Wednesday, August 10, 2011

British Riots

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.
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* 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.

16 comments:

Tango Juliet said...

Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen. - Colonel Cooper

Bob said...

A subject, actually. Subjects consent to their subjugation, victims don't, they just lack the means to resist.

Did you notice the Sikhs mobbing up to defend their homes/workplaces/temples, much as the Koreans did in the Rodney King Riots?

And a golf club works just as well as a cricket bat, just remember to yell FORE! before you swing at someone's head.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"I was surprised that cricket bats were not preferred but they are less suited to the application"

I don't know, I would think the edge would be great for concentrating the force of a blow. They just need to stop using it like they're playing cricket and start using it like they're swinging a sword.

Brandoch Daha said...

They should know it's "less-lethal" rather than "non-lethal":

"In Northern Ireland over 35 years (1970–2005) approximately 125,000 baton rounds were fired — an average of ten per day — causing 17 deaths."

The experience in Northern Ireland may have a lot to do with their hesitation now. It's tempting to court controversy and say they're more willing to kill the Irish than to kill blacks or dogs. But that would be wrong, and anyway some of the rioters are white.

Roberta X said...

Northern Ireland is a knot that can't be untied, IMO. They don't need more like that.

perlhaqr said...

I'd have very little ethical difficulty shooting at a rioter winding up to pitch a molotov cocktail into my house. I dare say I'd not even have problems with the police doing it either, and I'm not exactly the leader of the local constabulary fan club.

Roberta X said...

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.

elmo iscariot said...

I was surprised that cricket bats were not preferred but they are less suited to the application

Cricket bats aren't made in aluminum.

And it looks like Baseball bats are significantly cheaper. I'm certain this makes no statement on the Constitutionality of laws increasing the cost of firearms ownership.

Robin said...

Don't bet that the British police understand the limitations of less-than-lethal munitions. I think that is one of the lessons of the subway shooting in London some years back, when you have police that don't use a tool frequently, their lack of familiarity means that they screw up when asked to use it.

Crucis said...

I heard a report of a Brit newsman interviewing an American at a UK airport. The newsweinie asked if the riots would spread to the US. As best I can quote, the American said, "Maybe. There'll be dead rioters in the streets too. We won't put up with that stuff."

I've been trying to verify that statement. I'd make a great quote and blog post.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Don't see too many riots in the freer states, I'd say.

Oh, and Bobbi?

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.

Far be it for me to tell you how to run your blog and all, but that sentence right there, IMHO, belongs as an update/edit to the original post. It will certainly be the quote I use when I mention this post to anyone. Very well said.



tweaker

docjim505 said...

I'm pretty sure that no good policeman WANTS to use water cannons, tear gas, batons, rubber bullets, or live ammo; I'm pretty sure that they'd all VERY much prefer the "Mayberry" model of policing where the toughest thing they have to face is giving some good advice to the local kids or else helping the neighborhood wino find a safe place to sleep it off.

Unfortunately, Mayberry ain't reality, and when you've got large gangs of people intent on seriously breaching the peace, it's time for a response that is rather more stern than a loud and vigorous, "Stop! Or I'll say 'stop' again!"

I wonder what the average Briton makes of this. Will there be calls for more police with authority to mount a more vigorous response to (ahem) "protesters"? Or has John Bull been so ennervated by decades of socialism that he'll demand that the rioters basically be paid off?

"Oi! Them lads 'as got a point, ain't they? What I say is, give 'em what they wants. Hit's only fair, innit?"

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, if these "Flash Mob Riots" keep happing in the U.S., we may all have the opportunity to show the Brits (and the Anointed One's Advisors) how to nip these "Man-Caused Incidents" from spreading. Hope it doesn't get that bad.

Roberta X said...

Tweaker: done, and I thank you!

Everyone: I would point out that based on what I have read, the working police in the UK have acquitted themselves bravely, in nearly impossible situations.

John B said...

Now I know what to buy the women who have everything.

Home made hand turned baseball bats.

Mikael said...

There's a fine line between a 9 iron and a mace. Or for the gentleman, a stiff golf club, with the head cut off, to make a sharp point, is not that different from a small sword(the forerunner to the epee, not to be confused with short sword).