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Have you ever heard of the Murray-Hill Riot? Few people have. The event is also referred to as the Montreal Night of Terror. It took place in late 1969 in Montreal, Quebec when the police went on strike because they wanted to be paid as well as the police in Toronto.
While the police were on strike, taxi drivers gathered to protest the Murray-Hill monopoly on the local Dorval International Airport. The provincial police attempted to stop the taxi drivers, but they were stopped by the striking Montreal police. A melee resulted, and from there, things spiraled out of control.
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This riot is why Steven Pinker, the popular science author, gave up on the philosophy of anarchism. In his book, The Blank Slate, he describes what happened:
“As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose.
“Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting.
Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home.
“By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order.”
So why are we talking about this? It’s because the Murray-Hill riot is an excellent example of what can happen without government to run things.
Why Government Is Necessary… And Why You Can’t Count On It To Protect You
It is certainly true that government can (and does) overreach, and with negative consequences. The majority of the prepping community seems to be of a conservative/libertarian political philosophy with a belief that the government interferes too much in society and certainly too much in economic affairs.
That being said, government is still necessary in order to maintain order. Without it, anarchy ensues. It would be nice to think that without government, people would find a way to get a long. But the reality is that a certain percentage of people don’t care about getting along.
They will take advantage of the situation without regard for the consequences. The Murray-Hill Riot proves that, and it’s only one example.
As a prepper, what situations do you prepare for? Economic collapse? EMP attacks? Terrorist attacks? Natural disasters?
The government can collapse in any of those disasters, and as a result, it will be unable to maintain order. The result is that rioting, looting, and chaos can ensue, just like in Montreal in late 1969.
There are many people who don’t bother prepping for disasters because having a functioning government makes them feel safe. They assume that even if a major disaster happens, the government will take care of them.
But based on the Murray-Hill example, we’ve already seen what can happen when the police are not available to respond to the situation. What if the rest of the government were unable to respond as well? What if the government was completely and utterly paralyzed?
What Does This Mean For You
It means that in a true SHTF scenario, there is an extremely high chance that you will be on your own. And if you were on your own, would you be able to outlast a disaster lasting several days, weeks, or months (or even longer)?
Be honest with yourself. If your answer is no, then it’s time to either start prepping or step up your current prepping efforts.
Another Possibility: Martial Law
Martial law is another very real possibility after a disaster strikes. It’s essentially the opposite of the absence of government and anarchy. It means, in a nutshell, that the government takes complete control… of literally everything. It happened after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005, and there are many other disasters that could lead to martial law.
Martial law means your constitutional rights will be suspended. Your right to free speech and to keep and bear arms, for example, would go out the window. The government would take control of the press and the media so you would only hear what the government wants you to hear.
They may even go to door to door and confiscate your food, water, firearms, ammunition, and other supplies. Checkpoints would be set up throughout the city, and arrests without legal justification will be common. These are just a few of the things that can happen during martial law.
But why would the government do this? Well, by confiscating all the guns and ammunition, they would have complete control because they would have all the guns. And by taking away your food and water, the government would make you completely dependent on them. Food and water lines would be set up so people are essentially forced to go to the government for what they need.
Your Preparation Remains The Same
Preparing for a disaster means you need to also prepare for two distinct possibilities:
- That the government may be completely unable to respond to the situation and do nothing.
- That the government may take over your state or city and declare martial law.
However, how you go about preparing for either of these two scenarios remains the same. You should, at a minimum, have a one month supply of food and water in your home.
This means having at least one gallon of water stored per person per day in order to last you a month, and storing non-perishable yet nutritious foods such as canned meats and vegetables, flour, white rice, and beans.
It also means you need to be prepared to defend your home against looters, because as society descends into chaos, desperate people acting like savages will come knocking on your door.
Have sandbags and wooden boards prepared so you can beef up your doors and windows for cover, and consider replacing your windows with acrylic glass and your doors leading outside with metal doors with heavy duty locks and hinges. Home security after the SHTF is crucial.
You also better have some good survival guns and a healthy supply of ammunition should you need to use lethal force as well.
While you can leave some stuff out in the open to satisfy the law enforcement officers or National Guard soldiers who come knocking on your door, keep the majority of your stockpile separated and properly hidden.
The Time To Prepare Is Now
The time to prepare is now, not later, because if not now then when? Preparing now is the only way you can be self-sufficient when disaster strikes and chaos ensues either from a lack of government or a takeover by the government.
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