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Ripped From The Headlines (RFTH) Scenario - In Your Vehicle Surrounded By An Angry Mob

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RFTH Scenario Discussion Series:  "In Your Vehicle, Surrounded By An Angry Mob"

I am going to start a series of scenario discussions using events ripped from the news headlines.  These will come as events warrant and justify, and the purpose of them will be to help us think through situations while we have the luxury of time and without the pressure that comes from being in the moment.  The intent is to prepare us for things that might actually happen by evulating real-world occurances, dissecting them, and thinking critically about strategies and tactics.

As with any structured conversation, there will be some parameters.

 

Guidelines for Participating

  1. Discussing the actual event(s) that inspired the topic are fine so long as the discussion is germane to evaluating what went right, what went wrong, and learning from it.  
     
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  6. All other TGO rules apply.

 

 

The Scenario:

Recent civil unrest following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis, MN police and even more recently the death of Rayshard Brooks after being shot by police in Atlanta, GA has proven that mobs of angry people can assemble quickly.  These uprisings might catch the unware completely off guard.  These uprisings have closed down public roadways and included the destruction of private and public property, as well as assaults on law enforcement officers and the general public.

On Saturday, June 13, 2020, rioters said to be protesting the Brooks killing set fire to the Wendy's restaurant that owns the parking lot where Brooks was shot by police.  In another part of Atlanta a major interstate highway was shut down when protestors marched onto the roadway.  [source:  https://www.foxcarolina.com/atlanta-protesters-block-interstate-set-fire-to-cars-at-fast-food-restaurant-where-police-killed/article_e45c6e96-3aef-5cdf-9c8a-f0b2f5fabc51.html]

While some reconnaisance ahead of time of an area through which you might be traveling or participating in other activities could spare you from being sucked into some protests, others -- such as these -- can spawn rather unexpectedly and without much forewarning.  For this discussion, you are asked to consider that you are driving through an area not necessarily prone to violent demonstrations when suddenly a group of people march into the roadway blocking you, the motorists ahead of you, and the motorists behind you.  You are effectively "swarmed" by a mass of very angry individuals who appear to be engaged in a protest of some sort.

 

How would you respond?   What would your order of options be and how would you work through them to determine the best option given increasingly escalating hostility around you?

 

 

 

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Drive forward while accelerating. A vehicle makes a quite formidable weapon as well as a deterrent when operated correctly.

This actually happened once. We made a wrong turn in Hopkinsville while going to a motorcross track. Several “young gentlemen” lined up shoulder to shoulder blocking the road. We were in my buddie’s mom’s Cadillac. He asked what he should do. I told him if he wanted to get back home, his best option was to mash the accelerator. They promptly decided to yield the right of way to us.

Had we stopped, I doubt it would have turned out as well.

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A lot depends whether you are solo, have an abled body friend with you, or wife, kids , elderly family member.  If possible, turn around and leave even if this means driving against traffic or crossing a median or other boundary.  Unfasten seatbelt and stay in car.  Roll down window less that 1/2", makes it harder to break with impact.  Rolling down anymore and one can grab the top and simply pull until it breaks.  If car breached, only choice is to protect your life and/or others.  If solo, you may be able to exit your car and make a run for it.  For me, I've will always travel with a long gun just for this occasion. Very fluid and difficult situation.  Some decisions will be based on what you see happening to other vehicles and occupants. 

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Posted (edited)

I am very glad you have brought this up. My family and I have played this scenario out several times. We have a 5th wheel camper pulled by a Chevy 2500HD 4x4 diesel, aka plenty of power and torque. I add that note for possible get away driving. When we first started towing a camper and traveling (myself, wife and son now 13) I wanted to carry something other than the sidearm I carry, which at the time was a Kimber 1911 Ultra CDP II. Initially my concerns were for bear when we are camping in the mountains. I am no planning on actively hunting said bear but wanted a decent defense of said bear. I also started carrying a Kel Tec Sub 2000 in 9mm just for more shots. As civil unrest has spread I have gave up the Kel Tec and now haul an AR pistol on our trips with 6 30 round mags . I have since also changed sidearms, its now a S&W M&P Shield in 9mm with a total of 4 mags Thats the background.

Given the scenario, I hope to avoid it at all costs. Traveling with my family I hope to never, ever exchange gun fire with anyone. When we are on the road, the wife is usually on her phone looking at the maps/ news etc of our planned routes through cities. I have a scanner app on my phone that is bluetoothed to the trucks stereo. I dont usually have that app running. However as times are getting weird I do plan on having it active as we travel through larger cities on the interstate. Pulling a 35 ft 5th wheel isnt easy to turn around in tight or busy roadways so unless I plan to abandon the trailer (only in extreme cases) i am sort of stuck. I do plan to take alternate routes when ever reports of blocked roadways are aired. However there maybe a time when I cant avoid it. I do not plan to stop for them to attack me. I am usually in the right/slow lane and hope I can take the shoulder if needed. I plan to not shoot or ready a weapon unless violence starts. Then all bets are off, my life and my families life is the single most important thing at that time. I do not want to "spray and pray" shoot anyone, but I will be in 4 wheel drive at that point with no plans to stop, I will make headway at around around 10 mph, a bit slower if needed and much fast if warranted. 

Please discuss and point out my windows of fault and educate me how to better protect my family.

Edited by buck1032
Correct spelling

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It's one of those play it by ear things for me.  If they are just blocking the road and there are a few cars with me, I'd ride it out leaving enough space between me and the car in front of me to maneuver out of there if need be.  If the crowd starts getting hostile, breaking windows, trying to pull drivers out etc, then I would use the best weapon I have, my truck.  I'd only shoot if it looks like I can no longer move away from the scene, or if I see weapons being brought in.  I would look for and engage the immediate threats, call 911 (possibly already online with them by that time) to make sure someone knows what is going on, but the way things have been, there may be no help coming, so would act accordingly.  I refuse to go down without a fight, their cause is not my cause and they probably know it or don't care so doubt "clearer heads" on their side would help either.

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In your scenario your vehicle is blocked by other vehicles; so you aren’t using it for anything other than protection. It is now your Castle.

I’d wait them out. Unless they are dragging people out of their cars and executing them or beating them to death. At that point a tough decision would have to be made. Start dropping bodies, knowing that rounds are going to start entering your vehicle, or surrender and hope you and whoever is with you live through it. That choice would depend on who was with me and the situation at that moment. I can’t say for sure what I would do.

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Depends on who's in the vehicle and perceived attitude of the mob.  You said very angry, so... 

If that means they've got clubs at a minimum and are breaking windows and dragging people out... 

Get off the X. I make every effort to leave some maneuvering room between me and the car in front. If I've got to push another car out of the way or otherwise part the sea, so be it. I'll do whatever I can not to hurt anyone, but I'm getting my family out of there. 

If they're only beating on the cars with bare hands and making no attempt to enter the cars, then I'll do my best to keep cool and wait it out. Damage to my vehicle isn't worth hurting anyone. 

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This is a scenario where I'm glad I have dash cams in both vehicles. If they are just blocking the road and not threatening me I'm going to wait before just ramming a bunch of people. I'm not going to be the next Reginald Denny though. If it looks like they are going to do me harm then I'll do what I have to. I'm not going to get into specifics. 

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Very interesting thought experiment.

@buck1032, what's your break point for unhooking the 5th wheel if things are going bad? How long does that process take you? Can you abort half way through if things get much worse much quicker than anticipated? Would it make sense to simply plan your routes such that you always have the ability to maneuver as needed with it attached, and eliminate stops that don't meet that bar? (I.e., Don't go do touristy type stuff on side streets for the day until your 5th wheel is set up wherever you plan to leave it for that day, and once you're hooked up plan to travel to your destination with only required/ wide open stops...)

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2 hours ago, Erik88 said:

This is a scenario where I'm glad I have dash cams in both vehicles. If they are just blocking the road and not threatening me I'm going to wait before just ramming a bunch of people. I'm not going to be the next Reginald Denny though. If it looks like they are going to do me harm then I'll do what I have to. I'm not going to get into specifics. 

I am so glad that someone mentioned dash cams.  A recent article I read inspired me to not only put my cam back in my car but to upgrade it to a different model that has a camera for the front window and a separate camera for the back window.  The article brought to mind that you want factual evidence to support your account of any altercation rather than it be your word against the accounts of conspirators within the mob.

 

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At work I have to travel into the city on a daily bases. How I would handle this is stay put in my work van call 911, if things go south I will leave the van and run as fast as I can from the danger. No way would I wait for the mob to get to me.

After work I never travel into the city. However if I have to go through the city to get some where, I am watching the news, the map apps looking for any sign of trouble. My Mom and Dad live on the other side of the city from where I live, most trips involve 840.

I have a friend that is a local LEO, also a neighbor that is a county depute, both will give me info on what is going on.

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3 hours ago, TomInMN said:

Very interesting thought experiment.

@buck1032, what's your break point for unhooking the 5th wheel if things are going bad? How long does that process take you? Can you abort half way through if things get much worse much quicker than anticipated? Would it make sense to simply plan your routes such that you always have the ability to maneuver as needed with it attached, and eliminate stops that don't meet that bar? (I.e., Don't go do touristy type stuff on side streets for the day until your 5th wheel is set up wherever you plan to leave it for that day, and once you're hooked up plan to travel to your destination with only required/ wide open stops...)

Tom, To be honest, I have yet to think of a scenario where I would have to ditch the camper. What runs through my mind in this scenario is when we have towed our camper to Fort Wilderness Campground, which is Disneys campground. We drive through Atlanta usually around 8 or 9 pm. You cannot maintain a single lane and get where you want to go as the roads are constantly exit only, so I have to keep moving further away from the edge. And Atlanta traffic precludes leaving any out, via distancing while driving there. As I was once told by a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer, "Nature ahbors a vacuum." As soon as proper distancing is maintained some one will cut in and fill that void. 

As far as disconnecting, I can have it done quickly, less that two minutes if I have the remote in the cab of the truck. I can lower the landing gear from the remote. Once weight is off the hitch, I have to manually release it from the drivers side. Yes can abort and or reconnect just as quickly. 

We try not take the camper onto surface street as much as we can. We stick to the interstate and exit when we reach our destination. Yes there are always bathroom breaks and we try to hit rest stops for that and use our own toilet. 

I very much want to get a dash cam. In my usual procrastinating self, I havent made it happen yet. 

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David, there's nothing I can really add to this topic that will be of substance. But I do want to say that this is a very good thing to think long and hard on.

I no longer have a full size truck, so I'd consider my options limited in the case of pushing another vehicle aside. In consideration of our ages and very limited physical mobility; staying put inside the vehicle as long as possible is primary. 

After getting out, or being forcefully removed(and that's the only way I see us exiting in this situation), I think adrenalin and panic mode would probably set in. I'm certain my wife would be screaming, and that would get me going as well.

So eminent harm or injury would likely have me with a weapon in hand by then. 

I know that's not really the best thing, but to be truthful, that's likely what would happen with us. Nowhere near ideal, but at least I can face what my likely reaction would be.

I'll be watching this thread closely, in hopes of learning how better to react.

In an ideal world, this will never happen. Sadly none of us live there anymore.

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Posted (edited)

Depends on WHERE you are in the traffic.

the first thing is to call 911 if for no other reason than to get it on record what is happening. 

If you are the first car then keep moving if you can. I'm not talking about "drive through the crowd in Charlottesville " style, I'm talking about just rolling through slowly enough not to do any undue harm if possible. But again this depends on the mood of the crowd. People chanting and waving signs and people throwing bricks are two different things. And if someone kicks your car or hits it with a bat that is still not necessarily justification to shoot them (yet).

If it is obvious that they are "out for blood" then proceed as necessary. Drive around, through or over them if need be. 

 If that is not possible and you have the option to "safely" wait it out then that might be the best option but again, once the crowd gets violent it is a LETHAL situation and the "disparity of force" is through the roof. Respond as necessary. This is not the time for "well I only carry my gun every now and then". And if a J-frame and the 5 rounds in the cylinder is all you carry you might want to reconsider that. 

Is there a time to get out of the vehicle? Yes. If you are stuck in the middle of the traffic and they are setting cars on fire then you are going to have to do SOMETHING. That something might be get out and run , get out and try to help others get out of their cars (think elderly folks who might need help) or get out, grab your rifle and make things very loud. Obviously that is a last resort but I'd rather have that option and not need to use it than not have that as an option.

  If you have a passenger (passengers) this might change things. Who is the passenger? Your wife? Your wife and small children? Your teenage age daughters? Your SF friend who just got back from a deployment to Syria and you are coming home from the range? All of these details matter and will color what you do and frankly what you are able to do. 

The best place to be is NOT THERE. So if you can avoid it then avoid it, if you can drive around it, then drive around it if not and you can drive through it do that. Worst case is having to get out and solve this on foot. 

I was in Raymond Mississippi at the Rangemaster Master Instructor class when the widespread nationwide rioting kicked off on the night of May 28. We all were aware of the news as the class progressed from Fri-Sun. Virtually all of us were visitors to the area and would all have to make our ways home Sunday night after class. My plan was to  fill the car up before I left (I could make it all the way home on 1 tank of gas) , to simply stay on the interstate if possible, check in with friends along the way for a local reports of what was going on in their areas (I drove essentially diagonally through Alabama on 59 ) and to be ready to drive around or through any problems, and keep the AUG on the front seat for any potential problems that I could not drive around or through. People think you are crazy carrying a rifle and 7 mags with you until the rioting starts. Then you are a prophet.

Edited by Cruel Hand Luke
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On 6/16/2020 at 11:59 AM, chances R said:

Roll down window less that 1/2", makes it harder to break with impact.  

I understand the concept of making the window a little less rigid to lessen breakage if the rioter didn't have something like a crowbar, etc.   Is there any information you can link that tests the concept?    I did some very quick searching and didn't come across anything.    Not saying this is incorrect info, just wanting to educate myself.   

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4 hours ago, Cruel Hand Luke said:

People think you are crazy carrying a rifle and 7 mags with you until the rioting starts. Then you are a prophet.

You would be a hero to who ever you helped.

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I don't think that I have much to add that hadn't been said already.  My wife and I have discussed this exact scenario. I find it important to give yourself an escape route in traffic and attempt to escape first.  If that is not possible I would fear for my life when someone began beating on my windows with an object.  

DASH CAMS cheap insurance.  I run an apeman camera.  They can be had on Amazon for $35.  I've had mine for a year and it's been great.  A friend of mine drives a truck and runs one all of the time.  He is involved on 2-3 accidents most years when people cut in front of him and he can't stop.  His insurance company has been very thankful for his camera.  

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1 hour ago, 10-Ring said:

I don't think that I have much to add that hadn't been said already.  My wife and I have discussed this exact scenario. I find it important to give yourself an escape route in traffic and attempt to escape first.  If that is not possible I would fear for my life when someone began beating on my windows with an object.  

DASH CAMS cheap insurance.  I run an apeman camera.  They can be had on Amazon for $35.  I've had mine for a year and it's been great.  A friend of mine drives a truck and runs one all of the time.  He is involved on 2-3 accidents most years when people cut in front of him and he can't stop.  His insurance company has been very thankful for his camera.  

I've talked with my wife about it too, it's an important conversation to have. I don't care if you mash the car, just get outta there.  

The motorcycle background has me always thinking about an escape route. It bugs the crap outta me seeing these riders that stop about a foot dead center from the vehicle in front. If something happens, they're screwed. 

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1 hour ago, peejman said:

The motorcycle background has me always thinking about an escape route. It bugs the crap outta me seeing these riders that stop about a foot dead center from the vehicle in front. If something happens, they're screwed. 

 I could never understand this either. I would stop at least a cars length behind whatever was in front of me.

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Interesting thread. I think I'd try to do things in this order:

1. Avoid if at all possible. Call 911

2. Leave if possible.

3. If non-violent. Try to wait for the crowd to move on or police come.

4. If violent, use the vehicle as a battering ram to make room to escape.

5. Fire only if absolutely necessary. 

I've never really thought about a dash cam. But now, I do believe I'll look into it. 

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1 hour ago, Grayfox54 said:

Interesting thread. I think I'd try to do things in this order:

1. Avoid if at all possible. Call 911

2. Leave if possible.

3. If non-violent. Try to wait for the crowd to move on or police come.

4. If violent, use the vehicle as a battering ram to make room to escape.

5. Fire only if absolutely necessary. 

I've never really thought about a dash cam. But now, I do believe I'll look into it. 

Well stated and concise. I like that. Will be looking at dash cams too.

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Posted (edited)

I think a dash cam would be a good idea but I do have a question. I assume most if not all come with a microphone to record audio. Let's say you are stuck in the middle of a situation and while assessing the situation you utter some ill or choice words about the situation or the people causing the mayhem to either yourself or a passenger. If the situation were to require deadly force to save yourself or a loved one, I would think the audio may discredit the use of force because you showed some type of negative "bias" or "ill-will" prior to using force. I don't know if most people would remember that their words are also being recorded and think about what they say while a situation unfolds. What's y'all's thoughts?

Edited by lock n' load

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3 minutes ago, lock n' load said:

I think a dash cam would be a good idea but I do have a question. I assume most if not all come with a microphone to record audio. Let's say you are stuck in the middle of a situation and while assessing the situation you utter some ill or choice words about the situation or the people causing the mayhem to either yourself or a passenger. If the situation were to require deadly force to save yourself or a loved one, I would think the audio may discredit the use of force because you showed some type of negative "bias" or "ill-will" prior to using force. I don't know if most people would remember that their words are also being recorded and think about what they say while a situation unfolds. What's y'all's thoughts?

I’m a truck driver. A dash cam can hang your ass just as easily as it can save your ass. 

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4 hours ago, lock n' load said:

I think a dash cam would be a good idea but I do have a question. I assume most if not all come with a microphone to record audio. Let's say you are stuck in the middle of a situation and while assessing the situation you utter some ill or choice words about the situation or the people causing the mayhem to either yourself or a passenger. If the situation were to require deadly force to save yourself or a loved one, I would think the audio may discredit the use of force because you showed some type of negative "bias" or "ill-will" prior to using force. I don't know if most people would remember that their words are also being recorded and think about what they say while a situation unfolds. What's y'all's thoughts?

Well, you're in control of the dash cam, right?   So keep what you need and delete what doesn't work for you.  Do it before anyone else has access to it and you're good.  It's your property.  If you mess with it after anyone (LEO or anyone else) has access to it, then you're gonna be in a conflict about your own stuff.  That won't play out well.  My comments assume you're innocent.  If other evidence overwhelmingly indicates that you're not innocent,  then you might face a charge of destroying evidence, but if it gets that far you're already toast.  

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9 hours ago, lock n' load said:

I think a dash cam would be a good idea but I do have a question. I assume most if not all come with a microphone to record audio. Let's say you are stuck in the middle of a situation and while assessing the situation you utter some ill or choice words about the situation or the people causing the mayhem to either yourself or a passenger. If the situation were to require deadly force to save yourself or a loved one, I would think the audio may discredit the use of force because you showed some type of negative "bias" or "ill-will" prior to using force. I don't know if most people would remember that their words are also being recorded and think about what they say while a situation unfolds. What's y'all's thoughts?

I would guess disabling the audio recording would be fairly simple. 

I do not think editing the video prior to giving it to police is a good idea. Sounds a lot like evidence tampering to me, and only guilty people do that. 

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