One of the scenarios we prepare for is the complete absence of any form of government, or at least the local governments we rely on to keep things quasi-normal. When the chaos is too great or the resources are overwhelmed due to illness, panic or scale of the issue, the systems we rely on now for support in bad times can disappear. Hospitals can become overcrowded and stop accepting patients. Police departments can be overwhelmed if crime is reported in too many areas or riots are taking the bulk of their staff. Fire Departments can be rendered obsolete if the water stops flowing or there are simply too many fires to put out.
Without law enforcement as a deterrent to crimes, desperate, opportunistic or even criminally motivated people take to the streets and chaos ensues. When this happens, you have anarchy. It’s just one of the many scenarios us preppers describe as SHTF. In some instances, anarchy like behavior is tolerated as in the 2015 riots in Baltimore where the mayor wanted to give protestors some “space” to destroy.
“IT’S A VERY DELICATE BALANCING ACT BECAUSE WHILE WE TRY TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY WERE PROTECTED FROM THE CARS AND THE OTHER THINGS THAT WERE GOING ON, WE ALSO GAVE THOSE WHO WISHED TO DESTROY SPACE TO DO THAT AS WELL, AND WE WORK VERY HARD TO KEEP THAT BALANCE AND TO PUT OURSELVES IN THE BEST POSITION TO DE-ESCALATE.” – BALTIMORE MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE
The Anarchy I am referring to today is not your usual (these days) run of the mill rioting over social injustices – perceived or real, hypocritical outrage from the outcome of a political race or made up issues people want to scream about (hoop earrings, really?). I am specifically talking about situations caused by internal or external triggers that instead of leaving police in a position to allow thugs “space to destroy”, they are incapable of stopping it even if they wanted to. When this happens, things get violent quickly and for the prepper caught in the wrong place, they can turn deadly. Have you considered what you would need to do if you found yourself in that type of situation?
Identifying the threat
Without going into the potentially boring details of what Mob Mentality is, (you can read about that here if you care to) I think most of us would agree that when angry people get together to protest, bad things can happen. If you disagree with that statement, this article isn’t for you and perhaps you should be attending a local meeting of people who just want to “Hug it Out”.
In a WROL environment, there will be no checking the crowds. There will be no barricade of police officers to keep them noisily contained to one section of town, the mob will be free to roam as they see fit. Targets that fall into their hands will be random and the mob will not self-regulate. All behavior will be deemed acceptable because the crowd chooses to go along with each other. Cars are overturned, windows smashed and shops set ablaze. Innocent bystanders are attacked and beaten either for some perceived slight or out of the sheer glee of getting away with acts the perpetrators know are wrong. They simply don’t care.
What could cause an anarchy situation in your town? Any one of hundreds of reasons probably, but I will throw out a few hypothetical scenarios for discussion.
- Migrants have moved into an area causing confrontations with the locals. Women are raped and law enforcement does nothing to stop this from happening. Locals form to put a stop to this. Things escalate.
- Hackers take down the EBT system preventing anyone from obtaining any benefits. Over 46 MILLION Americans are no longer able to purchase as much food. Fear and panic take over as entire population centers descend into chaos as people try to hoard as much food and steal items to sell for money.
- EMP device detonation over the middle of the US completely eviscerates the electrical grid. Instantly we are taken back to the 1800’s in terms of technology. The only problem is we have none of the 1800’s know-how to survive.
- Fanatics succeed in several major assassination attempts on political figures and accept responsibility immediately giving race retribution as their motivation. Race war is raging in the streets and people are forced to choose sides. Large cities are worst hit.
You have options
So, the scenarios could come from anywhere, but the potential exists in many ways for a complete breakdown of society. I mean, that is one of the major driving forces for prepping, correct? OK, so when it all goes to hell and the mobs are a few blocks away, what are your choices?
Run – The best way to avoid conflict is to never get involved in conflict in the first place. Large unruly mobs who are motivated or who simply have enough time will take down even the most hard-core prepper. You do not have enough guns. You won’t be able to kill them all before they get to you so your best bet is to run before they are even close.
But how will you know when the right time to act is? First you have to as a prepper be very in tune with your local surroundings. This takes situational awareness to the next level. Make sure you have at least a casual understanding of world, national and regional issues that are going on. Unless something like an EMP happens, things usually escalate. Ham Radio or even CB communications are great tools for keeping tabs on where violence is. A great police scanner and a good area map of your city will help you pinpoint exactly where trouble spots are if the police have any presence at all.
Situations like this are exactly why your bug out bags are so important and should be ready at all times. With minutes notice you can have everything you need packed in the family bug out mobile and your town in the rear-view mirror heading to a safer location.
Hide – Hiding is a riskier option but it is still possible especially if you have any type of hidden rooms. Mobs aren’t going to be methodically searching house to house and may be content thinking you already hightailed it out of dodge if they arrive to find your doors open and belongs strewn on the lawn already. You can make your home look as though it has already been picked over and if they can’t quickly find people or anything they want to take, may just keep moving on. This isn’t a Walking Dead situation where they have time to sit and chat.
Blend In – This is not the same as joining in, but it may look virtually similar and this brings a higher amount of risk potentially and would require the least adherence to any moral code you have. If you have no other options, you could join into the Anarchy. Put your balaclava on and take a few swings with a sledge-hammer at the shop door for credibility. One danger in this is that you could be forced into a situation where you could be party to causing injury to someone innocent and then, well. You are the mob – so you deserve no quarter.
Blending in for me would only work in a situation where you weren’t participating in any violence, but might be walking along with the crowd, chanting some of the same non-sense they are in order to move through an area safely. You join the throng from a side street pumping your fists and high-fiving everyone you meet. Carry on for a block or so and then exit out another side street to make your way out-of-town. You won’t be able to look like you are bugging out in this scenario though so the facility is of limited value I think and could only be used in the most extreme examples.
Could you fight?
Yes, you could, but I think you would die. Even if I had Seal Team 6 as my best friends and we were holed up in my house with about 10,000 rounds of ammo I would still think the better odds would be to get the hell out of there. You will be overrun, or burn out or a car could drive through the front door. Too many variables for the normal suburban prepper to adequately account for. Yes, the body count would be high on their side but I still think its a losing proposition. I certainly wouldn’t want to put my family at risk for those odds.
So much of what we prepare for is to be on our own in some sense to provide for our own safety. If we only had to worry about ourselves, survival would be less of an issue for most of us, but people are always going to be the greatest threat to our safety. Anarchy may be the worst expression of this threat absent an invading army. It’s best to plan now to avoid this type of situation as early as possible.