In Philadelphia, a group of kids ranging from teenagers all the way down to eleven years old, coordinated using their phones and their social networking services to simultaneously attack innocent citizens walking down the street in a well-to-do restaurant district. Drivers stopped at stoplights were even pulled out of cars and pommeled with broken street signs before the youngsters ran off laughing.
In 2011, Wisconsin State Fair patrons watching their kids ride the ferris wheel or try their hand at popping a balloon with a dart were instantaneously mobbed by a riotous group of men and women. At the designated time and signal, moms and dads, husbands and wives, were indiscriminately punched and stomped on as the mob grew in number and headed further into the city street traffic to wreak even more havoc on honest, upstanding citizens.
This new threat of violence is known as a flash mob and it’s happening with split second precision in even the most unlikely areas you may be frequenting. Now is the time to prepare for fast response as your life, as well as the lives of your loved ones, could be endangered.
What is a Flash Mob?
Many people think of flash mobs in terms of harmless YouTube videos of people doing something silly or funny, such as when a large group of people in costumes swarm a store and reenact a scene from a movie. All too frequently, however, a flash mob is not a harmless expression of speech and the right to assemble.
In fact, flash mobs are the latest trend in quickly formed, highly synchronized near-riots. Their motives could be racial, or simply an arranged thrill attack on any nearby citizen. They are aided and coordinated by and through social networks, mobile phone, and tablet computers. Through prior planning, large groups of people are enticed into participation of seemingly “random acts of anarchy” – all arriving at the same place at the same time in the blink of an eye. One minute there is no problem, and the next minute, a dedicated and purpose-built mob has formed.
The Danger Of A Flash Mob
The term fits the crime. “Flash” for you means there’s little time to react. By the time you realize an attack is underway, you may only have mere seconds to get yourself and your loved ones to safety.
“Mob” is every bit as dangerous as that term implies – a group of cowardly thugs who, en masse, can create a powerful wave of destruction with little chance of being caught and held accountable. Getting caught up in one could lead to serious injury or death, from the flash mob’s participants.
Even if the flash mob doesn’t target you specifically, the resulting stampede from victims fleeing the carnage could trample over you or a loved one.
Here are some critical tactics that can save your life in a flash mob…
Pre-Plan An Escape Route. Whenever you’re in public – no matter if you’re in a restaurant or a busy city street – always be conscious of potential escape routes. Remain vigilant of your surroundings and always ask yourself, “If an attack were to break out right now, where would I run to escape?” Knowing that answer means faster reaction time should a flash mob riot breakout.
Don’t be a superhero. You can’t fight a flash mob – only escape it. No matter what your level of training or sense of justice, don’t attempt to face the attackers with the intent on stopping them. Unless you’re able to safely save someone who is being victimized by a flash mob attacker, quickly locate the nearest path of escape and get to it fast.
Dont show your weapon. Even if you’re legally licensed to carry a firearm, a flash mob attack is not your opportunity to yank out your gun and wave it around. Simple math will likely offer the advantage to a mob over the of bullets you’re carrying. Besides, it could make you more of a target – either from one of the mob participants who wants your gun or even responding police who could misidentify you as an “active shooter” and shoot you amidst the chaos. Instead, keep your weapon hidden and handy, ready to bring into action should you be directly facing a life threatening assault.
Stay away from storefronts. In the melee of a flash mob, your reptilian brain will seek out a fast safe haven and the lights of a convenient store will naturally attract your focus. Wrong answer. While it may look safe, opportunistic anarchists often resort to looting when the adrenaline is riding high and they feel there’s no of getting caught. These types of locations are magnets for violence and looting during a riot.
Don’t swim upstream. If you’re caught up in a wave of fleeing citizens, immediately run along their same path to avoid getting trampled. Your next goal is to get out of their way as fast as possible so look for an exit where you can quickly duck to safety. A hotel is a good choice as it’s likely loaded with people with many inherent escape routes for evading rioters.
Get out of tight spaces. Oftentimes in a public venue, you can get trapped in the crowd or you may need to bypass a crowded area to get to safety. Just as if you were trying to make your way to the front of the audience at a crowded concert, feel for the natural “wave” of crowd movement and slide your way along to the edge where you can escape. If that fails, yell out, “I’m going to throw up.” and take advantage of the newly created exit path.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Rather than taking on the attackers or looking like an easy target, pretend you’re one of them to avoid being targeted. If they’re yelling, screaming and laughing… yell, scream and laugh right along with them. Stomp on a street sign… skip around like a madman having a blast… and “invisibly” move to safety as fast as possible. Just be sure to not cross the legal lines in your actions and be conscious of police response. You don’t want to be mistaken for a real rioter and pay the price.
Prepare Yourself for Flash Mobs Now
Avoiding a flash mob is the key to surviving one. But the very nature of this new violent trend is that it strikes fast and furious where least expected. When you can’t avoid an attack, you have to know the nuts and bolts of escaping and evading a mob to get yourself and those you protect to safety.