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Are We Headed for Martial Law?

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With all of the craziness in the world today, especially surrounding the election, I’ve had a few people ask me what I recommend doing if our government enacts martial law.

Police in giot gear are the final step before martial law

Now, personally, I don’t believe that’s likely to happen anytime soon, and if it did, our government probably wouldn’t call it martial law.

Martial law is when the military unilaterally assumes the ability to enforce rule of law over the people. In other countries, we’ve seen martial law enacted after a coup d’état, to suppress political opposition or to stabilize insurrections.

In America, we often hear about state or local governments declaring a state of emergency, typically in response to extreme weather or civil unrest. Technically, this is not martial law, but it is a way for our government to assert more control over a particular situation.

Chaos at the Finish Line

In 2013, two homemade bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring over 250 others. Three days after the attacks, authorities released images of the two suspects, Chechen-American brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to the media.

That same day, police officers in Watertown, just outside Boston, engaged the suspects in a gun battle as they attempted to flee in a stolen vehicle. The elder brother, Tamerlan, was killed, while the younger one escaped.

Within a few hours of the gunfight, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick shut down Boston’s public transit system and suspended train service to and from Boston.

Over a million residents were asked to shelter in place.

The directive was not mandatory, but schools, universities and many businesses remained closed while the manhunt was underway. The streets were eerily empty as 19,000 National Guard members and thousands more law enforcement officers went door to door in search of Dzhokhar.

The shelter in place order was lifted in less than a day, but just last week, Trump threatened to impose martial law in Chicago.

And if he does, who knows how long it will last? This brings up the question, what do you need to do to survive an extended state of martial law?

From Martial Law to Murphy’s Law

First of all, I’d like to point out that the possibility of martial law is yet another reason you should have plenty of food and water stored at home.

If your city is experiencing any sort of unrest, the last thing you should do is hop in the car and go to the supermarket. Stores will be one of the most dangerous places, because once people get desperate, they’ll start taking whatever they can get their hands on.

Widespread looting can occur in the aftermath of a natural disaster, a contentious court case or even a sports game. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will take advantage of a bad situation and make it worse.

Which is exactly why you should build up your food and water storage now. That way, you won’t have to leave the safety of your home and make your way through the treacherous streets to get supplies if things start to get out of control.

Communications

Next, you’ll need a way to stay informed and communicate with friends and family. The news is one way to stay informed, but coverage of these types of events is often sensationalized and replayed ad nauseam.

In my opinion, radios are the best way to get the most current information on what is going on in your city. Listen for updates on crowd movements and police activity to find out if danger is headed your way. You may have to decide whether or not to flee based on what you hear.

I don’t recommend relying on your cell phone in an emergency. However, the 5-0 Radio Police Scanner or similar app can help you anticipate problems when a radio is not available.

If you do end up having to leave your home, you’ll want your bug-out bag(s) packed and ready to go and at least a half a tank of gas in your car, along with a paper map so you can identify alternate routes to avoid dangerous areas.

Back to the subject of radios: You should also have a way to communicate with your loved ones other than cell phones. Cell towers can easily be overwhelmed in a crisis, or the government might shut them down in an attempt to regain order.

I recommend investing in a few Baofeng radios. Just be sure everyone knows which channel to use to keep in touch.

Defense

Finally, you’ve got to have a way to defend yourself. If a bunch of looters try to kick in your front door, you certainly want to be able to protect your family. In this type of extreme situation, my weapon of choice is an AR-15.

Now, I understand that not everyone feels comfortable around firearms, especially a bigger gun like a rifle. But in a serious situation, you’ve got to have a serious weapon to defend yourself. And if we as a country ever find ourselves bound by martial law, things could get really serious, really quickly.

 

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

*Update*

This post originally used the term “assault rifle” referring to an AR-15.  As several people pointed out in the comments below, this is inaccurate.  In an effort to provide quality content on a regular basis, mistakes occasionally slip through.

14 Comments

  • Jason,
    I truly enjoyed this article on Martial Law. I appreciate your sense of humor and ability to lace it into a topic that is concerning. You paint a very realistic picture of what can happen when a handful of morons make it difficult for the everyday law abiding citizen. Iron County Emergency Management’s Facebook page and the Iron County Community Preparedness application will be used to keep members of our community as informed as possible.

    Thanks again for all you do to keep us as a community engaged and prepared!

  • Douglas Gerber says:

    Jason,
    You do the firearm enthusiasts a disservice by referring to an AR-15 as an “assault weapon”. It is nothing of the sort, except in apprearance. The AR-15 is a semiautomatic Sporting Rifle sometimes generally referred to as a Modern Sporting Rifle or MSR. As you know the “assault weapon” moniker was started by ignorant liberal media and has carried over to the political realm. If we as educated firearm enthusiasts repeat the same misinformation, it only serves to further confuse an already confused public.

    • Jason Hanson says:

      Douglas,

      Thank you for pointing out the error. I agree that it is important to use the proper terms and not contribute to the false narrative. The post has been adjusted.

      Thanks!

  • Darin Slocum says:

    I have always appreciated the useful information form Jason–it is invaluable and spot on. However, I do take issue with one point here: the AR-15 platform is absolutely NOT an assault rifle.

    An assault rifle is fully-automatic (as defined by the United States Department of Defense Intelligence Agency handbook) and not only is the AR-15 semi-auto, it is rather difficult (if not impossible, in most cases) to modify and extremely illegal to do so.

    So why has the AR-15 been incessantly labeled an “assault rifle”? Because it serves the narrative of the Progressives in demonizing the weapon, shocking people that some own military weapons. It is just another lie of the Left.

    Please don’t propagate it.

    • Jason Hanson says:

      Darin,

      You’re absolutely right. This was an error. It just goes to show how powerful that narrative has become. The post has now been updated.

      Thanks!

  • Jason:

    In these troublesome times it will be necessary to keep in touch as communications is always paramount. I am a Ham Radio operator and strongly suggest everyone become a licensed operator. The capabilities of ham radio include being tapped into emergency communications and other important traffic. The radio you mentioned is also called the “china dolls” and last time I looked about $25 on Amazon. It has the ability to program a host of frequencies such as fire, emt and police although some services scramble their messages. Volunteering is important and practicing established emergency communications is a pillar of the Amateur Radio Code. You do not need to know morse code to obtain your license and many of our students here in Alaska get their ham “ticket” to participate in CERT, Community Emergency Response Training.

    Concerning the Boston Marathon Bombing it was horrific. Immediately everyone got on their cell phones and jammed the system. EMT, police and fire got on their units and overwhelmed the system. The task to coordinate rescue and stop 17,000 runners was charged to the volunteer amateur radio operators manning the wellness stations along the entire route. The most sobering comment of this event was when the hams were notified of their responsibility they were also asked about what security they had as in armed personnel. These are dangerous times, not to live in fear but prepared and pro-active. I am blind and considered a part of the “vulnerable” community but as a ham radio operator I can lift up a standard for help and assistance beyond the length of my cane especially during emergencies. Ham radio can make the difference especially for the disabled to get the word out for needs such as oxygen and medicines. Remember you can only be helped if they know you are there.

    Respectfully,
    Pat KL3DB

    I greatly appreciate your commitment to render aid and information to help our people and our nation to be more alert and better prepared.

  • Fred Philibert says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    On 9/11, I was at work about 20 miles North of New York City. I lived in New Jersey, about 6 miles due North of the Twin Towers. When the 2nd tower collapsed, my boss turned to me and my carpool partner, and just said, “Go home.” It’s about a 30 mile drive, across the Hudson River through some very heavy traffic, no matter when you go.

    I told my partner I wanted to stop and buy an AM/FM radio first, so we could stay informed. He said, “But, we have one in the car”. I said, “What if we have to leave the car?” He stared at me with a strange look, and quietly said, “Ok”.

    I got the last radio they had; a tiny shirt pocket radio that runs off two AAA batteries. We didn’t need it that day, but it has stayed with my laptop backpack since then, loaded with lithium batteries. I keep some essential gear in that bag (I always have), but I know I need to add some more items. Cell phones were as useful as hockey pucks. Even landlines were hit or miss.

    That was a sad day. From my home, we watched those towers burn for months on end.

  • NVSBLTY says:

    Jason, curious to know why you called your AR15 an “assault rifle”? Is it swirchable from semiautomatic to full automatic? If not, calling it an ” assault rifle”, perpetuates the MSM lie!

  • Margot Wright says:

    Jason, I live in CA. and do not have an Ar-15. I also live alone in a large single story home. I have water and food and coleman stoves for cooking. I also own 3 handguns, a .22 rifle and a Mossberg 500 series shotgun. I have a bugout bag in the car, in the garage and in the closet. My car is also 1/2 full or more of gas. If I have to leave some of my supplies would be left behind because my car is small. I also have 2 cats. What would be my priorities to take with me? Thank you MJWright

    • Jason Hanson says:

      Hey Margot,

      It sounds like you’ve already got a pretty good plan. Your priorities might depend on the rest of your plan. For example, it’s always important to have three days of water with you. If your cats will go with you, make sure that includes water for them. That should be enough to get you to your bug-out location. But does your bug-out location have water? Are you going to stay with friends, or do you have a cabin in the woods?

      I can only really advise on the basics. Beyond that, the situation will have to dictate further planning. Why you are leaving and where you are going will need to be considered when doing your last minute planning if there’s time for that.

      Stay Safe!

  • I understand the lure of the AR-15 but do not and will not own one. I don’t want something that will go through the walls and kill of harm my neighbors. Never underestimate the shotgun as the Germans did in WWI for Trench Warfare. I also do not use buckshot. At in-house distances even No. 8’s will put a good sized hole in anyone and one H of a stopping power. You can have your Governor or Judge. I used to hold patterning events at my local club before waterfowl season. Too few people understand the value of knowing your shotgun. Every year I would have several men show up with their lady friends or wives and a Judge saying that they wanted their lady to be able to defend herself and could they take some shots. My answer was always sure as long as you go down and put 4 or 5 into the target first. Without exception, they would all come back with their hand hurting and sometimes abraded to bleeding saying “I think we will go over and shoot some .22’s. There are exceptions but most women cannot handle a Judge. I have shot them and they are very uncomfortable. Yes, it is possible to hit targets on the skeet range from stations 1, 7 and 8. Forget the others.. The one thing I have bought from you is a belt. It is the finest belt I have ever owned but think you discount the value of it as an emergency weapon. I sure wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that buckle. Incidentally, I took your cc course in Virginia several years ago and still consider the part of situational awareness the best part. I spent many years working in some of the worst parts of Washington DC and adjacent Prince George’s County, high crime and violence areas with some of the dumbest gun laws. I never wear ear buds or walk along looking at my cell phone. I also dress to fit in. Look and dress like the locals. It works here and abroad. The only time I was scared in DC was when a lawyer and a commercial real estate agent showed up on the site in a Cadillac and a Mercedes wearing Brook’s Brothers suits. I asked them why they weren’t wearing “Mug Me” signs. They were clueless.

    You might put together a short piece on the use of your belt as a self defense weapon. I’d buy another but I probably won’t live that long for it to wear out.

  • Betsy Colburn says:

    I bought a number of large blue plastic water bricks to hold emergency water but I haven’t filled them because I don’t know the best way to sanitize the interiors of the bricks before filling them. Any suggestions? — Betsy

    • Jason Hanson says:

      Hi Betsy,

      When cleaning out water containers for the first time I would use a mild detergent and hot water. I would repeat this process a few times and I wouldn’t use any strong chemicals.

      Thanks!

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