Every Day Carry in a Time of Civil Unrest

Civil unrest in America has spiraled wildly out of control with rioters and looters becoming so violent they are directly attacking police officers. This breakdown of civil society means we have crossed a line never crossed before – there is an all-out war taking place and it’s tearing the country apart at the seams. With all that is going on, it’s best that everyone “bug-in” and avoid flash zones, especially at night. This means you need to be secure in your home with your family, alert, and on guard for potential threats, especially with recent revelations that rioters and looters have expressed an intention to go beyond downtown business districts and spread the violence into residential areas. You need to be ready to defend your life and property and prepared to bug out if necessary but until you determine it’s time to go, how do you go about your business, job and errands you need to run?

First of all, if you have to do shopping or run to the office you should do it in the morning. The rioters typically come out in the evening and remain on the streets until the middle of night or dawn at the latest. They’re in bed sleeping after that and getting fueled up for the next round of rioting. That means the morning – from about 7am until noon – is the time to go out to buy your groceries and other necessities if you don’t have the stockpiles at home.

Second, if you must go into your office or place of business for work and it is in or near a hot zone of activity, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. You don’t want to be there past two or three in the afternoon if at all possible and if you shouldn’t dress in business clothes. Dress in casual clothes that make you the proverbial “grey man” so you can blend in more easily. This means jeans and a t-shirt, non-colorful polo or short-sleeved button down shirt, preferably short sleeved and neutral in color. You should also where tennis shoes or something athletic so you can move quickly. Dress shoes are a bad idea.

Third, you are going to want to carry some items on you to protect yourself from potential violence. Violence can break out spontaneously without any signal to you that it’s coming so in addition to being alert and not walking around with earbuds in, it’s recommended you have the following on your person and in a small backpack.

On Your Person

A mask or bandana. You’ll blend in carrying or wearing one of these right now due to so many other people doing the same. You can use this to protect your eyes, nose and mouth from tear gas or other chemical agents that may be employed by the police or rioters.

Your identification and critical health information. You’ll want first responders to know who and what sorts of medical procedures they can employ if you become the victim of an attack and, for example, have allergies to certain drugs or have a serious medical condition. You’ll also want people to be able to quickly determine your emergency contact’s phone number though you don’t need to and shouldn’t put the person’s name or address on your card. A phone number is enough with instructions to “call in case of emergency”.

A weapon. Depending on your local laws, you’ll want to carry a concealed firearm, a knife or pepper spray with you for self-defense. A word of caution, however. If you haven’t trained to use these items and do not understand violence you may put yourself in greater harm. The first option is always to avoid conflict. The employment of weapons should always be an absolute last resort.

Soft body armor. If you have soft concealable body armor that can go under your clothes without giving you away, wear it. Just be aware of the laws in your area as some politicians have unbelievably and ridiculously pushed to ban body armor for anyone not law enforcement or police.

In Your Backpack

Your backpack should be plain and non-tactical looking. It should also be worn with the straps over both shoulders, not just one. This will ensure it is secure to your body and can’t be easily taken and it will provide you some protection from behind you.

A bicycle helmet. This is obvious. You’ll want to protect your head if there is any outbreak of violence.

A full water bottle. Not only is it good to have water to drink but it can also be used to flush out the eyes if something gets into your eyes.

Safety glasses. A good pair of safety glasses can be taken out and put on at the first sign of trouble. You’ll want to protect your eyes in any chaotic situation.

Your phone or other communication device. The ability to call for help and let people know where you are is critical. I do not recommend walking around with the phone in your hands until you can get clear of the chaos. Someone may strip it from you while you’re walking.

First Aid Kit. If you take any bumps or bruises you’ll want to be able to clean and dress a wound instead of risk infection. Your first aid kit should include alcohol wipes, bandages, band-aids, anti-biotic cream, silver nitrate, an eye patch, medical scissors, medical tape, an eye patch, and gauze pads at a minimum.

Carrying this simple and short list of items will help you navigate, short-term, through an area of civil unrest until you can make it home or to another safe location. You won’t be carrying too much, won’t look like an obvious outsider, and won’t draw attention to yourself. The main point that needs to be made, however, is that no one should be venturing into conflict zones right now. The risk to life and limb is just too high. Stay home as much as possible but if you absolutely must go out make sure you have these items with you.

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