You are out protesting for a noble cause when suddenly a riot erupts and the crowds of protesters start fleeing in all directions.
The police forces intervene to establish order, but during the clash they face resistance and start reacting with tear gases, water cannons, and rubber bullets. All hell breaks loose and you are stuck in the mob not knowing which way to go.
You are concerned for your safety as the police forces view everyone in the crowd as a possible threat and push forward. The lines are squeezing in and there seems to be no way out but through the angry policemen.
Scenes like this are unfolding more often as years pass due to the great political and economic unrest. They usually happen in underdeveloped countries, but Western states have their social riots as well. There’s always something to spark the people’s dissatisfaction, and ultimately generate angry mobs.
In case you are caught in the middle of a crowd, it’s essential to know how to effectively escape it to not risk any body injuries or worse. If you are participating to a protest that has gone bad together with your dear ones, the situation becomes even more tensed.
There are a few psychological aspects you must know about mobs.
A group of people will act as a whole, meaning that they’ll perform actions that they normally would not. This is due to the group mentality that forms at that particular moment of unrest.
So, a low-abiding citizen will most likely support the group by manifesting accordingly, but against the law. Not receiving the answers they please or due to police forces’ pressure, people in the mob are likely to become increasingly violent.
This has been dubbed “mob mentality” by psychologists, and it refers to the loss of personal identity in favor of mob identity.
Crowds are largely anonymous and stripping an individual of legal accountability due to it not being identifiable will lead to a disinhibition that can lead to various outcomes.
When there’s no threat of punishment because their identity remains anonymous, anyone can turn into a wrongdoer.
You know all too well what angry mobs are capable of. They can vandalize shops, cars, clash with police forces, and even beat people who oppose their manifesto.
You will not want to take part in this, I assure you, so here are a few things that will get you out fast.
- First thing on the list is to avoid that “mob mentality.” But keep in mind that vocally opposing the group and their actions can get you hurt. To avoid this, you must appear as being part of the mob, at least until your escape is at hand. However, don’t attempt to do any drastic and law-forbidden actions.
- Don’t make your escape obvious by trying to force the rows of people. Dissimulate and work gradually and slowly towards your way out. To do so effectively, appear like you have spotted a friend in the crowd and are trying to attract his/her attention. Another trick is to appear as seeking a better spot to visualize the scene.
- The best time to attempt an escape is when the mob is on the move. If they move, you also move. Pick a side (left or right) and gain ground towards the edge of the crowd. If you find yourself on a narrow street, you can seek shelter on some intersecting alley, inside a store, or an entrance to an apartment block.
- If you have found a vantage point like this, either move forward, if possible, or wait in there until the mob passes. Remember that the danger hasn’t passed just yet. Wait until the angry protesters are not in range and attempt an escape, as chances are they will return with even more chaos on their tail.
- Equally as important to remember is to keep your cool. Remain as calm as possible and don’t let fear get over you. At the same time, dissimulate and act as an angry mobster to not risk any altercations.
With these tips in mind, you can rest assured that your chances of escaping an angry mob are high, or at least higher than most of the people who will attempt an escape.
If you do participate to protests, make sure you remain close to the edge of the crowd or near alleys and shops.
If you are not aware just how violent mobs can become in “civilized” countries I suggest you take a look at this video. Bear in mind that preparedness is key to all life-threatening situations.