August 19, 2011

You Won't See This In England

I don't like to pick on England. I wish England was the strong, vibrant, vigorous ally of the past. But it isn't so. It used to be that England and America were two countries separated by a common language; but to that separation add a common law for England's criminal justice system has become truly bizarre. Besotted with liberal coddling, England's criminal procedure laws seem designed to punish victims instead of criminals.

The Powerline has a column by historian Joyce Malcolm who comments on the recent mass disorder in London.

The most amazing thing about the reaction of English MPs to last week’s terrible violence was how surprised they were. For a country whose criminal law is invariably sympathetic to offenders, nearly always harsh on their victims, and unwilling to pay for adequate policing the surprise is that they were surprised.

In some respects, not all mind you, America has been traveling this same path for years. In Heller v. District of Columbia the right to keep and bear arms was re-affirmed. This was an incredibly important decision for it maintains the right of American citizens to defend themselves. Not so in England.

Since at least 1953 the English government has insisted that citizens depend on the police for protection and not try to protect themselves. The Prevention of Crime Act of 1953 prohibited anyone carrying an article in a public place with the idea it could be used for protection if they were attacked. If discovered they are charged with carrying an offensive weapon.

Since 1964 self-defense has not been considered a good reason to keep a handgun, even if for those who lived in a remote area. Then in 1998 all handguns were banned. Toy or replica guns are also illegal. A man was arrested for holding two burglars with a toy gun while he contacted the police.

More recently knives with points have been made illegal. A list of prohibited weapons, possession of which carries a 10-year prison sentence, includes not only machine guns but chemical sprays and knives with a blade more than three inches long. An American tourist from Arizona who protected herself from attackers in the subway using her penknife was arrested for carrying an offensive weapon.

The government does not permit even someone who is unarmed from acting forcefully when attacked if his or her assailant is harmed in the process. If a citizen is attacked in the street he is to flee. If a citizen is attacked in his home he is not to injure the attacker beyond what a court later considers a reasonable use of force. If a citizen harms his assailant he will be accused of assault, or, as the cases cited above illustrate, murder or attempted murder should the attacker be killed.

In another article posted in Ricochet, Rioting for Fun and Profit by Paul A. Rahe, the author makes the following observation concerning the state of English laws:

There are two dimensions to the British story. First – although what we call the right to bear arms had its origins as an English right, guaranteed in the 1688/89 Declaration of Rights and Bill of Rights – that right was gradually abrogated in the course of the twentieth century. Second – although the right to self-defense, the right to defend one’s person and property when the authorities cannot in a timely and effective fashion provide protection – is a natural right and had always, until recently, been recognized as such in Britain – that right, too, was abrogated in the course of the last century.

Whenever someone accuses us of being overreactive to the infirngemnet of our rights no matter how minor, remember England. Erosion is a slow process but in the long run it destroys whatever it touches.


Anonymous said...

I don't need to comment on this as this article sums it up perfectly.

Every day I give thanks for the decisions that led me to come and live in the UK. Even with the recent problems this country is a way better place to raise a family and live a great life. Cling to your guns but it's not for me .... or for the vast majority of Brits ...... who happily walk the streets free from fear and reside comfortably in their homes without a weapon under the bed!

BR, Amie

USA_Admiral said...

The glory days of England is over.

It is sad with such a great history rewritten daily much like ours in the USA.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

@ BR, Amie...

"Brits ......who happily walk the streets free from fear"

Well that worked out well recently did it not?

sig94 said...

Anon - spoken like a true victim-in-waiting. I pray to God you never find out.

My daughter just bought her first rifle today, a Bulgarian-made AK47. I traded in my AR15 (M4-A2) and upgraded it to a shiny new one (M4-A4) with a scope.

I really enjoy shooting at targets and keeping my skills sharp for both rifle and pistol. Target shooting encourages discipline and self-control. I shoot responsibly and do not enjoy being around others who do not.

banned said...

The recent 'riots' were carried out by relatively small groups of hooligans in the rubbishier areas of Englands unlovely cities. The victims were predominantly their own neighbours while the rest of us looked on aghast via the telly. Anyone with any sense would have fled the Tottenhams, Brixtons or Lewishams of this world years ago.

Middle England has noticed the abandonment by the Police of their duty and how relatively little action was required by concerned citizens to see the thugs off.

Next time both the Police and the thugs might be in for a surprise.

Half hour summary of the riots from a Black perspective

I don't agree with much of what is said but it is well presented and narrated, the comments are of interest too.

Kid said...

No one has the right to tell anyone else they cannot defend themselves.

Anyone who thinks guns can be eliminated has the mind of an imbecile.

Amie, you be sure to tell the criminal with the gun over there in England he's not allowed to have one. I'm sure that'll do the trick.

banned said...

That's the problem Kid, the criminals do have guns which was what started these 'riots' in the first place wnen an armed crook got shot by the police.

Hogdayafternoon said...

My 30 years as a police officer bore witness to the progressive removal of two important factors in the subtlties of social order and control: 1. The erosion of the fear of being caught. 2. The erosion of the consequences if you WERE caught.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

They're called Freedoms, and you can't just keep giving them away.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against the Police being armed more often .... many Brits would welcome that too. But this logic that says that because a tiny number of criminals get hold of guns means that we should just abandon gun control? That's insane ..... that's like saying we should just not bother making any actions illegal because people still do them ... and hey, why shouldn't they be free to do whatever they damn well want?!? I don't think so!!

The statistics speak for themselves .... the UK is a safer and more civilized country ... and I believe gun control contributes to that. Suggest you people step outside of the USA and come and see the quality of life in England and the rest of Europe before you pass judgement - it's been an eye opener to me - I used to think we had a much better lifestyle in America - best this, best that, everything bigger and better - I'm afraid it's not true. The USA could learn a lot from our European cousins.


Kid said...

Amie, your own government reports that 1 in 3 carry a knife or gun.
Get real.

The Youth Justice board has found that one in three young people carry a knife or gun and a crime is committed by a young person every two minutes. [6 March 2009]

To say nothing of the fact you're about to be overrun by sharia law fanatical muslims.

You won't like that. You keep the UK, I'll keep America even with the racist anti-American imbecile in the White House for another 1.5 years.

Anonymous said...

"you're about to be overrun by sharia law fanatical muslims." Muslims make up less than 5% of the UK population! And the majority of Muslims here are moderate - that's why they live in the UK! Over-run? Get a sense of perspective please.

Separate out the knife and gun stats and I'll address those. Carrying a knife for "protection" (after being made paranoid by the headlines in the tabloid media and right wing blogs) is a bit different from deliberately acquiring a gun illegally.

Kid said...

Amie, Gun and knife? If you're not smart enough to realize the police investigate crime not stop it, then that conversation is a waste of time.

As a woman, I'd be more concerned about the sharia threat, especially if you're young. The Church of England England would be under sharia law in 30 years and that was about 5 years ago. You may have heard about it.

Good luck to ya, if you're happy and you think you're living on the good ship lollipop, then great. Enjoy it while you can.

Kid said...

PS - If a major organization predicted the US would be under sharia law in 30 years, My ears would be perked up 24/7, and I'd be thinking about each and every way to make sure that doesn't happen.

Anonymous said...

If you can explain convincingly how we get from a incredibly tiny proportion of the population wanting Sharia to being under Sharia Law in less than 30 years then I'll listen. Until then I just hear Islamophobia/ American paranoia.

BTW my recollection is that it was predicted that Muslims would outnumber Christians in a generation in the UK. This is not because of a vast increase in the number of Muslims, rather a massive decline in the numbers attending Christian Church. That might be a problem for Americans but in the UK people are able to live moral, happy lives without religion. Indeed as an agnostic myself I have never felt worried or threatened by marauding fundamentalist agnostics or atheists - fundamentalist right wing Christians and fundamentalist Muslims pose a much greater threat to peace and security - before you deny the former, remember Norway! :(

I guess we won't agree on this Kid but I do get so annoyed by Americans saying stuff about England that is utter garbage. I get it from my relatives back home all the time since I emigrated. Yeah, they never even held a passport in their hands. What can you do? Amie

Kid said...

Amie, I didn't say it. The Church of England said it. That doesn't make it fact of course, but I'll give them some credit for knowing what they're talking about.

OMG, you chastise me over some "small number of muslims" taking over England, then you point to ONE person in Norway, who is mentally defective regardless who he says he is as proof that "Fundamentalist Christians are a Problem!" Thank you for putting your hypocrisy and paradoxical thinking on display for us. Someone who can argue a point, then turn 180 and use the same point in the same comment to her defense is highly suggestive of a person who is mentally unstable. Give that some thought.

Well, I lived in England for a year in 1990. I thought it was wonderful, but I wasn't staying there on my own dime. If I was I'd have thought it was horrible. The people are or were fantastic though. Stiff upper lip and all that old chap. Always optimistic, always ready to deal with adversity. Folks were upset over the poll tax at the time. I saw people on TV that testified that they had 10 extra pounds a month and the gov wanted it. Don't know what percentage that was but if I ever get to the point I know I've got 10 extra bucks a month, I'll consider myself poor. Aside form that I thought your society was too class oriented. People drove either Vauxhall or Jaguar. Very little in between. And women were considered lower class at the time as well. You didn't see women in professional positions.

In closing, assuming 'the Right' are all fundamentalist religious is absurd. This is the caricature the democrat and liberal media have created for you. I'm the right. I'm ultra-conservative and all that means is that we believe in the Constitution, and in the the concept of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Most especially the Liberty part. AND we believe that for everyone. Black, white or green. Lovely or ugly, you deserve to attain the stature in life you are talented and work hard enough to attain.

Again, I didn't 'say stuff about England' The Church of England did. I just read it. Since then, I've seen video of your 'muslim PM's' who's only interest it seems is not their constituents, but to increase their numbers in parliament, and signs posted on light poles that warn you that that area is sharia controlled.

Careful of being a frog in water.

Anonymous said...

I'm "mentally unstable" because I quote an example to illustrate a point? The biggest threat to harmony IMO in the UK/Europe is the extreme right wing (often, but not always fundamentalist Christians). From what my relatives tell me there's a bad situation brewing back home as well. When I read your description of England - "You didn't see women in professional positions", "horrible", etc etc, I am hardly convinced you have any real insight but you are entitled to your opinion and that was 21 years ago. From my experience as an American living in England now, in 2011, I'd say the tables have turned and the standard/quality of living is better in England now .... but that's just my perception. I know a lot of Brits did want to emigrate to the USA in the 70s and 80s when I'm sure things were better in the USA .... but no-one really wants to do that any more ... most see Australia and New Zealand as better options if they feel they want to move.

Thanks for the discussion, Amie.

Kid said...

Amie. Sure. You used the very same logic (5% Muslims) to tell me I'm wrong as to attempt to make your own point (One individual painting an entire group).

Anyway, Good luck to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

I am going to cross post this.