The current situation in South Africa should be a learning tool for anyone interested in preparedness. The state of KwaZulu Natal is in a true Without-Rule-Of-Law situation.
But first, here’s the Tactical Wisdom that applies here:
“then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.“
Sure, they’ll tell you that as of earlier today 1,470 people were arrested for looting. The truth is that during the early morning hours, while the rioters were sleeping off another night of looting and destruction, the South African Police Service (SAPS) made a sweep and arrested people for “possession of looted items”. That’s not the same thing.
Essentially, based upon multiple reports, there is a period of semi-lawfulness early in the day, before the rioters get up, when the police try and re-establish control. As the days wear on, the rioters push the police back off the streets and more looting occurs.
The truth heard from a few private security companies is even worse. At night, police are showing up at their facilities begging for ammunition. Does your current preparedness plan account for “mutual-aid ammo”? It would be very easy on it’s face to tell the police to pound sand, you need your ammo. But, what will happen when you need the police? They will remember that you refused to help them.
Another lesson for us in preparedness is the involvement of the SAPS in the rioting. Several citizen groups have manned their own checkpoints and have discovered and detained several SAPS officers with cars full of stolen merchandise.
There have been several incidences of men in SAPS uniforms raiding homes or robbing people at check points.
Lesson: In a WROL situation, a badge and a uniform mean NOTHING. Do not rely on outward appearances. If you find yourself in a true WROL situation, understand that police may not be police. Don’t let them in by virtue of the uniform alone.
You should also apply this lesson to checkpoints, as I mentioned in the Baseline Training Manual, and avoid them. At best, the police may confiscate your stuff under the Defense Production Act (we’ll cover that in an article over the weekend). At worse, it’s not really an authorized checkpoint and you’ll be robbed or killed. Avoid them at every opportunity.
Another issue is that now 1,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition that was in the custody of the SAPS has gone missing. I would assume that it was taken by SAPS members to defend their homes, but that’s really just the best-case scenario. The worst case is that looters took it.
The lesson from this is that you need to consider what types of arms and ammunition is available to looters in your local area for your own situational awareness. Plot gun stores, police stations, and guard & reserve armories. Those will be places to avoid in a crisis event and something to be aware of. You might be thinking that an armory is well guarded. It isn’t. There are indeed physical security standards for arms rooms, but as a former Military Policeman I know that those standards include the words “Chicken Wire”, so it’s not exactly impenetrable.
Something else we’re learning from first hand reports is that the amount of ammunition you need is “MORE”. One of the security companies, who donated ammo to the police to keep the station from being overrun, arranged for aerial resupply by bush plane, which is common in South Africa, by having them land a plane full of ammunition on a farm. Once the ammo was landed, the security team mounted a support column and went to the police station to help defend it.
The lesson there is exactly as I spell it out in my two books: Secure your family and supplies FIRST. Then, if you are able and can spare the fighting bodies, a stand should be made to attempt to assist in restoring LAWFUL order.
Yes, I said LAWFUL. Here in the United States, that means the CONSTITUTION, not necessarily the government.
Reading social media posts details farm and suburban life during a WROL situation. Many are reporting that the men and boys are manning 18 hour shifts on checkpoints or static observation posts to defend farms or neighborhoods. They are averaging 5 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights. Loss of life, while the official count is at 91, is massive. That 91 is deaths at the hospital….most aren’t making it that far.
The lesson for us is again exactly what I’ve been teaching. In a WROL situation, most of your time will be spent pulling security and working defense, while also searching for food. To do this, you need arms, ammunition, and optics, to include night vision.
The first commodity to vanish was gasoline, followed almost immediately by food. The lesson here is that at the first hint of unrest, fill all vehicles and gas cans. If you got it and didn’t need it, you’ll use it eventually, but if you waited, you might never get it.
Another big lesson learned is the need for pre-planned communications. Having radios and a defense group all already set up with common frequencies will help.
What we are seeing in South Africa is small, 8-10 man neighborhood security teams. Those teams are banding together into larger units as needed. That’s the perfect model, rather than trying to build a larger organization. People can buy into defending their neighborhood, and then joining the next neighborhood over in setting up a roadblock to turn looters away. Asking people from 20-30 miles away to do it won’t get the same commitment or agreement.
It doesn’t matter what the initial spark was that touched off the violence (the arrest of former President Zuma), what matters are the immediate effects, and the second and third order effects. Simmering racial tensions, political disputes, and class conflicts all flew to the surface and got acted upon the minute that the SAPS lost control. There is huge lesson there for us as this nation is a powder keg awaiting a spark.
I frequently say that you are never more than 72 hours from a total collapse. The last 72 hours in KwaZulu Natal prove that point.
Watch the events in the Republic of South Africa and take notes. Adjust your preparedness to the lessons being paid for in blood in Africa.
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