Protests. Riots. Marches. Demonstrations. Strikes. Whether it’s sensationalism mainstream media, confirmation bias, or Google’s admitted echo chamber search results, they seem to be getting more common.
Protest, riots and marches are dangerous.
It’s all well and good me telling you “avoid, avoid, avoid”, but when you leave the house in the morning nobody gives you a map with that day’s riots marked out.
That being said, avoid, Avoid, AVOID!
If you’re walking down the street, and you turn a corner only to find yourself facing a mob – turn the fuck around and go back the way you came. If you’re late for an interview or doctor’s appointment, I assure you, they will understand that you’re late because you almost got caught up in a protest.
If you’re driving your car and see shit up ahead, do a U-turn. Break any and all traffic “laws” you have to. Damage your tires going over the island between lanes. Get away quick.
Mobs are dangerous things. A peaceful mob is fine, until it isn’t peaceful anymore. And you have no control over that.
Maybe the first guy just slaps the top of your car. The next guy pushes on your car. Shit escalates – this is the essence of what makes a mob dangerous. Next thing you know people are throwing rock through your windows and overturning your car.
If you have any advanced warning, make sure you aren’t there.
Can you hear a strange sounding “roar”? Did someone put a “Day of Rage” post on facebook for your city? Is there smoke in the air? A column of smoke up ahead? Are there a bunch of people running away from particular direction? Can you hear a bunch of sirens from the same area?
If you can’t avoid
If you do get caught up in a mob there are 2 priorities.
1 – Don’t get noticed.
2 – Get out.
and a “failsafe” / “Hail Mary”
3 – If you do draw their attention and they come for you – run. (Find chokepoints to slow them down, find a crowd of cops [risky for you too], find a busy road – and read Marc MacYoungs Street E&E, THE book for running away from people and living)
Don’t draw their attention – Humans are pack animals
Humans are pack animals. And like wolves, if a pack sees an injured animal, or if they see something running away, it triggers the instinct to chase it down. So don’t get noticed.
If you’re a white dude at a Black Lives Matter / Black Panther rally/riot, or a black dude at a KKK march it might be a bit difficult. But short of this extreme you can try to blend in.
Chant what everyone else is chanting. Yell to the world how horrible Trump is for stopping abortion-at-9-months. Throw rocks with them (just not at the police, or through any windows – be ineffective). Help someone carry a sign. Yell right alongside them. Be their brother in arms, their sister solidarity. Be whatever you need to be to not get noticed as an outsider. Standard advice for fitting in: do what everyone else is doing, just a bit less (laugh a bit quieter, talk a bit less/softer etc.)
And while you’re playing pretend with your new friends work your way to the edge of the mob.
The edge is where it’s at
Let’s just get this straight up front – you are not David Blaine. You cannot disappear from an angry mob while you are in the middle of it. Escaping encirclement requires a gap in the circle around you. If you can get to the edge of the crowd (moving diagonally with the flow of people is much easier than moving directly sideways or moving directly backwards – both requires you to fight the pressure of a LOT of people pushing against you) then you’re can keep your eyes open for doorways, post boxes, lamp posts, alleyways.
Like a rock in a river, there’s a “shadow area” behind obstacles where a gap in the flow of people is created. You can try stay in this gap because there isn’t (as) much pressure from people pushing forward against you.
These shadow areas can appear behind obstacles in the middle of the crowd, but they’re less likely.
If you can find a gap to hide in then you have the chance to hang out there and wait for the mob to go past you. There’s no guarantee that you’ll manage to stay there until everybody’s gone, but there’s a chance.
Better than a gap
Better than a gap to hide in, the edge of a crowd will be where any escape routes are to be found. That doorway you found to hide in? Try the handle, it might open into a building you can hide in. Or if it’s a rampaging crowd setting fire to shit and beating people to death, then that building may have a second exit you can use to get far away from the danger.
If you’re in a car
If you’re in a car and you get caught in the middle of the shit, then ditch the car. Abandon your car and make your way on foot to the edge of the crowd/mob. There’s a good chance your car will get trashed or burnt. But it’s better than being in the car when this happens.