Over the past few weeks and months, I've harped on personal security and self-defense issues, particularly in the light of the coronavirus pandemic and the additional stresses it's brought upon our society.
- I pointed out how COVID-19 was increasing the risks to our personal security.
- I described how I was using my "lockdown time" to upgrade some friends' guns, and wrote a three part series of articles about personal defense rifles.
- I encouraged readers to use their lockdown time to maintain and improve their shooting skills, and offered suggestions on how to do so, even in your own back yard.
Former SEAL Matt Bracken wrote an article back in 2012: "When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence" (link updated to new site). If you haven't read it before, I recommend you do so now. It may be over-the-top . . . but then again, it may not. I've seen very similar scenarios to those he portrays in other countries, and the consequences were just as dire as he foresees (including the retaliation of those trying to defend themselves and their neighborhoods). It can happen here too: and right now, with so many people out of work, kids out of school, jobs lost, essential goods in short supply, people confined to their homes without any relief from family and other pressures, and the overall stress of a sudden, massive change in the way we live, I'm expecting social unrest in the USA in many forms. This can and will impact our personal security in many ways.
In the event of urban rioting and violence, I expect the authorities to concentrate their law enforcement efforts on what they perceive as worth defending. They will effectively abandon more violent neighborhoods (and those living in them) to their own devices, seeking instead to protect more peaceful areas from being dragged into the downward spiral. This is a cold, hard calculation based on the resources available. Each city has only so many security personnel available. If they get too thinly stretched, the only answer is to pull them back into a defensible perimeter around trouble spots and let the fires burn themselves out, so to speak.
. . .
If you live in or near a major US city, particularly one with a large homeless population and/or a serious inner-city crime problem, you need to be aware that you're at greater risk of exposure to such problems. If you doubt that, consider that retailers in those cities are already preparing for it. (Some claim that's only because their insurance companies insist on it. Well, why do you think they insist? Isn't it because they have a fairly good idea of what to expect?) Here are recent pictures of landmark stores in, respectively, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco. Notice anything similar? ... If those stores (and/or their insurers) see good reason to prepare for trouble, why aren't we doing what we can to prepare as well?
There's more at the link, including the pictures mentioned in the excerpt above.
The bottom line in this whole mess is that when it comes to personal security during a riot, we're on our own.
It is now a well-established legal principle in the United States that police officers and police departments are not legally responsible to refusing to intervene in cases where private citizens are in imminent danger or even in the process of being victimized. The US Supreme Court has made it clear that law enforcement agencies are not required to provide protection to the citizens who are forced to pay for police services, year in and year out. In cases of civil unrest ... be prepared to receive approximately nothing from police in terms of protecting property, or life and limb.
Again, more at the link. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis - and it's being confirmed almost daily. As just one example, try Raleigh, NC.
You can't defend yourself, or your family, or your home, or your small business, with kind words and a cup of coffee. You need the right tools to do so, particularly in the face of hate-filled rioters who want nothing more or less than anarchy and destruction. To stop them, you need a weapon - and not just any weapon, either. It may have to cope with multiple attackers, advancing fast, some of them also armed. You need something to deal with that situation - something like a personal defense rifle. As Mancow Muller tweeted two days ago (click the image below to be taken to the post on Twitter):
In their current campaign against police, progressive and left-wing activists are ironically underscoring the need for citizens to arm themselves. Consider this photograph, courtesy of Spectator USA, taken in Brooklyn, New York City, a few days ago.
If there are to be no police, who will protect us except ourselves? Nobody! There couldn't be a clearer illustration of the stupidity of the progressive Left. They prattle on with their anti-gun rhetoric, yet want to abolish law enforcement officers and agencies - which will make it even more important that we arm ourselves! Talk about a contradiction in terms . . .
Those who claim that police will protect us, and therefore we don't need guns, are full of it. As Kurt Schlichter observes:
The Chinese coronavirus fiasco, the shocking killing of George Floyd, and the riots ... have taught the American people several things. One is that a surprising and sad number of law enforcement officers are willing to follow cheesy, stupid, and unconstitutional orders. A quick tour of social media will horrify you with the damage done ... by video of stupid cops hassling civilians for going outside or trying to attend church. The people who long backed the blue feel stabbed in the back, and LEOs are going to have to work to earn back the support they lost because a lot of their comrades sided with ... bullies against the people.
Similarly, we have learned that the police are not necessarily going to be there for us. From that gooey tub of cowardice in Florida who let kids be murdered while he stood with a weapon outside the school – I can’t even type those words without sputtering in rage – to the [Minneapolis Police Department] running away and letting criminals burn their building, do you feel comfortable putting your lives in the hands of such government employees? The one inspirational sight during the riots was a bunch of black Americans with modern rifles defending their businesses.
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Buy guns and ammunition, because there can be no truly free people that is not also an armed people.
More at the link.
There can be no further compromise on this point. We've compromised enough - and look where it's got us! As Ronald Reagan pointed out as far back as 1964, in the context of Soviet-American relations:
If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum ... and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.
Reagan's words apply just as well to the crisis in which we find ourselves today. Isn't that precisely what the progressive Left has tried to do to the American people - weaken us from within? Force us into an ever greater reliance (or, rather, dependence) on the government to do everything for us, while undermining any attempt at self-reliance? The late President Ford had an answer for that: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."
Remember, too, that if you use a firearm in self-defense, no matter how legally justified you may be in doing so, the police will confiscate that firearm for as long as it's needed for evidence. It may disappear into the evidence locker for months, or even years. If you don't have another gun handy to take its place, you're going to be disarmed, just when the friends of those against whom you defended yourself may come looking for you. Don't just have one gun. Have more than one, and make sure you know how to use them all, and have ammunition and magazines for them. Also, if possible, and if it's legal where you live, make sure that at least some of them are "off-paper" private purchases, not recorded or registered in any official documentation. If gun confiscators don't know you have them, their job will be that much more difficult.
Guns you need:
- A concealable defensive firearm, able to be carried on your person, or in a vehicle, or anywhere else. A semi-automatic pistol is the most practical solution, with a revolver a second choice. The larger the magazine capacity, the better.
- A long gun (rifle or shotgun) that will provide more "punch" than a handgun and/or reach out to longer ranges. I recommend an AR-15 rifle or equivalent (the KelTec SU16 is another good choice, and very lightweight, too). There are many alternatives, such as an AK-47-type weapon, or a lever-action rifle, or a pistol-caliber carbine. I recommend magazine-fed semi-auto actions, for ease of use and speed of reloading. In an urban unrest situation, use your long gun to defend yourself against a threat or threats at a safer, longer distance than you can with only a handgun. Keep them as far away from you as possible.
- Get (1) and (2) above for every adult in your family, and every teen mature enough to assist in defending the family.
- Every defensive firearm should have a minimum of five magazines, plus enough quality ammunition for practice and defensive use. It's helpful if everyone has weapons that can use the same magazines and ammunition. This makes life easier all round. Furthermore, get training for everybody in how to use their weapons. Just because you own a musical instrument doesn't make you a musician; and just because you own a firearm doesn't make you a gunfighter.
- Once every adult or near-adult has a primary defensive weapon, plus enough magazines, plus enough ammunition, consider getting them a second weapon of the same type, to use if the first is impounded as evidence or becomes inoperable for some reason. Instead of a second rifle, consider something like an AR-15 pistol, which is much more compact than a carbine or rifle but almost as powerful, fires the same ammunition as the larger weapon, and is very effective over 100-150 yard ranges - precisely what one needs for an urban riot.
Those are minimum recommendations. Many shooters already have far more. I recommend more, if you can afford it. Even if you're short of money, get at least one viable defensive firearm and ammunition, and keep it handy. It's like a parachute. You may never need it: but if you do need it in a hurry, it'll be too late to go out and buy one!
Some people of faith may question whether they're not supposed to "turn the other cheek" when violence is offered. Speaking as a retired pastor and chaplain, I submit that's not the case. In the context of an attack on one's faith, that may be appropriate: but the current riots have nothing to do with faith, and everything to do with thuggish brutality and intimidation. I offer two Scripture verses, quoting Jesus directly, to guide your response:
- "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace." (Luke 11:21)
- "He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
Go read Matt Bracken's article, and pay careful attention to it. (Link updated to new site.) I'm not advocating or endorsing urban terrorism - I've seen too much of it at first hand to ever do that, as regular readers will know. Nevertheless, I know for a fact that the mutual security groups of individuals to whom he refers are already forming in many states. People aren't blind. They can see reality, particularly when it slaps them in the face. Follow their example.
As bad as things are now, I believe that worse things are coming. Get ready for them. If you think that I'm paranoid, or exaggerating, answer me this: would you, even a week ago, have predicted that a major metropolitan police department would abandon one of its precinct headquarters to rioters, without resistance, and allow them to burn it down? It just happened. Welcome to the new reality! Are you willing to entrust your safety and security, and that of your loved ones, to a law enforcement agency like that? I'm certainly not!
If you're in a city, or town, or suburb, or street, that's basically indefensible, plan to move as quickly as possible to a safer environment. Pre-pack essential gear, supplies, medication, important documents, pets, etc. and be ready to toss them into your vehicles and get out as fast as possible. Be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones as you travel. If you're staying put, be prepared to defend your home and family and possessions. Get to know people around you. If you decide you can trust them - and don't give your trust lightly! - form small networks of your own, to safeguard your neighborhood, families and property if worse should come to worst. Don't delay. DO IT NOW. You won't have time for such preparations when the chips are down. Pay attention to tactics for dealing with a riot or unrest situation, and rehearse them if possible with your family. At the very least, discuss them and make sure everybody understands what you want them to do.
Keep in mind that as far as the progressive media and left-wing city administrators are concerned, if you defend yourself against rioters, you're likely to be pre-judged to be the guilty party. Surveillance cameras are everywhere; citizens with cellphones can and will record video, audio and photographs of what happens around them; social media posts can and will be used against you; communications (cellphone, e-mail, whatever) are not secure against interception, and may be used as evidence. Learn to operate "off the grid", communicating only in person or by hand-carried communications that are destroyed as soon as they're received. Be a "gray man". If you have to stop being "gray" in order to defend yourself, do so as quickly and discreetly as possible, then go right back to being "gray" as you leave the area, or blend back into your surroundings. Try not to make yourself a target for unwelcome attention, before, during or after the fact.
Let me state flatly, once and for all, that every adult American needs to be ready, willing, able, and equipped to defend themselves against this onslaught on our society. Such defenses need to include firearms, training in their use, and sufficient ammunition to get the job done. If you don't have all of those, it's long gone time that you remedied the position. Don't delay, and don't say you can't afford to do that. You can't afford NOT to do it.