Riots, Protests, and Civil Unrest

How to move and protect yourself if you must go out

Just because you have never been in a riot yourself or you don’t plan on it, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared. Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. Civil unrest and protests are becoming increasingly more likely as things spin out of control in the USA. I don’t care what side you are on, to be honest. I want to tell you how to stay safe and keep going when things start deteriorating.

This article is not intended to be a manifesto of how to riot or participate in causing civil unrest. I am sure it could be used for that, but I am trying to tell you about these things from the perspective of it being inevitable that some areas within the USA will experience these things and you might need to deal with them on some level or another.

I have learned a lot and did a lot of thinking about the yellow shirt protests. Watching We Are Change live has given me a lot of food for thought. I think it is worthwhile to consider what one can do if they find themselves in an area that erupts in civil unrest and possible violence.

Civil unrest can last a long time, so there may come a time when you absolutely have to get from point A to point B. This means you need to be ready for what may happen. No matter how careful you are, there are a lot of things that are simply beyond your control when things start heading in an SHTF direction. During the Paris protests, it was clear to me that there were a good number of people that were simply trying to keep a low profile and get where they were going. It was so easy to see how they could get in a bad situation the minute someone involved in the protests did something that crossed the lines and boundaries drawn by the protesters or law enforcement. When you go into an area with major civil unrest, there are no set rules; You need to be on constant guard and practicing situational awareness on a whole different level. There are so many different things going on, and everything is out of your control beyond you situational awareness and your ability to adapt to a situation quickly and react in a responsible manner. The Prepperu2019s Blue... Tess Pennington Best Price: $11.98 Buy New $18.98 (as of 02:20 UTC - Details)

I truly feel that civil unrest will be more common in the future. There are simply too many issues that are affecting people from all walks of life. The division between people is vast, and it is an intentional thing. If you and I have differing opinions but can still come together on common issues, that is not seen as a good thing by some. The Orwellian times we live in necessitate the division if they are to get the best of us and keep the status quo fully functional and operating to our long term detriment. By not looking at both sides of an issue and showing compassion, you are letting them have all the power through your sacrifices as well as that of others. It is a good gig to get others to do the footwork for you.

Myth #1 I live in a small town or suburb, so protests and riots are not going to happen

Fact: The last two major riot situations that have made national headlines in the USA did not happen in major cities. Ferguson, MO experienced major riots in 2014 and had a population of just over 21,000 in 2010. Charlottesville, VA  was home to riots in 2017 and had a population of just over 48,000. That is hardly the millions of people that so many expect when something on this level occurs.

Riots do not just happen in urban centers or bad neighborhoods. Never fool yourself into believing that.

You need to be prepared if you live in areas with any type of “town” infrastructure.

I live in a rural area. There is not much incentive for protest, but 20 miles down the road it is a different story. There are plenty of protests nearby me when any major election or similar is happening. A lot of historical places have been vandalized, and regardless of what side someone is on, it doesn’t appear there have been any real winners. This is often the case when there is a divide and conquer philosophy that is so prevalent.

Movement and appearance

Here are some tips for moving as safely as possible during times of civil unrest:

  • Go places with someone else so you can watch out for each other. A big group together may draw attention but two or three people will not so much.
  • Have a good map and plan out alternative routes to the places you need to go the most.
  • Try to mix up your routes a bit. One way to do this is to never come back the same way you went.
  • Allow extra time so that you will move smartly and not fast or clumsy. During times of civil unrest, it is best to go ahead and get used to the idea that things will take longer.
  • Only move around when absolutely necessary. If things are getting dangerous in your area, consider what trips and obligations you can cut out of your routine.
  • Make sure to have an everyday carry bag that has some essentials in it just in case you get delayed.
  • Don’t open carry weapons. Being armed is one thing but displaying how armed you are can just invite trouble.
  • Keep kids and the elderly at home if possible. I know that sounds somewhat awful but things can happen really fast when there is civil unrest and kids and those that cannot move fast are going to be in even greater danger. A child can become frightened and make it hard to get away fast.  If your family has people of all ages, then the younger ones may need to take on some greater responsibility to do what must be done.

Items to have on hand during protests and civil unrest

Some of this may seem a little extreme but sometimes things happen that you would never expect. If you are forced to go out during a time of major unrest then having some protective gear and first aid supplies can be helpful. Some of these items may also be useful if you find yourself in an extended SHTF situation such as war.


Pro-Tec Full Cut Skate... Buy New $47.98 (as of 01:40 UTC - Details) Ski goggles or something that totally seals and provides clear vision can protect against impacts, sharp objects, and tear gas to some degree. Any type of goggle or safety glasses is better than nothing but something that totally protects the eye is really best. If I wear just basic wrap around style safety glasses when I am out weedeating, sometimes objects and small debris still find their way around or in my eye.


A helmet can protect your head from impacts from thrown objects, batons, billy clubs, or being thrown to the ground. In big crowds, trampling is a concern. Protecting your head and neck as much as possible can make all the difference in extreme situations. While any helmet is better than nothing, a full face motorcycle helmet or a helmet designed for extreme sports that covers that base of your skull, is ideal. The Protec skateboard helmet from my teen years at the skateboard park has a lot of advantages, and it is comfortable to wear for long periods of strenuous activity.

Laceration Kit

Okay, I know that you cannot carry everything under the sun on you, but a simple small kit for lacerations can be very helpful and even save someone’s life.

  • Tourniquet
  • Blood stop powder
  • Zip Stitch
  • Antiseptic
  • Band-aids

Tear gas neutralizer

Tear gas is going to be the reality during a major case of civil unrest. While it is going to be pretty awful if you are really exposed to tear gas, there are things you can do to help prevent some of the pain. Here are a few recipes for homemade remedies to neutralize if you are exposed to tear gas.

  • Spray bottle of water with 1-2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda.
  • Spray bottle of water with 2 parts water, 1 part liquid milk of magnesia

Of course, it is important to flush skin that is exposed to cool or cold water. Hot water should never be used because it can actually make the effects of the tear gas worse! No baths either. A cold shower is the way to go.

Safety Works SWX00320 ... Check Amazon for Pricing. People that have breathing conditions that require inhalers should make sure to have them with them at all times if they are concerned about tear gas. The gas can trigger a reaction and you do not want to be without your medication.

Respirator or gas mask

This is essential for any major event. The one thing I want to stress is the importance of using the right type of cartridge for your respirator. I know a bit about this. When I am not writing, I am working a farm and vineyard which means spraying things. It doesn’t matter if sprays are organic or not; you have to use something to protect your breathing. A particulate cartridge respirator like you use for sawing on wood or putting up fiberglass insulation will not cut it during any tear gas incident. You need a proper respirator rated for VOC (volatile organic compounds). I recommend having an extra set of cartridges too. They are inexpensive, and you do not want to be breathing through old or clogged up cartridges. You can actually pass out and even die if you have a respirator on that is clogged enough that you are not getting enough oxygen.

An excellent pair of gloves that fit good enough for you do the tasks that you need to do at the time.

It can be hard to find gloves that fit well enough to do the tasks that you need to do. This means that you should probably shop around and maybe even try a few pairs on. You are looking for gloves that will protect from sharp objects but could also be used to climb over things if needed.

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