The British Home Secretary had an interesting take on suggestions the Army and/or water cannons be brought in to quell what is now three days of violence and looting in London:
‘The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon,’ she said. ‘The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.’
Lawlessness is restrained one of two ways: via self-discipline and respect for others, or by external force. The roving gangs of ‘exuberant youfs’ turning the British capital upside down clearly have no internal moral restraints. One should not expect “consent” from them. Failure to confront them only encourages others to start thinking they should get in on the action. It’s worth noting in the article that these opportunists went elsewhere when confronted with residents willing to stand their ground.
Already, the usual pundits are trying to justify 72 hours of anarchy as somehow the result of economic disadvantage and/or as a response to perceived police injustice. Two wrongs never make a right, and wonton destruction of other people’s property is not a legitimate way to pursue grievances with “the system.” As more residents become convinced their government cannot, or will not protect them, the once respected system of British jurisprudence risks breaking down into the law of the jungle.
Don’t think for a moment this is merely a British or French problem. I once heard a pastor say that every civilization is but one generation from barbarism. Failure to transmit values and social disciplines to the next generation means death of the civilization. The West — including the U.S. — is two generations adrift from the moral worldview that once underpinned its success. Hence the rise of increasingly barbaric behavior in our society. Meanwhile the agencies we expect to check such incidents are more concerned with enforcing political correctness or raising revenue (…naturally, since most motorists or residents usually don’t roam in packs with makeshift weapons). Why is it the many vaunted paramilitary police units are frequently used against individual citizens, but seem unwilling to intervene in a large breakdown of law and order? Once again, the adage is demonstrated: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away…
I believe things will continue to get uglier. We’ve been so conditioned as a society to not confront even so much as rude behavior (“who made you judge?”) that it will take a shock to the system for many to realize confrontation is sometimes inevitable.
Again, “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Just remember, though, it doesn’t always depend on you… and ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’