UK Riots Follow Police Shooting. What About Gun Control?

“The man who was shot by police, sparking the wave of rioting that has hit London, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest,” guardian.co.uk reports. “Mark Duggan was killed by armed officers in Ferry Lane in Tottenham, north London, on Thursday after they stopped the minicab he was in to carry out an arrest as part of a pre-planned operation.” So, why the rioting then? The UK press is awash with explanations and analysis, from both sides of the political spectrum. The right wing Telegraph, for example, condemned the criminals and took the BBC to task for labeling the “thugs” as “protesters.” The left-wing Guardian’s comely columnist Nina Power [sic] blamed the smash-and-grab looting and wanton destruction on capitalism . . .

Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalization of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

Needless to say, no one in the UK has brought up the role of gun rights in all this. Why would they? Duggan was a pistol-packing gang member. As far as the UK’s intellectual elite is concerned, Duggan’s death is an argument for more gun control, not less. None of this would have happened if he’d been unarmed. And we couldn’t possibly have citizens defending their property by force of arms. That would be . . . anarchy.

This may seem like an “extreme” stretch to our English cousins and American gun control advocates, but one wonders why rioting always seems to occur in areas where gun control is at its most draconian. It may be a coincidence; riots are an urban phenomenon, as is gun control. But it may not.

The right to keep and bear arms—highlighted and deleted from its English birthplace—has a profound effect on the nature of government and, thus, society. Armed citizens create an atmosphere of civility through a balance of power. Less poetically, the possibility of mutually assured destruction keeps government in check. It ain’t pretty, but it is what it is, as Thomas Jefferson knew well enough.

When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

What does burn baby burn have to do with the right to keep and bear arms? An unarmed populace creates a negative feedback loop. Unchecked government tyranny grows, as it is wont to do. Disenfranchised citizens (or, in this case, subjects) lose respect for the rule of law. The government responds by increasing its stranglehold on the people. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And don’t forget government tyranny takes many forms, both large and small. My mother-in-law’s city council sent a worker to her house; she wasn’t using her compost bin (box to collect organic waste) enough. If she fails to use it in the future they’ll fine her. If she doesn’t pay her fine, they’ll confiscate her property or put her in jail. Over carrot shavings.

Imagine what it’s like for the UK’s unemployed, who feel they have to suck-up to the Nanny state for survival. A monolithic bureaucracy that buries economic opportunity under a mountain of regulation and taxation. Resentment much? Class warfare that.

Anyway, if nothing else, armed citizens can protect their lives and livelihood from roving gangs of socially disenfranchised youths bent on expressing their dissatisfaction to the political elite. Or opportunistic thugs, rioters and looters. Whatever.

If you scan the YouTube videos, you’ll see the police are stretched thin and wimping out, forced to watch destruction from a “safe” distance, prevented from using even the threat of deadly force lest things get REALLY out of control.

“The police have warned that anyone inciting violence through social networking sites could face prosecution,” the BBC talking head warns. Does that apply to business owners encouraging each other to protect their property? Are there UK cops monitoring the Internet for “dissension” 24/7?

Make no mistake: the UK riots offers Americans a look at the underbelly of an unarmed so-called democratic society. No thanks.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

9 Responses to UK Riots Follow Police Shooting. What About Gun Control?

  1. avatarNate says:

    Britain has been an economic basket case for decades. The only thing that had them going during the days of Thatcher and Blair was the North Sea oil and gas. Now that energy production is in steep and irreversible decline, Britain’s lack of any sort of real economy is starting to show.

    That said, the US economy is a lot closer to this than anyone would like to admit. It’s not far behind Europe, it just has a lot more inertia than the economy of Spain or the UK. If the rest of the world wasn’t required to buy dollars to buy oil, it’d be just as bad if not worse.

    I could see this exact same thing happening in the United States. The working poor and the middle class are getting tired. The super rich in this country would do well to remember what happened in say, France at the end of the 18th Century. In this country you have the lazy getting off far to easily with handouts, disability fraud, and whatever else and you have the rich becoming super rich on what amount to handouts. The Bush and Obama bailouts gave untold millions of cheap money to the ultra rich to invest and profit from as they saw fit. All on the back of the working class.

    Fiat currency, dollar hegemony, Bretton Woods, the IMF, and the World Bank have worked quite well for the United States in the past decades. It really is quite ingenious, you’d be a fool not to realize that much. Unfortunately, the system simply cannot last. The next twenty to thirty years should be pretty interesting.

  2. avatarmiforest says:


    If she fails to use it in the future they’ll fine her. If she doesn’t pay her fine, they’ll confiscate her property or put her in jail. Over carrot shavings.

    environmentalism is the fanatical religion of the new tyrants. what a perfect example of the level of sanctimonious government snooping it can justify. We should oppose environmentalism in all its forms. no I am not kidding.

    riots have a life of their own, they will usually degenerate from assault and theft , to robbery and arson and finally to rape and murder. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024001/Forced-strip-naked-street-Shocking-scenes-rioters-steal-clothes-rifle-bags-people-make-way-home.html

    our country is a tinder box too. with a lot of people locked out of the economy. I hope this gets turned arround soon.

  3. avatartdiinva says:

    Nate:

    The poor are poor by the political design of the Democratic Party. They represent an unshakeable base that is tied to unsustainable big government. If you want to blame Bush for anything it is taking too many people off the tax roles and creating a class with no stake in the limiting the size of the welfare state.

    The US is becoming more like California, not 18th Century France, where the government relies more and more on a small percentage of the tax base for the lions share of revenue. The top ten percent of income earners pay something like ninety percent of income taxes. The welfare state cannot be sustained without massive tax increases on the bottom ninety percent. If that happens then economic activity will grind to a halt. You cannot balance the budget when the government takes 25% of GNP.

    Fiat currency has absolutely nothing to do with the predicament of the US or the rest of the developed world. The modern welfare state has simply promished people trillions more than it can pay out given enduring demographic trends.

    • avataryakima2k says:

      Actually, the effective tax rate for all earners has been pretty stable for the last 30 years, and for the last 15 years the effective tax rate for the top 20% has been in a gradual decline from peaks in the early 90′s. If a higher percentage of government revenue is coming from the top 20% of earners, it’s only an indicator that those 20% are increasing their wealth at a much faster rate than the lower brackets.

      Rational spending cuts and a 1 or 2% across the board tax increase seems to be the logical course, rather than placing the burden on either the rich or the poor. We’ve got 10 years of warmaking and social engineering that we’ve tried to do for free, and as Americans we should all share equally in muddling our way out of it.

      Sadly, we’re in a position where in politics and finance we have the inmates running the asylum. Maybe if we just point fingers at each other long enough it’ll all work out…

      • avatartdiinva says:

        You better go back at the run the numbers. One or two percent will not come anywhere close to meeting the revenue requirements now or when entitlements come due. In order to close the budget gap taxes will have to be raised to unsustainable levels. The Federal share of GNP has to come to the post war 18-20% range.

  4. avatarSilver says:

    As far as I’m concerned, there is NEVER an excuse for indiscriminate destruction. What this riot has become is in no way connected to the protest over the guy who was shot. How does burning down grampa’s antique store get a message to politicians? How does burning down your own city and diminishing your own neighborhood help your BS cause? Thugs and dirt, all of them.

    People who take part in things like this are sociopaths, period. People who would, should a cataclysmic disaster degenerate societal structure, take to robbery, murder, rape, and overall selfishness. The kind who would gladly kill so long as someone tells them it’s alright. In a word, scum. But then, what do you expect from the “Me” generation raised on entitlement, mass media, political correctness, and social interaction vastly in the form of text?

    Give the police their L85s, line them up facing the mob, and open fire. I won’t shed a tear.

  5. avatardave says:

    Great analysis.
    As an American whose knowledge of the horrors of the 20th century genocides that resulted from gun confiscations is thorough, I will never relinquish mine for any man, woman, judge or tyrant.

  6. avatarPatrick from Texas says:

    The London riots have little to nothing to do with economic conditions and certainly nothing to do with a police shooting. The mob mentality in Britain has had a very long history. I lived in London for a couple of years in the late 1980′s and learned to avoid using public transportation on days when a big football (soccer) match was taking place. The subway trains were packed with violent drunks that were itching to gang up on people and stomp them. If you look at the clips, the thugs that are confronting the police are actually having a good time. This is all big fun to them. Many people in the US aren’t aware of the organized gangs of European and British thugs that take advantage of these situations to rob, rape and pillage.

    To address the original question, compare this to the LA riots. There the shop owners and home owners at least had a fighting chance to defend their livelihood and homes. In Britain, people just hoped they got out of the buildings before they burned to death. And then they complained to the local MP that they “had no one to protect us!” At least the pub owner in the last clip was fit enough to climb down a drainpipe to escape a man with a knife. The defense laws are so upside down in Britain, he probably would have gone to jail if he had fought back. So, to all the gun control and non-self defense trolls, there is your world without guns. Oh wait, you can still get shot by a criminal in London!

  7. avatarJim says:

    Multiracialism fails once again. Importing the Third World is the worst thing to happen to merry old England. Perhaps Miliband and his chosen buddies need the boot.

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