It has been a few years since I wrote about the “Perfect Storm of Civil Unrest”. Looking back, it would be easy to think that perhaps the article was a bit reactionary given current events at the time. On the other hand, not a whole lot has changed since then.
These are still uneasy times. The names and faces of the powers that be may be different but the actions are the same. Normal, ordinary middle class families are still struggling and corporate corruption, hidden agendas, and cover-ups are still commonplace.
The threat of an Ebola or other pandemic, global economic collapse, severe water shortages, and immigration/border woes simply add to our concern about the future. Fear, sickness, and deprivation evoke chaos, and as we reach that tipping point, it seems only prudent to prepare for civil unrest, riots, looting, crimes against persons, domestic terrorism, and more.
Today I take another look at the potential for a perfect storm. In doing so, I have updated and expanded upon the steps we can take now to prepare for civil unrest.
13 Steps to Help You Prepare for Civil Unrest
1. Ensure that your basic preps and backup supplies are in order. This includes an adequate supply of food, water and sanitation supplies. Two weeks is a bare minimum. Three months or more is better.
2. Take stock of your first aid kit and medical supplies including necessary prescription drugs. Medical supplies, remedies, and prescription drugs will likely be in short supply if there is civil unrest. For ideas, see the first aid section of this article.
3. Learn homesteading skills and self-sufficiency skills regardless of whether you are living in an apartment, condo, house, or rural homestead. Read 12 Ways to Homestead in Place for ideas.
4. Inventory the security features in your home to determine weaknesses that need to be strengthened. Read A Dozen Home Security and Crime Prevention Tips for the Prepper for tips.
5. Set up a personal self-defense system. If you own a firearm, apply for a concealed weapons permit, stock up on ammo and practice shooting at the range. Invest in pepper sprays, bully clubs, sling shots, and other tools that will arm you against the bad guys.
6. Form a community of like minded people that will band together for protection and safety during times of chaos. This is going to be tough because trust will be an issue when your back is to the wall. A good book to read for ideas is actually a piece of fiction by James Wesley Rawles, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse.
7. Stockpile cash in small bills. In a massive and chaotic riot situation, ATMs and banks are likely to be inaccessible, closed,or inoperable.
8. Accumulate goods for barter. When the shelves are empty or the stores are closed, you may need to call on others for the supplies you need but did not anticipate. Have something to barter. Spirits (including beer, wine and good old Jack Daniels) are always good choices as as are candles, batteries, food, sanitation supplies, and first aid items are good to have an hand for barter as are fresh eggs and home grown garden vegetables. See 40 Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World.
9. Don’t forget about children, the elderly and pets. In a riot or lock down, they may become fearful and panicked. Stow away some amusements and comfort items for them as well.
10. Invest in a reference library of books, manuals, and survival guides. Don’t forget to include fiction as well as non-fiction plus reading materials suitable for a variety of different ages.
11. Acquire communication equipment so that you can keep in touch with family members and the outside world. This may include an emergency radio, a shortwave scanner, a HAM radio or something else. You gear will do you no good it you do not know how to use it. If it is too complicated, create a cheat sheet or find something simpler to use. Practice often!
12. Develop a family emergency plan so that everyone knows what to do and where to meet in the event the worst happens. See Survival Basics: 10 Steps for Preparing a Family Emergency Plan.
13. Keep a level head and your mouth shut. If, during times of unrest, you are pulled into a police net, the first thing you should do is call a lawyer. Be courteous and polite and do not resist.
Print out the following and keep it in your wallet and in your car along with your registration:
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED OR CONFRONTED BY THE POLICE:
1. First, ask to call your lawyer.
2. Be courteous; do not resist.
3. Do not consent to search or entry.
4. Do not talk about anything; do not admit OR DENY anything.
5. Ask if you are free to go. If you are, GO.
The ACLU also has a printable card you can download and keep with you: What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police. For more information, you can also download the booklet Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement.
A Word About Civil Unrest
As you read through this list, keep in mind that according to Army field manual FM 3-19.15:
“In these modern times, demonstrations, civil unrest, public disorder, and riots happen for a number of reasons.
Some of these reasons are economic hardships, social injustices, ethnic differences (leading to oppression), objections to world organizations or certain governments, political grievances, and terrorist acts. An event can be triggered by a single cause or a combination of causes.”
If nothing else, this should give you something to think about as you adapt your preparedness efforts to survive civil unrest.
The Final Word
How close are we to a perfect storm of civil unrest? If you had asked that question two years ago, I would have said “soon”. Now my answer is more vague as the maladies of our society have become the new normal. I won’t go so far as to say we have been coerced into this new normalcy but rather that we have already learned to adapt.
If and when the tipping point comes, there will be chaos. Our hope, as preppers, is that we will ride it out to safety. As to when this will happen or if it will happen? That is anyone’s guess.
That said, although people in cities and urban areas will bear the brunt of the first wave, rural communities and remote locations will not be immune. Over time, mobs will migrate outward in search of food, supplies and just about anything else they can get their hands on in a collapsed society.
The writing is on the wall in plain sight for those that want to see it. And for those that care not to look? When the SHTF don’t come knocking on my door because there will be no one there to answer.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!