Things are about to get real in Ferguson, Missouri, regardless of the decision of the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case.
So real, in fact, that at least some of the local cops believe citizens need to arm themselves, because they know they won’t be able to protect them from the chaos that is sure to ensue.
A post on a local forum, St. Louis Cop Talk, is all the buzz right now. Someone posting under the username “A Concerned Cop” wrote:
“If you do not have a gun, get one and get one soon. We will not be able to protect you or your family,” he wrote. “It will be your responsibility to protect them. Our gutless commanders and politicians have neutered us. I’m serious, get a gun, get more than one, and keep one with you at all times.”
Shortly after the post was picked up by the alternative media on Vocative.com, the forum was disabled.
The locals are taking the warnings seriously. One gun store owner reports a massive increase in sales in during the past week.
“These people are afraid,” said Steve King, the owner of Metro Shooting Supplies in nearby Bridgeton. King says his store typically sells 30 to 40 firearms a week. This week, it has sold 250. “One hundred percent of them are buying because of Ferguson.” (source)
Of course, those of us who are into preparedness have known this all along. As the saying goes, “When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.” This will be especially true in the event of an eruption of civil unrest, fueled by racial tensions.
Back in August, when the shooting occurred, violence, looting, and rampaging broke out across the Ferguson area, spilling over into nearby towns. This time promises to be even worse, if the panic stoked by the mainstream media and government press releases is anything to go by. The FBI has released its own warnings about the expected situation:
“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI says in an intelligence bulletin issued in recent days. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities.”
Those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed…
The FBI bulletin expresses concern only over those who would exploit peaceful protests, not the masses of demonstrators who will want to legitimately, lawfully and collectively express their views on the grand jury’s decision.
The bulletin “stresses the importance of remaining aware of the protections afforded to all U.S. persons exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” (source)
If the government wanted a reason to crack down, tens of thousands of people rioting through the streets, setting fires, and committing crimes would definitely have people begging for protection. Whether this unrest is genuine or manufactured, the result is the same – in the next day or so, this part of Missouri will be under seige.
Perhaps, like me, you aren’t confident in the ability or urgency of others to care for your family. It’s time to prepare your defenses.
I wrote about this previously, but here’s a refresher on what you can expect during periods of civil unrest and rioting, and how you can best prepare to protect your family.
Make sure to have enough supplies
The most preventable issue in the event of civil unrest is running out of supplies.
If you have to “run out to the store” that makes it far more likely that you will become the victim of a crime. The best advice I can give in all of this is to STAY HOME. But if you have no food and water, it’s difficult to do so.
Here is a general list of supplies to have on hand. Remember that sometimes power supplies are lost during situations like this. Occasionally officials do this to gain more control over the populace and sometimes it happens as a side-effect of the wholesale destruction by the rioters. Keep the potential for a down-grid situation in mind when preparing.
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Necessary prescription medications
- A well stocked pantry – you need at least a one-month supply of food for the entire family, including pets
- An off grid cooking method (We have a Char-Broil Offset Smoker American Gourmet Grill, an outdoor burner, and a woodstove inside)
- Or food that requires no cooking
- A tactical quality first aid kit
- Lighting in the event of a power outage
- Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
- A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
- Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
- A diverse survival guide and first aid manual (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
- Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
- Off-grid entertainment: arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals
Secure your home.
The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into that fight in the first place.
Here are some tips to make your home less of a target:
- Keep all the doors and windows locked. Secure sliding doors with a metal bar. Consider installing decorative grid-work over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.
- Keep the curtains closed. There’s no need for people walking past to be able to see what you have or to do reconnaissance on how many people are present.
- Don’t answer the door. Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
- Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”. Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.
If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family and your home
- Don’t rely on 911. If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself. First responders may be tied up, and in some cases, the cops are not always your friends. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some officers joined in the crime sprees, and others stomped all over the 2nd Amendment and confiscated people’s legal firearms at a time when they needed them the most.
- Be armed and know how to use your weapon of choice. When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation over a nice cup of tea. Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force. Whatever your choice of weapon, practice, practice, practice. A weapon you don’t know how to use is more dangerous than having no weapon at all. Here’s some advice from someone who knows a lot more about weapons than I do.
- Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members. If the worst happens and your home is breached, you need to have a room into which family members can escape. This room needs to have a heavy exterior door instead of a regular hollow core interior door. There should be communications devices in the room so that the person can call for help, as well as a reliable weapon to be used in the event that the safe room is breached. The family members should be instructed not to come out of that room FOR ANY REASON until you give them the all clear or help has arrived. You can learn more about building a safe room HERE. Focus the tips for creating a safe room in an apartment to put it together more quickly.
- Plan an escape route. If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety. Your property is not worth your life.
It’s very important to make a defense plan well before you need one.
Expect violence for the sake of violence
Not every criminal frolicking through a WROL zone is there to steal. Some people want to hurt people just for the rush of power it gives them.
There is no pacifist answer to an encounter like this. If someone wants to do harm because they find it enjoyable, or because they are swept up in a mob mentality, you have to meet force with greater force.
In these situations, firearms are the great equalizer.
I can’t repeat this enough: you must practice. Frequently. If you don’t know how to use a firearm, you shouldn’t have it. When you handle your weapon awkwardly, it’s very obvious to a person who is trying to intimidate you. Likewise, if you are so comfortable with your weapon that it looks like a natural extension of your arm, that is also very clear. It sends a message that you mean business and that you know what you’re doing. No one wants to get shot. Most thugs will search for an easier target.
Of course, it’s better still to avoid these encounters. When your city is under siege, it’s far safer to stay home. Don’t go to work or send the kids to school. Wait until normalcy returns to go about your business. It isn’t worth risking your life.
Expect destruction of property
Of enormous concern in these situations is the destruction of property.
For some, vandalizing and destroying property is the order of the day. Often, times of civil unrest give people of a certain mentality the excuse they need to seek vengeance against those who have “more” than they do. Tensions erupt between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. When this occurs, often destruction of property is the way these people choose to show their “power”.
While this starts out as purely a property crime, the situation can quickly turn violent. If someone is outside bashing the headlights of your vehicle, it isn’t a far stretch to think that they’ll bash on you if you confront them.
How to respond to this is a very individual decision, and depends to a great extent on your personal skill levels and confidence.
If you are a person who is unaccustomed to physical confrontations, you may be better off staying inside and calling your insurance company after the fact. No possession is worth your life or the lives of your family.
Alternatively, in some situations, it won’t stop with the destruction of your property. You may have to defend your home. Fire is of enormous concern in these types of scenarios. Fire is a cowardly attack that doesn’t require any interaction on the part of the arsonist. It flushes out the family inside, leaving you vulnerable to physical assaults.
Be ready for the potential of fire.
- Have fire extinguishers mounted throughout your home. You can buy them in 6 packs from Amazon
- Be sure to test them frequently and maintain them properly. (Allstate has a page about fire extinguisher maintenance.)
- Have fire escape ladders that can be attached to a windowsill in all upper story rooms. Drill with them so that your kids know how to use them if necessary.
- Have bug-out bags prepared that contain all of your important documents in them in case you have to grab and go.
Expect cops and soldiers to be harsh
The reality is this:
While many of the officers involved most likely just want to resolve the situation and go home to their families, the methods being used are not methods most of us wish to encounter.
In a highly charged situation like this, police and military are trained to use the most efficient methods to speedily shut down a conflict. These methods can include tear gas, sound cannons, and outright physical assaults on citizens. It’s important to note that fear can be a powerful motivator when deciding how much force is appropriate when addressing a threat. Cops are just as subject to fear as the rest of us. 20 cops with shields and batons would be quite reasonable to fear an angry mob of hundreds of shouting people.
Your safety when interacting with officials during a martial law situation does not rely on the intentions of police officers and military. It really doesn’t matter if they are trying to crush your rights under a jack-booted heel, or whether they are trying to benevolently keep people safe and re-establish peace and harmony.
Here are some suggestions to help keep you safe when dealing with cops and soldiers.
- Avoid crowds. If you are in the midst of a crowd, you’ll be considered part of the crowd and treated exactly like everyone else in that group. If they get tear-gassed, so will you. It’s guilt by association. If the crowd is violent, and you are part of the crowd, you will also be considered violent, and you’ll be dealt with accordingly. Legally, you are actually guilty if you are part of a group that is violent. GO HOME.
- Be polite. If you have to interact with officers, be courteous. You won’t restore the Constitution by arguing with them or threatening them. It’s fine to assert your rights – you don’t have to allow them to search your house without cause, for example, but do so civilly. Belligerence will get you nothing but a beat-down.
- You don’t get to explain. In a highly charged situation, the cops probably aren’t going to listen to you when you try to explain that you’re just taking that baseball bat in your hand over to your nephew’s house so he can hit some balls in the backyard. No matter how innocent your intentions are, if you’re walking like a duck, you’re going to be treated like a duck. Training will kick in, and perceived threats will be immediately neutralized by whatever means the cops find necessary.
- Stay home. It really isn’t worth risking your physical safety to go see what’s going on.
Underneath the uniform, cops are human. I’m not justifying the brutality, the methods they’re using, or the assaults on journalists. Cops are just as likely to be swept up in a herd mentality as thugs are during a high stress situation. By understanding this, you can be better prepared.
Just stay home.
I really can’t repeat that often enough. It’s the number one way to keep yourself safer from every single threat mentioned in this article. If you find yourself in an area under siege, the odds will be further on your side for every interaction in which you avoid taking part.
Every single time you leave the house, you increase your chances of an unpleasant encounter. Nothing will be accomplished by going out during a chaotic situation.