In light of the widespread rioting and looting in response to the killing of George Floyd, there are several things we should all be doing to protect ourselves.
First, immediately develop a communications plan. Know how to immediately get in touch with friends and family, and develop alternate communication plans. Cell phones can go down due to heavy traffic or a loss of power at the cell phone tower. Having a couple of alternate plans for communications will ensure that you can get in touch with your loved ones.
Radio is an excellent back-up communication plan. An Amateur Radio license is a great idea, but even FRS/GMRS/MURS radios can be used. A national network of preparedness people utilize channel 3 on each of these mediums as an agreed-upon emergency channel to communicate with friends, family, and liked-minded people, even to call for help in an emergency.
Radio communications only work if you have the radio with you at all times, and you have someone to communicate with, so get to work on your network immediately.
Second, immediately collect open-source intelligence (OSINT). Scour the internet for notices of impending protests or events that could affect your day. Follow groups known to organize protests so that you get notified of plans. While I was on lunch just two days ago, I learned of a large protest a couple of miles from where I was, so I quickly developed an alternate route home, that took me farther from the planned protest route. While the protest didn’t turn violent, I wasn’t willing to bet my life on it.
In order for the OSINT collection to be immediately actionable, you need to do it throughout the day, and you need to keep maps available. As you all know, I’m a huge proponent of having paper maps. The internet can go down, or worse, be blocked in a protest area, but paper maps can’t. During recent Second Amendment protests in Virginia, the Navy shut down the GPS system in the area, for an “exercise” that just happened to coincide with the time and location of the protest. If you believe it was a coincidence, unsubscribe now, I can’t help you.
Third, check your supply level of basics at home. You should have at least 14 days of food and water stored, in case you can’t leave the house or the power goes out. Some cities, in response to these riots, have INTENTIONALLY shut off the power.
Next, Make sure you have some emergency supplies in your car. As you may know, I keep an emergency bag full of a change of clothes, boots, and food in my vehicle in case I have to leave the vehicle and walk out of an area. In the event of a riot and blocked routes out of an area, it may be best to leave the vehicle and try to egress on foot, trying to blend in with the crowd.
A fully stocked medical kit should always be in your vehicle, and you should re-check it RIGHT NOW.
The change of clothing I keep in my car consists of all-black clothing, including a black hoodie, because it’s the de-facto uniform of left-wing protestors and makes far better camouflage in a civil unrest situation than Uber-Tacticool Multi-Cam uniforms. The goal is to become a gray man and just walk away. Cars can be replaced.
Additionally, map out where police and fire stations are along the routes you may have to walk out of an area of unrest. I don’t mean as potential safe havens, I mean as areas to avoid AT ALL COSTS as they will be magnets for violent protestors. Also map out and avoid shopping malls or high-end electronic stores for the same reason.
Throughout the day, take breaks from whatever you are doing to assess your local situation. Protests can and do pop up with little to no notice in unexpected areas. The organizers of the current unrest have indicated an intent to “move into the suburbs”, and here in Detroit, we’ve seen that start to happen. Even a few minutes lead time can mean the difference between getting out of the area safely in your car, or having to walk out through a dangerous mob.
While driving home, I listen to a scanner app on my phone for the local area, and just today I heard of a freeway closure near my route, due to protestor activity. While it didn’t directly affect my commute, it could have, and as GI Joe famously said, “Knowing is half the battle”.
A note about protestors on the roadway: Make a decision now that you WILL NOT come to a complete stop. We’ve all seen the videos of what happens if you do. At best, you’ll be inconvenienced for hours and at worse, killed or seriously injured. Make no mistake, someone striking your vehicle and attempting to remove you from it IS A DEADLY THREAT and should be met with an appropriate level of resistance.
However, I saw a video today of a man who stopped his car when someone threw an item at it and got out, challenging the protestors to a fight. That was stupid…you are outnumbered and have no idea what types of weapons the crowd may produce. The man in the video got lucky, because the protestors all ran, but luck is exactly what that was.
Another item to look at is to immediately ensure that all your vehicles are full of gas, and keep them that way. Consider storing extra fuel (securely) at home as well. When riots truly get out of hand, not only will gas stations close, but authorities may order places to not sell gasoline to prevent fires.
Review your home fire plan, and make sure everyone in the house knows the plan.
Also review your home invasion plans and run a drill. If you don’t already have a home invasion plan, ask yourself why not?
Notice that I didn’t mention firearms at all. There is a solid reason for that. The carrying or non-carrying of firearms is a personal choice, and I wanted to reach the most people. But consider this: If you are the only person openly armed with a long gun in a crowd while trying to walk out of an area of unrest, what do you think will happen? Gray man and low-key is the way out in this situation, not Super Tacticool-Warrior.
I hope these few ideas ignite your mind and remind that you should be on a war footing at this point, until the unrest dies down, which is shows no sign of doing any time soon.
Stay safe, and please subscribe.