Your Own Riot in Eight Easy Steps

Complacency is a disease. It eats away at creativity, ambition, and progress. More importantly, it leads to a dull Saturday night. Fortunately, there is a simple, sure-fire cure: rioting.

Starting your own riot may seem daunting at first. But with the steady hand of a semi-sober magazine writer guiding you, your neighbors will be throwing bricks through windows in no time.

Step One: Find A Trigger

Sadly, a good riot doesn’t start itself. In spite of what Hobbes or Zach de la Rocha would have you believe, people need at least a little motivation before they start torching police stations. If you want to get the ball rolling, you’ll need to find an issue that matters.

Relevance is key. Traditionally, public uprisings reacted against oppression and systematic discrimination. Today, you’re probably better off protesting the results of So You Think You Can Dance. First world problems are divided evenly between choosing the next grease-covered meal and whatever the talking heads on television are doing.

If all else fails, you can always take the easy way out and take advantage of the seething racial and class resentment hiding under every nation’s thin veneer of civility.

Step Two: Spread the Word

Once you’ve found (or invented) your problem, it’s time to get your message out to the masses. This is time-sensitive: wait too long and the forces of reality television will mollify the public without a single can of tear gas.

You have two allies in this endeavor: sensationalist media and social networking. The constant pressure of providing fresh entertainment for millions of drones has had the convenient side effect of altering common standards for “newsworthiness” or “truth”. American media’s constantly decaying sense of journalistic integrity is your best friend.

Step Three: Choose Your Weapon

Going to a riot unarmed is like going to Las Vegas without a crippling addiction to gambling. You can still have fun, but you’ve completely missed the point.

Improvised melee weapons are an enduring standard of rioting. Fighting the power with tasers and batons may seem logical, but that approach lacks the challenge and charm of charging a phalanx of riot policeman with a plastic bat.

Consider the use of explosive charges. This is non-traditional (and prohibitively expensive and immoral), but has the highest effort-to-chaos ratio.

Step Four: Assault Rodney King

This isn’t a necessity, but has delivered strong results in the past.

Step Five: Helter Skelter

Showtime. Everyone’s enraged and ready to cast down their inept/evil/boring fascist/communist/monarchist oppressors via the timeless military tactic of lighting random cars on fire.

Most rioters prefer to improvise, but as the organizer consider using the following classic techniques:

The Molotov Bonfire: Vodka is far more useful as an incendiary than a drink. Act accordingly.

The 90’s Rapper: Rather than participate, tell ostentatious lies about the number of fictitious lawmen you killed.

The Critic: Only break the front windows of stores with tacky interior decorating.

The Litterbug: Instead of chanting, fighting, or causing property damage, knock over as many trash cans as possible before the riot ends.

The Artiste: As the chaos spreads, contemplate the effects of ennui on the twenty-first century man. Then return to bed.

The LAPD: Curl into a ball on the ground as nightsticks hit you to the rhythm of “Born to be Wild”.

The Joker: Introduce a little anarchy.

Step Six: Free Stuff

Once you’ve grown tired of wrath, it’s time to indulge in a little greed. The violent struggle of the common man is the perfect pretense for snatching a new high-definition tv. Someone’s going to steal the local family-owned supermarket’s cash register, so it might as well be you. Be sure not to lose all empathy: grab that Playstation 3 your friend has had his eye on while you’re at it.

Step Seven: Hide

If you’ve followed the advice up to this point, things have already spiraled far out of control. You’ve knocked down anarchy’s hornet’s nest, and the comforts of civilization aren’t coming back anytime soon.

Since you’re reading an Ivy League comedy magazine, I can safely assume that you’re not suited to survive conditions more strenuous than a high school gym class. This is not your element. Assuming things haven’t degenerated to a full blown armed rebellion, you’ll at least need to contend with violent mobs and gangs openly hunting for victims in the street. In this scenario, I advocate the age-old strategy of turning of the lights and crawling under the bed.

Step Eight: Get Out of Dodge

You’ve played a public role in this riot somewhere in the legal gray area between “treason” and “supervillainy”. Unless you’re in touch with Johnny Cochran’s ghost, it’s time to flee the country.

The infallible wisdom of Hollywood teaches us that fleeing to Mexico is the safest path for wanted men. However, if this clichéd path clashes with your creative standards (or you happen to already live in Mexico), consider emulating our generation’s Waldo and moving to Pakistan. With any luck two unrelated countries will be invaded while you fade into obscurity.

-Dennard Dayle ’13

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