We still share large chunks of language with the UK but there's been a lot of cultural drift. It is difficult to comprehend the reactions -- official and otherwise -- to the rioting there. After three days of violence and no end in sight, police are "considering" shooting with less-lethal* bullets and/or using some version of water cannon. Or not; 9 August produced this gem from Home Secretary Theresa May: "The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities." How's that working so far, Ma'am?
It's not that we don't have riots in the U.S.; consider the 1992 LA riots. The LA riots are also an example of the response of decent citizens, from armed Korean shopowners defending their businesses (sometimes while police fled!) to individual heroes like Bobby Green Jr., who saw live coverage of truck driver Reginald Denny getting beat up, ran into the mess and got Denny to the hospital in the truck the mob had pulled him from -- or Rev. Bennie Newton, who got between rioters and another victim and stood them off, saying, "Kill him and you have to kill me, too."
In community-consent, gun-controlled Britain, online sales of baseball bats are way, way up; one can only hope they arrive in time -- and that the police and courts are not too tough on persons who use same in self-defense. (I was surprised that cricket bats were not preferred but they are less suited to the application). Bobby Green and Reverend Newton's counterparts are, thus far, conspicuous by their absence.
An armed individual is a citizen. A disarmed individual is a victim. I do not believe there is any moral imperative for the peaceable to bow to aggressors; quite the reverse. I'm considerably more comfortable with lethal force used against persons in the act of harming others than when it is applied long after the fact.
* U.S. media, forgetting their own previous reporting of the ill effects of rubber and plastic bullets at close range, keeps saying "non-lethal." I do hope the British police know better.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
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