Guest post By Mason Kline
Whether you’re prepping for the apocalypse, natural disasters, the breakdown of society, or all of the above, one commonality surfaces from all types of breakdown: civil unrest. There is a chapter (or two) in every prepper’s handbook about how to handle society in the event of collapse because it’s a relative certainty that not everyone in your community will have their ducks in a row. People, as a group, are panicky and unpredictable. High stress situations lead to violence, crime, and mob mentality. Desperation creates monsters. For most preppers, however, we are prepared for more than the “end.” The examples of martial law and civil unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson are prime examples of these situations. For those that weren’t prepared, they experienced injury, crime, destruction, and hunger. Being prepared for civilian riots and government intervention are not paranoid delusions. They are real and happening today.
Understand the Enemy
Martial law is the intervention of government by high ranking military officers. At its most basic level, martial law is the act of throwing away civilian rights and habeas corpus to regain order. Understand what this means and be prepared for the ramifications. Each situation is different, but in the cases of Baltimore and Ferguson most of the threat by police subsides if you follow the Pro Tips I outline at the end of this article. This will not always be the case, however. If military officers are the enemy, your plan needs to adapt. They are equipped with high-powered firearms, military vehicles and probably more armor defenses than you have. If this is the case I suggest relocation.
In more topical and recent cases I mentioned, the enemy has been the rioters. For many (not all) of those not directly involved in the riot, they were not harmed by police, but by rioters committing arson, looting, and breaking into homes. By understanding that the more direct threat is the civilians, you can be prepared by staying at home. Plan on barricading you and your family indoors, covering windows, staying inconspicuous, and having a plan if someone gets through your defenses. This is where your prepping comes in.
Prepping is Being Prepared
The only way to get through a situation of civil unrest is to be prepared for it. You need supplies in bulk and way ahead of time. In Ferguson, people were running out of food after one week. Most establishments in the area were already looted, vandalized and destroyed by that time. In Baltimore, churches throughout the city opened to give food to children. Leaving the house to get supplies at that point would have been necessary but dangerous. Don’t put yourself in that position. Prepping 101 would tell you to have a stockpile of food, water, weapons, and other essential supplies ready. Be sure to have first aid supplies, battery operated radios in the event of a power outage for updates on the outside world, flashlights, etc. The potential for a down-grid situation isn’t out of the question either. Make sure to have the means to eat and stay warm or cool without electricity. Being prepared will save you before anything or anyone else will.
Know your role
There are a few different types of people in situations of civil unrest. Know your strategy and what role you plan to play.
- Rioter – You are at the front lines of the riot. Taking the tear gas, throwing bricks at the militarized police, getting arrested, looting, burning buildings down, and succumbing to the mob mentality. In situations like Ferguson or Baltimore, you are the enemy.
- Victim – You are inadvertently injured by police or rioters, hungry, without protection, and/or feeling the full effects of the rioters in one way or another. Your strategy is to gain supplies, barricade at home if you can or find shelter or an ally to help. Be aware that you are in a vulnerable position and need to gain footing to keep yourself safe.
- Hero – You are helping the victims, delivering supplies, fighting off the rioters, and essentially putting yourself in harm’s way. Your strategy needs to be more tactical. If you are knowingly taking yourself away from your shelter, supplies and sustenance you need to have a way to protect yourself. This means more weapons, more armor, and a lot more supplies if you are supplying many people with the necessities. Do not forget to keep yourself safe while providing safety to others.
- Survivor – You are prepared and stocked with supplies. You have barricaded yourself at home and are able to weather the storm in a safe environment without having to fight the enemy. Your strategy is to lay low and be prepared to defend yourself. Staying away from the violence is your best bet for safety, but sometimes the violence finds you. In Ferguson, a Tattoo and Gun shop that shared a store front kept rioters from vandalizing their shop and stealing firearms by rounding up friends and staying armed to protect their business. This is a prime example of protecting your property while not drawing attention to yourself.
In the event of civil unrest and martial law the situation can be chaotic and unpredictable. It can be hard to evaluate just how serious the situation is until it’s too late. Here are some Pro Tips on getting through the conflict unharmed.
- Stay calm – Your demeanor is essential. If you are prepared, you have to be confident that you have the ability to stay safe. Panic breeds bad decisions.
- Have an escape route – Plan for your plans not to work. Arson is an epidemic in civil unrest. Don’t barricade yourself so much that you’ll be trapped if you are a victim of arson. Have a plan to leave the area completely if the violence doesn’t subside.
- Don’t be a target – Stay away from the epicenter. Don’t leave home, cover windows and be prepared for trouble, but don’t go out seeking it.
- Avoid crowds – The police won’t have the ability to differentiate you from the mob if you are anywhere near it. The mob won’t hesitate to turn on itself. Stay away from the rioters at all costs.
The realities of civil unrest are evident throughout history. Before Ferguson and Baltimore were Hurricane Katrina and the Rodney King riots. Before that were the May Day Protests and the Ford Hunger March. It’s not quite the “doomsday” that most preppers are prepping for, and it’s not the preparation for the unlikely that non-preppers expect from us. Civil unrest is definite; the unknown is when and where it will happen next.
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