I’ve been reading lots of social media posts by people mentioning what they would do if they found themselves in the midst of a mass protest.

We can typically write off the majority of such posts as the musings of Mall Ninjas and Barstool Commandos. These are guys who play enough video games that they actually believe Call of Duty is preparing them for something other than sitting on the couch gearing up with Skittles and Mountain Dew.

Here is what you should do in the event that you round the corner and see a street protest: Escape!

Escape … because the huge number of people can easily overwhelm you. Remember the battle of Mogadishu? When the U.S. Army, with all its firepower, lost several well-trained and motivated soldiers just because superior numbers overwhelmed them? What chance do you think you will have fighting it out against 1,000 angry attackers?

To effectively escape, do your best to keep your vehicle moving as you make a U-turn, or a left turn or a right turn toward safety. If you have to jump the curb and drive over the median, or across someone’s yard, or against traffic signals or whatever you need to do, do it. At the same time, keep the capabilities of your vehicle in mind. A Prius may not have the ground clearance to go up and over a curb, and you certainly don’t want to get hung up and stopped as you try to make your escape.

The most important thing is to recognize the danger of the situation immediately and take action without delay. So what if you “need to” take that street to your destination or you are going to be late if you have to turn around? Your priorities for the evening have changed. Don’t assume you can get through. The mentality of a mob is such that the longer the mob sees you, the greater chance it will turn its angry attention to you.

Using your vehicle as a weapon is one option, if — and only if — you have failed to escape immediately. But remember that you will be held accountable for your actions just as if you fired a gun. Driving through or over protestors is deadly force and you need to be able to articulate to the police the imminent nature of the threat you believed you were facing at the time you chose to use deadly force.

Now this is where it gets ugly. If you are going to run through the crowd, you need to understand the carnage you could potentially cause. You WILL be knocking people to the ground. You WILL likely be driving over them. Some people could get caught up on the undercarriage of your vehicle and be cut, crushed or burned. The sheer number of people could mean that your car gets stuck on the bodies of those from whom you are trying to escape. It’s nasty business and that is why I am telling you right now to escape; to turn away from the protest the instant you see it. If you get caught up in the protest and try to drive through it to get away, the damage you inflict will be indescribable to most people and the legal system will force you to answer for why you did what you did. You will have to explain why you were so ruthless and convince the legal establishment your actions were required in order to save your life. It will be messy — physically, legally and emotionally.

If you have to get out of your vehicle and fight with your gun, chances are really good you will be overwhelmed. At that point, expect no mercy from the mob.

That’s why I’m encouraging you to avoid and escape as quickly as you see a protest developing. There is no cowardice in leaving the area. Don’t be fooled by the idea that because you have a pistol on your hip you are protected.

The best fight is the one you are not in. Conflict avoidance saves lives, including your own.