In case you don’t know, martial law is when the government takes over a designated territory, suspends constitutional rights, and enforces authoritarian power with the use of the military. Basic civilian rights such as a trial before imprisonment and other democratic processes are limited or suspended completely. Every democracy has the potential for martial law.
Martial law usually happens during something like a large riot, a terrorist attack, or a large-scale natural disaster. During frightening events like these, many people prefer to give up their rights so they can have the peace of mind an authoritarian government offers. Who needs rights as long as you can feel safe from looters, right?
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The trouble is, there have been instances where martial law has gone too far. In the video below, you’ll see what happened after Hurricane Katrina.
What you should know is that almost every time martial law is declared, it requires a preceding event that gives the government the justification it needs to take authoritarian measures with military force and suspend constitutional rights. And while what can happen during martial law varies, it’s never pretty and several of the authoritarian measures can remain in place for several months (if not years).
In this article, we’ll take a look at some things that can happen during martial law. To be clear, not all of these things will happen every time martial law is imposed. In fact, if every one of them happened at once it would be a very rare and extreme event. However, each of these things has been known to happen, so they’re worth preparing for.
1. Confiscation of Firearms
As it shows in the video above, one of the first things to occur under martial law is the confiscation of firearms. Any civilian with a firearm will be deemed a threat, which means it’s important to hide your weapons in a place that only you and trusted family or friends know about.
Have multiple stashes so if one stash is found, you can pretend that’s all there is. If you have a bunker, keep some weapons and firearms there as well. Make sure you have plenty of ammo, too.
Expect to be searched without cause. Anything that is found on you is in danger of being taken. Keep this in mind when going out so that you don’t lose something valuable to government forces or other opportunistic enemies. Also, if you have children in your home, please keep your gun in a combination safe like this one.
Related Article: 5 Ways To Hide Your Guns During Martial Law
Curfew under martial law will be strictly enforced, and it is inadvisable to break it. In the event that you must go out past curfew, be prepared. Know back routes and less traveled paths to your destination. Stealth is of the utmost importance, so be sure you have the appropriate gear to move about quickly and undetected.
If you must travel in groups, keep them small. The larger the group, the higher the risk of being detected. Be strategic about when you choose to venture out of your homes during curfew as well, and always carefully plan out your routes beforehand.
3. Restriction of Free Speech
Your constitutional rights are void under martial law, so it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself. There will be people who will object to martial law, and those that loudly protest will suffer. A protester during martial law is likely to be imprisoned and possibly shot.
If you have the desire to rally together a militia, do so with extreme care and discretion. Militias typically operate underground as they are the weaker and smaller force.
Related Article: Martial Law Is Inevitable – Here’s What To Prepare For
4. Forcible Removal from Property
Just because you own the land or house you live in doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to stay there once martial law is in place. Depending on the situation, it is possible that many people, including you, will be relocated. They may also decide to set up camp in your home, so be prepared for this.
Have a bug out bag ready at all times in the event of martial law so when the time comes you can relocate quickly and safely.
You may choose to stay on your property and in your house, but it would be a high-risk move for the average homeowner. The precautions taken to prevent the take-over of your home are only going to be effective against looters and not against well-equipped and trained government forces.
5. Confiscation of Food Supplies
Along with your firearms, military forces may choose to take your food supplies as well as other basic living essentials. If you have any medicine you need, hide it somewhere. Keep most of your medicine in your bunker, a little on your person, and the rest in a hidden location in case you are unable to bunker down in time.
While most people stock up on food supplies at home, it would be wise to have a good stock of food and water in a well-prepared bunker. Homes are easy targets and might be raided for supplies by military forces, leaving you high and dry as well as dependent on the government for your next meal.
Related Article: Martial Law – Where To Hide Your Supplies
6. Detained or Imprisoned at Will
For whatever reason, you may be imprisoned by military forces without provocation. They may find you suspicious or threatening, mistake you for someone else, or just hate your face. The best thing to do under military law is to stay out of sight. Never draw attention to yourself.
In the event that you are in the presence of or confronted by government forces, always act as a good citizen should, being readily obedient until you can slip away.
7. Forcible Identification of Individuals
This includes individuals being forced to carry identification cards, mandatory fingerprinting, and being tracked on mobile apps just to do basic necessities such as working, buying food, buying gas, traveling, and so on.
In stricter circumstances, it may be required for any individual walking outside of their home to have their identification with them, and chances are good that you will be stopped and forced to display your identification at various checkpoints around the city.
8. Taking Command of Businesses
Last but not least, businesses will never be allowed to be up and running the same way during martial law. In an effort to take control of the population, the government would take control of businesses and strictly regulate what can and cannot be sold.
As noted previously, food supplies could be confiscated, and not only from people’s homes but from stores and restaurants as well. Restaurants would likely be forced to shut down, while stores would be forced to ration what they can sell, creating food lines. Any businesses allowed to remain in operation would only be able to do so under strict supervision from the government.
Also as noted previously, it’s also likely that individuals would be forced to identify themselves to the authorities in order to do legal business with one another. For example, people seeking to purchase food would be forced to show their identification either on a mobile app or a physical card.
Martial law has happened countless times before, and it is bound to happen again. You can learn more about martial law in this article. Remember, if martial law is in place, you are in danger and it is in your best interest to hide until normal government functions resume. It is important that you at least have a plan of action for when martial law takes place.
Your survival is all that will matter in that time, and it will not be an easy effort. There are many opportunists and bad people out there that will thrive under martial law. You will need to be able to defend yourself from such people.
Defending yourself from an attack is the worst-case scenario and best avoided by staying out of sight. Don’t go out in public, and especially avoid high trafficked areas. Learn basic survival skills like hunting and off-grid cooking. You must be ready for anything.
If you have a bunker to hide out in, be sure not to take any cell phones or GPS devices that could give away your location (even if you think you can’t get a signal underground). Only leave your bunker or hiding spot when absolutely necessary. Your welfare during martial law will depend on your preparedness.
What to read next: 5 Things To Do When Martial Law Is Declared?
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