strongly recommend choosing a striker fired handgun as I have an issue with the DA/SA, and a DAO is just ridiculous. I’m biased towards Glocks, but heard good things about the XD/ HS series. I even shot the subcompact version of the XD and liked it better than the diminutive Glock 26. I tried the S&W M&P and didn’t like its trigger at all. The Steyr pistol was uncomfortable but that’s my opinion as I shot a .40 version. If you’re not a fan of Glocks or XDs, you can’t go wrong with a CZ75 compact, either the older versions or the newer ones with Omega triggers, they’re great guns, rugged, and reliable. I also loved the Sig P225 and its modernized brother, the P229 (P226 is too big for me). HK guns are pricey, I shot the USP and didn’t like it. My final recommendation is to try shooting different guns and choose the one that not only feels good in the hand, but that you can shoot well, is comfortable, and is concealable. For me, the Glock 19 offers the best of all worlds but that’s my opinion ;).
  • Rifle recommendations: I won’t go into details such as SKS vs. AK vs AR15. My advice is simple: Get a rifle that can take the abuse, isn’t finicky about ammo, works in shit environments, can survive a firefight without being lubed, and has available parts and mags. That said, I would tell people to settle for a 7.62×39 rifle. The best AK clone is the Valmet RK95, made in Finland. If you can find one, get it as it’s a wonderful platform. If money is not an issue, then shoot the Sig 556R and make an educated decision. For those of us mere and poorer mortals, I would advise to give the VZ58 a try: it’s a superb weapon system that is ignored by many as a viable alternative to the AK or AR families. This platform has numerous advantages over its two rivals, is easily upgradable/ modifiable (Fab Defense or Czech Point has polymer furniture for it), resilient, won’t jam, etc. Right now, if I had a choice between an AK and a VZ, I’d go for the VZ. Here is a cool comparison between the VZ and the AK: http://50ae.net/VZ-vs-AK/My advice? Stock up on mags as it uses a proprietary technology, and on spare parts.
  • Magazines and spare parts: You never know when you will have access to a gunsmith or an armorer, so, as I said, you should load up on magazines and spare parts. I suggest at least 10 mags per platform, as well as a backup of all inner parts of each weapon. Also, learn as much as you can about the platform you have, get armorer’s guides, instructional dvds, take certification courses, etc. You may not need to custom engrave your gun, but at least know how to fix it. A very cool app that allows you to break down most handguns is Gun Disassembly by Noble Empire. Get it here: http://noble-empire.com/apps.php?app=gun and if you can afford to, get the lifetime membership to download all models. It’s a worthy investment in my humble opinion.

Well, I guess that’s it for a first article 😉 let me know what you think of it (Likes, dislikes, etc.) either by posting a comment or by contacting me directly.

Take care, stay safe, and God bless. G.

This contest will end on December 16 2012 – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules first… Yes

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.

Comments

  1. Georges:

    Just looking at your self description, it sounds like we’re “brothers of another mother, separated by an accident of geography”.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mystery guest says:

    Thank you ever so much. I really appreciate your writing this and letting us see what could be, as in our near future.
    I no longer have cable but when I did I would always get the cold chills watching such as what Syria is doing and wondering how the ordinary people could manage and wondering how they lived in such horrible circumstances (as with any country or people’s).
    And it seems for us it is getting closer to home and I do not like the idea one bit.
    As a prepper I have done and continue to do as much as I can to secure me and mine for such an onslaught. But I have no idea if it will matter in the end.
    Living even now in a free country, such as it is, it is hard for us to see what we will actually have to go through. And then there are the millions that do not see at all.

    • I read you Mystery Guest, the situation in syria is FUBAR. its different from Lebanon because syria ia dictatorship, meaning everything was regulated, prepping and arming yourself was quasi impossible for normal, unconnected folks. Lebanese have been seeing the tidal wave for a long time before it crashed. Plus, despite its flaws and sometimes thanks to them, Lebanon was/ is freer.

  3. This is a great read – the simple facts of life for you in those days are both educational for those of us who didn’t know much about Lebanon (yeah, that includes me) and should also open up some eyes about the realities of civilian life near combat zones.

  4. Petticoat Prepper says:

    Wow, I feel like I should have been taking notes while reading! You’re going into my prep notebook. This was a frightening glimps into what could be. Thank you so very much for sharing your insight!

  5. George, Very interesting article! Personal experience is the best teacher. Thank you for sharing yours. I really enjoyed it (except for the f bombs). Take care.

    • Hey Patti, thank you for the kind words, and sorry about the F bombs, nasty habit from doing Senshido Scenario Replications with intent 😉

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Agreed. It is a great read and very helpful in understanding our coming world; thank you, George. As to some of the language, well, as a Christian, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that Holy G-d tells us in His Word that we will ALL give an account for “every useless word ever spoken”. That isn’t just “cussin'”, of course, but it does encompass it. Such language does not make the point any more strongly, and, in my personal opinion, actually detracts from an otherwise intelligent discourse. Just a thought.

  6. A study was conducted of about 1000 police shootings and an interesting factor was quickly discovered: caliber of the bullet was irrelevent. It was the placement of the round that killed the target. Even then, suspects were able to return fire with non-survivable wounds, so shooting until there is no longer a threat is how cops are trained today.

    Very interesting article. Makes me appreciate my life today.

    • My research and asking people who have been there made me realize the same conclusion. Juswt like sniping, its all about location location location 😉

  7. I found this very informative. My only comment: The VZ 58 is an oddball one off. EVERY part is unique to it. I always prefer old standbyes that use common parts, ammo and mags.

    • I read you Ethan but allow me to ask a question, to which you will answer: Does your Glock/ 1911/ whatever gun take mags from other handgun types? No it does not. That’s why we load up on mags and spare parts and the knowledge to fix it. Go for the VZ58, you won’t ever regret it. Ak is shit in comparison 😉

      • I have no hands on experience with a Vz58. As for AK, yes many are crap. However the Finnish and Israeli copies made a fine impression.
        I’ve also noticed that quality ammo (Yugoslav, USA brass cased) makes a big difference in accuracy, even in Chinese crap SKSs and AKs.
        As for a Vz58, not legal in my state. The others were once. Thats how I know. Thankyou for your response to my comment.

  8. Great post, Georges. Thanks!

    All of this is completely in accord with what we experienced in 1975, but carried on and intensified for year after year in the primary combat zones, not like our relatively peaceful spot.

    You mentioned playing on the balcony when you were seven or eight. Do you remember how old you were when you realized that living in a civil war zone wasn’t normal for most people? Several years ago I gave a copy of my journal to my niece, who had been six years old when we were up in the mountains. One of her comments was that she had been unaware of the fighting and the tension it caused. That really startled me as it so dominated adult life.

    Of course, I don’t think we ever took her with us on shopping trips to Beirut, and there was only a single incident of shooting in the village, with apparently no one hurt, so she was far removed. I don’t remember anyone trying to protect her from conversation, just as a six year old she was still in a child’s world. Also, her Arabic was extremely limited, so she wouldn’t have had much conversation with kids she played with in the village.

    I vaguely recall that after we left, people in at least some areas of Beirut organized volunteer neighborhood groups to deal with the collapse of municipal services like garbage collection, while others didn’t. Do you remember anything like that, and if so, how did they work?

    Thanks again!

    • Hey Tom! 🙂

      Well, to me, growing up in that way was normal. Having power to watch TV and cartoons was a wonderful plus. i vaguely remember watching american war movies and think “Hey, just like home!” lol!

      What you said about the volunteer groups was true, but i really dont remember any of it personnally, will ask my mom or grandma about it and let you guys know.

  9. What a great read. I’ve said it before but I love reading personal accounts of what people experienced in bad situations. It’s really our best learning tool. We can speculate what people will do and how they will act, but until the situation dictates, you never really know. $2 a round for 7.62! I just want to go buy a 500 round brick and send it to you, but I’d probably go to jail 🙁

    I think you just put me over the edge on buying a VZ58. I’ve been looking at them for a couple of weeks. I like the fact that it has a bolt-hold-open over any other 7.62 rifle or variant. The proprietary magazines are the big drawback but they are not terribly expensive through surplus. Czechpoint has a 5.56 version and an adapter to use AR15 magazines as well.

    • Hey Ohio! Thanks for the kind offer but i’d be going to jail not you lol! Jails here don’t have weights and Ps3 and other luxeries like in the US, its basically 60 people in a room made for 10. NOT cool, also, many jihadists there, i may take a few out but the remainder will probably gang bang me then kill me 🙁 😛

  10. Thanks for passing along the information Georges.

    I’d be interested in what further advice you’d have regarding gold, silver, jewelry, and cash when the SHTF. I’m sure you’re familiar with the “you can’t eat gold” argument in prepperism/survivalism, if you don’t mind my asking, how have you chosen to prepare in this area? Thanks again for sharing.

    • Hey Red, my pleasure. About gold and silver, stock up as much as you can but keep a healthy reserve of US currency on you, the S didnt hit the F yet and wont before a while, if you have no cash on hand, you will have to sell gold for it and thats not necessary.

      I just started prepping but its not the same prepping as you guys do, my immediate concern is civil war (again). The lebanese pound is stable as it is aligned to the US dollar as well as to gold.

      If you dont own guns, get as many as you can and a lot of spare parts and ammo. You are more at risk from civil unrest than from a total collapse of society. The US as a country is supoer rich in term of natural resources, you will always be able to hunt/ forrage enough to survive. Not saying dont prep, but keep guns and ammo and most importantly skillset as a priority. Knowledge, and the proper use of this knowledge is power, and that power will never be taken away from you, even by force (Unless you die)

      • GZF,

        I am a bit late getting to read the articles for this week. I have just finished your article and am reading through the comments. I am grateful that you shared your experiences with us. I now see the importance of having some gold/silver on hand. This is the one area where I am woefully deficient.

        I find that I read about other people’s experiences and I am just completely engrossed in the story–like I am absorbing information like Vulcan mind melt.

  11. Soggy Prepper says:

    That was very good. Thank you so much for sharing your
    personal experience. Everyone can learn something from it.

  12. Georges,

    Great article, thanks so much for taking the time to compose all of that. Nothing like hearing about it from someone who has actually lived through experiences like yours. I found your description of the sniper threat very interesting (Mac Slavo’s SHTF experience mentioned that as well), and I’m glad to see you call yourself a Glock Guy.

    PJ

    • Glocks are wonderful brother PJ, that’s why theyre in great demand. In Lebanon, the favorite weapons are Glocks, AKs, and MP5 (Fully auto of course 😉 ) because they get the job done and take up abuse (MP5 definitely less than the first two, as its tactical gucci lol)

      • tactical gucci…..rofl…..You should write a book. I would buy it.

      • GZF

        I wouldn’t know about fully auto MP5’s but I can imagine they are fun to shoot. Many people fail to understand that if you look good, you will feel good and thus perform good. At least that is what I remember from my football days when we had to accessorize all of our gloves/cleats/arm bands etc. This is why “tactical gucci” is such a necessity.

        PJ

        • Maybe not a necessity but definitely a perk 😉 only issue with MP5 (and the AR platform) is the factory peep sights, i think they suck. Optics are cool but good ones are pricey.

    • I love my Glock. 🙂

  13. Wow! So many comments already! 🙂 I’m glad i could give some basic info on how it was living back then.

    Let me try to answer everyone’s comments in the morning, It’s midnight and I need to rest, tomorrow is gonna be a long day (Work + Boxing + BJJ).

    See you all in a few hours and thanks again for the encouraging comments!

  14. Amaury Murgado says:

    Great article. Thanks for giving us some real-world insight.

  15. Uncle Charlie says:

    All I can say is WOW! You have walked the walk, not just talked the talk and made me feel very lucky to have been born in the USA. Good luck to you and yours.

    • Thank you Uncle C! And bro, i was a kid, the ones that deserve credit are my parents and other people who actually saw the storm and weathered it 😉

  16. @ Georges Fahmy, Excellent insight on your background and experiences. I worked with a Christian Lebanese Boeing engineer years ago, knowledgeable, a kind man who appreciated those who supported his efforts as a manager/team leader. Had a taste for the strongest coffee I’ve ever tasted, and shared his Lebanese culinary delights by taking me to a local Lebanese restaurant. Fine family man. Very well respected. You sound like the same type of person. Keep on sharing your experiences, we need to see thins through your eyes.

    • Hey Sarge, thank you for your kind words, I do my best to live life like Christ wants me to. Coffee here is extremely strong, i cant stomach it (Or any other type of coffee, just gives me a headache. And makes an already hyper guy like me look like a squirrel on coke lol!)

  17. MENTALMATT says:

    I think it was one of the best articles I have read on this site in a very long time. Hell it reminds me of life here in the “D”.

    • village idiot says:

      MATT, good to see you made it safely through the past week. The D is truly one of the most dangerous places in the world. Be careful.

    • Thank you so much for the compliment Matt! (Damn this is going straight to my head, i dont think i can go through doors now lmfao!)

      Detroit is some scary place brother, and it has the worst trash from Lebanon (Terrorists, thugs, etc.). Be safe brother!

  18. Excellent article. I was taking notes while reading. Throughout most of America our structures are built out of wood. In the cities there may be many concrete buildings but get a couple of miles outside and the ability of structures to stop errant bullets becomes nil. I think this will become readily apparent during shelling/drone strikes. So having a hardened place of refuge outside a main structure may be the difference between life and death. 7.62x54R can penetrate mild steel plate from a significant distance. Thus the popularity of PSL rifles. True Dragunovs are very rare and if they can be authenticated start at about 11K here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTWUIsDzN78

    • Damn, they sell around 7-8 grands here but if you’re caught with any explosives or sniper rifles, your life ends in jail. Same about silencers or improvised silencers.

      Get a .308 (7.62×51 NATO) rifle instead, like a G3. it kicks like a mule (Or so i heard, never shot one myself) but as a medium-to-long range weapon, it gets the job done. Or a Barret .50 😛

  19. village idiot says:

    Georges, that was a great read, more informative than just about anything I’ve read about the Civil War in Lebanon. There is nothing like first-hand experience. I wish I could remember the author, but I read his take on the Civil War, and it was pretty much the same as yours, although he gave his view from more of the Hezbollah perspective.

    A couple of things to remember on rifle platforms, the AR platform is very common and plentiful in the US, as is the ammo and parts, so it’s a no-brainer here to use that platform. I like the AK/SKS platform as well, and it is worthy and quite common here as well. Ammo could be an issue long term, but it is fairly cheap right now so one could store plenty.

    I certainly wouldn’t argue with you about the Glock. Quite frankly, it’s the most popular pistol here in the US as well, and a G19 can be bought brand new where I live for under $500, at least for now. Police here in the US commonly use the .40cal S&W cartridge, so many people here have a pistol that shoots that caliber along with a .45acp, which is another common round. I only stock 9mm and .45acp myself, but my son has a .40cal S&W.

    The day-to-day existence you describe sounds very stressful with periods of normalcy mixed with periods of violence. Add to that the fear of snipers and car bombs, and the uncertainty of laws and interactions with authorites, and I can see where mental disease could be a big problem.

    I noted that you were able to go shopping for food during lulls in the violence, but where did that food come from? Was it local, or imported from someplace? I don’t assume you had a garden or anything, but did other people have gardens to supplement their food supply and make money from the sale of food? Or would a garden attract unwanted notice? Sorry for all the questions, but am curious.

    I hope you are prospering now, and safe from the dangers in that part of the world. Great job.

    • Hey Village Idiot,

      Thanks bro 🙂 From the quality of some of your post, you’re definitely not a village idiot 😉

      I dislike the .40 for many reasons (Sharp recoil, a .45 is better, expensive ammo, unavailable here, the fact that as a round it’s a solution in search of a problem) and recommend focusing on 9mm or .45 (And .22 for hunting small game). When i teach firearms seminars, i keep reminding people here that caliber and manhood are not related, and if someone claims a 9mm or even a .32 is for sissies, to stand in front of me while i’m shooting those girlie guns 😉 hell even a .25 to the face would suck 😉

      in term of gardens, that was rare to see in urban areas as beirut is very urbanized and you ahve only a few green spaces. having a garden in your summer home in the mountains is quite common and a lot of people eat fruits and vegetables from them.

      Food was mostly fresh during the LCW, meat and chicken came from farms outside of beirut, as well as frozen from abroad. Canned goods were available and mostly imported.

      A lot of people in their teens / early adulthood were stressed out and burned out from the climate of constant danger. You had (And still have from prevalent political instability) a huge dependance on anti-depressor drugs (Xanax, Lexotanin, Valium). Although these were available only by prescription, every family has a member who is a doctor so no problem there ;). By the way, here if you’re not a doctor, an engineer, architect, a lawyer, or a businessman, you’re considered a disgrace. My family would have disowned me if i didnt get a college education (I have a Bachelor in Business as well as a Masters in International Affairs just to be weddable 😉 ). Some fucked up values i know…

      Food always was available as militiamen needed to eat, and they taxed food for extra cash to go and party.

      I never head about that book you mentionned about a hezbollah guy. It’s important to remember that each region was affected differently by the war, some had it worse while others were relatively safe.

      • village idiot says:

        Thank you for those kind words, Georges. The book I referred to was written by either a Frenchmen or American who was embedded(for lack of a better word) with the Hezbollah fighters over a period of time. He did give an overview of the entire war, but of course his combat knowledge base came from the H militia.
        I, although I’ve never been there, would love Lebanon. I like the scenary and the climate, and the women, at least the one’s I’ve seen, are some of the prettiest in the World. I’ve noticed that about Israel, too. Haha! And the people are well-educated as you said.
        The church I attend has a mission and education facility in Beirut, I don’t want to give it’s name, but I have assisted the pastor there, and he has been to our church many times, as have some of our pastors and lay people been to Beirut. Not lately, though, but the work has continued.
        Wish you the best, brother, and keep up the posts with your experiences.

  20. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Georges,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. We Americans are so fortunate to have not had a war on the mainland in 150 years. War, civil unrest, whatever always hurts the innocent. I hope your country finds a lasting peace and prosperity.

    • Thank you Tactical G-Ma, sadly Lebanon has always been at the crossroad of civilizations, therefore is a playground for empires. It will probably never know true lasting peace. But we do try to live, and countrary to belief, the country is fairly safe, and is gorgeous in term of scenary, climate, nightlife, and tourism.

  21. I appreciate u taking something hard in ur life and using it for good. While I find ur article very helpful the most stricking thing to me is that we’re the same age, I’m 16 days older than u. What u’ve been through is just amazing and ur doing such a good thing for others w/ teaching them from ur own experiences how to survive. God bless u & ur work Georges!

    • Thank you Kristy but I’m afraid you’re giving me too much credit 🙂 I do my best to help others by teaching them how to survive violence of all types, that’s my gift and my cross (I say my cross because sometimes people are a bit freaked out by my passion and directness. Meh, its all good. “When the Student is ready, the teacher shall appear” is an old chinese proverb that fits the situation)

      • GZF,

        If you were here in the South, I would take your class. You sound like such a humble, knowledgeable man.

  22. sounds like that Lebanon is a good country to be from, far from. I like the idea of standard rounds.Or at least plentifull rounds.i kinda think that tdl is going to tear down the usa to third world status.

    • Hey axelsteve, quite on the contrary bro, Lebanon is a superb place to live in, you just need to get used to certain uncomfortable truths and possible situations 😉

      Standardizing rounds is crucial, just stock up as much as you can. Here, a sealed metal box of 750 7.62×39 rounds costs 1,200$, so for those that claim that ammo prices are rising in the US, puuuleazeee 😀

  23. MontanaPrepperDad says:

    What a fascinating read. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I fear we may only be a few steps away from a similar situation in our own country. An article like yours helps us be ready. Thank you again.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Nice article bud. I hope the life during a civil war that you described is not a glimpse of our future here. But the people are getting to be more and more divided…..

      • Hey SurvivorDan, thanks for the kind words. War and conflict are inevitable, as people lose the war of arguments and resort to violence to make their points heard. Time will tell. Meanwhile, be prepared 😉

    • My pleasure MontanaPrepperDad 🙂

  24. Wild Weasel says:

    Real world non tactical facts! This is a great article, real world survival. Thank you for your time hope you post more articles in the future.

    • Thank you Wild Weasel! I will do my best 🙂 if you are interested in some self defense tips, check out my site, i wrote some articles that can be v useful for preppers as well

  25. Wow !!!! what a great article !

  26. MountainSurvivor says:

    Georges Fahmy,
    Thank you for the lessons and personal insight. As with any good story, it was impossible to take the eyes off of yours. America moving into another sort of rule, totally not what the founders intended it to be under (socialism), there is no telling what any area could wake up to, tomorrow morning. Your story is a heads up to keep ours down and very seriously appreciated. Every person should be thankful to the non-islamik Jesus for blessing the nation with the knowledge and wisdom from people such as yourself.

  27. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Thank you very much for your article – a lot of ‘Omigosh – what would I do in THAT situation ?’ experience.

    What were the effects mentally in general ? Were kids mindsets affected in a major way ? Was religious faith helpful, or was it just a major divider amongst the various groups ? And now that it has been over (for most part), do the survivors from that time reminesce, or do they just want to put that behind them?

    Thank you again.

    • Excellent questions JR, let me see if I can answer them properly one by one:

      1) What were the effects mentally in general ?

      Well, obviously, lots of stress, people were always on edge, eating anti-psychotic meds or mood stabilizers like candy. Lots of excess, hypersexuality, binging on alcohol, nihilistic behaviors, drug use, hysterical reactions to small events…

      2) Were kids mindsets affected in a major way ?

      Oh yes, in a big way, some were scared all the time, others not. The game style became different, an imitation of reality: I remember playing “Cowboys and indians”, only it wasn’t cowboys or indians, it was “Us Versus Them”. War similuation, you were with X militia VS Y. Kids you met for the first time needed to make sure you were “one of them” so they used to ask you your name which told them with 70% accuracy your religion, for example any “Western” name such as Marc, George, Elias, Emil, Francois, etc mean you were christian, muhamad, ahmad, etc meant you were muslim. Once that was determined, they’d ask you your political affiliation (As for example you could be christian but with the insane general aoun against the Lebanese Forces). I mean, fuck, we’re talking about children aged 6-10 here, meaning early on, we developed a certain opsec as well as mindset to protect us. All this was taught either directly or indirectly by parents. Many Christian kids had never seen or touched or palyed with a muslim kid before,either from fear/ hate (Demonization of the other) or due to geographical positioning (Living in a 100% area, protected from the outside world by Christian militias).

      3) Was religious faith helpful, or was it just a major divider amongst the various groups ?

      Religion was everything. It was the divider and the protector from the other. You married within your religious group (Not necessarily the same rite, for example a Maronite Christian would sometimes marry a Greek Orthodox Christian, but the priest would make some bs remarks such as “Couldnt you find a nice Maronite girl instead?” but usually wasn’t an issue) extremely rarely across different religions as one had to convert to that other religion before being able to marry (Except for a christian woman marrying a muslim, she kept her religion but the kids would be considered muslim and everything in terms of inheritance, divorce, etc would be done in according to sharia).

      4) And now that it has been over (for most part), do the survivors from that time reminesce, or do they just want to put that behind them?

      Nothing is over brother, we were raised up with the same mindset our forefathers were raised up with, to be weary of the enemy and distrusts him/ her as if you did forget, they wouldn’t and you would just die in your sleep. the ideology of jihad started it all and since it is still very much alive, the war rages on.
      About the LCW, people dont call it the war, they call it “El hawadis” arabic for “the events”. Some psychological way of distancing what they went through from war. It really is weird you know? I think there are some Master’s thesis written about the psycho-emotional events of the LCW on civilian population at the American University of Beirut, might make for an interesting read.

      Thank you again for your kind words and questions bro.

      • >>do the survivors from that time reminesce, or do they just want to put that behind them?

        Nothing is over brother, we were raised up with the same mindset our forefathers were raised up with, to be weary of the enemy and distrusts him/ her <<

        I grew up in Wisconsin, but in 1965, '66, & '67 I went to summer camp with a bunch of kids from North Carolina and Mississippi.

        As the lone Yankee, I got a fair bit of teasing about being from the bad side during the War of Northern Aggression- and that was indeed their term for it. It was mostly friendly enough, but there was some tinge of old hostilities. These were kids whose grandparents were likely born in the 1880 or 1890ss- twenty or more years after the Civil War. It still was a realty for them. They "understood" as early teenagers that the Yankees had done them wrong.

        It may be that part of that was because so many of the battlefields were in the South: they were a constant reminder not only of the war, but that they had lost it, been occupied, and then by the 1960s the Yankees were again interfering in how the dominant culture treated their seriously unpopular minority group.

        It also may have been the case that being on the losing side created much greater cultural awareness of the war than being on the winning side had been on the north. Also, the great influx of European immigrants after the Civil War went to the North, because that's where the industrial jobs were. That meant that lots of "Yankees" had no Ante Bellum Yankee roots, so the war was purely a historic topic for them.

        This was before the great migration of people from the Northeast and Midwest into the south and west which started in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Air conditioning transformed the comfort of southern summers at exactly the same time interstate highways and passenger jets made long distance travel convenient. The South is very different today because a huge portion of the population, particularly the urban population, doesn't have Ante Bellum roots there, but if you go into some areas you will hear store owners casually using the N-word in front of customers.They don't care if you care.

        Places like Lebanon had far worse atrocities than the whites in Confederate states suffered, and the descendants of various sides, if not all their many factions, will be identifiable forever simply by knowing someone's first name.

        Of course, all you need to know to determine which side an old Southern family was on during the Civil War is to look at their skin. Those hostilities don't go away anytime soon, either. Just ask Reverend Jeremiah Wright. A lot of people do very well by keeping old grievances, which we would be better off all forgetting, very fresh.

        Hostilities over atrocities like the Lebanese suffered don't get put aside completely for generations. When there are people who can gain power and wealth by keeping the hatred festering, it can go on for centuries.

        Just look at Osama bin Laden stirring up jihadi anger over the "Tragedy of Iberia" or "The Tragedy of al-Andaluz". He was referring to the ethnic Spaniards (Catholics) reconquering the Iberian Peninsula from the Moslems who had conquered it in the 8th century. The Reconquest was finished in 1492 and fundamentalist Muslims are still angry about it and still planning on reversing it. It doesn't have to end. Ever.

        • I read you Tom, but the grievances bin laden mentions (And other muslims are quick to raise) are due to islamic scriptures: any land that was considered dar el islam (the house of islam) and was lost is to be reconquered. this is a religious duty.

          I would prefer if we continued this discussion privately if you dont mind though.

          • >>I would prefer if we continued this discussion privately<<

            Of course, Georges. You can get my email address by clicking on my name. It will be in the upper right corner.

  28. Just tossing out a bold prediction, GZF’s article wins the non-fiction writing contest. 🙂

    PJ

  29. I’m with MontanaPrepperDad…thanks for a well written bit of insight to the reality of a SHTF situation. We’re blessed to have the resources available to us and even the schooling and triaing that is accessible in order to be well prepared. Stories like yours are encouraging and a break from recipes and first aid lists. Thanks G!

  30. Wow Georges – nicely done. I’m glad I found this post. I found this part interesting and had a question:

    “Shelter (Apartment buildings, shops, etc.): Everyone had steel-reinforced doors installed, those were a necessity unless you wanted to wake up to a break-in and all the shit that it entails”

    Can you say more about this? Were they exterior, outward opening extra doors that were installed over inside opening doors? Or were these just steel front doors, opening inward as is common in the west?

    I’ve always thought that the most simple way to reinforce any doorway is to turn the door around to open with a pull instead of a push. In a lot of places that is illegal around here (I’ve been told by building inspectors it’s so firefighters can get in in case of fire. Or cops too for their own reasons I would imagine). But that’s the inverse of the argument that you can’t get out of a burning building as easily, which is why office buildings etc have outward opening doors. Another case of stupid law syndrome.

    I’ve noticed in a lot of low income places people install an extra barred door over their existing one which opens outward. Was that the case in Lebanon back then?

    Great piece of writing – thanks again.

    • Hey Rod! My pleasure to be talking with you, like always 🙂

      Most of the doors were exterior, outward opening extra doors that were installed over inside opening doors. Those were extremely hard to breach and kept bad guys out, while allowing good guys the ability to push to escape.

      Dont let me start ranting about stupid laws! 😀 😉

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      Solid wood door wedges, cut out of standard 2 x lumber, work pretty well. Pound in at threshold, jamb at door strike (high and low) and at top. Make them far more difficult to bust open.

      At the very least, the occupants will get a warning of impending home invasion.

      Hope this helps.

  31. Very interesting. I won’t be able to read your next one though if you continue to include such swear words. They are not necessary.

    • Thank you Jane. No offense sister, but i don’t swear gratuitously, if you were in my shoes, living through this stuff, you’d probably swear too 😉 anyways, i do my best to keep the cussing to a minimum, except when doing force on force scenarios, as those words will be spat out by bad guys who are trying to kill/ rob/ rape their selected targets.

  32. I attribute my past experiences (of being shot at numberous times by bad people, gang beatings I got, living in a war zone like atmosphere with gun fire and threats on my life for existing), for my survivalist attitude.
    Psychologically it affected me to go to semi-isolation and not trust many people. And that happened in this country.

    I appreciate your article, and hope you live safe.

    • Dear Donna, im sorry you went through what sounds to be a hellish experience. I pray you are safe. As preppers, we must remember that surviving is not enough, we must LIVE. And life means trusting and loving others, while being careful.

      • Thanks, friend. I plow through the obstacles and enjoy life through my faith, because it compels me.

  33. Danger of life reminds u the value of life:)

  34. GZF, thanks for a great article. There are indeed people who value life and principles more than anything in the world, and in any part of the world…as am also from the so-called “third world”. Be safe friend, and Christian on!

    • Hey Doods! Thank you my friend, be safe and God be with you! (Since you live in the third world, read my articles about Personal Protection, you may need it, especially for avoidance and prevention.)

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