Preparing & Reacting To Riots

by Irish-7, Editor at Large

Considering the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman in the high profile case involving the SELF DEFENSE shooting of Trayvon Martin, I thought it would be beneficial to go over some safety precautions and actions in event of potential riots.

My first piece of advice in preparing for possible civil disturbance or violent attack by a mob applies to more than just riots. In fact, it is vital to almost every survival situation.

If it is lawful in your state, GET A CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT! Laws have changed considerably in the past 2 decades with respect to issue of licenses to carry a loaded firearm. Research your local laws.

Many states are now “Shall Issue” that were previously “May Issue”. This means, if you pass the required background investigation, the approving authority (usually the County Sheriff’s Department, state or local police) must give you a permit.

There are currently only around 10 “May Issue” states remaining. So, chances are the process is easier than you think. It is the prudent thing to do.

Be prepared by staying informed. Pay attention to local news to identify trouble spots. Before traveling, consider current events that can serve as a catalyst for violent crowds.

I am writing this article while incidents have unfolded across the country in response to a court decision. But, there are other factors that unruly folks use as an excuse to get out of hand, such as political conventions, government meetings (G20 Summit) and even sports championships.

The history of violent demonstrations in a particular city or town is also applicable, as is the ethnic make-up of the area. Do not go into an area that is experiencing social unrest unless you absolutely have to. Always plan your route in and out of an area, plus one or two alternate routes.

If you must travel into an area where civil unrest is predicted, or has already taken place, dress accordingly. Right now is not the time to go into any American city with an Bass-Pro t-shirt, Dickies trousers and Tractor Supply cap.

Likewise, if the G20 were meeting, don’t go downtown in a suit and a tie! The more you blend in, the less chance you have of being attacked.

Riots are more likely to break out in open areas, such as wide streets, big parking lots, town centers and squares. Recently, highways have been blocked by unruly crowds in Los Angeles and Houston.

This is a dangerous new twist in that on the freeway, there are limited access points for law enforcement personnel to respond. There are not side streets to maneuver and get away. If you are forced from your vehicle, you will be on foot in the dangerous neighborhoods where the crowds came from.

If you are somewhere that erupts with a violent “Flash Mob”, try to remain calm. Keep your cool so as to make sound and timely decisions. Your first reaction should be “Am I/we potential targets? How can I (or we) get away?”

Make observations: Which way is the crowd moving? How big is the group that is raising hell? Will they quickly walk right by? Where did I park? Can I get to my vehicle, or is that path blocked by police or rioters?

If you are exiting a mall, hospital, hotel, college dorm or other secure building, you may be able to turn around, go back inside and allow the crowd to pass. Large buildings such as these have multiple doorways.

You may be able to cut through the structure and exit in a safer location. If you are in a sporting goods store, jewelry shop, Sneaker King/Footlocker or other vendor that has a history of being plundered or looted, do NOT shelter here.

Bottom Line: If you can get into a safe, secure structure, do so! Stay away from the windows to avoid flying debris or bullets. An angry mob will use anything available as a projectile.

While you are inside, identify more than one exit in event the rioters gain entry. Don’t go back outside until a few minutes after the commotion ends.

Remember, “Curiosity Killed The Cat!” Never move toward a crowd of unruly people that appear to be edging for trouble with the police. The risks highly outweigh the benefits.

If you need to take a look around the corner, or walk a short distance for reconnaissance purposes, fine. For instance, if you need to scout a route away from the danger area, or verify the path to your car, that’s alright if it can be done quickly and you are not moving away from family members that require your protection.

This holds true ONLY if the mob is not upon you. Innocent people can be inadvertently caught between the rioters and police, merely by nosing into a crowd to check out the fuss. AVOID TROUBLE AT ALL COSTS. You are NOT a coward to flee a riot.

While on foot, should you become trapped in the middle of the mob, DON’T run toward the police! Law enforcement personnel will identify you as one of the trouble makers.

Try to move laterally within the crowd to reach the edge of the group, then break away down a side street or duck into a safe building. Keep your footing! If you fall down, there is a risk of being trampled. Hold on to family members. An angry mob is the last place that you want to lose your children.


If you are in your vehicle and notice traffic obstruction from a large group of people, or you are stopped a traffic signal and a mob suddenly forms nearby, your options are somewhat limited.

Security experts recommend locking your doors and rolling up all windows. Avoid getting boxed in. Leave ample room to turn between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Ideally, you would keep a full car length.

Realistically, you need enough room to get around the vehicle in front of you. Don’t use the middle lanes on a road that has more than 2 lanes. If you find yourself surrounded by a violent crowd, try to avoid stopping your vehicle.

If you can continue moving, do so. Accelerate the moment you have open road in front of you. If your vehicle is already swarmed by angry rioters, try to keep slow forward momentum.

You cannot just run over a large crowd. The bodies will eventually prevent you from moving, and now you are dealing with an even more outraged, fanatical group.

Earlier, I recommended obtaining a Concealed Weapons Permit. Being armed in a sustained attack is unquestionably better than being unarmed during any dangerous situation. It is not necessarily the “cure all” solution to every violent encounter.

Individuals must judge if and when to brandish a firearm. With small groups of attackers, say 3 to 10 assailants, drawing a gun may be sufficient to defend your position. It is possible that the sight of a gun will scare the aggressors away, without even firing a shot.

With a large group, 20, 50 or more rioters, shooting into a crowd may motivate the attackers to swarm on you. Keep in mind the mob mentality! There is strength in numbers. Not only is there an air of invincibility with large groups, there is also the thought of anonymity.

Rioters may be emboldened by the thought that they won’t be recognized or caught because there are so many people in the area. You need to consider the size of the aggressive group and your capabilities with the firearm that you are carrying.

There is a world of difference between a 5 shot .38 Special and a 5 shot Taurus Judge. Your Ruger Super Redhawk .44 Magnum may bring down a charging 1200 pound moose, but will be less effective against a crowd than a Beretta 92F 9mm with 16 rounds readily available.

Ultimately, each individual must evaluate the level of danger that you are in and decide which course of action applies to provide safety.


Recent events make it obvious that anti-gun, Socialist politicians like Barry and Eric will ignore what’s right , who’s wrong, the Constitution and any moral code to crucify people that use a gun to protect themselves. The Main Stream Media will twist the facts, even outright lie to vilify 2nd Amendment supporters.

In closing, I will briefly recap important points for avoiding and reacting to social unrest. If possible in your area, obtain the required permit or license to carry a loaded firearm.

Check with the approval authority in your state, usually the County Sheriff’s Department, state or local police. STAY ALERT, STAY ALIVE! Know what is going on with respect to potential danger areas, towns and cities with a history of civil disturbances.

If you absolutely must enter an area where riots are likely, plan your route and two alternate roads in and out of the danger area. If you are out of your vehicle and an unruly mob forms, GET AWAY! Find a secure building with multiple exits, stay away from the windows/doors and wait until the crowd passes.

If you are caught in the middle of a rioting crowd (and they’re not attacking you), move laterally to the edge of the group and slip away at the first opportunity. If you are in a vehicle engulfed by a flash mob, roll up your windows, lock your doors and try to drive away.

Avoid traffic lanes that offer no room for maneuver or escape. Choose your carry weapon wisely if entering a potential civil unrest area. The more projectiles you can launch, the better!

Deeply consider the use of any firearm. Think about it now, perhaps rehearse drills with your family. GOD BLESS AND PROTECT US ALL!

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  1. Irish-7, some very good points, years back I unknowingly drove thru a small riot and when I heard what was happening on the radio I was able to clear the area safely. Being alert to your surroundngs I thinkis key to survival.

  2. Another great weapon for use in a riot is the RedFlare Flare Gun. Nothing says get out of the way like a screaming, fiery, red ball of heat being fired directly at you….

  3. Another good article! I find so many people have no concept of situational awareness. . . . they are so busy texting, talking, tweeting, etc., they walk right into a bad event. I tell my wife and kids- stay alert look around, and look ahead. . .

  4. Thanks gang, for the words of support. I used the term “Security experts recommend…” rolling up car windows. I told my wife that I plan on hitting the buttons to roll the windows down. I don’t want to get sprayed with broken glass and I need some space to allow Smith, Wesson and the Governor to defend us. I also read about obtaining a flare gun for riots. I did not buy one yet.

  5. I liked the article (I7), I try to avoid crowds. I do not like being in a situation I have little or no control off or influence of. Since my wife is doesn’t see so well being born two an a half months early and very small at 5 feet. I have to keep alert both for her and me.

  6. Good Article Irish-7 , Got my CWP some years back, always figured if ever caught with gun by Cops,it would help me to keep it from being confiscated.(which they like to do around here) I always avoid crowds , the only place I might be in one ,is the local Wally World !! And if I need it ,I have a 22 shot clip for my 9mm pocket gun !!

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