The Dangers of Civil Unrest
I guess everyone knows about the recent riots in Britain. There’s an interesting blog that was reported in the London Telegraph news service by one of the law enforcement people that responded to the riots, and I think we can learn from his experiences during the civil unrest. You can find his blog at this website: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8697940/On-the-front-line-of-the-riots-with-the-police.html
This is supposedly an Inspector Winter and you can even follow him on twitter @inspectorwinter. According to the blog, he’s been on the force for 15 years, most recently in plain clothes work. He’s also seen service in Iraq.
He talks about looting he’s seen in Iraq, but he says it doesn’t compare to what he saw in London. He tells stories about 10-11 year-old kids attacking police. He’s got people rioting that are so clueless they’re yelling “kill the Feds”, which is not what the police or government are even called in England.
These riots apparently started in response to a local that was shot and, I believe, killed by London Police. The police blogger actually has some compassion for the guy’s family and the original protest, because there were apparently some irregularities regarding the incident. It was the way the protest became a full-blown riot that got him writing about the experience.
Riots, Looting and Preparedness
He talks about people driving from place to place so they can fill up vans with looted goods, mostly making off with the same items – electronics such as mobile phones and flat-screen televisions, and of course the latest sportswear and athletic shoes. ATMs were another favorite target.
Of course, some poor folk rioted in their own depressed areas, knocking off small businesses, the kinds that are local sources of employment for people in the neighborhood. People even broke into something called Poundland – Which is basically a dollar store, nothing over a buck, or a pound in this case. Are people really so poor there that they need to rob a store where every item is worth a buck or less? Probably not, they’re actually just opportunists. If things go south here, we’ll see plenty of these guys around.
Even scarier, to me, is that people from bad-off areas actually took to the roads to loot middle class neighborhoods. When your looters become roving gangs, you’ve got the kind of civilian unrest that we could see in a collapse situation. These roving gangs weren’t just the usual malcontents; teachers, caregiver, people with jobs and education were among the looters arrested.That’s another thing you’ll see in a collapse situation: It won’t just be low-down criminals doing the looting, it’ll be whoever wants what you’ve got!
Another part of the sideshow was lawyers handing out flyers to the rioters telling them not to cooperate with police and to call 1-800-bailout if they’re arrested. Inspector Winter also found other leaflets too, offering advice on how to fence stolen goods and how to change your looks by growing facial hair or wearing glasses in case your face has been caught on camera. In a collapse, there will be an entire cottage industry based on taking your stuff and putting it on the market.
This police blog pointed out a lot of things to think about. When 20 or 30 officers face a crowd of hundreds, many of them armed with bricks and Molotov cocktails, there is a strange dynamic. The looter knows the police have limits to what they can do. Looters don’t have such restrictions. Piece of cake, you say, just wear body armor and shoot rubber bullets. But even the best body armor is heavy. What you gain in protection you lose in mobility and stamina from carrying all that weight around.
British Bobbies aren’t like American police, remember, they don’t carry guns. Would water cannons and rubber bullets have helped? Probably, but the inspector said that water cannons take time to deploy and the riots were so fast moving that they would have had trouble keeping up. Also, he was worried about the escalating violence and the complaints that would have sprung up from using rubber rounds.
Anyhow, this blog is really good reading, and gives you some insight into what happens during civil unrest. If it can happen in other English-speaking developed countries, it could happen here. Take some time to walk around your property, looking at it from the mindset of a looter. How easy would it be to breach your property line? Your garden area? The inside of your house? Start fortifying those weak spots covertly; it could be as easy as planting some thorny bushes under that easy-to-reach window.
Civil unrest is ugly, but it’s something we may have to deal with one day. Quietly, but resolutely, prepare to protect your property and your loved ones.