What to do when you can’t avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time

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image by The National Guard

When the economy made a sickening downturn about five years ago, I fully expected to see crime rates increase. It made perfect sense. Individuals who were out of work and in need of money to pay for the essentials in life would turn to a life of crime.

Instead, annual reports from the FBI indicated that crime rates were actually dropping! Between 2008 and 2011, murder and robbery rates dropped sharply, in spite of the economic conditions that continued to grow worse.

In spite of those statistics, it was hard not to notice an increase in a new type of crime, the flash mob. I know I wasn’t the only American who was disgusted and angry at reports that swarms of people would descend upon a helpless, unarmed business, often a retail or convenience store, stuff their pockets, backpacks and purses with anything and everything, and then leave, long before the police arrived.

More than once I wondered what I would do if I were caught in that type of scenario. The urge to do something would be strong, but the smarter side of me realized I would be in the minority and, therefore, vulnerable.

I suspect that mob violence will continue to grow, and not just in the form of flash mobs. Around the world we see mobs, angry that their governments have let them down, and they can no longer afford the basics. The only solution, as they see it, is to express their rage and helplessness by rioting.

Will those riots come to America? Might you and your family suddenly find yourself in the middle of an angry crowd and, possibly, in danger? If that happens, will you be prepared to survive and escape?

Did you realize there were so many London riots over a period of just 3 days in 2011? It CAN happen in your town or city. Image by James Cridland.

I wrote about civil unrest here, which includes a video I made with even more tips, but I also picked up some new tips from the ebook, “Crowd Control, Flash Mobs, and Your Safety.”

  • The “Bystander Effect,” causes people who are generally well-meaning and concerned about others to feel little to no responsibility for a situation due to being part of a large group of people. I want to train myself to react to emergencies in an appropriate way in spite of the number of people who could do something but are not.
  • Situational awareness trumps just about everything. If you’re not in the wrong place at the wrong time, you stand a very good chance of never being a victim of mob violence. Pay attention to local news, in particular.
  • After reading this report, I taught my kids to look for exits as soon as they enter a building or business. My daughter and I spotted four exits in a restaurant we visited on Saturday. I figure in a live shooting incident or something similar, just knowing where the exits are may be a life saver.
  • Always, layers of security. Situational awareness, dressed to survive, some sort of self-defense item (pepper spray, for example), and training in self-defense all combine to make the individual less vulnerable.

Learning how to look intimidating is another strategy you can use.

This latter point can be taught to children in ways that aren’t scary or might cause nightmares. For example, encourage kids, even teenage girls, to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing that would make it easy to run, if need be, and blend in. Whenever you’re out in public, quiz them and even offer a small reward, say a quarter, if they can tell you the color of the cashier’s eyes, or whether the security guard at the door was wearing a cap. Without a single word of warning, you’re teaching them to keep their eyes open and to always be alert.

Practice making 911 calls with younger children, and if the family budget allows, sign up for a martial arts class at a YMCA, private school, or check to see if there are any city-sponsored classes in your area.


P.S. As of October, 2012, violent crime rates have now increased. Knowing how to stay safe and make smart decisions is more important now than ever.




46 thoughts on “What to do when you can’t avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time”

  1. Don’t just look at murder rates. Our medical care is excellent and is preventing many people from dying who would have just a few years ago. Look at aggravated assault rates and you will see they are either staying steady or increasing.

    Additionally, flash mobs right now are not being committed because people need things. It is usually younger people who are doing it more for sport than necessity. It could turn that way, but right now it’s not. I’ve been in the middle of one as a police officer and they are impossible to control.

    1. Adam, the FBI report included aggravated assaults. You’re totally right about the flash mobs. Nobody NEEDS Twinkies or designer jeans. The scary thing about flash mobs is that they can be quickly organized via cell phones, texting, and social media, and, like you say, they can’t be controlled. My concern is that the same strategy for organizing a flash mob could be used to organize something more sinister and dangerous.

    2. My only question is when a legally permited firearms carrier shoots and kills someone on a flash mob due to self defense how will the MSM handle it. Flash mobs bad….. gun owners who use leathal force worse??? Will they push for more control of flash mobs or leagal carry? I wouldn’t hesitate in a mob scenario. I have two little ones and a wife to protect. And remember that the noun in the phrase is MOB. Just because it it useally youths that are in them doesn’t mean they are any less dangerous than any other “MOB”

  2. There was an episode of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” that dealt with the “bystander effect.” (I tried to find a video on YouTube but could not.) Anyway, if I remember correctly, the cameras were set up and the actors in place inside a bar. A actor/woman left their purse on the back of her chair and the actor/thief stole it and ran out. People looked, but no one (actors) got up to help. The people being “tested” didn’t get up either. But when the scenario changed… and the actors got up and ran out to help… several of the “tested” people also joined in. It was shown that in almost every case, it only takes the first person to stand up and get involved and then many others will too. Be that one person, and you are likely to have others help you. Of course, this can work in the opposite manner too… it sometimes just takes one person to start a NEGATIVE mob reaction.

    1. It will be just a mater of time before someone gets shot during a flash mob. Some nervous citiczen will pull our a piece and then there goes a riot. The flash mobs are (I believe) testing grounds for what can happen in the future when things get rough. Tha sad part is if it is a white person that does the shooting we will have another Zimmerman type afair on our hands. When o’bama was campaigning in Chicage there was 7 shooting deaths that day and 9 the next day plus injuries. The news was silent and there was no outcry like the Zimmerman ordeal. What right do these people (I use the term loosly) have to invade and steal? Their belief it is owed to them. These “Flash Mobs” are going to get worst and the Jessy Jacksons, Al Sharpton and other black leaders are silent.

  3. I was witness to a “bystander effect” when I was about 17. I had just finished a first aid class a month prior, and was shopping in our local mall. I came around a corner and there was a man passed out and convulsing on the floor in the middle of a busy hallway. There were perhaps 20 people who were staring at him, several with phones in their hands but NOT ONE was calling for help. I was able to direct the situation (instruct someone to call 911 and another to find a security guard and AED machine) while starting first aid until paramedics arrived, but I was really surprised that nobody had stepped in before myself since the man was BLUE when I got to him. It was actually the police officer who was questioning me afterwards who told me about the bystander effect and how difficult it make his job.

  4. Not all “victicims” need help. In the Pittsburgh, PA area this week a guy stopped for a car with its hood up and was robbed. I used to stop and help people along the road now I just call the state police. It is sad but not worth the risk.

    Is it just me or is there a rash of young girls being killed? I just read of a 12 y.o. in NJ after the girl in CO. At least the one girl escaped by shooting the creep through th closet door.

    These are scary times.

    1. Annie~SavorThisMoment

      My husband has told me to NEVER stop, even if its a woman with kids who looks like they need help. Everyone has cell phones, or I can phone 911 myself. It’s sad that we need to think twice to help others, but I like to think the best of people.

  5. Scary times indeed! I am a single mother and this last weekend while I was camping with friends my house was broken into via bathroom window and they stole all my daughters bday money we just got this month! I live with my grandparents (which were home) and was in a hurry so I didnt think about the risks. Luckily they seemed to be in a hurry and left in a hurry… I am slightly prepared for this to happen in the event I am home but I am sooo glad it didnt but if it did and my daughter was in the room!!! OMG I am asking for help to pay and install better window locks from family. This just reminds me to slow down and no matter how long it takes secure what is important. I am just glad they didnt take more.

    1. I’m very honored! Homeschooling is my passion, although we’re going through a rough patch right now thanks to long division. LOL

  6. Practical Parsimony

    I was in Memphis on April 4, 1968, when MLK was killed. I lived south of the location where he was shot. I was visiting my cousin north of where he was shot. At two weeks from delivery, I left my cousin’s house, husband driving, held my stomach and told him to drive over curbs, yards, anything, to just get me out of there. I really feared I would die as we drove through the predominantly Black section of Memphis..

    I think too many people hang out when trouble starts, just to see what will happen. I always told my children to leave any house, party, location when the slightest thing went wrong. Gawking can be dangerous if the problem escalates.

    We drove though screaming crowds of blacks, rightfully indignant, and did not know when a powder keg would be lit. If we had been smart, we would have headed north, then east and south and back west to home. But, that might not have worked out either.

    1. PP, what an important point you make about not hanging around to see what’s going to happen!! I hadn’t thought of teaching that to my kids, but I will.

  7. I often wonder if the roles of whites (the victims of hatecrimes & flashmobs) were reversed with Blacks (the perpetrators of hatecrimes & flashmobs) if black writers would be as polite & neutral in refusing to acknowledge the race of their attackers as survival mom & all the rest have in their articles…
    I doubt it.
    Why do writers continue to avoid mentioning the racial aspect of these crimes?
    Why are writers more concerned with potentially insulting the group whose actions are threatening our lives than identifying the real nature of the crimes?
    Who else on earth does this aside from Caucasians?
    One of the biggest motivators for Blacks to continue with anti-white hatecrimes is their belief that we’re too timid & cowardly to even discuss discuss them.

    1. Walter Williams has addressed this very issue several times. He mentions the fact that when, or even if, they are reported on the news the race of those involved in the flash mob is never mentioned.

    2. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the mainstream media nowadays are uniformly liberal in their outlook. This is inculcated in journalism schools, which are hotbeds of political correctness. But the internet has opened up a whole new world of news and commentary — one where political correctness is anathema.

  8. This is such an important topic. Each person needs to be aware of their surroundings. You have to take care of yourself. I especially liked your comment on wearing proper shoes. I have been to large festivals where women, and men, were wearing flimsy sandals and flip-flops. These same festivals had gunfire and fights. How do you run in bad shoes? It makes no sense. When you are out in any situation like that, wear shoes that you can run in. The side benefit is that you will be more comfortable.

  9. Dave, spot on. We are all just plain stupid if we don’t admit the truth about what is happening to this country. I have lived in the inner-city for over 20 years. Most of you have never experienced anything like it. Don’t take my word for it, the online news sources will give you the gory details:


    Let’s be honest here…when we talk about flash mobs and riots, we are talking about blacks, especially the dependent underclass. This violence is the reason we are moving out of the cities, abandoning violent schools, conceal carrying, and prepping in the first place, right? This welfare state is unsustainable. The gravy train is about to come to a screeching halt. The moochers will get angry when the “Day the EBT Card Stops Working”. Google it. Google Carter Strange while you are at it.

    In a previous comment, Practical Parsimony called the rioting blacks “rightfully indignant”, which is a free pass she would not offer to violent whites. Only CRIMINALS perpetrate violence, flash mob, riot and loot. I don’t care how angry or indignant I get, I would never do any of these things.

    Please read about Passover Syndrome among white liberals and don’t be a victim of it:


    There is a huge racial coverup taking place in the American media. They are not reporting the massive frequency of black-on-white crime. The media uses phrases like “in the wrong place at the wrong time” “robbery gone bad”, “random attack” and “senseless violence” and “bored teenagers” to describe violence against whites. But if the tables were turned and whites were doing these things, there would be outrage. Remember that our DOJs Eric Holder recently told us that non-whites can not be accused of hate crimes, only whites. Innocent people are getting their skulls smashed and stomped and we make excuses for them. Poverty does not cause crime, criminals cause crime.

    The underclass riot and loot for pure fun, and for the opportunity to get free stuff, hurt people, and create chaos. They are proud of their actions. The even post their violent videos on websites such as World Star Hip Hop and YouTube. They are not hungry or desperate, like the liberals would like for us to believe. Even in my Midwestern city, the media refuses to mention the race of the perp if he is black. They are just called “teens” and “youths”. The SPLC, the NAACP, and the ACLU are nowhere to be found if a victim is white.

    I visit this site daily. http://blackracismandracehatred.blogspot.com/ . It is shocking and hard to digest, but important to know what is happening around you and be prepared. This IS about race and we have to finally have the courage to admit it.

    1. Josaphine, I hear what you say but do need to make a correction in your assumption about why people are prepping. Racial violence isn’t even on the radar of most preppers I know and have talked with. When asked, they talk about preparing for a devalued dollar, hyperinflation, natural disasters, personal crises, maybe EMP, but no one has ever told me, “I’m preparing for black riots.” Your experience in the inner city may be your reason for prepping, but don’t assume that to be true of all other preppers.

      Now, having said that, the good thing about being prepared is that it


      help prepare an individual or family for racial violence, if it should happen where they live. And, urban areas won’t be safe in a collapse, regardless of a person’s skin color. Black on white violence may be increasing, but black criminals have always victimized other blacks, most of whom do not have the ability to escape their urban prisons.

  10. That is a result of the great white guilt. This country has a history that continues to this day of making it very hard for poor people and for blacks and native americans and especially for poor people who happen to have dark skin and hair. When they explode there is a tacit recognition of our own part in the matter. Until that is openly recognized and redressed, we cannot blame them for victimizing us back

    1. That is horse manure – while the “glass ceiling” exists to this day in some respects, anyone who really wants to make the break can, irrespective of race. Now if you are un/under-educated, doing drugs, or pregnant by 16 that is certainly going to make it more difficult, perhaps even impossible. But those are the decisions that person made, and it is no one else’ fault that you are stuck where you are.

      “Victimhood” is not an excuse for senseless violence against other human beings. No one is responsible for their behavior in our modern society.

      It was dead wrong when the KKK did it, and it is dead wrong now. Again, no excuses.

      1. Practical Parsimony

        NO, not anyone who wants to break the glass ceiling can do so. It is a lie just like the statement that “anyone can grow up to be President.”

        People make uninformed decisions all the time. I worked with a college-ecucated black woman. She decided to lose weight so bought a salad at McDonald’s and put all the croutons, two packages of dressing, and other things on the bit of greens. The other white woman and I just exchanged looks. Later in the week, we told her about the dressing and croutons. She almost cried. She lived in a food desert where a convenience store was the only food available–no vegetables or fruit. Every morning of her life she ate a pop tart and chocolate milk for breakfast and did not know it was unhealthy….even after four years of college and living in a dorm. She had gone to a black college, learned little from what I could see.

        So who failed to give her the tools to make a correct decision? Black mother? She knew no better and could do no better. Black college? I think so. She had an empty degree, lacked real life experiences, was 23 and had diabetes, was overweight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Her emergency appendectomy was a direct result of her diet. She bullied me relentlessly because she could. She screamed race and conspiracy theories when I complained. So, I was fired to allow her to have a job and not rock the boat at work. All her decisions were based on being an emotional terrorist. I was 50. Black women are threatened by me with the MA.

        I was openly ridiculed by her and no one would correct her. She made $788/mnth at her job and told me in all honesty that she should be able to earn 300K at her next job because she one year work experience.

        I believe the black community failed her.

        She made decisions based on what worked and what she was allowed to do to others. The person I replaced had been treated worse than me by her.

  11. Explanation is not excuse. The fact is, it is hard growing up today if you weren’t born with a silver spoon. Take a look out there from poor, young eyes. The only people making money are white, highly educated thieves – i.e. bankers and politicians. Unemployment in your neighborhood is probably above 30%. Meanwhile, people responsible for the situation are getting bonuses.

    Now, be that young person living in an inner city. Right near your neighborhood, there is a fashionable area, full of expensive restaurants. Every day, you see white people in nice clothes, with fearful eyes, driving through your neighborhood to get to their $100/meal restaurants. You tell me what goes through your mind.

    1. Brawndo's got electrolytes...

      If your argument is correct then why are the innocent white victims of blacks playing “knockout king” and “polar bear hunting” never rich white bankers and politicians? Reginald Denny was a hard working truck driver trying to provide for his family. I am sure the black thugs who attacked him with utter savagery were each thinking about how unfair it was that they couldn’t eat a $100 meal.

      Hate to break it to you but ninety-eight percent of white people are not born with silver spoons in their mouths either. Yet it is funny how you don’t see any white flash mobs. Sorry, but it is up to each individual to make or break their own way. That includes blacks.

      And any prepper who does not think that race won’t matter after all hell breaks loose (for whatever reason) is ignorant of history and human nature. (Actually, nature itself, human or otherwise). Don’t be an ant storing up just to have the grasshoppers come and take over your preps after killing you and raping your wife and daughter.

        1. Brawndo's got electrolytes...

          As for avoiding “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” if you see a crowd gathering of five or more blacks then its time to scoot away pronto. Call me a racist but security videos and World Star Hip Hop support my argument.

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  14. There are reputable articles all over the web saying that crime rates have not decreased at all in many big cities — instead police departments are fudging the figures downward so they can say they are doing good jobs on crime.

    1. I’d be interested in reading some of those articles. A while back Phoenix made the news because it was the #2 kidnapping capitol in the world. Turns out that the police were defining, “kidnapping,” as just taking a person from one room to the next.

      1. That’s not a police definition, survivalmom. That’s the LAW. Abduction/kidnapping is preventing someone from exercising their right to move around freely. If you move someone ANYWHERE against their will, that’s abduction. In my case, my psychopath ex-boyfriend invaded my dorm room and held me there, against my will, for two hours (by force and threat of force). The police AND my attorney said it was abduction, and he didn’t even try to move me anywhere. That is RIGHTFULLY considered abduction. Phoenix was right to include those numbers.

  15. “That is a result of the great white guilt. This country has a history that continues to this day of making it very hard for poor people and for blacks and native americans and especially for poor people who happen to have dark skin and hair. When they explode there is a tacit recognition of our own part in the matter. Until that is openly recognized and redressed, we cannot blame them for victimizing us back.”

    What “opportunities” would the blacks and “native Americans” (a stupid term that says the rest of us are “colonists”) have without white civilization? At best, they’d be Neolithic tribesmen eking out a livelihood and fighting tribal wars against one another. Nobody denies that there was much cruelty when civilization was forced on them. It was a dreadful price to pay, and yet it carried them from their primitive subsistence cultures to civilization in a scant couple of centuries. They can be proud of what they achieved in enduring that harsh journey. But as a white, I owe them nothing. It is time to drive a stake through the evil heart of “white guilt” – and condemn the idiots who are still preaching it. If you, Chandra, want to pay reparations, pay them out of your own pocket – but keep your hands out of mine. And make sure you and your family sign up to be discriminated against through voluntary “affirmative action” in schooling and employment. That should soothe your troubled conscience at last.

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  17. Practical Parsimony

    By the way, I do not think people will be divided along racial lines. I have, know, and have seen whites that I would not trust at all. I have black and hispanic friends that I would trust with my life.

    1. Brawndo's got electrolytes...

      There are exceptions for every rule. But I would not bet my life on them. Nature is what it is. Whether you want to believe it or not race will be the default setting when it all comes crashing down.

      1. When things are dicey, there won’t be a program with which to tell the players, and for better or worse, skin color can default to the role traditionally filled by one’s uniform in wars of old. Groups organized in advance of need have the opportunity to address this proactively, if they’re smart enough… But then, “common sense” ain’t exactly common these days…

  18. If you have to live or work in black and other densely minority inhabited areas, MOVE! Id lose my house or business before I would serve such people and jepordize my daughters safety. Arm yourself, other wise, and be aware of people and your surroundings. Most of all you need to adopt a survival instinct, which most people have discarded long ago. YOU know when you are in a bad situation, you get a queasy feeling in your gut, the hair on your neck stand up, you generally feel something is trying to tell you its a bad situation. ACT then, leave! Pre decide what you will do if someone gets in your personal space, like a drill, and do it! Most people are too polite and nice for their own safety.
    The single most effective defense unarmed to any attack is to poke your attackers in the eyes or otherwise blind him. A blinded person cannot fight. Simply jab straight into the eyes with your fingers, all of them, then rake down. A blow to the ear, open handed is also very effective. I once threw salt from a salt shaker into the faces of some nasty jerks who wanted to get mouthy with my friend in a sports bar we were eating lunch at. One grain of salt in the eye is all it takes, let alone a handful.

  19. Um, can we get off the racial soapboxes, and get back to talking about preparedness??? We all have differing opinions on what the problems are. That’s not the point of this blog.

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  21. WOW! Nice to find a place where folks can tell it like it is. I just moved away from Montgomery, AL after nearly 7-years in that dead end capitol city where there was literally a 3-square mile “safe zone” at the east end of town known as Taylor Road. I make no judgment over a person based on skin color, but I also refuse to disavow facts like crime rates and local area statistics. The Taylor Road area was predominately Caucasian by a vast margin (like, upwards of 95%) and accounted for less than 5% of the annual reported crime, according to the city’s sliding scale; interesting how those numbers line-up.

    I, unfortunately, at different times lived in various areas around town, but could rarely afford to distance myself from the “bad side” of town when that demographic is like a checkerboard across the rest of Montgomery and no one was ever more than a two minute drive from somewhere whites were not welcome. As a service tech with a local cable company, we were prohibited from even entering certain neighborhoods without being accompanied by multiple other service techs AND armed or first returning to the shop to offload any merchandise we were carrying that would be stolen from the truck before returning, armed.

    As a fairly introverted guy, I don’t usually care to trust a single man walking, regardless of race. But no safety conscious person can afford this BS Politically Correct approach to life. It doesn’t keep you safe by reducing risk of offense, it raises your level of risk because it trains you to be complacent and rely on the opinions of strangers for justification in all things, rather than your own situational awareness. Not to mention, Political Correctness is a running joke to minority youth and much harassment begins when a Caucasian person stumbles over the latest Political Commandment of Correctness and becomes a target because trouble makers seek-out the timid.

    My advice:
    Treat everyone as equals, but trust no one and always call it like you see it.

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