London Burning

Another night, another night of riots, arson and casual lootery, relatively untrammeled by the efforts of law enforcement, and perhaps slightly slowed down by the efforts of massed local residents and business owners. After three or four nights of this destruction, which leaves the internet plastered with pictures that look like the aftermath of the WWII Blitz, I would have hoped that the local residents were beginning to assemble and barricade their streets, rather than leave them open for the ‘hoodies’ to do their worst. I’d have also hoped that the police were starting to think about responding to the mob hoodlum element with more than sandbags and rubber bullets, but hey – I’m just one of those terroristic Tea partiers, presently resident in the state of Texas. Of which many and sometimes justifiable criticisms might be made and usually are, by superior Euroweenies having a fit of lefty vapors over the relative déclassé-ness of it all – but one of the good points about living here is that the incidents of home-invasion robberies are refreshingly few in number.

 Not a claim that can be made in once-Great Britain for the past few years, alas – where those who uphold Her Majesty’s laws of late seem to be more inclined to prosecute those who use any kind of weapon at hand to defend themselves in a robbery or home-invasion situation. Nope – not the case around these parts: it’s very likely that a canvass of my immediate neighborhood might turn up more weapons than the standing army of many small European states. Law-enforcement is also rather refreshingly understanding with regard to the plight of those citizens who – under fairly strictly defined circumstances and in legitimate fear of their lives or the lives of their family – have defended their homes and castles with deadly force and dropped a miscreant stone cold on the hearth-rug, or as was the case a couple of years ago, on the doormat. (Elderly woman, living alone, local scumbag energetically trying to force open her front door. She warned him three times that she had a gun, local scumbag ignored the warning, and she drilled him straight through the front door.) Usually in these cases, the homeowner has the subdued congratulations of the local police for taking out the trash. To your average superior Euroweenie this is just the same exactly as Old West gunfights in the street practically, and an excuse for a bit of hyperventilating. Eh – whatever. It might also be the case that – depending on the year and location – communities in the Old West could just have been a good bit safer than certain of the big cities in the Old East, but that’s a discussion for another day.

No, I started on London. Ancient. Historic. The cynosure of an Empire, the great queen city of the Anglosphere. I knew it before I even set foot in it, so marinated for having read two thousand years worth of history and literature, in which it was the center – or near to the center – of all things. Built and rebuilt again, from Roman to Anglo-Saxon, to Norman, Elizabethan, Georgian, re-engineered by the great Victorian builders, rebuilt after the Great Fire, and again after the Blitz, and so many other relatively minor disasters  . . .  eternal, grand, sometimes scruffy around the edges, but comfortable and welcoming to my younger brother and sister and I, when we arrived in the early summer of 1970. We stayed in a tiny B & B in Clapham Common, one of those miniscule late Victorian brick row houses, just wide enough for a single room and a hallway alongside, and a walled garden out in back. The owner who confirmed our reservation included in his letter exhaustive, detailed and step-by-step instructions for reaching his place from the airport where our student charter flight landed. We were to take a certain train, which we would find upon walking out the front of the airport, get off at a particular stop, then walk down so many feet on a certain street to a bus stop, which we would find opposite a certain shop (he included a detailed street map for this) take a specific bus, which we would exit on Clapham High Street at another stop (which he instructed us to tell the bus conductor that we were to exit the bus at, and this part included another segment of street map), thereupon to walk so many feet on a particular direction, before turning left  . . .  and his establishment would be so many houses down that street on the right.

 And so we did – and we stayed for three days, before relocating to the Youth Hostel just around the corner from St. Pauls’ on Ludgate Hill. In the six days of our wandering summer spent in London, we saw all the touristical sights, to include the Tower of London, I bought books at Foyles, and explored Westminster Abbey  . . .  and one of the ancient established street markets – was it Golder’s Green? – where I bought a length of wool for Mom to make a bespoke pair of pants for Dad – which I don’t think she ever did. Fleet Street, and Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and Regent’s Park, and all these little hidden-away neighborhoods; we met nothing but nice people. And now that town is burning again. Is this the way that civilization ends, at the hands of insolent and brutal looters, while the populace and the government stands helpless against them? Is that little side street in Clapham one of those threatened? Are the little, old-fashioned Victorian store fronts along Clapham High Street among those smashed and looted, while the owners of those small businesses wait for a sure defense, or perhaps take matters into their own hands at last?

Interesting times. Interesting times.

(Cross-posted at The Daily Brief)

28 thoughts on “London Burning”

  1. I’m seeing reports that Turkish and Kurdish shop owners are taking a strongly defensive stance. Armed with knives and boards, they’re chasing the thugs out of their neighborhoods when they’re not leaving them on the street waiting for ambulances.

    Must be that ‘creeping Shariah law’ thing…

  2. Tonight I read an interesting (albeit not a pleasant to think of) opinion by a Londoner that “the populace” does not stands helpless against the looters – no, they are not acting out because it is the store chains which are being looted -and who like those big corporate evil of global trade? if it was mom-n-pop local shop, he suggested, like in a Turkish neighborhood, or someone’s home the residents would unite against the scoundrels – but the chains? oh, the chains have insurance anyway and who cares.

  3. I put up a post a while back about how the Economist talked about Texas as a growth story but totally missed the point of personal and economic freedoms

    I love London and have many friends there but they are incredulous when I talk about US gun policy; not only can you 1) own a gun but you can 2) concealed carry 3) shoot people that invade your property.

    I hope things turn for the better in London but citizens there are going to get a taste of the states’ inability to protect you and the fact that you have no means to protect yourself.

  4. The British people need guns.

    Thank God for our Founders and the Second Amendment.

    This crap would not work in most of America.

    We have violent flash mobs in Chicago and Milwaukee because the criminals know they won’t face a gun.

    That needs to change.

    I hope they try this in Texas. But they are not that stupid.

  5. I have a friend who lives in Chichester, an hour on the train south of London. He is a retired army colonel but is shocked at the guns in the USA. He and his wife were nearly blown up by the IRA 20 years ago in northern Ireland but they don’t get the self defense thing.

  6. Right now, my daughter and I are wondering — exactly how long can this situation continue? Who is going to crack first — the law-abiding average citizen, or the police force? How many more nights can the police secure London, while other cities burn … or secure other locations while London burns? How many more nights can ordinary, hard-working merchants and householders stand by and watch their streets and their neighborhoods terrorised by feral ‘yoots’… without any kind of effective response by an apparently supine government? A lot of ordinary citizens must be privately wondering just what civic good their government and the public intellectuals are providing in this instance.

  7. “I hope they try this in Texas.”

    It’s hot in Texas. Summer isn’t over. And the state fair opens 30 September. Fair Park is… not an area I’d like to be lost in a night.

    “But they are not that stupid.”

    They may have some low cunning, but, yes, I think they are that stupid. Should we check their elementary school grades, assuming they attended?

  8. London is NOT burning. It was not actually burning but we did have rather a lot of trouble for which there are many reasons and which played out differently in different parts. I was going to post about it but seeing as lots of people who have spent …. oh, a week or so in London once have commented, I might leave the subject alone. I’ve been doing some posting on my blog and on Facebook and shall do a biggish piece when we know for sure that it is all over. But I shall not be able to compete with people who tell me that the country went wrong by voting out Churchill when, of course, in the British system we do not vote for Prime Ministers. Please forgive the sarcasm.

  9. i guess churchill just left office on his own, and the country didn’t become socialist afterwards.

    you ought not to bother with any more posts as you are boring in the extreme.

    [Cjm, please be civil if you wish to comment here. I would add that if you find Helen’s comments boring you might not be reading them carefully. Jonathan]

  10. The victim mentality is ingrained in Britain. My daughter studied in London for a term a few years ago, and both her school in the US, and the Director and staff [Brits] of the school’s London Centre were constantly carping at her from the moment her slot in London was confirmed until the day she left the UK; that the proper form if robbed or assaulted on the street was to assume a fetal position laying on the ground. If attacked they were to do nothing “American” like fighting back.

    Some ethnic neighborhoods are trying to defend themselves from what I have read and seen; primarily Turk, Kurd, Sikh, and “Asian” Muslim [Finbury Park]. This is apparently being accepted by the authorities, given that British law does not fully run in those areas anyway.

    However, in the suburb of Enfield [home to the famous arms factory, I think] the “Anglo”, as we would call them, population centered around the fans of a local football [soccer] team gathered to defend against any attack. The police responded. It was the first example of the traditional drag-step with riot shields and clubs that I have seen in this. It was aimed at Anglo homeowners trying to defend themselves. They were, of course, dispersed. I’m sure that if Enfield is attacked, the police will respond right smartly …. in a fortnight or two.

    The best advice that I have seen for Brit “Law Enforcement” about dealing with the rioters was: “Treat ’em like you think that they are Irish!“. They have an operational template for that that they are used to and in the short term works.

    Subotai Bahadur

  11. In discussion here some months back I was predicting for the U.S.A. a brief period of violent upheaval. When the Ruling Class runs out the Country Class’s money and can no longer continue placating the Dependency Class, the takers will not take it very well.

    Whether it happens under some form of ordered reduction in handouts, or precipitated by natural or financial catastrophe, this is our future.

    My biggest question is still this: Which side will the cops come down on?

  12. “London is NOT burning” – then what is that fire we see on TV? Must be a movie they are making, for import.
    Everything else is just a spot of trouble, here and there. Or “disturbance”, as BBC calls it. Nothing to see here, move along.

  13. If you deny an entire class of people opportunity to escape their poverty and aspire to something better you will get results like you see in London now. The looters and troublemakers have very little stake in their country as austerity’s of various kinds really do tend to marginalize the poor.

    Be warned.

  14. Helen might be interested in this post by another friend of England. I have spent several weeks a year in England for the past 35 years and am a member of a number of organizations, like the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, that celebrate the nation. I have watched over those years as London became less safe and the policies of the Labour government weakened the educational system and emasculated the police.

    Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) has been the chronicler of this decline with his books, which I highly recommend. I was in London a couple of years ago when a prominent citizen living in Chelsea was stabbed by two boys who walked up to his front door and, when he answered the door, stabbed him and walked away.

    I wouldn’t say London is burning in a literal way but all of England, especially the midlands, are burning up in this perverted culture that has taken over the uneducated classes. Ironically, Dalrymple describes the exact same pathology in English midland cities that we see in US ghettos, except that the violent sociopaths are white. It isn’t racial but cultural and whites are not immune.

  15. “Her Majesty requests that current and former members of the Brigade of Gurkha’s take action to control unrest.”

    Problem solved.

  16. I like Ed’s way of thinking. These yobs would be lot more telegenic if their skulls were chopped open with kukris. Their hoodies would make the clean-up easier since the brains would not get all over the place.

    Say this for Mayor Daley, Sr. His command to the cops was to shoot to kill arsonists. That stopped the rioting. He had no deep inner qualms about his authority or the need for lethal force to secure the property of law abiding people. Chicago, with an unarmed populace is a likely candidate for this sort of outbreak. I think Mayor Rahm will order an immediate and ruthless response, more like his illustrious predecessor than like the poor, pathetic Brits. I hope do.

    The Brits would once have known how to handle something like this. Not anymore, apparently.

  17. PenGun Says:
    August 11th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    If you deny an entire class of people opportunity to escape their poverty and aspire to something better you will get results like you see in London now. The looters and troublemakers have very little stake in their country as austerity’s of various kinds really do tend to marginalize the poor.

    Wo3 de5 tian1, a5

    These are not the subjects of the first lines of the lyrics of the Internationale. Looking at the first batch of rioters arraigned and identified I saw what here would be a private prep school student who was a daughter of a multi-millionaire businessman, a college student majoring in accounting, a college student majoring in Civil Engineering, a realtor, a ballet student, and the chef at an organic restaurant. Incidentally, they were a shining example of racial diversity. Privileged, but not all-white privilege.

    The mass of those rioting are poor only in relative terms. As in they have housing paid for by the State [council housing, not slums like the unlamented Cabrini-Green here], food allowances, cash allowances, medical care [and all get the same level of atrocious care from the NHS]. Education is free up through the equivalent of high school, if they choose to take it, and college while not free is heavily subsidized. They pay a lot less than we do for higher education, if they will take it. I know, I have a daughter who graduated a few years ago, and two more kids still in college.

    You look at them and there is not a sans-culotte or an oppressed working man in the lot. Nor have many missed any meals in a long time.

    The Brit criminal justice system [the cognitive dissonance hurts stringing those words together] is not exactly a deterrent either. Here is an article from someone working in the system, about what is going to happen:

    This is not a matter of an oppressed underclass that only needs a few more crusts of bread a day and a bit of encouragement to cause an epidemic of Horatio Alger stories to be made flesh. They have created a Brit version of the New Soviet Man, totally dependent on the State and incapable of doing anything productive for themselves.

    Prediction. The Police were far more eager to stop local communities from defending themselves than they were to stop the rioters; who they really did not want to interfere with. As far as I have heard, tonight is fairly quiet. I suspect that in pubs, coffee houses, mosques, and ethnic clubs all over London, one of the main topics of conversation is, “What can we do to make sure this does not happen to us again?”. Whatever plans they come up with are not going to meet with the approval of the Home Secretary, nor be shared with her.

    Next round is going to be interesting.

    Subotai Bahadur

  18. I have said this a few times in the past and this might be a good time to repeat it. I resolved long ago when faced with anyone or anything that threatens me or my family or property I will defend it in the way that I see fit and let the chips fall. If this includes fighting, shooting or whatever, it will be done. I may end up in jail someday for it, but I must do what is right. I think if more people thought this way these riots and other crap would be short lived. I could be wrong, of course.

  19. I’m not being biased because Sgt. Mom is my mom for realzies. I have a number of good friends in the U.K. that live in and around London, the rioting and looting has affected them on a level that is somewhat unimaginable here in the U.S. and while in talking to a few of them about what was going on, their fear for themsleves and their families was tangible enough to be felt across the ocean and through the interweb.
    this is my friends blog these riots affected her, her family and her livlehood

  20. Jezzy,

    If I may ask, now that it has been quiet for a night or two [although I understand that the police are staying on alert in case the normal weekend binge drinking triggers more disturbances], are any of your friends trying to figure out what to do if the riots start again? I assume that most such plans involve flight. Have they indicated what they think should be done to restore normalcy?

    If it is too much of an intrusion, feel free to ignore this. It is just that getting a reaction from those on the scene unfiltered by the media would be most informative.

    Subotai Bahadur

  21. Subotai Bahadur
    I think that for the most part its a game of wait and see what happens for them. I had suggest to one of my friends have some overnight bags packed and ready, and have a plan if it gets to dangerous about where they could go to wait it out or until it was safe to come back

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