Not surprising: Londoners left undefended move to defend themselves

August 10, 2011

Well, what did anyone expect when the police are kept on a tight leash, the fire brigades are overwhelmed, and the Home Secretary thinks the proper response is to scold parents?

When the government refuses to do its duty, vigilantism is the inevitable result:

Top London officials have warned the city’s citizens against administering vigilante justice in the midst of widespread riots after several groups organized to protect their property by any means necessary.

“We don’t want to see vigilantism,” London mayor Boris Johnson said today in a press conference, according to The Telegraph. “People defending their homes and shops must only use reasonable force.”

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh also urged restraint, saying “vigilantism” could lead to further violence, according to a report by the BBC.

Three men at least have already been killed, run over as they were apparently defending their neighborhood in Birmingham, also torn by riots. Whether it was an accident or deliberate isn’t known. And London itself seems to be quieter after thousands of police have been brought in. (And the rioters are probably tuckered out, poor dears.)

Maybe Mayor Johnson and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Kavanagh (and the rest of that gelded government) should consider that citizens wouldn’t be resorting to vigilantism if the government had only done its bloody job to protect lives and property. These riots should never have got past the first night. Where the state ceases to exist, people will revert to a Hobbesian state of nature to protect their lives and property, which is just we’re seeing here. Those men who were run-over were only doing what any reasonable person would do, and their deaths are to be laid directly at the door of this pusillanimous government.

And don’t get me started on the insane British restrictions on firearms. When Los Angeles erupted in riots in 1994 1992, stores in Korean neighborhoods were relatively untouched. Why? Because the Korean owners had guns and made it quite clear they were willing to use them if the police couldn’t protect them. As is their right.

But in the UK, the people aren’t allowed guns to defend themselves from a mob. They’re told to rely on the police. And when the police aren’t there? They’re reduced to ordering baseball bats from Amazon.

The government should resign. This is pathetic.

via Allahpundit

LINKS: More from The Guardian. Read it all, but here’s a sample:

When the rioters came to attack the premises of Kurdish and Turkish businesses in Hackney’s Stoke Newington High Street and Kingsland Road on Monday night, the owners were waiting for them.

“It was between about nine and 10 at night,” said Yilmaz Karagoz, sitting in his coffee shop next to a jeweller’s shop that has been shuttered since Sunday when the rioting began and a pharmacy that closed a day after.

“There were a lot of them. We came out of our shops but the police asked us to do nothing. But the police did not do anything so, as more came, we chased them off ourselves.” The staff from a local kebab restaurant ran at the attackers, doner knives in their hands. “I don’t think they will be coming back,” Karagoz said.

EDIT: Fixed the date of the LA riots. I lived through them, you’d think I’d remember.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexican town resorts to mob justice

September 24, 2010

With the authorities unable to protect them, the residents of a small town in the state of Chihuahua that has suffered an average of three kidnappings per week finally had enough:

Ascension is a farming community of some 15,000 people, about 100 miles south of the border with New Mexico. In the past two years, kidnapping and extortion have been rampant.

“Our problems with public security have spoiled our progress in this town,” says Rafael Camarillo, the outgoing mayor.

The public fury happened Tuesday when an armed group allegedly kidnapped a 16-year-old girl from her family’s seafood restaurant. The kidnappers escaped down a gravel road, and word of the missing girl spread quickly.

Soon, a group of about 200 residents began the chase. Three of the alleged kidnappers were captured by the Mexican military, who have a presence in the town.

Three others fled into a nearby cotton field, where one was later found dead. The other two were hunted down and beaten by the mob from Ascension.

“When they found them, it was a direct aggression,” says Ignacio Rodriguez, a local kitchen-cabinet maker who was elected to head city council next month.

The girl was rescued unharmed by the residents.

Two of the kidnappers were taken by federal police to a nearby Mexican Army base, but the mob wasn’t done with them: they stormed the base, seized the kidnappers, and locked them in a hot car until they died.

Let’s be blunt: these three deaths were acts of murder. But it is both hard to sympathize with the victims and not hard to sympathize with the townsfolk. What are they supposed to do when their own government can’t or won’t protect them? The local force was so useless that the Mayor of Ascension fired them all after this incident. Corruption is rampant in the local, state, and federal police forces. At some point, the people are left with a choice: wait like sheep to be slaughtered  or fight back. The people of Ascenscion made their choice.

Of course, fighting back against teenaged kidnappers is one thing, but striking back at heavily armed, ruthless cartels is another altogether. Mexico’s gun laws are very strict, so law-abiding citizens are effectively disarmed from the start. Yet the presence of such laws implies a clause in the social contract: in return for not bearing arms, the state promises to protect its citizens. If the government cannot do this, then the contract is broken and the state loses legitimacy. Society reverts to a state of nature and residents are forced to take justice into their own hands.

While Mexico is not yet a failed state and may never become one, the incidents at Ascension are nevertheless further signs of a fraying social fabric that, unmended, could one day fall apart.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

UPDATE: A newspaper in New Mexico sees similar dangers.