On Tuesday, Dr. Fauci said at the White House daily coronvirus briefing that we should expect 100,00 deaths from COVID-19. April will be a rough month. Estimates of how long lock downs and shut downs will continue for have been extended. As people hurt, emotionally, psychologically, and financially, how will things devolve?
What will we do when people run out of money because they can't work and they begin to riot? Food riots are a story as old as time. If people can't get food, civil unrest follows closely there after. Hunger and starvation is a powerful motivator that will make an ordinarily law-abiding person desperate and dangerous.
Now we can be safe at home if we don't have to go out. Staying at home makes defense against burglars and mobs a lot less complicated, but what do you if you go out? Let's take a look at your options if you get caught in a sudden riot or need to use less-lethal force options.
Remember the first rule; stay away from dangerous places!
Be careful drawing your weapon. If you are involved in any kind of dispute, state that you are backing out and immediately leave the area. Decline any involvement in anything that might escalate to violence. First, drawing your (deadly) weapon in a fight or in a rude, angry, or threatening manner is illegal. If you are upset, yelling at someone, or arguing with them, and things become violent, it can be argued that it was no longer self-defense if you shot/hurt them.
If you have to draw your weapon, do so only in a truly life-threatening situation. Second, never put yourself in a position where it can be said you started the fight. The original aggressor loses the "stand your ground defense."
And remember, no warning shots! Either shoot to stop at lethal threat or not at all. Warning shots aren't legal and can be dangerous. The only time you should be pulling a trigger is if you or someone else is in mortal danger and you are legally justified in shooting someone.
Less-than lethal options
Now you still can't go around preemptively pepper spraying people in the face, but having pepper spray on your belt is another great option. It's not lethal and can be used in violent situations that don't rise to deadly force. For instance if someone is punching you for buying two pineapples, it's probably a pepper spray solution, not a gun solution.
Pepper spray or mace, basically irritant sprays, are the most common forms of less-than lethal defensive weapons. Pepper spray is concentrated extract of oleoresin capsicum, (OC) the stuff that makes hot peppers hot. It has the predictable effects on your skin, your eyes, and nose as it does your mouth. It's really, really unpleasant.
Pepper spray doesn't affect everyone the same. Some people can attack even after taking a whole face full of it. Or it can affect you, if you overspray and get it on yourself. Or you pass through a whole cloud of it. Among police officers, getting some of the spray on yourself is common and part of the reason why cops get sprayed in their academy.
For most people, I'd say pepper spray is the best choice of a less-than lethal weapon because it's cheap, common, legal practically everywhere, and is effective enough to stop most attacks. It's also usable in non-lethal force situations and perfect if you are being attacked by a crowd (though you will spray yourself, probably).
Tasers are also a good option, but quite expensive. The Taser company makes the most reliable electronic incapacitation weapons for police and civilians. Tasers shoot probes attached to wires that shock the person to basically override their motor control for a few seconds.
The civilian models have the ability to go into a 30-second stun mode so you can run away. The downside to Tasers is that both probes have to make contact with the skin and sometimes clothes can prevent that from happening. Then the person is even more upset and still coming at you.
Stun guns (and drive-stun mode on Taser) work on the electrocution principal. Electric shocks hurt. Think of the last good static electricity zap you got. Or when you actually electrocuted yourself. That's how stun guns work, but with a lot more voltage. Stun guns have to be in contact with the person and they do not incapacitate, but like pepper spray, cause immense pain. People can still fight through the pain.
Less lethal options
Wait, "less lethal" options? I thought you already covered that? No, we discussed "less-than lethal" weapons (though even Tasers and pepper spray can cause an already agitated and unwell person to go into excited delirium and die). Here we're going to discuss baton rounds, rubber bullets, and bean bags (all under the term "baton rounds"). These weapons are less likely to kill you than a bullet, but can still be deadly.
Baton rounds are used by police to gain pain compliance. Getting hit with a rubber bullet, bean bag, or whatever you want to call it hurts. Pain usually gets people to stop doing bad stuff. Sometimes. Larger baton rounds, like those from grenade launchers, hurt a lot more and often break bones.
So before you start pumping out paintballs or those 12ga baton rounds you go from the specialty shotgun ammo guy at the gun show, hold your horses. First, can you legally use force against the person? Have you considered what happens if your less-lethal option kills the person? How often have you heard stories about rubber bullets or gas grenades hitting someone in the head and killing them?
Now, I'm no lawyer but should you be legally justified in using force, and the person dies because you used the correct amount of force and their death was caused by some underlying heath condition or freak accident, then theoretically speaking the death would be homicide by misadventure.
This happened to a deputy I worked with. A crazed man was jumping on cars in an intersection. The deputy arrived on scene as the crazy dude was using the bottom of the legs of a folding metal barricade to hack through an elderly woman's windshield. The deputy pumped bean bag rounds from his shotgun into her (this was pre-Taser). Turns out, crazy guy was high on meth and had a heart condition. He was so spun out, that when he got hit with the bean bags, it caused him to have a heart attack (I don't remember the specifics from the autopsy so forgive me).
Let's say that's you. You used a lethal weapon (a shotgun) and someone died. Sure, you were using a round that was less likely to kill someone, but it was still possible, and they died. Now you have a lot of explaining to do. Was it necessary to use a shotgun with a baton round? Was there another option for you to use? Was it legal for you to intervene? Was lethal force justified?
Make it easy on yourself. Save the baton rounds for a true end-of-the-world scenario where there is no rule of law. If you are in a situation where you need to bean-bag someone, you're probably in a situation where you can, and need to, shoot them.
Well what if I carry a club or something?
Purpose designed impact weapons are illegal in Nevada. You see, in the 19th century people used those kind of things to beach each other with, so along with carry concealed firearms, it was made illegal to carry or own those.
Nevada prohibits ownership of a: "blackjack, slungshot, billy, sand-club, sandbag or metal knuckles." The term "billy" is not defined in Nevada, but carrying around a police baton (including an Asp) or a stick to hit people with might not work out so well for you.
Should I buy full riot gear? I can get it online at Galls.
Asking that question is like asking "Should I buy a full turnout suit so I can rush into burning buildings?" Why would you go into a dangerous environment like a food riot, no matter what gear you have? Also, Smiths is not going to let you in to a store dressed up like Robocop.
Things go sideways at the grocery store? Use your cart as a shield to keep people away from you or to push your way through a crowd.
Park so you can drive forward. Back in to the stall or pull through. Park near a parking lot exit and walk to the entrance. You don't want to wait for an angry crowd to get out of your way if you are trying to leave in a hurry.
If you are openly carrying, use a retention holster. If you haven't had weapons retention training, watch some videos on YouTube. Keep your head on a swivel. For concealed carriers, make sure your holster holds your firearm snugly enough that being in a fight or knocked to the ground doesn't dislodge it. An angry crowd will probably snatch your weapon away from you if you are their target for anger.
Don't go shopping with your family or your kids, if possible. One armed adult, alone. Why would you be potentially exposing your kids to the virus by taking them to the store anyway?
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West