Mob mentality, herd mentality, pack mentality or gang mentality, whatever name you choose to give it describes how us as humans behave in certain ways, buy certain products, and follow certain trends based on the circle of influence. It’s becomes so “normal” to do that most of us aren’t even aware when we are doing it.
But what force is it that can turn an otherwise calm crowd into a potentially violent mob? What is it that could turn the minds of half a stadium full of people, based on the influence of only a handful of people?
Mob mentality isn’t even always found in just riots either. You’ve seen it often. If a stock is supposedly “hot”, investors rush to buy it. Parents buy their kids certain toys because other parents are doing the same. And fidget spinners, don’t even get me started.
Today, I’m not talking about buying toys or certain “hot” stocks. We are looking at when mob mentality turns dangerous and your life could potentially be on the line.
Riots are happening on a regular basis worldwide and although in many cases, the threat is dealt with rather quickly. Other times it just isn’t that easy and innocent people are getting seriously injured or killed. They can spark up over something small but develop at an astonishing speed.
Related: How to Survive a Riot
A little common sense can go a long way and you can get out of the crowds before it turns violent. Don’t stick around when the crowds gather just to see what’s going on.
Do you have a plan to keep yourself from becoming a statistic if rioting comes to your city?
We mention this a lot here on the website because it is so important at all times that you remain aware of your surroundings. Pay attention and always be looking out for an escape route. If things start looking like they could get out of hand then you need to get out straight away. Don’t give anyone a reason, including the police, to target you.
As mentioned earlier, riots can get out of hand fast and if you do happen to find yourself caught up in the middle of it, try to get your back to a wall so that the crowds can’t surround you and you only have to deal with a few people at a time. You must remember however, this isn’t a safe place to be but will give you more time to plan your escape.
If you are wearing a backpack, move it round so that it can be used as a shield to protect the front of your body. If somebody tries to grab your bag, you have more chance of being taken off balance and down to the ground if you wear it on your back.
Survey the crowds at all times and look out for any gaps that you can head through and out of the trouble. Once you see a gap, head straight for it and look ahead for the next opening. Holding both arms in front of you with your hands together in a wedge shape will help get you through the crowd.
Face the Threat
It isn’t always going to be as simple as moving from gap to gap until you are free. The time may come when you have no choice but to confront multiple assailants at which point you must act decisively.
The worst position that you could be in is in the middle of multiple assailants. You need to try and “stack” them so that you only face one at a time. Keep moving to the outside of the group of attackers to line them up. If they do happen to surround you then you need to attack one of them with as much force as you possibly can and then either use them as a temporary shield or blast through him or her to make your escape.
Related: The Basics of Unarmed Self-Defense
The worst thing you could do is try to run from them unless you are 100 percent sure that you can get away to safety. In many riots you need to understand that safety is NOT running towards the police. They often won’t differentiate between criminals and citizens that have innocently been caught up in the crowds.
Use of Force
Even if attacked by unarmed rioters, you still may be justified in using deadly force to protect yourself. This is because you are still at risk of “serious physical harm or death” when attacked by multiple assailants. This doesn’t mean that you should use your weapon if you have one, only the courts can truly decide as they could also assume that you put yourself in that position by being there in the first place.
If you are driving and find yourself surrounded, keep moving. Don’t stop and give them a chance to open your car doors or break your windows to drag you out. Pick a route that you will take and slowly drive through the crowd.
Equip to Survive
You should carry a selection of easily carried items that could help you in these kinds of situations. These include:
- Bandana – when wet can be tied or held over your nose or mouth to temporarily protect you from tear gas.
- Protective Eyewear – you are going to need your eyes protected at all times. Carry some glasses or sunglasses to wear.
- Sturdy Shoes – you won’t be able to run properly in heels or flip-flops and it is going to hurt if your feet get trampled. Wear sturdy running shoes or boots.
- Light – if you are out at night in a crowd, you should have a light. These can also be used as a weapon if need be.
- Map – if you are in a foreign country or unfamiliar area, have a street map with you at all times. You want to be able to find your way around the chaos and back to safety without getting lost and ending up in a worse position.