100 Shoppers Became Hostages in a NY Protest. Here’s How to Survive in a Protest Turned Hostage Situation

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Last week, the Daily Wire shared a story from Rochester, NY, about BLM activists marching through town and ending up at a Wegmans grocery store, shutting it down and trapping 100 shoppers inside. Leaving any political thoughts and commentary out of it, I think it is evident this is a severe escalation of direct action and a potentially dangerous situation.

After this story was forwarded to me, I searched the media outlets. I did not see this story mentioned anywhere the majority of people would get their news. Going back to an earlier article I wrote about information sources, this shows how little faith we should put into MSM to make actionable plans.

UPDATE: Wegmans posted a tweet Tuesday afternoon informing the public that customers were allowed out of the store, though it remains closed.

“Our East Ave. store in Rochester, NY is currently closed due to protest activity taking place outside of the store,” the tweet said. “At this time, no customers remain in the store, and the doors will remain closed. Our number one priority is the safety of our employees and customers.”

Hostage-taking as a form of protest is STILL hostage-taking

Plain and simple.

This potentially very dangerous situation will mark a change. In both direct actions taken by activist a**holes and in how we engage and respond. It is a felony criminal act and we need to treat it as such. In case you do not follow this kind of thing, this is a favorite technique of terrorist organizations.

I do count this as a terrorist act, as it uses terror or force to effect political change.

Anytime a group of people wants to take away your ability to leave, it never is for a good reason. Going to a secondary criminal location is a horrible idea. Being at a static location at the mercy of an angry mob whose rage is directed at you or the group you represent is an equally terrible idea. 

How to prepare yourself for a hostage or kidnapping situation

There is a small window of opportunity at the start of an event like this. The window to do so without much confrontation or higher-level violence is fleeting. Luck and positioning are your best hope of egressing successfully and making your way out. Before you get caught up in this type of attack, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of surviving.  

FIRST: Engage your awareness and pay attention to what is going on around you. That is something you should be doing at all times. The sooner you can recognize what is happening, the sooner you can put your mind to work coming up with workable solutions.

SECOND: Game it out in your mind. In a way, we are lucky this situation played out how it did, with no casualties or difficulties beyond an inconvenience to those held against their will. It allows us to see this type of action is possible, giving us time to game it out. Take this opportunity to make a checklist in your mind of things you can do if you get caught up in something like this.

What to do if you find yourself in a hostage or kidnapping situation

Keywords to remember: Escape & Evasion.

Immediately start scanning the location. Come up with multiple ways to get out of that location. In this era of big box stores, this is made more difficult by the type of construction used, but it is far from impossible. Possible routes of egress are everywhere. 

  • In a retail establishment, especially a large one that receives product shipments, there are huge giant exits in the rear of the building. In most cases, unless the terrorists are well trained and professional, the back of the building is most likely minimally unguarded, if at all.
  • Most malls have multiple service corridors that lead outside, and windows can be broken to exit.
  • In some types of businesses, you can move between the different stores by breaking the drywall.
  • Something not many people think of is going up to go out. Larger, two-story type businesses may or may not have rooftop access. Due to modern building codes, they have ways down from the roof for fire safety. (And it can be a fun game trying to find access to the roof.)
  • If you cannot make an immediate escape, it is essential to stay away from the building’s front. The first reason is that the chance of injury is high. Flying shards of thick glass are dangerous. If the siege becomes a bit more kinetic, someone may break the glass, ram a vehicle into it, or worse, set fires or explosives.
  • Always pay attention. Listen to what is going on. If you cannot escape at all, find an observation post and keep gathering intelligence. It can help you make better decisions. And it can possibly make you an asset to law enforcement or DA that might live up to his oath and takes these criminals to court. (Yeah. I know, pipe dreams these days.)
  • Keep calm and keep your wits about you. By paying attention, you may see a small window of escape, and by remaining calm, you will be better able to take advantage of it. A side benefit of staying calm is the residual effect on those around you in helping them remain calm. Panic is contagious, and limiting its spread increases survivability.
  • Depending on the actions taken by the direct action gang, medical gear and having the training to use it may be necessary. 
  • Never make yourself a better target than anyone else. Staying alive gives you a chance to escape and help others get out.

I wrote an article previously about surviving a mob that I would refer you to if the worst happens.

Never be afraid. Just be aware, and do the work you need to do

Always remember these things can turn very bad. Gangs in Central America have locked up buildings and set them on fire, killing everyone in them. We have seen these kinds of actions in malls in Africa as well. And don’t think this only happens in other countries. Just ask the police officers in Seattle who witnessed a mob of rioters trying to cement their doors shut with Quickrete and set their department building on fire.

The media may be trying to convince us that things have calmed down. However, it’s entirely possible we are just looking at a lull in the storm.

What would you do in a similar situation?

What would you do if you were at the grocery store with your family and suddenly taken hostage by an angry mob? How would you keep yourself, your family, and those around you safe? Have you heard of other incidents like this that were not reported widely in the mainstream? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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 gmail.com

100 Shoppers Became Hostages in a NY Protest. Here\'s How to Survive in a Protest Turned Hostage Situation
Terry Trahan

Terry Trahan

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  • I had a friend who grew up in Guatemala in the 80’s. We were friends when our children were small, and I remember her telling me that, if you are a woman with small children, to keep them quiet at all costs. She said that, when gunfire would erupt in the streets, her mother had a technique of wrapping a hand around each child’s mouth and dropping to the ground. Then they would try to squirm quietly as far as they could from the shooters. Thank God, I’ve never been in that situation myself, but I have always kept that at the back of my mind.

    • Exactly Seminole Wind
      They just don’t get it. They’ve been deprived so long they think this is how it it’s supposed to be.

  • Lol
    This is what happens when you can’t defend yourselves.
    This is a constitutional carry state with laws that take care of fools like this.
    Y’all in other states and countries made your bed so lay in it.
    When you get tired of it you’ll change. Change requires discomfort.

    • I live next door to you in a constitutional carry state. I am always packing these days. Stand up for yourself is a must be ya gotta be smart about it.
      I think all of Terrys advice is very good. Might want to add to simply stay away from places likely to have BLM dirtbags nearby. Guess that goes with OPSEC.
      Most of us regulars here get it and are alert to their surroundings but man are there a lot of folks who are in their own little world!
      It would be challenging with small children. At this point in my life-glad I am not responsible for any!

      • As for small children, elderly relatives and families with disabilities of any type… I guess it goes with OPSEC. Shop alone when possible it times of uncertainty whenever possible. Or use curbside pickup where you are in your vehicle and hopefully more able to leave if issues may arise. Delivery may be an option but is a challenge with OPSEC as people notice deliveries., not sure what to think of the Amazon spy vehicles(never seen around here thankfully)..

  • Sad to think we have gotten to the point where we have to take into consideration of Terry’s advice here in America.
    Well, after reading Matt in OK comments, some parts of America.

    • Yeah they trapped me in Tractor Supply the other day and I thought hmm should I use the Remington +Ps or the Hornady. Then I wished I had a mag that was mixed so I could do a side by side comparison. Then I thought if I can get to my truck I can try out those new 35s with the 6.2 and the new rear axle locker and the 10” 77gr OTMs.

      Fortunately for them I got distracted by the circus peanut candy, then had to decide on .035 or .030 flux core wire and then I realized they were just loading up a disk on a trailer out front and we weren’t really trapped.

      Seriously how y’all living?

  • It’s interesting that this story wasn’t carried on the mainstream outlets. I’d call that a very strong hint that they aren’t working to inform these days. Definitely, escape and evasion are two excellent keywords. And yes, it can and does happen here.

    As for trying to shoot it out with them, I don’t think that’s a good tactic at all, especially when there are a bunch of other hostages between you and them. Numbers will matter and the terrorists may be well armed themselves. Starting a gunfight is likely a very poor strategy in this instance and may well result in a number of innocent casualties and the kind of news story that will be carried by the MSM, along with more calls for gun control. Escape and evade. Take a few with you if you can but in this case, sneaking is better than fighting.

    • “the terrorists may be well armed themselves”

      “terrorists” generally don’t fight, they ambush and hit from behind. how likely would they be to stand and fight if they encountered serious resistance?

    • Dang. Being ignored by MSM is the last thing those “protesters” want. They feed off their own notoriety. I pray they don’t ramp things up trying to get more attention.l

    • Only if you suck at shooting. If this ever happened to me best believe I’ll kill every last one and then I’m going home.

    • Escape or evade are the winning choice. Even if you are a hostage and have a clear and righteous shot, who do you think will be prosecuted when the dust settles? Having said that, if they make a move to harm you or others, resist with all at hand. Ironically, you’ll draw less police and prosecutorial scrutiny for throwing canned goods and cornish hens, as suggested above, than you will for using your gun, so why escalate to deadly force if you are not presented with a comparable threat.

  • “What would you do if you were at the grocery store with your family and suddenly taken hostage by an angry mob?”

    you’d probably hear about it on the news.

  • “The media may be trying to convince us that things have calmed down. However, it’s entirely possible we are just looking at a lull in the storm.”

    the media’s job is 1) to stir up chaos when their owners are not in control, and 2) to lock down that control when it is achieved. don’t look at their words one way or another as having any bearing on any objective reality, rather just on their owners’ subjective control.

  • I guess if I was trapped with 100 others, ( and unarmed) I would say, “Let’s Roll” like those Patriots on flight 97 back 20 years ago 9/11, pile up as many boxes of stuff as we could for defense, and a large pile of cans to throw at their empty heads! Maybe get a bunch of lighters and cans of bug spray for fireworks. Spill oil on the floor to make BLM slip and fall? Broom sticks and mops for a beat down too!

  • There seems to be some disagreement about whether the Wegmans
    customers were actually hostages. These articles:
    https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2021/03/23/wegmans-east-ave-shut-down-daniel-prude-protest-rochester-ny/6966234002/
    https://www.theroot.com/rochester-ny-protesters-shut-down-wegmans-on-the-anni-1846546835
    suggest that Wegmans itself decided to lock the doors. Honestly,
    if I were the manager I probably would have done that to prevent
    any violent confrontations.

    I do share your general mistrust of the MSM, and of course the
    articles I cited are probably biased, but I don’t trust *any*
    early reports of anything; accurate information tends to be the
    first casualty in most chaotic situations.

    • Let’s assume they did lock the people in. Isn’t that a violation of many codes? What if there is a fire type thing? I understand a few people maybe being locked i after hours to do the ‘magic’ behind the scenes at stores but are they even able to lock their customers in? What if the rioters decided to start fires at the store? Now you locked everyone in. Besides, to be honest, all that might do is antagonize them, Oh they locked the doors?? Break it down!!

      A A Ron

  • We talked about this when we heard about it. Two solutions instantly came out. First was the loading doors mentioned in the article. Even in the mall a few towns over there is at least one exit door in the back of every store.
    My husband came up with this next one. In the average grocery store here, there is an isle of insecticide sprays. Most of the hornet sprays shoot long distance 6 feet or so. While maybe you couldn’t force an exit with them you could at least hold anyone off who wasn’t armed with a firearm. These sprays tend to constrict airways as well as damage the eyes.

    • If you really must, water balloons or rubbers full of tobasco sauce and vinegar / rubbing alcohol or other noxious – burning substance.thrown at them might deter too, although lead would do much better. There’s lighter fluid in the BBQ section. Pour a pile of skittles and nehi on the floor surrounded with fluid and a wick leading off to another isle, they get in, light it and poof, the smell of burning hair will be overwhelming. Might want to run by the deodorant section too.

      IF you do find yourself getting trapped, go into the work clothing section, you’ll be safe there., swing by HR and pick up a pad of job applications, spread them around, that’s an impenetrable fortress there. Stay away from the purple hair spray and overweight twinkiepotamous clothing section though.

      Ok, joking aside, if you had to, you could use various chemicals to defend yourself, set off a few fire alarms, that’ll bring a lot more police and others to the scene as well to alert to your situation.

      One member here brought up a comment, that they live in Tampa and see this kind of garbage often. THIS is an observation that ALL of you need to take a good hard look at. Just because you live in a Red state, they ALL have purple and blue blotches of cancer in them, do NOT automatically assume you are safe or, “it wont happen here”. THis is also something I said before for personal homestead SHTF, KNOW who your neighbors are and what might be coming your way.

  • Colleen G: Great idea about the bug spray!! And the oil on the floors!
    May God help us all of we ever get in any situations like this. I’m pretty good about being aware of my surroundings but I MUST do better at it! We are in a large bedroom community east of Phoenix which is much better than being IN Phoenix. Still large grocery stores and Home Depots etc. Had to be in Phoenix the last 5 days due to a death in the family and I will say that you don’t want to be out at night there. It’s plenty scary during the day. Panhandlers at every stop light walking up to cars for money….homeless with all their worldly possessions in every bus stop. I feel so sorry for them. But me and my friend Mr.G are on high alert when in Phx.

    • Susan
      We drive into Gainesville Florida about once a month from our sleepy little town and see the same kind of “stuff” that you describe in AZ. Scary stuff!

      • Every town / city / state has their skid row. For example, in Illinois, it’s shitcago. It would do you very well, or anyone who travels especially, to know where these skid rows are at, in any town. Someone had an app years ago called Hood Watch or something that alerted people when they were entering these places, it got pulled because of some not pc, it’s picking on P-A’s Bullhookey. but that crimecast site will do just as well now since everyone has the internet on their phones etc. If you are in a red alert crime area, get out of it as fast as possible. What if you were in an area where something was happening, could you work your way around it? Better KNOW what’s surrounding you too, because again, shitcago, you can go to the ball game, but if you make the mistake of going a few blocks in the wrong direction, you are in a place where you will get killed just for being there, well, that’s pretty much the whole city now that beetlejuice is in charge.but the point still stands.

        WIth that in mind though, sadly, they tend to not really ruin their neighborhoods, those are already hellholes, they go into working class neighborhoods and try to ruin their stuff. With this trial going on, plan on riots, looting, and general dirt baggery no matter what the outcome is and no matter where you live. Some people just look for opportunities to riot, loot, and burn. Hurricane Katrina is a good example.

        We can joke and yap about it here but I have a feeling that someone is going turn the dial up a few numbers real soon here, and it would not surprise me at all if it was the government, in another false flag op to give them another excuse to go after guns. That’s next you know.

    • In San Diego, they kicked all the homeless out of the city’s shelters for them at the convention center to make room for the illegals.

      Do we think all those flooding our borders are just seeking asylum and/or a better life here?
      How soon will it be before THEY start clamoring for their “rights” and protesting what they think they lack?

      There’s no way this will end well.

      So yes! If they can think of bike locks, we can think of skittles and oil on floors. All that can be cleaned up. We can’t replace
      the lives of innocents.

  • Okay, with out trying to sound all “Gun-ho!” (like I am sure I will get push back from, and before anyone accuses me of being a sociopath, your tax dollars paid to train me [thank you!] to think like this) IF I were in a situation where I was at the grocery store (in a state that makes CCW nearly impossible like NY), and there was a seemingly hostile mob, who may or may not want to do us harm, gathered at the entrance/exit, my first thought would be to check the back loading bay/docks for a way for everyone to get out.
    IF that was blocked or a mob out there too, then organize. Talk to the manager, see if he/she is on board with fortifying the entrance/exits. The back storage area will have pallet jacks they use to off load the trucks (the motorized ones are fun!). See what is still plastic wrapped, big and heavy and use those to block the entrance/exits. If there is one, use a forklift and stack two high. IIRC the standard height of goods is 5.5 feet. Stacked two high, make it that much harder to climb up AND down. Then create a bottle neck using more pallets of dry goods. Establish a fall back position.
    Who is among the shoppers? Former vets? LEOs? Firefighters or medical types? Anyone with a degree in chemistry (see where I am going with this?)? Who are the ones ready and willing IF they have to, to defend everyone else? Look for people who can keep their cool under pressure, not only take orders but given them too. The young and elderly and everyone else will need to be put farthest from the hostilities. Is there someone who can take charge of them and keep them calm?
    Who are the ones against the idea of taking a proactive stance in fortifying the position?
    My high school chemistry teacher said he could do more damage with a supply closet of cleaning supplies than a man with a rifle. Or as Burt Gummer would say, “A few household chemicals in the proper proportions.” But only as a last resort. Stay away from the flammable stuff.
    Ever step on a ice cube on a shiny smooth floor? Grocery store has bags and bags of ice. Well, maybe not on the July 4th. Oils work too.
    While concentrating on delaying till the LEO can get there with blocking the entrances/exits, then on deterrence with the ice and or oil. IF those fail, and the mob breaches your perimeter, then and only then take kinetic action (again, no CCW): Start throwing stuff. Glass bottle of vinegar, canned goods, frozen foods, cornish hens are about the size of a soft ball. I have been to a few Wegmans. Some have second floors. A 20lbs turkey can do some damage. Can you build a elevated position?
    Next time you go to the grocery store, look around at what you could use as an asset. What would be a liability? Could you use the stores layout to your advantage?

  • I cant wait to see the results when the cockroaches try this in a state that has real gun laws and right to carry. I pray for the day when I see the news (insert cockroach group here) tries this and gets absolutely slaughtered. F- what the news media is going to say, no matter what happens it will be twisted anyways. Bully’s tend to stop bullying when they bleed themselves.

  • The Dokabores of Czarist Russia protested war by protesting naked in the streets. It shut down the govt immediately to their war concerns. No more conscription for military service. Take off (most of your) clothes to prove a point. Nobody wants to touch a naked Covid carrier.
    BRILLIANT !!
    Q & R

  • Dial 911 … “You can either remove these protesters, or there will be a mass shooting incident … You have three minutes to respond … begin.” Then hang up.

  • Remain on the edge of the group. Not necessarily in back, but not right out in front. All animals of the forest prefer edges, places between. Forest and clearing, water and land, hill and valley, places on the edge of other places. This is my take. It is perfectly appropriate to run to the rear, in any modern commercial establishment there will be exits to the rear. Climbing opportunities will be minimal and interior protective infrastructure will be rare.

  • I found no credible reports of this so-called incident. I’m chalking it up to yet another pathetic attempt to move the focus away from the insurrectionists at the Capitol.

    You’d have been better served discussing surviving a hostage crisis in general.

  • Move. Get the hell out of these liberal utopias. I’m on a 44 acre farm in a rural county. You don’t see that nonsense happening out here. Too many guns and backhoes to count and lots of land to hide their putrid bodies.

  • I can just imagine the carnage if one of you gun happy freedom fighters was part of the crowd. Sounds like you just can’t wait for your chance to come out guns blazing.

    FWIW there are alway fire exits.

    • Firstly, no, you couldn’t imagine the carnage if someone F’ed with my family or those I’ve sworn to protect. Second; it was ‘gun happy freedom fighters’ who bled and died to give you the freedom to be an ass.

      • No. It wasn’t ‘gun happy freedom fighters’ who died to give me the freedom to speak my mind. It was people who looked at the situation and realized they had no choice but to take up arms.
        If you are okay with killing and maiming innocent people because you can’t be bothered to look for a fire exit maybe you should give some thought to what it means to be an ‘ass’.

  • I’m not interested in getting shot but if an egress isn’t handy since I have shop mostly at a Walmart I’d try for a quick pass through the

    Camping area. Knives, machete, slingshot and jars of glass balls, arrows and hunting tips, and ropes.

    Housewares from knives large and small the glass n ensuring cups heavy enough to b hurt, tools unlimited ideas there… arm the whole store unless your facing guns. Then try trouble making to divide the idiots. Trip then if scattered about and figuratively and actually tie them up.

    Frozen food area.. 1 lb frozen packages of solid meat sure could create a headache. Oil, mayo, eggs ect on the floor are not only unsightly. Slick as snot if you can get someone to chase you down an isle.
    Hardware of office supplies: scissors, Tacks or glue aren’t just for the movies.

    Be a pain if its safe. If not lay low a n d find an exit. Warehouse areas lead to exterior loading docks and exits. Try not to get blocked into a dead end like a bathroom of office.

  • I would be interested in knowing what warning signs might have been obvious in advance of the mob arriving at Wegman’s that would have tipped off anyone paying attention in or around the grocery to exit the area. There’s always something. The first order of self-preservation is simply not be there when trouble and chaos begin. I know that’s not always possible even for the observant and we can sometimes become involved in an incident we never saw coming.

    Like many of you, I do carry and have for a very long time. Still, drawing my weapon with the intent on using it would be my last option. I would go for the back entrance as some of you already have suggested. The earlier the better.

    One concerning thing I’ve noticed watching videos of a number of incidents where an innocent person draws a weapon to protect themselves, even when being beat by a crowd, is that the cops quickly show up and arrest the victim. The cops allow the animals to rage, beat innocents, and destroy but as soon as the victim of such criminal behavior acts to defend themselves the cops rush in and take him away. Ever notice that? I once fully supported LE. Not so much any more! To often incidents occur where LEOs act to protect their careers and pensions than a victimized citizen or citizens. Regardless, I’m glad I live where I do where the only trashing that goes on are bears in the bird feeders.

  • “What would you do if you were at the grocery store with your family and suddenly taken hostage by an angry mob?”

    If Escape & Evade were out of the question, one could engage a number of shoppers to start pelting the “hostage takers” with canned goods.

  • Is this the price you pay for freedom? Why does the rest of the Western World not have to pay such a steep price? Sure, many European countries have demonstrations and riots, but not nearly so often. Also these nations do not constantly bend your ears with the litany of how democratic and free they are, that they leave to the gross hypocrisy of Americans.

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