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Surviving Anarchy: Strategies to Avoid Dying at the Hands of the Mob

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One of the scenarios we prepare for is the complete absence of any form of government, or at least the local governments we rely on to keep things quasi-normal. When the chaos is too great or the resources are overwhelmed due to illness, panic or scale of the issue, the systems we rely on now for support in bad times can disappear. Hospitals can become overcrowded and stop accepting patients. Police departments can be overwhelmed if crime is reported in too many areas or riots are taking the bulk of their staff. Fire Departments can be rendered obsolete if the water stops flowing or there are simply too many fires to put out.

Without law enforcement as a deterrent to crimes, desperate, opportunistic or even criminally motivated people take to the streets and chaos ensues. When this happens, you have anarchy. It’s just one of the many scenarios us preppers describe as SHTF. In some instances, anarchy like behavior is tolerated as in the 2015 riots in Baltimore where the mayor wanted to give protestors some “space” to destroy.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.” – Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

The Anarchy I am referring to today is not your usual (these days) run of the mill rioting over social injustices – perceived or real, hypocritical outrage from the outcome of a political race or made up issues people want to scream about (hoop earrings, really?). I am specifically talking about situations caused by internal or external triggers that instead of leaving police in a position to allow thugs “space to destroy”, they are incapable of stopping it even if they wanted to. When this happens, things get violent quickly and for the prepper caught in the wrong place, they can turn deadly. Have you considered what you would need to do if you found yourself in that type of situation?

Identifying the threat

Without going into the potentially boring details of what Mob Mentality is, (you can read about that here if you care to) I think most of us would agree that when angry people get together to protest, bad things can happen. If you disagree with that statement, this article isn’t for you and perhaps you should be attending a local meeting of people who just want to “Hug it Out”.

In a WROL environment, there will be no checking the crowds. There will be no barricade of police officers to keep them noisily contained to one section of town, the mob will be free to roam as they see fit. Targets that fall into their hands will be random and the mob will not self-regulate. All behavior will be deemed acceptable because the crowd chooses to go along with each other. Cars are overturned, windows smashed and shops set ablaze. Innocent bystanders are attacked and beaten either for some perceived slight or out of the sheer glee of getting away with acts the perpetrators know are wrong. They simply don’t care.

What could cause an anarchy situation in your town? Any one of hundreds of reasons probably, but I will throw out a few hypothetical scenarios for discussion.

  • Migrants have moved into an area causing confrontations with the locals. Women are raped and law enforcement does nothing to stop this from happening. Locals form to put a stop to this. Things escalate.
  • Hackers take down the EBT system preventing anyone from obtaining any benefits. Over 46 MILLION Americans are no longer able to purchase as much food. Fear and panic take over as entire population centers descend into chaos as people try to hoard as much food and steal items to sell for money.
  • EMP device detonation over the middle of the US completely eviscerates the electrical grid. Instantly we are taken back to the 1800’s in terms of technology. The only problem is we have none of the 1800’s know-how to survive.
  • Fanatics succeed in several major assassination attempts on political figures and accept responsibility immediately giving race retribution as their motivation. Race war is raging in the streets and people are forced to choose sides. Large cities are worst hit.

You have options

So, the scenarios could come from anywhere, but the potential exists in many ways for a complete breakdown of society. I mean, that is one of the major driving forces for prepping, correct? OK, so when it all goes to hell and the mobs are a few blocks away, what are your choices?

Run – The best way to avoid conflict is to never get involved in conflict in the first place. Large unruly mobs who are motivated or who simply have enough time will take down even the most hard-core prepper. You do not have enough guns. You won’t be able to kill them all before they get to you so your best bet is to run before they are even close.

But how will you know when the right time to act is? First you have to as a prepper be very in tune with your local surroundings. This takes situational awareness to the next level. Make sure you have at least a casual understanding of world, national and regional issues that are going on. Unless something like an EMP happens, things usually escalate. Ham Radio or even CB communications are great tools for keeping tabs on where violence is. A great police scanner and a good area map of your city will help you pinpoint exactly where trouble spots are if the police have any presence at all.

Situations like this are exactly why your bug out bags are so important and should be ready at all times. With minutes notice you can have everything you need packed in the family bug out mobile and your town in the rear-view mirror heading to a safer location.

Hide – Hiding is a riskier option but it is still possible especially if you have any type of hidden rooms. Mobs aren’t going to be methodically searching house to house and may be content thinking you already hightailed it out of dodge if they arrive to find your doors open and belongs strewn on the lawn already. You can make your home look as though it has already been picked over and if they can’t quickly find people or anything they want to take, may just keep moving on. This isn’t a Walking Dead situation where they have time to sit and chat.

Blend In – This is not the same as joining in, but it may look virtually similar and this brings a higher amount of risk potentially and would require the least adherence to any moral code you have. If you have no other options, you could join into the Anarchy. Put your balaclava on and take a few swings with a sledge-hammer at the shop door for credibility. One danger in this is that you could be forced into a situation where you could be party to causing injury to someone innocent and then, well. You are the mob –  so you deserve no quarter.

Blending in for me would only work in a situation where you weren’t participating in any violence, but might be walking along with the crowd, chanting some of the same non-sense they are in order to move through an area safely. You join the throng from a side street pumping your fists and high-fiving everyone you meet. Carry on for a block or so and then exit out another side street to make your way out-of-town. You won’t be able to look like you are bugging out in this scenario though so the facility is of limited value I think and could only be used in the most extreme examples.

Could you fight?

Yes, you could, but I think you would die. Even if I had Seal Team 6 as my best friends and we were holed up in my house with about 10,000 rounds of ammo I would still think the better odds would be to get the hell out of there. You will be overrun, or burn out or a car could drive through the front door. Too many variables for the normal suburban prepper to adequately account for. Yes, the body count would be high on their side but I still think its a losing proposition. I certainly wouldn’t want to put my family at risk for those odds.

So much of what we prepare for is to be on our own in some sense to provide for our own safety. If we only had to worry about ourselves, survival would be less of an issue for most of us, but people are always going to be the greatest threat to our safety. Anarchy may be the worst expression of this threat absent an invading army. It’s best to plan now to avoid this type of situation as early as possible.

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  • paul crosley

    Some basic rules that could help.
    The problem is sometimes there are ELEs, Extinction Level Events that are not possible to prepare for such as Fukushima may become. 4 out of 6 nuclear reactors melted down and are pumping out “unbelievable” amounts of radiation 1000s of times worse than Chernobel

    • JD

      What does anything you posted have anything to do with the subject content of the article? I’m just trying to understand because I don’t see any parallels..

      • paul crosley

        Hi. No parallels, just a reminder that all of our preps may come to naught.

        • JD

          Well to me, that’s flawed thinking. As that sentiment could be applied to ANY of the articles or ANY shtf situation on this website and adds zero value to the commentary. How about instead of the, “we’re all gonna die” mentality, what would be your advice in dealing with an angry mob that may or may not be heading towards your area?

          • paul crosley

            Fire! It is one thing to confront a mob with an AR or AK and a chest rig full of 30 round mags, which may or may not stop them, but everyone is deathly afraid of burning. Use of fire is dramatic, and a major psycological deterent. Watching someone burn in front of you and knowing the same may happen to you could change a mobs determination quickly.
            Not trying to be too morbid, but in situations as set out on the article you would need to stop the violence quickly. No time for Rambo.

            • JD

              NOW YOUR TALKING! I like it!!!! Fire never occurred to me, but it’s right on point when your talkin large angry mobs. Hmmmm plans for a flamethrower…… And it’s not that you’re being morbid, it is the cold hard truth of the matter.

        • 3rdMan

          You might need to do a little more research concerning Radiation. Fukushima is no more a ELE than if there was a nuclear exchange. Humans can and will survive both. Your just repeating leftist propaganda!!!!!

          • paul crosley

            Not sure what you mean by leftist propaganda. I don’t recall Republic rats or Demopublicans saying much about it and the Japanese government has made it a crime to discuss it. Also not sure if you are implying that radiation is not harmful to life. If the Russians went through so much trouble to contain Chernobyl with loss of life and the surrounding areas restricted, with only 1reactor melting down, why wouldn’t 3-4 reactors in melt down be of concern?
            Also I’m not a believer in the false left-right paradigm meant to divide us.

          • BobW

            Certainly not a leftist, but disagree with your implication that F’u-shima wasn’t/isn’t a big deal. Last I read, radiation was well past California, and starting to work its way into the Atlantic ocean. I think it was a terribly understated disaster. Consider the leftist media, and how they continue to use statements like “worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl”. Its is astronomically worse than Chernobyl, because its sitting on the ocean, pouring hundreds of gallons of highly irradiated water into the oceans daily.

            As to whether its an ELE, only time will tell. Its not a meteor-like quick strike. Its a slow poisoning of our ecosystem.

    • William Snapp

      In fact one of those reactors had melted down and is still melting down through the earth as you read this as of two weeks ago.

      • paul crosley

        You are correct! And 2 of the others have joined in the fun. There are estimates that 1/4 to 1/3 of Pacific sea life is dead or dying. Most fish from the Pacific is contaminated by radiation and the ocean currents slowly carry it around the globe.
        DAMN! And I like tuna.

  • JD

    Unfortunately, I think some people will pay the ultimate price. That is just the nature of such scenarios. The ideal thing would be, to not be there. People living out in rural areas have better chances of the mob not being out in the woods. People in the cities will be smack dab in the middle of the chaos. Unless they have a place to bug out to, and they got out of dodge early enough. That’s why I like listening to the news, ( multiple sources, local news, Fox News and some news feeds I monitor on the web). Every military force uses Intel. For us civilians, or survivalists or preppers, that is our Intel. Of course I take what I hear with a grain of salt, from multiple sources and form my own conclusions. But if it comes across the news, a race war has a strong possibility of kicking off tomorrow because of the protests expected, hmmm, maybe I’ll be calling in to work for tomorrow and I’m bugging out to the cabin tonight.

    • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

      And that’s the same time the steel storm shutters go up on the ground floor, and I pull the bridge in from the driveway…

      • JD

        You sound like you got quite a nice set up! I would love a bridge to pull in off the driveway! I live in a pretty rural area myself. My plan was to drop certain trees across the road and key areas of the property. I like the idea of a bridge better!

        • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

          Not as difficult nor expensive as you might expect, assuming the prereqs are in place.

          Apologies to Pat for the long winded-ness….

          Just ten acres or so in farm country, with a pretty much standard cape style house, on what used to be a pasture. I’ve added a couple out-buildings, fixed, then re-enforced the original barbed wire fencing, along with reinstalling the cattle gate the #$%^& builder had taken down, then planted a mix of Mock Orange, Black Raspberry, and Osage Orange along the outside of the fencing. It’s a huge tangled mess now about eight feet high, and impenetrable…
          The bridge project started out as a continuously wet, and fairly deep wet area that I couldn’t mow without loosing the mower or even the tractor into the mud, and I was getting really tired of spending hours with a weed-wacker on it. Not to mention it was a mosquito farm after a rain. There was one of those concrete culvert pipes over it with packed gravel on top where the drive was.
          So three summers ago, (when it as as dry as it was going to get), I brought a small ‘dozer in. We dug the wet area out to roughly eight feet deep, sixty feet wide, the entire length of our property, and narrowed it to ten feet at the upstream end to use for the driveway. An earthen dam, faced with the #@$%^ red clay we have around here, at the outlet end, a spillway, and I had a pond. An added benefit is that the insurance company gives a serious discount on the fire coverage since I now have water on-site…
          The drive and bridge was the painful part: I wanted it as inconspicuous as possible, but it still needed to accommodate commercial trucks, or emergency vehicles, so we rerouted and regraded it coming off the road while I had the ‘dozer. Now there’s a slight rise coming in, just enough so you can’t see what’s on the other side from the road, the cattle gate on steel posts in concrete, abutted by the fence/hedge. Then follow the gravel path to the right along the north side of the pond, with the fence/hedge to your right, then a left turn to cross the pond via the bridge. The bridge itself is just four, eight inch I-beams, decked with 4×10 oak, and stringers bolted onto the bottom flanges for stability. No rails or any such extras, although at the wife’s insistence I did run 2x4s along the outer edges to let you know you’re about to drift off it… The ends are just sitting in pockets formed into concrete on either end. It’s “light” enough that the forks on the tractor can be used to move it should that ever be required. I’ve thought about setting it up with pivots on the inward side, but that would be a lot of new concrete work, and it would probably rust in place.
          FWIW: Cost –

          I can do the concrete forming/finishing myself, 1 commercial load of 4 yards@$80 ea. handled it all and then some.

          The cattle gate, posts, and bridge material were all picked up at a construction salvage/junk dealer twenty miles away. total = $480.

          Renting a small ‘dozer was $590/day for 2 days. Transport included. Dry.

  • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

    Good one and one of my primary concerns given the way the rabid idiots on both sides are behaving….
    This type of scenario is one of the specific criteria I used when
    choosing where to live. I also made some assumptions, based upon the
    people I work with, (some very smart people in their fields..), that
    city and suburb dwellers are fairly oblivious to anything not work,
    family, sports, or facebook related. So they let their vehicle fuel levels stay
    around 25%, have no food or supplies put away, have no clue about what
    to do if/when shtf, or that it is even possible. And these are the smart
    ones…
    So I accept a 45 mile commute, along with the additional fuel expenses due to running a small AWD vehicle every day, I am fortunate that my office campus is 20 mile out of the city proper, I made sure I don’t have to transit the city itself to get to/from my place of employment, and that there are multiple paved, (and not so paved), routes available. I reason that the vast majority will not have fuel to get past fifty miles given the traffic and accident density here, and that those that do will most likely stay within roughly ten miles of the major highway corridors, as that is where the “stuff” is.
    My residence is also not terribly well discernible as such either: an unpaved track with a closed/locked cattle gate by the road, a rickety, (appearing), bridge crossing a small stream, and no buildings visible from the road. Looks just like any other of the innumerable pasture or hay fields around here…
    Could the golden horde get me? Of course! But within the confines of my work requirements, and budget, I’ve made it as unlikely as is feasible. And I do have an escape route off the property should it come to that.

    • William Snapp

      In all seriousness, The Deporable Cruelle DeVille, you should consider writing a book.

    • ralph

      for those who are not like you and live at thier bug out site. Remember if you do have a bug out site that you need to get to in cases of chaos. Do not thin or even try to haul your suplies out there. You should have every thing you need to sirvive (as best you can) at your site watiing for you. If you can afford it buy a cargo container and store what you need in it. That way all you need it your bug out bag and fast feet.Make sure your family knows what to do if you are gone and do not show up within 24 hours. My family knows if I am gone they are to get to the ssite and not try to find me. All my vehicles have bug out bags and include a 9mm for a weapon. That waya I have some chance if SHTF

    • FollowDaMoney

      We live in NoWheresville for same reasons. Our bug-out plans are to get home.

      • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

        Exactly!
        I have the AWD, along with a well equipped GHB, and have scouted, (and hiked) seven different routes. All are usable with the AWD vehicle, and most certainly on foot. I’m also looking at direct satellite internet connectivity again. I had it when we moved into this place, but then they buried cable, so we went with the land-line. I’m reconsidering given the improvements in the uplink capabilities. I do have the ability, and express permission to work from home, so if it starts smelling evil out in the world, we’ll stay put.

        • FollowDaMoney

          Our nearest town of 15K with a Walmart is 20 miles. We also have a section of ground 15 miles from our acreage/farm as a backup. Our EMP proof transportation includes a tractor, 4 wheeler, bikes, and horses. All normal stuff for our neck of the woods. Stock the seeds high and deep right next to your lead collection. Couldn’t give me Trump Tower.

  • Flattop

    Small town America is a pretty safe place to be, because people know each other and will help each other. In medium and large cities, your butt is in serious trouble. Buy an acre in the country, dig a well, prepare a site where you can pitch a tent or move a shipping container onto the acre. Store some kerosene for cooking, heating, and illumination. This will do great wonders for you self confidence to survive

    • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

      And – Take a week or more off from work/school and actually live there for that time. You’ll find tons of holes in your preps and procedures…. eg: Cr@p! I can’t believe I left the wire crimper and connectors at the house! @#$%^!

  • Bolofia

    Pat,
    Great article, as always. A few of observations, if you don’t mind.
    First, in each of the four hypothetical scenarios that you describe, as well as virtually any other that you omitted, large cities will always be hardest hit because that’s where the chaos is most likely to originate.

    Second, Snowflakes, BLM thugs and their fellow ideological travelers don’t incite or carry out violence in rural communities because there is no supporting media or sizable audience. In other words, politically motivated anarchists need two things: a hyper-inflated ’cause,’ and access to national media. Criminally motivated thugs merely need an opportunity.

    Third, bedroom (commuter) communities, which are really small and mid-sized cities in close proximity to major urban areas, are likely to suffer the same effects if the rule of law breaks down. I suspect that middle and upper income communities would quickly become targets of mob violence simply due to the perception that there is a wealth of ‘good stuff’ to be had there.

    Fourth, in a true WROL scenario, more distant, rural communities would have at least some time to prepare for and prevent an influx of refugees, as well as the criminal elements that are hot on their tail. The more distant a rural community, the better.

    Finally, refugees are likely to be treated the same as a mob, and for very nearly the same reasons.

    • EgbertThrockmorton1

      Bolo,
      Excellent comments!

    • Thanks Bolo! Great points to consider.

  • christopher

    Thanks goodness I am in the country and off the beaten path… ! typically if you shoot the leaders first, the rest will retreat and give up.. if they come back, then start shooting them in stomach..once they start crying out and have to carry each other off to find a doctor or die, that will crush their spirit pretty quick… unless your sitting ontop of a grocery store or waving steaks in front of them, I doubt your going to have soo many people you cant handle in most small neighborhoods.

  • Bob Coco

    Totally disagree. Once you start killing the “mob” with your guns, they will move elsewhere where there is no lethal opposition. Human nature. Kill as many as you can. You don’t need Seal team Six, you just need to kill the first few who penetrate your boundary. Remember the Korean Grocers?

    • What if the mob has guns too?

      • Bolofia

        The mob WILL have guns. It is irrelevant how they acquired them, whether legally, stolen, or from someone’s warm dead fingers.

    • Hart

      I am very doubtful that the “mob” would show up to a gun fight without a gun. Chances are very good that they will out number you. I have trouble understanding why people keep dozen’s of guns in their homes.. You can only use one a time, the rest are all up for grabs. I agree with Pat, if a “mob” is showing up, I’m out of here!! The whole purpose is to survive SHTF, if we get ourselves killed we didn’t survive SHTF. My husband has 2 guns.. they are for hunting animals not people. Our lives are more important then our stockpile.