How to Become “Invisible” in a Riot

Of course you’re smart enough to avoid dangerous areas prone to a riot, right?

But the very nature of social chaos reveals that riots can occur at a moment’s notice and have been known to occur in such common scenarios as:

  • Sports team championship loss
  • Bad court decision like LA “Rodney King” riots
  • Flash mobs like 2011’s Milwaukee State Fair attack

These very events have led to severe injury and even death where there was once a peaceful environment.

If you find yourself caught in a riot, one of the things you want to make sure of is that you don’t draw attention to yourself.

In other words, rioters who don’t feel there will be a consequence to their actions, may scan around looking for an easy target to attack.

Therefore, you want to be “invisible” to everyone around you.

For example…

1. Carry a black, compact hoodie windbreaker in your everyday carry gear so it can instantly be thrown on to disguise yourself or blend into dark areas at night.

2. If you’re among the rioting crowd, hoot and holler and cuss at the “target” of the mob so you look like one of them.

3. Smile.  Sounds weird, but if you look like you’re enjoying the violence, the rest of the rioters will instantly assume you’re a cohort — not a target.

4. Steer clear of storefront windows.  Eventually these stores will catch the eye of looters and you don’t want to be caught in the path of a treasure-​​seeking mob of anarchists.

Becoming “invisible” in a riot is one of the many skills needed to know how to escape and evade social chaos.

How you dress and how you act makes a difference and is something you need to plan ahead for just in case you’re caught up in the violence unexpectedly.



  1. Pat says:

    Good tips. Thanks for sharing.

  2. L.D. says:

    Don’t forget — for #2 when you ‘look like them’ you will also appear that way to law enforcement so you’d better be working your way out of the chaos and away from whatever the target is.

  3. ricky says:

    this news story is lame and folks don’t trust this info at all

  4. David, H. says:

    This is true info on the bazillion to one chance you will be caught in one. L.D. got it right, slowly and accordingly, move yourself away from the mob.

  5. Carl says:

    I never wear black hoodies to riots after labor day.

    I’m no expert at riot survival behavior but…wouldn’t it be smarter to just briskly walk away without looking like you’re running…or…if you’re a good runner…do that?

  6. Rey Wang says:

    See the event at home or read about it.

  7. Don says:

    This should definitely help. Carry a bunch of one dollar bills in your pocket. If think you are in danger, throw them into the air and move out smartly.

  8. Bubba says:

    Dumb and dumber. Cuss at the target? You kidding me? So, help make the riot worse AND possibly contribute to the demise of the target… Gutless.

  9. Thinker says:

    Hands down, the stupidest advice ever.

    –Carry around a menacing garment, and put it on, during a riot, and pretend to curse the targets.…who are often armed police. Should I get matching hoodies for my kids? Who will police shoot at first? The guy in the black hoodie screaming curses at them or the family steadily moving away from the epicenter?

    –Smile? Smile during a dangerous situation and look crazier than the rest? “Hey kids, smile. A soldier said it could save your life.”

    People, this guy is nuts.

    Practice this: “We’re just leaving. I’m taking my kids and leaving. We’re not part of this.” Say it loud, say it often, and keep your eyes on potential threats.

    Grab your smallest child in a bear hug, and do not trust hand-​​holding to navigate a crowd. Protect their head.

    Keep your head tucked down and your eyes forward.

    Do not corner yourself.

    Avoid morons in black hoodies cursing and joining the riot. They will get you killed.

    • Thinker says:

      By the way, I was in LA for the King riots, and the buildup to the potential OJ riots. These things don’t usually happen without a lot of buildup.

      There were armed snipers protecting businesses.

      Get off the street. If you can’t, move slowly. Rioters tend to be amped-​​up, linear, and chaotic. Outside is the last place you want to be. Stay near an obscure exit in case your building is set on fire.

      If you’re in a sporting riot, STAY IN OR NEAR YOUR SEAT. The most dangerous places are the stairs and aisles and exits, and especially balcony rails. The seat will protect much of your back, and funnel traffic from basically two directions. Keep your legs up. If you want to be invisible, be uninteresting. Motionless doesn’t attract as much attention, and you will not fall under the crowd and be trampled.

      It’s MUCH smarter to be visibly seen as not furthering or escalating the situation. If someone accosts you in your non-​​violent posture, do not be tame. Incapacitate them quickly and decisively.

      Do not hold anything in your hands which could be mistaken for a weapon. This includes your wallet, cell phone, a comb, iPod.…anything. People have been shot for all of those. If you MUST improvise a weapon, throw it down the minute a cop orders you to. It’s better to pay bail than burial.

      Again…the article above will get you killed.

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Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson is a 10 year veteran of the U.S. Army, a Master Fitness Trainer, and Master Instructor of Close Quarters Combat self defense. A full time fitness and self defense author, Jeff has trained thousands of men and women in the practical application of advanced military fitness methods as well as close combat tactics for "real life" self defense.

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