Black Friday and the Ferguson Riots: This is Why We Are Armed

This is why we are armed

It’s important to prep. You probably already know this, or you wouldn’t be here, reading an article on a site like this.  You know that you need a stockpile of food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities.

But just as important as those so-called “beans and band-aids” is the ability to protect it.  That’s where the “bullets” come in.

Some people don’t really get into the weapons and defense part of prepping. They think it’s enough to have a supply of food and water to see them through a month or two of disruptions. Their plan is to simply lay low and stay out of dangers. They think that learning to use a weapon, stockpiling ammo, and making sure your family members are also able to defend themselves is just going overboard.  They chuckle about “those preppers who are expecting  a Mad Max scenario” and figure that’s the stuff that movies are made of. It’s not real life

To people who don’t believe that firearms and a defense plan are vital, I submit to you, Exhibit A:

These shoppers were willing to trample, shove, punch, kick, and otherwise beat the crap out of their fellow man just to get a “deal” on a Christmas present.

Yesterday in his annual “Running of the Sheep” video montage, Mac Slavo shared videos of people fighting over sale-priced panties, hurling garbage cans, and someone who took  tazer to the chest over a bargain on a TV.

In Pamplona, Spain the yearly tradition is to throw yourself into an arena and run for your life as an onslaught of bulls chases you. In America, we have a similar tradition, but the bulls are replaced with human sheeple who will stop at nothing to ensure they walk away with the best consumer deals they can find. People are often hurt in both events and sometimes the annual runnings even lead to death as the weaker sheep are trampled during all the commotion.

This year the Boston Globe estimates that about 100 million Americans will head out for their annual running and they’ll spend upwards of $13 billion in a single day.

The action this year started on Thanksgiving Day and sheep across the nation looking for mega-discounts on cheaply built toasters, electronics and other consumables didn’t hesitate to jump into the ring.  (Be sure and check out the horrifying footage.)

Videos like those were shown on news stations all over the world. How positively embarrassing to be grouped in with those people who stampede like a cackle (I looked it up, that’s really the word) of hyenas  all slavering over a downed gazelle.

But there’s something bigger at play here. When bad things happen, worse things often follow.

What would these people act like over something that was actually a matter of life and death?

Now…think about this.

What if there was no food? What if the grocery store was cleaned out and there was no sign of it restocking anytime soon?  How would this same throng of people behave to get the last loaf of bread or case of canned goods?  What would they do if they knew you had food in your home, while they had nothing?

I think we all know the answer to this question. If people are willing to assault another human being over a pair of panties, they will definitely lay siege to your home if you have food and they do not.  Not only would we have the hungry entitlement crowd to deal with, but we can also add in the plain old ticked off people who destroy property just for the sheer “fun” of it. (See Ferguson, Missouri for more information about the joy of wholesale rioting and destruction.)

You can stockpile until you have a decade of supplies put back, but if you can’t defend it, you don’t actually own it. You only have it because no one has bothered taking it away from you yet.  You have what you have based on the goodwill of others, who are stronger, greater in number, and better armed.  You may not like hearing this, but you need only to check out the videos to which I’ve referred you to realize how out of control people can get.

You have to look at the psychology of this. People can justify pretty much anything when they or their children are starving. And I can understand that to a large degree – who could stand to watch their babies suffering?  But if someone can devolve to the above degree just to get $10 off of a flat screen TV that they will still be able to acquire at another time, the chaos we saw above is only a tiny sample of what is to come.

Think about the movie The Hunger Games: the violence at the cornucopia is pretty much just an armed version of Black Friday. Does this look familiar?

Some people act like this for “fun”.

Some people are just waiting for the opportunity to behave in that fashion. They’d love to act like that every single day, but they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives in jail. But when a verdict gets rolled out, when a storm takes out the power, when a disaster strikes, they delight in the chance to rob, pillage, loot, and burn.  Who can forget the day before Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, when thugs were coordinating looting rampages via Twitter?

I remember learning about “sublimation” in a high school psychology class.

Sublimation is a defense mechanism that allows us to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form. For example, a person experiencing extreme anger might take up kick-boxing as a means of venting frustration. Freud believed that sublimation was a sign of maturity that allows people to function normally in socially acceptable ways. (source)

If you believe Freud’s theory, then it’s easy to see that many people look for an excuse to revert to their true natures.  In a situation where “everyone” is doing something, they are able to cast off their normal control of their impulses without much fear of reprisal. The number of looters and thugs far outstrips the number of arrests going on in Ferguson, so there’s a very good chance that someone swept up in that mentality can go burn somebody else’s home or business and completely get away with it.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

As well, for some folks who are on the fringe of preparedness, their entire survival plan is based on taking what others have carefully put back.  Remember that yahoo who was on Doomsday Preppers, boasting about how he planned to become a marauder after the SHTF?

“We’re not in it to stockpile. We’re in it to take what you have and there’s nothing you can do to stop us,” Tyler Smith says. “We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”

Smith, 29, is the leader of Spartan Survival. The group has more than 80 dues-paying members. Smith founded the organization in 2005 to train and prepare others on survivalism.

On Tuesday night, Smith’s story will be told on the National Geographic Channel survivalist TV show “Doomsday Preppers.” (source)

Not all of the people coming to your door will be there because they are starving and desperate. Some people are just bad seeds, and they’ll delight in the opportunity to be who they really are.

How do you stay safe in the aftermath of a disaster?

A few simple strategies can help you to stay safer.

1.) Don’t be where other people are.

A lot of danger can be avoided by simply staying home, and here’s where your preps come in.  If you have supplies, you have absolutely no need to go where the hordes are to line up and get more.  Trust me when I tell you, it won’t be an orderly line for long. The doors will open and everyone will want to be first.  Someone will cut in front of someone else. The food will run out before they get to everyone who is waiting for a handout.  It doesn’t take much to incite a crowd of stressed-out, waiting people into a ravening mob. (Remember those Black Friday videos above?)

Here’s a list of basic supplies to have on hand.  Remember that sometimes power supplies are lost during situations like this. Occasionally officials do this to gain more control over the populace and sometimes it happens as a side-effect of the wholesale destruction by the rioters. Keep the potential for a down-grid situation in mind when preparing.

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • well stocked pantry – you need at least a one-month supply of food for the entire family, including pets  (Here’s how to build one fast!)
  • An off grid cooking method (We have a Char-Broil Offset Smoker American Gourmet Grill, an outdoor burner, and a woodstove inside)
  • Or food that requires no cooking
  • tactical quality first aid kit
  • Lighting in the event of a power outage
  • Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
  • A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
  • Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
  • A diverse survival guide and first aid manual (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
  • Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
  • Off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals

Some Army friends served in Africa, and they’ve told me about managing food drops to the people there.  The violence that breaks out over those MREs they’re handing out rarely fails to leave a few people trampled and bleeding. Some of those hungry people would shove a knife in their own grandmas to get an extra ration of food. If disaster strikes here, do you really want to fight it out over a handout from FEMA?

I recently read “Going Home” by A. American. In the book, and EMP has wiped out power and services across the nation. The hero of the book is stranded 250 miles away from home, and has to make his way back on foot.  He’s perfectly fine doing his own thing, walking, and camping. But when he has the misfortune to meet up with others, more often than not, all heck breaks loose, and he has no choice but to defend himself with deadly force. (PS: It’s a really good story! You should check it out HERE.)

2.) Keep your home secure at all times.

So, you’re staying home, as per the above advice. Make your home look like the one on the street that would be the most difficult to breach.

Here are some tips to make your home less of a target:

  • Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative grid-work over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.
  • Fences and gates that lock are another deterrent.  If your home is surrounded by a fence and someone comes knocking at your door unexpectedly, you know that someone has gone to the effort to climb your fence – they probably aren’t there selling Girl Scout cookies.
  • Keep the curtains closed. There’s no need for people walking past to be able to see what you have or to do reconnaissance on how many people are present.
  • Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
  • Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”.  Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.

3.) 911 is not a viable option.

When disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.

First responders may be tied up.  Think about the scene in Ferguson right now. How many cops do you really think are being dispatched to people’s homes? According to some reports, the cops are standing there under direct orders just watching things burn.  They’re doing nothing to stop it.  In normal situations, calling 911 might be an option – during a widespread disaster, they won’t be responding fast enough to help you, if at all.

What’s more, in some cases, the cops are not always your friends.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some officers joined in the crime sprees, and others stomped all over the 2nd Amendment and confiscated people’s legal firearms at a time when they needed them the most.

4.) Be ready to defend your home.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family and your home.  You’ve done all you can. You’ve stayed home, you’ve tried to avoid attracting undue attention, you’re minding your own business.

If trouble bursts through your door, you must meet force with force.  In this situation, the lives of your family depend on your ability and willingness to protect them.

  • Have a plan.  This is something you need to work through with your family in advance. Non-combatants need to understand they must get safely out of the way so that the people who are armed and most appropriate to engage can do so without worrying that the children will get caught in the crossfire. Make up a drill so that you can practice with your family.  You also want to figure out the best places to take cover and how to draw the intruders into a kill zone. This will be different in every home, based on your layout and what you have available.
  • Be armed and know how to use your weapon of choice.  Particularly during situations of civil unrest, remain armed at all times. When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation over a nice cup of tea.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force.
  • Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members. If the worst happens and your home is breached, you need to have a room into which family members can escape.  This room needs to have a heavy exterior door instead of a regular hollow core interior door. There should be communications devices in the room so that the person can call for help, as well as a reliable weapon to be used in the event that the safe room is breached. The family members should be instructed not to come out of that room FOR ANY REASON until you give them the all clear or help has arrived. You can learn more about building a safe room HERE.  Focus the tips for creating a safe room in an apartment to put it together more quickly.
  • Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.  Your property is not worth your life. Have bug-out bags ready, create rally points, and make sure everyone knows more than one route to get there.

It’s very important to make your defense plan well before you need one.

5.) Be armed.

This is the part of preparedness that some people find very uncomfortable.  Well, you have to get over that.  If an intruder breaches your home, there really are only two options: you must be prepared to defend your family or you must be prepared to bow down and be a victim.

  • Find a weapon that you are comfortable with.  If you aren’t comfortable with a bigger caliber firearm, look to the humble 22. At close range, a well-placed shot will stop a threat. It’s better to have a smaller caliber weapon you can handle than a bigger weapon with so much recoil you can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
  • Teach everyone who is old enough to use weapons. Chances are, your friendly neighborhood thug won’t be coming alone. Increase your chances of survival by arming more family members. My daughters are both teenagers, but they are comfortable with a variety of weapons, including firearms, long bows, and up-close-and-personal items like mace and tazers.
  • Practice, practice, practice. One caveat: a weapon you don’t know how to use can be more dangerous than having no weapon at all.  Take classes, go to the range, or find a nice place in the woods to blow through some ammo. If your weapon can be dry-fired, practice drawing and aiming at home (obviously, checking each time to be sure the gun is unloaded). The more you handle your firearm, the more comfortable you will be. In a high stress situation, you don’t want to be fumbling for the safety, taking your eyes off the threat, or being surprised by recoil. The more you practice and handle your weapon, the more muscle memory will take over, allowing you to place your focus on the intruders instead of “how-the-heck-do-I-fire-this-gun?”.

Here’s some advice from someone who knows a lot more about weapons than I do.

This is your early warning.

So many times, when interviewed after a disaster, people talk about being “shocked” at the behavior of others.  Their level of cognitive dissonance has lulled them into thinking that we’re safe and that we live in a civilized country.  They are unwilling to accept that civilization was only a veneers, even when the evidence of that is right in front of them, aiming a gun at their faces, lighting their homes on fire, or raping their daughters.

Accept it now and you’ll be a lot better off when the SHTF.

Look at the two examples that have occurred over the last week: the riots in Ferguson and the madness of Black Friday shopping.

Then tell me how “civilized” our country is.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.