The Dynamics Of A Riot

Authored by Jeff Thomas via,

In my lifetime, I’ve had the misfortune of being present in two major natural disasters and one violent social crisis. Each taught me valuable lessons.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, there’s the danger of the loss of shelter, services, and food. In most cases, people who experience the loss of shelter and services realise that “things are bad all around” and they tend to do the best they can, accepting that life will be hard for a period of time.

Food is a different matter. People, no matter how civilized, tend to panic if they become uncertain as to when they will next be able to eat. And, not surprisingly, this panic is exacerbated if they have dependents, particularly children who are saying, fearfully, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” As Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Quite so.

Intelligent, educated, otherwise peaceful people can be driven to violence and even murder if the likelihood of future meals becomes uncertain. This has been the cause of spontaneous riots throughout history.

But this is not the only cause of riots. In the post-1960 period in the West, a new phenomenon has occurred that has steadily grown: Governments and the halls of higher education have increasingly taught people that they are “entitled.” Governments have been guilty of this for millennia, beginning at least as early as the “bread and circuses” of ancient Rome. It’s a way for governments to get people to be dependent upon them and thereby to do their bidding. But, since the 1960s, it’s become a systemic norm.

And it always ends in the same way. The false economy of “free stuff” eventually devolves into overtaxation and economic collapse. When it does, people are more likely to riot, as the entitlements are “owed” to them. In today’s world, however, this condition has peaked far beyond what the world has ever seen before.

Increasingly, those who are angry that the free stuff they are receiving is not enough to placate them take to the streets. Typically, they throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, burn cars at random, destroy buildings, and loot stores. All of this activity, of course, does not make it more likely that they will receive more free stuff from the authorities who presumably owe it to them. Instead, it victimizes those who have lived lawfully and with less dependence upon the state.

Riots occur for a great variety of reasons.

The trigger can be something as absurd as in the 2011 Vancouver, Canada riot, in which locals became infuriated over the loss of a hockey game. Over 140 people were injured and over 5 million dollars in damage was done in a five-hour period. That last bit of information should be emphasized, as the fans had plenty of time to calm down after their team’s loss, but the rage, once ignited, became self-regenerating. This is one of the important dynamics of a riot that’s often overlooked. The riot, which may begin as a reaction to an event, becomes the event and is continued for its own sake.

In the same year, thousands of people rioted in London. The trigger was more serious this time: the shooting of a local man by a policeman. (Although the man had fired on police prior to being shot himself, this fact failed to deter rioters.) The riots, like most irrational retaliations, only served to cause more deaths and injuries. The riots lasted a full five days over a dozen London boroughs, then ignited further in a dozen other cities. Over £200 million in damages occurred, and over 3,400 crimes were logged.

There’s another dynamic that’s not revealed as it’s seen from the safety of our television screens, and that is the spontaneity of a riot. For anyone who has lived through a riot, as I have, the lesson is an indelible one.

Riots, on occasion, are planned and, once they begin, there are occasions in which individuals capitalize on them (such as the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, where hired rioters were bussed in). But, in most cases, they’re spontaneous. They begin as a reaction to pent-up anger. (In the Vancouver incident, the anger was building even before the hockey game had ended, but many riots, especially socially related riots, are often the result of many years of pent-up anger.)

The riot itself is generally a small spark that’s added to the existing anger and is often related to a specific event, such as the riots in US cities the night Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in 1968.

Once started, riots, for the most part, are entirely unplanned and rely on random acts of violence. Within minutes of the first violent act, entire neighbourhoods spontaneously ignite. As in the London riots, the same incident can spark off multiple riots, miles from each other.

A third often misunderstood dynamic is uncontrollability. Police can race to the centre of a riot and, in some cases, quell the rioters, but, as the riot is not “organized,” the rioters have merely to stop whatever they’re doing and, for the moment, they cease to be participants. If police move on to other riot locations, the rioters who had been temporarily inactive could begin to riot again. Even if police are successful in quelling all violent activity in a neighbourhood, they could receive a radio call directing them to a new riot location, just blocks away.

In my own experience, new locations of violence erupting seemed to be going off all around the city, like popcorn. Before one could be quelled, others would pop up. The incidents were therefore unstoppable by authorities.

Warfare has traditionally been approached from the standpoint that one army faces another and they fight until one surrenders. Guerilla warfare, however, has always proven unwinnable, as long as the guerillas are fighting on their home turf. Rioters have the same advantage as, say, an armed sheepherder in Afghanistan or a rice farmer in Vietnam. The violence only ends when all rioters have decided they’ve had enough.

Of course we’d hope that rioters would learn from their crimes, but this is rarely the case. In the London riots of 2011, rioters burned down the local Sainsbury’s in their own neighbourhood. The next day, the same people were on the streets, in front of the television cameras, angrily stating that their grocery store was now gone and their children needed food. They demanded that the government truck in free food as an emergency measure and, not surprisingly, that’s what they got.

This is exemplary of the fact that, in every case, reason is abandoned and anger rules the day. No lessons are learned by the rioters. In fact, months later, rioters have often been quoted as saying, “We showed ’em.”

So, what can we take away here? First, and most importantly, that riots are by their very nature spontaneous, mindless, and, for the most part, uncontrollable. Second, if an individual lives in or near a location where sociopolitical tension is on the increase, he is living in danger. The spontaneity of a riot means that he cannot prepare for it. If it arrives on his doorstep, or if he’s on the street at the time when it occurs, he may lose everything, including his life.

Since riots are mindless, rioters cannot be reasoned with. There’s no talking your way out of the danger, once it has reached you. Finally, as riots cannot effectively be controlled, the one and only defense against them is to conclude that, if one lives in an area where socioeconomic conditions indicate that the location (whether it be a neighbourhood or even an entire country) is unsafe, it may be time to move.

The key here is that the move occur before violence erupts. Once it has, it’s too late.

*  *  *

For months, we’ve been warning readers about the unprecedented global financial crisis that looms ahead. This inevitable crisis will catch the American masses unprepared… making riots a virtual certainty. Investors should expect chaos all around. New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team can show you how to protect yourself. Click here for the details.


Manthong VWAndy Mon, 07/24/2017 - 23:59 Permalink

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  Long Firearms.   Short Firearms.   ..medium ones, too.

In reply to by VWAndy

serotonindumptruck Mon, 07/24/2017 - 21:54 Permalink

It wouldn't necessarily be a "riot" if your friendly neighbor down the street with a wife and two kids to feed decides to pay you a visit.If he's smart about it, he'll snipe you from a distance or he and a few others will sneak up on you at 3 AM and kill you and your entire family.That's more akin to guerilla warfare than a riot.

Cloud9.5 serotonindumptruck Tue, 07/25/2017 - 07:19 Permalink

Put together a street militia if you can.  Bring your family in close. Secure your doors and windows. Set up a watch schedule. Get a water filter. Set aside twenty gallons of beans and rice.  Rotate it out every couple of years.  Remain armed all the time.  Expect snipers.  Move around only at night.  The list goes on and on.  

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

Anteater Fantasy Free E… Mon, 07/24/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

The author probably has commission-fee goldbugger links.I lived in Compton for a year, no problems, no hassles, nada.The whole gangsta-rap thug thing was an invention of themovie industry, like Die Hard 'yippie ay oh cowboy' villians,or Ronald Reagan was a fighter pilot who freed Auschwitz. If you haven't been in the retail malls lately, there's not muchleft to loot. You might have to eat Chef Boyardee from a can,or cut back on the PopTarts and Cheetoes to make them last.America is flooding the world with dumped excess foodstuff! The only 'riot' you might see here in Freedom and DemocracyLand is when all the recharging Teslas take down the powergrid during the Super Bowl or the Game of Thrones fest, lol.Angry overweight White NFLX bingers. The horror,...the horror.

In reply to by Fantasy Free E…

TuPhat Mon, 07/24/2017 - 22:09 Permalink

The end of the article says it all, 'a global financial crisis.'  Why move anywhere else since it will be bad everywhere?  Get prepared as much as you can where you are.

Twee Surgeon TuPhat Mon, 07/24/2017 - 22:34 Permalink

You will not get big riots in the USA except for in Large Cities. In our small town, Bumfuck 4700. the only fuckers rioting will be the elderly and they might slap you upside the head with their aluminum walker thing. The peasants are not going to be storming the Bastille in the USA as it's just too far away. Whatever is coming will look like nothing seen before and I have no clue what it looks like.It might look like a national boycott or a hunger strike or something, with a bit of Minorities gone wild in the big cities. All I know is, I just don't know, but something is up. Something large.

In reply to by TuPhat

paulbain Twee Surgeon Mon, 07/24/2017 - 23:51 Permalink

   Twee Surgeon, I think that your comment is excellent.  Indeed, it is one the best that I have read in my six years here on ZH.  Yes, the rioting shall be limited to the large cities, especially the INNER city, where the unemployment rate is probably already 50-60 percent.  I expect that Occupy Wall Street will also be active, but, like you, I do not know what actions they might take, except perhaps helping BLM in their urban rioting.  We shall see.

In reply to by Twee Surgeon

two hoots Mon, 07/24/2017 - 22:29 Permalink

Riots allow deterioration of rights, produces fear, which is a step of further control for the sake of security. The seeds for riots or rights throught violence, were sewn in the last administration as acceptable social behavior. That thinking has changed which will put the state in a more reactive position which will like escalate any social or unsocial uprising.

Barney Fife Mon, 07/24/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

Saiga-12 with a 20 shell drum for close quarter concentrated mobs. M-4 for close to intermediate distance. For large crowds, Class III M-16 with 100 round drum (3) on full auto, prone, on a bi-pod, in defilade, 3-5 round bursts. Distant but closing threat? Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with Nighforce tactical scope. THAT is how you handle rioters on your property. BUT, once committed you must resolve to fight because if they get their hands on you they will tear you to shreds, literally. But I speak of a highly improbably scenario, and given that, if a large mob of armed people are on your property they probably mean very ill will to you and your family anyways. 

Charvo Mon, 07/24/2017 - 22:42 Permalink

I think the only way to resolve the "free stuff" dilemma is a massive die off.  How the elites accomplish this is another question.  Maybe there will be a massive pandemic in these population dense centers.  Maybe that's the reason why the elites want everyone concentrated in specific locations.  It's easier to do mass exterminations.  Look at Detroit for example.  I wouldn't be surprised if a virus is planted in the water system there.  Of course, the elites will be in their bunkers in the middle of nowhere thousands of miles away from these population centers.  After the die off, they will come back out, but they will be vaccinated.

SeaMonkeys Mon, 07/24/2017 - 23:08 Permalink

The article wants to blame the average person for riots because people have been conditioned to feel entitled to free stuff. His idea of mass psychology is calling riots the result of cry babies gone berzerk. Then he tries to sell us investing snake oil at the end of the article. ZeroHedge is an austrian/libertarian news site where readers are prone to explain things in terms of personal responsiblity over other reasons. I wonder how many cars, swimming pools, and boats Doug Casey has bought from all the business he gets from getting the readers to feel loathing towards the general population.If the writer really wanted to talk about the crime of feeling entitled to free stuff, he would talk about the billions or trillions stolen from free competition and thus from all of us average Americans by monopoly. Banks create money out of thin air to lend into bubbles. How's that for insight into mass psychology. Everybody and their dog was flipping houses before 2008. All those mortgages paying banks interest on money created out of thin air.We, the people, are the rightful owners of the right to create money. We gave up that right in 1913 to private owners. Our money supply is 95% their private money issued as debt with interest attached. They do nothing to create that money except key-stroke the numbers into the computers. No mention of this kind of manipulation of average Americans by banks from Doug Casey.What about the press? In the 1980's, there were something like 80 different news corporations and companies educating and informing Americans. Today, there are 5. Monopoly, anyone? We are more prone to manipulation today than at any time before, even though we still have a "net neutral" internet. Abuse of patents, especially in genetics, is another monopoly. The bandwidth is a publicly owned "thing" that is rented to the mega giant corporations for nothing. Mineral rights on public land are the same thing. They are publicly owned and are used by private owners to be sold back to us at super high prices.Insurance monopoly? No transparency in healthcare pricing. You all know this story. Drug prices?TPP and TTIP? These are supposed trade deals that really enforce monopoly power over the globe. No national sovereignty. Just one big corporate planet.The 20th century took away people's abilities to go west and homestead. Today, it isn't possible to build Hoover-villes like we did in the Great Depression of the 1930's. There is no way to feed yourself if you live in the city or suburbs without dollars. Rural people are a giant step ahead of the rest of us. I can't wait to join them. If you can't get dollars, you can't eat, clothe yourself, shelter yourself, and so on.Removing the ability of people to be self sufficient was the 20th century. In exchange, we got a certain amount of social safety net insurance from the government (who gave the monopoly rights to corporations).Earned income by people who work for a living is taxed heavily in America, while unearned income is not. Income tax should be zero for earned income. Unearned income and monopoly power should be taxed heavily. Productivity is punished in America. Horse trading and poaching are rewarded heavily. Snake oil salesmen are everywhere. Just read the Washington Post or the New York Times, or, in this case, ZeroHedge.80% of the businesses in America make about 20% of private enterprises' porfits that go towards GDP and exist in extreme, bare-knuckled competition. Banks could care less about them. Washington could care less about them. 20% of the businesses in America are monopolies or in that ball park. They make about 80% of the profits that go towards GDP. Monopolis and cartels are not free market enterprises. They exist because Washington gave them the power to exist. Where's the capitalism? Without competition, prices rise. No disposable income. No demand from consumers. More credit from banks. more debt. Less tax revenue. More privatization in the name of lightening the load on an over-indebted government. The vicious cycle continues. GINI coefficient of 1 soon to come.CEO's and executives in the financialized economy are basically using caviar to lube their johnsons and regular people in flyover country don't have enough cash in the bank to handle an emergency.Doug Casey runs an article blaming riots on cry babies. ZeroHedge runs Doug Casey articles. Doug Casey advertises how to invest to evade the apocolyse. Hmm...Seriously, folks. We are getting played. 

dchang0 SeaMonkeys Tue, 07/25/2017 - 01:14 Permalink

Strangely, the article's author is listed as Jeff Thomas, not Doug Casey.Yes, Doug Casey is mentioned at the bottom of the article, but not as the author. Did ZH automatically paste that "ad" at the bottom, or did Jeff Thomas? I don't know.And yes, ZH is full of "infomercial" type articles. Take it all with a pound of salt. This would be true of ANY news source nowadays, even the not-as-fake-news provided by alt-media bloggers. Actually, I'd rather the news explicitly state it's bought and paid for by somebody trying to sell me something than see an article on CNN that purports to be real, fair, unbiased, journalism when it's really bought and paid for by the Deep State trying to sell us war with Russia.To be fair to ZH, there are plenty of articles slamming the organized, institutionalized stealing from the people via money-printing and regulatory capture.

In reply to by SeaMonkeys

SeaMonkeys dchang0 Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:00 Permalink

I hear what you're saying. I've been reading ZH since the beginning. I think they are a great resource, but you do have to weed thru the crap. I'm willing to do that. But I don't like being manipulated. This article is using boilerplate conservative fear and hate to hook the readers. It's a joke. The Democratic Party used to do it down south in the early days. The Republican Party started doing it with Kevin Phillips' marketing of Nixon in 1968. Fear and hate work. So do sex and violence. But do you want your news to manipulate you this way? It's like those companies that constantly try to sell your grandma gold, or security devices in case of a tornado, or what-not. They are preying on people to make a living.I don't think Doug Casey/Jeff Thomas are that bad, but they are moving in that direction and so is ZH because they should know better.The real story that ZH has not really touched is monopoly. You can't have capitalism and monopoly. Free competition is antithetical to monopoly. If price is to reflect supply and demand, then you must remove monopoly. It's not that wages are too low and need to be raised (even though they are too low), the only way to solve the country's economic problems is to lower the cost of living-a lot.

In reply to by dchang0

jack stephan Tue, 07/25/2017 - 00:03 Permalink

Why is everyone over analyzing everything, it's a riot.  Just don't get a permit.  Duh, that seemed to work.I saw this lady cop get hit with a brick over the shield but yet under the helmet harassing a guy on a pay phone at Venice beach for shutting off an event.   I'm sure you fancy apes got stories too, but that's the best one I can think of 3 beers in. I'm watching the stonecutter Simpson's episode.I'm older now so walk around with pistols and a slayer shirt, but to each his own.

bogbeagle Tue, 07/25/2017 - 02:31 Permalink

Only two ways to live. 1 ... Do useful work.2... Find a way to exploit the work of others. Every last one of us falls into one of those two categories; sometimes a bit of each.

Dragon HAwk Tue, 07/25/2017 - 05:21 Permalink

My Personal belief is that after SHTF the dindues are going to learn a whole new set of manners. pull their pants up and  approach carefully,  hello sir how are you today I was wondering if you could spare a piece of bread for me and my family.  of course the first 20 will get blown away trying to bust in thru windows to grab things but they will die off fast.  when the cops stop showing up things will settle down fast.. it's the  in between time that is dangerous,  5 guys bust thru your  door, you shoot 1 or two and the cops show up and lock you up, till the investigation can be completed, meanwhile you're in jail and the three other guys go back and ransack your house.

Cloud9.5 Tue, 07/25/2017 - 07:35 Permalink

The real truth is that none of us are prepared for this.  We have had a century and a half of peace here in the lower 48. We don’t know how to deal with a long period of anarchy.  Our houses and towns are not defendable.  We have no medieval infrastructure.  When the grid goes down, most of our toilets won’t flush and we will have no water.  Rivers of refugees will overwhelm us.

sam site Tue, 07/25/2017 - 12:27 Permalink

The irony of the 9 meals & anarchy quote is that in the next crisis most fatalities are going to be self inflictedas the sheeple literally are going to worry themselves to death as they go without food and Big Pharma pills.People that fast realize that the difference between starvation and fasting is the state of mind.  People that are starving are in a "fight or flight" panic mode,exhausting their adrenaline and cortisol that in turn depletes their stored vitamins and weakens their immune system.