Will the UK Riots Come to USA?

The situation in London seems dire and disheartening and there is already one iconic photo emerging from the story:

Lots of obnoxious, frightening, maddening and infuriating stories coming over the wires, with lots of conjecture as to the cause, but I found this Drudge headline most distressing:

American Baseball Bats Selling Fast in UK…


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

Is Race a Factor?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • KarenT

    I think we’re a bit behind the Brits in creating conditions conducive to such widespread rioting. James Lileks has posted a short, beautifully-written reminder that the cultural degradation which underlies these riots has been described and its results foreseen long before now. http://ricochet.com/main-feed/What-s-It-Going-to-Be-Then-Eh

    One sentence: “The churches are empty; the state is everywhere; the state is empowered to peer into every corner of your life and powerless to protect it; the brutes rule the night.”

    While many of the London rioters seem to be apolitical, some intellectuals are encouraging these riots as part of an uprising against the government. http://tinyurl.com/3u8s2hl More thoughts and dramatic photos here. http://tinyurl.com/3evrppg

  • http://syrophoenicianwoman.blogspot.com/ Bethanie Ryan

    “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.”

    Relax, it’s Rush Limbaugh. He’s always a reactionary alarmist.

    Your post reminds me of some recent studies about the nature of poverty in the US. Not to downplay the pain and suffering of poverty, but the poor in the US really have it pretty good in comparison with the poor in the rest of the world. Personally, I think we’re all too fat and happy to riot in the streets.

  • James

    London’s Burning: A mob made by the welfare state

    “Yes, there’s a ‘political context’ to the riots: it is that British youth have been so suckled by the state they have zero sense of community spirit.” – Brendan O’Neill

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10970/

    ———————-

    London’s Burning

    “Another left-wing friend of mine in the UK has another interesting theory — that the particular targeting of electronics and clothes shops represents an explosion of consumerism. Stay with me, because I think he has a point and I’d like to explain why. Much of the British underclass has had easy access to credit over the past decade or so — and why not, when they are on a secure income stream of state benefits — and they have spent this for the most part on TVs, video games, and “chav” fashion. That easy credit — which I should emphasize was encouraged by the loose monetary policy of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair — has now dried up, so they are looking to take for free what they previously got for nominal sums. There is more evidence for that conclusion in this BBC recording of two girls saying that the riots were about taking what they wanted, for free…..”

    “I think what we are seeing in Britain is a conflation of two liberal dreams — that of the 1960s, in which parenting and tradition went out the window, and that of the 2000s, in which self-help was replaced by easy credit, benefits, and an all-mighty “health and safety” bureaucracy — together with the unfinished nature of the Thatcher revolution. Mrs. T enabled economic Thatcherism but was unable to finish the project of what I termed social Thatcherism, whereby a free society recognized the importance of what once were called manners.

    The result is a feral underclass without any understanding of tradition from right or left.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/274118/londons-burning-iain-murray

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Conservatives can handle questions, Todd.

    What I think we’re getting kinda tired of is the knee-jerk reaction whenever we dare to ask questions: i.e., wondering if maybe there’s something more to the current flash mobs, the rioting in England in Greece, is the welfare state really a good idea? The response is usually a variation of Alinksy tactics (insults, shaming, abuse, and, yeah, caricature), and casting suspicion: Hmmmm, why did the Anchoress structure her post the way she did? Are sites like these really helpful? And so, so, so on.

    Also, the excuse making—people are rioting because they’re “disaffected.” It’s somebody else’s fault, not theirs! They’re being forced to be violent. Policy, after all, has consequences! (What policies? Why shouldn’t people be able to control themselves? How do you know it’s because they’re feeling disaffected? Maybe it’s partly as Dry Valleys says; they’re thugs, who want to have some fun!)

    The bottom line being that any criticism of Obama, or the current progressive platform, cannot be allowed.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Women worked, and there were few jobs during the Depression, and a lot of people were much poorer than they are now.

    But there weren’t huge riots, or “flash mobs.”

    It’s not a matter of rich, or poor. (And, no, being poor isn’t a “Get out jail free” card, which allows you to riot, and steal from your neighbors—at least, it shouldn’t be.)

    (As for Margaret Thatcher—Valleys, that was back in ’79! Seriously, isn’t it time to stop blaming her administration for current financial woes?)

  • James

    Reading, Writing, Rioting… Philly Flash Mob Is From Oprah-Funded School

    Are they teaching community organizing at Mastery Charter High School?

    Philly officials reported that the latest violent flash mob to hit the streets were from an Oprah-funded charter school.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/08/higher-learning-philly-flash-mob-is-from-oprah-funded-school/

  • Dan

    Philadelphia is a city of 1.6 million people. The area in which less than 12 young men aged 11-20 (I believe) is an area I walk through routinely and is rarely ever struck by crime. I take buses and subways and walk through areas everyday in this city plagued by more crime than the one attack reported above. I feel safe and do not experience fear at all. I do not see a mob riot as histrionically described above, but a gang of stupid school kids behaving poorly in an area under intense observation, so much so that they have all been identified by security cameras on buildings.

    Neither excessive firearms and a Rambo-style approach to thuggery nor isolationist attitudes have caused this attack to be a one time attack. Just law enforcement.

    Fear and ignorance can be chosen and willful.

  • DaveK

    I keep hoping American students will do SOMETHING. I support non-violent measures, such as were seen in Egypt; I would like to see tens of thousands of American students organize boycotts, sit-ins, and marches to demand free college education, living wage legislation, and single payer health care.

  • Dan

    Mr. Suderman errs. During the Depression, violence was routine and dominated certain areas of cities large and small. Riots did occur. Insurrection by real socialized and communists nearly occurred at this time. It was a very difficult era.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “What I think we’re getting kinda tired of is the knee-jerk reaction whenever we dare to ask questions …”

    Mr Suderman, I didn’t come to this conversation with anything on Mr Alinsky, Mr Obama, or a progressive platform. Sure there’s something to why all of a sudden we’re hearing about British youth rampaging through their cities. You can suggest the welfare state. I might suggest the police botched things a bit on nights 2 and 3, and that their community relations were poor. The former is a valid point brought out on the BBC news service. The latter seems like common sense.

    Dan posed that the post was fear-mongering. I added to that thought, though I tempered his suggestion.

    All these kinds of questions are fair game. However, I observe, my friend, you’ve brought other people’s arguments to this discussion and then inserted them into our exchange.

    It’s your right to do so, but I prefer sticking to what people actually are saying. I think you and others damage your argument with the gratuitous comments. I might suggest your patella seemed to twitch a bit on that.

    These are important issues. Too important to leave to any single ideology to solve on its own. Probably too big for the blogosphere.

  • James

    (Dan wrote – “Neither excessive firearms and a Rambo-style approach to thuggery nor isolationist attitudes have caused this attack to be a one time attack. Just law enforcement.”)

    Yes of course. No Rambo-style approach to thuggery here eh:

    Amazon UK’s riot gear sales soar: Aluminum bats up 6,000%

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/09/technology/amazon_riot/

    Oh how brutish!

    ——————

    It’s a shame that your weak politically-correct namby-pamby British authorities couldn’t break out the firearms on these welfare-state thugs and:

    “Treat ‘em like ya treat the Irish!”

  • James

    (“These are important issues. Too important to leave to any single ideology to solve on its own. Probably too big for the blogosphere.’)

    It’s always the same with you liberals the world over, isn’t it.

    Whenever your socialist utopias begin to crumble and burn around you (and they all do eventually) the cause of the problem is always far too complex, far too diversified, far too large for any one simple ideological answer.

    But what is *your* solution in the end?

    Simple.

    More one-sided progressive socialist ideology!

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Ah, James. When some conservatives are left out of the conversation, they get personal. Nice work, that.

    Again, like Mr Suderman, you bring in arguments from some other conversation.

    No mention of socialism in my posts here. Ditto utopias. Where do you get this stuff?

    “But what is *your* solution in the end?”

    Simple. A much wider discussion. Not something happening on this thread, so I’ll leave you to your echo chamber. Better luck next time.

  • James

    (“Simple. A much wider discussion. Not something happening on this thread, so I’ll leave you to your echo chamber. Better luck next time.”)

    Ah Todd- what a marvelously typical Liberal non-answer.

    You forgot to add the “open dialogue” meme to your empty non-answer. Really, it sounds much more erudite and esoteric in it’s pseudo-intellectualism.

    Apparently you Brits are lagging behind your American progressive brethren in the proper use of liberal pretentiousness.

    You’re quite boring really……

  • Billy

    Quoting Rush, the dope-head, Limbaugh? Really? Why do you even listen to that hate monger????

    [Really? You come here and call someone else a "dopehead" and suggest that a past drug problem is so relevant that it should always remain attached to that person, and then you call THAT person a "hatemonger"? Oh, irony. I'm a fan of Robert Downey Jr's. Should I not go to his movie because he's a "dope-head"? Oh, wait. I forgot. A recovered addict from one side is noble. From the other, he's a dope-head. Yeah, come lecture me some more about hate-mongers. And "tolerance" and "compassion," too. -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Thatcher’s legacy is still with us because all governments, including nominally left-wing ones, have followed fundamentally Thatcherite policies, so the -ism lives on without the woman herself being around. Just like FDR , Ted Kennedy and Ronald Reagan are still being heard from.

    Also worth noting is that there were plans (now being quietly dropped) by a right-wing government to cut police numbers, as part of an overall plan to reduce most of the state’s operations. It was also a mistake to deploy the police in the wrong way, such as cosying up to tabloid “newspapers” and infiltrating peaceful organisations (environmentalists were a particular target for some reason) rather than in what most of us would see as the police’s appropriate role. That could just as easily be given as a reason for their non-presence, not political correctness.

    Fundamentally, though, the cause of the riots is that some young, braindead men thought they’d have a good scrap. You can invoke left-wing or right-wing explanations quite easily, we’re hearing what Brendan O’Neill (a completely risible man to whom I wouldn’t give the time of day) thinks, but I could cite people who draw the exact opposite conclusions.

    I am trying not to do so, in all honesty, I think the correct response is to act as the cleaners-up acted, or for those who don’t live in London to donate to firms trying to re-establish themselves, and to have leaders behaving like this Jens Stollenberg and Ken Livingstone after 7/7 (or the Japanese after their own ordeal, which even though it wasn’t man-made caused similar results to people and property and what-have-you), and people who follow the tone set by the leadership.

    The arguments which find a pretext for happening in every thread here are also raging on the Britosphere, and probably on the streets (not here though, as no riots have happened in this area).

  • francesca

    Yes it is already happening here in just the way described and the direction it is headed towards is what happened in London. But, it is not at all left or right or a reflection of anything legitimate in political life. It is as Cameron said, criminality and its desire is anarchy and nothing less. It cares nothing for the rioters themselves, their legitimate gripes with the government, causes or needs. What you see here on this board is that the left wants to deny it is happening and the right is ready to call it out. It is what it is, there are various reasons for that but the left is just playing into their hands by this. Liberal politics, legitimate and edifying, does not see violence and anarchy as a means to an end in a civilized society and denounces it. Liberal politics invests in the political organizing process, not in criminality. Liberal politics invests in media and persuasion, lobbying, etc. Not in criminal orchestration of anarchy. It is disturbing that the left will not acknowledge and call it out for what it is. Even if certain situations could call for violent revolution, the left needs to openly challenge the assumption that budget cuts, a dismal economy in which many are suffering, lack of employment, disparity between rich and poor which seems intractable for any sort of governmental system including the marxist attempts in our time, this assumption needs to be named and openly challenged, that these could legitimately be vented through mindless arson and looting organized via blackberry messenger. Further, the spectre of a literate, democratic society victimized to arson and mindless destruction and violence organized through social media needs to be stared down and denounced. Why call The Anchoress inflammatory when she is only reporting. This is reality and how does it help the youth of America to bury heads in the sand. The political left does not support this as a means to an end or anything like that, this notion is preposterous and only lasts until one of these commentators or pundits is similarly victimized or one of their family members. Do none of these remember the way in which an overwhelmingly Democratic city, exhausted by criminality and lawlessness elected a Republican mayor into office? And that was a totally different time and context. It is not left or right, people have to get hold of some clarity here. It is whether we are going to support random acts of violence and anarchy in this supposedly great civilized and relatively wealthy culture.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    @Francesca
    No one is saying the political left supports it as a means. What most are saying is that the policies of entitlement and government dependence leads to this sort of behavior.

  • Andy

    @Manny
    Your proof that the polices of entitlement and “government dependence” lead to the behaviors in Great Britain and not a feeling of isolation and deprivation is what? T make that assertion you need to have “proof” and an opinion is not proof.
    By the way you may say that no one is saying the political left supports this behavior but look at New Republic “reporting” and then say that.

  • LisaB

    “I feel safe and do not experience fear at all.”

    Dan, are you a large, full grown man? I ask this because I’m not. I’m a petite woman and so is my 21 year old daughter who loves to go into Philly with her friends. But why should you have any concern for a young girl whose just having an evening out with her friends. I’m glad you feel safe. I guess it’s just too bad for me I can’t feel secure in a “civilized” society.

    With the recent flash mob on Broad Street (great spot to attack tourist btw) everyone has forgotten the very large, violent, flash mob on South Street ( a very popular place for young people) back in March. People are getting hurt, but unfortunately it will take someone of importance being hurt/killed before authorities put an end to these “stupid school kids behaving poorly.”

    “You conservatives can handle questioning, right?” You betcha! Though, you’ll have to dumb it down for us simpletons since y’all are so much smarter.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Todd, the issues are, indeed, important;

    Does that mean they can’t be discussed on the blogsphere?

    Or are we just supposed to sit back and wait, until our betters tell us the “real” story, and how to react to it, and what they would like us to do? (Have a discussion about the whole thing?)

    And what do you think the solution should be? a “Wider Discussion?” OOoooookkkkayyyy! What are we supposed to discuss? The failure of the police? The rioters? Twitching patellas? And how is such a discussion going to stop the riots, or make the British underclass law-abiding, or make the police do their jobs, or halt flash mobs in America?

    (Anyway, I thought that’s what we were doing here; having a discussion.)

    Since the 60′s, we’ve been having all sorts of discussions, about everything under the sun; they don’t seem to be doing us much good, frankly.

  • Doc

    Another Instapundit line is appropriate here: When seconds count, the police are minutes away. Although in the UK it may be more like hours or days.

    The point is, when a society punishes people for defending themselves and their property, they ensure that citizens are helpless victims of anarchy, as Dry Valleys puts it, waiting to clean up the mess after it’s over (assuming they survive the assault). I guess Dry Valleys figures, if there is going to be a riot, it’s best to lay back and enjoy it.

    Todd, I’m not sure what I said that insulted you. I mentioned the projection in your initial comment that the Right is just plain mean. Have you never read liberals’ comments to Michelle Malkin, for example? Most are unprintable.

  • dry valleys

    Thank you for your thoughts, Doc, but you guess wrongly. The riots should be suppressed by the police (present in force using conventional methods rather than such “solutions” I’ve seen such as shooting anyone who looks suspicious).

    Now if you want to know why this hasn’t happened, conservatives say political correctness and I’ll raise them police cuts and use of the police for things other than keeping order, such as infiltrating blameless organisations and forming inappropriate relationships with the press. Regardless, I applaud David Camoron’s belated decision to send 16000 police out.

    As we know, police forces exist by consent of the citizenry because they are trusted to do a certain job. Real trouble happens when people don’t accept the legitimacy of the state and the existing order. I point to the cleanup efforts, and the actions of people such as these Turks in Dalston, as signs that in fact the majority are law-abiding and decent people. The arrival of immigrants, (which I didn’t even support), hasn’t done all that much harm and nor has this supposedly corrosive PC. So I draw attention to what most people are doing as a way of arguing against what the Theodore Dalrymples of this world think, that we are in some degenerate state.

  • dry valleys

    “Real trouble happens when people don’t accept the legitimacy of the state and the existing order”

    Which the rioters don’t, but they are vastly outnumbered by people who do, and will be cheering the entry of the police onto the streets. That is the real point.

  • James

    (“Which the rioters don’t, but they are vastly outnumbered by people who do, and will be cheering the entry of the police onto the streets. That is the real point.”)

    And these good people were left to defend themselves for 3 days with baseball bats because the nanny-state welfare system that fostered these criminal government-teat-suckers, also produced an ineffective and impotent law enforcement bureaucracy that is paralyzed by it’s own political-correctness run amok.

    Quote: “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.”

    London riots: ‘Bleeding, I called 999. A tired man told me to go home’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8692429/London-riots-Bleeding-I-called-999.-A-tired-man-told-me-to-go-home.html

    That’s a great welfare state you have there. Makes you feel all safe and secure I’m sure.

    Do you seriously think this will be the last of the upheaval?

    If so- you’re dreaming.

    This will happen again- soon. And race riots will escalate as well.

  • Doc

    DV, I read where someone is being prosecuted or hunted for running down 3 men with his car. Would it be a safe assumption that the 3 men were rioting thugs, as they were the blokes dominating the streets at the time? If so, I’m guessing the driver was fleeing for his life. If I’m caught in riot, I’m hitting the gas pal, and counting on the thugs to get out of my way. Yet another case of the Brit’s prosecuting a citizen for self-preservation if my scenario is correct.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    James says:
    “Your proof that the polices of entitlement and “government dependence” lead to the behaviors in Great Britain and not a feeling of isolation and deprivation is what? T make that assertion you need to have “proof” and an opinion is not proof.”

    There is no way to prove social behavior causal links, either for Liberal or Conservative theories. I’ll tell you this. The Conservative approach makes a lot more sense than that half baked Marxian/Habermas theory of social isolation.

    By the way, a full conservative explanation would say that government dependence leads to feelings of isolation and deprivation. They are unrealized in their potential as human beings by being spoon fed. Individualism requires self reliance to be a fully dignified human being.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Oop, I made a mistake above. I didn’t mean @James in #77, I meant @Andy in #69.

  • Andy

    @ Manny in # 78
    Thank you for your reasoned response, I do not disagree about half-baked Marxian/Habermas theories – I do disagree about the conservative model that government dependence leads to feelings of isolation and deprivation. Were that true then the number of corporations receiving government largess for minimal needs would become more feral – or perhaps they have become feral in their “looting” of the American economy and their extreme needs for continued growth in profits and that the continued growth of the gap between the management and employees in terms os salary. I think that conservative approach does not as you suggest a reliance on individualism – in fact it might actually stifle it as a conservative view would want to maintain what is deemed as good in the past.
    I think my point is that we cannot ascribe brutish behavior as caused by Liberal or Conservative theories and if we do that we minimize the ability to act in unison.

  • dry valleys
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Three days is an awfully long time to wait for a police response, even if you accept the idea (which I don’t, necessarily) that too many British policemen are wasting time investigating innocent organizations, or schmoozing with the press.

    (Which groups are these, by the way, Valleys, and do you have links for this?)

    Sorry, three days is still too long; no excuses.

    And what does pay have to do with it? Those policemen still working had a duty to protect society, no matter what their pay scale; again, it’s too bad if the government had cut back on police, at that moment—but that still doesn’t excuse the pathetic showing the British police made, here.

    Valleys, look—I know you’re a progressive. Hence, you’re going to argue that the nanny-welfare state is a good thing, no matter what.

    But, sadly, it isn’t.

    It’s good that people are cleaning up. But how long, before they have to do it again? And again?

    Meanwhile, in America, we’re facing flash mobs.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    @Andy in #79
    “Were that true then the number of corporations receiving government largess for minimal needs would become more feral – or perhaps they have become feral in their “looting” of the American economy and their extreme needs for continued growth in profits and that the continued growth of the gap between the management and employees in terms os salary.”

    Oh Andy, that is so silly. There is a huge difference between a person receiving a handout and a corporation. In case you didn’t notice, a corporation is not human. It can’t feel isolation and deprivation.

    By the way, I don’t dispute that what I presented as the conservative argument is incomplete. Human behavior is too complex to ascribe a theory to. However, I do think there is something to a person who is given entitlements to be comfortable in his state and resentful when times get tough and his subsidy reduced.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    #80, Dry Valleys, it’s nice the people there are cleaning up.

    But, still, three men were killed there. All the cleaning up and cheerful press releases and comments that “Violence is not inevitable”, can’t hide that.

    And the very reason people are having to clean up their neighborhoods is that they were attacked by rioters, while the police were either unable, or unwilling, to respond. It’s not, in itself, a good thing; it’s a good response to what happened (at least, for the ones actually fixing things), but the underlying problems are still there.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X