Widespread riots now in my country. My thoughts on riots.

Like I said before, situation can change from good to bad quickly. Especially when people are tired of whats going on. In my country 40% of people have no jobs, widespread corruption, prices are expensive for almost everything. There are now riots in several cities in my region here, spreading all over the country.

I have been in riots before, and also been in riots that lead into the full scale war we had, so there are few things that I want to explain you about riots:

Psychology of riots

Yes, riots have their own psychology, and it is not all about big number of the people as they say, because it is about HOW FAR that group of the people will go (is ready to go).

So you may have some celebration of sport club victory that go wrong and ends with few turned over cars burning, yelling at police and girls showing tits, I am not talking about that kind of riot.

In real riot you must be ready to understand that you do not have friends there in terms of sides, for example if you are there with protesters that do not mean that police is your enemy and other protesters are your friends.

Think like you are alone and everyone is your possible enemy.

I watched same 200 or 300 guys blocking firefighters cars by throwing torches, molotov cocktails and stones on them in order to not let them extinguish fire in a building.

30 minutes later same guys help them put that fire out, then again throwing stones at them shortly after.

It is important to understand crowd behavior. If you have crowd of people without clear mission, simply the moments are important when few guys yell “noooooo” or “yeaaaaaah” and everyone listens to them. This happens in harmless situations like football stadium when crowds chant same songs, but this also happens in bad situations when it comes to fighting and killing.

All it takes for one person is getting attention of the crowd. Most people go with what most people do. Just get 3-4 people join you running towards barricades and soon 20 more follow. I do not recommend you ever try this because if someone else screams you are part of enemy group or whatever and people start believing it, things turn bad for you quickly. Just keep in mind that in chaotic situations with many people someone with a plan can easily make others follow them. This can become helpful if you want to create chaos to get away from situation or similar.

Some people always take advantage of this. When whole crowd is busy running in one direction they do their own business. Opening up cars and stealing things or similar. Some “helpful” guys also empty pockets of wounded people in riots to “identify them”. It is all possible because people’s attention is somewhere else.

“A riot is language of the unheard”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Of course I agree with this, but please keep in mind that riot is sometimes also language of those who do not have anything smart to say.

When you go out to join riots be ready that huge number of your fellow rioters will be there for different reasons then you. So it is good to make some difference between them. For example:

They enjoy violence

Yep, number of people are just waiting for their chance to be violent, hurt and destroy. For them it is not important why they do that, and they do not have sides, so be ready that they can do some violence to you too. Many of them are in frenzy and they come in groups.

They are curious

People want to see “what that is happening over there?” so they will be there without reason, they just stand there to see something interesting, take some photo or similar.

They want to “change” things

Yes, there are people who are thinking that they will change something with rioting, and funny but from my experience their number is usually low.

They want to “acquire” things (steal)

Rioting is great opportunity to get some stuff. I am not suggesting anything, I am just saying how things are. Everybody chooses for himself. In one city government building got burned down and guess what happened as well? Supermarket next door got looted.

They want to become “leaders”
From my experience I am very cautious about the people who are taking the lead in the middle of rioting. It may be only me but they often have different agenda from the obvious. I am talking about real violent riots. Openly they are these “for the cause” of course, but more often than not, turns out they are the first people who start looting with small group of friends, while crowd is fighting police.

All this sounds interesting maybe and that is why many people go to riots. To see what’s going on or get adrenaline kick. Especially when you suspect things can turn bad, SHTF, then avoid being curious and do not go.

If you go make sure you watch from good distance for some time to understand “the game”. Watch how crowds move, where they retreat to and think always about additional ways to get out of chaos.

You better have good reasons to be part of riots. Forget about dreams of being leader, or fighting for someone else’s cause. We as survivalists have to be smarter than that. If you are sure that the riots will lead to end of law and order and this is the last time you can secure important resources, decision to stay away from all this is much harder.

If you are member of my online course you know how important alcohol that we secured from factory after all hell broke lose was for the months that came after. So for these situations there are no clear answers.

If you have interesting experiences with crowds and violence, please share in comments. For me personally, I spend time with family away from any city in coming days.

36 responses to “Widespread riots now in my country. My thoughts on riots.”

  1. chuck b says:

    Fascinating insight as always, and a lot to think about that I’ve never seen in print or even mentioned. I’ve seen articles from Security Specialists (bodyguards etc.) giving tips and instructions on how to avoid and/or escape a riot, but never anything about “being on the inside, looking out.” Thank you.

    Chuck B.

  2. blackwater says:

    Great Topic Selco!

    You are so spot on.
    When I was young I used to enjoy going to large events for the party atmosphere but in a couple of incidents the “Party” quickly turned into a violent riot.

    I afterwards did a little research on the psychology of Mob mentality that causes this.
    There is something about the anonymity of being in a large mob that can cause people to do things they would never normally do.

    I have seen what I would call evil pass over a mob in just seconds.
    In just mere seconds what was once a happy party can turn violent and deadly even if people aren’t gathered in anger to protest. This is how lynch mobs used to form.

    Just look at some videos of stupid black friday sales and think to yourself,
    If people are willing to get this violent over saving $5 on a toaster what are they capable of when they are starving, freezing or angry?

    So now I am always aware of any situation I am in where a large group of people have gathered and if I get a sniff that there is a bad feeling in the air I will quickly extricate myself and my family or friends as quickly and efficently as possible out of the area.

    Even if you do no wrong, many bad things can happen to you just by being there.

    Always be aware of your environment and of any changes in the air.

    Once again, thanks for your insight.


  3. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Your having riots there now again? Man I’m sorry to hear this. I had hoped we made a difference

  4. Bill Harzia says:

    I knew there was a good reason for disliking crowds. People always called me a “loner” or “party pooper” for not wanting to go where rowdy, out-of-control people go (or are likely to go).

    • Johnson says:

      Stay away from crowds.

      It occurs to me that people write novels about SHTF situations, they speculate on how it will all go down, they make recommendations and give tips on how to prepare based on what they write, heck, they even promote certain geographic areas of the US that everyone should move to and live. They make money from their writings, blogs, appearances at preparedness conferences, and advertisers. In reality they don’t know from experience what will happen. At least Selco can speak from experiences that he and friends had during several months of war and then the years of rebuilding afterwards. Now, unfortunately, things are going bad again.

      Thanks for your insight based on experiences, Selco.

    • John R says:

      Bill, I agree with you. Why, in our society would anyone go to a group of protesters? You are just looking for trouble. Since Vietnam, I try to always watch my back. How can you do that if you are in the middle of the crowd? I don’t go to movies, ball games, anywhere there is a large crowd. My family calls me paranoid, but I don’t go anywhere I can take my weapon. I don’t visit the west coast, east coast, or any state that doesn’t allow me to carry. My motto is stay out of trouble, but be ready for trouble to come looking for you.

  5. RoyInNC says:

    Thank you for the article and your thoughts on riots. I well imagine that rioters are those without a moral anchor and what we refer to in the USA as the “low or no information voters”. I can imagine no case where I would be part of or join in a riot. I can imagine having to defend against rioters and would be psychologically prepared to do so. I will defend my life and the lives of innocent citizens.

  6. Tim Gray says:

    Groups of people are dangerous as hell. even smaller groups will gladly kill someone if they see a benefit from it. I was almost trampled to death once by a small group of about a hundred people, I was between them and a guy throwing money. I was shoved to the ground and stepped on, I grabbed one persons leg and they started kicking me in the face. the way I saved myself was to start attacking random people in the crowd, I punched the next person as hard as I could in the groin to take them down and used them to pull myself up, I then had to fight my way out of the crowd by treating them all as my enemy. It made the crowd pause so I could escape.

    If you see a large crowd, even if they are peaceful, run the other way. People are dangerous and unpredictable. You are safer away from them.

  7. Brazil says:

    Great post,

    Here in Brazil , we have riots against the worldcup ( soccer ).

    Just politcs …

  8. Twincougars says:

    Assume in any riot that there may be agent provocateurs. A friend told me about an anti-war demonstration back in the ’60s. It was supposed to be peaceful; no trouble. Some group started shouting…working up the crowd. then they started going down this one street, making a lot of noise, so everyone else followed them. Then they started kicking over trash cans and throwing stuff around, so everyone else started doing this too. Once the idea to raise hell got into the crowd things escallated to throwing rocks and bottles and stuff. the “leaders then turned down an alley–everyone followed. Then leaders turned around, took off their jackets and showed their cop uniforms! Meanwhile, another group of cops with riot shields, etc, had formed in behind the rioters. Then the buses arrived to cart them all off to jail. Nope, can’t have these commie hippies protesting the war, so get them to commit a crime and bust them!

    • Selco says:

      I agree, actually almost always they will be there. As I mention in those situation people may follow “orders” from one man, even if he is completely anonymous, for example one voice from the mob yell “let s torch that” or “let s kill them” and suddenly thousands of people follow the order. Those provocateurs needs just to recognize right moment for that. Later nobody remembers guy who give the order, or even later nobody remembers that order were given.

    • john says:

      I don’t believe your story for one second Twincougars.

  9. John says:

    Reminds me of working prison security. I was on a team that was tasked with riot control. We went from prison unit to prison unit, on call 24/7.

    It’s also amazing what kind of weapons show up, even in a “secure” prison setting. Machetes, hatchets, shanks (of course), zip guns, etc.

    Someone above mentioned low intelligence as a possible common denominator. This is simply a myth. Highly intelligent and educated people get caught up in the madness right along with the low intelligent folks. It’s more about animalistic action rather than intelligence.

    I have done after action reports on rioters. Many don’t even remember being there, much less taking part. Others don’t know why they did. It’s a fascinating thing…but oh, so dangerous.

  10. Elijah B. says:

    Selco, you and your family are smart to get out of town while this is happening. Having this experience once is more than enough. This is an example of why prepping is a good idea.

  11. no one says:

    in south africa there are daily riots related to the elections.

    Apartheid, democracy. Same shit

  12. DZ says:

    So would these events motivate you to move to your retreat area?

    Stay safe brother.

  13. Up the RA says:

    Waiting for the riots to start in America. One can only hope soon.

    • gray man says:

      “One can only hope soon.”
      I guess you were not paying attention to the article, the comments, or history.
      Riots are a bad thing.

  14. Anche says:

    What do you think is the next step for South Africa now?
    How can or must we cope with this riots – do we have to stand up now or hide?

  15. Richard von Dornier says:

    Mobs tend to move and behave as if at random, however there are faint patterns and signs that can help find your way out or slip away from trouble. As in hydraulics, density and speed in the middle is way higher than in the outer limits. Throngs naturally thin out at the sides, so try and navigate outward, rather than stay in the interior mass, “going with the flow”. Never, ever, accept parcels passed on to you! Do not hold bags, packs or anything not belonging to you for it may contain a cache of weapons, explosive devices, flammable liquids, etc. Remember, a mob acts like a herd, no clear objectives, no rules, no principles. If you got someone with you (wife, kid, etc.) make sure you hold on real tight to them and never for a second, let go. Chances are you`ll be separated if you do.

  16. Sean says:

    I have been in two riots, one in the US, and one in what was once West Germany. I have since ascribed the actions of the rioters as the “Werewolf Syndrome”. As Selco says, things are ok for a while, and then, some kind of evil comes over the crowd, and the violence begins. Both riots I was in were at night, and under a full moon. No actual werewolves, but in both instances, a little alcohol, and a little anger turned regular GIs’ into crazy people. I saw the objects of their anger picked up, and thrown against walls like rag dolls(other GIs’), and anything at hand used as a deadly weapon, like entrenching tools, tent poles, even trash cans. The wounds were horrific, the whole thing muzzled by the Army, and no one in either case brought to board for their actions. As an NCO, I was supposed to take charge, and maintain order. Instead I got my nose broken, my arm slashed by I don’t know who or what, and got dragged about thirty feet. Other Non-Coms in my unit got the same treatment, with one nearly blinded by a vicious punch. There didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for the riot, it just erupted, and quickly was over, with bloody broken teeth strewn on the ground, torn uniform parts, shoes, watches, coins, wallets, whatever. And glass, lots of broken glass, and in one case, most of a window frame, ripped right out of a wall. The people involved clammed up afterwards, and we were never able to pin anything on anybody. The second one I was in, in Germany, I stayed clear of, and had to restrain another NCO from getting involved. When he saw what happened, he was glad I kept him out of it. The only thing I could compare a riot to, is a tornado in a junkyard full of attack dogs.

  17. Scoutness says:

    Stay safe, Selco. I pray for the safety of you and your group and family.

  18. josephhyde@yahoo.com Hyde says:


    This is ‘off topic’ but I think it’s important none the less.

    This information is free, like your website (I did buy your survival course, the best ‘bargain’ out there!)

    I believe that within maybe a very very few years there will be a ‘survival situation’ that no one will survive… Actually people will “Survive” but they will wish that they were dead(!) which actually will actually be much much worse! People will search for Death but they will not be able to find it! Think being in a bad automobile wreck and not dying, maybe not even healing afterwards…

    SHTFSchool.com is about life and death, so is this web site.


    All the best!


  19. Very interesting to learn a little bit about crowd dynamics… sounds like they are generally to be avoided but may be used as a force multiplier by those who understand how to manipulate people and their energy and emotions. I’m sure there are differences between virgin rioters (1st timers) and seasoned rioters who are willing to push the limits a little more each time.

  20. mountain says:

    I’ve seen a couple instances of mob violence, and its true that violent individuals will participate for no other reason than violence, and they do come in packs. In one of the incidents, attendees (several full car and truck loads of people) of a large outdoor party showed up at a house I was at to “pay back” an individual who was staying there. I think the odds were about 10 to 1, 50-60 to 5. The one sided carnage was only stopped by occupant yelling “Get the shotgun!”. He was bluffing, and told me later he didn’t have a gun in the house. Luckily the crowd bought it. The next day in school, several kids were bragging about the kicks they had got in on the unconscious folks on the ground, who they didn’t know, and had admittedly no reason to attack. They were happy to have fled before the “shotgun” came out.

  21. Exothermic says:

    Hope you and your family/group are out of the city and doing ok. Things getting uglier and uglier there. I’m sure we only see a fraction of it in the news.

    Be safe.


  22. Exothermic says:

    looking forward to your next update – much happening in your country, wondering how you are dealing with it. safety to you and yours.


  23. GRA says:

    Outstanding advice indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *