Riot Control, Part 2

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Mon, Feb 6 - 8:00 am EST | 2 years ago by
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Lines of Departure - Berkeley Riot

What we appear to be seeing now, rioting crowd-wise, are actually rather small crowds. Have patience; if we don’t handle them properly, they’ll get bigger.

Taking the recent anti-Milo riots, at Berkeley, as an example1; one suspects, given the size, that at least the cadres leading and organizing the riots – oh, yes, they’re led and organized – were semi-professional.2 I would be terribly unsurprised to discover that they were even paid. Some of these may not be from the local area, but brought in from wherever, specifically for the purpose of organizing, leading, and exacerbating the rioting. I mean…you know…people don’t show up with pepper spray (not useful against protective mask-equipped riot control forces but good for stopping free speech from mere civilians), bats (for breaking windows and perhaps heads), dressed in black (probably both for intimidation and mutual identification and support), and with face masks, just spontaneously. They don’t come with flares in their pockets, either, unless they’re at least contemplating arson.

Arson; I mentioned last week that riots can be quite deadly. They not only kill people, they kill civilization. Anyone who doubts this I advise to take a drive through Detroit, sometime, a city which has never fully recovered from the riots that took place fifty years ago.3

So why do people riot? Why do people riot to that city-wrecking and life-ending extent? I would suggest there are three significant reasons: Outrage, fun, and profit. It’s not necessary, by the way, for everyone to feel a great deal of outrage. It’s sufficient if only a small cadre do, provided that cadre can provide fun and profit for a larger group.

Fun? Fun comes in with wrecking things, with rape, with arson, and in exercising power against the helpless. One can see this in the assault on “Katrina,” as shown on Stefan Molyneux’s podcast of 3 February, 2017.4 One could see it, too, in the attack on Reginald Denny, twenty-five years ago, during the Los Angeles riots or 1992.5 It’s fun to go wild. It’s fun to be out of control. It’s fun to hurt people. I’m sure that for some it’s fun to rape.

Those things, however, are not fun for everybody. You’ll have a hard time, ordinarily, getting a really big crowd for a gang rape in the streets. And it was, after all, only five men involved in the Reginald Denny beating out of tens of thousands rioting in Los Angeles.

But everyone likes a free TV set, or a nice piece of jewelry for the missus or the girlfriend, or a free (and unregistered) rifle or pistol, or a new Rolex. Cash is nice, too.

And that’s how these kinds of riots can typically get out of hand. First a small group of hardcore, dedicated rioters either show up on their own or infiltrate a peaceful protest. If they’re not stopped there, they create the anarchy of which all the most intense fun is made. That is also intended to attract a crowd sufficient to provide cover for the next steps, which include breaking safeguards – windows and doors, plus alarm systems – to desirable, lootable property. I say that windows and doors are safeguards, but what they also are are “moral” safeguards. Nobody wants to do the time for breaking and entering, and few of us are willing or eager to break windows and doors, but if it’s already been done by someone else then that becomes a different matter. That brings out the larger numbers of more normal, profit-minded folks, ever fearful that someone may get the color TV that – by rights, they’re pretty sure – really belongs to them. Once that happens, there is no controlling the riot without massive bloodletting. There’s also no accounting for the innocent blood that’s going to be shed, or the lives ruined, if that out of control riot is not suppressed.

Thus, given the limited pattern of small scale rioting we’ve seen since Trump’s inauguration, there are four tasks to be accomplished, maybe better said, four firebreaks to hold, to keep more of our cities from turning into Detroit: 1) Stop the cadre, 2) stop the fun, 3) prevent looting, 4) isolate and destroy the cadre. That means a particular set of rules of engagement. Those would read something like this:

  1. Anyone seen carrying incendiaries will be shot to kill or maim. No specific additional warning will be given.
  2. Anyone dressed in a mask that prevents identification, in the vicinity of an incipient or ongoing riot, will be presumed to intend felonious activity. They will be shot to kill or maim. No specific additional warning will be given.
  3. Anyone seen wielding a weapon, including, but not limited to, firearms, clubs, machetes, knives, swords, or spears, will be presumed to intend the use of that weapon to commit or aid in the commission of a felony. They will be shot to kill or maim. No specific, additional warning will be given.
  4. Anyone engaged in arson will be shot to kill or maim.
  5. Anyone engaged in looting or encouraging looting by the breaking of safeguards will be shot to kill or maim.6

Oh, the horror, the horror; shooting people to defend mere property. No one should be surprised that I, personally, have no problem with that, but I admit I am in the minority there. However, no, it isn’t about defending property; it’s about removing the ultimate bait that turns a small riot into a huge one, which can turn a large city into a wreck. And don’t weep too much for the deservedly dead or mercifully maimed; they’ll have had sufficient warning, the first warning. If they’re shot for looting or breaking doors and windows to encourage looting, they’ll have volunteered for it. Note: Sixty-three people, most of them innocent, were killed in the 1992 Los Angeles riots. It seems to me only good math and good sense to shoot and kill a few of the people who would start that sort of riot all over again.

So how does this one play out for the next anti-First Amendment, anti-free speech fascismo-fest masquerading as an anti-fascist rally? I’d expect one of a couple of things to happen, initially. Presuming the Rules of Engagement, given above, are read out over a loudspeaker, then the riot cadre either drop their masks or they’re shot. If they refuse to drop their masks, I expect they’ll do so after a couple of them are shot. At that point, if they want to break a window or burn a building, or just assault young women and beat their husbands senseless, they’ll have to do it with identifiable faces showing such that, even if they’re not shot on the spot, they can be arrested, tried, and sent to the very worst prisons in the system.

Frankly, they’re wearing the masks for reasons, the big one being that they don’t want to do the time for the crime, so I’d expect there to be little or no arson, little or no breaking and entering, or breaking of safeguards, and hence not much of a riot. That’s a pity, really, because the more of them we shoot now the fewer we’ll have to shoot if we devolve into civil war, as still seems likely.

And speaking of war, which this is, anyway, we can reasonably expect the black shirted thugs to escalate once we do. There will be snipers, though competence may be beyond their reach. Thus, there must also be counter-snipers. More on that next week.

Don’t miss Part I in this series on riot control.

Photo by Getty Images



2 As UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett put it, “It was a very practiced group that came in.”

3 And they were some doozies: Here, have a second helping: Looks kind of like a war zone, doesn’t it?

4 H/T Vox Day


6 By the way, Rosie, you moronic twat, martial law looks a lot like that, too.

Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through

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