Sun Tzu And The Art of Staying Out Of Trouble During Unrest

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Lightburst, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

As we await the verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial, now’s a great time to reflect on the absolute awful experience a murder trial is for anyone. The old gun board saying goes, “Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six,” but that doesn’t mean being tried by twelve is in any way a pleasant experience. Sometimes, it’s only marginally preferable to  being dead.

Following a defensive gun use, the decision a gun owner has to make in fractions of a second are slowly second-guessed by prosecutors, the judge, and then a jury, who can take days or weeks to think it over. Even with a good judge and a good jury, it’s a situation most sane people would rather avoid.

The obvious answer some people on both sides have thrown around during the aftermath and trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is that it’s better to stay home. While that may be true, I know that not everyone can do that. For the least lucky of us, the bad things happen at our homes or businesses. There are people who feel that they have a duty to go help when there’s unrest. Whatever one’s legitimate reason for going there, we’re all adults and have to make that decision.

Instead of pretending I’m your mom and simply telling you to stay home, let’s look at some ancient ideas on warfare (plus a modern one) that give us ideas of how to handle these situations. Whether we want to call violence and rioting in a city warfare or not, the concepts from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War have been found to be widely applicable in not only war, but business, and even family feuds.

“All Warfare is Based on Deception”

The Art of War starts with a basic idea: using deception to defeat your opponents and understanding that your opponents will be trying to deceive you. In other words, you shouldn’t assume anything is what it seems to be.

At protests that turn violent, many people will be exactly what they appear to be: legitimate people exercising their right to peaceable assembly. Others will look like them, but are really there because they want to push the crowd to violence and destruction.

Skateboards aren’t brought to protests for transportation or fun. Some “EMTs” who are supposedly there to help people have hidden guns and might “accidentally” point them at you. If you’re there with some sort of militia or defense group, some of your friends could be agitators and/or government informants. They may even be working with your antagonists to set you up to be the bad guy.

The Rittenhouse trial shows us that the deception continues right into the trial, and after. In court, in the media, and especially on social media, the vilest of armed attackers are made to look like innocent choir boys, “victims”, and people there to help while people who were actually there to help (misguided or not) are cast as vigilantes looking for a fight and white supremacists.

None of this deception is possible without putting in the prep work. Agitators and informants must gain trust over time. Clothing and weapons are selected to best fit the role someone wants to play. Plans are made to keep the deception going from start to finish so that the deception can last for decades if needed.

Bottom line: if you think everyone is who they appear to be, and you don’t think about who you want to be in others’ eyes, you won’t do well if things get violent.

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

This is one that we should all know by now. Winning a battle is great, but winning always comes with a cost. In this case, the cost of reputation, freedom, and legal fees is huge. Working with a group and not ending up alone and being chased by individuals or a group is a good start. The provocateurs and professional agitators are far less likely to go after you if you’re part of a group or in a safe place.

Your strategy in working in any kind of unrest should be to avoid conflict if at all possible, and only have fighting as plan C or plan D, or lower.

“Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”

Keep in mind that the “Roof Koreans” stood up to Los Angeles rioters in 1992. Do you think people targeting a city for violence are incapable of learning and adapting in 30 years? Many will fine-tune what they’re doing over time.

But, when rumors of “Antifa Bus” attacks on small towns circulated, it was common to see photos of people sitting on their roofs waiting for them. Instead of being ready to fight off a violent mob, they ended up playing right into the hands of whoever spread the rumors, and were mocked in the media.

If your enemy changes tactics, but you don’t, your predictability will be used against you.

“Never let the enemy pick the battle site.”

It wasn’t Sun Tzu who said this one, it was George Patton. But, it’s just as wise as anything you’d find in The Art of War.

When bad people choose legitimate protests as a site for violence and destruction, they’re the enemy of both the victims of the damage and the people who wanted to peacefully protest. But, they’re the ones who get to choose where the battle happens.

Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Going to the protest to fight bad people makes no sense if you don’t know who they are and why they’re doing what they do. By fighting them at protests without this knowledge, you seriously risk playing into their hands.

With a little more homework, you can often find that the people behind unrest are often not who you think they are. One key question to ask is who’s paying the full-time rioters? No one can riot full time and afford to travel around the country and pay their rent.

Accusations have been made that foreign powers, domestic politicians, and government agencies have backed and sometimes stoked violence. There’s a nearly endless supply of low-lifes who are ready and willing to do illegal things with the goal of creating chaos and disarray.

If you want to be effective, don’t let them goad you into doing exactly what they want you to do. Don’t let them choose the field of battle. Find better ways to fight the real enemy elsewhere on different ground.



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  1. Well articulated, though I’m afraid with the advent of 4th and 5th generational warfare, much of these tactics are going to have to be redefined.

    The Koreans on the roof, no longer would work. When the weapon is the media and legal system, and how best to deliver those elements against your enemies, Self defense is, itself, defeat.

    At this point, I’m not sure there is any way to commit legal self defence.

    If you do so while protesting, you’re going to be destroyed. The Kenosha prosecutor said it best, when he implied, your real only defence is to take the beating. Sadly, to win this type of fight is to hope you live. defence is a defeat.

    Say what you will about the Antifa/Blm bastards, they have a real good strategy.

    • What you have to understand then is that the system is beyond corrupt and “legality” doesn’t mean what it used to mean even just a few years ago. There is a way to fight this, but unfortunately that way is not pretty nor is it easy.

      But it’s been done before…

      “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

      • unfortunately it goes on to say,

        “laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

        what people living now would you accept as being qualified to write a constitution? and would you accept what they write?

        • “what people living now would you accept as being qualified to write a constitution? and would you accept what they write?”

          This is a very interesting (and also depressing) question. Vanishingly few of our public figures in politics, media, law, academia, etc. would be qualified on even the basics of grammatically correct writing, much less philosophies of self-governance. Decades of corrosion in K-12 and university education have left us a pseudo-educated intellectual class that believes “civics” is a fancy way of saying “score points for my team on Twitter.” The public at large is no longer even able to understand the fundamentals of a constitutional system, or why the system is designed as it is (see: direct election of senators, attempts to eliminate the electoral college, erosion of the bill of rights, subordination of individual liberty to collective taxation and regulation schemes, etc. etc. etc.).

          I’m certain there are people out there who have the right mix of talents and insights to write a constitution as good as the one we are quickly losing. Almost none of them are public figures, and most are probably doing their best to keep a low profile. No one wants to be #cancelled by the warring factions on Twitter.

          The good news is that we don’t need a new constitution… we just need to summon the effort to protect the one we’ve got. Actually, that’s not good news at all…

    • Bus passengers may have been Black but their heads were filled with lily white marxism. That drives them to being nothing more than useful idiots with absolute zero Content of Character.

      Stand around and get beaten is not flying nowhere and only confirms mike-nyfong-dave looks more pathetic to the court and America than he already does.

  2. The worst kind of murder trial is one where the accused is clearly innocent from the get-go and the deceased and wounded are as guilty as sin. However slander and libel are en vogue. From a duly elected POTUS DJT to a USSC nominee slander and libel was off to the races and has not stopped running. If the jury was not stacked it’s an acquittal across the board.

    • My eyes glazed over when the author wrote “anitfa buses”. Where I live it was BlackLootersMurder buses.7 of ’em. All black “protestors”. May 31,2020. Theives with bricks & sticks. And the po-leece did nothing…did Kyle do wrong? Nope. Free Kyle!

  3. Point of the article is good. The enemy isn’t really on the streets of Kenosha. They are in a mahogany paneled office.

    Nevertheless, each of us as individuals, and neighbors and community members faces the prospect of dealing with the enemy who shows up at our doorstep. It’s a separate matter to join together to do battle with the enemy in his office.

    Our (American) law of self-defense has retreated from defense of person and property to defense of person alone. This is an error which we should start to think of doing something about.

    We know, pretty well, what to do when the enemy shows up at our home. We have castle doctrine. Quite the reverse seems to prevail at our shops (farms, factories).

    It’s past normal business hours. There is unrest in the street where my shop is located. I arm myself and stand watch in front of my shop to protect . . .

    To protect what? My person? Or, mere property? I left the safety of my castle and I brought a gun to a prospective fight. In lieu of avoiding the obvious risk of injury to persons I went to increase the probability of such injury.

    The pretext I will use in court is that I peaceably went to politely ask rioters to leave my shop alone. I only brought a gun in contemplation of the probability that I might have to defend my person.

    The rioters and I then entered into a dance where the rioters strived to provoke me to recognize I was in jeopardy of life or limb. I strived to make a reasonable judgement and fire only when their provocation was imminent.

    The jury is expected to score the dance performance and judge which of the two of us they will identify as the provocateur.

    The more I do to secure myself against injury – taking concealment or cover – the more it looks like I was “laying in wait” to use deadly force upon a mere vandal or burglar. If standing forthrightly at the shop door openly armed I’m accused of “brandishing”; or provoking violence.

    When will it be timely to call out the pretext of self-defense of the proprietor’s person as the justification to protect his livelihood?

    Does the diamond merchant or armored car driver have to rely on the pretext of self-defense of person? Is it not the case that these men go armed to protect property?

  4. Jennifer forgot the best and most victorious response and tactic, the one most likely to keep you unharmed and/or alive.

    People participating at violent riots/protests are there because they place their selves there. Everyone that is not them is the enemy.

    The best and most victorious response and tactic is not to go…

    “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.

    —– Sun Tzu”

  5. So often having the ability or even a right to do a particular thing does not in itself mean that the thing in question must be done.

    You might have the right but is it a wise thing to do?

    • Rights that are not exercised cease to exist. If you refuse to exercise a right because it isn’t wise, you will have only yourself to blame when that right no longer exists.

  6. The jury is digging into the Rittenhouse case. They are sending notes to the Judge such as…

    “Please prepare Mr. Rosenbaum shooting (event 1),” the note read, before specifically requesting the following:

    FBI aerial video with all PIO’s (persons of interest) marked.
    Drone video
    Zoomed in image still after Mr. Rittenhouse put down the fire extinguisher.
    Full event 1 video in regular and slow motion.”

    five notes altogether so far.


      also sent a note asking for video of Rittenhouse’s interaction with Gaige Grosskreutz – it said “View video starting with Mr. Grosskreutz interview with Mr. Rittenhouse to 10 seconds after Mr. Grosskreutz shooting. In regular and slow motion”

      The jury has received every thing they asked for except for the still images from the drone footage. The defense has been challenging the validity of the still shot since prosecutors received the drone records midway through trial.

      Third day, jury still looking at evidence over and over again. Its probably safe to say there is some angst going on in the jury room. I know the self-defense trial I was on as a juror I though some of the jurors would need a trip to the hospital they were in so much angst, and that was only two and a half to come to a verdict, and this jury is still going at it with looking again and again at the evidence. If this goes into tomorrow, its probably time to start considering the possibility that Kyle will be convicted on at least some of the charges and will not be going home.

      The Rosenbaum shooting keeps coming up with this jury, yesterday then today again wanting to see the video.

      • LoL 🙂

        The judge has banned MSNBC from the courtroom after one of their crew was accused of trailing the jury bus.

        The Kenosha Police Department said in a tweet “Last night a person who is alleging to be affiliated with a national media outlet was briefly taken into custody and issued several traffic related citations. Police suspect this person was trying to photograph jurors.”

        The judge said “I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial,

  7. “If you want to be effective, don’t let them goad you into doing exactly what they want you to do. Don’t let them choose the field of battle. Find better ways to fight the real enemy elsewhere on different ground.”

    A fvck-ton of wisdom, right there…

  8. “If you’re there with some sort of militia or defense group, some of your friends could be agitators and/or government informants. They may even be working with your antagonists to set you up to be the bad guy.”

    You can count on it. The Feds have been doing this since the sixties. 1/6 was a Fed setup. Almost all of the supposed “terror incidents” since 9/11 were Fed setups. Don’t trust anyone beyond family you’ve known a long time. Know state law. In my state it is legal to defend yourself in your business, no matter what the hour, no duty to retreat. This has been set by precedent.

  9. Arm-chair quarterbacking…

    The enemy HAS picked the battle sites. There’s not much any of the law-abiding can do about it if their elected officials and those charged with maintaining order and enforcing the already-existing law allow the cretins to commit chaos. For the most part those who have been put in charge are more concerned with how it might look for the police or Nat Guard to be whacking a few violent rioters (not protesters at all…) than to let entire blocks burn and be looted.

    The Huns are not approaching the gates, they’re already deep inside the fortress and different, usually also violent measures will be necessary to restore order and a sense of calm.

    I’ve read and studied Sun Tzu for years. To deal with the problems we now face, I believe he’d deal with some of the BLM and Antifa leadership like he did with the emporer’s concubines- and right in front of the mayors and city councils…

    • “The Huns are not approaching the gates, they’re already deep inside the fortress and different, usually also violent measures will be necessary to restore order and a sense of calm.“

      You bet they have, and hopefully we can hold some of them to account:

      “But on the stand, Cantwell had to listen to recordings of his own podcast, including one from January 2017 — some eight months before the deadly Charlottesville rally — in which he discussed Dylann Roof, who in 2015 murdered nine people at a Black church in South Carolina.

      Roof “had no future” and so was “exactly the kind of person who should be committing acts of mass murder,” said Cantwell’s guest, a guy from the neo-Nazi gossip blog The Daily Stormer. Cantwell agreed: “Not everyone’s going to be a professional propagandist, shall we say. Some of us got to be fucking cannon fodder for the race war.”

  10. Our true enemies aren’t the street thugs. They’re mere trash and disposable. The real enemies are the rulers, the powers, and the forces of communism in America.

    A fish rots from the head.

    • Most street thugs have different agendas. They care about what they get out of it right now. They do not look into next year, they care about having money, drugs, booze, sex – tonight. Most would not even think about voting for representation in the government. They would be in the same place in society no matter what political system was in control.
      The street thugs will not work for these “want to be politicians”, unless they are contract killers and maybe not even then – a contract killer knows he will disappear if the politician wants him gone.
      This bypasses race. It isn’t really about race, that is the excuse. Do not think it is the street gangsters, it is the no account(mostly white) people that are dancing to the NWO tune.

  11. Stay away from the Hippodrome!

    General Belasaurious systematically killed tens of thousands of demonstrators in the Hippodrome.

    Empress Theodosia is a whore.

  12. Well I’ll be.
    I just inherited a plethora of forgunms a couple days ago., , (Felon, in pisseciatun.)
    Says,” I’m getting my shit straight, dont need no more.”
    Not all hope is lost. There are those who truly want to turn their lives around. The system kinda slants it however the strong will rise above .
    + I gotta a few gunms,,,,,
    I think the guy said he bought them from Dacians wife’s yard sale, ?? Im not to sure of what I hear anymore. A lot of ringing and buzzing, at any rate, hows about a model ten parkerized 18inch 12gauge fir free, because I Dont Wanna Break The Law No More..
    there is hope.

  13. Screw some tang yin sun shoe guys crap.
    Ghengis Khan,,, , cause iffn Im’a gonna be somebodys slave, my master is going to an ass kicker.
    Let’s Go Brandon.

    • * to be* ,,, my master is going to ‘be’ an ass kicker ( fast, fingers, heat of the moment, proofread,. One word can make a difference . Without the ‘be’ . …
      -Everything You Say, Can And Will Be Used Against You-

      • “What is the Best Life”? Mongol Warlord
        ” To Crush Your Enemies, See Them Driven Before You, And Hear the Lamentations of Their Women”. Conan of Cimmeria.

  14. What is legally justified and what is smart are 2 different things.

    1) Kyle’s parents should win a terrible parenting award. What parent would knowingly send their 17 year old boy, an age group not known for good judgement, into a riot. Its insanity.

    2) Don’t do stupid things with stupid people in stupid places – enough said.

    3) If you are going somewhere and thinking “Hmm. its sketchy there, I should bring a gun”, then maybe you shouldn’t be going there.

    NONE OF THIS detracts from his right to use deadly physical force to defend himself. But it still wasn’t exactly smart.

  15. The news media has always been anti-Civil rights in the United States. There has never been one hundred percent support for civil rights among the news media historically in the United States.

    That is why the Abolitionist Movement started their own newspapers. Because they knew the mainstream media of the 1800”s would not tell the truth about slavery.

    Nothing has changed in the 21st century. The Second Amendment civil rights movement has had to create its own news media. To meet the challenge of the anti-Civil Rights Movement of today.

    Why is anyone waiting, hoping to get the approval, of the mainstream news media for you exercising your second amendment civil rights?

    The news media will lie about you just as the prosecutor lied about Kyle Rittenhouse in the trial. They have hidden evidence. The DA should be disbarred and perhaps prosecuted for his conduct in the court.

    Stop trying and expecting to make friends in the mainstream media. You’re wasting our time. Use your own social media and gun media resources to go over their heads directly to the people.

  16. Some people have stated that Kyle was wrong to go to Kenosha. While I understand the reason why, it still pisses me off that the threat of violence from criminals would or could keep law abiding citizens from exercising their rights to counter protest.

    One of the guys Kyle shot was a child molester. It is going to be a cold day in hell when a child-ass-raping fuck, that the legal system allows to walk the streets, is going to keep me cowering in my house.

    • People can say what they want about Rittenhouse’s judgment, the fact is that he was in Kenosha to do good. The same cannot be said about the commie scvmbags who attacked Rittenhouse. They were there to burn and loot, with murder on the table. If anyone was wrong to be in Kenosha, it was the thugs that Rittenhouse shot.

      We’ll see if the jury agrees. I’m not sure it will. If potential jurors were smart, they wouldn’t be allowed on the jury.

  17. No, a thousand times, No !

    This Sun Tzu guy only knew what he knew in the context of his era. Modern times call for modern strategies and tactics. Keep doing what you’ve been doing; eventually it will work.

    Viva Max !
    Viva Zapata !
    Viva Las Vegas !
    Viva la dolce vita !

  18. The thing about this trial is that it elucidates how poorly insulated the judiciary is from politics.

    I’d argue that this is a case where virtually everyone knows what the right thing to do is yet no one wants to be the first to say/do the right thing for fear of provoking the mob.

    The prosecutor’s case is ludicrous and the State must know it, but a political prosecution can’t just stop so they press on. The judge obviously knows this is horseshit but won’t toss the case and the jury doesn’t want to convict but fears returning a not guilty verdict and so the jury dithers.

    And then there’s the cops and pols at the time just hoping the riot would wind down rather than stepping up and enforcing the laws.

    All cowed by a social media mob and gaslit by the legacy media against a backdrop of a population brainwashed into subservience by an educational system and society that destroyed most people’s concepts of principle.

    And then there’s the backlash that started last year and builds ever so slowly. Those people slowly waking up to the reality that almost everything they consume is some variety of manipulation not intended to benefit them but still unsure exactly how far it goes or what this discovery means but suddenly aware that there’s something very wrong and that that thing is deeper and wider than they could have imagined.

    This is gonna get even more weird before it gets better.

    • We’re all supposed to take our beating from time to time, remember?

      Also, look at the second comment on that tweet:
      “what does her being white have to do with anything. why even mention it?”

      LOL. Apparently this person has never heard a single news report about a mixed race attack. When it fits the narrative, the race is the most important part of the story.

      • most mix race attacks are carried out by Blacks on white. Only about 15% of mix race attacks are whites on other races.

  19. Whoever said Men with rifles occupying the high ground would be combat ineffective against advancing anarchists today are full of shit. Be them Korean or any other nationality standing ground and fighting advancing arsonists and looters they will inflict great damage to those who come to do harm. Who gives a shit what the communist media reports. I guess it was forgotten that the LA cops were being armed by local gun shops as the city failed to arm them with long guns. Today most cops I know have an AR in their trunk should they need to shoot attacking maggots.
    The mentality by todays pajama boy mayors and police chiefs to let the community burn as a way to appease the communists only advances citizen soldiers and vigilantees to do the work todays fake police fail to do.

    The Art of War may be essential reading but its not the only book on fighting strategy. Most farm boys I grew up with and the city slickers I shoot with would outfight a an equally armed gang of BLM/ ANTIFA worms on their coffee break.

    TTAG seems to be dragging the septic tanks to find writers.

  20. “None of this deception is possible without putting in the prep work”

    or massive endless funding with widespread cooperation and coordination behind the scenes by very large numbers of people in positions of power in media/politics/banking over decades who are all pursuing the same long-term goal that they all share from childhood.

    so. who are these people?

    • rant7,

      That is perhaps the most difficult aspect of this entire $hit show: identifying (with certainty) the people who are driving the evil agenda that is unfolding all around us.

      I have no idea how to do that.

  21. Kyle made some mistakes based on inexperience. While my area here in Spokane had riots as did Coeur d Alene, ID which is just in Idaho, but I have lived there and we are all one community and the “cross state lines” doesn’t mean jack sh–, nevertheless I had the maturity and experience to stay out of the fray. If they are on my street, attacking my house and me, that’s different, let’s rock and roll, I have lethal, I have non-lethal, I’m read to play.

    That’s the difference. Kyle lacked the experience to know not to interfere with the unreasonable ESPECIALLY with a rifle slung over your shoulder. That was a juvenile mistake. While he may be in the right lawfully, it was a bad move…..except for shooting Rosenbaum. That was the right thing no matter how it ends up.

  22. The most important takeaway from this piece is figuring out who really encourages and benefits from the violence and chaos. That’s who actually needs to be confronted so that’s where one’s focus should lie. Nothing is really gained from interacting with street level antifa and blm trash directly.

    • Because of the lying fake news media that hides, lies and distorts the truth, it’s hard to figure out. If we wanted to start someplace, publicly hang some journalist. We could start with Rachel Maddow. I’ll help.

  23. “That’s who actually needs to be confronted so that’s where one’s focus should lie.”

    I doan gots the big bucks to engage Soros, and all the other socialist/commie billionaires.

  24. Good points. I have read the book (and await the movie 😉).

    Other commenters have made some good points as well. Some did not seem so useful.

    If you haven’t heard, Kyle is not guilty on all charges! 🏆

    Let’s go, Brandon.

  25. Like others, at first I had the belief that Kyle should have stayed home. I changed my mind about that belief months ago. Kyle had every right to be there, more than the anarchists burning the city down. “The security of a free state does not start and stop at the state, it descends to the security of communities and the individual homes equally. An in depth study of the Founders writings concerning the 2nd Amendment establishes that belief. It is not only a right, but a solemn duty against an overreaching government and the purveyors of Anarchy.

    Kyle responded as a responsible and concerned citizen to the Anarchy of the Mob threatening to burn down his community. The community’s leaders and Law Enforcement abrogated their responsibilities and oaths to uphold the law.

    I’m elated Kyle was acquitted. He should never have been charged in the first place. His only statement he should give to the Media now should be, “See you in Court, for all the lies, slander and libel both politicians and the Media have engaged in. Sue their collective Arses off.

  26. “what people living now would you accept as being qualified to write a constitution? and would you accept what they write?”

    Using this statement as a springboard….

    Think it safe to note that a significant majority of the voterate would say, “Requiring the intellect of the founders as the litmus test for public office is too burdensome to use as a standard in the era of “internet time” flow of events; we don’t need philosophers, we need people of fervor and action, able to respond immediately and conveniently to a world of instant change. We can’t let law and constitution get in the way of doing what is right.”


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