On April 12 in Baltimore, a young black man made eye contact with police and then began running away. Officers chased him down, handcuffed him, and threw him into the back of a police van. While in police custody, the young man, Freddie Gray, somehow had his spine severed – and died.
The African-American community, and many people throughout Baltimore and the nation, were enraged that yet another person of color died at the hands of police.
Gray’s funeral was held on Tuesday. During and after the funeral, protesters began to vent their rage. They started throwing bottles at police and journalists. A police officer was dragged away by a mob of angry people, and the mob starts destroying police cars.
By late afternoon, rioters begin setting fires and looting. In one example, protestors flooded into a pharmacy, looted it, and then set it on fire. Responding firefighters had to deal with protestors cutting holes in their hoses.
By early evening, the governor had declared a state of emergency. He sent in the National Guard and canceled school for the next day. The Maryland State Police deployed 5,000 police officers to help quell the rioting. The mayor imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
But Baltimore continues to burn….
The violence and destruction in Baltimore can come to your neighborhood at any time. With society’s racial tensions, disparities in income, and struggling economy, there are many reasons why a local group of people may suddenly become violent and begin burning, looting and indiscriminately hurting people. As with Baltimore, it may take days or even weeks to restore order and safety.
So you need to be ready, and there are several actions to take before the riots come to your town. These include security, water, food and emergency transport.
The most important step is to make sure you and your family are protected. The two key components of safety during a riot are self-defense and a secure area.
When human society breaks down and people turn into roving bands of thugs bent on destruction, you must protect yourself. This means firearms. To the extent the law allows, purchase firearms and learn how to use them. Every member of the family should do this, because a riot can spring up at any time, leaving individual family members by themselves.
The second component of security is a safe place. Ideally, your home has a safe room, which will withstand fire and any attempts a mob uses to break through. Safe rooms can be easily retrofitted in any home. If you don’t have a safe room, then buying the best secure doors and window protection available is a second choice.
The idea is that between firearms and a secure location, the thugs will give up and move on to easier prey.
Food and Water
If the riot continues, power lines or power stations may be damaged or destroyed, resulting in loss of city power and water. FEMA recommends that a family store three days’ worth of food and water. However, many survivalists recommend a year’s supply. For a typical urban family, I recommend a couple of weeks. A year’s supply is expensive, and frankly, if society breaks down to the extent that there’s no government aid or security for a year, living in an urban environment likely won’t be feasible in any case.
Many parts of the country have very cold weather during winter. If you live in one of these areas, make sure you’ll be able to stay warm. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an urban environment where some of the old houses still have fireplaces, then have some wood on hand. Otherwise, you can get a portable heater that runs on propane. However, this will have to be used outside, because they’re not safe inside.
Each household is different. Just ask yourself how you would safely stay warm without power, and plan accordingly.
Get Out of Dodge
Sometimes, the only safe course of action is to flee the area. For example, if rioters have destroyed the infrastructure and are engaged in a sustained battle with law enforcement, your firearms or secure shelter plans may not protect you. If your house has no safe room, and the neighborhood is being systematically torched, you need to leave.
But leaving won’t be easy, for two reasons. First, the rioters will be drawn to any moving vehicle, looking for a target for new “fun.” Second, law enforcement and the National Guard will be out in full force, probably enforcing a curfew. They will be tired and in full defensive mode, and may not be able to distinguish friend from foe.
So have a plan to escape. It all depends on where you live, but there are many options. For a middle-class family with one or two vehicles, one economical option is to have the second vehicle with some off-road capability. This includes all-terrain tires and a supply of spare fuel, spare tires, and other basic necessities for keeping a vehicle running.
For those with more financial means, a dedicated and armored vehicle could be the way to go.
Another option is an all-terrain vehicle. This may be a good idea, because an area under quarantine may be facing roaming bands of armed thugs, and roadblocks manned by law enforcement.
Motorcycles are another option, simply because they can drive often where cars cannot.
Violent riots, from the Rodney King incident in the early 90s to today’s riot in Baltimore, can spring up at any time. Make sure you and your family have the tools for self-defense, the supplies for sustenance, and an escape plan.
What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts on the Baltimore situation in the section below: