How to Survive When You’re the Target of an Angry Mob

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I’m sure you’ve seen the video below by now. Political activists/bullies, encroaching on people’s space to make their point, and, more importantly here, trying to intimidate the people into giving up their freedom to give the rioters their way.

The first thing I want to say about this is it is a difficult situation. Especially the more middle class you are, or the more formal the setting you are in. The first difficulty is overcoming your upbringing and being able to shift gears out of the dining mindset into the confrontation/defense mindset. As I wrote about earlier, mindset is your friend here. You are just there to do the job at hand.

Related: Why Changing CHAZ to CHOP is Actually a Very Big Deal

Doing the job, however, requires a few things to find the proper response.

You really need to be able to read the crowd, both the other diners and the thugs demanding your obeisance to their worldview. Can you count on help from others in the diner crowd? Maybe, but “hope” is not a plan, and you cannot count on it. The most important read you can do is on the thugs/activists.

You need to assess, rapidly, their dedication to their cause. Look for obvious clues to how violent they might be:

  • Are there any weapons visible?
  • Are they patterned in a way that provides you a more clear route to exfiltrate?

You need to be able to do this unobtrusively, quickly, and be able to process the information to make a plan of action.

Related: Selco-Mob Mentality And the TRUTH About Protests

There are a few basic courses of action you can take.

The first is to sit there and take it. This may sound glib, but it is not. If your threat assessment determined that they are just going to yell and scream, you can just wait it out. Obviously, threat assessment must be ongoing, because it can change at the drop of a hat.

Always be looking for routes of escape, and don’t limit yourself to the obvious ones. If it gets bad enough, people make wonderful objects to break windows or drywall to make an emergency exit with.

Sitting there and taking it was the course of action the lady in the video chose, and in this case, it worked.

The next thing you can do is to get up and make your way inside the establishment and use that changed environment to get to the exit and leave. Unfortunately, you need to stay aware of the crowd you are escaping from. A mob is very susceptible to prey drive.

As my friend Rory Miller says, they can and will escalate to violence for several reasons, including to prove they belong to the group, and you are an outsider.

Using your cell phone to call the police is an option but seems to be a low return option at this point. Due to the civil unrest/riots everywhere, they may not have resources available to help you.

What if none of these options work? Move to “desperate options”

The next options are for when your threat assessment determines that it has the potential for violence, or it is now, actively, becoming violent. Beware, these options are hard and dark.

Aggressive Escape is the first “desperate option” we will cover. Using this option, violence comes first but is not the main point of the exercise. Basically, what you are doing is picking one of the opposing crowd, and attacking them violently to make a hole you can get through.

If you hurt one of the crowd, you need to make your escape as fast as you can, as the thugs will try to get payback on you for the damage and pain you have caused. If possible, use a weapon. If you do not have one on you, a restaurant is chock-full of useful tools. A water glass driven into an eye socket or the bridge of the nose. A dinner plate, edge first to the throat, or salt/pepper shakers to the temples, candles into the eyeballs.

I’m sure you get the picture.

Related: On-Demand Webinar With Selco-Civil Unrest and Riots

The crowd has turned into a violent mob, what NOW?

Next, we get to the most serious scenario. Your threat assessment has determined violence is imminent or the crowd is becoming a violent mob. This is the time to become very matter of fact and know what job you need to do.

In my classes, I simply call these things ‘maiming’, and it is only for very serious situations. This is where you begin taking people apart. We have all heard the jokes about throat punching… This is what it is for. Steak knives, gouging eyes, ripping noses, fish hooking, vile things made to make your attackers back up so you can keep making your way to escape.

There is no way to make this nice, and I want to reiterate, this is for the worst-case scenario, and it can be nasty. This is where you only do things if your life is truly in danger, and you are doing this to escape and get your people to safety.

I’d like to close this by addressing things and questions that have come up in classes or emails.

What about stun guns?

I think they are worthless. My friends and I would play tag with them when we were younger. The only thing they are good for, in my opinion, is to make a quick hole to get through in a crowd. They are not a good choice.

What about pepper spray?

Pepper spray should be thought of as an eye jab in a can, a quick distraction to either escape or launch a stronger attack with a better weapon. It is a bonus that you can beat people with the can when it is empty. If you are going to use it to make an escape opening, please use 15% or better, and spray it either directly in to the face of one person, and make sure they get all of it, or, spray in a wide ‘S’ pattern too get more people.

Bear spray or pepper grenades are awesome, but I don’t think even I would be carrying those to a nice dinner downtown.

Is a gun the ultimate solution?

Well, maybe. It depends. That would be a giant can of worms to discuss here. Suffice to say that during a mob encounter, there are some things you need to think about and practice. Be prepared for serious legal ramifications in our current climate.

Mob violence is becoming more of a normal feature of modern life in the US.

Unfortunately, the dynamics of crowd violence and mob mentality make dealing with or planning for this type of encounter difficult at best. There are no good options, and you must be able to switch tactics on the fly.

As always, awareness is your best friend and primary warning system.

Stay safe.


About Terry

Terry Trahan has been a long term martial artist and teacher of personal protection, as well as an author for numerous publications. His experiences from being a gang member, enforcer, protection specialist, and bouncer have given his teachings a strong bent towards the practical. Fighting his way out of extreme poverty and some unsavory environs also gives him insight into survival and everyday life not often commented on. He can be contacted at terry.trahan at

Terry Trahan

Terry Trahan

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  • Thanks, Terry. What about wasp spray? In some places pepper spray or mace are illegal, but wasp spray is legal everywhere. I’ve heard it is effective, but after a recent encounter with aggressive wasps, that large can of spray was short lived.

    • The thing you have to think about is – are you actually going to have a large can of wasp spray in your purse? Sure you might have it at home but whatever your choice is has to be something you carry around with you. I believe that is why Terry said that bear spray was unlikely in the article.

    • Wasp spray is not effective at all.A quick search of YouTube will find videos showing its ineffective effects on people. Use of it in a manner for which it isn’t intended is also a federal offense.Carry pepper spray unless you’re preparing for an attack by wasps.

    • Fina look it up on YouTube. You’ll see wasp spray is NOT effective and there is this little label on the back that says “it is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”
      OC is legal whereas wasp spray is not necessarily.
      The amount of false information on preparedness websites is astounding.

    • If you read the label on that can of wasp spray you’ll see a statement that it is a violation of federal law to use the product in any manner other than the one for which it is intended.

    • This time, I read the comments before reading the article & you made me LOL!!! Yes, the article & topic are very important but at least I got a laugh first.

      And BTW, from another recent article & comments, a post on protecting your property would be very welcome.

  • The Marxists are planning/pushing the rest of us to begin to fight back. Once we escalate the situation they will as well until Civil War happens. The American Think site today has a piece showing Heels Up Harris on the Colbert show explaining how ” The Riots won’t stop even after the Election and should NOT STOP until all of their goals are met”. What like AOC & Bernie as our new Masters?

      • PEDANTIC:
        1. Pointing out unnecessary minutiae in order to call attention to one’s
        own supercilious pretentiousness.
        2. YOU (see example #1)

    • I’m getting tired of hearing “The Marxists” this and “The Marxists” that. We’re talking about people. Human beings, who are actually just cave men living in modern environments. Us Capitalists are just as evil. While the Marxists (and I mean REAL Marxists, not hoodlums so labeled for convenience or defamation) view the world differently than we do, and then do some pretty horrible things to achieve their goals, us purportedly “democratic capitalists” have overthrown democratic countries all over the world, installing murderous, thieving, despotic dictators who massacre their own populations. And why? Because some corporation will benefit. Or because some idiot politician decides that we have the right to tell other nationals how they should lead their lives, and in the process it’s fine that we kill millions.
      So there’s a lot of idiotic protesting now. And, yes, a bunch of violent destruction of property. Some years ago, a friend of mine interviewed a protestor involved in that period’s craziness. The guy acknowledged that he didn’t care one way or the other about the issue – he was being paid to protest. Herd insanity aside, I wonder how many of the violent types are lured to the site of these protests by agitators who care nothing about the real issues being screeched about, and who are either being paid to do their horror, or are led to such actions so they can blame the peaceful protestors and falsely demonstrate how evil their cause is.
      Reality is often far different than what we perceive it to be. And this is a great example of that.

      • Nobody cares if your tired of it. The leader of one of the main two group, causing trouble, openly states that she is a Marxist. If you don’t like the capitalist place your in then leave. We also know there are tons of paid protestors and their day of reckoning is coming too. Selling out your country rarely goes well in the end.

      • What you are forgetting is that someone (or a group of someones) is funding this terrorist activity – and they are likely complicit in skewing our capitalist system to the extent that you are condemning capitalism – point your fingers where they should be pointed, it is not the people or the system – it is those we hired to manage things – they took advantage of their positions and it has taken a while for the general public to see the truth and begin to act.

        So while the “soldiers, footmen, minions, useful idiots”, may not know or care why they are there, they will continue to come because they are being paid to do so (or they are defective individuals and enjoy the mayhem and sense of “power”). They may be the pawns but the knights and bishops and queens are preparing to launch their attack when the front line opens. We must get past our normalcy bias, believe our eyes and stand up.

        Interesting that suddenly the entire world is “racist”, and there are protests and lockdowns and abuse of power. Kinda sounds like a bigger chess board than just the U.S. to me and we should be worried as it is indeed farther reaching than we perceive and it is going to be tough removing this tumor – it has tentacles.

  • ‘ol Remus, bless his heart – sure do miss him, always said, “Stay away from crowds.”

    Between politics and CoViD19 it’s probably best in today’s atmosphere to just stay home.

    • The problem is now they are even coming to your home. They are slowly coming to the suburbs as I hear of it much more often now.

      In some instances they have trapped people inside and set the place on fire. Commercial and I heard of one instance with a home I think?

      On the whole it is a good idea to stay home. But what is ones recourse if stuck in house or building?

      • Kris, please link articles as ive found nothing confirmed on mobs burning people’s homes after trapping them inside or even going to suburbs and simply burning homes.. There have been several rumors but nothing confirmed and the police in those towns where burning/looting has happened have confirmed nothing like this has happened. Would like confirmation on this.

      • If you let them get to your house you’ve messed up. That property line is the FPL Final Protective Line. That is the last place you want to fight a war. Make no mistake this isn’t the same as a burglary it is a war. You’ve got to own the real estate, not by deed or title, by force. The plan isn’t to fight at your doorstep it’s to stop them before they ever hit a side street.
        I know this isn’t the law and I know this isn’t what we are taught being civilized but it’s what’s necessary to stay alive.
        Look at the couple who had to defend after they broke through the gate and marched down the street and into their yard. That gated area was the battleground if done properly. That’s the choke point you stop them.

      • Body found in burned out building after rioting in Minneapolis.

        This is not even a “maybe”. Any mob of people willing to beat, shoot and maim, to loot and destroy, to burn down shops, public buildings and apartments will not stop because they might endanger an occupant. Of COURSE they will kill people if convenient. If anyone reading this does not realize that, then pardon my French, but open your eyes and grow the Hell up.

        As for the question of being stuck in a burning house:
        1) Don’t be there. Leave early.
        2) Have a back door. Leave through that if possible.
        3) Leave however you can, try to mingle and blend with the crowd but keep moving away.
        4) Leave through the front door and if anyone tries to impede you in any way, shoot them in the head.
        5) Stay and pray for salvation when you die.

        Notice there is no “negotiate peace with the mob.” Your chances of success with 5) are higher than that.

  • I think Terry nailed it, but don’t eat outside the restaurant as then you’d become a more obvious target. Also, even if you don’t or can’t carry a gun, carry a knife. Personally, I think we should all carry both. An armed society is a polite society.

  • That video is a good example of the “It could never happen here!” mentality.

    Sure, it is easy to say, “Dont be there!”
    But where is “there” anymore? Could be anywhere and everywhere.
    Unless you want to stay at home all the time.

    Having worked in food and bev for a number of years, if you can, get up and walk out the back door, service entrance. Pay your bill first and tip your service person too. 🙂

    • Pay your bill first? Are you insane? Get the hell out of there, you can call the restaurant later (from a much safer environment) with your credit card number and an explanation.

  • 1. Situational Awareness This is taught to the military and is applicable to everyone. Always check out the location. If it looks dangerous, leave immediately.
    2. Always look for an exit and sit as close to it as possible (if it is a restaurant).
    3. Always carry a firearm (if you live in a CCL state, if you don’t the move to one).
    4. If an angry mob is attacking (and you’ve done nothing to provoke them) and you have no way to escape, then you have no choice. You must consider your life is at risk, and you must use lethal force to extradite yourself from it. If it has deteriorated to this point , there is no time to give a warning.
    5. Never travel alone at night.
    6. The America you used to live in is no more. If you live in a “blue” state , you are living in a 3rd world situation like Afghanistan where everyone carries an AK47.0
    7. You should recognize this as what it is. The beginning of the 2nd Civil War (see 1.)

  • One thing I noticed that was not brought up in the article or in the comments (yet) is that towards the end of the video, an aggressor is pointing in the woman’s face asking if she’s a Christian. What the heck does that have to do with the situation? There is an all out attack on faith, Christianity in particular. When one has faith, whether Christianity or any other faith, your hope does not lie in the government as your “Savior” and answer to all your problems. That is unacceptable to any Marxist. Just saying.

  • We should all be aware that we are being filmed by many people in the crowd with their cell phones. I would want to make sure that whatever is recorded shows that I was not the aggressor and only acted in self-defense.

  • Isn’t the point of going to a restaurant supposed to be relax? If you even have to consider bringing or improvising weapons then it seems pointless going to the restaurant.

    This is what the deep state has planned all along to kill small businesses like restaurants:
    *Pandemic hysteria to scare customers away
    *Limited opening that barely allows restaurant owners to tread water, i.e. physical distancing demands that physically limit the amount of paying customers
    *Demoralising & distracting police such that their numbers are insufficient to deter & stop mob violence

    This is becoming more like Baghdad, where heavily armed mercenaries are required to patrol & guard 4-star hotels, to the point where a meal costs $50+ per person. Is local government willing to reduce taxes & red tape in order to allow restaurant owners to afford hiring Blackwater guards? Will there be a proliferation of neighbourhoods within cities resembling fortified walled compounds seen in South Africa?

    • There already is, and they’re called gated communities. Glad you brought up South Africa; learn all you can about it because it is indeed a blueprint for where we are presently headed, and much sooner than we’d like to think it to be.

      You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.

  • Great article.
    Most people have forgotten about taking personal responsibility for their lives and safety. They have come to rely on the Government ( police, etc) to take care of them.

    The next is, Group responsibility or Civic responsibility. When the government won’t or cant protect you, then it is up to a group to form to protect one another and the weaker elements of Society, from the mob, thugs. etc.
    Vigilante’s, Militia and the like minded groups have been given a bad name. Sometimes rightly so.
    However they have a place in History of providing the Protection to Society( and its members), when the established governments fail to do so.
    Like anything else, they can be used for Good or for bad purposes.
    ANTIFA, BLM and the rest are Bad versions of the above groups. You will never hear the Media call them that but that is what they are.

    In the end the only way they will be stopped is by Good groups standing up to them. As the Police and the Government have no real way to deal with them. Otherwise they will keep getting worse and worse, bolder and bolder, more and more violent. Until they get their way or are stopped.

    So understand that this is not a passing phase (so called protests), but a soft form of war, in order to subvert society to their power and control. So it will only grow worse until they Win or are Defeated.

    • Boy did you just make an excellent point! I hope anyone reading will give serious thought to what you have written.

      Indeed, these groups do not seem to be going away. A form of soft war-yes I can see the wisdom in this.

      There is strength in numbers. I see these groups picking on easy targets and a lot of folks doing nothing to help the victim/target. Good people need to start getting involved so they cease to be easy targets. There are examples of this such as was posted here about Cour de Lane Idaho.
      We don’t have to play the thugs games but we are gonna have to start helping one another.

  • My arm would come up, but it wouldn’t be in a fist. Let’s just say that not all of the fingers would be curled back to my palm.
    Then the pepper spray would come out.
    I am so sick and tired of these people and their nonsense.

  • This is a compelling case that has been on my mind a lot. We can be shocked at these bully tactics no more. It is becoming a “norm” — which is hopefully unacceptable to most Americans.

    The first thing that stood out to me was her posture. Casual and submitted. “Eh, no big deal here.” I understand that the context in which she found herself involved other patrons in the restaurant joining in and raising their fists. Too easy. In the end, the guy on her right says something about her ability to stand her ground and the crowd’s threatening posture then appears to stop. I think she is a very lucky lady that they didn’t feel like beating her up. Don’t know if I would’ve handled it any better. She may have stayed put just out of curiosity. She does appear to be trying to talk back to them. I probably would’ve let my “silent violence” be my free speech like the Covington Kid.

    Because they were making the rounds to all the diners to get them to submit to their cause, it should’ve been the first signal to get up and leave as quickly and unnoticed as possible out the nearest exit or like you’re making for the bathroom.

    The restaurant bears some responsibility for the comfort of their diners. Were the staff melting into the wallpaper or did they let them in for fear of reprisals?

    This whole thing feels kind of like an absurd set up — as in — Be afraid, be very afraid, we’re coming for you, anywhere and everywhere. Intimidation to keep us holed up in our homes without a life. Funny, I like my life at home all the more. My food is better anyways.

  • I dunno, this all sounds pretty extreme. Definitely look for support in the crowd even among your tormenters – perhaps pretend to have a disability, look at them with a confused look and point to your ear to indicate you are deaf, maybe search through your pockets or purse pretending to find something to write with, meantime be planning your escape route and take while they are mildly distracted or bored with you.

  • If this were to happen to me, the closest person would be getting knocked out. Man or woman. And if need be the Glock gets drawn. 99% of these scum are sheep. When someone like myself drops the first 1,2 or 3 they scatter like the cockroaches they are. Folks, if you live in these suck areas, have a weapon and know how to use it. More so, be willing to use it. If you have issues with carrying weapons wherever you go or issues with having to potentially use them on another human being, do yourself a favor, staying home will be your best course of action. Now is the time to be a lion, not a sheep. It’s a cruel mindset, but you are only fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

    • Unfortunately, in our “modern” world you would be the one arrested.
      That’s why I mentioned pepper spray. See my comment above.
      I am always armed, and have been virtually daily since I was in my early 20’s. There are times when using it could be necessary, but pulling a gun at random in the above situation would only escalate things

      • In dire situations such as described here, if you worry about being arrested you’re likely to be killed. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. The first and foremost obligation of any governing body is to protect its constituents, if they fail to enforce their laws and protect those abiding by them, all bets are off. This is why one doesn’t simply “learn how to use a gun”, but learn how to use it as a marksman, as if your life depended on it, because it does. A firearm is like a parachute; if you don’t have one when you need one and know how to properly use it, you’ll probably never need one again.

  • In lieu of the understandable talk about weapons and such, it seems it might be better to sue these people, if she can figure out who any of them are. That sort of proactive response might be the best way to encourage protesters like these to maintain social distancing and avoid physically threatening behavior.

    Granted, lawsuits would be too late to go back and fix the situation captured in this video. But they might discourage other such situations in the future.

    • The typical retainer fee for an attorney is $50 grand, up front, with no guarantee as to the outcome. And that’s just for starters.

  • Where are all the black BLM people? Makes me wonder how much all these white folks are getting paid to do this. I think that would have been my question in a situation like this but probably not smart to ask.

  • My back ground is work in protective services (child, adult) as a public health nurse. I’m a large older (69-year-old) caucasion woman. I’ve considered how I would respond after viewing this video. While assessing the nature of this type of crowd, I would note that it consists of mostly young, immature white adults. I would sit there quietly with my head down praying, giving no feedback whatsoever, until they moved on. Remember the Catholics who prayed aroung the statue of Louis the 9th in St. Louis to prevent the lunatics from tearing it down? If this did not work I would look at them with a “Gray Rock” demeanor–that can be frightening. I would not engage them in any contact or reasonable conversation. Then I might minic having a heart attack–haha!!!! Sorry, I do not have the strength or agility to get physical. I don’t own a gun. I would not comply and I would not give them what they want; it’s like ignoring a 2 year old having a tantrum. Like dealing with bullies on the playground. Unbelievable. Blessings to you all.

  • It is strange living in Portland. Nightly protests with only more rage and displaced hate occurring nightly from people that have forgotten what they were originally protesting about.
    A couple weeks ago, I was awoken at 0100 by explosions. The PPB was clearing the situation… after several hours of having frozen eggs, rocks, paint thrown at them. Not to mention the hours of chants and expletives being hurled. Several neighbors have sold their homes due to the proximity to the Kelly building on E. Burnside.
    The circus has come to town and shows no sign of leaving.

    Remus was right. Avoid crowds.

  • learn to use a knife for self defense……or don’t ……your call. And if you think all knives are banned everywhere, get your head OF TWITTER and FACEBOOK and look up knife laws where you live. Almost ALL states and cities will allow knives of some sort……and ANY knife can be an excellent defensive weapon…………with training………..of don’t worry about it….and hope these animals will not kill you…

  • question…..

    what do you do if protesters are blocking roads and jumping up and down on your car, banging on your windows screaming.

  • It doesn’t have to be a sidewalk cafe. Those that say “avoid the situation” have to remember there is nothing preventing these people from entering your congregation. While I have no doubt Mohammedans would work together to implement a beat down on the invaders, I’m not so sure “Christians” would do so even when together and even with their families present.

    This situation has to be addressed by you, your family your congregation. You need to rehearse it in your mind. What if your children are in a classroom during the service do you have plan to collect them?

  • Avoid all of this and don’t be there in the first place. Situational awareness above all else. You ‘win’ 100% of the fights you don’t have.

    People demonstrably aren’t able to converse with one another in a civil fashion about anything and convincing anyone of your own specific world view serves no purpose other than massaging your ego. We’ve way past the point of any of this mattering. Get your food source right, get good with loved ones & people in your immediate circle, people next door etc etc far too much to be getting on with.

    Outside is all grey man. Sing along with this people, high fives, and make your way to the back and f&ck off back home.

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