How Do We Keep The New Civil War From Killing More Innocent People?

In the last article, I discussed some recent history and made the case that the United States is basically already in a civil war, but with the levels of violence on an upward trend. In another article, I explained why I think the chances for a big uptick in violence are higher than they’ve ever been.

But, I don’t want to leave readers and members thinking that this is a hopeless situation. I definitely don’t want people to think that joining the emerging bazaar of violence on one side or the other is a great idea, either. Instead, the most pressing concern should be protecting innocent people wherever they are.

I don’t really care who or what you’re trying to protect. You might only be concerned for yourself or your family. You might be worried about what this means for a church or club you attend. It could be a business or social space like a gay bar that’s under threat of political violence. Whatever it is, I want to help.

The Biggest Thing: Mindset

It may be tempting to head to the gun shop tomorrow (assuming you don’t already have one), but as much as I like guns for self defense, I don’t recommend starting with a gun purchase. There are two steps you need to take first: develop the right mindset and get training. I have a lot of information about this in the Civil Defense Library, but I’ll cover some basics here.

The most important thing you can do is remain calm. If you approach an emergency plan with fear and panic in your mind, you’ll make mistakes. If you’re religious, pray about it. Whether you’re religious or not, take a break and relax a bit before taking this task on. Meditate. Take a few deep breaths. The human mind works better when you’re calm and spiritually right.

Once you’re calmed down and thinking clearly, check your premises. There’s a lot of bad information out there about what’s a threat and what’s not. If you’re gay, your staunch Republican uncle is probably not out to get you. If you’re a religious conservative, your transgender niece/nephew is probably not joining Antifa and plotting your murder.

Basically, turn the TV off and take anything you read on social media with a grain of salt. Many of the people peddling fear these days are doing it to make money or doing it to distract you from something. Don’t let them rip you off like that or get you into trouble, because they’re not going to bail you out if you mess up.

Once you’re taking a fresh look at everything with a calm mind, you’re ready to take on the task of making a defensive plan.

Risk Assessment For Political Violence

When it comes to political violence, somebody who didn’t read the last section and doesn’t have their head on straight is probably your biggest risk. So, you’ve got to figure out what kind of lunatic would hurt you or the people you care about. Then, put yourself in their shoes (figuratively speaking) and then ask yourself, “If I was some lunatic who wanted to hurt me, what would I do?”

With that in mind, you can probably now see several ways somebody might attack your home, church, club, or whatever place you have in mind. Once you see the ways they could hurt you, start looking for ways to plug the holes.

Making Your People An Unattractive Target

Just by taking extra security precautions, you can greatly reduce the chances of a terror or political attack. People looking to do that don’t usually just walk up to a target. They usually at least check it out briefly first, with many terrorists doing a study of potential targets. If your space looks intimidating, they’ll either go somewhere else or abandon the idea. If your place looks soft, you’ll be high on the list.

Some things to consider:

  • Can a vehicle strike the building? (consider bollards)
  • Is there a big window that can be broken to gain access? (consider security film and/or bars)
  • Is there visible security at the entrance? If not, have someone there, plus at least one person they can’t see.
  • Are there other entrances or doors left open that shouldn’t be?
  • Do you have a second layer of doors that can be locked in case of an attack?
  • Are people and/or employees trained in what to look out for?
  • Are there any regular visitors that you’d reasonably think pose a violent threat? Consider trying to make peace with them or alerting authorities.
  • Is the organization or business doing anything that attracts violence?

That last one is worth discussing more, because you don’t want to be on anybody’s list to begin with. If you’re running a gay bar, 2024-2025 might not be a good time to run an all-ages drag event. If you’re protecting a church, it might not be a great time to put divisive culture war messages on the sign out front (ex. “There are only two genders.”, “Awake not Woke!”). You have a right to do whatever you want, obviously, but you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it right now.

Don’t Assume That It’ll Be Easy

If, in spite of your best efforts at avoiding the problem, violence comes anyway, don’t assume it’ll be easy to defend the space. If they show up, you’ll have a few seconds’ heads up at most, while they’ll have days, weeks, or even months to prepare. They might have a good plan to defeat every defense they can see, and they might be really well practiced and skilled.

So, if you’re going to incorporate firearms into a defensive plan, you’d better be not only good, but excellent. If you can barely hit a torso-sized target at 5 yards on a good day at the range, you’re not ready for that. You’d better be able to execute a good Mozambique Drill under simulated stress at 20 yards or greater. If at all possible, you should consider having a carbine or a rifle available for better accuracy under stress.

The Big Picture

If enough families and vulnerable spaces become harder to target, and people start thinking about how to be better members of their communities (by not contributing to violent and/or fear-based rhetoric), the problem of civil war and/or terrorism can go down over time and make everyone safer.

Make sure that you and your loved ones are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

About Civil Defense League

My mission is to help people go beyond preparedness and start managing the hazards faced by your family, your business, and the organizations you’re a part of.

If you find what you’ve learned here or anything else I’ve done for you to be valuable, be sure to drop something in the tip jar!

Free Online Training

We offer training in a variety of preparedness topics, including:

  • Basic Preparedness Skills
  • Defensive Skills (Including Firearms)
  • Electronics and Communications
  • Mitigating Political Violence
  • Other advanced topics coming soon!

You can find the free training here!


In addition to online training, I offer consulting service to individuals, businesses, and groups who want to bring their emergency preparedness to the next level.

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