(By Samantha Biggers) A lot of people are saying “I have never seen anything like this in my entire life”. I have been trying to process what I have seen from afar. There has never been a time quite like this in the history of the USA. We are in the midst of a pandemic with riots occurring in almost every major city and even some mid-sized ones.
It can all be viewed live by anyone with even the most basic cell phone internet connection. While online censorship is rampant during good times and bad, it is still impossible to hide a lot of what is going on no matter where you are at.
At some point I have always felt that people would get fed up with the direction our country is going. If the murder of George Floyd had not been the catalyst then something else would have. The nation has been too divided and quick to point fingers and blame one another for the massive problems for a very long time. People that call the riots “race riots” are wrong and over simplifying a massive amount of frustration and anger at a long broken system.
Shortages due to COVID-19 already had the supply chain stretched and breaking. Riots and looting just made it worse.
For some idea of what items are likely to be in short supply due to COVID-19 please take a look at my article “Staying Ahead of the Shortages”.
While some merchandise went out the door and to people in the city, plenty of it was destroyed. There will be nor restocking anytime soon.
Delivery vehicles are being targeted and looted.
FedEx, UPS, USPS vehicles, and more are being robbed. That means that people that have ordered items to their homes, will not be getting those. Due to COVID-19 more and more of us are ordering a lot of things online.
After looking at the comments on social media from truckers, it is clear that many do not plan on stopping if they are confronted by rioters. For many, the memory of Reginald Denny comes to mind. For those that do not remember, Reginald Denny was a trucker that was pulled from his truck during the LA riots in 1992. He was beaten badly enough to never recover entirely.
That being said, there are plenty that would stop. In Minneapolis, on May 31 a truck stopped. The stories about what happened afterward and how the driver was treated vary.
Warehouses and shipping centers could be targeted next or at least have a hard time getting packages shipped out
After they leave the warehouse and are sent on their way via delivery trucks, there are a lot of opportunities for interception. Mail order just got a lot less reliable and safe in some areas. We will see how bad it gets.
When stores are not restocked or rebuilt in the cities, there will be massive pressure on stores and restaurants further out in the suburbs to supply the cities.
It may not be possible for them to do this and even if it can be done, it will be hard to do things fast enough. People are on edge and they are not going to be happy about waiting in line forever or store shelves being depleted faster than employees can restock them or get delivery trucks.
In many of my previous articles, I talked about how there are only so many goods from China, India, and other major manufacturing areas. Shipping into the major ports of America continues to be low. None of us know the real truth about what is happening in factories in China or India. Strained relations between the US and China also don’t help matters any.
I have considered that is is likely that price gouging and goods being auctioned off for very high prices to the wealthy is going to start sooner rather than later.
There is going to be a big black market for goods, especially looted items. While some of this commercial activity will take place online, a lot will take place among private parties. I would not be at all surprised to see auction sites like eBay and others take more action as they see more goods flood the market that may be stolen.
At the same time, the sheer volume could lead to the difficult choice for a large company, or do you let people sell and look the other way, realizing that people are going to sell or trade those things one way or the other or do you take your cut and make some money off of a bad situation?
COVID-19 cases are going to go up a lot. We are seeing riots in all major cities while still dealing with the first wave of a pandemic.
I know that there are plenty of people questioning just how many cases of COVID-19 there are and also questioning the total number of deaths. Just to clarify, I don’t think the virus is 100% “made up” as some do. The virus is real and we are not being told anything close to the truth about it.
Riots in major cities and continued civil unrest have exposed a lot of people. There were very few masks being worn throughout the riots from what I could tell from live videos. A lot of people commented on various boards that there were little or few masks. What few I saw were often being worn on the chin or people were just using bandannas.
After what US citizens called a “lockdown” the resulting civil unrest has likely undone any good that it achieved in the major cities. Personally I have a hard time calling COVID-19 restrictions a lockdown because there was still a lot of movement. A real lockdown couldn’t work in America. No one is going to set back while officials seal them in their homes. If we had attempted a Wuhan style lockdown in the USA, the rioting would have started much sooner.
Infrastructure and stores will take a long time to be rebuilt and in plenty of cases, they won’t be.
Major stores are not going to be quick to rebuild in areas where there is unrest that will likely continue for quite some time. In fact, some areas may have at least low levels of unrest for years. Many companies have financial difficulties already due to the pandemic.
Even before the pandemic and during regular economic times, stores used crime statistics and demographics to determine where they would build future stores. While these practices made a lot of people angry and point out that this left out poor and minority neighborhoods, to the stores it was all about figuring out if they would be able to have a profitable store. If shoplifting and petty crime are likely in an area, then a store isn’t going to move in.
Costly demands will also prevent some stores from building. A few years ago in a suburb of Atlanta, a major grocery store decided it was not worth moving if residents were going to require them to build a very expensive pedestrian bridge to help people without cars to access the store.
At the time of this writing, looting has been concentrated in the major shopping districts and downtowns. That will change if the riots continue.
When one watches the news and videos of looting in the major cities you see names like Target, Macy’s, Saks 5th Avenue, Wendy’s, Walgreens, etc. These are all major chains. While a few may be owned by franchisees, they are not considered locally owned businesses. Big retailers are seen as part of the system. They are huge entities that don’t have the face of a Mom and Pop establishment. It is no surprise that these are the first businesses that were looted and vandalized.
So what happens when that has all been done? Logically the next businesses on the list are the smaller businesses and thoroughfares. The strip malls on the way outside of town for example.
At least one reason we have not seen more people killed during the riots so far is that these businesses have not been targeted as readily as the big box stores and icons of corporate America.
There is going to be a major discussion about the rights of people to defend their homes and businesses. Some people are going to be shocked to learn that they are legally required to back down.
This is a big country and the laws vary a lot. I get a lot of people asking me questions about how they can defend themselves. I always encourage people to look up the laws in their area. Sometimes people find out that if they have their home broken into they cannot legally harm or shoot the perpetrator.
They are supposed to back down and let law enforcement handle it. So a shopkeeper in some cities that is defending their business and shoots someone that is looting could be charged with murder. Actually they might be charged with a higher degree of murder than the cop that murdered George Floyd.
In North Carolina are laws abide by the “Castle Doctrine”. This means if you come onto my property and are attempting harm or theft, the law is going to be in my favor if I seriously injure or even kill.
Those that have the financial means will leave the cities and they will not return anytime soon. This means that a lot of wealth and economic activity is going to go with them. They may also take their businesses with them.
A lot of people thought they would never see violence like this in their city. Possibly some unrest but not the level of destruction and violence that we are seeing in basically all the major cities. Some will cut their losses now. If they get some insurance money from the destruction of their homes or businesses, it might seem like a poor choice to stay in a place where something like that could happen again.
Why not go somewhere that the odds seem better that you can live in safety with your family and perhaps run a business from there if you are so inclined. A lot of people are working from home anyway and have no intention of going back to a brick and mortar office building during a pandemic.
Even people that have major roots in a city might be tempted to leave considering the situation. We are already seeing a sharp rise in RV and travel trailer sales among middle-aged adults and Millenials as they figure out a way to bug out of the city. Check out the recent Zero Hedge article for more information on this trend. If you are considering an RV or camper, my article on “Outfitting a Camper For Bugging Out” can help you decide what you need to stock it with for a short to long emergency.
The future of America’s cities is questionable. Who will enforce order and law?
There are some that are angry enough at the police and authority that they would prefer that they were not present at all. At the same time I don’t think these same people quite know what a city without any form of law enforcement might look like.
There is always some type of social order and law that comes into being. In areas where there is little to no police presence, leaders of criminal enterprises or gangs are often in charge. Selco Begovic talks about how charismatic leaders took over during the war in the Balkans in his “SHTF Stories”.
There are also plenty of people that realize that there is a need for law and order but the existing structure is unfair. Consider for a moment how quickly a regular person would be arrested if suspected of killing someone and how many cases over the years there have been where the elite and those in law enforcement were given the benefit of the doubt. It would have taken far less than a video for you or I to have been hauled away in handcuffs.
At the same time, even well run and fair law enforcement is going to necessitate the use of force and sometimes lethal force to maintain law, order, and the protection of the greater community. The question is how much is too much? How do we make sure that law enforcement is held to a high standard while considering that they must make fast decisions that involve life and death? People sometimes screw up and they have to be held accountable. While George Floyd’s murder was caught on film and widely aired, not every case is so easy to judge.
The process of justice takes time and often it takes far longer than it should.
How many of us have heard stories about how cases take forever to go to trial or of inmates sitting on death row for decades?
While it is very frustrating and frankly ridiculous how long it takes for some cases to be concluded and justice served, it is also a slippery slope when you start trying to speed things along too quickly. Unless we want to throw out the right to a fair trial and due process, sometimes things are going to go too slow.
What can be even more frustrating is when at the end of a long trial, justice is not actually served as it should be and that is what many fear is going to happen in the case of the murder of George Floyd.
Regular people are being abused for sitting on their front porch.
My brother who has been a security guard and tribal police officer for decades sent me this video. This type of behavior by the National Guard is certainly not going to help matters. While I realize that action must be taken, these people are not in the street and they are not doing anything. I would like to point out that it appears they were not even given a chance to follow the order to get inside before they were assaulted with paint balls. This is appalling behavior.
What You Can Do To Prepare and Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Put back enough food to last a month or more depending on your resources.
- Have a self defense and home defense plan. Look up local laws to see what you an legally do and what you cannot.
- Stay alert and aware of local events. There are many resources for this. Nextdoor is a neighborhood app that lets people post and stay in contact about local events. Social media and Youtube channels can provide some other news.
- While life must go on and more places are reopening, consider taking precautions to reduce your risk of illness. COVID-19 is a terrible virus but there are a lot of other communicable diseases out there too. Now is not a good time to need medical attention. Even if a hospital or doctor’s office is not overrun with COVID-19 cases, they may have a lot on their hands dealing with the results of violent riots and civil unrest.
- Take care of errands and business during times where crowds are low. A lot of the rioting action happens after 5 pm and ends in the morning. That does not mean that there are not dangers during the day, just that the threat level is less.
- Even young children need to have some idea about what is going on so that they will be more likely to listen to adults when fast action is needed. Kids can handle more than what people give them credit for. They need to know that things are different so that they can make good decisions too.
- Carefully weigh the costs and benefits of travel and going places. If you don’t have to go out then don’t. I know that is hard after months of restrictions due to COVID-19 but the truth is that you may be more likely to run into trouble now and possibly get infected with a disease than you have been at any time in the previous 3 months.
- Be careful who you let into your life and what you say. It doesn’t take much to set someone off. There are also going to be a lot of people moving about regardless of the pandemic. There may be people that are very charismatic and seem good that turn out to be anything but. As humans, we crave companionship and interaction on some level. The isolation that has resulted from the pandemic has made some much more vulnerable and open to suggestions.
- Take time to enjoy your life even if it is really hard to do so. It is easy to dwell on all the terrible things going on but it is essential to your health and well being to take some time to unwind.
Articles To Review
I am including some links to articles I have done in the past on civil unrest and defense. While the situation at hand is unique in that we are in the midst of a pandemic, there are plenty of lessons in these articles that can be used to help you during this unprecedented time.
Times are tough but humans have lived through a lot. I hope I have been able to help you throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing period of civil unrest. I hope I can continue to offer some guidance. I certainly do not know all the answers but please know that I am trying to think a lot and consider as many situations as possible before I send these words out to you. I can be reached at email@example.com or you can follow me on Facebook via this link.
Way Up In The Mountains Of North Carolina
June 1, 2020
About the Author: Samantha Biggers lives on a mountain in North Carolina with her husband, Matthew, in a house they built. They have a small steep slope vineyard, raise sheep, and grow gourmet mushrooms. Since 2017 she has been proud to write for Backdoor Survival.