Things are tense.
The economy is in a shambles. Unemployment is at historic levels.
It seems like you can't turn
on the TV or read a newspaper article and not hear about a home invasion, or a shooting or some sort of violent act happening.
We've got people flying planes into government offices. It's all a bit unreal.
But these are all
the actions of individuals or small groups of people. What happens if that expands?
The reason this
topic is being raised at this time is because of what is happening over in Europe. The causes of their civil unrest
could become a reality here in the near future.
And the civil unrest is spreading. From the
Times of London online edition (2/24/2010) -
all remember the riots in Paris over racial, religious and economic issues. They seem to pop up every summer since 2005.
essentially became insolvent in 2008, and the normally placid citizens rioted.
- Greece has been having riots over economic
conditions since late 2008. The last one occurred earlier this week.
A general strike is planned next
month in Portugal after a public-sector wage freeze, while Spain is witnessing growing unrest over plans to raise the retirement
age. In the eurozone's most indebted countries, collectively known by the trader acronym PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland,
Greece and Spain) the young are struggling to find work, the middle-aged are having their earnings squeezed and the old will
see pension and benefit cuts.
What might be the reaction here in America if similar economic constraints
are placed on us? Might things happen a bit more quickly here in near-bankrupt California?
How will you as
an individual cope with being in the middle of some sort of civil unrest - riots, protests or a general break-down of civil
Remember, "mob mentality" is very different from a normal personal interaction. People,
as a group, will sometimes do things they would never consider doing as individuals.
Things you can do to stay safe -
1. First and foremost, keep alert. Pay attention
to the newspaper and TV and listen for mention of planned demonstrations. Unless you're planning on being part of
the demonstration, try and keep away.
2. Listen for events or actions that might spark a violent protest.
What high-profile trials, elections, concerts, speeches or other public events have the potential to erupt into violence?
3. Always, always, always have your personal defense tool with you. Surprises do happen.
If you find yourself caught-up in the middle of a violent
1. If the police have given orders to disburse, follow their instructions to the
letter. Because of the large numbers of people, they will have no time to identify who is a participant and who is an
innocent by-stander. Limit your chances of arrest, being tear gassed or worse by complying with their orders.
Now is not the time to take a stand!
2. If you are the object of an attack, attempt to take cover.
Do whatever you can to place large objects or structures between you and the attackers. Be careful, though, not to "paint
yourself into a corner" by choosing a location with no secondary means of escape.
3. Be prepared to
defend yourself. Hopefully, you will have your defensive tool with you, but grab anything that is available. You
may be injured, but you must have the mental attitude that you will not give up until the danger has passed.
Next issue: Know Your Limitations
Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company providing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training, workshops and consulting
for individuals, businesses and organizations.