It seems that lately we see rioting and demonstrations every time we head downtown or turn on the news. There is nothing wrong with peaceful demonstrations, but frequently a few bad apples will convert a peaceful protest into a riot. This leads to vandalism, looting, violence, widespread fires, and angry mobs. It can also warrant a police or military response in the form of violence or martial law.
For many people, a martial law scenario is scarier than the rioting itself. Under martial law, all of your legal rights are out the window. The government can impose curfews, use violence as they see fit, detain citizens for any reason, and even round up huge chunks of the population in military camps. All of these actions can be justified by the government as being conducted for the overall good of the people.
Understand that these mass roundups do not historically end well. In the past anytime humanity has seen large numbers of people detained by any government those people were faced with disease, oppression, limited resources, non-existent rights, and sometimes worse. Do not be fooled. There are facilities throughout the world that have been built specifically for these purposes. Your goal in martial law should be to avoid these roundups at all costs.
The best way to survive riots and martial law is to avoid the situation completely. If you stay informed about what is going on in your community, you likely know when things are going to get ugly. If you expect any kind of protest or demonstration, you are best to avoid that area. In addition, if you expect things are really getting out of control you are best to leave the city entirely. If you can stay with friends or relatives until things blow over, this is going to ensure that you avoid local unrest. In addition, here are a few strategies to employ if you find yourself stuck in one of these scenarios:
- Always Stay Calm – One of the reasons why demonstrations can develop into riots and then martial law is because of panic. There is not a situation you will face that cannot be made worse by panicking. Always stay calm and think about every move before you take action.
- Become the ‘Grey Man’ – If you have not heard this term before, it means simply to blend into the crowd. Do not do, say, or wear anything that will draw attention to yourself. Do not confront or approach anybody. Avoid eye contact and walk with the flow of traffic. Do not draw a weapon unless your feel that your life is in danger.
- Never Take Sides – Often a riot will consist of two groups with opposing views. You may think that you are safer to join one side to become part of a group, but this makes you a target. Stay neutral and get to safety as quickly as you can.
- Avoid ‘bottlenecks’ – These are also known as ‘kill zones’ and can be found anywhere that the flow of people is channeled into a narrow area. These are ideal spots for police, military, or opposing crowds to affect the riot. These are also places where it is easy to fall and get trampled by the crowd.
- Stay in Your Car – If you are in a vehicle, stay in your vehicle. It offers additional protection that you will not have otherwise. Keep slowing moving towards safety, but always avoid driving towards military or police. They will see this as a threat.
- Avoid Authority Figures – In most of daily life these figures are here to help. However, any time that a crowd gets out of hand these figures are no longer to be trusted. They will see everybody as a threat. They also may start a large scale roundup to arrest or gather citizens. Stay away if at all possible.
- Be Ready to Bail – As these situations develop, leaving your home may be the best bet. I think we all agree that staying protected in the safety of your home is ideal. However, if groups of civilians or groups of military are going door to door then staying home is not safe. You cannot defend your home against large groups of people.
- Keep Your Mouth Shut – You may have heard the phrase “loose lips sink ships” in relation to military strategy. It also applies to martial law. If troops are trying to suppress a rioting population, they will go after those with resources first. Do not talk about your supplies, weapons, or preparation. Keep your weapons and food stored in a hidden location.
- Avoid Digital Communication – Any time you communicate online, by text, or by phone the government can intercept that call and gain valuable information about your family. Find other ways to communicate if you feel the need. For shorter distances, there are several types of radios that are harder to track.
- Get Your Cash Quickly – It would not be surprising for mobs or military to confiscate cash or shut down bank accounts. If you feel that martial law is a possibility, get your cash and get it hidden quickly. Once action is taken, it will be too late to access your funds. Also expect that debit and credit cards may be shut down.
- If You Plan to Stay Indoors, Be Ready – Be aware that being stuck under martial law can test your resources and can last for weeks or longer. In many cases you would be confined to your home. In some cases the government would even shut down utilities like water, gas, and electricity. If that happens, you will need enough water and food on hand to survive. You will also want supplies to board up windows and doors. Both military and civilians will want to get into your home and take what you have.
The best way to stay calm in any survival situation is to have a plan. That means getting with your family to make sure they know what to do each step of the way. They need to know how to safely escape a riot, where to meet, when to stay home, and when to bug out. These scenarios will never go quite as planned, but having a plan gives people the emotional stability they will need to function. Make your plan, practice your plan, and you will be ready when the time comes.