What Do You Do If You’re Caught In a Riot? – 12 Tips to Survive Social Unrest
In today’s America, companies like Facebook and Google wield as much (or even more) power than the U.S. government. The one big difference between these super companies and governments is the fact that there are no checks and balances to ensure that they don’t abuse their power.
What happens when they succeed at diving the American people? Are you ready for the potential social unrest?
Facebook has been on the defensive recently as comments made by two former insiders reignited a firestorm about whether social media, Facebook in particular, has become an increasingly toxic force that tears apart the very fabric of society by turning us into mindless zombies susceptible to the slightest suggestion.
Facebook itself waded into the controversy, summarizing research suggesting that the platform can be both bad and good for our mental health. Stepping back from the hype and hyperbole, is it really the case that social media might truly be a force for evil in our modern world, ripping us apart in ways that undermine the very idea of self-government? Or is it merely a bystander, giving us a new digital window through which to observe inevitable natural societal change with newfound visibility?
How to Survive a Riot
The forces at work in America today are making it more likely than ever that widespread social unrest may be right around any corner. Follow these 12 tips and the chances of you making it out relatively unscathed are pretty good.
#1 – Avoidance is your best bet.
Being smart and avoiding any kind of social unrest is going to be the best thing you can do. Keeping an eye on social media is a great way to stay abreast of any possible out of control situations.
#2 – Stay calm and move away from the crowd.
Riots bring intense emotions boiling to the surface, but if you want to survive one you’d be better off keeping your own emotions in check. Your adrenaline and survival instincts will kick in, but strive to think rationally and pursue safety methodically.
Avoid confrontation by keeping your head down.
Walk at all times. If you run or move too quickly, you might attract unwanted attention.
Source: How to Survive a Riot
Getting excited and allowing your emotions to influence your decisions is always a bad idea. Sometimes it’s easier said than done but staying calm will get you far in most disaster situations.
#3 – Keep your family and friends close.
If you happen to get caught up in a riot and have a loved one with you, you have more to worry about than just yourself. Try to keep them in front of you and within arms reach at all times. This will allow you to hold on to them and keep them in sight as you move to a safer area.
#4 – Try to blend in with the crowd until you can make an escape.
Don’t do anything stupid that’s going to get you arrested, but you want to look like you are part of the crowd. Now is not the time to voice your opinion, or prove some political point. If someone tries engaging you in conversation, mirror what they are saying and let them think you are on their side.
Try to blend in if you can. Not being noticed is often almost as good as not being there. As always, you’re looking for a way out so you can move to a safe area. As soon as you get a chance, calmly make your escape.
#5 – Trust your instincts.
Today, people are taught that feeling insecure or being alert to danger when you’re in a bad part of town is racist or in some way reflects poorly on you. Put that out of your head.
We have countless years of instincts working inside of us, telling us when a situation is dangerous. Holding all of that back is a couple hundred years of society making us second guess every feeling.
If you feel like there is the possibility that you’re in danger, then there probably is. Be especially alert at these times!
#6 – If you’re in a car and get surrounded, stay calm.
If you’re caught up in a car, stay calm. If your vehicle does become a target, quickly and calmly leave it behind. Your Toyota is not worth dying for. If people block your escape route, honk your horn, and carefully drive through or around them at a moderate speed, and they should get out of the way. This is a last resort; never put someone else’s life in danger unless they are putting yours there first.
Driving towards police lines can be interpreted by the police as use of a deadly weapon and in the heat of the moment, they may react with deadly force.
If you feel that your life is in danger, then do whatever you need to keep yourself safe. The quote above suggests leaving your car and walking away. This is a decision that you have to make for yourself.
If people are attacking your car, that indicates to me that they will also be willing to attack you if you get out.
I suggest turning around and driving away if at all possible. It’s going to be very difficult to explain how your life was being threatened if you drive through a crowd at 60 miles an hour and could have simply turned around.
#7 – Don’t try to be a hero.
If you see rioters looting and destroying property, don’t try to stop them. You’re outnumbered and material things can be replaced.
If you see another person in danger then you’re going to have to make a decision. Do you try to intervene? Do you just go the other way? Think it through before you make a choice.
Charging in only to become a victim yourself doesn’t help anyone. Walking away when you can save a life could haunt you forever. It’s a difficult choice that everyone will have to make for themselves.
#8 – Don’t run at the police.
The police are, understandably, on high alert during a large disturbance, even if they aren’t actively stopping the rioting. If you run at the police or make other movements that can be seen as aggressive, it’s possible that you’ll be mistaken as a threat.
You’re better off not approaching the police at all unless you’re in need of help. When you do approach them, make sure you’re as calm as possible and aren’t carrying anything that can be mistaken as a weapon.
#9 – Prepare your home or business beforehand at all possible.
Sometimes riots can start at a moments notice, other times you’ll have a lot of time to prepare.
If you live where some form of social unrest is occurring, or you own a business in the area, you may be tempted to stay and defend your property.
There is no way to secure your home or business enough to keep people out if they are motivated enough. Reinforcing the windows and doors with plywood will at least keep the laziest of rioters out and slow down the motivated ones.
Hiding inside and hoping for the best isn’t going to work very well. You can look to pictures from the LA riots where armed store owners protected their shops from the rooftops. Keep this in mind, they were not working alone. They either joined forces and worked together or brought in friends, family, and employees to assist them.
If you can’t protect the building from the roof or other high ground, you can always use furniture and other heavy objects to slow rioters as they enter the doors. This same technique can be used to funnel rioters into a narrow field of fire if necessary.
#10 – Stay away from large moving crowds.
#11 – If you see an open door, go inside.
I don’t care if it’s a bank or a supermarket. If you can’t go home, it’s better to go inside than to stay outside where the blood is spilling. Caveat: it’s likely that the protesters will go inside as well but you’re still better off inside. For one, not all of them are going to go inside. Second, inside you’ve got options:
You can find a back door to get out.
You can go to an upper floor where no one will follow you or possibly even take shelter up on a roof and wait things out up there.
This tip from Secrets of Survival is an option that you should consider. I like the suggestion to head out a back door. Now you’ve added a building between you and the largest part of the rioting and you’re more likely to be able to get out of the area.
#12 – Prepare yourself for an attack.
When talking about self-defense in a riot situation, things get even more difficult. Depending on the size of the crowd, pulling a gun or other defensive weapon can cause far more harm than good. If you’re perceived to be a threat to the riot itself, everyone around you will work to take you down, and you can’t fight everyone.
This is why escape and evasion are the only truly safe ways to avoid a fight in a riot. Now, if you’re currently being attacked, all bets are off. Do whatever you can to survive if you’re actively being attacked, including pulling your gun. Just remember you’re in a crowd and the chances of an innocent being hurt are extremely high. Basically, consider it your very last resort.
Source: How to Survive a Riot
The likelihood of getting into a fight during social unrest is high. Hopefully, you’re in a place that allows you to be armed.
Do whatever you need to in order to defend yourself. Once you’re in a fight, most of the other suggestions go out the door. The one thing that I’d still be conscious of is the presence of police. Not because you should be worried about getting in trouble, but because you could mistakenly become the “bad guy” if all they see is you pulling a weapon to defend yourself.
Try to stay on your feet when you’re facing multiple opponents like this. Going to the ground makes it really easy for people to kick and stomp on you.
If you do go to the ground, get up as soon as possible and make sure you cover your head. If someone manages to knock you out, you’ll be at the mercy of the mob.