Lessons From The London Riots

August 16, 2011

Current Events

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s been very interesting to see the riots of London unfold and watch how the authorities handled the situation. Like many in the prepping community, I’ve wondered if there are lessons that we can learn from these unfortunate events. I’ve jotted down a few that come to mind.

Image courtesy of Getty Images via CBSNews

Gun Control Laws Cannot Work

“When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” I remember seeing this axiom as a kid printed on a bumper sticker. I pondered the point for quite some time, as kids are prone to do, and remember thinking “Well yeah; that’s obvious.” But many years later our country is still grappling with the issue.

Guns exist. Those who care not for the law will acquire them. Those that are sworn uphold the law know this and will still have to approach every incident with caution. Restricting guns will only serve to take away rights from those who are peaceable and law abiding and will not bring out a utopian society.

Lesson: No one wants to be forced into a situation where he must defend himself or family, but it’s better to be prepared, mentally and physically, for that situation.

No Protection When The System Is Overwhelmed

During the riots, the authorities tried their best to maintain order and keep the population protected. They mobilized the police forces, putting 16,000 officers on the streets in London in an attempt to curb the riots.

Unfortunately, their best was simply not good enough as evidenced by the looted shops and burning buildings. At times, the authorities had their hands full just maintaining their own defenses, much less attempting to restore order.

There was footage of armored police vehicles rolling down the streets amidst a spray of Molotov cocktails being lobbed at them.

Lesson: Stock up and be prepared to survive without the assistance of the authorities.

Mob Mentality Is Real

As the systems that we currently depend on for civil obedience begins to deteriorate and law enforcement services are overwhelmed, the number of law breakers will grow rapidly. It will create a positive feedback loop.  When disgruntled people see that they can act without fear of retribution from the criminal court system, they will. And seeing this, others will join in.

Lesson: Always maintain your situation awareness. Anticipate problems and avoid them.

What Happens When There Is A Real Crisis

As one Londoner put it. “Get real! Do it for a cause.” She went on with her rant toward the rioters using some pretty explicit language. Her point though is right on. These riots may have started as a protest of a police shooting. But they very quickly turned into a free-for-all propagated by people who cared nothing for the “cause” but only wanted to act out and cause chaos.

One female rioter actually voiced her actual motivation. She told a reporter that they were rioting to show the rich and the police that “we can do what we want.”

If these protesters were really just seizing an opportunity to be destructive and riot for the sake of rioting, what will happen when there is a real crisis? What will they do when there is no food? When the system shuts down due to an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP)? What will happen when there is no government to clean up for them after their surge of destructiveness?

It will be ugly. Very ugly.

Lesson: Now is the time to prepare.


Whether you believe there is a coming collapse of the world economic system or not. Whether you believe that “acts of nature” like a solar EMP or hurricane can significantly disrupt food supplies, communications, and even the rule of law, or not. Whether you believe that life without these things is too unbearable to consider or not. It doesn’t change the fact that it may indeed happen.

As one pundit put it: you don’t have to believe in the law of gravity, but you will still be affected by it.

Prepare while you can. I know these are tough economic times, but you can still take steps to prepare even on a shoestring budget.

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3 Comments on “Lessons From The London Riots”

  1. Arminius the Hermit Says:

    I’d say that’s a pretty good analysis of the events over there. People are largely the same, be it in England or the U.S. and we have cultural similarities that make the riots there even more germane to our own situation. Fortunately for me, if that happens I can sit up here on this mountain top in safety. That may not be the case for my daughter though. She lives in a city. So it matters to me.



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