Coming to a Location Near You: Civil Unrest

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image by dirt licker

It’s not my imagination.  Angry groups of people are gathering together more and more often, protesting perceived injustice, failure of leadership, the financial malpractice by our government and banks, and just about any unpopular decision made by a governing body.  Sometimes these groups go so far as to cast their anger, and blame, on those far from the source of their original complaint. They may even show up at the private homes of individuals they have targeted for one reason or another.

Riots and mobs have long been a part of life in second and third world countries, and as America’s fortunes continue to spiral downward, it’s highly likely that, at some point in the future, you will be confronted with surviving an encounter with a mob.

A while back, a small group of self-identified, “anarchists” attacked a Starbucks in New York City.

Reading the article, a few facts jumped out at me.

  • Only 25 people were involved in the group.
  • Those inside Starbucks must have been terrified with no place to go and probably no forms of self-defense.
  • The anarchists advertised their event.
  • Some were wearing masks, increasing their anonymity.
  • They were willing to attack private property and law enforcement alike.

The problem with people

People are unpredictable and as a general rule, the larger the group, the lower the overall IQ.  How else can you explain the crazy college students who go out and burn police cars to celebrate winning a championship game?  Think about it.  These young people had to present their high school transcripts and take at least one admissions test in order to be accepted to the university. Then, they set cars on fire because their team won or lost a game.  A large group of people with a lower collective IQ and fueled by alcohol is an even deadlier combination.

Another issue when it comes to protests and demonstrations is that it increases the cloak of anonymity that people believe they have. They feel free to do what they have always wanted to do but felt constrained by the fear of being identified.  Look at this photo of a protest that took place in Iran and you’ll see what I mean.  How likely will anyone remember the dark-haired guy in the white shirt a third of the way from the front?

image by FreedomHouse

Many of these groups are made up of cowardly bullies who would never confront a police officer on his/her own or break windows or strip innocent bystanders, but when they are part of a larger group, they’re emboldened to do things that they would never do alone.

A final issue with mobs of people is that they adjust their behavior to that of those around them.  You can see this occasionally in photos and videos when one protester will glance at others around him and raise his voice, increase his level of anger, raise his fist, etc.  The mob, not the individual, is in control.

Where does law enforcement come in?

I spoke with a few individuals in various law enforcement departments, and here is the gist of their advice: You’re pretty much on your own if you are ever caught in a riot or other violent demonstration.

That’s right.  Police and other law enforcement departments have multiple plans for dealing with angry mobs.  What they don’t have are plans for rescuing you if you are caught in the middle.  You absolutely must have a plan for staying safe.  Not for taking on a hundred people single handed,

image by Kashklick

just staying safe and getting away.

In more recent violence, the killing of 5 Dallas police officers, law enforcement around the country is now very, very hesitant to go anywhere near protests for fear that they will turn violent yet again. In the case of a large Black Lives Matter protest that shut down highway 405 near Los Angeles, it was decreed that it was a peaceful protest and LAPD didn’t show their faces.

And you’re sitting in your car. Alone or with the kids. Not exactly a positive experience and definitely one with an uncertain outcome.

Information can be your best defense

It’s vital to know what is going on in your town as well as national trends. The protests and violence following the Trayvon Martin incident spread far beyond Sanford, Florida. Listen or watch local news and sign up for email and/or cell phone alerts from local TV and radio stations.  Very often they will send out alerts far more quickly than law enforcement.

Staying informed is especially important if you live or work in a high-profile area, such as an urban area with many government and corporate buildings.  If this describes you, you should also have a Get Home Bag and multiple routes for getting to a safer place. If you’re not a prepper but just afraid of the increased civil unrest you see around you, a commercially packaged emergency kit like this one will work just fine in most instances.

Groups such as Communist Students and sites such as publicize their grievances, plans, and protest locations.  Law enforcement keeps tabs on these groups, so why not you?  Follow them on Twitter, sign up for their emails (establish a separate email address for this), and track them down on Facebook. If you hear of a protest scheduled near you, at least you’ll have advanced warning to be prepared or to be somewhere else on that day.

What about real self-defense?

One friend in law enforcement told me that he would want to have a concealed handgun if he were ever caught in a mob. (By the way, this simple, basic concealed holster is one that I recommend.) I have no problem with being armed but would definitely think twice about the circumstances and my plan for self-defense.

For example, firing a gun would immediately identify me as a target, especially if my appearance didn’t fit in with the crowd.  I’m not so sure facing down dozens of angry people with my Baby Glock and one extra magazine is my idea of a good survival plan. As well, stray bullets could hit innocent people or a police officer, and I’d have a whole ‘nother problem to worry about.  A firearm might be a better choice for back-to-the-wall self-defense among a smaller mob or if caught in a building that provides a degree of cover.

It’s important to not underestimate the force and combined anger of a large group of people and how rapidly it can amplify.  The smartest self-defense weapon in this scenario is your brain and previous planning. If you haven’t yet read Gavin de Becker’s best-selling book, Gift of Fear, it’s definitely worth your time for becoming more mentally prepared for potential threats around you.

Plans and tactics when peaceful becomes violent

Here’s the problem with these protests. They are made up of people, generally angry people, who have a grievance. It takes very little to turn a peaceful protest violent. In fact, many groups have trained individuals who purposely stoke anger and, hopefully, cause a violent reaction against police, bystanders, and private or government property. To some, a protest isn’t a success until several of their members have been hauled off to jail.

I recorded this video with more tips for staying safe during a time of civil unrest. Please add your own suggestions in the comment section. For a written list of safety tips, click here.


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I'm the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I've been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.

44 thoughts on “Coming to a Location Near You: Civil Unrest”

  1. I really like your website and the info you have here. Personally, I never leave the house without a snubnosed 38 Special in a concealed holster since a revolver will work without having to worry about taking off the safety (but it is limited to the 5 shots in the cylinder) and the only time I ever HAD to use it, it managed to work perfectly. The after effects of having to shoot someone is not exactly pleasant but it sure beats the alternatives of ending up either dead or injured. That is one of the things to think about when it comes to this crazy (and getting worse) world we are living in. I am a firm beliver in being prepared but unfortunately we can never be prepared for ALL the things we might encounter. In my case, I carried for more than 10 years before the NEED to be armed ever happened. Just a little input from one who has had to run across the unexpected. Take care and keep informing the good people.

  2. Hello Lisa, Nice post. I think civil unrest is a very real possibility for many american cities in the near future. I have read terrible stories of racially motivated crimes (in both directions: majority on minority and minority on majority).

    I was just talking with my wife about this possibility with the beginnings of the Trayvon Martin case. I’m predicting that if there is not a guilty verdict on serious charges for Zimmerman many cities may see riots similar to Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict. I have also wondered if the trial will commence before or after our next presidential election and how that might effect the situation.

    I worked in south central LA when the OJ Simpson trial was finishing. The day I heard the jury was going to announce their verdict, I told my advisor “I’ll be heading home now” and was out of the city a short 30 minutes later. That day the verdict didn’t stir unrest, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.

    Now I live and work in an area of the country that I can’t imagine serious civil unrest for any reason. Maybe if they tried to take hunters’ riffles away : ).

    As a professor who teaches statistics I do have to take exception with your statement: “as America’s fortunes continue to spiral downward, it’s highly likely that, at some point in the future, you will be confronted with surviving an encounter with a mob.” I don’t think it is highly likely that individuals will be confronted with a mob. Just like with terrorism after 9/11/01, it was highly likely that terrorist attacks would occur again somewhere, sometime in the future. BUT, It was not likely to actually be personally harmed by them. For most of us our chances of being killed in a car crash will still be 100s of times more likely than even being nearby when violent unrest springs up, much less being harmed by it. Readers may suggest I’m seeing the world with rose colored glasses or have too much of a normalcy bias, but I’ve always sided with the numbers and I’ve generally been happy with my decisions.

    However, for the few who recognize they are in a potentially dangerous situation (like myself in South Central in 1995) plan accordingly, be prepared, and always be aware.

  3. And before you start shooting, let me ask you s/thing. Did any one of you ever considered where this civil unrest comes from? Why now and not 30 years ago? People were different? The “crazy world we live in” is the world we allowed to be created by voting the same way the soviet Russians did. This or that which are the same and work for the same bosses. And these bosses are not you, cause the only money you had gave it away to buy a gun which will never keep you safe. Snap out of it. Stop seeing the tree and look at the forest. The minute the Soviet Empire fell, it was the minute for the west to stop keeping it’s workers happy. No need anymore. Nobody can cross to the “other side” cause the “other side” is dead. So, time to take back what they gave (social security, free education, decent wages … the whole american dream). So, get ready, you and your gun to beg for a job at McDonalds …

    1. So, if I understand what you’re trying to say, no one should buy a $400 – $700 handgun because the general populace is unable to realize that America is now a one-party system serving corporations and the military-industrial complex? Huh??? And things would be different if only we hadn’t spent that $400 – $700 on a handgun and instead donated it to some politican’s reelection campaign fund? Huh??? And since when were Social Security and free “education”, part of the American Dream? And I see no connection in your rant between owning a gun and being overjoyed to have a job at McDonalds, not to mention what this has to do with one suddenly finding himself or herself in the midst of a riot. Thanks anyway, but I’ll hang on to my Glock 36.

    2. (social security, free education, decent wages … the whole american dream)

      WHAT?!?!? You believe the socialist, freebie, parasitic, org.labor smorgsbord is the “whole american dream”??? What government training camp did you drop out of?
      SS, govt schools, minimum wage – these are the Hole in the American Dream.
      Liberty, Freedom, Individual Responsibility and Self-Governance: THAT is the American Dream. Freedom to Choose not Freedom to Take.
      You enjoy that MickeyD’s gig now. And – hey! – why not give away a few free lunches. See how that works.

  4. My family is from Ireland. In the 1930’s, when my father was 8yrs old,my grandfather took him to a sporting event. There were probably a thousand people attending. As with many events such events
    there was a great deal of alcohol. My grandfather became alarmed at the increasing anger of fans of the losing team. He wisely decided to take my dad and leave early. The sports field had one exit onto
    a narrow street. A riot broke out before they could get very far. Hundreds of angry and drunk people
    pored out of the stadium, breaking down one fence. My grandfather realized they were about to be
    overrun and in grave danger of being trampled. He saw a narrow alley, with no outlet, and grabbed my dad. He put himself between my dad and the mob. My father remembers that it felt like hours before the
    mob was dispersed. Back then police didn’t have teargas just billy clubs. He still recalls the sound of a billy club coming down on a man’s head. To this day, because of this story I try to avoid large crowds in small spaces. I make sure I know where alternate routes and exits are.

  5. This is a very timely post for my area (Portland, OR), since in the last 10 days there have been 2 incidents of large groups of youths — between 15 & 25 people, of both genders — entering stores as a mob and stealing everything they could get their hands on. Also there was an incident last week of a 57-year-old man who politely (according to witnesses) asked a group of raucous young men on public transit to tone it down, and he was beaten by the group for it. Considering these events, and the assault mob of over 200 people beating random fair-goers who were exiting the Wisconsin State Fair last August, I am very vigilant about safety in public and far more hesitant to go anywhere alone that I don’t have to.

    1. I am from the PDX area as well and I was just discussing the “flash mob thefts” with my co-workers. This scares me and the news didn’t seem to have very much information on it. Very worrisome.

  6. Thank you for a great article and video. Excellent, timely information. I will echo what a previous commenter said… always become familiar with you surroundings. Be aware of where your exits are. It usually only takes a quick glance around the room to size a place up and make a plan. Escape is your number one priority.

  7. Well, there’s riots, then there’s riots. I’ve been around our home-grown anarchists, and i don’t think the customers or employees at the Starbucks had to fear much more than a spilled latte.
    However, the trayvon protesters could be another matter altogether. If you are not a ‘person of color’.
    Rather than a handgun, I’d prefer a good pair of running shoes. And like you pointed out, a little situational awareness.

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  9. @Eimarmani…

    The vote is purchased by the highest bidder. It is not my personal responsibility for the brand choice of the same product being offered on Election Day. Your condescencion was not appreciated.

    It is if you are actually hoping for violence. Be careful what you wish for…you just might get it…is an appropiate cliche in response to your attitude. I am ALWAYS SEEKING PEACE AND WISH THAT UPON OTHERS. I suggest that you do likewise.

    Furthermore I will NEVER be employed at a McDonalds. I have many skills that makes me quite marketable…even in an…especially in an Economic Collapse. I tend to provide specialized services for others and need not worry about someone else having to provide me with a job.

    As for guns…Really now who needs guns when you are into Math and Physics? Just what are Physicists employed to do for the Defense Industry? So I really do not see the difficulty if it gets that bad and becomes TEOTWAWKI. Can you see just how my skills will be in demand? McDonalds??? LOL

    Are you educated? If you are not then I suggest that you start hitting the books.


    Tall Tom
    I Cor 13

  10. Yup, I’ll bet the fair-goers who were beaten while exiting the Wisconsin State Fair last August were reassured by the thought it was statistically unlikely to happen to them.

    Hmm, I wonder what the statistics will tell us about how the millions who rely on food stamps and those who were in the many videos of stampeding and fighting Black Friday shopping will act when their Dollars will unexpectedly buy far far less than before?

    I wonder what the statistics will tell us about how People will react to things such as the state of Michigan’s DNR killing farmer’s livestock without compensation?

    Anticipating “human action” might be more useful than statistics. People are not statistics on a government chart, nor do they always act like numbers. People are a gigantic variable.

    A lot of People have just about “had it” with things such as puppycide by cop and Peoplecide by cop, among many other goings on. What People will do in response (and how the government pushes back) and how it impacts you is not something a mathematical formula can determine.

    Myself, I always consider the Japanese guy during WWII who lived through ground zero – twice – the statistical charts get thrown out the window with that guy. He was just an average guy in the wrong spot at the wrong time and he beat the odds, and beating the odds is what survival is all about, especially the unexpected odds.

    Also, the Person implying others will regret buying a gun because they will be begging for a job at Micky D’s has not got a grasp on what’s what. A $350 gun purchase is not going to make a whole lot of difference – if any – if one is to the point where a job a Micky D’s makes or breaks them.

    In fact, if a Person is down on their luck that much, they might find themselves living in less than perfect surroundings, in that case, having a gun might be more reassuring than just about anything else, imho. YMMV I guess.

    Plus, a Person can always sell a gun and get money to eat as a last resort. And, the gun will likely hold it’s value better than a Dollar will.

    Yeesh, when People try to be leaders (Survival Mom) and project what they envision the future to hold, they sure do get a lot of flack for doing so. This article comes to mind:

    Normalcy Bias: It’s All in Your Head

    So when two guys and a 14 year old girl in small town America who are p.o.’ed because they don’t have jobs and their chants at the local Occupy protest didn’t achieve anything meet you at the wrong spot at the wrong time and they think they have a grudge against you,… does that count in the statistics as mob violence?

    The 14 year old girl is said to be a very dangerous factor in many parts of the world, how would you react if you were suddenly faced with her? You could think the statistics are against that happening,… you could be wrong? A lot of Argentinians or Greeks might have advice for you. Or maybe some People in downtown ___ city might too? It’s your choice,… so far.

    I don’t know, all I do know is, People were protesting in my small Midwestern town and something tells me these groups are being manipulated and directed somewhat,… what happens next? The protestors seem like puppets on a string.

    1. Hey Clark,

      Will it make you feel better to know you added to your anxiety thinking about the Wisconsin Fairgoers when today or tomorrow you end up being one of the 30,000-40,000 drivers who die in a car crashes EVERY YEAR? How many died in violent mob uprisings in the US in 2010 was it 32,886? If not then more people were killed in car crashes. And for all of the worrying people did about terrorism since 2001 how many were killed since then on US soil? Was it 359,582?

      You act as if me saying that it is not “highly likely that, at some point in the future, you will be confronted with surviving an encounter with a mob” is somehow callous to the few who meet an unfortunate violent end at the hands of criminals. Are you callous for not seeing the numbers before your eyes, that you and your loved ones face a serious risk of being killed in your car. It is hundreds if not thousands of times more likely you will be dead in a car crash than you will ever be in the middle of a violent mob.

      So if you think personal encounters with violent mobs are “highly likely” how do you describe the chances of finding yourself dead behind the wheel?

      I’m trying to suggest that people worry about and plan for things that are likely to impact their lives. But like I finished with, if you live or work in a city near a dangerous neighborhood, then plan accordingly.

      1. Hey MikeM,

        Will it make you feel better if you knew that I haven’t felt Any anxiety, not one bit.

        Just like when I anticipate how situations on the road will unfold. I drive defensively to avoid becoming one of those who dies in a car crash, I imagine it’s something a lot of those who crash did not do. That kind of thing never shows up in the statistics.

        What happens when the statistics for getting caught in a mob and getting hurt or killed changes dramatically and you’re in that moment, however small that change may be?

        I wonder how many People here worried about terrorism since 2001? I know I didn’t. However; I am prepared for change, and I think that is the focus of the article, things can change, will you be prepared when they do, or will it be a surprise?

        Just because someone is in a small city does not mean they are immune.

        What you seem to be saying is, those Wisconsin fair-goers and everyone else should let statistics rule their decisions and never be armed for self-defense, never be aware of their surroundings, and never anticipate the unexpected, if it’s not likely.

        You finish with, “near a dangerous neighborhood, then plan accordingly.”

        Are you not aware that People who have gone through social upheaval and great change (such as Ferfal) have said you’re quite likely to get robbed and killed by someone who is better dressed than you are, and maybe those crimes never get reported and work their way into the statistics?

        Even if it is statistically unlikely to be robbed and hurt or killed by a well dressed criminal, don’t you think it’s a good idea to be wary?

        “… Last weekend, tens of thousands of activists participated in training workshops put together by the 99% Spring, a project of and several other organizations that purports to move away from clicktivism toward fomenting “non-violent direct action”–aiming to transform America in the process. …”

        My how that can spiral into something else, and it does look like it will impact everyone.

        Many People say what’s happening in Greece is our future too.

        And others say that will never happen, better not to think about it. I imagine they are the same kinds of People who said subprime was contained prior to the bursting of the housing bubble. How likely was it for someone to loose money on real estate? The statisticians were probably telling them not to think about that possibility too.

        It doesn’t matter what the statistics are if it’s happening to you.

        1. Anyway it’s not about the odds at all. It’s about the stakes.

          I only have one personal life to lose. If nobody else is going to protect me and my children, why not do it myself? Nothing like a gun, nothing like prepping, nothing like defensive driving, and nothing like some situational awareness to help me out. Anyone who argues I shouldn’t be protecting myself (no matter what the stupid “odds” are) I find usually has an ulterior motive or agenda.

          1. I am what most would consider a prepper. I have about a years food stored. I will soon have a shotgun to protect my family. I have no credit card debt, my wife and I cook beans and wheat berries in our pressure cooker. I even got the simple version so I could do it over a campfire or rocket stove if needed. I think about how best to provide for my family when utilities are unavailable, etc. (All absolute truth)

            I agree 100% that people should take care of themselves and their loved ones. This would be such a better country if people were more concerned with and more able to take care of themselves.

            All I wanted to say was I didn’t think it is or will be “highly likely” most people will have to survive a confrontation with a violent mob. I even mentioned I am a stats guy so that people know where my hang up on the term “highly likely” is coming from.

            But Geesh, I give, I give. I don’t want to get into arguments with people (who I’m pretty sure I’m in 90% general agreement with) who attack me for things I certainly don’t believe and that I know I haven’t said.

            To give in completely I’ll even give my retraction. I now state for the record:

            I was wrong, it is highly likely that anyone reading my comment here will in the future be battling a violent mob for their survival.

            Ok that last 10% of disagreement is removed. We are all in lock step now.

          2. Sorry Mike! I actually wasn’t trying to argue what the odds were or weren’t. I was just trying to point out that it doesn’t really matter what the odds are anyway – that what is at stake does (my life and my children’s lives)

            I suppose we might be reacting this way because we have so many times been told by the gun control folks things like:

            “If we get rid of guns there will be no more violence” (or “no more need to carry one for protection”)
            “We are safer as a society if we keep guns out of everyone’s hands”
            “Carrying a gun makes it more likely that it will be used against you than anything else”

            etc ad nauseum.
            And they love throwing out all sorts of statistics about the odds of hand gun accidents, since of course conclusions from statistics can be bent any which way someone wants.

            I hope you don’t hate me for this 🙂 but whenever I see statistics being mentioned, I cannot help being reminded of Mark Twain’s famous saying: ” There are three kinds of falsehoods: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  11. Thirty years ago I lived in a remote desert area, just out of town. I had to shoot a man to save my life. If I had not been armed, I would be dead.

    There is no place on earth where the risk of attack is zero. Each individual is responsible for their own life and safety – and that of their legitimate dependents.

    So, careful planning to anticipate risks that can be known is important. Vigilant attention to one’s surroundings is essential. And maintaining the ability and tools to defend oneself and others is only prudent.

    Why anyone would wish to involve themselves with a large crowd, especially a potentially rowdy or angry one, is quite beyond me. But we each must make our own choices and prepare to live with the consequences of them. Nobody else is responsible.

  12. I find no disagreement with Lisa’s points. Most of the times that someone gets into a life-threatening, or eventually fatal, situation with a stranger it is because that by the time they realize that deadly force will be required to get them out of the situation it is too late. Idiots will react but wise ones will try to think out the situation and instantaneously try to select the most appropriate action, and they are the ones who will feel the knife blade, or be stuffed into the trunk of their own vehicle while they momentarily hesitate to do something as serious and FINAL as taking another human life. I have owned and carried guns since I was 12 and therefore spent 53 years making sure I did not even POINT my gun at another human let alone pull the trigger. It would be difficult for me to shoot someone. I would hesitate. And that is why I buy key chain pepper spray for all the women in my family. The use of it is not fatal or final. I also encourage them to carry concealed an ergonomic .38 Special revolver. I think the much more powerful pepper spray for bears will see more and more use in the future for protection from violent people, especially mobs. Like teargas at a soccer game its use at the wrong time could cause mayhem and get you in a lot of trouble. It is serious stuff and should only be used with the utmost prudence, but it’s use is seldom lethal. Unless the wind is wrong you can lay a trail behind you as you flee that no one will want to follow.

  13. Excellent article.

    I make my living protecting people. Full time. In Iraq. For the last 8 years.

    So, while I agree with you 100% that you should be concerned about firing a weapon in a crowd because you are responsible for wherever those bullets end up, I disagree that in a large crowd a firearm would not be optimal. I believe that it is the ONLY tool a person could use to defend themselves from a crowd.

    In physical combat (remember you’re fighting for your and your children’s life) without firearms you are rolling the clock back to the middle ages. The biggest guy wins. Yeah, yeah. All those martial artists out there are gonna chime in. Well, there is a reason women don’t compete at the highest levels of Mixed Martial Arts. Because the biggest guys are stronger than the biggest girls. Fact. Of. Life. And fyi, I’m not a big man at ALL. So what tool can a 90 pound mother use to protect her toddler? Firearms. What chance does the average woman have of taking Mike Tyson in his PRIME in a fist fight? Heck, what chance does the average guy have!? Answer: Almost ZERO without a gun.

    However, a firearm will allow that 90lb male or female to (in some circumstances) to instantly kill that Highly Motivated, Highly Skilled attacker. That is power. Power to defend your and other innocent life.

    Now we probably all agree that one on one a firearm is THE tool to increase your survival odds, so what makes it less so in a crowd? Yeah, I get it, you are surrounded by people. You’ve just shown that you are dangerous and armed by dropping that first attacker. I’ve been in the middle of Iraqi crowds that numbered more than the bullets I had on me. They could have torn me to pieces if their was a riot. IF THEY ALL ACTED OFF OF SOME KIND OF HIVE MIND. lol. But they can’t. They are people just like you and me. If you are faced with multiple attackers and you start dropping them like hot potatoes one after another after another after another, guess what? These aren’t robots. They are going to be thinking something like “I have better places to be, and easier people to fuck with”. That crowd LOOKS like a homogeneous mass, but it isn’t. It’s made up of dozens and hundreds of people with goals that don’t include getting killed right this second. I’m not joking. If you are dropping attackers, that crowd will be every man for himself. Away from you killing them.

    Just some thoughts,


    Just Some Guy

    1. Just Some Guy,
      Your point about the “crowd” being made up of individuals reinforces my basic philosophical point: All being part of a crowd does is allow the individuals in it to do what they basically want to do, since it introduces a sense of impunity. The “Mob” or “Crowd” is not a monolithic, primal mind. It’s just a whole bunch of average, normal people who usually think of themselves as “good persons” revealing what they really are inside. What would the average person do if they thought they wouldn’t be found out or punished? Crowd behavior gives us the answer. I hate to break it to you, folks, but there’s the mirror for you to look into.

  14. As a police officer, there are a couple points. When you are in a mob situation, using a firearm should be your absolute last resort. Do not help anyone else, only worry about yourself. If you use a gun, you will be surrounded by the mob and likely seriously assaulted. If it is your last resort, then just be sure you can justify what you do. I carry a firearm everywhere and I wouldn’t pull it out in a mob unless I knew that was my last resort.

    Lisa is right. People become very unintelligent in a mob. They do go with the emotion as opposed to thought, reason or logic. That is why mobs are so dangerous. While I do realize that I have a higher likelihood of dying in a car accident, the mob is still scarier and you can do more to prevent it. Being aware of your surroundings is paramount. If you see things starting to go bad, get out of there. Your best bet is a hasty retreat. Stay out of the center, stay along the wall and get out of there as soon as possible. Don’t be a target. If someone wants your stuff, give it to them. I would normally advocate fighting back if you are capable, but a mob changes things. You are going to be outnumbered and the anonymity the mob gives them, empowers the mob and they will do whatever they want to because they think they will get away with it.

    1. Just to clarify, when I was talking about engaging attackers with a firearm, I was assuming you were in immediate danger of losing life or limb. I wouldn’t brandish my firearm unless/until it was needed. I certainly wouldn’t have it out just to move through the crowd.

      I enjoy reading everybody’s posts. A lot of responsible citizens here.


      Just Some Guy

    2. I’m sorry people, but you do have to profile your surroundings… our regional wildlife show, a show with over 200 booths dedicated to guns, bows, knifes, etc, there actually was a beer hall……now how many incidents or riots happened with that combination of testosterone,guns, and drink?……none….
      so you have to know your people…..I would be very afraid to even be in my safe town at night in certain areas…..

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  16. I was reminded of your article when I read this bit:

    “If we or our parents never experienced something, it is inconceivable. It cannot happen so there is no need to consider or worry about it. Sadly, this ignorance is how tragedies happen and civilizations die.” – Monty Pelerin’s World

  17. An excellent column, Survivalmom! One other thing I’d like to point out, that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned: If law enforcement is on the scene, trying to control the mob you’ve gotten stuck in and are trying to escape, YOU, being within the mob, are one of THEM. This is not an accusation of law enforcement. They simply won’t be able to tell. You might be just as seriously injured running up to a policeman or national guardsman for help as by someone in the mob.

    Use your brain, plan on having no help. If you actually get some help, it’s gravy.

    Excellent advice also from Adam the police officer and Just Some Guy.

    1. SHTFPlan had a post about this article. In the comments, Burt the Brit had an interesting tale about what it was like to get caught up in the actions of a mob, they came into the tavern while she was there.

      Anyway, kirk sullens’s comment here reminded me of this other comment I found potentially useful to be aware of, it’s not just the actions of a mob you have to look out for:

      “The police have a confirmed history of “casting a wide net” and just scooping up everyone in the area when protests are going on. Thus there were office workers, businessmen, bicycle messengers, just everyone, scooped up with protestors in NYC a few years ago, and all were kept in a large dirty bus garage for days.

      A lot of the time you can tell when a protest is going on, but sometimes it’s a surprise because “flash mob” tactics are the most effective.”

  18. This should be a study on what not to do in a riot. Do not help or interfere in a riot. Second got out of the area. Far as the cops are conerned you are a bad guy. Taking cover failed in this riot.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=afd736ab52182da5

  19. Just recently (Easter weekend) the small town of Surfside (Surfside Beach?) in Texas (on the coast near Houston) got hit with a flash mob of 15,000 to 20,000. In a town of 600 there was no possible control by law enforcement. With few state troopers on the highway there was no control of the “gangs of vehicles” taking over the highway. Lone law enforcement officer even had to uncuff arrested person because it wasn’t worth his life to arrest someone when surrounded by people protecting their buddy.

    This was compliments of “social media” telling everyone to come party in Surfside. Channel 2 in Houston reported one killed (a bystander at a fight) and three injured in the incident. It just sprang up very quickly – doesn’t take long to text/twitter/facebook everybody you know and then pass it on and it’s only an hour or so from Houston if the highway is clear. It’s a nice place to go to the beach, but not with thousands of problem makers looking for a party.

    If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere. You can look it up on (the tv station website) and put in “illegal beach party” in the search field.


  20. I thought of this blog thread when I came across this:

    Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim. …

    Forster and Rostami’s story has not, until today, appeared in this paper. The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack. A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see “simple assault” and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. In this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees. Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?

    More questions loomed.

    Forster and Rostami wondered if the officer who answered their call treated all crime victims the same way. When Rostami, who admits she was hysterical, tried to describe what had happened, she says the officer told her to shut up and get in the car. Both said the officer did not record any names of witnesses who stopped to help. Rostami said the officer told them the attackers were “probably juveniles anyway. What are we going to do? Find their parents and tell them?” …

    1. Clark, I know we disagreed about wether to call this sort of thing “highly likely” to happen to people. But, maybe you can reread the portion of my post before I got into the stats. I discussed my concern that there are such visible terrible racial attacks like this. I believe they are going to happen more and more often in lots of cities.

      When I read about this case a few days ago it made me feel sad, outraged, and even a little bit hopeless. It also made me think of this Survival Mom posting and discussion. The fact that not only the police, but the local paper thought it would be best to do nothing drives me nuts.

      We are constantly bombarded with stories of any verbal misstep of any politician, teacher, celebrity, etc. Any breach of the politically correct speech code gets splashed across newspapers nationwide. Wait a few days an apology is read and move on to the next one. Lives are ruined because of a misstep, while truly evil acts are being entirely ignored seemingly on a large scale.

      Criminal acts ignored by police because there are just too many criminals joining together?!?

      It is reprehensible.

  21. Pingback: Emergency and Disaster Response–June 2015 | Prepare Every Needful Thing

  22. I’d add maybe slyly becoming one of the crowd. Become a protestor and hang on the fringes until it is safe to get back to your car or away from the scene.

  23. Pingback: 16 Things You Need to Know When Caught in a Panicky Crowd or RiotPreparedness Advice

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