I've spent a couple of hours reading and watching videos on the web. Here's what I have picked up:
What we call riots are political events, usually coalescing around police brutality. This covers the French riots of 2005, the London riots last
year, the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Periods of rioting last between 5 and 20 days. Most of the violence seems to peak around day 9, if the problems
go on that long.
In all modern riots I could read up on (including the "Arab Spring," ) media helped frame the single issue that intensified the rioting. This was
partly so they could report the riots in a sensationalistic vein (if it bleeds it leads). In fact the US "occupy" movement never really found a
single issue (even during instances of police brutality) and so never reached the "tipping point" that actual riots do.
Looting is a related issue, but distinct from rioting itself. We can divide it into 3 categories:
-vandalism to express rage. This seems to happen almost exclusively in urban centers (bus depots, shopping districts, police headquarters). The
crowd is trying to start fires, break things, and generally create a spectacle and punish someone else.
-looting itself, taking things of value because there appear to be no consequences
-scavenging. Looking for necessities someone else isn't using at the moment. Since the goal is to enhance survival, it tends to be completely
non-violent. Scavengers in L.A., Katrina and Hugo stopped when challenged by authority figures, and asked what they could take without "doing
Stuff I noticed:
1. Almost all vandalism and looting takes place in retail centers like a strip mall, shopping center, or big box retail at major intersection or
confluence of foot traffic. In the US this looks like "corner pharmacy, inc." and "wally world" outlets located on the corner of major streets, but
always where a crowd can approach on foot at congregate while the work up the courage to break the law. There are a lot of people looking away from
the target, to see who is watching.
2. Criminals are loathe to climb through an entry into a building. Crowds stand around to see who is watching, while the bravest experiments with
actually violating the law, pretending to almost do it, then looking to see of the camera crew or police will stop them.
3. While vandalism/looting require large crowds, scavenging is a much more solitary activity, unless the goods are abandoned in plain view, and of
low value. The people filmed are furtive about it, yet try to be nonchalant when they see a camera, usually explaining what they are doing, i.e.,
"this is food for my dogs" or "the kids need milk; send us help please."
4. Looking at footage from Katrina and the L.A. riots, I picked up this critical tidbit:
When detering looters, a team with 1 gun is a more powerful deterent than an individual with 1 gun.
Let me explain that. In the LA riots, there is footage of a lone (Korean) shopkeeper, firing repeatedly from his parking lot, while the rioters
circle around the perimeter of his block.
In contrast, there is another video of a number of people (the Korean shopkeeper's family, no doubt.) They only have 2 deer rifles and a shotgun,
with about 10 people total. The groups completely deterred motorists from even coming down the street where the groups were standing on the roof.
The men stand with one armed fellow, wearing the gun slung over his shoulder, so his profile indicates he is armed with a long gun. Two or even three
men stand beside him, maybe holding binoculars, but looking around and talking and pointing.
If you have 2 guns, between you and a spouse, then get 4 friends or even just neighbors. hold 1 gun, and have 2 "helpers" stand with you, with
binoculars, or at least a camera or cellphone for psychological impact. I think what this does is create the impression that the entire group is
, even when this is not the case.
Looters did not even present themselves to the groups organized this way, and left quickly when they came around the corner and saw a "fire team." I
cannot find footage of this from Katrina, but remember seeing a similar thing there.
Lesson learned: having people organized into obvious teams makes you look organized and in charge, and much less likely to be challenged.
all the best.
edit on 31-3-2012 by dr_strangecraft because: (no reason given)