What Do You Do If There is a Mass Riot??

Posted: August 11, 2013 in Self Defense
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LA Riots in 1992

Sides-LA-Riots-6_525As unlikely as it appears to many US citizens, the riots of Europe, the Middle East, South America and Los Angeles may conceivably occur in cities across the US. While the current political climate is not conducive to riots in the US, as we have recently seen in Europe it does not take much to set off a firestorm of violence and chaos. Riots are often sparked by food shortages, high prices, government oppression, racial tensions, religious tensions, and politics. For example, during the Zimmerman trial there were many threats of mass riots all across the country. Thankfully, little came of those threats but they do provide an excellent opportunity for strategic analysis. For those of us in the Atlanta area, have you ever considered what you would do if riots break out Downtown Atlanta? What if you were working downtown when the riot erupts? How would you get home? If you are outside the Perimeter, can you stay there indefinitely? What steps should you take if you find yourself needing to travel through the riot area?


Brazil Riots

Naturally, the best thing is to avoid a riot completely. Just don’t go there. By avoiding the chaos, your personal injury and damage will be severely limited. However, as not everybody has the luxury of avoiding Downtown Atlanta (due to health, family or business), what steps can you take to mitigate your chance of injury or loss should you find yourself traveling through a hostile area?

  1. Be armed — While a firearm is certainly an effective way of dealing with assailants, it also will attract a lot of attention. Attention is the last thing you want in the midst of a riot. Gaining the attention of the rioters may get you attacked and gaining negative attention from the police may get you shot. Utilizing mace or a knife is a far more stealthy option that may help you escape a riot unscathed. Knives have the added benefit of never needing a reload but the downside of requiring close quarters to use. Mace/OC Spray has the advantage of clearing an area instead of just one person. One person may get the full effect of the spray, but most of the people around them are also going to clear the area in an attempt to escape the spray.


    French Rioter Wears Protective Clothing

  2. Wear Protective Clothing — Long sleeves and long pants will help protect you from some of the crowd control measures utilized by police. Jeans and a long-sleeved shirt can somewhat mitigate the damage caused by rubber bullets, spray and other crowd control measures. Preparing beforehand is the best way to insure you will have such protective clothing available in the eventuality a riot begins while you are away from home and/or at work. I recommend keeping an extra set of clothes in your car or desk drawer (especially if tensions are mounting).
  3. Blend In — do your best to look as much like the rioters as possible. Again, you do not want to gain the attention of the crowd nor the police. Standing out in this kind of crowd will likely be very detrimental to your health. Wear clothes that are similar to those the rioters/protesters are wearing. Shout the same slogans the rioters are shouting. Suddenly become the biggest supporter of the rioters and their cause. Remember, at this point your goal is to survive not be politically correct. Discard anything that looks authoritative: security badges, uniforms, (even referee or umpire uniforms), etc…


    There’s a Reason for the Flow

  4. Go with the Flow — If you are caught up in a moving riot, go in the same general direction the crowd is going. Walking in the opposite direction will likely cause you to bump into somebody, and that small infraction may trigger a harsh reaction. Also, if the crowd is running a certain direction they may be running from something. The police may have just released large amounts of Tear Gas or other types of crowd control agents (or in the worse case, may be shooting live rounds into the crowd). Following the crowd is not a technique I normally advocate in life, but there is certainly a time and a place for it…. And that would be the time.
  5. Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Keep Calm!! — Maintaining your awareness and clarity of mind is key for such a time. If you are to escape unscathed from the chaos you will need to keep an eye out for 1) opportunities to escape, 2) potential threats, 3) ensuring any loved ones traveling with you stay with you. Depend on no one but God for help. In a riot situation the Police are not there to help, they are only present to contain and control. Do not run towards them for help or you may be seriously injured or killed. The Police will see movement towards them as a threat and will react as such.


    In this case, you want a bag that will be as unobtrusive as possible… No ALICE or MOLLE packs. You need to BLEND IN!!

  6. Prepare Now! — As we have already seen in LA, Europe, the Middle East and other places around the world, mass riots can begin with little warning given to the everyday citizen and in a matter of a precious few hours. Many of us prepare for the eventuality of getting mugged, assaulted, or otherwise accosted (which is why we carry) but we also need to expand our preparations to include common sense items that will assist us in any emergency. Cash may get you gas for your car, bribe a rioter into letting you pass, or buy you food when the grid is down. Keep emergency cash on hand: on your person, in your glove box, etc… Stash some food and clothes in a bag and keep the bag in your car or you could also stash them in your desk at work. If a mass riot breaks out while you are working (or shopping in) downtown, you may be trapped. Having food on hand will help you both physically and mentally. You may also want to do as I did and throw a small Bible in your emergency bag as well. During such a time, a Bible will likely be very comforting.  A deck of cards may also be a good idea (if you happen to be one of those that still knows how to play with actual cards and not just digital ones).

lariot01While many of us pray such a scenario of utter chaos will never unfold in this country, a realistic look around the world and at history reveals the odds are stacked against us and it is likely only a matter of time. While we are still on the peaceful side of such an event it behooves us to analyze our weak and strong points, our travel patterns, and those of our family members so we may quickly plan the best avenues for escape, concealment and defensive positions. For example, a non-threatening shop/business such as a sewing shop or craft store is a better place to hole up than fuel stations, restaurants or other locations that bring crowds or numerous customers. It is also best to avoid places that may attract thieves to loot; i.e. a jewelry or grocery store. While there will be little we can do once a riot erupts, preparing beforehand will dramatically increase the effectiveness of what we are able to do. The oft quoted “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially applicable to just such an emergency situation.

US-social-racism-riots-anniversary-files Riot

Other Sources






http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/archives/392  Voice of Experience…


http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2009/11/so-you-think-you-want-revolution.html  eye-witness account of a mass riot




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