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.