Could it happen in the U.S.? Could it happen in my area? Civil unrest can be short-term, or it can extend over a longer period of time. The United States enjoys relative peace and prosperity at most times and in most places. Even so, civil unrest has happened many times in the past. A few examples should be sufficient to show that civil unrest can occur even without a “the end of the world as we know it” TEOTWAWKI scenario.
The 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest occurred over the space of six days, following a controversial jury verdict. The police were over-whelmed. So many persons were rioting that there were not enough officers to intervene.
“Fifty-three people died during the riots including 10 shot dead by the army and police with as many as 2,000 people injured. Estimates of the material losses vary between about $800 million and $1 billion. Approximately 3,600 fires were set, destroying 1,100 buildings, with fire calls coming once every minute at some points. Widespread looting also occurred.” (Wikipedia)
In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, there was civil unrest and lawlessness in New Orleans.
“Shortly after the hurricane moved away on August 30, 2005, some residents of New Orleans who remained in the city began looting stores. Many were in search of food and water that were not available to them through any other means, as well as non-essential items. Reports of carjacking, murders, thefts, and rapes in New Orleans flooded the news. Some sources later determined that many of the reports were inaccurate, because of the confusion.” (Wikipedia)
Many police officers had evacuated, with their families. There were insufficient officers to maintain law and order. Some persons resorted to looting because they had no food and water. (They did not PREP sufficiently for the storm.) Others looted non-essential items and roamed the streets in gangs, committing crimes, because of the lack of police presence. Government response to this disorder was slow and not entirely competent, to put it mildly.
In 1977, when New York City experienced a widespread blackout, looting and arson increased sharply, for a brief period of time
“Looting and vandalism were widespread, hitting 31 neighborhoods, including most poor neighborhoods in the city. Possibly the hardest hit were Crown Heights, where 75 stores on a five-block stretch were looted, and Bushwick where arson was rampant with some 25 fires still burning the next morning. At one point two blocks of Broadway, which separates Bushwick from Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, were on fire. Thirty-five blocks of Broadway were destroyed: 134 stores looted, 45 of them set ablaze. Thieves stole 50 new Pontiacs from a Bronx car dealership. In Brooklyn, youths were seen backing up cars to targeted stores, tying ropes around the stores’ grates, and using their cars to pull the grates away before looting the store. While 550 police officers were injured in the mayhem, 4,500 looters were arrested.” Wikipedia
During the 1960′s, there were a number of riots and violent protests extending throughout the entire decade. These riots and violent protests occurred from time to time, and place to place. They were intermittent, but spread out over a long period of time.
Could riots or civil unrest occur in your area? Civil unrest may be more likely in cities, rather than in rural areas. The higher concentration of people implies that there is a corresponding higher concentration of persons willing to commit crimes. But there is nothing to prevent civil unrest and lawlessness from occurring in any particular location, even a rural area.
How Can We Prepare?
When there is civil unrest, sometimes the sudden increase in violence and crimes is more than the police can handle. In such a case, the police cannot be relied upon, in the short term, to respond to a call for help. Self-defense, in the face of an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury, might be necessary. To that end, you might consider owning, and learning to safely use a firearm. However, I don’t consider guns and ammunition to be the most important preparation for possible civil unrest.
The most important preparation is probably food and water. If you have sufficient food and water for at least a month, you can wait out most events causing civil unrest. If you don’t need to go to the store for food and water, then you are less vulnerable to harm from lawlessness.
Another important preparation is home security. A determined attacker or group of attackers can breach a house, sooner or later. But if your home has reinforced doors and windows, the typical home invader might be more disposed to move on.
A security film can be added to ordinary window panes, making break-ins more difficult: “With 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films your windows can be transformed from your weakest link to a source of strength, helping to protect your home and your family from threats such as break-ins and severe weather events like hurricanes. 3M Safety and Security Window Films are designed to help hold the glass fragments together, reducing potential injury from flying glass during severe weather. Because these films help hold the glass together, a stronger barrier is created, slowing down criminals to the point where they may choose to flee for an easier target.”
Another useful type of product is a door bar. For example, the Katy Bar protects a home against severe weather as well as intruders. Other types of door reinforcement are available, such as larger metal plates around the door lock and deadbolt lock, with longer screws to go into the door frame. Metal doors are also more resistent to unauthorized entry.
If you don’t have to go out of your home during civil unrest, and your home is secure, then you are safer from any lawlessness and violent crimes that may occur.
One of many ways to prepare for civil unrest is to have a firearm and some ammunition. But we’ve already discussed that topic in previous posts (and I’m sure we’ll discuss it again).