There have been two waves of riots in the U.S. and a third wave might just take things to a whole new level.
This next wave of rioting stands to involve more people, more unrest, more deaths, and more crime than ever before in U.S. history. I have to say that for our U.K. readers in London and those living in major cities like Toronto, Canada and Sidney, Australia — don’t expect it to be much better. Once the riots hit U.S. cities it’s likely to spread to other major cities. Europe, Australia won’t be spared. A recipe for a real explosion of social chaos appears to be shaping up.
Europe’s Migrant Crisis
Plus, the migrant crisis in Europe, with dozens of thousands of people taking The Old Continent by storm show us there’s a veritable clash of civilizations coming. The more people of different cultures and beliefs you put together, the more likely it is they will fight.
First, there was the fear of zombies and asteroids. Then came the fear of an economic collapse. Now the EMP is the biggest disaster most preppers face but not for long, because riots are already scaring the daylights out of people. To me, riots are the SHTF events with the biggest likelihood of affecting the average Joe and it’s easy to see why: They’re already happening.
Just to put things into perspective, here are a few of the most recent ones:
March, 2014: Madrid (Spain) saw 101 injured and 29 arrested in a violent riot against high unemployment.
2014, Brussels (Belgium): 100,000 rioters clashed with the police against austerity measures, one of which being the cutting of welfare benefits.
October, 2014: A pumpkin festival turned into a riot in the town of Keene, New Hampshire, showing that even a small town with a population of 23,000 people can be affected by them.
November, 2014: The Ferguson riots not only took the United States by surprise, spreading in over 170 cities but also in London.
April, 2015: The Baltimore riots cause a total of $9mn in total damage.
Now, in the examples above I only chose riots from the US and Western Europe, although you can imagine countries in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East are also getting their fair share.
As you can see, riots get triggered by any number of things, from austerity measures to cult religious factions, and even during a small town’s pumpkin festival. The ingredients are there and, if you ask me, it’s a miracle they aren’t happening more often!
The point I’m trying to make is that these things can occur in your town or city at any time (if they haven’t already). And if they did, bad news: You have a sleeping army of rioters in your proximity, waiting for an excuse to do their thing again.
Let’s see what some of the ways to get out of a riot unharmed are.
#1. Know Your City Well
Knowing every street, every back alley and every dead end in your town is something you should collect information on in advance. You can do this by walking a lot (at safe hours of the day, depending on where you live) and paying attention to street names and road junctions, and even marking on a map all possible ways to get back home (and have a get home bag!) — and that includes escape from the interstate freeway, if you have an commute to and from work on state freeways or highways.
Not only does walking help you get to know neighborhood streets and side paths, it’s also a great way to stay in shape in case you’ve put on a few extra pounds because, during a riot, your physical condition could make it or break it.
#2. Blend In
If you look white-collar or even look like a tourist or someone else well to do, getting out from a riot is going to be tough. When things start taking a turn for the worse, one of the first things you should do is remove any sign that you have money or a high-paying job or are simply a tourist — you look like an easy target and someone to beat down first.
Protesters are usually from the lower classes and some of them hate people who are doing better than them financially.
To blend in, remove ALL accessories (watches, tie clip, hats, and ties) and don’t forget to ditch your sport coat or blazer and, if possible, put a t-shirt, sweatshirt or something more casual on.
Loose the brief case or ditch the purse — one way to do both is to include a black pillow case in whatever designer bag you might be carrying. Transfer the contents into the pillow case and hopefully your contents will make it out of the riot ok.
Blending in with counter culture – If you live in an area known for anarchists, throw on a black t-shirt with some counter culture designs on it. If you live in an area not far from the ‘hood, throw on a shirt with the local big name sports team or local smoke shop or popular liquor. Whatever shirt you throw on, don’t throw on something brand new and too clean. In fact, the best shirts, pants, and coats (don’t forget to grab a matching beanie cap) you can throw on to blend in are probably at your local thrift store and selling for just a couple bucks that you can pick up this weekend.
Personally, I recommend some black polyester or nylon running pants (loose fitting); these fold up tightly and won’t take much space in your brief case, back pack, or purse. Hopefully whatever shoes you wear to and from work or into town are the kind you can run in. They need to lace up well and you need to know how to tie them in advance so that they don’t come untied if you have to make a run for it. Something as simple as a shoe coming untied can make or break you when trying to escape a riot or group of rioters who are hot on your trail.
Some of the things NOT to do to blend in are wearing a hoodie over your head or a bandana over your mouth (unless you’re trying to protect yourself from tear gas). Why? Because law enforcement officers might mistake you for a bad guy. That means they can put you down with tear gas, rubber bullets or even brute force before they arrest you.
#3. Stay Calm
The key to doing all of this is to stay calm. The more afraid you appear to be, the more likely it is that rioters will notice. Avoid looking afraid and like you’re part of the “establishment” they hate. Instead, put on an instant poker face and take control of your demeanor:
When rioters look your way, look pissed off, just like they do, even raise a fist and shout something (but don’t let the police see you raising your fists — this is for the rioters); then just run right passed the rioters, kicking at things on the ground, etc, as you run by, all part of your act.
When you finally see police, demonstrate to the police you are not part of the riot by running over to a wall and away from the crowd, covering your head with your arms while you run (to protect yourself from punches and flying debris like rocks and bottles); ultimately, you want to look like a scared refugee and make your escape that way. Your body language tells the police that you are probably not a rioter and in fact may be one of the people they are down here to attempt to help and not crack over the head with a baton by mistake.
If you pull this off, congratulations — you’re adapting traits into your riot escape plan that an accomplished spy or overseas journalist have probably used on more than one occasion to escape dangerous rioting.
By staying calm and using a strategy to escape, you help avoid making a mistake and getting singled out by rioters or law enforcement and hurt or killed in some capacity.
Remember, if caught in a riot, the two things that can hurt you are:
1) Looking scared (so don’t look scared)
2)Looking like part of the “establishment” they hate (so have something to throw on that helps you blend in with the locals)
Final word on blending in: Don’t forget to pray — If that’s not your thing maybe it needs to start becoming your thing. It is the only thing to make sense of the modern world spinning so fast out of control. Combined with faith, I personally think it will be the only thing that saves a lot of people from the disasters that are heading our way.
Staying calm during a riot shouldn’t be just an act – This isn’t something you should just act, you really need to work on yourself and your mind to find calm and control your demeanor. Prayer is a powerful tool for that. Some other ways include:
Using visualization techniques.
Tackling more work at your job (thus, exposing yourself to more stress, which will force you to learn to stay calm).
Tackling a job where you can lead other people or becoming a volunteer to develop your social skills and become a problem solver.
Tackling a job at a day care center (if you can stay calm in front of a bunch of children, you can probably stay calm in most situations that might come your way).
…and by putting yourself in a variety of situations where staying calm is key (extreme sports, martial arts, ocean kayaking, and so on).
#4. Move Away From The Riot
The last thing you want is to start running the moment you see a way out. You never know who’s gonna come out and block your way or, even worse, a few rioters might start chasing you. The method to getting out safely from a riot is this:
Move in the same direction and at the same pace with the rioters but be on the lookout for ways out of the turmoil. You have to move at a slight angle to advance towards the exit.
Whether you can find a way out or not, put as much space between you and the rioters as you can.
Now, just because there’s a distance between you and them, that doesn’t mean you’re safe. Who knows who might sneak up on you from behind. Even worse, you might realize you’re still unable to get out of there. It’s not over until it’s over and, with no way out, you might have to find temporary shelter inside a building (more on that later).
Here’s where most people get it wrong… whether they see a peaceful protest or even sporadic fights, people are always curious to know what’s happening. 60 seconds later, blood starts to spill, chaos breaks loose and they realize they’re right in the middle of the chaos.
#5. Disappear Into The Shadows
The less visible you are, the less likely that they’ll pick on you. As you’re moving to safety, make sure you stay as much into the shadows as you can by avoiding well-lit areas, staying close to walls, trees and away from light poles. If possible, always wear dark colors because these won’t reflect as much light.
#6. Don’t Waste Time
As the Jewish journalist Haggai Matar tells the story, he almost got lynched by an angry mob in downtown Tel Aviv despite his efforts to explain himself and assure everyone that he was doing nothing wrong. Angry mobs don’t have brains and, as it happened in his case, they multiply. Fast.
It’s true that running won’t necessarily help but you can’t waste time either. The key is to not just move away from the crowd but go towards a place you know you’ll be safe.
#7. Comply And Avoid Eye Contact
If you don’t have time to pull off an act, like outlined above, or you don’t have time to lose your business attire our other nice clothing and are suddenly caught in a riot unexpectedly (which can happen, just depends on where you may work or do business or travel to), here are some different strategies that can work for you:
As you’re moving through the riot, you need to avoid eye contact at all costs. Stare at them for more than a second and they’ll want to get to know you better — and figure out if you’re part of the “establishment”.
It’s just human nature to feel challenged when someone maintains eye contact, especially when they feel in charge and are looking for someone to hate right at that moment.
Now, if they stop you, this doesn’t mean you have to look away (at all times) even when they’re screaming at you. You don’t want to look scared and you don’t want to appear cocky either. The rule of thumb is to look at them when you’re talking and look away when you’re not. They key here is to make it look natural.
You’re on their side. You agree with them.
That’s right, you don’t have to be a hero; you’ll be outnumbered anyway. Don’t fight unless you have no other choice, don’t join the fights either and don’t get mad at what the protesters are doing or saying. I don’t care if you agree with them or not, it’s more important that you get to see your wife and kids again.
If they don’t fall for your act — run – If you have the legs to run, keep trying to run, even if you’re being struck by fists. It’s possible to take a few punches and still get away with your life. A friend of mine, former Air Force, got jumped outside a bar several years back in our younger days. He got knocked down by a punch but then simply jumped up and ran and got away. Most people who get jumped simply get beat down because they are overwhelmed by the odds and panic and curl up into a ball, etc. Don’t be that person, if you have the legs to run, run!
So, if someone hits you, avoid the temptation of fighting back — you’ll only make them angrier and, besides, if they had the guts to hit a stranger for no reason, their friends are probably nearby, maybe even heading towards you. Block the punches and kicks as much as you can and keep moving.
If they want something from you such as money, your jacket or your gun, it’s best to comply. In fact, it would be wise to always have some cash on you as part of your everyday carry kit (EDC) to give it to them so they leave you alone. You’re also gonna need it, anyway, in case you find a vending machine to get water and energy bars.
Carry a mugger’s wallet – If you commute to and from a major city, just like any tourist it might be a good time to start carrying a “mugger’s wallet”. This is a proven tactic used by people in the know to help survive muggings and armed robbery. This is a wallet stuffed with some one dollar bills and fake cards and information with bad addresses on it. If you get mugged, or jumped by rioters, hand over your mugger’s wallet and keep your real wallet hidden in another pocket or somewhere else on your body.
#8. 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.
Or maybe you can barricade either the main door or one of the interior doors.
How do you know which door is open? You don’t, you just have to try them one by one. You might be seconds away from that mob noticing you’re trying to escape.
#9. If A Tear Gas Canister Is Headed Your Way, Run
Correction: Run like hell. In this case, forget what I said earlier about staying calm and moving at a slower pace. Trust me, when that canister is about to hit you, everyone’s going to run as fast as they can. Take a look at these journalists being attacked by the police with tear gas.
In fact, this could actually be good news to you. The rioters panicking could mean your chance to break away free. But to take advantage of it, you need to know what your possible ways out are. When you’re seconds away from an encounter with tear gas, you may not have time to think, only time to run and, hopefully, you’ll do it in the right direction.
#10. You Need A Different Approach Depending On Who You’re With
Whether you’re alone or in a group matters because you’ll need a different strategy. You have to prepare yourself for the very likely event that you’ll get separated from your group.
If you’re alone, it’s easier. You don’t have to look out for anyone but yourself and it’s also easier to blend in until you can find a way to escape. Sure, you might see people who are screaming, people who are injured as you walk by but before you decide to help them, you should quickly analyze the situation before spending another minute in these circumstances.
In most cases, giving first aid and, if you’re strong enough, dragging them from the middle of the road to the side may be the only things you can do before you move on.
If you’re with co-workers, sticking together is a good idea because you’ll be less likely to be attacked. With riots, there’s always power in the numbers. However, if you or one of the others finds a way to break free, go for it. It’s ok to leave them behind because you’re not much help anyway staying trapped in the riot.
Now, if you’re with your family, things are complicated. If your kid gets lost, you’re going to want to find them but not before sending your wife and other kids to safety.
If you’re not prepared to do that (i.e. you don’t have a gun), you may want to go back home and get a weapon and some help before you return. You may also need binoculars (or, better yet, a monocular because it’s smaller and lighter) so you can inspect the crowd to find your son before you jump back in there.
I’m not saying that leaving your son out there for half an hour is going to increase his chances of survival but going back in there will surely decrease yours. In fact, your kid has less chances of being attacked than you because he’s small and won’t be seen as a threat, unlike you.
The rule of thumb for families trapped inside riots is to always stick together.
If You See Children, Do The Right Thing — Help Them Get To Safety
Sometimes a group of children can end up surrounded by rioters, even if they’re not being targeted. This happens when a riot takes place when area schools are being released for the day and kids who may normally walk home are suddenly caught in a riot.
This is a good time for each of us to stop worrying about our own skin and do something to help these kids escape unharmed — if they’re willing to follow you to safety that is. Whatever you do, don’t grab a kid by the arm and start dragging them to safety — you don’t want to look like a potential kidnapper or rapist to a group of local rioters. Depending on the rioters, that might get you killed.
Five Additional Key Points To Survive A Riot
#11. Riots Are Unpredictable
The most important thing to remember about riots is that they are fluid and unpredictable. Things change by the second and you need to think fast. You may only get one or two chances to get out of there and you cannot hesitate.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you will see people hurt. You will see blood, you will hear people screaming, you will hear gunshots but you can’t let them get to you.
Getting to safety should be the only thing on your mind, no matter what. Even if you don’t die, being crippled for the rest of your life isn’t something to look forward to.
If you have the opportunity, helping drag injured people to safety and help children steer clear of an approaching riot (or escape a riot) is the right thing to do — even if you get a few bumps and bruises along the way. What if these were your kids?
#12. Specific Tips For Women
1. Have clothing to change into that doesn’t show any curves.
2. Don’t just wear dress shoes to work — have some good, dark colored running shoes handy.
3. Be ready to wash off your make-up (if any) in a hurry.
4. Pull your hair up into an old ball cap and have something to cinch it with so that it stays hidden in your cap.
5. Don’t hesitate to spit in your hands and grab a few handfuls of dirt and coat your face and hair in it — if you look dirty and ragged you are less likely to be targeted for a possible rape (a rape that won’t happen on a sidewalk in clear view… it’s the kind of rape where you’re punched in the head and then dragged off somewhere and possibly end up dead behind a house or down an alley).
6. Carry a taser — it’s easy to conceal in a sleeve and if someone grabs you, you can give them the shock of their life, dropping them to the ground so you can make your escape. Pink is not the best color for a taser — a black taser will blend in with your dark clothes and can be easily concealed in a sleeve.
(Some people prefer a tactical pen for it’s stabbing strength.)
7. You can be stronger than the average attacker by training a few key muscles that aid grapplers in the sport of wrestling or MMA fighting. One exercise that you can do to give you serious arm and back strength (essential to grappling/wrestling strength) are bent over dumb bell rows, working one arm at a time. The good news — it’s an easy exercise. The bad news (if you want to call it bad news) — you have to stay dedicated to the routine and push yourself to higher reps over several weeks. Once you’re stronger — and faster at dumb bell rows — you can ease off the pace and just maintain at a certain level as a fitness regimen.
#13. Specific Self Defense Strikes
Think like Jason Bourne – Any attacker who makes the mistake of grabbing you is instantly going to realize that you are ten times stronger than the average person when you suddenly grab or “clinch” (lock up with) your attacker in return.
To clinch, reach fast behind your attacker’s head with your left hand (if you’re right handed) and yank his face toward you — at the same time, start throwing a series of right handed (your power arm) palm-up strikes and break your attacker’s nose and end this encounter quickly.
From this position, you have 3 possible easy targets — as mentioned, the nose (you can break it with a palm strike or repeated palm strikes). The other two targets are the eyes and throat; poke bent fingers into the eyes (cobra strike); punch the throat with pointed knuckles. If this guy is hard to put down though just keep holding on with your left hand (behind his neck) and keep striking at the nose, eyes, and throat (hard, fast strikes) until you finally get somewhere.
A warning about long hair in a conflict – One danger with having long hair (specifically, women) is that an attacker can really inflict pain and control the direction of the conflict if he gets a firm hand full of hair and starts yanking you around by it. Keeping your hair up or (in the worst of riots) hiding somewhere and cutting off your long locks can greatly assist in you escaping danger. Plus, your hair will grow back — it’s not the end of the world! (Well, maybe it actually is).
#14. Concealed Carry – Turn The Tables On A Few Rioters
For men and women both – If you’re making your escape and are chased onto a side street, this would be a great time for your concealed carry permit to come in handy. Draw a firearm and let these rioters know to back off or they are going to regret it. Most of the time this will work to deter people but only if they think you have the guts to use your gun. Speak in a way so they know you mean business.
#15. Shoot To Kill? Not If You Don’t Have To
Some people are too quick to shoot to kill, and that includes the police. Shooting to kill is sometimes taking matters to an extreme and just a bit too fast (though sometimes it might be the only way out one day, so keep that in mind; I’m not against it, when it comes to self defense, but only if it’s necessary, let prayer be your guide for every aspect of life; finally, keep in mind you may have to prove that this was “self defense” in a court of law if the authorities decide to prosecute — if you or someone with you can get your clear warnings to threatening rioters on video, you are more likely to get “self defense” in your favor and not face prosecution — that is the hope anyway).
If you have to put a bullet into somebody to save your skin, why not start by putting a bullet into someone’s foot before you take matters to a lethal extreme? Either way, the fight is over and most likely any small group of rioters who have chased you down a side street is likely now to turn up their heels and run when they see their comrade drop to the ground in agony and they know you mean business.
A bottle of pepper spray can also come in handy, but honestly, facing the kind of rioting and social unrest that is probably heading our way soon, a concealed carry permit and knowing how to use a firearm will do a number of people a world of good and may be what turns the tables on a few dangerous rioters that day.