Handling Spontaneous Crowds

Don’t let this be you

As the security situation continues to deteriorate, we must all improve our abilities to defend ourselves.  Many in the preparedness community immediately recommend concealed carry of a firearm as the ultimate defensive capability, but I always teach that a firearm is a tool of last resort.  That’s even more true inside a crowd.

There are many situations in which we are seeing as protests pop up in areas with little or no notice, so you need to develop self-defense skills that don’t solely rely on the use of a firearm.  Many of these situations involve scenarios in which a firearm isn’t the best option, and others involve situations in which there isn’t time or room to draw a firearm before defending yourself.

Right now, you should devise a family (or friends) plan for handling protests while out.  Have a standing plan so that all you have to do is say the word and everyone executes the plan.  You won’t have time to decide what to do when they are already walking up to the restaurant you’re at.

In this article, we’re going to discuss a few weapon defense skills you need to develop, and analyze the mindset of one of my favorite Biblical soldiers, Nehemiah.

Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way

That each labored on the work with one hand, 

And held his weapon in the other.

Each of the builders had his sword strapped

At his side while he built.

Nehemiah 4:17-18

Not only did Nehemiah require everyone to have weapons and weapon skill, but this standing order of his would have also had the effect of raising the situational awareness of his people.  “If Nehemiah wants us to be armed at all times, there must be a threat….”  The lesson here is raise your threat level, and raise your awareness to Condition Yellow whenever out of your own home.

We are seeing large groups targeting people in public and demanding that the people either raise their fist or kneel.  You have to make your own decision on what to do if trapped in this, but there are steps you can take.  When you hear the loudspeakers and chants down the street, get up, find the cash register to pay your bill and LEAVE THE AREA.  Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu is the best martial art for these riots.

If trapped in one of these restaurants, you have two options.  The first is to comply.  Raising the fist to keep from being harassed isn’t fatal and it doesn’t mean you really believe.  The other option is to get up and leave via an emergency exit.  Yes, I mean either without paying or by just leaving cash on the table.  A large crowd approaching a restaurant to harass people is an emergency, and as yet, not one restaurant has lived up to their legal obligation to protect their paying customers.  The police are standing around watching, to make sure that YOU don’t attack the protestors (meaning defend yourself).  You can always return the next day and speak to the manager about paying any bill left behind.

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking,

“Their hands will get too weak for the work…”

Nehemiah 6:9

In the story of Nehemiah, he knew that the opposition was just trying to make his people too afraid to resist what the opposition wanted.  That is exactly what’s going on today.  They want you to think that you can’t resist the mob.  If I’m not there when they arrive, they can’t force me to do anything.  There will come a time for a fight, but it’s not when surrounded by a larger crowd, with unknown civilians everywhere in the way.

I know I’ll get comments about “I’m not backing down, ever”….that’s just false bravado and many tombstones say “Here lies Jim, he never backed down”.  I’ll pick the fight I can win over a no win fight.  Tactical withdrawal is not retreat.  It’s fighting when the conditions are conducive to winning.  Are there times to stand your ground?  Absolutely.  But a loud crowd of idiots isn’t the time.

The Vikings had a saying that a Warrior can only die one time, so he should make it count.  They went to great lengths to only fight when they knew the fight was worthy of throwing away your life.  Arguing about raising your fist isn’t one of those times.

Blessed by the Lord, My rock,

Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.

Psalm 144:1

You must possess unarmed weapons defense skills.   If a member of a crowd suddenly lunges at you with a stick, a baton, or a knife, if try to draw a firearm or other defensive tool, you’ll be seriously injured.

There is absolutely NO SUBSTITUTE for obtaining instruction from a qualified instructor.  Seek one out from a reputable organization (PKSA Karate has schools all over this country and even one in India www.pksa.com).

I highly recommend David Kahn’s book “Krav Maga Weapon Defenses” for learning basic weapon defense skills.  In fact, I own every book and video David has out there.  Check him out at www.israelikrav.com.

Buy this!!

The basic skill sets you need in this environment are defense against a blunt object, defense against a knife, and defense against a takedown.

Fortunately, the same skill set can be used to defend against a blunt object or a knife.  The primary objective to move outside of the attack and use both hands to deflect it away, preferably while launching a low-line kick to either the groin or the attackers knee.  The reason to kick while making a defense is to take the initiative away from the attacker and gain space.  I’m not going to going into more detail, because you need to seek out a qualified instructor.


As far as defense against a takedown, understand that in a crowd, being taken to the ground IS A DEADLY FORCE SITUATION.  You can easily be killed on the ground by a large crowd.  Awareness is your best defense.  If someone tries to take you down, sidestep to the outside and launch a kick at their exposed head or ribs.  

For my final point about mindset, I want to discuss the deputies shot in Compton this week and the female deputy I have dubbed the “Shield Maiden of Compton”, because she displayed a true Viking Warrior mindset.

Two deputies were sitting in the vehicle when an unknown subject calmly walked up to the window and fired several rounds point blank into the vehicle.  The female deputy was shot in the arm and through both sides of her mouth.  The male deputy was hit in the head and both arms.

Imagine that scene…It would be easy to just slump down in the car and wait for help to arrive.

The Shield Maiden of Compton didn’t.  She knew that when ambushed by an unknown force, your first order of business is to get off the X.  She got out of the car, and immediately dragged her partner with her.  She had him draw his weapon and so did she, despite their injuries.  She got them both away from the vehicle (which was an obvious target) and in an area with concrete on two sides, and behind another concrete pillar.  

Once there, she assigned the male deputy a sector to watch, and focused on a group of young males down the street.  We would later learn that the males were making videos and taunting them.  She kept focus on the males, while also scanning rooftops as she applied a tourniquet to her partner, which probably saved his life.  She called for assistance and then they both maintained their awareness until other units arrived.

Mindset means more than skill, when talking about combat survival.  USMC SgtMaj Brad Kasal, during the battle of Fallujah, is depicted below.  SgtMaj Kasal arrived at house where 3 of his young marines were trapped.  He went in, and laid down cover fire, getting shot in the process. While the young Marines began to extract, SgtMaj Kasal saw a grenade fly through the air and land among the young men.  He later said that he knew that he was older and they had more life to live, so he jumped on the grenade.  Despite grievous wounds,  SgtMaj Kasal was still alive.  He credits mindset to this. As you can see in the photo, despite multiple gunshot wounds and having contained a grenade blast with his body, SgtMaj Kasal still has his pistol in hand, and is still very much in the fight. His book, My Men Are My Heroes is a great read.

Look at that WARRIOR!

Avoid a fight if you can, but if you must fight, stay in the battle until you win


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.

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