Riots are characterized by large groups of people engaging in aggressive, chaotic behavior. The destructive potential of riots can vary, but the worst riots in history have led to countless deaths and the sort of property damage one normally associates with a terrible storm. During riots, rioters can brawl and fight with one another, or turn their attentions to almost anything within their surroundings. Some of the worst riots in history have covered a surprisingly large area within a given city. Many different developments can trigger rioting. People have rioted over everything from resistance to governmental policies to the results of sports matches. While the triggers for riots can seem unpredictable, riots almost never spring from nothing.
With riots, as with many other kinds of disasters, avoidance is going to be the best strategy for anyone. Involvement in riots is always potentially life-threatening. The right level of riot preparedness can mean the difference between surviving a riot completely unharmed and sustaining permanent or life-threatening injuries. The dynamics of a riot are such that many of the people that get caught up in the proceedings were bystanders who may or may not have had any vested interest in the grievances that sparked the deadly riot in the first place. Riots are much more likely to occur in some areas than others, and people that live in areas that frequently experience rioting need some strategies in advance.
Riots in the United States
Riots have been disturbingly common throughout America's tumultuous history. Ritos are much more common in the heavily populated urban areas in the United States. The conditions under which riots occur are much more difficult to replicate in suburban or rural areas. The United States has a long history of tensions between different groups, which have often formed the basis for many of its most harrowing riots. The sheer size of the United States and the fact that so many different economies and ways of living are essentially coexisting under one banner has only exacerbated the situation.
States With Frequent or Notorious Rioting
- New York: A number of infamous riots have occurred in New York, specifically New York City, throughout most of American history. New York City has been the site of deadly riots as far back as the Civil War, and it is still one of the areas that is most likely to relapse into rioting.
- California: The city of Los Angeles in particular is infamous for its destructive riots.
- Illinois: Many of the worst riots in Illinois take place in Chicago.
- New Jersey: Some truly destructive riots have occurred in Newark, New Jersey.
- Seattle: Seattle's urban areas have fallen victim to rioting throughout its history.
- Michigan: Detroit has been the site of numerous riots.
Supplies for Riot Preparedness
- Helmet: Ideally, people involved in riots should have protection for their heads.
- Eye protection: Wearing glasses is better than wearing contacts if riots are afoot. Even something as simple as a pair of swimming goggles will form a barrier for your eyes.
- Eyewash: In the case of severe riots, they may bring out the tear gas.
- The right set of clothes: Your clothes should cover as much of your body as possible. They should also look like civilian clothing, since looking like a soldier could get you attacked. Try to avoid wearing clothes that are too dark, or police officers are more likely to assume that you are involved with the riot.
- Cell phone: Many people today carry cell phones with them at all times anyway, but if there's one time that you do not want to forget your cell phone, it's during a riot.
During all types of disasters, some physical locations are simply safer than others. Open fields are some of the worst places to be during tornadoes. It's best to go underground during a tornado. Similarly, it is best to remain indoors during a riot, or get to a safe house of some kind during a riot. Riots primarily occur outdoors on the streets, or wherever else they happen to spread as they run their course. Waiting out the riot inside will go a long way toward protecting yourself from physical harm. Even if you do find yourself in the vicinity of an outdoor riot, there are still things that you can do to increase your chances of getting out unharmed.
- Try to reach your safe house as quickly as possible. Almost any building will probably be preferable to taking your chances outside.
- As with any other disaster, maintain your distance from the windows and doors, which you should close, lock, and secure if possible. People can throw almost anything during riots, and windows can constitute an unfortunate gateway to the outdoor chaos.
- Knowing the area in your city can save your life. People that are very familiar with a given set of streets will stand a much better chance of escape.
- Avoid participating in the riot in any way, and keep to the periphery of the riot.
- Stick to areas with less traffic, since streets that are normally busy streets will soon become the sites of riots.
Even being involved in a riot peripherally is extremely stressful. Give yourself some downtime afterward in order to recuperate. On a larger level, it can take a long period of time for urban areas to fully bounce back from a riot.
- Visit your physician or clinic if you believe that you have sustained any injuries.
- Monitor the news coverage however you can, both during and after the riot.
- Try to assess the damage to your home or belongings, if any, to prepare yourself for the repairs.
- Get a sense of who was hurt in the process of the riot, to see if you can help anyone you know, or if anything in your immediate life is going to change as a result.