Lessons from the Charlotte riots

So another riot breaks out in another city.  The proximate cause appears to be a black man who was shot by a (black) police officer;  but the race of the officer doesn’t seem to matter to the rioters, because the Black Lives Matter crowd is all over this one.  Furthermore, the pattern of the riots appears organized, almost professional.  This isn’t just an outbreak of anger and distrust.  This is organized chaos.  It’s not spontaneous – it’s directed, managed and deliberate.  (I think it’s also guaranteed to get Donald Trump several thousand more votes . . . perhaps several tens of thousands.)

The events in Charlotte underscore what we’ve said about this sort of thing many times before in these pages.  Here’s a brief video from yesterday evening’s events, showing at least one shooting victim lying on the pavement.

Note the chaos.  If you’re caught up in that, you can forget about rational thinking, logical planning and organized escape-and-evade tactics.  You won’t have time, and there are too many potential threats on the scene to evade them all.  Violence is very likely to be offered to you and yours, and your only way out may be to offer (and, if necessary, put into effect) equal (and sometimes more than equal) violence to those threatening you.  That’s reality.  That’s the way it is.

There are some important lessons to be learned.  Firstly, a vehicle isn’t going to help when the streets are clogged.  You can’t drive over dozens of protestors.  If nothing else, their bodies will immobilize your vehicle, just as surely as if it became high-centered over a bump.  What’s more, as soon as you’re forced to slow down or stop, you’re going to get dragged from your vehicle by angry rioters.  That may not be survivable.  Much rather use your vehicle to avoid getting into that mess in the first place . . . but you may not have a choice.  You may turn a corner in a city center to find the mob coming to meet you, with no time or space to avoid them.  If you’re on an interstate highway, the on- and off-ramps may be blocked by rioters and/or vehicles with nowhere to go, leaving you stranded with a mob coming towards you, looting every vehicle they pass.  This is what I-85 looked like in Charlotte on Tuesday evening.

Rioters looted stalled trucks of their cargoes, taking what they wanted and torching the rest.  Hundreds of vehicles backed up behind the scene of the crime.  If yours was among them, what would you do?  Many of those present abandoned their vehicles and fled on foot.  That’s all well and good, if they had the space and time to do so . . . but what if they didn’t?  What if the rioters swarmed their vehicle before they could get out?  What if they, or a member of their party, had limited mobility and couldn’t escape and evade fast enough?

In such a situation, resistance may be your only option.  Make sure you have a firearm handy, plus enough ammunition to defend yourself and your loved ones.  That may be difficult.  It’s an unpalatable, raw, brutal fact that you may not be able to offer enough resistance to save yourself in such a situation.  If there are a couple of dozen rioters within feet of you, you probably can’t shoot fast enough to get them all.  Distance is your friend.  Even if you use a firearm successfully to defend yourself, whilst that may solve Problem One (immediate survival), it’s likely to land you neck-deep in Problem Two.  The aftermath of such a riot is likely to see political and social leaders screaming for a scapegoat.  If you shoot a few rioters, guess what?  You’re probably it.

You’re just about certain to be arrested and charged with all sorts of crimes, even if all you were doing is trying to save your life and the lives of your loved ones.  You may find it very difficult to defeat the charges in court, particularly if witnesses are scarce (or intimidated), and video footage of your activities (from nearby security cameras, hovering helicopters, etc.) is deliberately edited to portray your actions in the worst possible light.  Think that won’t happen?  You’re naive.

You need to have a plan, at the first sign of such troubles, to get away from the riots before they get out of control.  Make arrangements with family and friends, have bug-out bags and vehicles and plans in place (including sufficient fuel to get out of trouble without having to stop at a gas station, because they’ll be magnets for looters).  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Far better to get clear of potential trouble, then return if the trouble doesn’t materialize, rather than wait until you’re sure there’s trouble, but not leave yourself enough space and time to get away from it.

That’s likely to be difficult once riots become established.  A standard police tactic is to isolate the violence, establishing a perimeter to prevent it spreading.  Police will wait at that perimeter until they can see the unrest ebbing, then move inward once again to re-establish control.  That works for them, and helps to minimize casualties caused by them (and the political fallout from such casualties) . . . but it won’t help you if you’re trapped inside that perimeter.  The rioters will be all around you, and you won’t be able to avoid them.  That’s not a good place to be.  Get to the perimeter if at all possible, and seek police protection.  If you can’t, you’ll have no alternative but to hunker down in place and ride out the storm.

If you suspect you may find yourself in that situation, your location should be prepared in advance to resist that sort of problem.  Make sure rioters can’t easily break in and get at you.  Use obstructions (plants, flower boxes, whatever) to make it difficult to approach windows;  put stout burglar bars on windows and security gates on doors, and fortify them if possible with whatever’s available;  have weapons handy, and make sure that all adults and older children know how to use them.  Keep rioters outside, if possible at a distance, so they can’t get their hands on you or your weapons.  If they do, your resistance is over, right there – and I don’t have to tell you what your loved ones are likely to go through under such circumstances.

That’s why the best possible solution is to get clear of the trouble and stay away from it until it’s died down.  I’ve quoted John Farnam’s advice several times before, most recently earlier this month.  It remains the best possible solution for law-abiding citizens.  Go read it, and heed it.  It may save your life.  Remember, a gun may solve some problems, but it can also get you into much worse situations.  It’s a two-edged sword.

Nevertheless, if you have no alternative but to use lethal force to defend yourself, don’t hesitate.  Your life, and/or the lives of your loved ones, is/are worth more than some rioter’s.  Misplaced compassion under such circumstances is nothing more than terminal stupidity.  Never mind whether any other group’s lives matter.  Your life matters, and the lives of your loved ones.  That’s your #1 priority.



  1. The easiest way to avoid riots is this: Stay away from neighborhoods with large concentrations of blacks. Name one riot in the US that began in an area other than a black neighborhood…

    There hasn't been one.

    The added benefit is that those neighborhoods are where most of the crime is, as well.

  2. These things can go belly up at the drop of a hat – awareness is key.

    If anyone is in any doubt you just have to watch the video of the 1988 death of corporals Wood and Howes in Northern Ireland. Trained, armed and in a car none of which could get them out of the situation they found themselves in.

  3. Don't overlook the very real danger of having your house or business set afire with you inside. I'd suggest having at least four 2A 10 B:C extinguishers stored near your weapons. That should allow you to extinguish two Molotov cocktails, hopefully before the fire takes hold in the building.

    Keep fire in mind when blocking entrances and exits. Wooden barriers may kindling to burn your house down.

  4. Is there now any doubt that the South should have picked its own cotton? Or that American africans will EVER assimilate? Or that they even CAN assimilate? Where are the firehoses and dogs?

  5. They do this because nobody will stand up to them – and it starts at the top. That black baboon in the Oval Office encourages and sympathizes with the perps!

    Bart is absolutely right. This is why your police departments are militarizing. They could disperse those monkeys in minutes with rubber bullets, billy clubs and attack dogs. That would not be racist either – it would be ensuring the public safety.

  6. emil,

    Why 'vile'? Exaggerated for effect possibly, but why 'vile'? serious question.

    You have an instant and strong reaction to the words, but is there reason and thought behind them or just conditioned response?

    I see almost 150 years of money and effort spent on 12% of the population to very little effect. MANY articles have been written that blacks and whites live entirely separate lives in the US, only occupying the same space without intersecting lives. Blacks and whites, by and large, have different and distinct cultures. Do you think they HAVE assimilated into white American culture? A culture of cooperative competition? the Protestant work ethic? Or the idea that every generation has a chance to be more than the previous one? (these ideas may be changing but that WAS the culture for most of the last 200+ years)

    I see some blacks who are successfully integrated. I see some whites who are not. But I see a VAST difference between the cultures that seems to be insurmountable. We can discuss the causes of the differences but to deny that there are seems to be like wearing blinders.

    And, for the sake of discussion of personal safety, PC nonsense must be put aside. You can cripple your own chances of survival by ignoring reality, but to encourage others to do so is irresponsible.

    Anon, because I know people get angry when confronting the truth.

  7. emil, can you please expand?

    Is it vile to say the South should have avoided going the black slavery route?

    Is it vile to wonder if the majority of blacks will ever assimilate, given so much evidence to the contrary?

    Is it vile to ponder if they are even capable of assimilating, given the length of time since the end of Democrat slavery (1865), the end of Democrat Jim Crow, the end of segregation, and the passing of the Civil Rights Act?

    Is it vile to consider older, but currently unused methods of dealing with masses of uncontrolled rioters?

    1. Slavery was,is an affront to human decency.

      I took issue with the racism inherent with the rest of the comment.

      As for the poster referring to monkeys and baboons, i cant believe that no one else wouldnt hasten to denounce such puke.

      Yes. Prepare for contingencies but you can leave me off the white power cracker wagon that seems to be spewing bile.

  8. Expect more of this. Black Lives Matter Unless They're Black Cops has been funded to the tune of about $100 Million (you read that right) by George Soros and his family of money laundering operations. Why? To do exactly what you see here.

    They whip up the outrage everywhere following the same script that's been used since Ferguson, and it keeps working.

    If someone is intent on creating a civil war in the US, it might be the most productive $100 Million he's spent.

  9. Sir Graybeard. Not only was the Milwakie riots black cop with body cam video showing the felon pointing a gun at him, but Charlottes riots have dashcam video of the ""disabled book reader" getting out of his car with a gun that his previous gun conviction would have prevented him from being able to legally CCW.

    So these NC riots are Black Police chief- Black cop shooter- dashcam of convicted gun crime criminal getting out of his car with a gun and heading towards cops, but somehow white peoples fault.

    Like the video of Mike Brown beating up an Asian liquor store clerk 10 min before being shot, released by cops that night, with leftist media saying he was on his way to church, the Milwaukee body cam didn't affect the riots so there is no reason to think the dashcam will do anything to these.

  10. Police shootings and their apocalyptic aftermaths have become more trendy than the latest Apple products.

    Gotta love the "free world".

  11. Comments to the effect "we should never have had slavery" are completely beside the point, with or without the racism. I take the post to be about practical advice in the event you are near or in the middle of a riot. I take it point 1 is, avoid being near the riot if at all possible. Of course. Point 2 about not being able to escape in your vehicle — is this really true? How many bodies would it take to stop a sedan? An elevated pick up truck? An 18 wheeler? I don't know. But mudder trucks I see around here could surely plough through a lot of people, perhaps a dozen or so at a slow and steady pace. Point 3 – You will be filmed if you do this. Probably true, but if you get a good lawyer before you talk to police, you'll probably be better off than getting torn to pieces. Point 4 — I would think you could hold off any but a completely enraged mob with say a semi-auto handgun or a shotgun. You'd have to have plenty of ammo, of course.

  12. emil said…
    bart simpson…that's about the most vile comment i've ever seen on this blog.

    bart said that the south shouldn't have used slave labor.

    do you disagree with this?

    bart said that the Black community is refusing to assimilate. Blacks have successfully established their own 'safe spaces' on college campuses … ie – Blacks have brought Segregation back to the US.

    do you disagree with the Blacks who demand Black Segregation?

    bart demanded that the police and National Guard be brought to bear against mobs of law breakers … which is not only what the police and National Guard have historically done IT IS THEIR FUCKING JOB.

    do you disagree with the police and National Guard taking care of the legal responsibilities?

    because if you DO disagree with any of those things?

    YOU are one of the most vile things i've ever read.

  13. @Divemedic – I'd have to see the protest permit applications and crime reports before affirming the full truth of what you say, but certainly the ones that get media attention start there.

    On topic: I can't tell from the graininess of the picture – is there even a magazine in that pistol?

  14. Anonymous said…
    Shut the fuck up, Mando.

    this is Peter's blog, he gets to tell me to shut up or no.

    you can kiss my ass.

    funny how you hate the right of Freedom of Association for Black people.

  15. Feather Blade:

    magazine makes no difference in threat capacity. You can still die, with a round chambered in most handguns. On top if that, can you guarantee you will be able to tell there IS a mag in your opponents gun?

    —–bob k. mando makes pertinent points to this discussion——-

    The fact is that the Democrats are almost entirely at fault for the current black cultural situation here, starting after the Civil War. Too bad they can't be held accountable for their idiocy. In retrospect, the failure of the Liberian "return to Africa" mission is sad history, for both sides.

  16. It doesn't look like there is a mag inserted, but it could be that the cops cleared the weapon before the picture was taken. Or not. In any case, you can't see the mag well when the gun is pointed at you, and it takes a special kind of stupid to point an empty pistol at a cop.


  17. Will said…
    The fact is that the Democrats are almost entirely at fault for the current black cultural situation here, starting after the Civil War.

    wrong, the Democrats, the Slave Party of the South, are entirely at fault for the Black Cultural situation *from the founding of the nation*.

    the antebellum Democrats discriminated on the basis of race, to the preference of Whites, at the same time that they imported hundreds of thousands of Black slaves.

    the post-Johnson Democrats discriminate on the basis of race, to the preference of Blacks.

    nothing philosophically significant has changed about the Democrat party, only who they intend to preference with the Law has reversed valence.

  18. Peter: Aren't you glad that you're not on Twitter? Because if you were, this blog post would have gotten your account suspended, just as happened to UTenn law professor Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds for tweeting "Run them down" in reference to the terrified drivers bottled up by violent rioters in Charlotte NC.

    Twitter, Facebook, Reddit: pro-Islam pro-communist anti-freedom. May they all crash and burn.

  19. emil said…
    Slavery was,is an affront to human decency.


    slavery was, is ( still rife in Islamic nations today ) practiced by races, cultures and nations all around the globe and throughout history.

    the United States received only ~400,000 of the +12 million ( <3.5% ) slaves shipped to the New World.

    even more slaves were shipped from eastern Africa to India and the Ummah ( see the slave trading of Zanzibar, which Christian Dr Livingstone convinced the Sultan to voluntarily end ). why is there no huge Negro population in those areas? because most of the Negro men sent east were made eunuchs.

    most Negro slaves were captured by OTHER tribes of Negros as war prizes although, at times, a village chieftain would simply sell some of his own.

    Negro slaves were extracted from the interior almost exclusively by Muslim Arabs and brought to the coastal slave markets because the life expectancy of European Whites in the African interior at that time was <9 months due to lack of Caucasian resistance to tropical disease, mosquito netting, anti-malarial drugs, etc.

    am i "proud" of US slavery? no.

    but anyone who attempts to claim that there is anything particularly egregious about American slavery or that American Blacks have endured some unusual and exceptional abuse is a bald faced fucking liar.

    go tell it to Shaka Zulu, you morons.
    "for very light forces designed to extract tribute in cattle and slaves from neighbouring groups."

  20. Anonymous Anonymous said…
    Shut the fuck up, Mando.

    how's that working out for you?

    knowing that you are an ignorant, pusillanimous and powerless little shit?

  21. Good post, Peter, and a lot of good advice. I know you've seen some…interesting (in the Chinese proverb sense) things.
    You have seen the power of tribalism in action. I'm not trying to cast aspersions on any group, but that's what it looks like to me. A black officer shoots a black suspect, and the mob's spokesmen demand boycotting white businesses; the deceased man's brother says all white people are devils. I don't know how Caucasians came into it, and I wonder what percentage of the rioters ( for they are NOT protestors) even know that the officer was not white. I'd bet less than 20%.
    You'd know better than I, but it looks like the hysteria of a mob I'd expect in Africa, Southwest Asia, or other benighted parts of the world. I'm put in mind of the old movies with villagers packing pitchforks and torches, paying a visit to the local castle.
    I live in the country. If I go to town, I'm armed anyway, & I avoid anything that looks like trouble. Mob scenes like this can spring up quickly; I've seen it in other countries. I'm seriously considering getting an AR-platform rifle for a truck gun, & just keeping it in there with several magazines. Considering how quickly these things can grow, & how unexpectedly one can come upon them, it seems prudent. Of course, the best thing is the mobility of the vehicle & my knowledge of alternate routes. If you aren't in the riot, it's hard to be hurt by the rioters.
    –Tennessee Budd

  22. If we could return to the topic at hand for a moment….Divemedic is entirely correct in that avoidance of known, identified trouble areas is the first step in operational prudence. John Farnam's words – and words of many others – to "don't do stupid things, associate with stupid people, and go to stupid places" is the follow-on.

    But….what's happened here is that "known, identified trouble areas" now appears to include a 65 MPH interstate highway, and from the video that Peter posted is appears to be heavily populated with "stupid people doing stupid things."

    One of the many things taught in police driving schools is the use of curb and median lanes while driving; in the center lane you're trapped. If you're always in the curb or median lane and things go sour one can climb the curb and drive on the sidewalk, or drive down or across the median to escape.

    Those techniques won't work on an interstate highway with guardrails and concrete barriers. To be on an interstate is to be trapped. The only recourse may be to shoot your way out, but if the road is blocked ahead and behind by stopped traffic you'll need a lot of ammo, and a lot of friends who have a lot of ammo.

    The point here is I can avoid neighborhoods where "problems" frequently occur; what's the plan when those neighborhoods include in-town sections of interstate? Aside from Glenn Reynolds being correct, does "neighborhoods to avoid" also include I-85 in and around Charlotte? I-4 through downtown Orlando and Tampa? I-94 in downtown Minneapolis? I-70 through Kansas City?

    That holds great promise for economic development…..

    When I lived in Florida common practice was to annually lay in and add to supplies for possible disruptions due to hurricanes; will that now become standard practice everywhere to deal with possible disruptions from Soros-funded anarchists?

  23. " does "neighborhoods to avoid" also include I-85 in and around Charlotte? I-4 through downtown Orlando and Tampa? I-94 in downtown Minneapolis? I-70 through Kansas City? "

    YES. If there is a hint of civic unrest, stay off the expressways. They are cattle chutes. Especially in major urban areas, they are entirely contained within high fences that control access. Even on foot, you may not be able to get off the expressway. Elevated sections are particularly bad. I have first hand experience with this in LA during the Rodney King riots.

    The problem in urban areas is that they put the freeways thru 'bad' neighborhoods, and in some cases, the new freeway created 'bad' neighborhoods. Faced with blockage on I80/94 thru south Chicago, I don't think I'd want to be on surface streets.

    I'd say, know some alternative routes home. Know the areas that are no go zones on the best of days and avoid them.

    And if you have to, at least on surface streets you have options. On an elevated freeway you are stuck.

    "When I lived in Florida common practice was to annually lay in and add to supplies for possible disruptions due to hurricanes; will that now become standard practice everywhere to deal with possible disruptions from Soros-funded anarchists? "

    YES. Called 'prepping' this is the recommended practice. EVERY area has threats, both man-made and natural. Everyone should be prepared to stay home for a length of time. The recommended length varies from FEMA's 72 hours, to 6 months or longer. Don't forget about child care. Will you put your kids on a bus when there are riots and roadblocks?

    Finally, depending on where you are the trouble can come to you. Nothing will make you feel under-gunned like having smoke from a burning city blow in your front door, while you can see fires from your porch. Have a plan to leave too.


  24. George Soros just gave Black Live Matter a sum of 70 million dollars so expect more of this to happen. He wants to take over America's gov't. He should be arrested for war crimes because this is what it is!! It's people like him that started the war with Nazi's taking over Germany….money speaks and Hitler stole from the Jews then killed them and if you don't think this can happen in America think twice….George Soros is evil along with all his crony friends…Clinton, Obama and others ring a bell. Black Lives Matter is a cover used by Obama a smoke screen as many would say. The BLACK'S being used Soros doesn't care how many Black's die. He is paying people to start the riots at the protests. AMERICA NEEDS TRUMP!!

  25. Some people ask why anyone would need a handgun, or a semi-automatic small calibre rifle. This shit is why rolling with a Degtyaryov in your trunk should be mandatory, not just allowed, if living in areas infested by future Liberians.

  26. bob k mando:

    I was thinking about the "redlining" that occurred in the early 1900's, that kept the prosperous blacks from acquiring property in areas that would appreciate in value. This .gov encouraged tactic kept them from building wealth, both personally and group-wise.

    When you start talking about banking and property, I don't think you can limit it to just the Dems. IIRC, this was employed equally by both parties. This was one of the reasons that LBJ's welfare laws were so effective at destroying the black community. They were lagging far behind whites already, due to this. LBJ just finished them off, more or less.

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