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As Hong Kong descends into further chaos, we’re reminded of a harsh reality. The wants of the people and those running the country don’t always align, and that’s a scary situation to be in. Should a terrorist attack or even just a disaster strike here on our home soil, we may find ourselves facing a similar situation, and the declaration of martial law.

If it’s ever deemed to be “in our best interests” the U.S. government has full authority to retain their grip on power, by declaring martial law. Now, there’s plenty of movies that paint a picture of what it “could” look like, but with the military in charge, there’s a few changes you can expect.

  • Curfews to keep you inside once night falls.
  • Forced employment and returns to work.
  • Rations to make the most of food and supplies.
  • Military tribunals replace the current legal system.
  • Security checkpoints and severe travel restrictions.
  • Detention camps for large populations of people.

It’s a scary situation, especially as the times get tougher and the military pushes even harder to retain their grip on control. But there’s a few things you can do to stay under the radar during martial law. Here’s what I’d recommend.

Keep your head down

The initial reaction of the masses to a declaration of martial law is going to be anger. The “man” stripping away your constitutional rights, and there will likely be protests, demonstrations and rioting. Don’t get caught up in this, and don’t do anything that may draw attention to your family. Keep your cool, don’t threaten the heavily armed people in control, and toe-the-line of all the requests that are demanded of you. You don’t want to be made an example of, or judged in a military court where you most definitely will not get a fair trial.

Keep things to yourself

My family is big on self-sufficiency, and we’ve taken steps to ensure we’re as off-grid as possible, in the event of a large disaster. But we’ve also tried to keep it as low-key as possible, not advertising all of the things that we’re doing, the supplies and setups that we have, and from the outside looking in, you could probably not even tell we’ve got systems in place that would keep us warm, fed and comfortable for at least 12 months, without any outside help. During martial law, we could simply hunker down and ride it out, without ever needing to leave our property.

Keep your lights off

During any crisis there will be a massive divide between the “haves” and the “have nots,” the people who failed to prepare and are now willing to take what you have by force. Don’t give them any reason to do so, silly things like keeping the lights on at night when all other homes in your street are dark is a dead giveaway. The last thing you want is to shine a light on everything you have for the military to turn up and simply take it all away, for the “greater good.” You want to stay under the radar, and if you must use power, keep the windows blacked out so it’s not immediately visible.

Keep your supplies hidden

Not advertising all of the supplies and preparations you have made also extends to your food stockpile. It’s important to keep your supplies hidden, at least out of sight from a cursory search. That way, if your home is ever breached, or you’ve got the army knocking on your door, they won’t be able to take everything (unless of course they’ve got a reason to search thoroughly and they find your hidden stockpile). Split it up, and keep your food stores hidden. We’ve got a false wall in our basement that hides a large portion of our supplies, as well as hidden caches at other locations.

Keep your communication open

Signal jammers that block both radio waves and your mobile phone signal are going to be used to limit the flow of information, and disrupt any rioting or demonstration attempts. Most jammers are highly localized, and you can bypass them by getting as far away from the jamming device as possible, but it’s important to have alternative communication methods. Short-wave radios, setup Wi-Fi calling, and we’ve even got an old-school drop included in our survival planning.  Keeping your lines of communication open, especially to the others in your survival group, is vital.

Keep your bug-out-plan ready

Finally, be ready to make what would potentially be one of the hardest decisions of your life. Escaping the city or the area you are in to evacuate somewhere more remote, where you’ll be left to your own devices. I’m not the one to decide here when is the right time to make that call, but if you’re facing hardships under martial law, and your family’s safety is at genuine risk, grabbing your bag and getting out of dodge may be the smartest choice. Just make sure you’ve got an escape route to get out unnoticed.

During a crisis it’s important to not lose sight of what’s most important. Your role is to be the protector of your family, and you can’t do that if you’ve been arrested for causing a scene, breaking the rules, and are thrown in one of the detention camps for an unknown amount of time. Who will be there for your family when you’re gone?

Remember your priorities, and don’t let yourself get caught up in the emotions and the anger of the people, and find yourself on the wrong side of an angry military rule. It’s important to stay under the radar during martial law.

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