9 Things Not to Do in a Widespread Civil Unrest

by Tommy Grant

Civil unrest takes many forms. Whether it’s in its beginning stages or has turned into running battles between authorities and bands of protestors, one thing holds true: Civil unrest is a dangerous place to be.

It’s one of those times when rationality and solid reasoning are suspended, which can result in simple misunderstandings that end tragically.

Below are some tips on things you should definitely not do if you are serious about increasing your chances of survival. Not all protests are deadly, but they can easily turn that way. This article will help you avoid being the “wrong person, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

Engage in Filming and Recording Photography Activities

During civil unrest, you must not be caught filming, photographing, or recording any of the action. You could be mistaken for a spy or someone gathering information for authorities or opposition groups.

Many protestors would not want “proof” to exist showing actions or atrocities they commit. Pointing your phone at an act of public violence could easily result in you becoming the next victim of the mob perpetrating the violence.

Display Symbols or Affiliations Associated With Oppressive Regimes or Extremist Groups

During civil unrest, you must absolutely not display symbols, signs, credentials, affiliations, or any other marks, colors, or anything that could identify you as a potential enemy.

Related: Signs You’re Being Tracked by 3-Letter Agencies

Engage in Acts of Violence or Aggression Towards Others

During civil unrest, you must absolutely never pick a fight or incite violence.

9 Things Not to Do in a Widespread Civil Unrest

The issue is that protestors and authorities alike are primed and ready to take action.

In circumstances of heightened tension, where individuals and groups are hyper-vigilant and constantly looking for signs of trouble, raised voices or people pushing each other can turn into mob violence in the blink of an eye.

So, to avoid getting swamped by people primed for action, stare at the floor, walk straight ahead, avoid eye contact, and talk politely, but keep your tone neutral.

Associate With Repressive Organizations or Align Yourself With Oppressive Ideologies

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. We have heard this a lot. We often think of conflict or civil unrest as a conflict between legitimate authorities and protesters. Still, authorities are usually not legitimate, and from a moral perspective, we should support the protestors.

So unless you have a dog in the fight, the rule is as follows: During civil unrest, you must absolutely not align yourself with organizations or individuals who seek to limit freedoms or freedom of speech or want to implement harsh measures of control on broad swaths of the population, as these will almost always be the bad guys.

Neutrality is the best way to go. Unless someone has a gun to your head, in which case I suggest you call him sir, do what he asks, and agree that whatever he says is right.

The First States That Will Go Down During a Civil Unrest. Do You Live in the Red Zone?

There are times to stand up for the truth, so choose your last stand wisely so that you can be sure whatever happens, your sacrifice at least makes a difference.

Participate in Activities That Could Escalate Tensions or Provoke Confrontation

During civil unrest, you must absolutely not participate in activities that could escalate tensions.

In fact, it is often suggested that when Jesus declared that you should turn the other cheek, he was not suggesting that you turn yourself into your enemy’s punching bag, but that you always de-escalate tension by backing off, if possible and appropriate. Let your pride take a hit if it can save the life of your friend or your life.

Draw Unnecessary Attention to Yourself by Flaunting Wealth or Privilege

9 Things Not to Do in a Widespread Civil UnrestDuring civil unrest, you must not do so. By this, I mean that you must not stand out. Snipers are trained to spot instigators and shoot them first.

On the other hand, you could find yourself identified as the enemy by an angry mob if you flaunt wealth, privilege, social or educational class, or anything like that.

Your conduct identifies you as a potential target or causes someone to look right over you. You should try to look like the perfect “non-target” by seeming non-threatening, non-affiliated, and uninteresting.

Venture Into Conflict Zones or Areas With a High Risk of Violence Without a Clear Exit Plan

During civil unrest, you must not venture into the front lines where authorities and protesters clash. A stray bullet could end your life. A stampeding crowd could crush you to death.

Related: These Self-Defense Items Will Vanish First in a Crisis

You could end up having to defend yourself and inadvertently injure an attacker, after which you could spend months in court trying to save your reputation and stay out of jail. Frontlines should be for combatants only.

Unless you have a bone to pick with the riot police, find a quiet alley and crawl under a box.

Spread Rumors or Misinformation That Could Incite Panic or Further Escalate the Situation

Spreading rumors or disinformation is never good. What holds true for times of peace holds double true for times of turmoil. The truth, no matter how uncomfortable, will at least result in responses proportional to the threat.

Disinformation, rumors, hype, and falsehood can lead to disproportionate reactions. You could inadvertently cause panic or foster a sense of complacency when individuals should actually be hyper-alert.

Anonymity and Neutrality

In times of civil unrest, you must eliminate any identifying documents, electronic devices, clothing, jewelry, or even a haircut that could be used to identify or categorize you.

A laptop or expensive smartphone could quickly identify you as rich or educated, as could a tweed jacket, chino, and white button-up shirt.

In the chaos of widespread civil unrest, cities can turn into war zones fast. When things get too hot, heading for the hills might be your only shot at staying safe. But surviving out there isn’t just about knowing the basics—it’s about mastering the long game.

That’s why I rely on this guide. It’s not your run-of-the-mill survival manual; it’s a no-nonsense tool that teaches you the old-school wisdom of our ancestors who knew how to live off the land and thrived there.

So, when you’re gearing up to make your escape, make sure this handbook is in your backpack. It could be the game-changer you need when everything else goes sideways.

Remember that while many circumstances in life are beyond your control, most situations afford you at least a few choices. Choose wisely. Act to stay alive.

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