The Maine U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Ian Dodge recently posted on FaceBook about whether the riots in London might provide a kind of “wake up call” to the citizens of the U.K. to re-think their philosophies about self-defense in general, and gun ownership in particular.
I told him it was the L.A. riots, combined with my third mugging, that led my husband to believe we should consider getting firearms. And in fact it was owning guns that opened my eyes to the states’ overreach in so many other areas. The left is right to fear firearms, since exercise of that particular freedom and experience of that self-sufficiency (however limited it is in scope) can be a “gateway drug” to other forms of independent thought and action.
Now, via Insty, comes Nile Gardiner of the Telegraph, asking in print the question that citizens of the U.K. are not supposed to even consider in their innermost minds: Wouldn’t a willingness to stand up to the mobs, combined with an armed citizenry, have greatly limited the damage in London?
During the Los Angeles riots in 1992, many store owners in the south central part of the city defended their property against marauding gangs with their own weapons, and succeeded in protecting their livelihoods and thousands of jobs that depended on them.
And across the country, Americans admired their bravery, thankful for the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects their right to keep and bear arms, and thereby defend themselves, their families and their property.
In contrast in London in 2011, shopkeepers were left at the mercy of feral, brutal thugs acting with impunity across whole swathes of the capital as the police were overwhelmed. If they had the right to bear arms and defend their stores with force, it would have been a very different story, and brutal looters would have met firm resistance.
Britain’s gun laws are among the most draconian in the world, yet the nation has some of the highest levels of violent crime and burglary in the West, and there is no shortage of gun crime in major cities such as London and Manchester. While criminal gangs are often able to acquire firearms on the black market, ordinary law-abiding British citizens are barred from owning guns for self-defence.
The riots in London, the West Midlands and the North West should prompt a renewed debate in Britain over the right to bear arms by private citizens. The shocking scenes of looting across the country are a reminder that the police cannot always be relied upon to protect homes and businesses during a period of widespread social disorder.
The defence of life and property can never be entrusted solely to the state, not least when there is a complete breakdown in law and order. As we have seen this week in Britain, when individuals are barred from defending their own property from mobs of vicious thugs, sheer anarchy and terror reins.
It’s true: the Korean grocers whose businesses were closest to the flash points used large bags of rice as sandbags, and barricaded their businesses. They took up positions in front and on the roofs, with rifles.
And no one attempted to burn down the businesses so protected. No one.
Self-defense is, as Dean Esmay used to remind us back in blogging’s heyday, a human right. It has to be re-ratified in a Western world that has largely lost its way on this issue.
A hugely important, must-read Instapundit thread on the forced passivity of the UK citizens shows just how wildly out of sync British society has become.
When the trouble came, hairdressers, sales assistants and butchers were among the scores of Turkish and Kurdish workers who stood outside their businesses in Green Lanes, Haringey, from 8pm having been warned by police to expect trouble.
The Guardian filmed others – some armed with baseball bats – on guard outside shops and restaurants in Kingsland Road, only a mile away from Hackney’s burning high street. Three workers from Re-Style Hairdressers were among those out in Green Lanes, after word spread that an attack was imminent at about 4pm.
“I was here with my brother and my boss waiting for them until about midnight,” said 16-year-old Huseyin Beytar. “If some guy ever breaks a window in this street, all the Turkish Kurdish people come down to protect the shops. We’re like a family.”
“We have to do things for ourselves,” said Huseyin. “We have to look after each other. If they come here tonight there will be a fight, a big fight.”
“We were outside ready and expecting them,” said the manager of Turkish Food Market, who asked not to be named.
“But I felt very panicky because we are not safe from either the rioters or police.
“We put all of our efforts into this shop. It took 20 years to get it like this. But we do not know about our rights.
“I’m scared that the police and the government will attack us if we defend our businesses.
“We are being squeezed between the two.”
Debbie Mumdy, 41, who lives nearby, said: “Most of the residents are really relieved that the Turkish community has been protecting the area. It’s thanks to these guys that Kingsland High Street wasn’t attacked.”
Turns out that property and business owners take peace and stability a hell of a lot more seriously than do… I believe that the theological term is “lumpen-proletariat?” Also turns out that people with a tangible stake in society tend to want their kids to buy into that, too.
I’d say “Who knew?” – except that, well, I did.