The situation in London seems dire and disheartening and there is already one iconic photo emerging from the story:
Citizens arming themselves for protection, or mobsters looking for more strength? I’d bet it’s the former. Arms are difficult to come by, in England, but people likely want to feel like they have some means of self-protection, when the police have limited means of response
In various internet political and religious forums, I have seen the suggestion being made — leaking in from the fringes, mostly — that the odd rise of “flash mobs” over this summer — those events that began with perhaps a dozen young people swarming a convenience store or fast-food place, creating havoc and then quickly dispersing, and have since grown in scope to involve larger-scale random acts of chaos and violence at public gatherings, and prompted city mayors to close beaches and enforce curfews — are not meaningless or coincidental, but rather are “training exercises” or “dry runs” for larger scenarios; they are, according to some, “research” meant to discover what can be accomplished quickly, how mobs are responded to, the efficacy of law enforcement and, finally, at what point a flash event can, by sheer numbers and the element of surprise, subdue and repress resistance, or warrant the deployment of National Guards.
Ask “to what purpose,” and the answer you get runs along the lines of “when the cities are in chaos in 2012, Obama will declare a national emergency, install martial law and suspend elections.”
This is precisely the scenario extreme leftists once projected onto George W. Bush. Their 2008 predictions — that he would dishonor the constitution and install himself as a dictator — lacked only the flash mobs wrapped in American flags haunting the Upper West Side, to feed the delirium.
For all of President Obama’s complaints about having to deal with congress and “messy” democracy when it would be easier to just do what he wants, I am not worried about Obama installing himself as a dictator. I think he’s bored in the White House and longs for a post-presidency of best-selling books and endless rounds of golf; that he is less interested in coups than media coos.
Nevertheless, I ran out to the store a little while ago and basically heard Rush Limbaugh suggesting that these riots in London are “what we have in store, that we are “on this path” and referencing the US flash mobs. Another sentiment I’m seeing expressed elsewhere
I can’t say it’s not possible. Who knows — by next year, if we’re dealing with another hot summer of high unemployment, hopelessness and electoral passions enraged — who knows? But if so, I hate to think the mobs are actually sort of trained and ready.
Max Lindenman: Riots and the Anti-Social Media