“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.