Matt Bracken believes that the Second American Civil War will begin with the rejection of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Foodstamps cards. He pictures many, many U.S. cities in the thrall of riots greater than those experienced in Los Angeles in 1965 (Watts) and in 1992 (Rodney King), in New York during the 1977 blackout looting and the 1991 Crown Heights riot.
In the ex-SEAL’s scenario, the initial riots begin across urban areas with a lot of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients. As soon as those welfare recipients learn that their EBT cards no longer function, they will be angry and they will fear to go hungry. This combination of anger and fear will lead to flash-mobs looting local supermarkets, shops and restaurants.
The ransacked supermarkets, convenience stores, ATMs and gas stations will not be restocked due to the security situation. Any truck loaded with food or gasoline would be subject to attack unless protected by security forces. But since powerful security forces will not be available soon enough, resupply will not take place immediately in the affected areas. These delays in the physical delivery of food will lead to more riots.
The “food riots” will become a grass-roots movement born out of sheer hunger. And cell phone technology will provide all the organization a flash mob needs to grow into a huge gathering.
The flash mobs will next move to the borders of their urban enclaves, to concentrate on major intersections and highway interchanges where suburbans commute. People making a living will still be using those roads to get to their job.
The clashes between the urban mobs and the suburban commuters will resemble the intersection of Florence and Normandie during the Rodney King riots in 1992, except that with texting and Twitter, there will be hundreds of thugs within minutes instead of a few dozen, terrorizing intersections.
Rioters will throw into an intersection obstacles such as shopping carts and trash cans. Drivers will have to pause. Traffic will be forced into gridlock for blocks in all directions. The mobs, armed with everything from knives, clubs, pistols to AK-47s, will then swarm the lines of trapped cars. Drivers and passengers will be pulled from their vehicles to be beaten, robbed, raped and killed.
Some of the commuters’ deaths will be captured on traffic web cameras and cell phones. Horrible scenes will be shown on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.
Ordinary police patrol cars in small numbers will not venture anywhere near such roiling masses of angry rioters, not even to perform rescues. And SWAT teams and riot squads won’t be in position nearly in time. To gear up for a single flash-mob major-street-intersection riot, city police departments will require at least an hour, and several hours to mount a response sufficient to quell the disturbance, mop up lingering rioters, restore security, and bring medical attention to the living and get medical examiners to the dead. And each jurisdiction will face a multitude of such scenes.
By the time police officers are suited in riot gear, armed and geared up to sweep the targeted intersection, it will be virtually empty of rioters. The police will be fighting flash mobs that materialize, cause mayhem, and evaporate in minutes. This rapid cycle time is an obvious lesson taken from riots by French Muslims in their own enclaves and bordering areas.
The American flash mob riot will exist inside the law enforcement loop. The rioters will have a much, much quicker reaction time than the police, immediately spreading word of every police preparation by text-messaging and Tweets, even in advance of the police movement.
As soon as an awareness of law enforcement impotence is spread by television and social media, the situation spirals out of control. When the mobs will have recognized that their street riots cannot be stopped by the police, they will grow fearsome. The violence will spread to unaffected cities.
In the absence of any viable security arrangements, supermarkets and other stores will not be restocked, leaving the rioters even more hungry and angry than before. And the increasing rage born of worsening hunger will refuel the escalating spiral of violence.
Vehicle traffic by suburban commuters through adjoining areas will virtually halt, wrecking what is left of the local economy. Businesses will not open because employees won’t be able to travel to work. Businesses in urban areas will all be looted. Enclaves of affluent suburbanites within or near the urban zones will suffer repeated attacks, until their inhabitants flee.
Rioters will hold critical infrastructure corridors through their areas. Highways, railroad tracks, pipe and power lines will all be under threat, or may be cut. Even airports will be affected, since many of them have been absorbed into urban areas. Aircrafts will come under sporadic fire while taking off and landing.
In the absence of new targets blundering into their areas, and still out of food, the rioters will begin to forage beyond their neighborhoods, into suburban borderlands. Supermarkets and other stores will be robbed in gang attacks. Carjackings and home invasions will proliferate wildly.
Mixed-ethnic areas will suffer the worst violence, will become chaotic killing zones, with no effective help coming from the police. The number and ferocity of home invasions will skyrocket. Individual homes and apartment buildings located in open grid-pattern neighborhoods with outside access from many directions will be almost impossible to defend against. The home invasions will continue.
This will lead to a total loss of confidence in the government’s ability to provide security across all social lines, all neighborhoods. Stray bullets striking pedestrians or penetrating houses and cars will take a high toll, even in areas previously considered to be safe.