Preparing to Survive Riots, Terrorist Attacks, or a Civil War

Of all of the “worst case” possibilities that we prepare for, near the top of my “most dreaded” list is a second civil war.  This falls in the category of a “highly unlikely, but profoundly inimical if it were to occur.”  In this essay, I will discuss a full spectrum of threats, including contingency preparations for surviving riots, terrorist attacks, or a civil war.

I believe that the United States has entered a period of great instability, born of political divisiveness. The sharp differences between liberals and conservatives are now profoundly felt.  Virtually every topic and issue has become heavily politicized. This polarization seems to have grown worse with every month since Barrack Hussein Obama (BHO) took office. And the divide has grown even more pronounced under the administration of Donald John Trump (DJT). The mass media simply loathes Trump. They are doing their best to foment or even fabricate a crisis that could be used as an excuse to see DJT impeached.

The Bard of the American Redoubt, Alex Barron, noted that some leftists have dubbed the current era a Cold Civil War. In fact, they did so quite soon after President DJT took office. The question is, will their Cold Civil War ever turn Hot?

Those sentiments are shared by legendary investor Doug Casey. In a recent interview, referring to prospects of a second civil war, he said:  “I think, as I’ve thought for a long time, that we’re heading for a disaster of genuinely historic proportions.”

Troubles Of Our Own?

The situation that develops in the next few years will most likely be characterized by riots and isolated terrorist attacks. The Antifa crowd may be the key instigators. But there is a small chance that it could morph into an outright civil war. And unlike the Civil War of the 1860s, this one would not have sharp geographic dividing lines. It will not be a war between States. Rather, it will be a war between World Views. As I view it, one world view is essentially Biblical and freedom-loving, while the other world view is Secular/Statist/Socialist/Globalist.

With no sharp dividing lines, a 21st Century civil war in America would be a very messy conflict.

In a recent interview on Radio Free Redoubt, I posited two parallels for a near-future American civil war:

  • First, a similarity to the domestic terrorism in the U.S. of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I’ve already discussed this in SurvivalBlog, so I won’t repeat it here. (See: The Antifa Threat Spiral: Some Safe Predictions on the Coming Unsafe Era.)
  • Second, a similarity in the level of violence and profound ambiguity of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, in the 1970s.  In The Troubles, there were lots of double agents, uncertain allegiances, large scale infiltrations, wiretappings, false flag attacks, internecine fighting, kneecappings (mostly of alleged informants or collaborators), bribed (or extorted) officials, conveniently “missing” police department guns, “missing” explosives, arms smuggling operations, and robberies. All of that was in addition to the expected riots, bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, sniper attacks, and arson attacks of a modern  civil war.

Not surprisingly, the Irish “civil” guerilla war reached all the way to London and Boston. And although officially “disarmed”, some of the IRA old-timers are still at it. In my estimation that war isn’t truly over. It is just enjoying a Half Time celebration, sans the leggy cheerleaders. Oh wait, they’ve got those.


What We Might See

If a “hot” civil war breaks out in the United States then the initial battle grounds will probably be on city streets. These will be Protests on Steroids.  The fighting will not be just with batons, rocks, and pepper spray. At some point the street brawls will evolve into gunfights.

We are also likely to see a larger number of mass shootings of soft (disarmed) targets. Schools, amusement parks, public memorial sites, churches, synagogues, and any public events that have security searches of hand baggage will all be targets. (Commonly called Second Amendment Free Zones.) Public meetings of any churches or civic groups that espouse conservative, libertarian, or nationalist positions are probably at the top of the potential list of targets.

The other likely development is of domestic kidnapping teams and hit squads.  So… If you are a high profile individual, take note!  You may end up on their target lists, even if you don’t live in a coastal state. take appropriate security precautions. Do a web search on: Executive Protection. Think it all through.  Forewarned is forearmed.


Study Up, Stock Up, Team Up, Train Up

Regardless of the potential range of severity or likelihood of riots, terrorist attacks, or a future civil war, it is wise to prepare. There are many existential threats. As I’ve written before, it is wise to Study Up, Stock Up, Team Up, and Train Up. The same preparations that you make for an economic collapse will look a lot like preps for a surviving a civil war. Think in terms of: Location, Logistics, Training, Communications, and Force Multipliers. The SurvivalBlog archives are replete with useful knowledge on all of those. Dive in deep and take full advantage of those educational resources.


Pick Your Fights Wisely

The risk of a second civil war is low. But if it does come then its implications would be huge. Be ready. But also be ready to make big decisions. First and foremost, unless you want to willingly put yourself and your family in the line of fire, then relocate. Where? To a lightly-populated region that is well-removed from major cities. (Does that sound familiar?) Every adult has to know how to pick their fights. For those with families, we have to recognize that our first and foremost responsibility is to protect those that we love. But beyond that initial binary decision, the big decisions become very difficult. Should you be an active participant? In a support role, such as medical or safe house provider? A financial supporter? An armorer, or logistician? Or should you even involved at all? As an example, look at the choice made by my fictional character Ben Fielding, in my novel Founders.  Such big decisions are sometimes simultaneously both simple and complex. And, of course, you must follow what you know to be right. In the emotional heat, never let anyone convince you to do something that you know is wrong.


An Instructive Precedent From Lore

I’ll round out this essay with a bit of Rawles family history that dates back to the War Between The States. California was officially a Union state, but  unofficially it was neutral in the Civil War. There was no draft there, and the fledgling state was essentially just an observer to the nasty conflict between the eastern states. Its main role was simply in supplying gold to finance the Union. There was plenty of northerner/southerner animosity, but very little outright conflict in California during the Unpleasantness. Along with his parents, my great-great uncle, Joseph William Rawles had relocated from Missouri to Illinois and then to California in 1856, settling safely in Mendocino County, California. There, they established a large horse and sheep ranch. When news of the outbreak of the Civil War reached California, Joseph, who was then 19 years old, decided to return to Missouri, to enlist in the Union Army. Already an accomplished civilian horseman and marksman, he joined a Missouri cavalry unit, initially riding the same horse that he’d ridden from California.

At the end of the Civil War, Joseph Rawles made his way back out west, a changed man. He was by then in possession of two Colt’s revolvers, a Henry repeating rifle, and what could best be termed “special skills.” Family members later recalled that he was “…a wonderful quick shot with a pistol.” En route to California, he got into a shooting affray in the mining camp town of Silver City, Idaho. There, he was forced to shoot a man named Sim Oldham, in self defense. Fearing that he couldn’t get a fair trial, he fled the camp in the dead of night. After returning to California, Joseph Rawles used some of his 1860s-vintage “Operator” skills and became an armed stagecoach driver. He died a few years later, when he was bushwhacked in Cloverdale, California by a stagecoach robber named Joseph Gibbons. Ironically, Gibbons was a relative of Rawles, by marriage. (He was an in-law outlaw.) But that is another story.


The important lesson from the foregoing traverse into family lore is that actively participating a civil war can be optional, at least for some men. Even if you survive it, it is sure to change you, and not necessarily for the better. Civil war is never pretty. We need to be honest with ourselves about our ability to be combatants versus support troops, or just financial or logistic supporters. Please pray about being on the right side of history. But again, pick your fights wisely.  – JWR




  1. Very timely article as this seems to be an emerging worry, even discussed in the Canada. In Canada (which itself has a divide) our state-run (a.k.a: Crown Corporation) media, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has clearly made itself a liberal-leftist organization, and never mentions the leftist violence and subversion.
    CBC released this radio-based interview, which follows their agenda. I offer this only as a example of how conservative-leaning Canadians are being fed selective perspectives from our government and state-run media to alienate those with counter-views.

  2. Political ads further fan the flames and spin people up into a frenzy. I recall reading that the the issue of politicians lying to get elected should be illegal. Of coarse that was shot down by the courts. If the people we elect are forced to be honest, it would go a long way in giving our system of Government some integrity. Most wars are started because of deception and lies..

  3. No matter what happens here in the U.S. with the election today, I can’t see things improving for the better. The divide isn’t going to be mended, it’s only going to get worse. Where do we go from here, then? I pray that societal stability holds.

  4. There could very well be violence after today’s elections if the Dhimmicrats do not get their way, and lose seats in both the House and Senate. It would be something that happens in some of the large Metro areas of the country, but I doubt it would be wide spread. The Left (read Marxist/Communists) are very much like the Muslims in that they only get violent where they know they have large numbers of people to support their actions.
    I doubt that we could have another 1861 style War Between the States in this day and age without something of a very great nature taking place that allowed for something like that to happen.
    BOBS is always inciting civil unrest in the Black community and anywhere else that he can, but I do not think that he can succeed except in the large Metro areas, where it could become like it was during the “long hot summers” of the late 60s and early 70s.
    Too much stability in middle America. It is the large cities along the coasts and some of the Great Lakes cities that could become problematic.
    When the utilities are shut off and the food runs out, the violence will go away.

  5. My great-great grandfather fought for the South, as he lived in Missouri which is south of the Mason-Dixon line. How came your relative to fight for the Union?

    1. For those of you who slept thru American History. The situation was “Bleeding Kansas” as the Kansas/Missouri border was a open war zone with Abolitionists raiding/murdering/burning. For a cinematic education watch”Outlaw Josie Wales”,not completely accurate(it is a movie) it is as close as hollywood can get.

  6. Missouri was a border state and sent many men to the armies on both sides. Nearly 110,000 men fought for the Union, while about 40,000 served the Confederacy.

  7. This was an excellent article. Thank you.

    We recently watched the series TURN: Washington’s Spies. It seemed quite accurate in its portrayal of the events as well as the animosities and division existing down to the family level.

    Netflix description: “Set in 1776, this period drama recounts the story of Abe Woodhull, an American “cabbage farmer obliged to begin spying on the British enemy. After Abe forms an espionage ring with friends, their efforts alter the course of the Revolutionary War.”

  8. A couple corrections:

    The properties known as ‘these united States’ were established by and for bankers. In 2018, we recognize their methods as ‘communism’.

    The Confederate States of America was (is?) a sovereign nation. There is no ‘nation torn asunder’. The freedom-loving people of the Confederate States recognized the evil of the union bankers, and initiated their divorce.

    There was no war. The era of 1861-65 was a series of invasions. Retaliatory and vicious. The goal of the union bankers and their stooges was (is?) total destruction of the nation of the Confederate States of America, destroy freedom by their use of communists and communism.

    The union bankers needed the assets / resources of the people of the Confederate States of America. The union states lacked (lack?) growing seasons to support their voters.

    And, as all presidents, that union president was a stooge, owned by bankers. I can barely think the profanity of his name; I refuse to soil this blog with it.

    And yes, the media of that era lied to sell newspaperprogramming. The newsprogramming owners needed (need?) the bankers and their invasions to profit.

    Are you seeing the pattern?

    The stooges known as ‘Antifas’ are communists. Communists cannot exist in freedom. Free people will not live with communists. There is no middle ground.

    The definition of ‘civil war’:
    Two or more groups fighting to control one government.

    The people of the Confederate States of America wanted (want?) to be left alone.

    The union bankers and other communists need control. Freedom and communism cannot co-exist. We are in a fight to the death.

  9. Civil war won’t come to this country in a form that much resembles what happened in the 1860s with armies moving across the landscape supported by cavalry and artillery. The closest it will resemble what happened in the 1860s is the Missouri-Kansas border war where irregular forces on different sides raided each other, often burning them out of their homes and executing those who resisted. I simply do not see that happening in this country.

    If the Democrats fail to take the house, I see it more likely that whatever restraints that are holding the Left in place now will fail. I see the potential for much more violent riots consisting of Antifa-types taking on the police. I see Bill Ayres’ types (Ayres being Obama’s mentor when Obama first sought political office) beginning bombing campaigns such as Ayres was involved in during the 1960s. I see more vicious attacks on political figures, and not just restaurant or public place harassment such as we have seen in recent weeks.

    Most Americans, just as they did in the 60s and 70s, will go to work, raise their families, and go to the malls because they are unwilling to take an active part in the insanity.

    In the Civil War, while there were border states that sent troops to both sides and their populations were split, even today in the bluest and reddest states, there are substantial populations that will resist any involvement in partisan attacks, either because they are against violence in principle, because they do not share the political convictions of the activists, or because of fear of retaliation. The average person just wants to be left alone.

    Even the Mafia usually abide/abided by the rule that an opposing Mafioso’s home and family were off limits. I do not see wide-scale and organized threats to conservatives, for example, in their homes.

    I can only hope that I’m correct.

  10. I am reminded of the scene from “The Patriot” when the SC representatives were debating independence and the war that would soon follow……”this war will be fought amongst us, among our friends and neighbors,……” . I truly believe that. It will be worse than brother against brother. This land will resemble Europe in the Dark Ages. Nothing will be safe. Nothing. Constant vigilence and I mean constant , will be part of every facet of life. Someone will always be out there ready to take everything that is yours. You will have to win every fight. The toll of this constant vigilence will destroy most humans after time. This is what happens when you lose your country and it becomes a failed state.

  11. Really timely and well-considered article. I also think a full-blown civil war highly unlikely, but I could easily see something like the run-up to festivities of the 1860s, with political violence, protests and targeted assaults and/or assassinations.

    BTW, I spent the summers of high school and college (and one in between the Navy and grad school) in Mendocino county, at Camp Masonite Navarro, off Hwy. 128, near Navarro, CA and not far from Booneville, CA. I taught archery most summers and one summer ran the rifle program. Fun times. Cloverdale was too far to go for burgers on weekends. We normally would drive to “town” in Booneville, or out to the coastal area (Mendocino or Ft. Bragg).

    Bob G.

  12. I tend to agree with the commenters who predict low level guerrilla warfare between the cities and the countryside. How much support they would get from the moderates and conservatives living in the suburbs will determine whether the resistance will be successful.

    We had this on a very limited scale during the second half of the Vietnam War, with the Weathermen and Black Panthers as the Left’s shock troops. Not sure Antifa and the BLM guys are up to the task.

  13. What ever form of disarray comes, if one chooses to engage in a fight for whatever reason and to whatever degree, when the dust settles there will be a reckoning. The law will be decided by the winning side and “justice” will be served in a court of law- even if it is a kangaroo court of lawlessness.

    Be sure when you pull the trigger or thrust and parry that the deed is justified in somebody elses eyes, because someone is going to want their pound of flesh. OPSEC is an over used term these days and thoroughly misunderstood in a civil context. Even discussing an event will get you hung. Silence is a woefully underused practice.

  14. Thanks for the essay and family history… very interesting! My wife and I are in escrow for 15 acres in Northern Idaho… I just hope the country holds itself together a little longer!

    I can’t see any good options coming from today’s elections… if the Left wins a little, things get worse. If the Left loses a little, things get worse. If the Left loses a lot, things go to $#!+.

    I can’t see them getting their “Blue Wave”, I honestly can’t fathom how anyone between NY and CA could support Dems!

    Be prepared for more insanity, more outbursts, and many more temper tantrums!

    Best wishes to all!

  15. Keep in mind that when the Blue Hives go crazy tomorrow, it will be “The Thin Blue Line” which stands in the way of anarchy and chaos. Regardless about how you personally feel about Police Officers, I do not think it will play well for these Marxists and their Antifa useful idiots if the Sheeple and the Normies have to look at video of police officers being burned by Molotov cocktails, shot, beat up, etc. The blame will fall squarely upon the Hollywood left, which has been calling for “blood in the streets”, and screaming politicians such as Maxine Waters, Howard Dean, Eric Holder, et. al.
    Those of us fortunate enough to live in the Red State areas such as my A/O here in Kootenai County, ID, will have enough time to complete our preps and plans and get ready for whatever is going to happen. Remember the old Chinese proverb: “MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES”.

  16. Boy howdy, you all talk like not too much is going on except a little radical action. Look at your police reports. Our county with only 71000 has 40 to 60 thefts, burglary, and violence events weekly, and toss in the 5 to 10 death and injuries by drivers high or drunk weekly, and there is existing threat to our life and liberty, and livelihood.

    Think what it’s like in the metro areas. Those perps travel. To the country. To the burbs. To your home.

    Guns are great but we need to prep the many layers of alarms, security, non-lethal, homestead defense. We need them now.

  17. In response to Dweezel: I’ve had a steady diet of the Blue Line of which you are sympathetic showing their strongly totalitarian bent coast to coast and for some years now. Katrina: the bully boys threatened to kill honest gun owners unless they gave up their guns (that is when they weren’t beating up old women in their homes). The SWAT mentality of US cops has given us over 20,000 SWAT raids a year and many of them to enforce misdemeanor laws with deadly force – which they used to kill innocent citizens, black, white and brown, as well as shoot family pets on a regular basis. Then there is the police propensity to profit from civil forfeiture (Thanks, AG Sessions). Wrongful shootings are reported all too often. Roadside stripping of women, lethal force threats, “us vs. them” attitude, all are daily reported. And, they know in their hearts that there pals in blue will stand up for them, district attorneys will choose not to prosecute cop malfeasance and the police unions are there to coach them through the process to protect the cop regardless of their guilt. Thanks but I no longer consider cops of any stripe allies. They consider themselves Praetorian Guards and their record indicates just the opposite. The donut jokes are misplaced; the average cop is far more dangerous to the honest citizen than the citizen realizes.

    1. Dane: I am in agreement. Everything you have stated can be documented by facts. What I was referring to is the clueless, flag-waving blithering idiots out there who continue to believe the Orcs and Orcettes with badges mean them no harm. And, these sheeple will react predictably when the festivities start. Just look at that 3-ring false flag when the Boston Marathon “bombing” happened. The fools were shouting USA! USA! on the street corners while squads of overweight Ninjas were going door-to-door shredding the Fourth Amendment.
      I do not hold any illusions about “The Thin Blue Line”. They will serve whoever is paying their wages. I have seen it time and time again. They are best avoided at all costs. With the uptick in “mass shootings” I would caution everyone to play your cards close to the vest. DO NOT TALK about your preps, your training, or your politics. Your own family can snitch you off in a heartbeat.

  18. I really enjoyed this article! Your family has had many amazing and historical escapes since the founding of the country. My father’s family is from Kentucky, and so Gramma is right on with her facts on the War of the Northern Aggression.
    I live (now) in Northern Cal-Sacramento area. If you think that it won’t get too bad, I have news for you. I live in a very white, very upper class, very monied area and most of these people are Leftists Extraodinaire. The worst thing that happened to them is not being able to continue to live in the Bay Area financially-so they moved to Sacto to change it into what they left. The oldtimers are ultra conservative, the new people are left of Stalin, so I hold no illusions on the blood bath that could break out.
    Prepare for the worst, expect the best is the most we can hope for. Next year this time, I hope to be somewhere other than the late great state of California.

  19. Jim

    The anti DJT hysteria is rampant in the Marxist left Australian media, at the moment the hate here is a feeding frenzy, I assure you and all American readers that of your blog that, many conservative Christians and critical thinking Vets here do not abide or go along with the Democrats or the far left , I think the so called ” cold war ” will only get far worse, if Colorado today voted their first openly homosexual Governor , the divide is not only in the USA, there is a subtle separation going on also in Australia, what happens there will ripple over here like a stone thrown into a pond, I and many others do not see a win by the far left as a good thing, my expectation is for a slide down to violence, strife and Anarchy in many cities if Trump wins a second term, if he loses, then, curtailing of 2A rights is a gurrantee, along with any last remaining freedoms there, then the rest of us outside the USA lose as well, Australia is a socialist’s paradise, combine the #metoo movement and fourth wave femmanazi’s and the vast social engineering going on here ( as well as there ), the stage is set for a small spark to ignite real conservatives in the US and you all into a corner. Of course I, and many others do not want a descent into darkness and chaos, sadly I see no other result ahead. As someone who has been shot at and seen things a person should not see, only a madman wishes for chaos.

    I am attaching a link with the usual rabid females exstatic over the mid term “win ”

    old Anzac Vet

  20. As far as targets go – just think if you happen to live in a city (leftist haven) be a social media participant where you elucidate your conservative political opinions = neighborhood target! I don’t see this as being unrealistic.

  21. Your second paragraph says we are now in a time of great instability. Suggested reading that would back this up: “The Fourth Turning”. Written in 1997, it predicted that the period 2005-2025 would be a time of Crisis equal to the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the WWI-Depression-WWI era. These Fourth Turnings occur about every 80-100 years and go back in time to ancient Greece and beyond. Events that in 1999 would not have caused much stir, in this current Fourth Turning become hills to die on. The book also predicted that some “Abraham Lincoln-type person” would come to lead us through this crisis… hmmmm, who could that be? Who COULD it be? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you President Trump, and the storm is upon us.

  22. a couple of years ago we had a discussion on what to do if shtf, my first thought was erect a bridge out sign at the corner of our road. most people even rioters don’t want to get stuck somewhere and have to turn around. next during krystalnact a jewish business man saw what was happening and soaped his windows and put up a for rent sign, the rioters left his place alone. while we are at peace get range cards made for your retreat or bug in place, that way if shooting erupts you are on target, shortening the conflict, remember only hits count. get some kind of food and water storage now and some kind of alternate fuel. get with your neighbors NOW, make a plan with your family and friends, find out how many have cb radio’s or marine radio’s this will be crucial for communicating, have hunting and defense ammo and firearms or at least a bow and arrows, fishing equipment if a river or lake or pond is nearby. the better your plan the less grief you will endure.

Comments are closed.