Everyone has his or her’s own take on what’s the reasoning behind the London-area riots and why they are occurring. Some folks blame the economic woes, others blames racial and ethnic tensions. In his latest column for the Naitonal Review, Frank Miniter blames the English’s willingness to surrender their rights to bear arms. He uses a strange incident in which a “feeble” Englishman is forced to strip down to his boxers, handling over his clothing and shoes to “an impatient looter.”
Miniter bemoans what the average English male has become: a 21st century brand of Neville Chamberlain.
For context, consider the “Tottenham Outrage” of 1909. Two men in Tottenham, armed with semi-automatic handguns, attempted to rob a payroll truck, but the guards resisted. After one robber fired his gun, police came running. The robbers fled on foot. The chase lasted two hours and covered about six miles as other officers and armed civilians pursued and engaged the robbers. One of the thieves committed suicide and the other later died in surgery. One officer and one civilian also were killed. The bravery of the officers and civilians prompted the creation of the Kings Police Medal and the funeral processions for the slain officer the civilian passed through streets lined with mournful Londoners. Those weren’t the kind of people who demonize police officers or take off their pants for thieves.
Well, okay, sure, the English people did for too long accept the unmanly ditherings of Neville Chamberlain before World War II. Nevertheless, something has changed in the English character. These aren’t the proud men who once made the whole world look them in the eyes. I submit that one of the chief causes of their now emasculated spirit is the loss of so much of their individual liberty — like a child used to a parent fighting his or her battles, a people dependent on their government for everything cannot take care of themselves and are prone to childish outbursts.
By giving up their natural right to self-defense, for example, England’s law-abiding citizens have become defenseless both physically and psychologically. The loss of their right to self-preservation has created a culture of dependency on government (for protection and so much more) that has helped neuter the English male. This has also prompted some English citizens to blame the police for the crime rates that law enforcement is legally constrained from doing anything practical to fight.
(Note Miniter’s subconscious race baiting by comparing the London riots to the 1992 Los Angeles riots in the above paragraph of the story)
Of course, what’s Miniter’s solution: re-arm the Brits with guns–lots of ’em. Ever since England began licensing and registering gun owners, it has been “easy for the government to take guns from law-abiding citizens after a mass-murderer in Hungerford killed 16 people in 1987.” The English succumbed to their final act of destroying masculinity when the government mandated they turn over their guns by Feb. 27, 1998.
Yet, few have subsequently pointed to the victims of this anti-freedom gun confiscation. The English papers haven’t interviewed victims of rape and other crimes and asked what they might have done if they had the ability to defend themselves from criminals.
Miniter stipulates this mass violation of individual liberty has led to the increase of crime in the country.
Curbing violence, naturally, was the goal English politicians said they’d attain in return for law-abiding citizens’ handing over this basic human liberty; however, after the U.K. disarmed its population, England attained the highest burglary rate and one of the highest rates for violent crimes of the industrialized nations, according to the International Crime Victims Survey carried out by the Dutch Ministry of Justice in 2000. As the Guardian put it on Feb. 23, 2001, the study “shows England and Wales as the top of the world league with Australia as the countries where you are most likely to become a victim of crime.” More recently, on July 3, 2009, England’s newspaper the Daily Mail reported that “Britain’s violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European Union, it has been revealed. Official crime figures show the U.K. also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa.”
And, to be sure, Miniter backs up his argment by alluding to many conversations he’s had with Englishmen, who he paints as willing participants in the government takeover of their freedoms:
For example, I recently broached this topic with an English salesman at my favorite shoe company, Johnston & Murphy. He commented that he’s frightened by America’s “gun culture” and added that Americans needs to drop “their Wild West attitude.” I listened patiently before pointing out that England currently looks a little more like the Wild West. He wasn’t swayed. I pointed out that gun rights are women’s rights, as they make the frailest woman the equal of the strongest male. He kept shaking his head.
Ah, falling back on using the cause of protecting women to advance his own agenda. Always a predictable ploy among conservative white men…
Miniter goes on to recount how we Americans, appalled by the British government’s intrusion in to the Brits’ right to bear arms, sent about 7,000 private arms to English people. Because, you know, we Americans have every right to tell other countries how to protect and defend themselves from dangerous criminals. American imperialism at its finest, folks.
What bothers me most about Miniter’s post is the long-standing delusion that being armed will somehow deter a person from becoming a victim of crime. What also bothers me is the never-ending of Americans equating masculinity with gun ownership.
But, I shouldn’t be surprised as Miniter is the author of The Ultimate Man Survival Guide: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Manhood. The 21st century has brought on a type of muted hysteria among American men, musing about the rise of women at the expense of masculinity. The lamentation of this crisis is always mirrored with the rise of feminism, which they assert has caused confusion among men and women about gender roles and what men believe how a man should conduct himself.
In Miniter’s mind, gun ownership, individual liberty and an unwillingness to submit to government mandates equates to what men should be: proudly touting their umpteen guns, semi-automatic rifles and machine guns and gloating about how he’ll shoot an intruder dead if one ever steps foot on their property. In other words, the American Male, his Wild West bravado and undying love and admiration of his deadly toys should be the ideal image English men should strive for.
In a desperate attempt at winning over the English man who works in the shoe shop, Miniter poses gun rights as women’s rights, “as they make the frailest woman the equal of the strongest male.” If I haven’t heard such bullshit in my short life on this Earth…I am always amused when conservative, pro-limited government, pro gun rights advocates like to use the cause of women’s rights in a ploy to win over those on the fence. Women’s rights are not some political football people like Miniter can toss out for fun, just to make people comfortable with their arguments when they could care less about women to begin with. Arming a woman with a gun won’t ward off rape and other crimes against women as long as men believe they have the right to attack women at will.
I think this one gentlemen, named Cullen, had the perfect rebuttal of Miniter’s argument:
So to be a manly man, I have to have a gun? Wow, what have I been doing all these years? Being a non-manly man I guess.
Faced with a mob, you pull a pistol and not only are you dead but you’ve just armed the bad guys a little bit better. And the most likely candidate to get shot by your pistol is your own family, either accidentally or on purpose in a crime of passion.
Say what you want about English criminality, people in my adopted homeland (England) are a hell of a lot less likely to kill a stranger over property than my real homeland (the US). I don’t feel the need to kill someone to protect my shoes, my jeans, my iPhone, my TV, or my car.
Total fatalities from 4 days of rioting in the UK – 4. And 3 of those were vigilantes hit by a car in one incident. Total number of fatalities from the LA Riots in 1992? 53.
The law here is quite clear – if my family or myself is at risk of actual physical harm, we are allowed to defend ourselves with any means necessary up to and including killing someone attacking me with whatever means are to hand. We are not allowed to kill to simply protect our possessions, and it doesn’t mean we get to attack or kill in punishment for crimes done against us. Punishment is for the courts, not the individuals.
The US will be a much better place with a less well-armed general population who don’t seem to think the John Wayne way is the only way.