How to Survive a Riot

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

What should you do if one of these events erupts in your town? How do you protect yourself if you suddenly find yourself surrounded by rioters?

Here’s how to make sure you make it back to your home safe and alive:

1. Always carry some type of weapon on you. Most rioters are cowards. So if they approach your car and start rocking it or try to drag you out, you’ll want to be armed and prepared to preserve your life.

My weapon of choice is a gun. Rioters attempting to carjack you will likely have a change of heart when they find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun.

It’s important to note you should draw your gun only if you are in fear for your life. But if 50 people were surrounding your car trying to drag you out, I’m pretty sure you would be.

2. Pretend to agree with the enemy. I think it’s fair to say that rioters are punks. But it might save your life to pretend that you support their cause. Because the worst thing you can do is start mouthing off to a large crowd of rioters when you’re outnumbered 100-to-1.

In the intelligence business, sometimes you have to work with the enemy to get to the boss who’s higher up the chain of command. I remember one time a buddy of mine working with a terrorist told me, “I would smile and agree with him, but I really wanted to put a bullet in his head.

3. Don’t end up by yourself until it’s safe. When mob mentality takes over, the crowd tends to attack anyone who is alone. Why? Because — similar to what I discuss above — the pack assumes that a person who is by themselves is against them, or otherwise they’d be rioting too. So don’t immediately separate from the group… unless you’re sure you can get to safety without being cornered.

4. Keep a 72-hour kit in your trunk. Riots are unpredictable. You never know if you’ll have to leave your car or vacate your home and flee to a remote area. This is why I recommend that everyone have a simple 72-hour kit stored in their trunk. If you ever have to escape without warning, you’ll have three days of food and water on which to live.

5. Don’t show your wealth. I’m a big believer in living below your means and not flaunting your wealth by showing off material possessions. I myself live in a modest house and drive a 2009 truck with 170,000 miles.

Concealing your affluence is especially important if you ever find yourself in the middle of a social breakdown. People driving Ferraris or wearing Rolexes or showing any opulent sign of wealth will have huge targets on their back.

6. Always have a paper map in your car. You and I both know we live in a world where most people are completely dependent on technology. But wireless systems, including navigation, can easily go down, leaving you stranded in a bad situation. You should always keep a physical map in your car as a backup. It could come in handy if you are looking for an alternate route to escape a riot and get home safely.

Remember, every instance of rioting is different. In some cases, it might be appropriate to draw your gun to defend yourself. In others, you may need to pretend to join the masses for a bit, until you can safely get out of Dodge. And sometimes it makes most sense to run like wind.

In any case, if you take a few of these simple precautions and keep a level head, you will be better prepared than most to stay out of harm’s way in this violently unpredictable — and increasingly common — situation.

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