Cities across the country have planned events (find the list of locations here) and I’ve gotten photos from people in small towns all over the place of signs with the ominous warning, “November 4th It Begins.”
Now, before we delve into prepping for this, please know that there is every chance this is a tempest in a teapot. It’s most likely that anywhere from 20 to 200 people will show up with their signs, chant mean things about the President, maybe throw a rock through a window, and go home. If you aren’t near these locations, you probably won’t even know it’s going on unless you check the news. So, while you should be prepared for anything (as usual), you shouldn’t be afraid.
But…considering the fact that this is on every media outlet everywhere (the NY Times actually allowed it to be promoted with a full-page ad on November 1), the possibilities of all hell breaking loose should at least be considered.
I’ve cited before Newton’s Third Law of Physics which states “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” From Antifa, the threats of violence are becoming more extreme. And if this gets crazy, there WILL be a reaction.
A lot of folks are sick and tired of being pushed around, threatened, and censored by these ironically named Anti-Fascists. You need only check out the comments section on any article about the potential event to know that some fed-up Americans intend to push back and counter-protest. Hard. I have talked to more than one member of the military who says, “Bring it on.” Tensions have the potential to boil over.
If your goal is to be out there in the thick of things because you believe it is your obligation to do so, this article probably isn’t for you and I offer you my very best wishes for your safety.
If you are planning to avoid any conflict and focus on keeping your family away from trouble, you can be prepared for the possibility that civil unrest erupts. By planning ahead, we can avoid the fear, panic, and confusion that leads people to rush to the store and clear the shelves like a horde of hungry locusts. We can stay away from the angry masses, the rioters who will use any excuse to steal, and the hungry people who are determined to feed their kids no matter who stands in their way.
Whether the next few days lead to pandemonium or even martial law to crack down on unrest, a prepared mindset, a defense plan, and a well-stocked home can help to keep you and your family out of harm’s way. My personal goal is the safety and security of my family. This is my primary responsibility.
In her article Anatomy of a Breakdown, Tess Pennington wrote:
“When you take the time to understand how a breakdown behaves and how it progresses, only then can you truly prepare for it.
This glimpse into a systemic breakdown is based on an isolated, limited disaster or event where emergency responders have been deployed. I must emphasize that all bets are off if the event is wide spread, affecting multiple tens of millions of people simultaneously.”
Spend today getting ready, just in case. Here are the most vital things that you can do to be prepared for civil unrest.
In a perfect world, we’d all be home, watching the chaos erupt on TV from the safety of our living rooms. However, reality says that some of us will be at work, at school, or in the car when unrest occurs. You need to develop a “get-home” plan for all of the members of your family, based on the most likely places that they will be.
- Devise an efficient route for picking up the kids from school. Be sure that anyone who might be picking up the children already has permission to do so in the school office.
- Keep a get-home bag in the trunk of your car in case you have to set out on foot.
- Stash some supplies in the bottom of your child’s backpack – water, a snack, any tools that might be useful, and a map. Be sure your children understand the importance of OPSEC. (Here’s a school kit that won’t get your kid expelled, but in this situation, your children should NOT be encouraged to set off on their own.)
- Find multiple routes home – map out alternative backroad ways to get home as well as directions if you must go home on foot.
- Find hiding places along the way. If you work or go to school a substantial distance from your home, figure out some places to lay low now, before a crisis situation. Sometimes staying out of sight is the best way to stay safe.
- Avoid groups of people. It seems that the mob mentality strikes when large groups of people get together. Often folks who would never ordinarily riot in the streets get swept up by the mass of people who are doing so.
- Keep in mind that in many civil disorder situations the authorities are to be avoided every bit as diligently as the angry mobs of looters. Who can forget the scenes of innocent people being pepper sprayed by uniformed thugs in body armor just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Once you make your way home or to your bug-out location … STAY THERE.
By staying home, you are minimizing your risk of being caught in the midst of an angry mob or of sitting in stalled traffic while looters run amok. In most scenarios, you will be far safer at home than you will be in any type of shelter or refugee situation. (Obviously, this isn’t true in all cases – you must use common sense before hunkering down.)
This is when your preparedness supplies will really pay off. If you are ready for minor medical emergencies and illnesses, a grid down scenario, and a no-comm situation, you will be able to stay safely at home with your family and ride out the crisis in moderate comfort.
Be sure you have a supply of the following:
- Necessary prescription medications
- Food and an off-grid way to cook it (Do NOT rely on mail order stuff for an event starting tomorrow – get your supplies locally)
- Or food that requires no cooking
- First aid supplies
- Lighting in the event of a power outage
- Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
- A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
- Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
- Survival and first aid manuals (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
- Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio or a ham radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
- Off-grid entertainment: arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals
Be prepared to defend your home
Sometimes despite our best intentions, the fight comes to us. Even though we stay home, something about our place draws the attention of an unsavory person or group. Defense is two-fold. Your best defense is avoiding the fight altogether. You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself.
The extent to which you strive to do this should be based on the severity of the unrest in your area. Some of the following recommendations are not necessary for an everyday grid-down scenario but could save your life in a more extreme civil unrest scenario.
- Keep all the doors and windows locked. Secure sliding doors with a metal bar. Consider installing decorative gridwork over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.
- Put dark plastic over the windows. (Heavy duty garbage bags work well.) If it’s safe to do so, go outside and check to see if any light escapes from the windows. If your home is the only one on the block that is well-lit, it is a beacon to others.
- Don’t answer the door. Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
- Keep cooking smells to a minimum. If everyone else in the neighborhood is hungry, the meat on your grill will draw people like moths to a flame.
- Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”. Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.
- Remember that first responders may be tied up. If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself. Also keep in mind, as mentioned earlier in the article – the cops are not always your friends in these situations.
- Don’t be drawn outside. Sometimes, thugs will try to engage people by damaging their car or property outside. Going outside, you will likely be outnumbered. In most cases, you’ll be better off just calling the insurance company the next day.
If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family.
- Many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition for just such an event. When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation. Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force.
- Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members.(Here are instructions – you may be able to put something together quickly, depending on your home.)
- Plan an escape route. If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.
- Have a plan to deal with a fire. Fire is often used in situations like this. Be sure to have well-maintained fire extinguishers in case of a small blaze.
What about a martial law event?
While many of the officers involved most likely just want to resolve the situation and go home to their families, the methods that are often used are not methods most of us wish to encounter.
In a highly charged situation like this, police and military are trained to use the most efficient methods to speedily shut down a conflict. These methods can include tear gas, sound cannons, and outright physical assaults on citizens. It’s important to note that fear can be a powerful motivator when deciding how much force is appropriate when addressing a threat. Cops are just as subject to fear as the rest of us. 20 cops with shields and batons would be quite reasonable to fear an angry mob of hundreds of shouting people.
Your safety when interacting with officials during a martial law situation does not rely on the intentions of police officers and military. It really doesn’t matter if they are trying to crush your rights under a jack-booted heel, or whether they are trying to benevolently keep people safe and re-establish peace and harmony.
Here are some suggestions to help keep you safe when dealing with cops and soldiers.
- Avoid crowds. If you are in the midst of a crowd, you’ll be considered part of the crowd and treated exactly like everyone else in that group. If they get tear-gassed, so will you. It’s guilt by association. If the crowd is violent, and you are part of the crowd, you will also be considered violent, and you’ll be dealt with accordingly. Legally, you are actually guilty if you are part of a group that is violent.
- Be polite. If you have to interact with officers, be courteous. You won’t restore the Constitution by arguing with them or threatening them. It’s fine to assert your rights – you don’t have to allow them to search your house without cause, for example, but do so civilly. Belligerence will get you nothing but a beat-down.
- You don’t get to explain. In a highly charged situation, the cops probably aren’t going to listen to you when you try to explain that you’re just taking that baseball bat in your hand over to your nephew’s house so he can hit some balls in the backyard. No matter how innocent your intentions are, if you’re walking like a duck, you’re going to be treated like a duck. Training will kick in, and perceived threats will be immediately neutralized by whatever means the cops find necessary.
- Stay home. It really isn’t worth risking your physical safety to go see what’s going on.
Underneath the uniform, cops are human. I’m not justifying the brutality, the methods they sometimes use, or the assaults on journalists. Cops are just as likely to be swept up in a herd mentality as protesters and rioters are during a high-stress situation. By understanding this, you can be better prepared.
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Every civil unrest scenario is different. You must make a personal plan based on your environment, your neighbors, and the type of situation that is occurring in your area. By thinking ahead, you’ve already improved your family’s chances of surviving unscathed.