It has been a little while since I gave you something that you could actually use, so I thought that I would kick start your day with a little knowledge and psychology.
I have always loved the Zombie Survival phenomenon. Those roving bands of brain eating, undead monsters just awaken a primal survival instinct of kill or be killed. The fantasy casts off all social, religious, and moral obligations that would hold a person back if the brain eaters were not actually walking dead.
Unfortunately, the zombies that I am referring to are all around us every day, hell you may even be one. I'm taking about those roving hoards of brain eating protesters that are popping up all over the country. Their motivations are many and frankly, irrelevant to me, all I see is a mob. A mob with a single collective conscious that has cast off the accepted social standards and runs on emotion without thought of consequence. It is essentially a zombie hoard eating brains as it passes and getting more numbers as it devours your conscious and assimilates you into the herd.
With the current state of political unrest and the mysterious formation of mobs and "protesters" it seems fitting to study their psychology. It is arguably more important now than ever to understand what makes them tick. More importantly what triggers the riots and how to recognize and avoid such possible hazards to your safety and well being. For starters it is important to know what is going on in your area of operation. Watch the local news nightly and "glean" what you need from the topics discussed. The media will mislead you as to the motivations of the crowds but they will likely provide accurate information as to locations and times. Probably because this attracts onlookers and makes the crowd look bigger and grow as it devours the brains of those that get too close. This makes for good news but points made as to strength of the crowd, reasons for gathering, or other motivators should be taken with a grain of salt.
The basic human element sparking a disturbance is the presence of a crowd. FM 19-15
If in becoming locally aware you discover that the newest formation of unruly homeless people is in the neighborhood of your workplace or en route for your commute then you have got to MAKE A PLAN. Your plan should first start with an alternate route or two both in and out of your destination. If the disturbance can be avoided, do not expect it to stay put, you may not be able to avoid it on the way home. Plan to park a short distance away from the workplace and walk in. It is easier to get through the group if you are not stuck in traffic. Have a small pack or bag that you can easily carry, filled with some short term essentials (that is for you to decide) and a change of clothes. The clothing is essential, arrive dressed to blend in with the demonstrators and change in the office, change again before you leave for the day. You may need to have your ID handy to gain access to your building as the security personnel will likely be screening every one. Often times the group will direct its anger onto certain individuals based on how they are dressed depending on the crowds motivation. It is also easier to blend and disappear if you happen be recognized by one of them as a productive member of society.
The leaders of the mobs are often socially inept individuals that have lower morale standards than the accepted norms. There are also organizations that specialize in taking over demonstrations and leading the groups, and they are exceptionally good at that task. They can move in, gain a position of attention, spark some emotional confusion in the demonstrators, then lead the crowd to whatever direction they wish. Many times they can incite the group to perform in a manner that is in conflict with their personal morals. Often this individual moral obligation is mentally shifted from the person to the crowd and is subject to manipulation by the more vocal individuals. Crowd behavior is influenced by the presence or absence of social factors like leadership, moral attitudes, and social uniformity. Behavior is then influenced by the psychological triggers of suggestion, imitation, intimidation, anonymity, impersonality, emotional release, emotional contagion, and panic. This leaves the crowds open to manipulation by those with a particular agenda.
You must be aware of the crowds level of excitement and emotion as this is an indicator of the direction that the demonstration is going. When approaching that group stop short and listen to the chants and mantras. Get a little closer and analyze how you feel, being a part of the crowd affects everyone and that affect can be read if you are aware and focused. There is a gravity to a mob so be cautious not to get sucked in. That gravity is how they often form in the first place. That specific pull is present in a lot of situations and eventually it is a recognizable part of the big pattern of life. Make a statement to a couple of the demonstrators that does not involve emotion like: "our numbers are strong on this". Read the emotion and body language in the reply, if any reply is given. This should give you a reading on how stable the group is and rather you can maneuver to your destination.
If there is any way that you can avoid the hoards and get to your destination do it. If there is no way to avoid them, then be careful. If you find that FOR ANY REASON you start getting emotional, remove yourself from the situation. Emotion is the gravity that will eat your brain.
Do not, retreat to your home and wait out the storm, rather continue on your daily routine and develop the ability to read the crowd and adjust your plan. At least for the time being there is a majority of order and stability. In the future that may only be a memory and the skills that you learn now may save you from dying as a zombie in the uncertain future.
Survival is a discipline of attitude, knowledge, skills and actions: survival is not mandatory!