Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Urban Survival Techniques - Protect Yourself - Riots Can Be a Riot! (#4)

(continued from Urban Survival Techniques - Black Market Shopping)

Editors Note: This urban survival technique from GT is about protecting yourself during urban riots, civil unrest, whatever you want to call it. Advance preparation can include renting fireproof storage space for survival necessities such as dried food, and water in addition to what you have stockpiled in your residence. Be aware that police and firemen may be unable or unwilling to protect you and, in fact, may attack you or thwart your efforts to protect yourself.

Here's what GT has to say about riots in the city:

Watching a riot can be a lots of fun. To make a really bad pun, it can be a riot. With a few caveats.

1. It is not your property that is being destroyed.

2. You manage to avoid the police who will try to crack open everyone's heads -- be they innocent or guilty.

3. The riot does not put you in personal danger.

Riots may start as fun, but later on they will become more dangerous. You may not be able to flee the city, but you may still want to stake out your own little separate hideout for cash, food and bartering. That is apart from what you have at home which you can keep an eye on. The separate stash is for if your home gets destroyed in the riot. Fire and being burned out of your home is a real danger.

Most riots have been in the cities but in the hard economic times to come, there will probably be riots in the cities, suburbs, everywhere. There are rowdies everywhere and they will take advantage of the situation.

When the riots start that will be the signal for you to do several things to protect yourself. First you may not be certain it is the right time. There's a very good chance you will not hear of rioting in your city on the news. There will be a news blackout. The only way you'll know if there is trouble is if you see it, hear about it on the internet, or maybe even get a gut feeling. If your guts says there's trouble, it couldn't hurt to take these steps.

1. One of the best urban survival techniques is to go to one of those big old fireproof storage warehouses and rent some space. I would prefer one of the older warehouses instead of the new ones with electronic gates. If there is a power outage, you may not be able to get to your stuff. It could be the smallest space they have, you will not need much room. Store some of your gold and silver, food for at least a couple of months, and some water. You need about a gallon of water a day, so try for 30 gallons per family member. If you have the space (actually, make the space, this will be one of the most useful items you can have) get a bicycle with a rear rack and side baskets. You can carry up to 200 pounds and go anywhere. Lastly, get some extra firearms and ammo -- at least one gun -- and some other things you've read about survivalists stocking up on in their hidey holes.

Why use a warehouse? You live in the city or suburb. If you start digging holes to hide your stash, most likely someone will think you're digging to bury a body. Next thing you know you've got the cops nosing around asking questions you rather not answer. They will enter without a warrant and will probably end up taking your stash, calling you a hoarder. Also, these places tend to be fairly secure. You won't have the safety of a safe deposit box in one of those bomb-proof vaults but OTH the warehouse owner is not likely to be a government stooge as are the banksters.

2. If you have the money, rent a second storage unit in a different location. You can store mainly food and things you may want to use for trading in the black market there. That way if someone decides to follow you home to rob you of your stash, this will prevent that somewhat. They won't know which locker your stash is in.

3. For your home buy an ABC fire extinguisher. The ABC type is useful for all types of fires. In the riots I foresee to come, fire will be a big danger. This may not prevent you from being burned out of your home but you never know.

4. Get a video camera. Try to get one that looks like a camera used by a TV station. They are really cheap now, since people are buying flat screen camcorders. They are also small and lightweight. You can tape people destroying things. That can be a perfect disguise. You can pretend you're part of the press. From what I've seen, rioters and the police will attack anybody or anything but they won't attack the press. Too conspicuous, I guess.

5. Talk to the warehouse manager and ask if they have studio space available. Starving artists and musicians like myself can no longer afford loft space. Too trendy. So we discovered other cheap places. Industrial storage warehouses. You wouldn't believe how cheap they are or how much space you can get. (You won't get much of a view, but at a time like this, do you really want to watch the city burn down?) A lot of musicians and artists rent studio space and the studio has electrify, running water and toilet facilities. They are not supposed to, but I have known people who lived in their warehouse studio. In fact, instead of bugging out to parts unknown like many survivalists, if things get too rough, I plan to lock myself in a fireproof warehouse. If the rioters burn down the city, I will be in a secure fireproof building. Hopefully it will offer me a chance for personal survival in the midst of chaos. I got my food, money (gold and silver) and other things to protect me. The manager will be having too many other problems to worry about me breaking the lease. Until I brought it up, has it occurred to you, instead of heading for the hills when TSHTF, to go looking for someone in a warehouse? It won't occur to anybody else, either, unless you're Batman from the 60's TV show. In that show, the villains always hid out in abandoned warehouses.

The riots I've seen in the past tended to be political. Some kind of protest that got out of control. The riots to come will be hunger riots and "Can't Get Money From The Bank" riots like what has happened in South America, particularly Argentina.

The last riot, I experienced was on January 1, 2001. I live in downtown Portland, Oregon. It looked liked it was going to be a dull New Year so I went to bed early. I was awakened by this loud KA-BOOM. Sounded like lightning but your building doesn't shake when lightning hits it. I didn't know what what happening, so I quickly got dressed and ran outside. What was happening was that there was a mob picking up 1/4 ton concrete garbage containers and using them to break plate glass store windows.

Now these windows are supposed to be shatter-proof to prevent smash and grab robberies. But toss a 1/4 ton concrete container through a window and you'll will find out they aren't shatter-proof. The reason my building was shaking was that the mob was working its way down the street smashing windows and had reached my block. Having someone toss a concrete container through a plate glass window will wake the dead.

There were several things that surprised me about this riot. First there were thousands of people everywhere but very few were actively looting. Most were watching, probably enjoying the thrill of their very first riot. Most even had camcorders taping every act of destruction, probably hoping the looters would do something funny so they could send the tape to America's Funniest videos. It seem every other person had a video camera. I would have gotten mine but I didn't want to miss any of the action.

The second thing was just how easy to satisfy the looters. They weren't going for big ticket items like televisions but the cheapest trinkets you could find. For example, across the street from me, is a store that sell shoes so shoddy and cheap, Al Bundy would be ashamed to work there. Well, the looters has a good time cleaning out the place. Also, the looters also didn't seem to be very smart. For the life of me, I don't know why, but a group of them spent at least a half an hour trying to remove a honking big pizza oven. What they intend to do with that thing I have no clue. They stopped only when the police came into view.

The third surprise was just long it took the cops to arrive. About 45 minutes later. Now, this is the middle of downtown, where if the cops wanted to, they could be here in less than a minute. By the time the cops got there, the looters were long gone. I don't think the police were particular eager to take on the looters. You could see and hear them coming with their sirens and lights a mile away. They finally got to my block and even through they were were in riot gear and protect by an armored car, the cops looked scared. I got the feeling there was an unwritten agreement between the looters and cops, "You don't give us any trouble and we won't give you any trouble."

The last surprise. Since there were video cameras everywhere, you would have thought this would have at least made the local news. Nope. It made national news because my sister on the East Coast saw it and called me. She wanted to prevent me going going out in the riot, "Are you wandering around in that riot so you'll have something to write about?" (Yes, I wrote this!) "You're going to get yourself killed." (Nope, I'm a SURVIVOR!) I guess it didn't make local news because it would have made the local politicians look bad, especially the new Chief of Police. I guess it made national news because of the News Motto: "If it bleeds, it leads!"

I know I went into a lot of detail about what turned out to be a small riot but it tells me a lot what is happening in Argentina and what to expect here.

First, the news blackout. We should be hearing a lot more what is happening in South America but we aren't. It isn't as if there is not enough people with camcorders. In the few videos I've seen of what is happening, there seems to be a lots of other people filming as well. I think the only way you will hear of the riots going on in your city is if you are actually seeing it or if someone puts the news on the internet.

Second, the danger from rioting is that is can be too much like a party atmosphere. That can make you, the rioters, or the police careless. I keep wondering how bad things could have gotten if someone decided that instead of looting, to set fires to these stores? Why not? They didn't want the junk, they just wanted to destroy things. Fire is an looter's or rioter's best friend. At least historically. My building has a sprinkler system but if fire was set to the building I doubt it could have handled it and I would have been burned out of my home.

Third, nothing is safe in a riot. Seeing the cheap junk the rioters were stealing made me realize this was destruction for destruction's sake. How do you protect yourself from something like that? If I was a store owner, I can see myself standing in front of my store with a shotgun to prevent looters from breaking into my store and running off with whatever they can grab. I see no way, however, to protect myself if the looters get frustrated and decided to burn down the block. I predict if rioting does happen here, the result will be a lot of burnt out stores.

One thing that helped, although it didn't seem like much. Everybody in my building knows each other. We were all awakened. We informally agreed it would be our duty to try to protect the stores on the ground floor of our building since they too are tenants of the building. We were unarmed but formed a small crowd in front of the three stores and verbally turned away anyone who tried to rob the stores. It worked. By protecting the stores we protected ourselves in case someone got the idea of setting fire to the block.

We knew each other. By dealing with people your neighbor and such on the black market, you get to know them. You have learned to trust your neighbor on the black market, where before I doubt you even knew them. They will help and protect you. Like I said in my last Protect Yourself essay, you will become a very good judge of human nature because your life may depend on who you can trust.

Since you started your black market dealing with your neighbors, those are who you will be trusting and vice versa. It works in a big city as well as a small town. But not if you're isolated in parts unknown. You have nobody to deal with, nobody you can trust. That's why I don't think heading for the hills is necessarily a good idea. In survivalist novels, you have a group with a crisis plan of running off with their survival backpacks to their hidey hole. Sooner or later, because of the need to trade, they will have to come out of hiding. What they will find is that they are outsiders trying to trade with people who will not necessarily trust them. The insiders have bonded together through chains forged by fire.

How bad will the riots be? The riots will probably start with either hunger protests or "Do Something About The Collapsing Currency!" These riots and protest will be in the cities, suburbia, the small towns, everywhere. In the beginning it will be no worse than the celebrations when a local team win a big game. You will have a bunch of drunken rowdies tipping over cars and yelling their heads off. You will have the looting but it will be for worthless stuff; they aren't even thinking of survival essentials. And the police will be able to control it fairly well. But, some of the rowdies will come to realize they can get away with being destructive.

The next day you again have a hunger protest, with more people. The father who no longer can stand the whine of his children complaining, "I'm Hungry!" will feel the need to do something, anything, just so he doesn't go nuts. So he'll go nuts at the local supermarket. The rowdies will push the limit. Maybe a store get looted or burned.

This goes on for a week. Meanwhile, the police have put in a lot of overtime and they are being paid in hyperinflated dollars. Some will decide its not worth the risk getting paid in worthless money. They will call in sick so they can protect their own homes. The rowdies notice there are less police than before and get even rowdier.

Here is where it starts to get nasty. The police will start cracking heads, or if the situation is bad enough, will start shooting into the crowd. It could be as bad as the civil war draft riots in New York City in 1863.

After the irrevocable step of shooting into the crowd had been taken, things will get really interesting. History tells me it will go in one of two directions depending on how much support the government has. If most citizens still say: "My country right or wrong!" the government will win although it might be bloody.

The other direction is if people are tired of the government. There have been a large number of people who have been alienated by the government and have decided: It's Time To Shoot The Bastards. They are waiting for an opportunity. They might want to restore the constitution or get rid of government altogether or they might want to put their own group into power.

For instance, one thing that seems to be causing the citizens to come one step closer to overthrowing the government is the state's inept handling and mistreatment of people going through airport security. The simple solution is obvious but it is also obvious the government isn't about to do it. That is to arm the pilots. The government method of airport security isn't working and won't prevent more acts of terrorism. It is just pissing off a lot of people.

Let's say the mood turns to shooting the bastards. There are lots of groups ready to do that. I know the street gangs The Blood and The Crips of Los Angeles are just waiting for a final showdown with Gangsta Blue (The Police). The gangs in other cities are preparing as well. The gangs have been buying up AK-47s and buying in huge numbers. Big enough numbers that if there is a showdown between either the police or the army, the government forces are going to suffer major causalities.

What will happen if the mood is to shoot the bastards, this country will end up going through a stage very much like the Russian Revolution of 1918. You'll have one group trying to set up their own oppressive government. The equivalent of the Reds. Another group trying to bring back the constitutional republic form of government. And another group trying to just get things to calm down. Who will win? I can't say. I hope it is the constitutional republicans. Naturally, at that point there will be riots. Calling what happens then "riots" will be an understatement! The only way for a chance at personal survival at that point will to try to keep a low profile and hope you're very lucky. I told you know where I will be laying low but I haven't given away all my secrets. We butterflies of the jungle have learned to be real careful so I haven't told you everything. Just enough to protect yourself. We also have really good imaginations. Maybe what will happen won't be as bad as I envision; maybe it will be worse. In any event, I hope I have provided you enough of a vision to protect yourself with this and other urban survival techniques.

Thank you.
The "Golden Trumpet"

(continue to Urban Survival Techniques - Suburban Gangs)


  1. Times have changed. Cops DO go busting reporter's heads, and locking them up. Very insightful account of what might be expected, thanks.

  2. The only reference to a riot in Portland, Oregon in January of 2001 is this article (via Google).

  3. Crooks have gotton wise to people storeing thing of value in these storage places,ake a lesson from the dog and bury your items,dig a cellar in a high spot on your property,and commo it well.My advice is If you dont live in the city than stay the hell away,its gonna be bad enough when those from the city start coming out to the country to see what they can steel.