Skip to content

How Does a Business Survive a Riot?

April 30, 2015


A shop owner in Baltimore asks you for advice about saving his store.  He’d like to survive the night.. and this weekend.  Assume he does not have insurance and can not walk away from his convenience store.  His store is a stand alone building several blocks from the first riots.  What should he do given 72 hours to prepare?

As usual, planning makes the mission easier.  What should store owners in other cities learn from the experience in Baltimore and Ferguson?  What would a reasonable business plan include given weeks to plan for such emergencies?

Some store owners have financial resources.  Other owners might only have $10k to spend.  What would you tell them to do?

Answers are in the comments.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. AnotherDave permalink
    April 30, 2015 10:39 pm

    72 hours is too short a time to contract for security shutters or roll-down doors. The best thing to do would be to act like you were doing hurricane prep and cover the windows now with 3/4″ plywood. Frame out the window area with 2-by-x lumber on 2′ centers and screw the plywood down. This will make the plywood covering the windows too thick and rigid to break through by hand. Install screens or covers on exterior lighting and add more fixtures if possible. Material to cover 300 sq ft of window can be had for less than $1,000 including buying power tools
    With more time (and money) security covers can be bought for windows, doors can be reinforced and extra alarms can be installed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. May 1, 2015 4:53 am

    Agreed he is behind the 8 ball now but Plywood over the windows. Have friends that are trained and armed on the property. Get training first and then purchase a handgun and at least a shotgun. Practice what you have been trained. I believe in almost all states arson is considered deadly force, therefor deadly force is justified.

    Get Training, Get Prepared, Practice what you have been trained.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. citizen permalink
    May 1, 2015 5:15 am

    In Ferguson, those business protected by owners and friends that were armed were not damaged.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. May 1, 2015 5:29 am

    From my friend Dave-
    I think the preferable option would be to leave. Let the hoodlums burn it to the ground, collect the insurance money, and never come back. Move to Free America. But if leaving is not an option, then all you can do is fight.

    Barricading with plywood, etc. is a good start, but as Michael Bane says, “If you can’t keep it, it’s not yours.” Gun up. (Long guns, preferably AR type) Bring friends. Set rooftop posts with mutually supporting fire and make range cards for each position. Firefighting detail with robust fire extinguishers downstairs, also with long gun security. Food and water for a few days, as well as comfort items like TP. Candles and/or Coleman lanterns for light. Coleman stove for heating water and food as necessary. Spare batteries for flashlights. Combat first aid kit. Sleeping bags.

    Then set a watch rotation and sleep plan and stand by. Smoke the first joker who steps up with a Molotov cocktail. Then smoke the one who steps forward to pick it up. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May 1, 2015 5:30 am

    From my friend Miguel-
    There is security in numbers, there is more security in armed numbers. So yes, friends with long guns. At least four at any given time.

    Signage: YOU LOOT. WE SHOOT has proven effective in the past. Obviously there needs to be a visual confirmation for the unbeliever.

    Those two would be my bare minimum.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. May 1, 2015 5:35 am

    From my friend, George-
    Do riots have triggering events?
    It is too late to do anything once they start. You have days of warning now. Don’t be a target. Talk to the cops. You want THEM standing in front of your store.. and find out if they won’t be there.

    Get your car off the street. Get your self off the street. Don’t go into the flow of people. Treat it like a flood.
    If you rent, then move. If you own a home, then move your valuables.

    Tacticool clothes? Should you try to blend in more, or is the carrying capacity of the clothing worth not looking like everyone else?

    Gun owners will be blamed if they defend themselves. What can we do to minimize the media propaganda from armed self-defense? Do what the Koreans in LA did.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. May 1, 2015 5:38 am

    From my friend Charles-
    1) Board windows and paint the boards with peace signs.
    2) Get a shotgun, and a bunch of birdshot, #8. MOUNT the gun where it can be deployed quickly.
    3) Recruit friends to stay on roof in shifts with an FRS FM radio. Equip each with a fire extinguisher. Make sure each has a pair of thick gloves.
    4) Read the laws on the use of force.
    5) Get some large capacity pepper spray cans, which may be illegal in Maryland.
    6) Purchase and wear armor. Get some used motorcycle helmets and keep them at ready.
    7) Construct some shields and have them ready to use.
    8) Have back-up baseball bats strategically staged for quick deployment.
    9) Have a pressurized water hose at the ready.
    10) Purchase extra fire extinguishers and have them ready.
    11) Lay in a small stick of boarding lumber in case the stuff out front gets torn off or a new hole develops.
    12) Broadcast hymns that can be heard outside, such as “Amazing Grace,” and “Old Time Religion.”
    13) Keep the keys handy to lock the door, and have a bracing system for the door.
    14) Keep a charged SCUBA tank inside with multiple regulators, in case people are trapped inside the burning building.
    15) Get some gas masks.
    16) Keep enough food and water inside to survive a few days if trapped.
    17) Keep all store documents in a fire proof safe.
    18) Try to make friends with one or two beat cops who know the score, and tell them your plans, EXCEPT for the guns.
    19) Have a back-up generator if possible.
    20) Have a bible inside and read it between customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. May 1, 2015 5:41 am

    From my friend Layla- I like the idea of “prepare as if for a hurricane”. Take the most valuable items and lock them in an interior room or even just hide them in plain boxes.
    I’d also buy a shotgun, if I didn’t already have one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. May 1, 2015 8:00 am

    From my friend Stephen-
    I’d definitely fortify the store physically, particularly with protection against breakage of windows (e.g., plywood mounted on solid framework so that blows to the plywood would not transfer to the glass.)
    Look into temporary chain-link fencing.
    Stockpile firefighting equipment, gas masks, etc.
    Have alternate communication available. Ham radio is nice if users are licensed but there are shorter-range radios that don’t require licensure. Be aware that texting may be more viable when traffic is high than voice calls. (Texts use different frequencies and are instantaneous packets.)
    Make sure that there is some form of video recording of approaches to the premises.

    Check the legality of less-lethal options, such as pepper balls, pepper foggers, etc.
    Seek alliances with neighboring business owners as well as friends who would help defend the store.
    Make sure that everyone involved knows the laws justifying the use of different levels of force. For example, in most states, it is justified to prevent the arson of an occupied structure.
    Depending on the structure, some people with firearms and less-lethal weapons could be stationed on the roof.
    Depending on the political climate, possibly coordinate with police, including a plan to identify defenders from looters.
    Assess local media for friendly contacts. I’d to count on national media to provide friendly coverage of such defense unless it is fed to them by local affiliates.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. May 3, 2015 9:07 am

    From my friend Ben-
    Make friends with the cops and ask employees, family, and friends for help. The more people with you the better. It’s a shitty situation, unless you use more force then them, they are going to come through.

    Guns are the equalizer. You need as many long guns as possible. Shotguns, not for the racking noise but the noise and deviation it makes when fired.

    2 Huge things people don’t know or forget about a crowd; when they outnumber you they will overrun you. Have an escape or fallback positions planned.

    You have to get out in front and be ultra aggressive to break the crowd’s momentum and will. In the LA riots business owners firing with AK style rifles into the crowd from their roofs. That worked very effectively. Scaring people probably won’t work you have to break the will of the crowd psychologically.

    Given time, make barricades in the street around the store and try to funnel the crowd in different directions to make smaller elements. My favorite material is rolls of concertina wire. Create 2 lines of wire. Use the first line to break and funnel the crowd. The second line is closer to the store. This is the perimeter that no one crosses no matter what. The first person that jumps the wire will have to become a example for the rest or it won’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: