In urging readers to be prepared for emergencies, whether it be in terms of supplies, preparations to get out in a crisis, ability to defend themselves, etc., I've sometimes been accused of over-reacting. There are those who say I'm fear-mongering, trying to worry people unnecessarily. "It won't ever get that bad!"
Sadly, I've seen enough violence, unrest and social instability in my time to be very well aware that it can get that bad. I've seen it in many parts of Africa, and in some US cities too. Others who've "been there and done that" (for example, Selco in Bosnia) can confirm what I say. The reality can be almost infinitely worse than anything I can say in these pages.
The residents of Minneapolis had a relatively mild introduction to that reality a few days ago. Imagine if the destruction pictured below had extended to entire residential neighborhoods. It can all too easily do so. I've seen it.
What's worrying me more and more is that I'm seeing signs, in the growing tension in our society, that there are those who want to create such instability: who see it as the only "solution" to the problems they perceive. Of course, those problems will vary depending on the perspective of the individual, but they all add up to big trouble for the residents of our cities, who are going to be caught up in them if they come to pass. (That's a big part of why, a few years ago, Miss D. and I moved from where we were, in Nashville, to where we are, in north Texas. We've insulated ourselves against many of the problems of big cities by doing so, and we now live in an environment where people are much better prepared to handle such problems if they should arise.)
Don't take my word for it. Read the following articles, and consider the urban reality they describe or foresee. They're all important. Don't just read one or two. Read them all, to get the full picture.
- There's a lot of material out there on defending yourself in an urban environment. Read my earlier article on the subject, and follow the links it contains. You'll learn a lot.
- "Occupied". Quote: "The more you can immobilize, slow down, or simply destroy vehicle infrastructure, the more you can handicap their movements, the faster you will get the change you want in the world." I can testify from personal experience that the techniques described here really work. I'm informed that rioters are already deploying them.
- Want an even simpler method of disrupting vehicle traffic? Try "Caltrops and Systems Disruption". Anyone can make a caltrop, very easily. If you had a few vans or pickups scattering them on major highways and transport arteries, pretty soon your urban road network would be clogged for hours, if not days.
- Three recent articles from Greg Ellifritz: "Surviving Mob Attacks on Your Vehicle", "Dealing with Molotov Cocktails and Fire Bombs", and "Playing with Fire". You're watching those play out on our streets right now. Pay attention, and learn.
- How easily can violence disrupt normal policing? How about one man disrupting an entire major city's police department? Read about "The Manhunt for Christopher Dorner". Note how the entire Los Angeles-area law enforcement establishment was essentially paralyzed. If one man could do that, what could half a dozen or a dozen do? A score? A hundred?
- What about the electricity supply? Without it, a modern city basically shuts down. Read about a 2013 "sniper" attack on an electrical sub-station in California, and the millions of dollars in damage it caused. The electricity supplier was able to route around that damage, because it was only one sub-station. What if it had been five, or ten, or twenty? Fifty? A hundred? That could take out an entire city's electrical infrastructure, and it wouldn't be hard to do.
- Do you think the threats I've described so far are unlikely, beyond the capacity of today's rioters? Think again after you read "Bricks, fires, frozen bottle projectiles: the organized tactics of America’s violent rioters". Quote: "Police say the current riots are the most sophisticated and coordinated in years with supply lines, medics and communications." Read the whole thing. Another point: if rioters are that organized, what makes you think anti-riot or counter-riot efforts won't rapidly become just as well organized?
- You don't need assault rifles and artillery to disrupt a riot. The humble .22 rifle (available by the tens of millions in homes across America) and a few home-made devices will do just as well, in the hands of those who know how to use them. Read Aesop's fictional scenario "Tomorrow". I'll guaran-damn-tee you there are those planning something like that, right now. (It's not far-fetched, either: real-world riot control in Israel uses precisely the same .22 rifles. It's already a proven technique.)
- If you step up to centerfire rifles, the carnage can be that much greater. I've previously referenced Matt Bracken's semi-fictional "When The Music Stops: How America's Cities May Explode In Violence". If you haven't read it before, read it now. I'm as sure as I can be that there are those already planning such a response to the current riots. Let's hope and pray it doesn't happen.
- For a real-world illustration of the use of modern rifles in riot control, read "42 Knees in One Day: Israeli Snipers Open Up About Shooting Gaza Protesters". That's current operational reality. It could very easily be employed by civilians, on both sides of a riot. What if they weren't only aiming at knees?
- You may think you can rely on first responders to come to your help if things get out of hand - but what happens if the rioters prevent that help from arriving? It happened, just a few days ago. That's just one incident. What if there are a bunch of them? What if there are so many that all ambulances, fire engines, etc. are tied up responding to earlier calls, and you have to wait for them until they have time to get to you? You can't wait inside a burning building - but if you go outside, you may be targeted by rioters. What are you going to do?
I'm not trying to make you panic with those articles and links. I'm trying to show you what may happen, what can happen, and - in some cases - what already is happening. Unless and until we realize how fragile is the cocoon of our everyday urban existence, we won't be prepared to deal with threats to it, and we won't have our own response planned and ready to deploy if necessary.
We live in dangerous times. Be as prepared for them as possible. Have a basic stockpile of emergency supplies, have a gun (preferably guns) for each adult in your family, and be prepared to get out in a hurry (if possible, before trouble arrives) rather than defend what's basically an indefensible position. No matter how emotionally attached you may be to your home, mere property is not worth dying for.