Civil disturbances (also called civil unrest or riots) can happen for many different reasons like frustration with the government, a bad court decision, drunken mayhem after sporting events, or racial tensions in a neighborhood. Or sometimes a peaceful rally, concert or party can turn violent and spill over into neighborhoods or business districts.
We recently witnessed peaceful Black Lives Matter protests turning violent in over 140 cities across the U.S. in the wake of the death of a man in police custody in Minneapolis. Antifa is one of multiple extremist groups that have been accused of being agitators during the protests. And, not too long ago we saw Antifa inspired violence erupt in Ferguson, Baltimore, and in our nation’s capital.
There are a number of factors at play in our society and around the world that may precipitate increasing civil disturbances in the future, and is something you should be increasingly prepared for.
People panic because they do not know what to do next. If you are prepared for a crisis, you will know what to do next
DURING A RIOT OR CIVIL UNREST:
Sometimes authorities can block off the affected areas — other times things may just go crazy. In some cases when things get out of hand, local law enforcement may request the National Guard come in and help so don’t be alarmed if you see uniformed armed forces on the streets.
- Stay calm & be aware – If possible, avoid contact with rioters and keep a low profile. Leave the area as quickly and safely as possible and stay away from the area until authorities say all is clear.
- Listen – If officials tell you to leave or to shelter-in-place … DO it!
- Stay updated with local radio, TV, and social media. You need to have situational awareness in these situations. While social media may provide new information as rapidly as possible, it may not be as accurate with many rumors flying around, so evaluate your information carefully. Don’t rely only on your cell phone for communication. Cell towers could be down and service overloaded. Acquire communication equipment so that you can keep in touch with family members and the outside world during times of civil disobedience. This may include an emergency radio, a shortwave scanner, a HAM radio or something else.
- Develop a family emergency plan so that everyone knows what to do and where to meet in the event the worst happens.
Urban Survival Series – Episode 2 – Developing Spy Level Situational Awareness
- You should stockpile food supplies for at least a week, maybe more. Why? Because, depending on the severity of the situation, hunkering down may be necessary. You may be advised or forced to stay indoors for a long time.
- Evacuate? – If you are told to leave – do so … and IF you have time…
- Secure your home or business. Lock doors and windows, back up files if possible, take valuables and important papers with you (or lock them up), etc.
- Don’t try to drive through a crowd — find another way out. Think about your possible escape routes and safe havens before anything actually happens. Try to keep to the streets that are clear of rioters, and avoid the main roads that are more likely to be occupied.
Things to watch for:
- Flying objects or gas – rioters may throw rocks, bottles, bricks, cans, fireworks, or molotov cocktails (an improvised incendiary device)… and police may use rubber bullets, bean bags or tear gas for crowd control.
- Damaged areas – rioters may smash windows, burn tires, overturn cars and set buildings or homes on fire.
- Suspicious packages – rioters may call in bomb threats.
- Sometimes looting occurs but be smart about protecting your property, it’s not worth getting hurt or shot defending it. When mob mentality takes over during a riot, people lose their personal inhibitions and can become incredibly violent and destructive.
- A rioter cannot be reasoned with.
- A rioter cannot be bought off.
- A rioter will not be scared off by your gun or warnings.
Your property can be replaced. Your life cannot. In a riot, the primary thing you should care about is securing your and your family’s personal safety. In doing so, you want to be armed for self protection with guns, folding knives, pepper spray, or stun guns. Make sure you know how to use them.