Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turks vs. British looters

One of the comments to my previous post about lootings in London said:
I think your point [about self-defense] definitely has some validity to it, but I believe it's too late for that at this point for what's going on in London. If people did take to the streets today, I think it would only exacerbate an already out of control situation. [...] Violence breeds violence is an appropriate phrase here. Sure, as a preventative measure it might work really well, but it can't be encouraged once the violence has already started. I don't think that would help at all.
Here is a video of Turkish store owners from London defending themselves and their stores quite successfully from the looters, while the police drive on in their cars and do not get involved:

Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister acknowledged that his police was useless and incompetent.
Former Cabinet minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind also raised concerns that officers were instructed to "stand and observe looting".
I repeat the questions I've asked in many different contexts:

1) If this were a CEO of an insurance/protection company, whose personal profits depended on how well his company does its job, would this happen?

2) If there were a few competing policing agencies, whose customers, in case of a given agency's incompetence, would switch to the other agencies (the way people switch from one cell phone company to another or switch to Apple after their PC has crashed one too many times), would this happen?

3) Would this happen in Texas?

Also, from here:
The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago. 
In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down. 
Today we are probably more shocked at the idea of so many ordinary Londoners carrying guns in the street than we are at the idea of an armed robbery. But the world of Conan Doyle’s Dr Watson, pocketing his revolver before he walked the London streets, was real. The arming of the populace guaranteed rather than disturbed the peace. 
That armed England existed within living memory; but it is now so alien to our expectations that it has become a foreign country. Our image of an armed society is conditioned instead by America: or by what we imagine we know about America. It is a skewed image, because (despite the Second Amendment) until recently in much of the US it has been illegal to bear arms outside the home or workplace; and therefore only people willing to defy the law have carried weapons. 
In the past two decades the enactment of “right to carry” legislation in the majority of states, and the issue of permits for the carrying of concealed firearms to citizens of good repute, has brought a radical change. Opponents of the right to bear arms predicted that right to carry would cause blood to flow in the streets, but the reverse has been true: violent crime in America has plummeted. 
There are exceptions: Virginia Tech, the site of the 2007 massacre of 32 people, was one local “gun-free zone” that forbade the bearing of arms even to those with a licence to carry. 
In Britain we are not yet ready to recall the final liberty of the subject listed by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England as underpinning all others: “The right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” We would still not be ready to do so were the Mumbai massacre to happen in London tomorrow. 
“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” The Mumbai massacre is a bitter postscript to Gandhi’s comment. D’Souza now laments his own helplessness in the face of the killers: “I only wish I had had a gun rather than a camera.”

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