I recently attended an Eagle Scout Pinning ceremony for a family member, and it reminded me of the Boy Scouts long-standing and well-known motto: Be Prepared. We are now just days away from November 3rd…Election Day 2020. Are you prepared?
Earlier this year, we saw store shelves wiped clean of food, toilet tissue, cleaning supplies and many other items that we take for granted, and it has taken several months to restock to normal levels. We have also witnessed a summer filled with almost nightly violence in many major cities as well as some smaller communities. Everything from network news to social platforms has been rife with speculation and threats of what will happen if the elections go one way or the other.
While preparedness is a word that encompasses dozens of topics and thousands of checklist items, I’ll stick to three of the most important for the sake of this writing.
First and foremost, remember that avoidance is always the best way to prevent confrontation. Most states offer early voting or voting by mail, both of which will eliminate the need for you to stand in line at a polling place on Election Day. If bad actors attempt to engage you in verbal or physical altercations, remain calm and walk away if possible. If it reaches a point where you feel that your life is in danger, it is up to you do act as you feel you must, but remember that your actions may have severe and life-changing consequences.
If possible, you should also make plans to avoid cities of any size on election night, particularly those which have a history of violent protests. Avoidance includes driving through on major highways or surface streets. Altering your travel times or routes may be an inconvenience, but it could prevent you from falling into a situation well beyond your control. If a street or highway is blocked by protestors, you become a sitting duck in a sea of gridlocked vehicles with little if any way to avoid a confrontation if it comes your way. You may have a firearm, but you may be surrounded on all sides by aggressors in an environment that is also full of ordinary law-abiding citizens like yourself. Using a gun to defend yourself in this type of situation could leave you with lifelong regrets and or prison time if you are responsible for even the unintended injury or death of an innocent person.
If you live in an area that is likely to have protests, many of which can turn violent and deadly at a moments notice, make plans to be in your home well before nightfall, when election results will begin coming in. Locked doors, drawn curtains, and outdoor lighting will help to keep your home safe. Spending time in rooms near the center of the house or apartment may help to protect you from any stray bullets that may come your way. You should also have a fire extinguisher or two readily available to snuff out small fires before they can spread, and you should know how to use it effectively.
If you are a gun owner, know the laws regarding protection of your home, yourself and others. Many states have the “Castle Doctrine” and/or “Stand Your Ground” laws while many others don’t. It is not advisable to take an armed stand outside of your home to protect it, as it only serves to make you a target vulnerable to gunfire. Depending on your actions, it may also subject you to criminal charges or lawsuits.
Election Day 2020 will go smoothly in tens of thousands of communities in our country, but it is a given that it will be a time of conflict and chaos in many others. We are in a time when situational awareness is more important than ever, and being prepared means being aware. You would be wise to stay in touch with your local media outlets to get an idea of what is going on in your community leading up to Election Day and afterwards.
Be prepared, stay safe, and above all, exercise your right to vote without fear.