Monday, October 27, 2008

SHTF: Surviving election day 2008

Like it or not, election day 2008 is about a week away in the U.S. If you live overseas, whoever wins this election will mean very little to you despite what the pundits say.

However, most American citizen/voters have very strong feelings about who wins the presidential election. And some of those feelings may turn negative if their candidate does not do as well as they personally hoped.

There are many in the U.S. who truly believe we will see mass demonstrations, civil disturbance, riots and violence regardless who wins. Further, even if one presidential candidate achieves a clear cut victory, some voters may believe their vote was discounted due to voter fraud or disenfranchisement.

Being prepared is the name of the game. Who cares who you vote for? What really matters is what to do when the results come in.

Don't draw attention to your political views!

First and foremost, keep your political thoughts to yourself. Paranoia aside, vandals and rioters opposed to your viewpoint may target your home, car or family if they know where you stand. Don't put out yard signs or car bumper stickers if you really want to avoid attention.

We still have a secret ballot in the U.S. - it was designed that way to stop pressure by opponents.

Vote early. That way you can avoid polling points which may erupt in violence.

Avoid political discussions with strangers and even some acquaintances. Who knows what their motivations or reactions may be?

What is to stop that loudmouth at work to lump you in with "Those people who cost my candidate the election!" and come over to exact revenge?

As always stock up on essentials like food, water, fuel, cash, and "safety equipment" but especially before election day. If there are civil disturbances and they are wide spread, who wants to be out at the grocery store or driving around?

Avoid urban areas, the city center and bad neighborhoods on and after election day. Rioters and celebrants have a habit of picking passersby and innocent drivers to take their happiness/frustration out on (Google: Reginald Denny).

Have your emergency transportation and communications plans in place before hand for family members. Decide who will get the kids from school, how spouses will get home from work and where to meet up.

Two biggies here: Prepare your home for riot and fire AND prepare a bug out plan now in the event you are forced to evacuate in face of rioters, arsonists and looters.

That means having fire protection equipment (extinguishers, hoses, etc.) and proper protection hardware in place before trouble rears its head. Speaking of which, often during civil strife, authorities will limit arms and ammunition sales if not ban them altogether. You have been warned..

Because police may use tear gas or pepper spray, having a gas mask at work or in the car may be wise. Make sure you have them available for family members as well.

You may have nothing to do with politics, but rioters, looters and arsonists often attack by proximity or relation. Your neighborhood may near where the riots start, near a major transportation hub or simply between the rioters and their target.

Avoid travel on election day for business or pleasure. Don't get caught in a strange city. Who wants to be in another town and end up on the wrong side of the tracks simply out of ignorance? Stay home!

The urban areas will be more dangerous than rural or even most suburbs. Be in the latter rather than the former if possible.

Don't succumb to the temptation to "want to take a look at what's going on over there" when you see the riots and fighting on the television. Again, stay home.

Take a page from the shopkeepers in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots. Google it if need be. Be prepared to protect your family, home and property.

You may be forced to join up with like minded friends and family for mutual protection. Consider others who are most vulnerable to harm such as elderly neighbors, children at home alone or single friends.

Local authorities typically quarantine unlawful areas and then move in with riot police. Don't get caught behind lines or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hope for the best.

My own prediction is that we will see demonstrations and some disturbances on election day and most certainly the day after depending upon the outcome. As a person of deep faith, I pray and hope for the best, but we are talking about people here. People who are emotionally caught up in a very divisive election.

Prepare now - you have about a week to get ready.

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