The piece on self-defense in the UK was long enough by itself, but I found quite a few pieces I didn't want to just leave out. I'll just put them here for your
First, let's take a look at how the British police are handling crime. First up, a story from 2002 that shows that the cops understand implicitly what their limitations are, and just who they can and can't intimidate:
Police fail to stop raveThey weren't in the "open air" because they were in David Benton's BARN.
A Lincolnshire farmer has accused police of failing to stop illegal ravers from taking over his sheds on New Year's Eve.
David Benton, of Moorby, said about 70 revellers smashed down his farm gate, drove a lorry-load of disco equipment onto this property and set fire to pallets.
He called Lincolnshire Police, who sent two officers, but said ravers could not be evicted because there were fewer than 100 trouble-makers involved.
Mr Benton, 44, said: "I will defend my property, and I will use violence if I have to if this happens again. The police have already said they will arrest me if I do."
"Anybody must be able to defend their own property."
"It was like being a farmer in Zimbabwe - the police stood outside the gate while inside people were smashing up my property and they were doing nothing about it."
Lincolnshire Police said officers could only intervene to break up rave parties if certain criteria were met.
Inspector John Ginty stressed: "The law states that there must be more than 100 people in the open air, causing a public disruption - those conditions were not met in this case.
That's enough of that. You read the rest.
Then there's this lovely bit of news from December of 2003:
Don't bother about burglary, police toldThat might help explain this story from May of 2003:
Police have been ordered not to bother investigating crimes such as burglary, vandalism and assaults unless evidence pointing to the culprits is easily available, The Telegraph can reveal.
Under new guidelines, officers have been informed that only "serious" crimes, such as murder, rape or so-called hate crimes, should be investigated as a matter of course.
In all other cases, unless there is immediate and compelling evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA material, the crime will be listed for no further action.
The new "crime screening" guidelines were quietly introduced in the Metropolitan Police area last month and similar measures are being brought into effect by forces across Britain as pressure grows on senior officers to maintain a tighter control over budgets.
A Met spokesman confirmed that "less serious crimes" would now only be investigated if they were considered to be "solvable using proportionate resources", or were part of a current crackdown on specific offences. He said: "It might mean that people who have had their bikes stolen from outside a shop might not get any investigation into it. It is looking at the high priorities for crime in the community."
The Met's policy document states that when crimes are of a less serious nature and there are no "special factors", such as a particularly vulnerable victim, they will now be logged but not solved.
Misery of couple 'burgled 192 times'I'd imagine not. There's a bit more to the story, but here's the kicker:
A couple say they have become prisoners in their own home after being burgled 192 times in four years.
Rita Redfarn and Bruce Charter, of Earith, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, say they fell prey to burglars for the 192nd time after leaving their house unattended for the first time since the New Year.
"We decided to go out for two hours and obviously were being watched or had been seen in the local pub," Ms Redfarn said.
"It's just been hell here for four years."
Since 1999 property worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been taken from the couple's £475,000 Victorian house, its two-acre garden and outbuildings.
Jewellery worth up to £7,000 was taken in the latest raid alone.
The couple can no longer get insurance cover.
Police Inspector Richard Douce, said: "Officers in Ely are aware of the continued problems at the address in Earith and have worked with Mr Charter in the past to look at the security at his house and outbuildings.After four years and 192 incidents. I'm sure Mr. Charter is greatly relieved.
"Over the next week officers will be reviewing the problem, which will include drawing up a new action plan - in conjunction with Mr Charter - to tackle the problem."
Of most everything he owns.
But here the police are on top of the job! Someone might be defending themselves! Can't have that!
Police swoop on 4ft 10in grannyThis story would almost, almost be funny, except for these two stories that show that the behavior of these "youths" is hardly unusual:
A DISABLED grandmother who tried to film yobs terrorising her neighbourhood was ordered out of her home by a police Swat team who suspected she was armed and dangerous.
Terrified Maureen Jennings, who is only 4ft 10in tall, received a call from a police negotiator at 1.30 am telling her to look out of the window of her bungalow.
A police Armed Response Unit had surrounded the house and Mrs Jennings, who suffers from a chronic heart condition and diabetes, was told to put her hands in the air and step outside while police searched her home.
"I could have had a heart attack and dropped dead on the spot", she said today.
"I opened the door with my hands in the air and four big policemen and two policewomen came in. I explained it was a camera and I was taking photographs of what had been going on on the estate.
"I am a four and half foot tall midget, and I am disabled and they asked me if I had any weapons in the house. The next day a police constable spoke to me and said that they usually just burst into the house but that they had checked me out and because I'd never been in trouble with the police they decided to ring me first."
The drama began after Mrs Jennings, 50, had used a digital camera with an infra-red directional beam to film youths who have made her life a misery for the past two years.
She has regularly complained to police about the gang on The Moss estate in Macclesfield but claims that officers rarely bother to investigate.
But when police received a tip-off that Mrs Jennings was armed, the force's Armed Response Unit immediately went into action.
Mrs Jennings has been using the camera after a string of complaints to police failed to stop the gang terrorising the neighbourhood.
The gang congregate most nights on her garden steps and at a phone box opposite her home. She suspects they are responsible for vandalising her car.
"It is terrible living here," she said. "We've all had enough and I can't sleep at night."
"I have had them boozing and taking drugs on my front steps. I can't take this anymore. Doctors have sent notes to the council because of what it is doing to my health. But nothing ever happens.
"I love my bungalow but I want out of this estate. It is ruining my life."
Macclesfield police said several youths had been "grounded" by parents after officers visited. Some have been threatened with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and one faces an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
"The Moss Estate area was given special attention by officers during the days following the incident and several of the young people involved, and their parents have been spoken to," the officer said.
Senior Housing Officer Richard Christopherson was confident that the troubles on the Moss would be resolved.
He said: "I would very much like to go speak to this lady. If she can give some descriptions of these people I am sure we will be able to identify them. What we are doing is looking at the gang and finding out about the ringleaders and building up our evidence."
Yobs drove man to kill himselfInvestigate, but do nothing to stop it.
The widow of a disabled man who killed himself after being repeatedly attacked by young yobs at his Midland home last night backed calls for a "Tony Martin's Law".
Teenage hooligans terrorised Martin James, 64, so many times that he eventually fired an air rifle at them to scare them off - and landed himself in trouble.
Instead of tackling the louts, who had also vandalised his property, police threatened the despairing householder with prosecution for daring to use the firearm.
Days later Mr James hanged himself in his garden shed after leaving wife Angela a note bearing a heart-breaking message that summed up his misery.
"I'm sorry," he wrote. "The kids have beaten me."
At the inquest into his death, coroner Alan Crickmore said that "a campaign of torment" had led Mr James to take his own life last August.
Angela met her husband, a retired demolition contractor, while using Citizens Band radio. They were married for 13 years but the constant harassment from youths put an enormous strain on Mr James.
"Every night they were there," said former British Telecom worker Angela. "They used to shout abuse and throw stones at our windows.
"There's a cemetery at the back of our house. They used to hang out there and shine torches into Martin's bedroom at night.
"Once they tied a fishing line and hooks to our door handle. I didn't realise and I went to grab it as usual, I felt something sharp on my knuckle.
"They knew that they could wind Martin up. He just wouldn't stand for their loutish behaviour.
"The police didn't help. He even went to the parents of the yobs but they said there was nothing they could do."
Angela recalled how her husband had picked up the airgun to defend their property.
"Martin shot at them with an air rifle a week before he died," she said. "He aimed it above their heads so it wouldn't hit them.
"But the police later told him that he could be prosecuted.
Gloucestershire Police said they sympathised with Mrs James and said they had offered her husband advice on how to deal with anti-social behaviour.
Chief Insp David Peake said: "We take all such calls seriously and will investigate incidents that are reported to us."
Nor is this the first case like this. Here's another:
Let the force be with the good guys...pleaseAre you beginning to see a pattern here?
What are people to do if the police can’t help them to solve major problems of lawlessness affecting their lives? Sometimes, desperation forces them to take matters into their own hands.
Bill Clifford, a 77-year-old war veteran tormented for months by local yobs who banged on his door, threw stones at his windows and shoved eggs through his letter box, eventually brandished a toy pistol at them to try to scare them into leaving him alone.
The police, who according to his brother had earlier told him that they couldn’t do anything unless Mr Clifford caught the youngsters up to their mischief, did something now. They arrested Mr Clifford and charged him.
The day before he was due to appear in court, he hanged himself in the kitchen of his one-bedroomed housing association home.
Residents of the Oxmoor estate in Huntingdon decided last Sunday afternoon that they’d had enough of the problems caused by drug dealers and addicts. They were sick of dealing taking place in public, and of discarded needles lying about the place posing a threat to their children.
“The police know it’s going on but they don’t seem bothered,” one woman told a reporter after the estate erupted into a six-hour riot.
For once, the police turned up on the estate in force. Sixty officers were called in to tackle the mob, arrest a dozen troublemakers and escort the dealers to safety.
“While we recognise the residents’ concerns and are willing to work with them, it is clearly not appropriate for them to engage in this type of behaviour,” a police spokesman warned afterwards.
And I agree. Vigilante behaviour is the start of a very slippery and dangerous slope. But I ask again, what are people supposed to do if the police won’t or can’t protect them?
If the police had acted sooner to sort out the drugs menace on the Oxmoor estate, there would have been no need for the residents to riot.
If the police had acted to protect Bill Clifford from the tearaways who were making his life such a misery, he would have had no need to try to see off the yobs with a toy pistol and would be alive now, enjoying the rest of his days in the peace which should be everyone’s right.
The police are undermanned. There is no doubt about that. They need a huge boost to their resources and I for one would have no objection to paying extra taxes to help fund it.
But they only deserve it if they’re prepared, even with the limited resources they currently have, to show more enthusiasm for looking after law-abiding citizens when they ask for their help, and less for protecting the bad guys when the long-suffering good guys finally start to stick up for themselves.
Oh, and remember the bit about women having the inherent right to kill a rapist? Well, they really shouldn't, according to this piece:
Advice to resist sex attackers may make it worse, rape charity warnsNo, according to the law if the crime is rape you can defend yourself with lethal force - but apparently you're limited to using "adult reasoning" and "poking fingers or thumbs hard into eyes or throat, pulling hair, pulling fingers back to break, and squeezing or kicking the groin," none of which - last I checked - were particularly lethal.
A charity caring for rape victims warned yesterday that advice in Cosmopolitan to fight back when attacked could leave women with more injuries than offering no resistance.
"Sometimes it is far better just to let it happen and then deal with the aftermath," said Helen Jones, co-chairwoman of the Rape Crisis Federation.
She was responding to a report in the magazine of a study by US researchers who examined 1.5m cases over a decade. They found that women who offered resistance were much more likely to get away, and that whether or not women resisted a rapist had no bearing on the level of injuries they received.
They also suggested that the first five minutes of an attack were decisive, and found the best response was to go for "pain receptive targets" in an attempt to disable the attacker for as long as possible. "There are, of course, no guarantees, but one thing seems clear - it is worth fighting back," the magazine concluded.
Ms Jones, a criminologist, said that the article could leave women who had been raped feeling guilty and responsible for what had happened, because they had done nothing to beat off the attack.
"It could also increase the potential for women being harmed," she added. "It is not always right to fight back. There is a phrase put around that rape is a fate worse than death. Of course it is not.
"Every case is different, and women can only assess each particular situation and the likely danger to them if they do resist. Doing that in a split second is extremely difficult."
The magazine report suggested that effective defences included poking fingers or thumbs hard into eyes or throat, pulling hair, pulling fingers back to break, and squeezing or kicking the groin.
Self-defence tutor Floyd Brown, quoted in the magazine, said: "Remember, you are trying to maximise your safety margin. You want to disable the attacker for as long as possible while you escape."
Scott Lindquist, author of the Date Rape Prevention Book, added: "Trust your instincts. If one tactic isn't working, try another."
The report said: "Some rapists will stop when forced into adult reasoning mode and faced with the consequences of their actions. Tell him this is rape, someone will find him, he will go to prison. Other methods are throwing the rapist off guard by faking an epileptic fit or pretending to faint or urinating, defecating or sticking fingers down the throat to induce vomiting as few people can stand the smell."
Since 1985 recorded rapes in Britain have risen threefold. In 1999 the Rape Crisis Federation received 50,000 calls, yet it estimates only 6% of these women reported the assaults to the police.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Webster, of the Metropolitan police steering group on sexual offences, said that women who were attacked could go "as far as is necessary". He said: "By law you have a basic right to defend yourself with 'reasonable means', and if the crime is rape, you can defend yourself well." He recommended all women attend a self-defence course to give them the confidence to respond quickly.
And now let's skip to the subject of gun control in the UK, shall we? The most recently passed piece of legislation banned a certain type of "easily convertible" airgun. Yet guns, and more lethal weapons, seem pretty easy to get anyway. Here's a case where a guy was machine-gunned to death, not that this was necessarily a bad thing:
Shot man was teen rapistAnd machineguns aren't all that uncommon, even though they've been banned since the 1930's. Not heavily regulated, like they are here, but completely banned:
The young dad gunned down on a city street was a convicted rapist, the Evening Mail can reveal today.
Dad-of-two Mohammed Sabir was involved in the gang rape of a young woman in front of her baby when he was just 15 years old. People who knew about his evil past today declared: "We are not going to mourn his death."
Sabir was riddled with bullets as he stood chatting with pals in Lozells Road on Monday night.
The 22-year-old died despite a nurse, known only as Elizabeth, giving first aid as he lay on the pavement.
A post-mortem examination revealed Sabir, who had a one-year-old daughter and a son aged four, had been hit several times in the head and chest, possibly with a mini sub-machine gun.
Police today declined to disclose his previous convictions but have already confirmed that Sabir, who lived in Lozells with his parents and young family, was known to them before he died.
GANG HAD MACHINE GUNGo read the rest. Ignore the photo - that's not an Ingram, and, to my knowledge, the Ingram has never been a "US Army issue weapon."
Three members of a suspected Yardie hit team who were caught with a lethal machine gun and military hardware face years behind bars.
Marvin Herbert, 30, Darryl Hewitt, 32, and Paul Murdoch, 32, were spotted by police throwing a fully-loaded Ingram machine gun and silencer over a garden wall.
Officers found the gang were also equipped with body armour, balaclavas and high-tech radio scanners programmed to listen in to police frequencies.
US Army weapon
The Ingram, a US Army issue weapon capable of firing a devastating 20 rounds a second, had its safety catch off.
Woolwich Crown Court heard the trio were stopped by police after being spotted acting suspiciously in Hargrave Park, Holloway, north London in the early hours of August 1 last year.
Mark Rainsford, prosecuting, said: "The police driver noticed that the three men stopped whatever they had been doing.
"One of the men was seen to throw a large dark object over a wall into a garden."
Police officers detained them and after a search, discovered the gang had dropped three balaclavas and a set of keys to a stolen Mercedes parked nearby.
The lethal machine gun was also loaded with extra-heavy Israeli-issue 'blue-tip' bullets.
They are specially designed to travel slower than the speed of sound so they do not cause a 'gun crack' sound when fired.
Herbert and Murdoch were both wearing bullet-proof body armour.
I've covered other stories of machine-guns in England, too. There's this story of an intercepted shipment of Uzi submachineguns, and here's one about an honest-to-jebus LMG found in a London raid. Here's one where a gang went on a 'shooting rampage' across London with an SMG. There are more, but you get the idea.
Here's one that's a bit of a shocker. In addition to all the American, Israeli, and East European hardware being smuggled across the water, it seems there's a market for personal explosives, as poor Mrs. Ester Jonas discovered when someone lobbed a hand grenade into her home and took her leg. This guy was lucky - he just found one in the road. Where it came from, no one is saying. Here they found a live grenade in a railway tunnel. Of course, you don't have to import them if you can get them domestically while you're out for a beer.
But, machineguns and hand grenades aside, it doesn't seem all that difficult to get a shotgun. Or a handgun.
Because gun crime in the UK has been on the rise, according to this Telegraph piece, the money quote being:
Firearms offences in England and Wales rose from 13,874 in 1998-99 to 24,070 in 2002-03. Recorded crimes involving imitation weapons trebled from 566 to 1,815 during that period.Response? Ban some airguns! This piece from October of last year puts some perspective on the problem:
A separate report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, also published yesterday, showed that two thirds of gun crime was concentrated in London, Birmingham and Manchester, though it has spread to a number of other areas.
We are overrun by gun crime, says police chiefYes, Britain's draconian gun laws have worked so well in keeping weapons out of the hands of
A chief Constable admitted yesterday that his officers are being forced to ignore thousands of burglaries, thefts and car crimes because they are swamped by increasing drug and gun violence.
The public's perception that the police were not interested in low-level and non-violent crime was underlined when Steve Green, Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire police, said there was not enough money or officers available to investigate all crime.
The emergence of Britain's drug and gun culture had impacted on his force to such an extent that "something had to give".
But this opinion piece said something I think illustrates a significant part of the problem, and I will close this post with it:
"There Was Violence Used"And it's bled down from the intelligentsia. Now juries can decide, 10-2, that someone who has acted defensively in the insanity of defending one's family from an intruder, that "excessive force" was used, and the defender is guilty of manslaughter.
For today’s liberals, crime is like the weather—it has nothing to do with human agency.
In March (2003), thieves broke into the home of Mrs. Adu-Mensah, an 83-year-old Ghanaian woman living in South London. Not content with stealing her property, they bound her hand and foot, suffocating her to death, and then set her body alight. The Independent, one of the newspapers favored by Britain’s liberal intelligentsia, reported without comment that the police were investigating the possibility that the crime was “a break-in that went wrong.” I couldn’t help thinking of the way surgical procedures with fatal outcomes used to be described: the operation was a success, but the patient died. In this case, the burglary was a success, but the householder died.
In the Independent’s report, we see how deeply and unconsciously entrenched a perverted way of thinking has become in the minds of much of the British establishment. Thugs break into an old lady’s home and murder her in the most brutal way imaginable, and the police consider her death as an unintended consequence of a normal and even acceptable event, a kind of meteorological freak accident that occurred without the intervention of human agency. A journalist, almost certainly a university graduate, accepts this without demur, because it happily coincides with his newspaper’s liberal outlook. It was not the burglars that killed Mrs. Adu-Mensah, but the burglary. A cold front brings us bad weather; a burglary brings us a charred corpse.
If caught, the perpetrators of this horrible crime will no doubt also claim that the crime went wrong, that unexpected circumstances somehow perverted their good intentions: their burglary having a kind of Platonic existence independent of their decision to commit it. In like fashion, violent men and women are likely to say that their relationships went wrong, as if relationships existed independently of how people behave toward one another. Last week, I asked a man who was complaining that his wife had deserted him whether he had ever been violent toward her.
“Yes,” he said. “There was violence used” - used, no doubt, in the course of an argument that went wrong.
Of course, man has always sought to distance himself from responsibility for his own wrongdoing by ascribing it to forces beyond his control. Is there, in fact, a man alive who has never done so? Four centuries ago, Shakespeare remarked upon the “admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star.”
What is relatively new, however, is the willingness, even eagerness, with which intellectuals endorse, promote, and validate the admirable evasion. Murders are now committed by burglaries, not by murderous burglars. Not all men are whoremasters, of course: but all too many of our intelligentsia are.
Hindsight being 20/20, of course.
The (considerably less than) Million Moms chanted at their first (and only) big rally: "England can do it! Australia can do it! We can too!"
Not if I have any say in the matter.