By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
This century’s summer of love hasn’t blown over quite yet. Demonstrations and protests are still going on, though they are mostly confined to major cities.
While the Seattle PD may have gone in and finally cleared out the CHOP (aka the artist formerly known as CHAZ) those protesters aren’t likely going anywhere, and it’s a similar story elsewhere.
Smaller cities and suburbs tend to have more stringent zoning laws. Protests, marches and demonstrations and so on in those areas will by necessity occur in nonresidential zones; larger metros have a lot of mixed zoning with storefronts within a stone’s throw of apartment buildings, condos or housing blocks.
The aforementioned former CHOP “autonomous zone” in Seattle (where they took it in turns acting as a sort of executive officer for the week) is a mixed residential area; most of Capitol Hill is made up of houses and apartment buildings, but there’s also a lot of shops (it’s a fixture of Seattle nightlife) and so on.
Ordinarily the best practice when it comes to civil unrest or marches, protests, demonstrations and so on that are liable to get out of hand is to just not be there. You can’t get in trouble if you aren’t out looking for it!
But what if you aren’t given a choice? What if you happen to live in a mixed residential/commercial area where marches and demonstrations are taking place or your place of work or business is there?
The safest thing to do is lock your doors and windows and stay inside, especially when people are nearby. Thing about mobs is that there are more of them than there are of you and they have the psychological advantage of knowing there’s safety in numbers.
Take, for instance, the recent incident in St. Louis.
For those who missed it, a mob of about 500 protestors muscled a locked gate open and started marching toward the residence of Mayor Lyda Krewson, passing through the Portland Place neighborhood. Portland Place is about as far from a working class neighborhood as it gets. It’s a gated community; the streets aren’t even public property.
A couple of homeowners started yelling at the mob that they were trespassing (which was true) which prompted a response from the crowd, culminating in a man and his wife – one Mark and Patricia McCloskey – aiming guns at the crowd and yelling at them.
Ultimately, not much happened; no one was shot, no one’s been arrested but the McCloskeys possibly might face charges.
This isn’t to get into the finer points of use of force law in Missouri, and this isn’t to get into the right or wrong of their actions.
Frankly, this incident lives in a gray area; having 500 protesters appearing on a street where not too many people are normally even driving is pretty darn spooky, and the crowd did force their way into the neighborhood. The McCloskeys claim they were threatened and since there’s no evidence that they weren’t, it can’t be said with certainty that they weren’t in danger or had no reason to believe they were.
A few seconds of video doesn’t really give you the whole picture, after all.
Instead, this is to point out that this news story wouldn’t exist if they’d have just stayed inside their house or, failing that, not started yelling at people.
Granted, this isn’t to say that they should have just left those nice people alone; the people walking by their house had forced their way onto private property, even if it was purportedly “for a cause.” It also isn’t the case (obviously) that a person doesn’t have the right to defend themselves if attacked, and it also isn’t the case that there wasn’t any potential for something bad to happen.
But consider this: are you willing to get your teeth knocked out over principles? It’s one thing to defend yourself if attacked, it’s another to initiate conflict.
Even if you’re completely in the right morally or ethically or otherwise when you confront someone or several someones, that doesn’t mean they and/or their compatriots won’t beat you like you owe them money. When things start hitting the fan, being “right” isn’t going to matter until afterward, or at all, under the right set of circumstances.
Point being, unless you’re okay with and/or prepared to deal with what happens if you confront a mob of people, it’s probably not a good idea.
If egress becomes necessary, whether due to fire or other safety concerns and you have to leave the area, be prepared to do so on foot as use of a vehicle may be impossible. Wherever you’re at, have a plan for getting out if you need to.
So far, it doesn’t appear to be the case that protesters/rioters are entering people’s homes. Some businesses have certainly been targets, but by and large there haven’t been many home invasions in areas of unrest. The only people whose homes have been approached tend to be those of elected officials, so the private citizen likely has little to fear, so long as they don’t go looking for trouble.
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.