The Corner

A Report from Hobbestown

The Daily Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan reports on his own mugging, annd worse:

Bleeding a little, I thought I might as well call 999. It was a recorded message. After four and a half minutes, a tired man answered. “There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “You know what’s going on. We have to give priority to saving people’s lives. I suggest you just go home.”

He was right, of course. I was in Hackney – which, that evening at least, was a law-free zone. That’s the worst thing about riots. Across much of London on Monday night, if someone had decided to break down your door and rape your daughter, there would have been nothing to stop them. There would have been no one to call.  When I was mugged, I was on my way home from a day in Tottenham, listening to the stories of the people who had lost far more and been at far greater risk than me, burned out of their homes at 30 seconds’ notice. They called 999 too, frantically, desperately, as the riot moved closer. There were 100 police just up the road. The emergency operator could do nothing but listen to their terror. I finished my journey in a cab. Three or four times, we had to stop and skirt round hooded boys spilling into the road, our windows closed and the door lock on. If they had fancied my taxi, there would have been nothing I or the driver could have done about that, either. Even on Monday, the victims of Tottenham, black and white, were already tired of outsiders blaming racism, police brutality, or cuts. (What were they rioting about in prosperous, suburban Enfield – rising season-ticket prices?) The real reason for the rioters’ behaviour is much simpler: because they can. Forget BlackBerry Messenger. After seeing — on television — how much leeway the looters of Tottenham were allowed, every criminal and every excitement-seeking child in London took note. By the next day, critical mass had been achieved. Disorder had erupted on a scale much more difficult to suppress than the original outbreak.

And then this from the Daily Telegraph’s live feed:

09.52 I’ve just spoken to Eoin Clarke, a Battersea resident who is trying to organise a community defence programme to protect the area from rioters. I asked him about the ADC Kavangh’s call for “vigiliantes” to stay off the streets and he said: That’s all well and good but when someone is torching your place and no one is around don’t you wish the police were there? I think that flash mobs are going to be around for some time in the future and I think they need a flash mob solution. If the police can’t protect you don’t you have to protect yourself? 

That’s a question that answers itself. The strange thing about all this is that these riots are unlikely to persuade Britons that they should be given the same gun rights that Americans quite properly enjoy. It is apparently safer to rely on the state that will disarm you, and then fail you.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More