The Los Angeles Riots of 1992 shocked the nation and reminded us that we do not need nature to create a disaster. Sometimes our neighbors and fellow citizens can do that by themselves. Sometimes humans are capable of doing far more damage than any natural disaster.
A riot will require your endless vigilance and studious observation. There will be no weather report issuing warnings of an oncoming riot. Riots happen organically and spread like wildfire. The best thing that you can do to prepare for a riot is to secure yourself and your loved ones, long before the first signs of trouble.
Riots will offer up two basic tactical option. One will require string and the other: going. In either case, arming oneself is an absolute must. The most secure tactic is to purchase, store and practice using firearms.
Secondary weapons such as stun guns and pepper spray are useful, as well. Taking a self-defense class cannot hurt, even though riots usually do not feature one-on-one combat.
Keep in mind that the non-firearm self-defense tools and tactics are only useful at close range and against one assailant at a time. In a riot, you are far less likely to face individual assailants and far more likely to run up against an unruly mob. Those choosing to stand their ground against rioters,- should secure their home and property.
All doors must have deadbolts and all entry points to your home and property must be secured with metal bars, sturdy gates, barbed wiring and if possible, an electrical fence. Every home and business should have a “panic room.”- This is a secure, impenetrable location somewhere on the property, which cannot be entered from the outside, once it is locked down from within.
If you are a good shooter and have a solid weapons arsenal backed by ample ammunition, you will be far better equipped to protect your home, business or property. Mobs function by animal reasoning and logic. Use the jungle as your conceptual guide. If it happens in the animal kingdom, it can happen during a riot. A pack of hyenas will much rather attack a group of gazelles and antelopes, than they would a solitary tiger or a lion. In some cases, the bigger, faster and stronger hyenas will even veer away from a cobra or a rattlesnake. The reason is simple, anyone or anything that can cause damage to the mob, becomes a less attractive target. The mob wants to crush and pillage, so it seeks the weak. If you are strong and can cause damage, you will have a better chance of survival.
Getting up to a perch, high above the oncoming mob can give you a great tactical advantage when armed. Since the invention of the sniper rifle, every military conflict has featured heroic tales of the single soldier, outmanned and outgunned, perched in the perfect position high above his enemies. This soldier invariably defeats the odds and survives. The fact that he can see his enemies and shoot at them from a downward angle, overcomes his numerical disadvantage. He can shoot at all of them, but none of them can shoot back.
You should be very careful, however, if choosing to open fire on a mob during a riot. There is a very dangerous aspect to letting others know that you have weapons. This aspect is very rarely discussed and debated in America, but well known to those who have experienced rioting throughout the globe.
What we really have to worry about in terms of the weapons we keep, is how those without them will react to us having them. Better yet, what will they think of us having guns? What will they assume about our homes, our businesses and our properties? They will probably assume we have something worth fighting for. This will motivate them to attack us.
For a sobering example, we can look to Argentina. Back in 2001, as Argentina was in the process of becoming a de facto ward of the IMF, their economy spiraled down the tubes. Inflation exploded and the Argentine Peso was rendered nearly worthless. Inflation drove food prices so high, that most people could not afford to eat. This is when the food riots began.
Not surprisingly, those who had food and other assets of value, attempted to protect themselves with guns. They succeeded; but only in the short run. After a while, those who showed their firearms early on in the rioting wound up suffering makeshift bomb attacks and experienced massive human herd rushes on their homes. Why? The answer is very simple if you think about it… They showed the herd the one thing that they never should have. They showed that they had something worth protecting. From the rioters’ point of view, this meant that they had something worth stealing and looting. Even though they fought off the initial surge, their actions only prompted a more violent reaction from rioters.
Perhaps as important as being prepared for a riot, is being prepared for what the mob will do. People who riot generally have nothing to lose. They are distraught and distressed, devoid of empathy for anyone who has something they don’t. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. It doesn’t matter whether you are sitting on a year’s worth of food supplies or if your family is barely surviving on a few cans of beans. If you have something of value, you may draw more undue attention to yourself by flashing your weapons. Keep this in mind when stockpiling your arsenal and taking target practice.
A .50 caliber machine gun or an RPG can seem like an all-powerful weapon. It will scare the pants, shirts and spinal columns off of anyone stupid enough to challenge your position. You must remember, however, that unless you have a full-scale battalion at your service, the mass of the herd will eventually overpower you.
At some point, you will have to go to sleep or let your guard down. When this moment comes, your guns will be rendered useless and when the herd does attack, it will run you into the ground. Keep this possibility in mind when deciding whether to draw your weapons.
You must have such examples in mind when deciding whether to dig in and face the mob. It doesn’t mean that taking a shot at someone will lead to a full-blown occupation of your location. It does, however, mean that you must analyze all of the possible outcomes and act on the basis of information and knowledge, not just fear and emotion.
If you choose to escape the rioting, you must make peace with the destruction and loss of property from looting. Your home or business will probably be robbed and picked clean. Home and business owners alike, must have proper insurance coverage and be ready to pack their most valuable possessions at a moment’s notice. Once you leave, you cannot look or go back.
Securing vehicles is highly recommended for riot evacuations. Makeshift window bars, chains on tires or a ramming grill can all make the difference in a tight situation. If you can afford it, arming your vehicle with bulletproof glass is the ultimate safety feature. It is worth mentioning, however, that no amount of armor can protect a vehicle from a big enough mob. No matter how well equipped or powerful your vehicle is, it will not be able to drive through crowds thicker than brick walls.
The key to making the decision to go will be a high dose of intestinal fortitude, or what most people refer to as guts. You will have to make the decision to step down on the gas pedal and not let up. Not for anyone and not for anything.
An example from the 1992 L.A. Riots paints the most vivid picture of why guts and readiness rule the day, when evacuating a riot location. It is important to remember that sometimes…you will not get to plan.
Sometimes, the decision between staying and going is going to have to be made on the spot, with little or no preparation time. It was to be a leisurely ride to the Los Angeles Lakers game for a family of four in 1992. Having worked hard his whole life the family patriarch was proud to be able to take his wife and children to see his favorite basketball team. They would sit a few rows from Jack Nicholson and have a nice dinner after the game was over. Sadly, they never made it. Not to the game and definitely not to the restaurant. In fact, the gentleman in question, who had left home in a $50,000 Jaguar, nearly wound up driving a tin can.
As the family approached the Great Western Forum, they were engulfed by a sea of rioters. These rioters took one glance at the family vehicle and proceeded to pounce. The father reacted quickly and the Jaguar’s V12 engine roared. The car jumped a curb and razed several front lawns before escaping around a corner. Bats, pipes and bottles had scratched up and dented the car. The windshield was smashed and a rear tire flat. It was nothing more than the man’s steadfast willingness to smash down the gas pedal and not look back, which kept his family safe.
Such an example outlines why riot preparation is crucial. Man-made disasters can be the most dangerous and understanding the riot mentality is perhaps the most important lesson you can learn in advance. During times of lawlessness, human beings can behave like animals. They attack without warning, devouring the weak and those who cannot protect themselves. Simple mischief can grow into full blown rage. Rape, torture and murders are not uncommon during riots.
The more recent riots in England and Egypt underscore the various themes and options we have discussed. Preparation, calmness and the right approach can mean the difference between life and death. In England, for instance, unfriendly weapons laws caused the premium on baseball bats and cricket paddles to skyrocket. Practically overnight, sporting goods and household items became valuable means of protection and selfdefense. Someone living in England would be wise to think of regional items such as a cricket paddle, as a potential means of protection.
Egypt on the other hand, featured both aspects of the firearms scenario. Those who were well armed were able to protect themselves, but also faced undue attention from authorities. Since a lot of makeshift weapons were made and used, those with actual guns were presumably in a position to feel more secure. That having been said, an environment featuring the total breakdown of local infrastructure could easily make weapons holders the primary target. Egypt would actually wind up being a rather benign situation for most citizens, as they were largely all on one side. This is perhaps the final point we can make about riots. If you know who “the players are” and who controls what sphere of influence, you can also go “undercover” and blend into the mob if the opportunity presents itself.
Riots are a constantly evolving crisis issue.
Each one is different and specific to its own region. Knowing where you live and who your neighbors are factors in the equation, which should not and cannot be overlooked. Often times, a display of strength is enough to entice the mob to look elsewhere for the quelling of their primitive desires. Whether it is a firmly secured home or a display of firepower from a perched position, a show of strength can be the difference between life and death.
Awareness is crucial during a riot. Always be aware of your surroundings and attempt to avoid conflict. Those who suffer the least in riots are often those who are the least likely to get noticed. Whatever play you make, attempt to make it quietly, quickly and efficiently.