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

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by Terry Trahan

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 respondIt 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.

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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.

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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


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