Monday, April 21, 2008

Riots in the City

I keep seeing "there will be riots in the streets!" used as one of the main arguments to leave the city and set up your little homestead in the middle of nowhere. Reading some of these blogs and message boards you might start to believe that riots consist of huge, organized groups of people systematically looting, pillaging and burning everything in their paths for miles. If you prep they know it and they'll be singling you out. If you're lucky they might just let you join them. Otherwise they'll just kill you, rape your wife and children and then use your preps to further their advance. Once you get past the Hollywood and paranoia it's pretty obvious that they don't work like that.

First of all they're not very organized. Sometimes it starts out as some type of political rally. Other times something outrageous happens and people just go crazy. Maybe people are starving. Maybe a certain group of people feel like they've been severely mistreated. Whatever starts it the end result is the same. A large group of people revert to savages and start ignoring authority doing whatever they want. Not everyone will join in. Some people will be stuck in the middle of it even though they don't want to be there. Some will do everything they can to get away. Then there will be some that do whatever they can to join in.

Rioters will be hitting the places where they know the resources are. They're going to be too busy robbing supermarkets and other stores to worry about residential areas. Sure there might be some opportunistic criminals who are hitting residential areas while the authorities are trying to get the rioters under control. Be ready for them in case your house is the one that they choose to hit. Just don't worry about five hundred angry people singling you out and standing outside your door demanding that you give up your supplies. If they actually do start burning down homes nearby then it's probably time to bug out. With hundreds of thousands of homes and millions of people that won't be participating in the riots the chances are pretty good that you'll get through it.

Getting caught in a riot would be pretty scary. Pay attention to what's going on around you, though, and you should be able to get out before things escalate. Just don't get caught up in the excitement yourself. Get out and get home. If you can't get home then try to get away from the crowds. Riots don't just appear from out of nowhere. When people show up to the grocery store and the shelves are empty then there may be a problem. If there's a huge, controversial political rally going on downtown then stay away. If things get really bad and the government starts setting up bread lines then avoid them at all costs. If there's a disease outbreak and the government offers a treatment then be very leary about trying to be the first person in line. Like everything else, using some common sense and having the means to fend for yourself will get you far.

If there's a prolonged breakdown of society where law enforcement is heavily stressed or gone altogether then it won't matter where you are. When the smart gangs start to organize and take control they're going to be hitting the countryside and setting up bases out there because law enforcement will concentrate most of their efforts in the cities. These gangs will develop into different sects and factions. The people and communities nearby will be forced to serve them or die. Back in the dark ages they called these kingdoms. The warlords were called kings. At first we might see riots but the riots aren't what you need to worry about. They'll burn themselves out quickly and be easy to deal with compared to the constant warfare that will result as the fabric of society is ripped apart.

BTW: Are you afraid that your neighbors aren't very well prepared? Do you have family that look at you funny when they see that pile of rice and wheat in the corner of your basement? Just send them to It's a good stepping stone. They cover all of the bases from "go bags" to how to react to different types of disasters to pets and first aid. It's maintained by the Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security in San Francisco and there's a nice big government seal of approval on the site which may just be what it takes to get them interested and on the right track. No man is an island. The more of your neighbors, friends and family that you can get on board with the preparedness mindset the more people you'll have on your side. With most people it'll take baby steps to get them paran...err....worried enough to start prepping. Use whatever resources you have available to you to get them on board....even if some of those resources are from da ebil gubment.


Anonymous said...

there hasn't been any civil unrest in this area since the 70's.

since then government handouts and increased police presence has kept the "natives" at bay.

however Los Angeles and New Orleans should serve as a good example of what to expect in times of unrest.

police tactics are now to surround and contain an area known for violence. what will be interesting is when there are no police officers to contain the masses. then what ?

not trying to play "devil's advocate" just trying to get some conversation and ideas flowing

pahapoika said...

A good study is to look into what has happened to areas throughout the world where past governments and economies have collapsed.

Mfskinner said...

It is possible to stay in the city and use the resources ignored by others during a time of unrest and disarray.

Look New Orleans and how the looters acted in the days after the hurricane they were after the TVs and other trinkets that our social structure says are important. Some went for supplies to help them survive not all by any measure.

If you appear to be affluent or to possess knowledge needed by others they will notice you, otherwise you will be largely ignored if you do not fit the group or appear to be one of the disposable masses.

In the immediate aftermath of a major disruption in our social functioning most will sit it out and wait for FEMA or some one to return the area to it's normal dysfunction.

Patience will be rewarded with access to everything you need if you stay calm,keep to yourself and move around like an aimless hobo.

In fact keeping a low profile and staying out of others interest is a good way to operate all the time.

Collapse of a sudden nature is not very likely in most cases unless there is a precipitating event, natural disaster, bombing, riot, etc.

More likely this slow decent into a lower level of living will continue with some folks feeling as though their way of life has collapsed, and losing everything due to the economy and other factors we are all aware of. This is the real hazard. Some one loses their sense of control and starts shooting, or other unpleasantness. It will rarely be groups.

We can and will make it through as long we keep our heads while everyone else is losing theirs.

The Urban Survivalist said...

That's basically how I view things. If things in the city really started getting ugly I'd be able to stay home and keep my head low for months without ever leaving if need be. My neighbors are good people. They're not the MTV generation "just enough food to get by" types. I live in an older neighborhood and I suspect that most of the people here own their houses outright or don't have much of a mortgage to speak of. I guess that's one of the things that influences my thoughts about staying in the city during a disaster. First of all I don't have to worry about stuff like earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes where I live. Secondly I trust that my neighbors will be able to fend for themselves if there is some kind of crisis.

Anonymous said...

Urban, your blog and posts just keep getting better and better. Well said, and some great posts from the other posters as well.

Hellfireblogs said...

Well said. I was in NYC during the Blackout and there was no more crime than usual. A little known fact about Katrina is that if you factor out the looting of big box stores crime actually decreased as a result of people being focused on the basics.

Riots will happen but the "Golden Horde" scenerio is more of a Sci-Fi convention than an understanding of human nature.

Also don't get fooled looking at what happens in different countries when there is a SHTF scenerio. American culture is different and most Americans pull together in times of emergencies, ala right after 9/11.

Not trying to paint a rosy picture, but if you have good neighbors and a godd stash bugging out should be your plan B.