United States 2020 Election Security
While the news pundits and the politicians are arguing over the ballots, and mailing them in versus in person voting, lets take a minute to investigate the future a bit regarding our personal security.
United States Post-Election Violence
First let me start by saying I am not taking sides on the issues at hand in our country, rather I am trying to see through all the smoke that people are generating. I am also suggesting that you yourself, each and every one of you, conduct your own research on what is being posted online that is clearly telling us what may be coming.
Watching the news should not be your sole source of information. I do not think it is a stretch to say that there are biases in the media, and there are plenty of websites out there that are generating news and trying to come across is credible. Social media is drowning in such, and it is incumbent on all of us to try and verify what we are reading. If you choose to believe what you read, and did not conduct your own fact checking, good luck!
There are websites out there that are confidently stating that they will not accept the outcome of the election on November 3rd, and some are calling for mass demonstrations and civil disobedience regardless of what the outcome is. Folks, if this comes to fruition, and it is possible with what is happening nightly in our country, there is no reason to doubt the potential; we are all at risk. That being the case, are you ready?
Shelter in Place
Much like what happened back in February and March, and in some cases is still occurring, we may be required or decide on our own to stay safe at home. Are you ready for that? Do you have what you need for your health and safety so you do not need to go out and shop at least for the first week of November?
Please do not go out and buy up all the toilet paper again, or make a run on any certain items, but do keep in mind that there is a risk that it will not be safe to go shopping for at least some period of time. Now is the time to get out your family safety plan and dust it off if you have not already done so. Or, if you do not have a plan start writing one now. If your plan includes services such as Door Dash, Grub Hub and other delivery services, are you sure that they will even be in operation? What happens if they are not?
The point here is that we all learned back in the spring that the majority of us were not prepared for the lock-down and all of the businesses that were closed for months. We also found that people panicked and went on shopping binges to try and get what they thought they needed, and in many cases it was too much. As a result, many people could not find those items in the stores.
This is a few of the things that everyone should be thinking about as we prepare,
- Do you have a family emergency plan?
- Have you tested the plan?
- Do your children know the plan?
- Do you have safe/code words that the kids know so if someone else needs to pick them up at school they will know that word?
- Do you have an adequate supply of bottled water?
- Do you have a first aid kit in the house and in your vehicles?
- Do you have an alternate means of communications in the event that the cell service is interrupted?
- Are you planning to fill your vehicles with gas on November 2nd?
- If for some reason you have to evacuate your home, do you have one or two alternate locations to go to?
- Do you have more than one planned route to get to that location if your main route is not passable?
If you have to go out during a period of unrest, or you are trying to get home and find yourself in harms way, make sure you are prepared and know what to do.
Turn-Around Near Groups of People
It seems as if the entire country knows by now that many cities are experiencing civil unrest and rioting on a nightly basis. In some cases, interstates are being blocked, but in most cases the streets in the business districts have been the focal points for the unrest. So, what should you do if you were to encounter a protest in the roadway in front of you?
First, if you can see that there are a large number of people in the streets in front of you it is time to turn around or backup out of that area. If it is too late and you find yourself right in the middle of the protesters, it is recommended that you never move the vehicle. The protesters may interpret your movements as being unpredictable to them, and theirs possibly will be unclear to you. Due to the uncertainty on everyone’s part, there is no firm response for you to take, it will really come down to your comfort level and whether or not you have planned for such an incident.
Take for example, you are not from that city and you are just traveling through. That being the case, chances are you have no idea where the escape routes are at. You may also not know where you are located at if you were to call 911. The first thing you need to do is look around for landmarks, such as large businesses that the 911 operator will be able to identify. Of course, you will want to look for street signs, but keep in mind that they might not be visible to you.
If it is safe to do so, you might want to consider leaving the vehicle and walking away. That is a decision that you may have to make, so think it through completely. Look for your escape routes before you exit the car.
- Can you see police close by?
- Is there a business that you can get into quickly to seek assistance?
If you make that decision to leave the safety of your car, do so in a non-threatening manner.
- Do not show hostility or anger.
- Do engage the protesters in conversation.
- Try to avoid eye contact where possible.
- Avoid the agitators in the group.
- Keep a low profile.
- Your exit path may get blocked, so be ready to alter your escape route.
- Walk fast, but do not run.
- Find safe shelter as quickly as possible.
- Do not use mass transit to escape the area
Contacting the Police for Assistance
Contacting the police is always an option, but the reality is that they likely have their hands full and you may be on your own for a period of time. That being the case it is best to have a plan in advance. If you were to encounter a police officer please understand that they are on high-alert and they may be watching several things at one time. If they tell you to leave the area, do so immediately. If an officer in standing in a line blocking a street, do not approach them as it may not be safe for you to do so.
Prepare to Protect Yourself
The most important skill to improve in life is understanding and using your personal situational awareness. This means to keep informed on local security issuers, especially during times of civil unrest, and know when to avoid certain areas.
As a police officer in my past life I was amazed at how many people did not know more than one way to get home or to work. What was often the case is when the road was closed to a serious accident, fire, or flooding, and you told people that they could not go down that street, they would often become upset. They would explain that they do not know any other way and wanted the police to give them alternate directions or show them how to get around the problem. Well that is not going to happen.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you have to abandon your car, ladies it is probably better to take only what you need from your purse, so that your hands are not full. For example, take your;
- Wallet with cash, credit cards and identification
- Cell phone
- Prescription glasses
If you have a concealed carry permit and you are armed, you stand a much higher risk if anyone sees you handling the firearm. It is always important to be discreet with the firearm and only pull the gun if you intend to use it. Do not pull it to just scare people away. Remember, if your situation was not life threatening already, once you pull that gun out you may have just escalated the situation to a possible deadly force incident.
In closing, always remain clam. Civil unrest and rioting will result in intense reactions and emotions on everyone’s part, so always work hard to keep your emotions and reactions in check. There is no doubt that your adrenaline will be in hyper mode and your self-survival instincts will kick in but strive to think rationally and keep your safety as your #1 goal. Self-reliance is the most crucial quality you must demonstrate in settings like this.