Updated: Jul 31
Good new folks! Strange militant men in military uniforms are coming to a town near you to clean up those damn peaceful protesters that are terrorizing your city! They have come armed with CS gas, batons, pepper balls, impact ammunition, live ammunition and flash bangs. Ready and able to commit war crimes without repercussion. Oh how this domestic terrorism makes me feel so safe from those Portland moms, peaceful protesters and unarmed BIPOC people sharing their stories in the streets until late hours of the night. I was really worried I may be inconvenienced on my way to work in the morning.
On a real note though, this is a letter from a peaceful protester addressing my fellow protesters across the country. I hope to share my personal experience with you in hopes it helps you prepare for when Trumps Militant Squad comes to your local protest. I have been getting swarms of emails asking how to prepare, what to wear, tear gas care and how this will affect them personally. I don’t have all of the answers simply because this is an un-precedented territory. But there is history and other countries experiences that we are learning from. Most tactics that we are utilizing at the moment was learned from the Hong Kong protesters. I will walk you through my personal experience in hopes that it may help you navigate your seemingly inevitable personal experience in combat with these domestic terrorists.
Below are some bullet points regarding gear and advice gathered from my own personal experience:
A ballistic helmet is ideal, but you can wear a motorcycle helmet or bicycle helmet if you can’t swing the bill on a ballistic. I’m personally saving up for one as we speak. This is for protection from the impact ammunition, the flash bangs and the compression CSC’s. My comrade was hit in the head, close range by a compression CS gas canister the other night and even with his helmet it knocked him unconscious. Just one persons experience to highlight the importance of a helmet!
Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, Shin Guards
There is a very large chance that you will fall when caught in a crowd of thousands of people trying to rush away from the tear gas and baton beatings, these pads will soften that blow. If you end up out front when Trumps Militant Squad attacks you with their batons, those shin guards will help you stand tall and look the cowards in the eyes.
Gas Mask, Goggles, Respirator
Mask up! We are in a global pandemic! You can’t honestly say Black Lives Matter and not where a mask when people of color are disporportionately affected by Covid-19. That being said, when the gas comes after they declare your peaceful gathering a riot, a N95 mask won’t do the trick. You will need lab safe, unvented goggles, a respirator with at least p100 filters or a full face gas mask with these filters! Now don’t think you’re a badass going without, all you are doing is waisting the medics eye wash when you’re crying gas out of your tear ducts.
Heat Resistant Gloves
You will need these to throw the CS gas canisters out of harms way. Too often these get caught on someones backpack, shoulder, under their vehicle, motorcycle or just in the crowd of our elders where they need to be immediately extracted. These gloves will do the job for at least a few throws.
Baton, Mace, Self Protection
Portland, Oregon is one of the whitest, if not THE whitest major city in the country and comes along with that is Proud Boys who work with the Portland Police Bureau. They have been present at the majority of the marches, demonstrations and sit ins that I have been apart of here in town. I encourage everyone to always have a protest buddy that sticks with you till you are safely back to your car or home but please carry self protection and know how to use it just in case.
First Aid Kit
First and foremost, eye wash, eye wash, EYE WASH! I personally make a 50/50 mixture of Milk of Magnesia and water and keep it in a spray bottle. Always wear gloves and a mask when rinsing other peoples eyes (from the inside out with head tilted) and consider using a spray bottle or single use packaging to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and bacterial infections. A basic youtube search should direct you to a “how to” tutorial.
I also pack: burn cream, alcohol wipes, gauze, first aid tape, chemical weapon wipes, hand sanitizer and a suture kit. I would prepare your vehicle with a homemade stretcher and room to be able to transport people to the hospital. The ambulance could be blocked off by the police or have difficulty getting to you, again this is from personal experience. Also, please remember to hand sanitize as often as you remember and sanitize the mega phone between each speaker!
I personally wear a grade 3A bullet proof vest that will protect me up to a 45 mm with a tactical vest on top of it to carry my first aid kit, tear gas solution, Tazor, gloves, flashlight, selfie stick etc. Before I was able to afford my bullet proof vest, I just bought a $50 tactical vest and cut aluminum signs to put into the inserts of the vest which theoretically would soften the blow of rubber bullets and pepper bullets.
Shield and/or Umbrella
If you feel that your role is up front along with the front liners then you are going to need one of these! The umbrella is a great way to block direct contact with pepper spray and should be utilized up front along with the shield bearers. As far as shields go, I’ve seen them made out of plywood, barrels and trash can lids. The shield bearers also need to be up front blocking the peaceful protesters from impact ammunition.
I personally would advise you to wear nothing identifiable so Trumps Militant Squad can’t pick you out from the crowd, black seems to be the trending color. If you have identifiable tattoos that are visible, cover them up! I personally wear: black tactical boots, black pants, and black long sleeve, which isn’t much different than my regular attire so it works out financially in my favor.
This experience can make you feel like you are in a very surreal combat war zone, remember to stay calm and not panic! 4 count breaths are your friend! Always walk, never run. If you don’t have a protest buddy, find one. Write the jail bond number or your emergency contacts phone number on your arm so you can call them if you are detained.
If you are a white ally, step to the back! If you are a white ally, remember we are in the streets to uplift BIPOC voices, not yours. If you are a white ally remember to follow your black leadership. If you are a white ally remember, that is what you are, an ally.
Last but not least, be kind to each other. Do not let anything petty divide us within the premises of a demonstration or in our communities. We need to unite and stand strong as one, more than ever right now. This is the revolution afoot and you are standing on the right side of history. You should be proud of yourself and your comrades and uplift each other. We are all we have. The revolution won't be televised, but it damn sure will be told.
Photo Credit- Alvin Joswick