7 Safety Tips to Survive a Riot or Flash Mob

In the past several years rioting in the United States has almost become the norm, tragically. We have recently been treated to scenes from Berkley, Calif., of mobs of protesters burning, looting, and threatening the lives of others:

On August 4, 2011, a mob of approximately 100 teenagers went rampaging through the Wisconsin State Fair, beating fairgoers and destroying property:

And I am sure you have heard of "flash mobs" suddenly striking shopping malls like this one:

So what should you do if YOU are suddenly in the middle of something like this? If you want to survive, follow these guidelines (and pray!):

1. Pay attention.

Duh. I say this in almost every article about self-defense. Situational awareness is key. Be alert. Flash mobs can take everyone off guard, but sometimes there are signals. If you are on social media (or your teenagers are) and you hear of a planned "flash mob" somewhere, maybe it would be a good idea to go to that mall another time.

As for protesters, especially in light of politics these days, Americans can generally figure out where the protests will be. They are often on college campuses or at political rallies. If I can avoid conflict, I will. If I absolutely have to be somewhere where trouble is possibly brewing, I had better pay close attention to the next several pieces of advice.