It seems mob violence is on the rise in the United States these days. Whenever you turn on the news, there’s another report of attacks – on campuses, in cities, and even in disaster areas across the country. Do you know what to do when a riot erupts near you? Here are some tips to get through it.
1. Take Preventive Measures
Obviously, avoiding a riot altogether is the best way to survive one. If you can help it, it may be best to avoid densely populated areas or places that are prone to violence in the first place. Similarly, if you know there’s a controversial demonstration or gathering, it might be best to stay away from it altogether. However, if you find yourself in a high-risk area, there are other measures you can take to ensure your safety.
2. Always Carry a Legal Weapon
Wherever you are, you should be familiar with the state/local laws regarding carrying weapons. The last thing you want in a mob situation – where there will likely be law enforcement involved – is to have an illegal weapon on you. That said, if you’re in a place where you can legally carry a gun, that is your best bet for self-defense. Ideally, simply having a firearm will be enough deterrent to keep you safe. Keep in mind you should never draw a gun unless you feel you are in genuine danger. In places you can’t legally carry guns, you may want to look into alternatives such as pepper spray, pocket knives, or even tactical pens. No matter what you carry, you should have some basic training with these tools so you can use them effectively in case of an encounter.
3. Always Listen to Law Enforcement
For the same reasons you want to make certain to stay within the law, you should always obey law enforcement in stressful situations. Remember, at the end of the day, they are people too. They may be feeling anxious or even fearful during a riot. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to identify who’s a threat and who’s not. Even if you’re not part of the problem, it’s best to comply – realizing their mission is to protect everyone. A perfect example of this happened in the tragic 2017 Dallas shooting – when a man legally carrying voluntarily turned in his unfired rifle to police as the shooting began.
4. Don’t Stick Out
Finally, one of the best things you can do to survive an active riot is to blend in. A mob mentality targets those who are considered the “Other.” So don’t do or say anything to antagonize the crowd. If you like to wear or carry a sign of status/wealth (like a watch or fancy purse), keep it hidden or leave it home when entering high-risk areas. Try not to travel alone. And in worst-case scenarios, pretend to be a part of the mob. You might have to swallow your pride, but it could mean the difference between being targeted and escaping intact.