By Timothy Gamble (October 30, 2018)
Originally written in the run up to the 2018 election, these strategies hold true for any time period.
Regardless of what happens in the election, we are in for a period of even greater civil unrest and political turmoil. Things will get much worse before they get better. Get ready for a chaotic and dangerous few years.
I. Avoid the Riot
The best strategy, of course, is to avoid the riot entirely. If possible, don't live, shop, work, or go to school in riot-likely areas. Riot-likely areas include Washington, DC, and other large cities and urban areas, especially in inner city areas and near "bad" neighborhoods, or near university and college campuses.
If you must live or work in these areas, pay attention to current events to know when trouble is brewing. Riots actually are fairly predictable. Pay attention to local news for potential triggers such as controversial police shootings or "racial incidents" that suddenly get a lot of media attention.
Organized political violence is also on the rise, often attached to planned events - such as political rallies, marches, international conferences, etc. These events are magnets for anarchists, social justice warriors, eco-protesters, ANTIFA, BLM. and other groups looking to cause trouble to make political points, so avoid being in the area during such events. This should be easy to do since these events are announced months ahead of time.
II. Move Away from the Riot
There has been an incident (a police shooting, perhaps) and an angry mob is gathering near your location. It is time to get out of the area. Don't hang around hoping things will calm down. Don't hang around out of curiosity or stubbornness. Get out of the area as soon as possible. This brings up the value of knowing the area, having maps, and a reliable vehicle.
You meed to know the areas immediately around and between your workplace, home, and schools. You need to know multiple routes out of each location. How do you get home from work (or school) if your main route is blocked for some reason? What if the bridge you have to cross is blocked? What if that major intersection you need to pass through is filled with brick-throwing rioters? Think through all the possible escape routes. Familiarize yourself with them now. By familiarize, I mean actually drive or walk those routes, not just note them on a map.
You need a reliable vehicle to get you out of the area, so make sure you keep up with your vehicles regular maintenance (see my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule). If you do use public transportation, make sure you know the bus/subway/train schedules for all nearby stops. Leave early enough to get out of the area before things get bad, since public transport may be suspended during the riot.
III. Hide/Shelter In-Place
The situation got out-of-hand more quickly than you anticipated. Or the riot zone greatly expanded to engulf the area you are in. Either way, you failed to achieve the two safest options. Now your best bet is to hide, shelter in-place, or otherwise become invisible to the rioting mob.
If you live in an area that may be prone to riots (large cities and urban areas, near "bad" neighborhoods, or near university and college campuses), you need to harden your home now and perhaps even create & supply a safe room that can be completely sealed off from the rest of your home.
If you work in such an area, you need to maintain a survival kit at your workplace or in your car that will enable you to go several days without returning home. It should include items such as food & water, a personal water filter, a basic first aid kit, extra of medications you take, flashlight and extra batteries, perhaps a poncho and blanket.Your workplace should have emergency items such as fire extinguishers, a more extensive first aid kit, and an emergency radio. Ask if it does, and where they are located.
Most riots are usually over quickly, often by the next morning, and authorities will begin to retake control. But sporadic rioting may go on for days. This illustrates the need to maintain enough food, water, and other supplies to ride out the danger without having to go out in search of those supplies. Everyone, even non-preppers, should maintain at least two weeks worth of food, water, and supplies in their home at all times. More is better.
While you are in the riot zone, do your best to remain well-hidden. Don't make yourself a target. Time for your best gray-man imitation. Get out of your business suit or fancy dress (keep a change of clothes & shoes at your workplace or in your car). Hide any expensive watches or jewelry. Stay away from windows and doorways. Keep lights off. Don't make noise.
Self-defense is always a last resort. It means you have failed to avoid or defuse the situation (perhaps through no fault of your own). It means you may have to take a life. It definitely means your life is in grave danger. And in a riot situation, you will almost certainly be greatly outnumbered. Not a good situation to be in.
But, self-defense may become necessary. It is why it is important to be armed and well-trained. Well-trained means more than just target practice - you need to take a good defensive shooting course (or several). So, if it is legal to carry where you are, please seriously consider doing so. Know and obey the laws, get all the proper licenses and permits, get well-trained, and practice gun safety, of course. But carry if you can.
Final Thought: Although riots often occur spontaneously in response to a particular event, we are seeing a sharp rise in organized violence, often funded through layers of shady organizations to hide the real organizers and their real (typically political) motivations. These organizers will only be emboldened or grow more desperate, depending on the November election's outcome, so expect this trend towards organized political violence to not only continue, but to grow. Stay safe.
You may also be interested in my article Preparing for Civil Unrest and Political Turmoil.
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