Defending Yourself Against Mobs and Riots

What would your immediate reactions be if you found yourself suddenly surrounded by a large crowd of people who are disorderly, loud, angry, and intent on causing trouble and violence? Mobs and riots happen; sometimes with planning and sometimes without warning. As SemperVerus believes, it’s best to be ready in such situations.

What follows is a bullet point compilation of key ideas taken from several self-defense sources. Click the source links to read the articles in full.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Why Use and How to Choose Pepper Spray ]

■   Active Response Training: Surviving the Mob

  • Be aware of your surroundings and have a plan to stay one step ahead of possible mob formation.
  • Resist the urge to stand around and watch the mob’s display.
  • Always have an evacuation plan for every location you visit.
  • Make sure your children know how to escape crowd violence.
  • Wear shoes (and other clothing) that facilitate the ability to run if necessary.
  • When attending any large public event, you and all of your family members should establish at least two emergency meeting locations: one within the event perimeter and one outside the event.
  • Equip your children with spare car keys, even if they can’t drive. A natural meeting place is the family car and you’ll want your children to be able to seek shelter inside the car if you haven’t yet arrived.
  • Consider carrying and using small impact weapons or pepper spray (OC) for most threats.

Read many more excellent articles on how to survive a mob written by retired police officer Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training.

■   Armed Citizen Education Foundation: Massad Ayoob on the Legal Concepts of Defending Against Riots and Mobs

Acclaimed law enforcement trainer and expert firearms witness Massad Ayoob explains the various degrees of self-defense legality during mob action.

  • Do not be the first to show hostile intent.
  • Acts of a crowd that unlawfully restrain your movement are considered attempted kidnapping.
  • Maintain your mantle of innocence when acting in self-defense.
  • To escape a crowd around your car, turn on your emergency flashers, continually sound your horn, and slowly proceed.
  • Keep ballistic safety glasses in your car and wear them to prevent cuts from shattered glass.
  • Keep electronic ear muffs in your car to protect your hearing in loud situations.
  • Keep a video camera in your car for recording your self-defense actions.

■   Law of Self Defense: Defending Yourself & Family Against Mob Attack on Vehicle, Lawfully & Tactically

  • It’s in the nature of mobs that their use of violence is indiscriminate and that anyone within their reach may be their next victim.

Learn about taking the Lawful Defense Against Rioting, Looting and Arson Video Class

■   American Warrior Society: Safety Considerations for Riots and Protests

  • Your #1 safety tool is your brain. Make reasonable, legally articulable decisions and exercise common sense.
  • Act on your sixth sense. Listen to yourself when you feel something is wrong; get to safety; heighten your awareness.
  • Do not merely know where you’re going, know how to get there. Know two-to-three ways at minimum to get into and out of your destination. Keep a paper map or atlas handy. Technology is limited and can fail.
  • In an emergency, be prepared to walk miles. Wear appropriate shoes; keep walking shoes in your vehicle to protect yourself against glass and sharp-edged debris. Keep your body in shape to be able to walk long distances.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Self-Defense Training Directory ]

■   Michael Yon Online Magazine: A Few Hints on Combat Safety in America

  • Wear boots anywhere you might get into a stampede situation.
  • Do NOT bring anything you cannot afford to lose.
  • If something can fall off of you, it will, including backpacks. Double-secure items.
  • Wear ballistic eyewear.
  • Watch out for attackers who may nibble at the edges of a group protest.
  • As the day unfolds, each passing hour increases risk.
  • Never discount crowd-crazy.

■   Rullo Rants: Survival Tactics For Modern Terrorist Threats

  • Be prepared to recognize immediately that a threat is occurring and act accordingly. Don’t waste time minimizing or discounting a situation that is unclear and possibly dangerous.
  • Identify your exit options wherever you are, inside and outside.
  • Locate objects that will work as concealment (something that will obstruct the view of attackers and prevent them from seeing your location), cover (something that not only serves as sufficient concealment, but is also likely to protect you from incoming gunfire), and barriers (something to place between you and the attackers to slow their progress toward you).
  • It’s better to be a moving target (running) than a stationary target (drop to the ground).
  • Be ready to avoid escaping with the crowd; they may be operating on confused herd instinct instead of informed reason.
  • Be ready to issue leadership directive commands to your group of family or friends.
  • Trust your feelings; if something feels wrong, act accordingly.
  • As long as you keep breathing, keep moving.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Directory of Firearm Podcasts & Video Channels ]

■   GunMag Warehouse: Escape Routes: Defensive Mindset

  • Always look ahead and pre-identify a way out—on a street or in a room.
  • Never go somewhere you don’t know at least two ways out of if you can help it.
  • Keep your head up, your eyes open, and notice what’s around you.
  • Always anticipate.
  • Ask yourself: If you’re on the street, where are the cross streets? The alleys? Parking lots with more than one entry/exit? Is the street wide enough, and the traffic thin enough, that you can do a U-turn to escape a bad situation?
  • Walking into an establishment, notice where the fire exits are. They’ll be your primary escape routes if something goes sideways, whether it’s a violent assault or a runaway grease fire in the kitchen. If it’s somebody’s house, figure out where the back door is.
  • Intentionally take a glance, a quick mental catalog, of a room, a street, whatever area you’re walking into.
  • Proper planning prevents poor performance.

■   Personal Defense Network: What Do You Do if You Are Caught in a Major City When an Attack Occurs?

  • Know how to use tourniquets.
  • If you’re caught in a panicking crowd, get out of the stampede and up against a wall (or at least to the edge of the crowd); try not to rush to the same doorway or stairwell as everyone else.
  • Act fast.
  • If the city is on the water and major exit roads are congested, chartering a boat may be the most efficient way to escape.
  • Carry a paper map, cash, medical equipment, and defensive tools.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Concealed Carry Daily Prayer ]

■   Survival Sullivan: How to Survive an Angry Mob When in Your Vehicle

  • Avoid getting overtaken by the mob by driving your car away from it on whatever route is available to you: running through a median, jumping over a sidewalk, driving in reverse back the way you came. Don’t get surrounded!
  • Learn to spot and dodge roadblocks.
  • Stay in your vehicle and keep the doors locked.
  • Unbuckle your seatbelt to facilitate self-defense maneuvers if necessary.
  • Keep pepper spray on your body and accessible.
  • Understand the difference between harassment and deliberate lethal force attack.
  • Crack your windows. A window that’s slightly open is harder to break than one that’s rolled all the way up and snug in its frame.

■   Weapon Theory: Surviving a Riot

  • When you witness crowds chanting inflammatory statements, it’s time to leave the area.
  • Move in the path of least resistance and in the direction of the least amount of people.
  • If you’re caught in the middle of a violent crowd, don’t panic; try and blend in while keeping your goal to get out of the danger zone.
  • Keep your weapon concealed and secure, and accessible only as the last resort.
  • If the riot is too intense for you to leave, and you have no choice but to stay, bunker in place by finding a location that does not have anything to loot and does not lend itself to burning.
  • Don’t be a hero.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law ]

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