[From The Editor] On the night of September 11th, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, an armed mob of militants attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex.
A team of six American security operators went beyond the call of duty — and in fact disobeyed “stand down” orders they knew they couldn’t live with — to courageously venture into the mass chaos in order to save the Americans trapped by the violent mobs.
The battle lasted for several hours and has become a political football, with both sides of the aisle trying to place blame or rationalize their role in the security lapses that led to so many American deaths.
The truth behind what REALLY happened is now being recounted by the security team who had their boots on the ground, in the best-selling book (and now a movie), “13 Hours”.
But lost in all that political infighting is the fact that the Benghazi attack can teach us very valuable lessons about surviving civil unrest.
The events that unfolded in Libya represent the worst-case scenario you may face even as a civilian during times of collapse where you be looking out your window at Ferguson-type protests, unrest, violent mobs, no “rule of law”… and no help on the way.
One man who survived that harrowing event is Kris Paronto.
I asked Kris what type of EDC gear a person should carry to be better prepared for riots and civil unrest – and below is a synopsis of his advice as he told me…
“Here Are 5 Items You Should Consider Adding To Your Everyday Carry (EDC) Survival Gear Based On My Benghazi Riot Escape…”
Before getting into the “everyday carry gear” – there’s something you must understand…
When it comes to escaping and evading a riot or “flash mob”, your gear isn’t your primary consideration…
… it’s being aware of your surroundings and identifying threats around you before they become a crisis you have to escape from.
You always want to keep your eyes and ears open to warning signs others around you may not notice.
However, if civil unrest does break out in your location, there are some things you can be carrying that will help you to get out of the immediate area and get to safety.
Here are 5 everyday carry items I highly suggest you take a good hard look at incorporating into your survival gear plan…
1. An EDC “Escape & Evasion” Bag
Let’s face it… you can only carry so much gear on your person, right?
That’s why every “operator” in the field carries some kind of bag or backpack for “off-body carry” of EDC gear, specific to the environment and threats we’re facing.
For the everyday citizen, you could keep a variety of gear, such as a tourniquet for emergency first-aid.
Some people may think that’s a worst-case scenario you’d never have to face – but I’ve seen it too many times where a tourniquet saved someone’s life (such as coming across a vehicle accident, and active shooters scenario, etc.) and this is a must-have in my book.
I have had the luxury of putting them on too, so I do know they work.
Whatever bag you use, make sure it’s “low profile” and and doesn’t scream “tactical prepared military operator.”
It should look like something anyone could be carrying,
The idea is simply to have what you need in your bag and have lots of organization options so you can get to your gear quickly without having to search all over for it.
Now, what to put inside of it…
2. Backup Cell Phone
I realize that carrying a “backup phone” may be a bit extreme for most people – but depending on your role (like for military contractors), this is a very worthwhile addition…
Now, obviously, you’ll regularly be carrying a cell phone to be able to call for help (police, medical, etc.).
But there might be the case where you want to call in a tip about a riot, but you don’t want to have to give your name because doing so might put you in danger.
If this is the case, you should consider carrying a backup – preferable a prepaid “burner” phone that’s on a different network than your primary phone (in case it doesn’t have good coverage) and not tied to your identity.
Sometimes I keep my burner phone in my car and sometimes I’ll even keep the backup on me.
3. “On The Run” Energy
When you have a crowd of angry protesters hot on your tail, you’re going to sweat (a lot) and you’re going to need all the energy you can get for speed and stamina.
That means water and “carbs”.
But when you’re trying to hide and lay low in a dangerous area, the last thing you want to do is reveal your presence, or make yourself more vulnerable while you search for a water source.
A bottle of water – or better yet, a water bladder with filter in your bag – could literally be a life-saver.
Having some food with you is also a good idea…
You could keep some candy bars and some gum in your car, in your EDC bag, or even on your person.
A better option for fast energy is some high-carbohydrate “sports gel” like bicyclists and long-distance runners use.
And since you don’t know how long you might need to be on the run, and you don’t know if you might get stuck somewhere, having some other snacks will help you feel more full and make it easier for you to keep a low profile while danger passes.
4. A Weapon (ANY Weapon!)
Now, obviously, if you can legally carry a firearm, you should do so.
It makes sense to carry a gun when you can because the police can’t be there fast enough to help you (and if it’s a riot scenario, they likely won’t be there at all!)
But just “carrying” a gun isn’t enough and you do need to be trained with your weapon… and that goes for ANY weapon!
If you can’t carry a firearm – or not licensed to – then there are other weapon options to defend yourself… but they all require training to some degree.
You don’t necessarily have to be an expert, but you do need to be familiar with what you’re carrying and have fast access to your weapon when you need it.
5. A Knife And Multi-Tool
Finally, you should carry some kind of multi-tool, like a Leatherman and/or a knife with you.
A blade can help you cut your way past your, or a companion’s, seatbelt in a vehicle crash… or be used as a primary or back-up weapon to defend yourself.
A Leatherman or other multi-tool (or even a Swiss Army Knife) is good because these have a variety of different gizmos on them to give you more options to deal with whatever you might face.
It doesn’t have to be anything exotic or “military”-styled.
It just has to have the tools you might need.