Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Punishing the Innocent and Protecting the Guilty (Or "More Sack of Rome")

Lotsa commentary out there abut the meaning of the London riots and the government's Honorius-like response thereto.

Max Hastings, always an enjoyable and interesting, if not always accurate, writer, nails the societal issues:

A few weeks after the U.S. city of Detroit was ravaged by 1967 race riots in which 43 people died, I was shown around the wrecked areas by a black reporter named Joe Strickland.
He said: ‘Don’t you believe all that stuff people here are giving media folk about how sorry they are about what happened. When they talk to each other, they say: “It was a great fire, man!” ’
I am sure that is what many of the young rioters, black and white, who have burned and looted in England through the past few shocking nights think today.

It was fun. It made life interesting. It got people to notice them. As a girl looter told a BBC reporter, it showed ‘the rich’ and the police that ‘we can do what we like’.

If you live a normal life of absolute futility, which we can assume most of this week’s rioters do, excitement of any kind is welcome. The people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.
Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.
HEY! Them's fightin' woids! Don't knock video games! They actually help foster mental skills such as problem-solving, noticing patterns, noticing details, strategizing and improvising.

They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.
They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.
Their behaviour on the streets resembled that of the polar bear which attacked a Norwegian tourist camp last week. They were doing what came naturally and, unlike the bear, no one even shot them for it.
A former London police chief spoke a few years ago about the ‘feral children’ on his patch — another way of describing the same reality.
The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.
Hastings then hits the futility of today's law enforcement hard.  Very, very hard:
An underclass has existed throughout history, which once endured appalling privation. Its spasmodic outbreaks of violence, especially in the early 19th century, frightened the ruling classes.
Its frustrations and passions were kept at bay by force and draconian legal sanctions, foremost among them capital punishment and transportation to the colonies.
Today, those at the bottom of society behave no better than their forebears, but the welfare state has relieved them from hunger and real want.
When social surveys speak of ‘deprivation’ and ‘poverty’, this is entirely relative. Meanwhile, sanctions for wrongdoing have largely vanished.
This is true in the United Stats as well as Britain.
A key factor in delinquency is lack of effective sanctions to deter it. From an early stage, feral children discover that they can bully fellow pupils at school, shout abuse at people in the streets, urinate outside pubs, hurl litter from car windows, play car radios at deafening volumes, and, indeed, commit casual assaults with only a negligible prospect of facing rebuke, far less retribution.
John Stuart Mill wrote in his great 1859 essay On Liberty: ‘The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.’

Yet every day up and down the land, this vital principle of civilised societies is breached with impunity.
Anyone who reproaches a child, far less an adult, for discarding rubbish, making a racket, committing vandalism or driving unsociably will receive in return a torrent of obscenities, if not violence.
So who is to blame? The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.
The judiciary colludes with social services and infinitely ingenious lawyers to assert the primacy of the rights of the criminal and aggressor over those of law-abiding citizens, especially if a young offender is involved.
The police, in recent years, have developed a reputation for ignoring yobbery and bullying, or even for taking the yobs’ side against complainants.
‘The problem,’ said Bill Pitt, the former head of Manchester’s Nuisance Strategy Unit, ‘is that the law appears to be there to protect the rights of the perpetrator, and does not support the victim.’
Like I keep saying, today's law enforcement is about punishing the innocent and protecting the guilty.
Police regularly arrest householders who are deemed to have taken ‘disproportionate’ action to protect themselves and their property from burglars or intruders. The message goes out that criminals have little to fear from ‘the feds’.

Figures published earlier this month show that a majority of ‘lesser’ crimes — which include burglary and car theft, and which cause acute distress to their victims — are never investigated, because forces think it so unlikely they will catch the perpetrators.
Indeed.  Having experienced both myself, I can attest to that..  The police don't care.  The politicians don't care.  They just cluck cluck that "things can be replaced, but people can't." Um, not really.  And why should the lives of predators like burglars or car thieves who cause such incredible mental damage to their victims be given priority over "things" which ultimately means priority over the victims?
A century ago, no child would have dared to use obscene language in class. Today, some use little else. It symbolises their contempt for manners and decency, and is often a foretaste of delinquency.
If a child lacks sufficient respect to address authority figures politely, and faces no penalty for failing to do so, then other forms of abuse — of property and person — come naturally.
So there we have it: a large, amoral, brutalised sub-culture of young British people who lack education because they have no will to learn, and skills which might make them employable. They are too idle to accept work waitressing or doing domestic labour, which is why almost all such jobs are filled by immigrants.
They have no code of values to dissuade them from behaving anti-socially or, indeed, criminally, and small chance of being punished if they do so.
They have no sense of responsibility for themselves, far less towards others, and look to no future beyond the next meal, sexual encounter or TV football game.

They are an absolute deadweight upon society, because they contribute nothing yet cost the taxpayer billions. Liberal opinion holds they are victims, because society has failed to provide them with opportunities to develop their potential.
Most of us would say this is nonsense. Rather, they are victims of a perverted social ethos, which elevates personal freedom to an absolute, and denies the underclass the discipline — tough love — which alone might enable some of its members to escape from the swamp of dependency in which they live.
Only education — together with politicians, judges, policemen and teachers with the courage to force feral humans to obey rules the rest of us have accepted all our lives — can provide a way forward and a way out for these people.
The rioters in Britain, the criminals in the US, are not people.  They are not even animals, because that would insult the many wonderful, innocent creatures of the animal world.  They are thugs.  They are barbarians.  They are predators and we are their prey.

And the government, whether in Britain or the US, does not want us doing anything about it.

But, it seems the people are sick of Alaric and his Goths:
Heard on the news the police were considering use of plastic bullets. You should be using real ones already.

What’s the cause of the riot? I’m guessing lack of incoming fire.
Plenty more where that came from:
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.
And more:
[W]hen the police decry 'vigilantes', I would point out that communities can often do a better job at protecting themselves than the police can and the folks who got out on the streets, not to loot but to defend their neighbourhoods, well they are the real heroes here.
The safety of you and your property is only tangentially of interest to the state (certainly they want to tax what you own, so to that extend they do indeed care about your life and property), but as demonstrated starkly over the last few days, the state also created the conditions that led to these riots and is therefore rather uneasy about punishing people who, after all, only do what the state does every day only without having to smash any windows.
A community of few people with rifles and something worth protecting are not such a soft target to thugs, even armed thugs, than a disarmed general population looking vainly for the Plod to save them. But for all sorts of reasons, the British state has so effectively propagandised this country that to even suggest armed self-defence puts you on the lunatic fringe... so crowbars and cricket bats it is then.
If these last few days shows anything it is that when push comes to shove, only you and your neighbours can defend against what can only be called barbarian scum. Contrary to what the state would have you believe, you have the right to defend yourself and your property that morally supersede any law that would deny that right. The rioters 'took the law into their own hands' so I applaud those Turks and Kurds (and many others whom the Guardian would not be so keen to report on) who did the same... they took the law back from the barbarians with and put it where it belongs: in their own hands.

The state is not your friend, so do what you have to do and if you drive off some thugs, do not call the police after it is all over as nothing good will come of that.
Because the police are now about punishing the innocent and protecting the guilty.

Remember what I said yesterday:
You cannot have civilization without security.

You cannot have security without force.

Therefore you cannot have civilization without force.

The people have accepted that.

Will our government leaders?

Or will they continue to do nothing so long as they stay safe in Ravenna?

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