"Flash mob" violence is on the rise. Almost weekly there are reports of large groups launching attacks at organized events or seemingly random locations, which are specified in advance using social media and the instant communication available to people today. In Meditations On Violence
, Rory Miller calls this type violence the "Group Monkey Dance." "Humans," he states, "are apes," with similar rituals to "establish social dominance or defend territory." Humans and apes are the only species that hurt and kill their own kind on a regular basis.
Michael Lawrence Wilson, an Anthropology professor, has studied and written a lot about monkey violence:
Attackers did not kill at random. Instead, they mainly killed members of other groups (63% of killings). They mainly killed when they had an overwhelming numerical advantage (median 8:1 ratio of attackers to victims in intergroup killings). Attackers were much more often male than female (92% of participants in attacks) and they mainly killed males (73% of victims). They mainly killed when it was easy to kill victims, either because of a strong numerical advantage, or because the victim was weak (such as infants).
Michael Lawrence Wilson Blog
How does this apply to mob violence? In his book Miller goes into detail on the Group Monkey Dance. "In this ritual," Miller explains, "members of a group compete for status and to show their loyalty to the group by showing how vicious they can be to someone perceived as an 'outsider'." According to Miller the outsider is considered a "non-person," and any actions such as "pleading, fighting, passivity" are seen by the group as "further justification to escalate."
So, what do you do? First, keep your family and friends close and have a plan, with a rally point in case you do get separated. Second, pay attention to your environment. This is especially true once it gets dark. According to a summarization of flash mob violence in Louisville, KY, "violent and destructive activity tends to pick up at dusk and last until about 1 a.m." (Report
) At the first hint of possible trouble, even if you can't exactly put your finger on what's making you nervous, you escape as efficiently as possible.
If you can drive out use your vehicle. Your vehicle should have some emergency equipment such as water, flashlights, and definitely a first aid/trauma kit. When trouble starts and everyone else is trying to leave the roadways quickly become congested. Driving out may not be an option. Having your emergency gear in a backpack allows you to hump it out on foot without having to leave all your kit.
If the situation has already gotten out of hand find a place you can hold and secure, waiting until it is safe to leave. Make good use of the terrain surrounding you to provide protection. For example most public restroom facilities are constructed from sturdy materials and have only one entry point that can be controlled. (Ignore the Men/Ladies signs, pick one and hunker down.) Just keep in mind that only one entry point means there's only one exit as well.
Using your weapon, as is always the case, should be the last and final option, after everything else has failed. Remember that using your weapon provides an effective defense, but with a large crowd it may increase the number of active threats.
Mob violence can flare-up for almost any reason or for no apparent reason at all. It can be in response to a social catalyst or from a natural emergency that limits resources. Regardless of the cause of trouble your brain is the greatest asset you have, both before and during times of danger. Be prepared, pay attention, and make decisive decisions.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns," writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org