2020 was a crazy year. As a nation, we started to see problems that only other countries had, now knocking at our door. While navigating a global pandemic, we saw looting and rioting for the majority of the year. In July, a section of Portland, Oregon was taken over and received national attention. The last time we, as Americans, saw anything like this was Katrina in 2005. The events in New Orleans in 2005 as well as the events happening now prove that the veneer of society is very thin. It is imperative to know how to keep you and your family safe during uncertain times.
Prepare in Advance
So how do we stay safe? So far 2021 is proving no better, we are still in the thick of it. Our first tip is to be properly prepared. Be sure you have food, water, hygiene, shelter, and even have a community action plan. But, what if you have all those items in place and danger has still managed to make it to your door?
Barricade in Place and Call for Help
As a CCW and home defense instructor I get a lot of questions about the best plan of action in this situation. Typically your safest bet is to barricade in place and call 911.
When it comes to rioters using Molotov cocktails and other weapons, barricading in place will not work, especially if the police are not coming. This is one example why you need to know the laws in your state as it applies to self-defense.
Know the Self-Defense Laws in Your State
Generally, self-defense law requires the response to match the level of the threat. In other words, a person can only employ as much force as required to stop the threat. If the threat involves deadly force, the person defending themselves can use deadly force to stop the threat.
Every state has different laws that give the defender more or less protection from the law. Know the “Stand your Ground”, “Castle”, and “Duty to Retreat” laws and if they apply to your state.
Let’s review an example of rioting and trespassing that happened in 2020. Mark and Patricia McCloskey had rioters at their door. Many lawyers agree, because of Missouri’s castle doctrine the McCloskeys were within their legal right to stand their ground, lack of training and poor tactics aside.
Yet, the prosecutor still brought charges against the McCloskeys. Conversely, the rioters who trespassed on private property and threatened their home and their lives were not charged. This is an example of why it is so important to know the laws in your state.
Avoid Rioting Areas and Potentially Dangerous Situations
Rioters have attacked, injured, and even killed people in their vehicles. It is always better to avoid a bad situation entirely then to be in the middle of it.
You can do a few things to avoid areas when away from home. I, myself, avoided two riots because I kept an eye on news and social media for information posted about protests or gatherings. I drove around La Mesa in San Diego County to avoid the riots that cause fires and burned down buildings on Spring St. and La Mesa Blvd.
You don’t want to drive up to a riot in your vehicle. You need to be aware and if you see rioting, do whatever you can to turn around.
Escaping a Riot When in a Vehicle
What if you are surrounded by rioters and they start attacking the vehicle and you have a reasonable fear that your life is in danger? Carefully drive out of the situation. If pushing and striking people with your vehicle happens, after your escape call your lawyer then report the incident to the police, the order in which you call is debatable. You will most likely be arrested and charged, but if it is literally a “do or die” situation, you should find an escape from the rioters immediately.
Protect and Defend Yourself and Your Family
It is a challenging time in history right now, but if you have to defend yourself, be prepared to go to court to defend yourself again. Read up on your state laws, consult an attorney, and look up cases to see the legal presidencies they set.
There are many options to have legal protection that is affordable, whether you carry a firearm or not. USCCA is what I choose. Stay safe out there and make sure have had the proper firearm training to safely handle any situation.