In yesterday’s post on the English riots, I suggested that UK gun control was a contributing factor. Disarming the populace led to a dangerous disconnect between the Government and the governed. Yes, well, the “other” gun-related analysis is gaining traction: if law-abiding UK subjects had guns they’d have shot the bastards. Of course, the Brits can’t have that. Individuals protecting their life and property through force of arms? We’re not America dear fellow! Let the police deal with these ruffians. To that end, Prime Minister David Cameron returned from his hols . . .

and promptly threatened the yobs with “sustained police measures” including the “possible use of water cannons.” After four days of organized criminal attacks, it’s time for the Super Soaker! Apparently David hasn’t heard 10cc’s classic “Rubber Bullets.” Anyway, here’s where things get really interesting . . .

“This has just started, this is just proving to the police, this is minor stuff, this is just showing what they can do. And people with guns are going to come out next, start killing people to show the police that we’re not standing for this,” said unidentified youths.

Nonsense. Tough talk from a bunch of economically disenfranchised young people hiding behind the cloak of anonymity [via ibn.in.com]. Then again, could we be witnessing the birth (radicalization?) of a popular resistance movement against the British police state? A British spring?

Ironically, it’s not the looters the government need to worry about. Much. It’s the middle class business owners and their friends watching their highly-taxed property go up in smoke—while the cops stand by and do sweet FA. Clock this from The New York Times:

In an ominous development, the Birmingham police opened a murder inquiry into the deaths of three men killed when a car drove at them while they were protecting homes and businesses from looters. If the fatalities are related to the spasms of violence gripping English cities, it will bring the death toll in the unrest to four.

Imagine how Her Majesty’s Government would respond to an armed defense. WILL respond. If the rioting continues, if it spreads to less urban enclaves, it’s a dead cert that hunting shotguns will come into play. If it keeps going after that, otherwise law-abiding subjects will tool-up. The wool has been pulled from the populace’s eyes: the cops can’t or won’t protect them.

In some areas of the country, residents began patrolling their own areas to forestall looting, accusing the police of inaction. Their presence played into a broader debate about tactics and force levels at a time when government spending plans call for a reduction in the size of police forces.

The rioting may simply fizzle out. If so, the “debate” over the riots will center on police staffing levels, which will lead to more police and, thus, more government control. And more aggressive policing tactics. The most surveilled nation on planet earth will get more of the same. Lots more. For sure, the po-po will swoop down on Twitter and Facebook felons, pulling the yobs in their squats and launching new initiatives to nip any further looting or rioting in the bud.

In short, the British police (a.k.a., Nanny) state will do what it does best. Maintain control. Meanwhile . . .

Some senior government officials encountered popular discontent as they toured heavily damaged parts of the capital. On Tuesday, Mr. Johnson, the mayor, who also rushed home from his own vacation abroad, strode down the main street in Clapham hoisting a broom to manifest his support for a large crowd of residents who had formed themselves into a volunteer cleanup brigade.

But when he called the rioters “a bunch of criminals” and said they would “face punishment they will bitterly regret,” some in the crowd confronted him, saying that the rioters had a free run of the area for hours, with no sign of police intervention.

“Where were they when we needed them to protect us?” asked Onelia Giarratano, the owner of a wrecked hairdressing salon. She said the crowd that destroyed her business included boys as young as 12, and said they had turned Clapham High Street into “a war zone”.

Then again, it could go the other way. If the police crackdown gets vicious, if they have to start shooting looters, it will trigger an increasingly violent response. The police shooting at the start of this conflagration was relatively uncontroversial [sic]. Mr. Duggan was a gang member with a gun. If the cops gun down an “innocent protester” or a gaggle of same, all hell will break loose. Again.

Interesting times. All of which could have been avoided if the British people hadn’t surrendered their right to keep and bear arms. Just sayin’.

 

31 Responses to British Riots: From Looting to Shooting?

  1. I don’t know…if they use some of those high pressure water cannons that cut through metal like a lightsaber, that might get the rioters to calm down a tad…

      • They do make water jet machines that cut materials softer than metal that don’t need to use an abrasive mixture. I used to work at a company that had one for cutting rubber belting. Its like a cnc machine that uses water they’re pretty cool to see in action.

  2. You know, it’s reading stuff like this that makes it tolerable to live in places like Los Angeles and Detroit. At least the cops there can (if ordered to) pull out the AR-15s and start waving the gun or go on horseback and start cutting the idiots out from the rest of the mob.

    Not some mere platitudes to besieged masses that they plan to employ water cannons if things get worse. All the while their lives are destroyed from around them.

    I’m perfectly willing, had I the money, to pay for any Briton worth his/her weight in honest day’s labor to come over here, and I shall support his/her change in citizenship. If they’re perfectly willing to work and pull themselves through life, I say we treat em as civilized human beings and give em rights to their earnings.

    I like to believe that’s why my mom and I traded our Philippine citizenship upon moving to Virginia. The other reason could be was my dad was a US Citizen, but I like to think in the lofty yet real idea that we moved for a better opportunity. If this is how a mob in Britain, helped along by an inactive government, acts; well let’s rescue those willing to leave and support those willing to help improve their lives.

    And whoa did I just run out into right field with that one. Let’s get back on topic.

    An armed society is a polite society.

    • Thank you for becoming a citizen. Honestly though, I have my doubts about birthright citizenship, but I believe the natural children of a citizen (mom or dad) such as yourself should have automatic citizenship. The way we treated the half-Vietnamese children of servicemen was reprehensible, in stark contrast (ironically) to the French.

      • Thing is, I was born in the Philippines and born out of wedlock (although me being born wasn’t a reason my parents got together, I just came early XD;; ). My dad’s family worked in the U.S. Territory of Saipan long enough that they got citizenship. My mom and dad were madly in love, and so he supported me and my mom getting a green card, and then she got her citizenship.

        And they’re both hard working parents who took it through the nose to send me to college.

  3. I think you’re reaching with this one. We had far worse problems in the 60s despite our right to arm bears.

    And bullets aren’t that great for crowd control. The shot person tends to stop being a problem but the people around them don’t. Water cannons, gas/OC or massed troops (preferably mounted, horses scare the crap out of most people even in groups) work much better and don’t garner the bad press. If you start shooting at crowds it’s either to kill them all (generally frowned on in Western democracies) or using snipers to target leaders and particularly violent members (the guy throwing the can of gas gets shot).

        • A better interpretation of the article is to read it as a warning on how police protection can only go so far. As governments, both in Britain and the U.S., have to slash their budgets, police numbers drop. If the Brits decide to raise the numbers of police, they will have to cut funding for other programs, possible including social ones. This could potentially lead to Greek style austerity and rioting, and from there, who knows what.

          I interpreted this article as a good example of how, despite their best intentions, police can not be everywhere at once. When we begin to rely solely on the police for protection(there is a knife possession hot line in G.B. now), criminals and anarchists no longer need to fear for their well being. I doubt that you would ever see looting and destruction of private property on this scale in Texas or Arizona, as the simple threat of weapons being wielded by business owners on their property would provide a strong deterrent to anyone hoping to snag a free flat screen or 6.

          I have a number of friends who are police officers, and I do trust them to protect my property and life. That said, if my home town was experiencing rioting relative to that of London, I’m afraid that I would be on my own of a mob of looters decided to break into my home or business.

    • The link to this 1992 LAT article on self defense during the LA Riots is no longer available so I am posting the text:

      By ASHLEY DUNN, TIMES STAFF WRITER

      In the shadow of a flaming mini-mall near the corner of 5th and Western, behind a barricade of luxury sedans and battered grocery trucks, they built Firebase Koreatown. Richard Rhee, owner of the supermarket on the corner, had watched as roving bands of looters ransacked and burned Korean-owned businesses on virtually every block.

      But here, it would be different.

      “Burn this down after 33 years?” asked Rhee, a survivor of the Korean War, the Watts riots and three decades of business in Los Angeles. “They don’t know how hard I’ve worked. This is my market and I’m going to protect it.”

      From the rooftop of his supermarket, a group of Koreans armed with shotguns and automatic weapons peered onto the smoky streets. Scores of others, carrying steel pipes, pistols and automatic rifles, paced through the darkened parking lot in anticipation of an assault by looters.

      “It’s just like war,” Rhee said, surveying his makeshift command. “I’ll shoot and worry about the law later.”

      From tiny liquor stores in South-Central Los Angeles to the upscale boutiques in Mid-Wilshire, Korean store owners have turned their pastel-colored mini-malls into fortresses against the looter’s tide.

      For many store owners, the riots have become a watershed in the struggle for the survival of their community.

      They have become vigilantes, embracing a new brutal code of order that has inflamed the fragile relationship they had worked hard to forge between themselves and their black and Latino customers.

      For some Koreans, the violence has sparked a renewed call for conciliation between the races. But for others, the world has become framed in a blind and vindictive anger.

      “We have to stay here,” said Dong Hee Ku, a student at Los Angeles City College who went to help defend Rhee’s California Market. “All the victims are always Koreans. The (looters), they are like beasts. They are not men.”

      Korean shop owners and their supporters have lashed out at police, saying they have begged for protection from vandals, who have left a swath of Koreatown in ashes. Now, many have decided to fight for themselves.

      “Where are the police? Where are the soldiers?” asked John Chu, who was vacationing in Los Angeles when the riots broke out and rushed to help Rhee defend the California Market. “We are not going to lose again. We have no choice but to defend ourselves.”

      Koreans from throughout the area have rushed to Koreatown, spearheaded by a small group of elite Korean marine veterans, heeding a call put out on Korean-language radio stations for volunteer security guards.

      “The police cannot help us now,” said Tony Ji, a Korean-born seafood seller from El Monte who came to the California Market with his brother after work Thursday.

      Even with guns, they seemed at times overwhelmed by the crowds of looters. For hours Thursday, Jay Rhee, no relation to Richard Rhee, and other employees at a mini-mall at Santa Monica and Vermont, several miles north of Koreatown, fought a back-and-forth battle with several hundred looters who surged into the parking lot, retreated when police arrived and returned shortly after police left.

      Jay Rhee estimated that he and others fired 500 shots into the ground and air. “We have lost our faith in the police,” he said. “Where were you when we needed you.”

      One of the largest armed camps in Koreatown was at the California Market.On the first night after the verdicts were returned in the trial of the four officers charged in the beating of Rodney King, Richard Rhee, the market owner, posted himself in the parking lot with about 20 armed employees.

      They barricaded the entrances to the store with pallets of bagged rice and boxed cabbage. A long stack of shopping carts covered the front windows.

      The first night they had no problems. But Thursday brought a disastrous round of looting that raged all around them. By late afternoon a fire broke out at a mini-mall a half-block away. They watched for hours from the parking lot as it burned to the ground.

      The shooting began as evening fell Thursday. The first carload of rioters was repulsed with a burst of gunfire into the air that littered the parking lot with empty cartridges. They frightened off a second and a third carload of shooters.

      As curfew fell around 7:30 p.m., the looters disappeared, leaving only Rhee’s men at the California Market and the group of neighbors still trying to put out the fire in the nearby mini-mall.

      Late in the evening another Koreatown shop owner called, warning Rhee that a carload of looters was heading their way. The men raced to a corner of the lot to meet them head on, but the car never came.

      “This scares me,” said a haggard Rhee, who had not slept since the verdict.

      After the false alarm, the night settled into an uneasy calm as the traffic on Western Avenue dwindled to a trickle. The guards on the roof came down to the parking lot to drink soda and eat pastry.

      “It’s quieter tonight,” Rhee said Thursday from his post at one corner of the parking lot. “I think the curfew has affected it a lot.”

      The men relaxed, although they continued to receive reports of violence through the night.

      One Korean merchant drove by and told them a Korean was killed near 3rd Street and Hobart Boulevard.

      The men huddled around a radio tuned to a Korean-language station. The station reported 200 police uniforms had been stolen. “So we must check and be sure,” the announcer said. “We cannot trust a person just because they are wearing a uniform.”

      Another report of a Korean restaurant on fire in Reseda was broadcast and the station announcer asks the owner to respond. The men grow grim.

      At 10:30 p.m. the calm is shattered as several police cars pull up and a group of officers barrels out, leveling weapons at the Koreans.

      “Get your hands up!” an officer yelled. “Hands up! Stand up! Hands up!”

      The Koreans stood frozen for a moment, uncertain what the officers wanted.

      “Hands up!” the officer yelled again as a floodlight from a police car scanned the group.

      For a moment, the two groups stood motionless before each other.

      “Wait,” an officer finally said. “This isn’t it. They’re all Koreans.”

      The officers returned to their cars and sped off.

      The Koreans chuckled in relief. A few minutes later a single squad car pulled up next to the parking lot and stopped.

      Richard Rhee stared at the black Los Angeles police officer at the wheel.

      “William, is that you?” Rhee asked.

      The officer nodded and smiled back.

      “Stay here with us,” Rhee said.

      The officer smiled and shook his head. “I wish I could,” he said before he drove off into the night.

    • “And bullets aren’t that great for crowd control.”
      Tell that to the Koreans who protected themselves during the ’92 LA riots. Being armed worked out well for them.

      • It certainly did. Their neighbors paid for it as the mob was pushed past though. If you are defending a fixed point and willing to shoot a gun (or better a bunch of friends with a bunch of guns and close air support if you can swing it) will work. If you want the mob to go home and quit burning down the city making them uncomfortable (gas, bruises, chased by crazed horsemen etc) works much better.

        • You can only be responsible for what you defend. Would you have preferred them to give up their own property so as to spare another neighborhood. If more people acted like these LA Koreans in civil disorder situation (not that I expect that to happen) the rioters will go home because they will have nothing to loot.

        • Defending your property and stopping a riot are two different goals that need different tools. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

          For the record I think the Korean business owner example is the best responce that a private entity can come up with.

    • Its a stretch. Sorry, RF, I was in Denver on a business trip when a bunch of idiots decided to riot over a hockey game. Colorado is more gun friendly than UK. And it didn’t help then.

      “Check the location of our 60′s riots: cities with gun control. Coincidence? Maybe.”

      Check the civil rights protests in the 50s. No guns. But you’ve just proved to the anti’s why guns are not needed in society. Thanks, but 2A rights are better off if you stay out of this one.

    • “The shot person tends to stop being a problem but the people around them don’t”

      That’s why they make guns that hold more than one bullet 🙂

      As for killing the whole crowd? I say go for it. These aren’t peaceful protesters, these are thugs out to destroy property and attack innocent people. The rest will either learn to behave in a civilized way or else the uncivilized scum population will be wiped out – either way, society wins.

  4. It’s much better to be a citizen than a subject. Keep in mind everything that happens in England happens in the US 15 years later.

  5. @Jusuchin, Your last sentence and first paragraph are at odds with each other. You open with saying the police can escalate to deal with a situation and close with armed citizens is the answer.

    The truth is there will never be enough police to handle all situations. Ex. I seem to recall police, followed by National Guard troops, ‘waving’ their AR15’s around in New Orleans with little effect.

    You had it right with the last sentence, “an armed society is a polite society”, because the consequences for acting out is that criminals get removed from the gene pool when encountering armed citizens who don’t have to depend on LEO.

    • I think that was the weak part of my post. It might’ve been an attempt to be sarcastic, and show that our cops at least have the option to shoot less lethal rounds, but I think my life experience got in the way.

      I’m sorry if it confused y’all. I tend to write what I feel and do damage control afterwards…

      Maybe that’s why my timed essays were a hit or miss in Professor N.’s American Foreign Policy class.

  6. The problem here is there aren’t any good guys in the fight.

    The looters are sociopathic scum, and the cops/government represent the kind of state the USA was built to escape.

    The only people to root for are the common people stuck in the middle, victims, unable to do a thing about what’s going on. One hopes they’d band together and form a third, powerful group to counter the thugs but…heck, if the attitude over here is “protecting me and mine in an emergency” then I don’t think they’d be any different.

  7. I hope we are watching the complete unraveling of British society. What’s happening to England now is nothing compared to what England did to its colonies. Karma: it is a bitch. Alas, this is a temporary situation. The country will return to normalcy soon enough, and it will use the riots that it created through repression and disenfranchisement as a pretext to enact even more repressive laws that create greater disenfranchisement. And so on. That’s what governments do.

    • Except that these rioters aren’t rioting over the police state and lack of freedom. They’re rioting because they’re told, due the the fact that in the long run socialism doesn’t work and leads to bankruptcy, the government has no choice but to cut back on welfare / entitlement spending and that they’re going to start having to pay some of their own bills. That’s why we saw riots (but not as bad) a few months back when they were told that they’d have to pay up to $10,000 a year for a university education – the horrors!

      These are lazy, greedy little punks who think that they deserve whatever they want without ever having to earn it.

  8. I know exactly what started it all-that’s where my future ex wife is right now (as of 11/07 I’m free) and she starts a fight wherever she goes. Sorry, England, but you can keep her…

  9. The only people to root for are the common people stuck in the middle, victims, unable to do a thing about what’s going on.

    Those are precisely the people who need firearms to defend themselves and who have been disarmed by law in England.

    OTOH, from what I know of the English, most of those people supported or at least consented to the existing laws, which means that they are pretty much getting what they asked for. England isn’t a dictatorship, if there was political support for the RKBA the Brits would have it. Sadly, there’s not and this is the result.

  10. I don’t think anyone in the UK should have a gun, because it would make things more difficult for these poor looters. How do you expect those poor souls to loot big screen tv’s while some whiney ass business owner is shooting at them. Gun control is working just fine in this silly country and these riots prove the point just fine.

  11. So this is what happens when a socialist country runs out of other people’s money to spend. Considering the time and escalation, I’m just surprised the water cannons, tear gas, police on horses and plastic bullets haven’t already been used.

    • See, that’s why I’m not nearly as worried about this happening in the US. Over here, they’d start the first day with tear gas / rubber bullets and such, but after that it would pretty much be call in the National Guard, do a lock down on the city, and essentially shoot on sight anyone who tries to cause any problems.

  12. The UK government seems to count on people behaving themselves to keep the peace. When you have a lot to lose then it’s less likely you’ll take out your anger or frustrations on your neighbors. Unfortunately, since the average Englishman would have to save his salary for 30+ years to be able to afford a house while the privileged elite get to thrive and participate in shaping of their society then there are a lot of people with little or nothing to lose.

    I don’t think guns have much to do with the situation. If anything there’d be more deaths by civilians protecting their property. The ultimate issue in my opinion is the structure of the UK’s society and government. This would have happened with our without an armed populace if gun control was all that was changed.

    Also for the record the IPCC determined that Duggan never fired his weapon. All the shooting was from cops. That neighborhood has a history of racism from police from what I’ve read (no time to link to all the places I’ve read about this over the week) so it’s no too surprising to see how this was triggered. I’m NOT saying he was innocent or not and I’m no excusing the rioters and looters by any means. I’m just putting out some extra info that was missed in this article.

    • Well considering that their lowest tax bracket is higher than our highest tax bracket, they’re getting that they deserve (regarding your statement about housing costs). They’re the ones who decided that people shouldn’t be entitled to the money they earn and that almost all of it should be taxed away, so by default only those who make large amounts of money will have even a typical (by US standards) amount of disposable cash.

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