By Thomas Conroy
Midwest – -(Ammoland.com)- Civil unrest can take many forms.
We’ve seen huge, violent and deadly political protests break out in Tahrir Square in Egypt, or more recently in Kiev, Ukraine.
We’ve seen widespread looting and vandalism happen on the heels of major natural disasters. We’ve also come to expect the almost-routine riots that seem to occur whenever a professional or major college sports team wins – or loses - a championship.
In 2011, mellow, laid-back Vancouver in polite, friendly Canada saw major rioting when the Boston Bruins beat the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. There’s nothing like the smell of overturned, burning cars in the morning, eh?
The point is, you can have civil unrest anywhere you have human beings.
So it pays to be prepared to face this potentially life-threatening situation. I’ve compiled a list of things that could help should rioting, looting and general mayhem develop in your immediate location.
But I want to make something clear. Because this article is on Ammoland.com, I’m assuming that you already own a firearm or ten, and maybe enough ammunition to supply a Marine rifle platoon. So I’m leaving guns and ammo off the list, because you’ve probably got that well covered. If you don’t, what is wrong with you? Do something to fix that situation, now.
So here’s my list of the Top Five Things To Have In Case Of Civil Unrest.
5. Pepper Spray
Civil unrest means lots of people running amok, smashing, burning and looting. Yes, you might need to defend your life – that’s what the gun is for. But not every confrontation requires deadly force. Pepper spray gives you a less-than-lethal option that might help you persuade a would-be looter or vandal to choose an easier target down the block. Pepper spray comes in all sorts of sizes, from the tiny canisters ( http://tiny.cc/k9o8jx ) designed as key chains to the real power-washer, hose-the-whole-alley jugs ( http://tiny.cc/h7o8jx ) .
Just be sure you understand how to use the spray, and realize that it might not dissuade a really determined attacker. And make sure you pay attention to wind direction, so you don’t accidentally spray yourself.
4. Water ( See my Top Five Survival Water Filters article)
Many survival experts say the best strategy during civil unrest is to hunker down at home, if at all possible. Stay off the streets. Let the rioters riot and the looters loot. Hole up and establish your defensive perimeter, and quietly wait for the tumult to pass. That means you’ll need a backup water supply in your home castle.
Major riots have disrupted city water systems. Sometimes, looting breaks out because water and food sources have been temporarily stopped due to natural disasters, such as after Hurricane Katrina. One great and inexpensive way to stash water is to store tap water – plus a few drops of unscented bleach – in stack-able Water Brick Containers ( http://tiny.cc/ckp8jx ) . Just rotate out the water every six months or so. PS: Do not forget to get two or more of the Brick Spigots ( http://tiny.cc/oxp8jx ).
Major civil unrest can also disrupt food supplies. Looters frequently empty out grocery stores, and most truck lines won’t make deliveries to stores in neighborhoods littered with broken glass and burning cars and with large groups of angry people milling about. The riots might last hours, or they might last days, or even weeks. Best to be prepared for the worst-case and have enough food for weeks, just in case.
Having good food, like the gourmet entrees from Mountain House ( http://tiny.cc/tet8jx ) , can make waiting out a miserable situation more tolerable. High-quality, freeze-dried food keeps for years, so stack it deep, and sample a little of everything before an emergency strikes, just to develop familiarity. Have a backyard campout with the kids and enjoy some of your survival stash as a fun-filled training exercise.
2. Bug Out or Go Bag
While many experts recommend “bugging in” at home during civil unrest, you might be forced to flee quickly. If every house on the other side of the street is on fire, and you see miscreants with Molotov cocktails gathering near your driveway, it’s probably time to duck out the back, now. A carefully-packed, and pre-staged “Bug Out” or “Go Bag” should contain enough emergency supplies for you and those likely to be with you, but still be portable enough for you to scoop it up and go.
Brownells has some really nice Bug Out Bags ( http://goo.gl/rpWk8T ) , including their brand new Emergency Gun Bag ( http://goo.gl/dD4x5r ) that also contains cleaning supplies and magazines for your AR-15, including whatever scope or optic you might have mounted on it.
In the mass confusion of real civil unrest, timely information could save your life – literally. Even if you don’t accumulate any of the previously-mentioned supplies, just knowing that major rioting is happening a few streets over - and is headed your way - could be the difference between escaping unscathed, and being beaten, stomped, and smashed with bricks, rocks or other unpleasant heavy objects.
Do not count on the power grid remaining usable, either. Get a real emergency radio that can be powered via plug-in, batteries, and at least one other method, such as hand crank. Keep the radio handy, and at the first sign of unusual activity, dial in to the local stations that you researched before the emergency happened, and find out what’s going on. If you get a portable emergency radio, you can take it with you should you have to evacuate.
Remain Calm, Even Though All Is Not Well
If you’ve seen the classic move Animal House ( http://amzn.to/1qZe2Cf ) , you’re familiar with one of the funniest portrayals of a riot ever on film. Just remember what happens to ROTC cadet Chip Diller – played by Kevin Bacon – when he tries to convince the panicked, stampeding crowd that “All is Well!” even when it plainly isn’t. In the event of civil unrest where you live, have a plan. Have supplies. Remain calm. And don’t end up as sidewalk pizza.
Thomas Conroy is a firearms aficionado and writer who lives in the Midwest.