This article will not touch on the political motives of protesters or who is right or wrong regarding the issues they are protesting about. What we are going to touch on are the top 5 reasons you should avoid protests or counter protests for your own safety and well being.
We’ve all seen the news and know the current dangers popping up across the country. Protests have sprouted up in major cities and surprisingly some small towns across America. The right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution and whether you agree with the protesters motivation, we all have the ability to petition the government over issues that we feel passionately about and want to see a change. What is not provided is cover to violently protest, loot, and cause chaos within your community because you are angry.
Any large gathering has the potential to go from peaceful to violent, almost instantly. Generally, what occurs is a few bad actors or a small pocket of protesters incite violence and the herd mentality kicks in. Once an act of violence has occurred, others in the group determine that they are also able to take things to the next level.
I’m not looking to encourage or dissuade anyone from being active in their community, I just want to give the law abiding citizens something to think about.
With that said, here are the top 5 reasons you should avoid protests:
You are who you associate with:
You may have decided to head to your local “protest” to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe you hopped out of your car and mingled with the group because they seemed to be gathered peacefully and you felt ok with the situation. It doesn’t take much for things to flip in an instant and you could easily find yourself standing in a group of people who have decided to get violent. Why does that matter? Well, lets say this group is throwing rocks at the police, now you are in a group of people who could get tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, or collected for detention.
You May Not Be Safe:
This is a fairly obvious reason, but should still be stated. If you decide to wade into a hoard of angry protesters, there is no guarantee that you are safe. Your likelihood of a violent confrontation increases if it is determined that you are not “with” the crowd, but even if you share the ideals of the mob, you may still be hurt or attacked.
You may put yourself in a position which could require you to react:
Here is a great example of needing to react. In Seattle, a masked protester had stolen a rifle from a police vehicle and most likely had nefarious intentions, although we don’t know that for sure. What we do know, is that an armed former Marine saw the theft occur and decided that he couldn’t let the rioter use this firearm, so he took it from him.
As you’ll see in the video, the encounter ended without violence, however not every situation will end well. By putting yourself in the midsts of protesters, you may find yourself in a similar situation that could end badly.
You May be Targeted:
Let’s take a look at the McClosky case as an example of what could happen if you find yourself in a situation where you have to defend yourself against a mob. There are many levels of targeted aggression you could encounter if you come face to face with a mob and your story is picked up nationally. If you go against the mob, you could be the recipient of additional targeted protests against yourself and family as well as death threats. If the media decides your story is clickbait worthy, you will be tried in the court of public opinion. If you do something out of fear or anger, like pull your firearm in a situation that did not meet the requirements, you may be in trouble with the law.
You leave your home unprotected:
If you are in an area where large scale protests are occurring, there is a chance that there could be spill over to your neighborhood or property. By choosing to engage in the protest or even just observe them, you will leave your home unattended. This one really only applies if you live in walking distance to the protests, but it is still something worth your consideration.
At the end of the day, if you feel passionately about something, you should not sit on the sideline. There are many avenues to make your voice heard outside of protests.
If you have seen some of the recent protests up close, comment below and let us know what you observed.