By “psychological disaster”, I mean an event with grave consequences for society, which is caused mainly by a population-wide emotion, such as fear or anger.
I expect we would see an increase in violent crimes, often by persons who formerly were not criminals. When people are afraid or desperate, their behavior changes. There may be violent protests or widespread strikes. This could result in disruptions in the economy. People might panic-buy, and strip store shelves bare. Stores might be forced to close or restrict their hours. Some persons might lose their jobs, or be given reduced work hours.
Some relationships could be profoundly affected. When people face a crisis, of any type, they often reevaluate their priorities. And this could result in a change in relationships, for better or worse. One relationship could see a new appreciation for its benefits, and another could see a desire to be free from its detriments. Lots of changes could result in families, friendships, and society in general.
How should we respond?
On the relationship front, I think you want to salvage any relationship worth keeping. So that means, maybe, dealing with some family issues, and renewing those relationships. Then I would suggest reevaluating your friendships and acquaintances. Maybe some of those relationships need to be strengthened, and others should perhaps be allowed to remain in the past.
When dealing with other people, you have to take into account how they are responding to the crisis. Do they need your help to get through it? Fine. Or maybe they have decided to put their own interests first. You might be taken advantage of, so caution is needed. Don’t assume that the past predicts the future. People can change for better or for worse.
Trust will be a big issue in any psychological disaster. Your friends have your back, right? But if their own safety is in jeopardy, then what? Some friends still will be there for you, and others will not. That’s always the way. You don’t really know who your friends are, until the friendship is put to the test. You may lose some old friends, but some new friends might rise to the occasion.
This will be a big issue in any crisis, but especially one that throws society into fear, anger, or panic. If there is a food shortage, home invasions, in order to steal food, will go way up. You can reinforce doors with an extra deadbolt and windows with a storm window or a plastic film. You could clear any obstruction from your property, so that miscreants don’t have cover or concealment when the attack. Also, a big dog will work wonders to deter aggressors.
But nothing really replaces a firearm for home security. Pepper spray, inside your home, is a bad idea. That stuff gets in the air and can irritate your lungs and throat. A taser is just not enough force for a home invasion. On the street, you could taser a bad guy and then run. It gives you a chance to get away. But in your home, you are just going to delay the attack a little. A good tactical knife is useful in a fight. But your attacker could also be armed. Sorry, liberal preppers, but guns are a practical necessity for self-defense.
If you live in a State or locale where guns are unfairly heavily restricted, a lever-action rifle might be just what you need. As restrictions on guns pile up, the lever-action rifle usually remains legal and obtainable. Though in some States you need a permit for any firearm. A well-made revolver (Smith and Wesson or Ruger come to mind) is also great for home defense. Reliable, accurate, and easy to learn.
You are much more secure in your home, than you are in your car. I know that car side windows shatter easily, for safety reasons. But when the chance of violence on the road increases, you would be better off with windows protected by a tough plastic film. I expect that when law and order break down, attacks on cars will increase, because they are easy targets. If you are stuck in traffic, an assailant can do a smash and grab rather easily.
I would limit travel as much as possible. Otherwise, travel with a handgun (where legal) and/or with a friend riding along with you. If you are alone, you are an easier target.
Plan all your trips, even to familiar locations like work or the store, with alternate routes. Keep a paper map in the car, marked with useful places: police stations, hospitals, homes of friends or relatives, etc.
It’s a free country. You can do what you want. But my preference would be to stay away from protests, especially those that might turn violent. I don’t see that there’s anything to be gained by making a lot of noise for cameras and passers-by.
Check the local news, before you go out. Avoid roads and locations that have or recently have had protests. You want to avoid large angry crowds, I would think. Some people are drawn to conflict. Those people are more likely to die. I prefer a nice quiet gathering with a few friends or family. Or the company of a good book.
In a national crisis, many people think that the government should intervene and solve all our problems. My point of view is that a well-run government is like a well-trained dog. Useful for some tasks, but should not be put in charge of everything (or anything, really). So I won’t be joining any protests aimed at convincing the government to do one thing or another. Good luck with that.
Keep plenty of food and water (or water purification equipment) on hand. And then, when any crisis occurs, I think you just spend a lot of time at home. Relax and wait it out. Try not to get too worked up about any problem in society. This too shall pass. That attitude will work for quite a few bad situations. But maybe it’s just me.