The Speed of Life

Yesterday afternoon, around 5 PM, people in Kenosha were doing what everyone does on a Sunday afternoon.  Visiting family, cooking on the grill, maybe visiting with friends.

By 6 hours later, the city was a dystopian nightmare, with gangs of roving looters and people committing random acts of violence.  I listened as the police reported that they were trapped in the HQ building, and protestors were pouring gasoline around the building.  Garbage trucks and car dealerships were burned down, there were multiple calls of retail employees barricading themselves in backrooms while the stores were looted.  A complete breakdown of law and order.

What a difference 6 hours can make.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a story about how entire countries can devolve in 72 hours.  That’s not helpful information if you die in the first 6 hours because you weren’t prepared.

Now, first, understand that I’m not going to discuss the shooting that touched all of this off, nor discuss the motivations of the various factions involved, because none of that matters to you.  What matters is what you can do to be prepared for a situation like this.

In the military, we use a five paragraph operations order format to address any situation and it’s just as applicable here.  That format is:

  1. Situation
  2. Mission
  3. Execution
  4. Administration
  5. Command (and signals)
SMEAC means – Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Logistics, Command and Signal


We must first correctly understand the situation.  Tensions in the country are at an all time high.  Every small incident, no matter how justified, is magnified to the 100th degree and used as a reason for people to get into the streets and act wild.

So, for our purposes, the situation is that the potential exists for violent riots with little or no notice at the present time, regardless of your location.

Understand that this situation EXISTS, and it doesn’t matter one bit why or how justified/authentic the tensions are.  We aren’t here for a political debate or a debate about any particular incident, all that matters is that the tensions are there and you can do NOTHING to change them.

This is a common issue in preparedness; everyone wants to dispute the validity of the tensions or the validity of one position or the other, and that really is IRRELEVANT to our stated MISSION of survival (see how I tied that to our next point).


Our mission is to be prepared to defend ourselves, and our homes if necessary.  

You may also have an implied mission of retrieving a loved one from a work or school location and getting them home, as well as getting yourself home.

Let’s discuss what the mission IS NOT.  The mission IS NOT going out and fighting off the hordes from the police station.  The mission IS NOT going out and hunting down the leader of the local Leroy Jenkins gang (at least not on the first night).

Your mission, when an unexpected riot breaks out is DEFENSE.  Offense MAY come later, but not necessarily.


Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for…what to do now to be ready.  We have two separate parts…what to do to prepare, and what to do to respond when an incident occurs.


  1. Ensure that all vehicles are kept full of gasoline.  Gasoline sales are frequently severely restricted in areas where a riot is occurring or has occurred.
  2. Ensure that you have enough fresh food in your house for at least 7 days.  I say fresh, because with the exception of Portland, riots are a temporary thing, and you don’t want to break out your long term survival food if you don’t have to.
  3. Buy water.  I don’t care if you have 4 cases right now, you’re underestimating how much water you’ll need, and you can always use more water.
  4. Restock and redistribute first aid kits.  Every car should have one, I carry one in my laptop bag as well.  You can’t have too many.
  5. Double check fire extinguishers.  If you don’t have one at home, and one in each car, buy them.  They are way less expensive than insurance deductibles.
  6. Have enough personal hygiene supplies on hand (toothpaste, razors, soap).  No, I did NOT say go and buy 147 rolls of toilet paper.
  7. Raise alert levels in your tribe.  Ensure that everyone understands the risk level and is being aware in their daily travels. 
  8. Update all of your emergency plans.  Many people make them once at that’s it.  Planning is a constant process and your plans should be updated to reflect areas prone to disturbance, current construction, political climate, and road closures.   
  9. Do something everyday to make yourself harder to kill.  I stole this one from fitness expert Drew Baye (  Doing anything to work on your fitness is better than eating Cheetos and watching YouTube ultra-cool guy training videos of things you’ll never do.
  10. Gather intelligence.  Start tracking local protest groups and personalities.  Knowing who to look out for is vital.
  11. Don’t get complacent, this threat isn’t going away anytime soon, regardless of the election results.


  1. Once an incident occurs, immediately execute whatever plan you have, whether it’s bug in or bug out.  Do NOT adopt a “well, let’s wait and see” attitude.  If you bug out, and you didn’t need to, you can always come back.  The same may not be true if you stay in place longer than you should.
  2. Avoid the affected area, if possible.  As my friend Rob says (, practice Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu, or the art of self defense by not going places you shouldn’t.
  3. Limit movement, but not the ability to move.  There are two corollaries that both contradict and complement each other in combat.  The first is that movement attracts attention, usually unwanted attention.  The second is that movement is life.  Stay inside and secure until you have to move, then move quickly and confidently.
  4. Don’t flaunt preparedness.  Don’t tell people about all the cool gear and food you have.  I maintain that morality is a sliding scale.  What is moral today is different that what’s moral when you haven’t eaten for 3 days or your kids haven’t.  On day 9 of a power outage, don’t be outside grilling steaks because you have a freezer hooked up to a solar panel.
  5. Be armed everywhere you go during an actual crisis.  The police aren’t going to be concerned with you if you aren’t looting and you may need the weapons.
  6. Maintain a 24 hour watch schedule.  Someone should always be awake and watching.
  7. Know where every member of your tribe is and ensure that you are checking on each other.  A dry erase status board helps here.
  8. Utilize GOTWA if someone needs to go somewhere.  GOTWA is a very basic contingency plan for when someone leaves a secured area:
    1. G – Going: Where you are going specifically
    2. O – Others: Who is going with you
    3. T – Time: Time of estimated return
    4. W – What: What actions to take if you don’t return
    5. A – Actions: Actions to take if you are engaged or if the group left behind is engaged.
  9. Beyond these basics, implement whatever plan you have set up for your family/group/tribe.
The amount of time he plans to be gone! The actions taken if the leader does not return! The unit’s and the leaders actions on chance contact with the enemy! GOTWA is a 5 point contingency plan. Before a unit separates a contingency plan needs to be addressed.


In your administration section, make sure know what you have and where.  As part of this paragraph, I keep every piece of gear in a module that can be picked up.  For example, I have food modules that are each about a week’s worth of food in a small bag that can be thrown in a vehicle or backpack.  First aid kits are also modules, and my extra first aid is in a backpack that doubles as a …you guessed it…first aid kit.  

I have a gun cleaning module, observation module (binoculars/night vision), camping module, fire starting module, etc.

Administration is keeping the supplies you need organized and ready.

Administration also entails everyone knowing the plan, and everyone reporting their location.  Whether it’s your family, friends, mutual assistance group, or militia, you all need daily updates on each other’s locations and intentions for that day, so that you will know if someone needs help.

Command & Signals

This how you will let everyone know that the plan is in effect and how to communicate afterward.  We have become so over-reliant on cell phones, that many preparedness and militia groups have migrated fully to platforms like Zello, which is an excellent cell phone radio app, but what if the power is out?  What if the leftist tech-giants lock you out in an emergency?

I alway recommend PACE:

P – Primary 

A – Alternate

C – Contingency

E – Emergency

Have four different ways to communicate.  This could be as simple as cellphone, Zello, VHF/UHF radio, and CB radio.  

I lean heavily toward radios, because I use them every day professionally and they aren’t reliant on any other medium to communicate.  Yes, they are limited in range, but that can be planned for.

Another part to this is SOP’s or Standard Operating Procedures. Everyone in your tribe should know the plan for if the power goes out, or a riot is declared.  If everyone knows that the SOP is then to immediately meet at a central location, then you don’t have a need to communicate to everyone, just go.  Then, after a set period of time, you can go looking, in strength, for the stragglers.

Make sure you have a pre-arranged communications plan, including any radio instructions/schedules.  The American Redoubt Radio Operators Network ( can help with that.  They also developed the Channel 3 Project (see images below).


I hope these ideas and the format help you devise more effective plans and get you up to speed on the current risk level.  Complacency and normalcy bias are getting people hurt.

Let me know if you have any ideas below.


Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

2 thoughts on “The Speed of Life

  1. My son just left for college. What can I do for him if say something like you describe happens? Can I/should I put together some type of bug out/bug in bag? Since he’s at a university, I’m certain that he cannot have weapons ie guns. What are viable alternatives?


    1. That’s a great question. Definitely a bug out bag with some some food, forestartingngear, compass, and paper maps…. That kind of stuff. Establish a plan with him of what route he’ll take so you can find him. Each college has different rules, so maybe an expandable baton or a good quality “hunting” knife… Tzctical.


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