Why don’t we have riots in rural areas?

I got asked an interesting question the other day.

I reworded it slightly. I suspect that the questioner is not an American, or not one for very long, and really doesn’t understand rural areas. Especially not American rural areas, or Western American ones.

Q: Why is it that people don’t riot in rural areas? Not in the fields or desert, but place with more trees. Places with gas stations, malls, car dealerships, etc.?

A: Rural areas generally don’t have gas stations, malls, or car dealerships – or at least very few and far between. You find those things in cities and towns, not farming areas. Whether or not it is plains (relatively flat areas with mostly grass) or places with trees (mountains, river and creek valleys, etc.). So there aren’t these venues to encourage people to riot.

But that is not the only reason that people in rural areas don’t riot. They have better things to do. They work to make a living, make their lives better, and to BUILD things – not destroy them. They don’t have time to riot, or for that matter, to protest.

That even includes those market towns and small cities that are in rural areas: where there are stores (in or out of malls), car dealers, and convenience stores (that sell fuel). We have better things to do.

And for the most part, they don’t have much patience with anyone stupid enough to come out to the countryside (from the cities and towns) to protest and/or riot. In the USA, they might express their displeasure at such antics by doing some pest control: everything from rounding up the rioters for trespassing, disturbing the peace, excessive noise or blocking traffic, to more serious forms of pest control involving the use of boots and fists, rifles and pistols and such. Especially if the protesters/rioters do ANYthing to damage or take private property, insult women, or scare children.

And if all you have is one or two stores (convenience or trading post or whatever) in your township (that’s an area traditionally six miles on a side, thirty-six square miles) and someone decides to hold a riot around or in that store, they should remember that probably everyone in the rural area (a) knows that store’s owners and employees, (b) depends on that store for a lot of things they need and buy, (c) believes in helping their neighbor, and (d) has a low opinion of protesters, much less rioters and other people who break things, loot things, and break other laws. Oh, they are probably not patient enough to wait for the sheriff’s deputies to drive out 20–30 miles from the County Seat to deal with the mess.

Although rioters are generally stupid, I think that they might sense a little of all these things, and so stay away.


Anyway, that was my answer, but let me add some more.

There are many advantages to rural areas, including greater opportunity for freedom and liberty to grow and exist. We aren’t living cheek-to-jowl and most of the laws that people try to enforce in cities and towns (urban area) make even LESS sense in rural areas. (And even LESS in frontier areas: defined as places with less than 5 people per square mile.)

Rural people – especially those who are very diverse in their origins and beliefs and culture – tend to be the kind of people that look out for one another, also. Not in the sense of the nanny-state idiots that are far more common in those same urban areas, but in the sense of “I will help you because I would want you to help me.” Gee, the Golden Rule or the ZAP in practice!

Or to quote Ben Franklin and the United States’ first coin, “Mind your business.” Not necessarily your OWN business (though that is implied as well) but the business of living your life, not everyone else’s. The business of making a living and NOT at the expense of other people – voluntary cooperation, like buying and selling.

Nowadays, even rural areas have that wonderful (sarcastic here, please not) social safety net of welfare and all that stuff. But even today, after almost a century, rural people don’t tend to use that as much as city folks do. They tend to fend for themselves, and even do without something, and to help each other and NOT depend on some bureaucrat, educrat, or health-crat in town, or cities, or State capitals or DC. Not saying that rural people are perfect, or even good libertarians. There ARE a lot of people who are parasites on the body politic: welfare farmers, government agency employees, deadbeats, druggies who can’t control their addictions, and free-lance thieves (not just the government kind). But they have less opportunity for impact and control in rural areas.

At least here in the West, and many others of the Fifty States.

At the same time, there is still enough of that rural attitude to be found on the fringes of the urban areas: the edges of the suburbs, that it is no surprise that Antifa and BLM and the so-called anarchists don’t try to pull that nonsense even in the suburbs.

Whatever liberty or freedom exists in the Fifty States today, it is more common in rural areas. Liberty, peace, prosperity, and patience with one another. Mostly.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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15 Responses to Why don’t we have riots in rural areas?

  1. Pingback: Why don’t we have riots in rural areas? – Freedom Is Just Another Word…

  2. That is, assuming the protest would have been an evil at all. Which is not a safe assumption. Protests go down every day without devolving into riots.

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  3. Pingback: Why don’t we have riots in rural areas? – Rational Review News Digest

  4. I’m going to offer a different answer that doesn’t mythologize “rural people” as quite so much busier than, and morally superior to, city people.

    That answer is: Population density.

    Rioters are always a small percentage of a greater population, and it takes quite a few people to put together a good riot.

    Take the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Los Angeles had a population of 9 million at that time. If as many as 1% of Los Angelenos rioted, that would have been 90,000 rioters. My guess is it was fewer than half that.

    So, in a town of 5,000, you’d probably have a maximum of 50 people who might conceivably be interested in that particular kind of malevolent activity, and more likely 25.

    So what you see in a smaller town, instead of a mob marching down a street yelling and destroying stuff, is a handful of skulkers who shoot someone in the back or sneak into a church, douse the pews in gasoline, drop a match, and disappear.

    Situations dictate tactics.

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    • TPOL Nathan says:

      Tom, there is a lot to support your idea, and I think it is certainly as good an argument as mine. I am not claiming that rural people have any sort of moral superiority – they are as self-interested as anyone in urban areas. But I would argue that rural (and especially frontier) people do have less spare or idle time, on average: not due to being busier with productive work, but simply because there is more distance and more time necessary to travel to jobs, school, protests, … or riots. There is another aspect of population density which no doubt plays a role: the “rats-in-a-cage” idea: that overcrowding can cause insane, self-destructive AND destructive behavior in a given population. And density is certainly a factor in how quickly mobs can form and carry out destructive actions.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Last year, there was a planned BLM march on a Friday afternoon down the two lane state road that runs east-west through my little rural red slice of a deep blue socialist state. It would have been 1.5 miles long but cause a traffic nightmare that never occurs here. The State Police told them they needed a permit for such a parade (our town gets one for Memorial Day Parades that lasts about 15 minutes), but they were not going to be issued one. So they changed their plan to hold a rally in the parking lot of the town library next to town hall. THAT was not going to happen, and citizens were going to see to it.
    The night before, in the dark of night, local cattle farmer(s) filled the parking lot with fresh manure. It was discovered the next morning and cleaned up by public works, and then washed down by the local fire department. But the message sent was clear and the smell lingered long enough to keep the ne’er do wells away. No such protest or rally happened anywhere in the area. The promised ANTIFA violence outside of cities never materialized either, and I guarantee, that would not have ended well for them. Land owners have many acres and tractors with buckets to make those types simply disappear.

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    • So one set of actual ne’er do wells managed to keep a second set of potential ne’er do wells away. Whoop de do.

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      • TPOL Nathan says:

        The greater, or lesser, of two evils, eh?

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      • Well, two evils — one of which might conceivably have engaged in e.g. property damage, and one which actually did.

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      • Steve says:

        Sorry for the late hit. Been a lot going on lately and still catching up.

        I don’t see it that way at all. You have locals who want things one way, and a bunch of hooligans who want to screw it up. Because of the stupidity of the State, the powers that be are no longer permitted to protect the rights of those who live there. So the locals are left with little choice.

        In other words, GTFO BLM. Go burn your own neighborhoods.

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      • “In other words, GTFO BLM. Go burn your own neighborhoods like we fantasize that you do. We’ll dump cow s*** on ours and pretend we’re better than you.”

        Fixed, no charge.

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      • Steve says:

        Huh. They destroyed Target in the Cities, though that was not theirs. They destroyed much of downtown Seattle and Portland, yet that was not theirs. Like that girl the MSM misquoted really said of the riots in Milwaukee a couple years back, “Don’t burn our s***. We need our s***. Burn de s***.”

        But, heck, yes. If the only options you leave me are to rebuild the burned out downtown or to call the volunteer fire department to wash out a parking lot, that’s a no brainer.

        Course, it would be preferable if you would just let me defend my own community. Kind of like you argue that businesses should be free to make rules whatever rules they like for their own property…

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      • “Course, it would be preferable if you would just let me defend my own community. Kind of like you argue that businesses should be free to make rules whatever rules they like for their own property…”

        The key word there is “property.” Dumping cow s*** on your own property is your business. Dumping cow s*** somewhere else is a difference in degree, not kind, from arson. You weren’t “defending your community.” You were just engaging in vandalism for the purpose of, effectively, censorship, and that’s all you were doing.

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  6. Bear says:

    A few years ago, someone tried to hold a BLM protest in my little town.

    https://bearbussjaeger.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/they-chose-wisely/

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