Be Prepared: Civil Unrest

Posted on: November 13, 2014

More and more often, we’re hearing in the news about protests turning ugly in many cities. Most recently, at the time of this writing, has been discussion of what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri, where at this moment people are anxiously waiting to hear the results of a grand jury hearing. Many pundits and such are predicting that, if the officer who shot Michael Brown is not charged, we could be looking at riots similar to or exceeding what was seen in Los Angeles after the Rodney King situation.

Obviously, looting, rioting, and such are predominantly urban issues. You just don’t hear much about such activities happening in Small Town, USA. However, many of us who live out in the sticks, so to speak, still travel to the cities for work, shopping, and other activities. So, while this is primarily an urban problem, it can affect any of us at any time.

Situational awareness is key. If you are out and about and things start to look dicey, get out of the area as quickly and safely as possible. Alert signals would include protesters lining up, large groups forming, or just a general sense of unease creeping down your spine. Listen to your gut.

If you find yourself on foot and caught up in some sort of demonstration, link hands with those with you (carry smaller children if at all possible) and begin moving perpendicular to the mob’s direction of travel. Don’t try to fight your way back through the crowd, just move sideways across the group as best you can. Keep moving until you reach an area that is relatively free of protestors and then beat feet to a safer location.

If you reside in an urban area and find protestors or similar groups acting out in your area, lock your doors and stay inside. While your first instinct is to want to gear up and storm outside, hollering at those kids to get off your damn lawn, that’s not likely to be your safest option. Far better to document any vandalism and such with pics or video and then file an insurance claim than have to spend time in a hospital bed.

However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t do anything if you genuinely believe your life or the lives of your family are in danger. If that’s the case, then do what you feel you must to protect you and yours.

Civil unrest comes in many forms, from looting and vandalism to marching protestors gumming up the works. It can be very frightening to find yourself caught up in it. Even more scary is mob mentality taking over. Keep calm, stay rational, and avoid just going along with the crowd.

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