December 17, 2017

What Does Civil Unrest Look Like and How Can You Stay Safe Near It?

There have been a lot of rumors of possible or expected civil unrest, which I mentioned in What We May See at the End of 2012 that is not related to the Mayans and such as this recent article from, entitled Will The Election Results Cause Massive Riots To Erupt All Over America?.  This could range from small peaceful protests to large violent riots.  In light of this, I thought I would look back at civil unrest in our history and from around the world to see if there is anything to be learned that could help if we’re ever caught near civil unrest.


Mob Mentality

Mob mentality means a group that acts together without a previous plan.  Mob mentality can turn dangerous if there are negative or hostile emotions being expressed.   People often feed off one another’s anger.  If one person acts out in violence, others may quickly follow.  People soon think as a group and continue to feed off each other’s hostility.

There are a certain percentage of people who will act with honor in any situation.  There is another percentage that will act with dishonor and take advantage of people in any situation.  There is yet another group of people who will usually act with honor except when presented with the opportunity to “get away with it”.  In a group of people, all it takes is for a small percentage of dishonorable people to influence the opportunists and chaos ensues.

Examples where this has happened would be riots after sporting events, flash mobs with malicious intent and, to some extent, the riots seen with “Occupy Wall Street”.

If you are facing a group where mob mentality is present, the best advice I can give is to leave the area immediately and call the police from a safe distance.  Flash mobs are a bit different; they are usually made up of teenagers who text their friends and the group quickly builds because so many have been texting.  They often then target a specific location, streaming in and either burglarizing the location or, in some instances, assaulting patrons or employees.

If you are faced with a flash mob, I would advise you to forget what you were there to purchase and leave immediately.  You do not know what the intent is or how long it will remain peaceful.  Retreat to a safe distance that the mob cannot quickly get to and call police.


Extended Lawlessness

I can only think of one case of extended lawlessness in recent American history.  That would be the LA riot in 1992, which lasted six days.  There were 53 people killed and over 2,000 injured.  Rioting was sparked in a few other places across the country but the majority of it was seen in LA.

Looting and violence was rampant.  I had a friend in the Navy who lived in South Central LA during the time of the riots.  He said his mother made him and his brother stay lying on the floor almost the entire time because of random gunfire.  I have read reports that police were so overwhelmed in parts of the city that some business owner took up arms and defended their businesses.

Looking abroad, we see similar traits.  When Saddam fell and his police went into hiding, Iraq was full of looting and rioting that carried on for many days.  I remember reading reports from Tunisia and Egypt soon after the civil unrest started there.  There were reports of small convenience stores running out of supplies, cash machines running dry and neighbors banding together to defend their neighborhood from the rioting thugs.

There have been many anti-austerity protests and riots in Spain, Greece, the United Kingdom and some other European countries as well, many of which have turned violent.  I remember reading one report of sporting goods stores in the UK running out of baseball bats because people were buying them for protection (see what happens when you don’t have the right to bear arms?).

If you live near a city that is in the midst of extended lawlessness you will have to make a decision.  Will you be safer if you bug out or batten down?  If you chose to batten down, here are some things to keep in mind; 1.) Make sure you have food and water available so that you do not have to risk leaving the house.  2.) Keep some emergency cash at home just in case you must leave for emergency supplies.

If you have to go out on foot, always be looking for cover and concealment, even if you don’t have to use it in the moment, you should always know where the nearest is at any given moment.  Avoid large groups of people; you have no way of knowing what they may be up to or when mob mentality may take hold.  If you see violence taking place, whether it is a fistfight or any other type of violence, it can shock your system to see it “in real life”.  Do not fixate on it, push it from your mind and focus on putting distance between you and it, you can process what you saw when your safely back home.  Keep your head on a swivel as they say in the Navy and keep looking around you to make sure you know who is nearby.

If you go out near civil unrest in a vehicle, keep as much distance as you can or you may be faced with the decision to use your vehicle to “make some room” to push through a crowd or to simply flee.  That is why I suggest you keep moving.  Do not stop and watch.  Keep as much distance as you can. Almost every time I see footage from riots, there are cars that are vandalized, flipped over or burned.

You cannot depend on 911 or expect the police to show up quickly.  It might be wise to take a page from the neighbors in Egypt who banded together to protect their neighborhood or from the business owners in LA that defended their businesses because the police were so overwhelmed.


Restoring Order

Police and possibly the National Guard have the difficult task of stopping the lawlessness and restoring order.  This job could be made increasingly difficult because in many cases the dishonorable people will try to blend in with citizens who’re nearby.  This is used to great effect in Iraq and Afghanistan where someone will shot at our forces and then drop their gun and hide amongst the civilians standing nearby, or will run into a hospital mosque.

As I wrote in What We May See at the End of 2012 that is not related to the Mayans, local law enforcement agencies have trained with the military in urban operations.  Also Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons and the Air National Guard ordering several LRAD (Long Range Acoustical Devices).  The article also states:

“With this order, LRAD systems will be in use by every major force of the Department of Defense,”

There are two dangers.  One is the rioters and the other is the response to them.  You would be well advised to keep your distance from both.


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