Peter Grant, formerly a soldier in South Africa, knows whereof he speaks. I suggest it would behoove most Americans to heed his advice these days.
There are some important lessons to be learned. Firstly, a vehicle isn’t going to help when the streets are clogged. You can’t drive over dozens of protestors. If nothing else, their bodies will immobilize your vehicle, just as surely as if it became high-centered over a bump. What’s more, as soon as you’re forced to slow down or stop, you’re going to get dragged from your vehicle by angry rioters. That may not be survivable. Much rather use your vehicle to avoid getting into that mess in the first place . . . but you may not have a choice. You may turn a corner in a city center to find the mob coming to meet you, with no time or space to avoid them. If you’re on an interstate highway, the on- and off-ramps may be blocked by rioters and/or vehicles with nowhere to go, leaving you stranded with a mob coming towards you, looting every vehicle they pass. This is what I-85 looked like in Charlotte on Tuesday evening.
Rioters looted stalled trucks of their cargoes, taking what they wanted and torching the rest. Hundreds of vehicles backed up behind the scene of the crime. If yours was among them, what would you do? Many of those present abandoned their vehicles and fled on foot. That’s all well and good, if they had the space and time to do so . . . but what if they didn’t? What if the rioters swarmed their vehicle before they could get out? What if they, or a member of their party, had limited mobility and couldn’t escape and evade fast enough?
In such a situation, resistance may be your only option. Make sure you have a firearm handy, plus enough ammunition to defend yourself and your loved ones. That may be difficult. It’s an unpalatable, raw, brutal fact that you may not be able to offer enough resistance to save yourself in such a situation. If there are a couple of dozen rioters within feet of you, you probably can’t shoot fast enough to get them all. Distance is your friend. Even if you use a firearm successfully to defend yourself, whilst that may solve Problem One (immediate survival), it’s likely to land you neck-deep in Problem Two. The aftermath of such a riot is likely to see political and social leaders screaming for a scapegoat. If you shoot a few rioters, guess what? You’re probably it.
You’re just about certain to be arrested and charged with all sorts of crimes, even if all you were doing is trying to save your life and the lives of your loved ones. You may find it very difficult to defeat the charges in court, particularly if witnesses are scarce (or intimidated), and video footage of your activities (from nearby security cameras, hovering helicopters, etc.) is deliberately edited to portray your actions in the worst possible light. Think that won’t happen? You’re naive.
You need to have a plan, at the first sign of such troubles, to get away from the riots before they get out of control. Make arrangements with family and friends, have bug-out bags and vehicles and plans in place (including sufficient fuel to get out of trouble without having to stop at a gas station, because they’ll be magnets for looters). Don’t wait until it’s too late. Far better to get clear of potential trouble, then return if the trouble doesn’t materialize, rather than wait until you’re sure there’s trouble, but not leave yourself enough space and time to get away from it.
That’s likely to be difficult once riots become established. A standard police tactic is to isolate the violence, establishing a perimeter to prevent it spreading. Police will wait at that perimeter until they can see the unrest ebbing, then move inward once again to re-establish control. That works for them, and helps to minimize casualties caused by them (and the political fallout from such casualties) . . . but it won’t help you if you’re trapped inside that perimeter. The rioters will be all around you, and you won’t be able to avoid them. That’s not a good place to be. Get to the perimeter if at all possible, and seek police protection. If you can’t, you’ll have no alternative but to hunker down in place and ride out the storm.
If you suspect you may find yourself in that situation, your location should be prepared in advance to resist that sort of problem. Make sure rioters can’t easily break in and get at you. Use obstructions (plants, flower boxes, whatever) to make it difficult to approach windows; put stout burglar bars on windows and security gates on doors, and fortify them if possible with whatever’s available; have weapons handy, and make sure that all adults and older children know how to use them. Keep rioters outside, if possible at a distance, so they can’t get their hands on you or your weapons. If they do, your resistance is over, right there – and I don’t have to tell you what your loved ones are likely to go through under such circumstances.
That’s why the best possible solution is to get clear of the trouble and stay away from it until it’s died down.
Or to put it more briefly, John Derbyshire was right.
Peter is right about how easy it is to be taken by surprise, though. We were in Rome walking through the streets in a nearly empty quarter one day when we heard a dull roar. It was hard to tell what it was, or exactly from what direction it was coming. I was curious, since it could have been anything from immigrants to ultras, so my friend and I had the women and children stay back while we went to see what was going on. It kept getting louder, but there was nothing to see until we turned a corner to encounter a large mass of several hundred dark-skinned people who looked like Bangladeshis or Sri Lankans. They were loudly demonstrating against deportations or the lack of work permits or something,, and while it wasn’t even remotely dangerous, I won’t forget the shock of suddenly encountering such a loud and overpowering mass of humanity without much in the way of warning besides that dull roar.
And I can attest that having a handgun wouldn’t have accomplished a damn thing. Frankly, a belt-fed .50 caliber might not have been enough without a minefield. If I heard that sound these days, I’d do my best to figure out where it was coming from, then move quickly the opposite way. And if I couldn’t tell, I’d start backtracking. Fast.
Regardless, the key to successfully surviving everything from a one-on-one fight to a mob scene is lateral movement. You not only don’t want to be where they are, you don’t want to be where they are going.