A riot by any other name…..
Civil disturbance is a misnomer. Hardly civil, though definitely disturbing, they’re more like a human hurricane. A swirling mass of people, slowly moving at first, drawing energy from the periphery towards the center, picking up speed, and then, crashing into everything in their way, leaving destruction in their wake.
Left unchecked, it can take days for the violence to subside. When they are suppressed, it’s never without some toll. Usually the casualty reports tell of a lopsided victory by the better equipped and organized, over the impromptu and angry.
Participating in a riot is a matter of choice, getting caught in one isn’t. What started as a peaceful protest can spin out of control with violence instigated from either side. In emergencies like ours, power takes a dim view of dissent. Even this May, before things were really bad, riot police in LA opened up on what were, from all appearances peaceful protesters. So choose carefully what public airing of grievances you think to attend.
I know most people don’t or can’t live in rural areas. That means that, unfortunately, you therefore run the risk of playing host to opposing side in a contest you might not even care about. So here’s some advice that might help keep your life, liberty, and possibly your property, intact.
Stay off the streets. Combat is not a spectator sport. While you might not consider it combat, these guys, have been conveniently getting militarized for the last ten years. If you’re on the street, you’re in the mix as far as they’re concerned. If it’s the military or national guard, they will consider it combat.
Move as much indoors as you can. Loose objects either disappear or become missiles and clubs.
Lock the doors. Better yet barricade them. It wouldn’t hurt to do the window too. If a riot comes down your street, people are going to want in. Initially perhaps just for mayhem, but if a line of security forces shows up on the other end of the block, they’re going to be looking for a place to hide or fight from. Security forces will be looking for escaping rioters. Really, you don’t need that.
Move up off of street level. Consider meeting the neighbors upstairs or checking out the attic.
Stay low, and away from windows. It comes back to that spectator thing. Rioters may be throwing things, and the security forces will defiantly be shooting things. Getting hit by a stray shot or shards of glass sucks at the best of times, and now, with emergency services suspended in an unstable area it’s gonna suck even more. Pick a nice interior room, hallway or closet.
Be prepared to deal with clouds of CS or other irritants. Find a way to either ventilate or filter the air in a room or at a minimum have masks for use by individuals. Goggles while protect the eyes to a certain degree, and a wet rag is fine if you have nothing else for a mask. As long as they aren’t (yet) using chem/bio weapons and you don’t let the irritant concentration levels get to high, the upside is you won’t die. I make no guarantees about the young, aged or infirm.
Have a escape exit planned. If someone is really intent on breaking into your home, either security forces or rioters, you need to get out. If fires are started and appear to be spreading, you need to get out.
Listen. Crowds have a sound all their own, angry ones especially. Track the progress of the crowd as it hopefully moves past you. Security forces have a sound too, sharp pops, loud engines, then a period of several minutes silence as it pushes down the street, followed by loudspeakers telling you to stay off the street.
And announcing martial law.
It’s enough to make you want to.......