For the first time in American history, a majority of people on either side of the political spectrum believe that violence is acceptable if the election does not turn out to their liking. Think about that for a moment. 50% of people who support either candidate think that if their candidate is not elected, it is acceptable to become violent. This is a scary statistic. It got me thinking about how to prepare for what happens after the election.
Do Not Participate in Demonstrations
The first thing you need to do is stay home on the night of the elections, and probably for several nights thereafter. The outcome of the election may not even be known on the night of the election, so there may well be multiple nights of violent protests on both sides after the election. Plan to stay home and not to go out after dark. This is especially true if you live in an urban area. Do not participate in any political demonstrations, even if they are peaceful. A peaceful protest can decay into violence quickly with just one bad actor. And you can be assured there will be bad actors trying to provoke violence as we have seen throughout the country.
If you find yourself in the middle of a protest, blend in. Make sure your clothes do not stand out and certainly do not have any items identifying yourself as a supporter of the opposing candidate. Mimic the chants of the people in the demonstration and look angry. Meanwhile, look for a way to exit the crowd. You want to leave the demonstration as soon as possible while remaining safe. While looking for an exit, remain on the edge of the protest rather than in the middle.
Remove Political Signs
If you proudly displayed your political preference during the weeks leading up to the election, take down your signs. People supporting the opponent may take a sign in your yard as an invitation to vandalize your home or worse. It is best to not give any indication of your preference because people who want to do violence are most likely to do so against someone they know to oppose their views, and won’t want to waste their time on someone whose views they do not know.
Also, be sure to remove any bumper stickers from your vehicle. If you need to leave in your car, having a bumper sticker identifying yourself as a supporter for one candidate or the other could make you a target.
The goal is to blend in and be the “gray man.” That is to say you want to not stand out for any reason.
Fortify Your Location
You want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to enter your property. If you live in a house with a fenced yard, put a lock on your gate. Keep the doors and windows to your house or apartment closed and locked. Keep exterior lights turned on. You want as much light outside as possible to deter potential trespassers. Criminals prefer to remain in the shadows, so the more light you put outside, the less of a target your property is. Having lights outside also makes it more difficult for people to look inside your home. Especially if you have the inside lights turned off.
If you are home, keep everyone in a room at the back of the house. Keep the lights off in the rest of the house and the lights dim in the part of the property where you are staying. Keeping everyone in the same room makes it easier to make sure that nobody goes outside and also easier to defend in case your home is broken into.
I recommend having a bright flashlight nearby so you can temporarily blind any intruder. If you are comfortable using a firearm, I recommend keeping a gun nearby. If you have not practiced using a gun, keep a baseball bat for protection.
Have a Plan
Know what you are going to do if your neighborhood becomes the target of a protest. Have multiple exit strategies and leave before the protests get too large. Make sure everyone in your family knows the plans and know what to do if you get separated. Have a meeting point determined in advance. Make sure everyone has a fully charged cell phone in case of being separated.
Your exit strategy should have several layers. You should have an immediate plan of action if your house becomes a target. A different plan of action if your street or neighborhood becomes the target of a protest. You should also know what you will want to do in case the entire city becomes dangerous as a result of the election outcome.
I recommend having a “bug-out bag” prepared with everything you need to survive for a few days away from home. This bag is something you can pick up at a moment’s notice and leave without having to take time to pack anything else. This bag would include clothes, toiletries, and food. I also recommend keeping your vehicle completely filled with gas for days leading up to the election.
Panic is the worst possible thing you can do in an emergency situation. As difficult as it is to remain calm, it is also necessary to allow you to think clearly. I always say “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” By going in with this mindset, you won’t be taken by surprise if the situation becomes violent. Your focus needs to be how to survive without having any distractions. Do not get sidetracked by trying to watch a protest. Move along and get to safety as quickly as possible.