One waits breathlessly for us worms to turn
into serpents spitting "Don't tread on me!"
(It's coming, Oh my, yes!)
> From: hawkiye <email@example.com>
The Decline and Fall of Britain into Barbarism
Culture Vultures, In the Absence of Guns
by Mark Steyn-Celebrity news from the United Kingdom:
> In April, Germaine Greer, the Australian feminist and author of The
> Female Eunuch, was leaving her house in East Anglia, when a young
> woman accosted her, forced her back inside, tied her up, smashed her
> glasses, and then set about demolishing her ornaments with a poker.
> A couple of weeks before that, the 85-year-old mother of Phil Collins,>
> the well-known rock star, was punched in the ribs, the back, and the
> head on a West London street, before her companion was robbed. "That's>
> what you have to expect these days," she said, philosophically.
> Anthea Turner, the host of Britain's top-rated National Lottery TV
> show, went to see the West End revival of Grease with a friend. They
> were spotted at the theatre by a young man who followed them out and,
> while their car was stuck in traffic, forced his way in and wrenched a
> diamond-encrusted Rolex off the friend's wrist.
> A week before that, the 94-year-old mother of Ridley Scott, the
> director of Alien and other Hollywood hits, was beaten and robbed by
> two men who broke into her home and threatened to kill her.
> Former Bond girl Britt Ekland had her jewelry torn from her arms
> outside a shop in Chelsea; Formula One Grand Prix racing tycoon and
> Tony Blair confidante Bernie Ecciestone was punched and kicked by his
> assailants as they stole his wife's ring; network TV chief Michael
> Green was slashed in the face by thugs outside his Mayfair home;
> gourmet chef to the stars Anton Mosirnann was punched in the head
> outside his house in Kensington....
> Rita Simmonds isn't a celebrity but, fortunately, she happened to be
> living next door to one when a gang broke into her home in upscale
> Cumberland Terrace, a private road near Regent's Park. Tom Cruise
> heard her screams and bounded to the rescue, chasing off the attackers>
> for 300 yards, though failing to prevent them from reaching their
> getaway car and escaping with two jewelry items worth around $140,000.
> It's just as well Tom failed to catch up with the gang. Otherwise, the>
> ensuing altercation might have resulted in the diminutive star being
> prosecuted for assault. In Britain, criminals, police, and magistrates>
> are united in regarding any resistance by the victim as bad form. The>
> most they'll tolerate is "proportionate response"-and, as these thugs
> had been beating up a defenseless woman and posed no threat to Tom
> Cruise, the Metropolitan Police would have regarded Tom's actions as
> highly objectionable. 'Proportionate response" from the beleaguered
> British property owner's point of view, is a bit like a courtly duel
> where the rules are set by one side: "Ah," says the victim of a
> late-night break-in, "I see you have brought a blunt instrument.
> Forgive me for unsheathing my bread knife. My mistake, old boy.
> Would you mind giving me a sporting chance to retrieve my cricket bat
> from under the bed before clubbing me to a pulp, there's a good chap?"
> No wonder, even as they're being pounded senseless, many British crime>
> victims are worrying about potential liability. A few months ago,
> Shirley Best, owner of the Rolander Fashion boutique whose clients
> include the daughter of the Princess Royal, was ironing some garments
> when two youths broke in. They pressed the hot iron into her side and
> stole her watch, leaving her badly bumt. "I was frightened to defend
> myself," said Miss Best. "I thought if I did anything I would be arrested."
> And who can blame her? Shortly before the attack, she'd been reading
> about Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer whose home had been broken into
> and who had responded by shooting and killing the teenage burglar. He
> was charged with murder. In April, he was found guilty and sentenced
> to life imprisonment--for defending himself against a career criminal
> in an area where the police are far away and reluctant to have their
> sleep disturbed.
> In the British Commonwealth, the approach to policing is summed up by
> the motto of Her Majestys most glamorous constabulary: The Mounties
> always get their man -i.e., leave it to US. But these days in the
> British police, when they can't get their man, they'll get you
> instead: Frankly, that's a lot easier as poor Mr. Martin discovered.
> Norfolk is a remote rural corner of England. It ought to be as
> peaceful and crime-free as my remote rural corner of New England. But
> it isn't. Old impressions die hard:
> Americans still think of Britain as a low-crime country. Conversely,
> the British think of America as a highcrime country. But neither
> impression is true. The overall crime rate in England and Wales is 60
> percent higher than that in the United States. True, in America you're>
> more likely to be shot to death. On the other hand, in England you're
> more likely to be strangled to death. But in both cases, the
> statistical likelihood of being murdered at all is remote, especially
> if you steer clear of the drug trade.
> When it comes to anything else, though--burglary, auto theft, armed
> robbery, violent assault, rape---the crime rate reaches deep into
> British society in ways most Americans would find virtually
> I cite those celebrity assaults not because celebrities are more prone>
> to wind up as crime victims than anyone else, but only because the
> measure of a civilized society is how easily you can insulate yourself>
> from its snarling underclass. In America, if you can make it out of
> some of the loonier cities, it's a piece of cake, relatively speaking.
> In Britain, if even a rock star or TV supremo can't insulate himself,
> nobody can. In any society, criminals prey on the weak and vulnerable.
> It's the peculiar genius of government policy to have ensured that in
> British society everyone is weak and vulnerable--from Norfolk farmers
> to Tom Cruise's neighbor.
> And that's where America is headed if those million marching moms make>
> any headway in Washington: Less guns = more crime. And more
> vulnerability. And a million more moms being burgled, and assaulted,
> and raped. I like hunting, but if that were the only thing at stake
> with guns, I guess I could learn to live without it. But I'm opposed
> to gun control because I don't see why my neighbors in New Hampshire
> should have to live the way, say, my sister-in-law does--in a
> comfortable manor house in a prosperous part of rural England, lying
> awake at night listening to yobbo gangs drive up, park their vans, and>
> test her doors and windows before figuring out that the little old
> lady down the lane's a softer touch.
> Between the introduction of pistol permits in 1903 and the banning of
> handguns after the Dunblane massacre in 1996, Britain has had a
> century of incremental gun control -"sensible measures that all
> reasonable people can agree on." And what's the result? [bold mine]
> Even when you factor in America's nutcake jurisdictions with the
> crackhead mayors, the overall crime rate in England and Wales is
> higher than in all 50 states, even though over there they have more
> policemen per capita than in the U.S., on vastly higher rates of pay
> installing more video surveillance cameras than anywhere else in the
> Western world.
Robbery, sex crimes, and violence against the person
> are higher in England and Wales; property crime is twice as high;
> vehicle theft is higher still; the British are 2-3 times more likely
> than Americans to be assaulted, and three times more likely to be
> violently assaulted. Between 1973 and 1992, burglary rates in the U.S.>
> fell by half In Britain, not even the Home Office's disreputable
> reporting methods (if a burglar steals from 15 different apartments in>
> one building, it counts as a single crime) can conceal the remorseless>
> rise: Britons are now more than twice as likely as Americans to be
> mugged; two-thirds will have their property broken into at some time
> in their lives. Even more revealing is the divergent character between>
> U.K. and U.S. property crime:
> In America, just over 10 percent of all burglaries are "hot
> burglaries"--committed while the owners are present; in Britain, it's
> over half. Because of insurance-required alarm systems, the average
> thief increasingly concludes that it's easier to break in while you're
> on the premises. Your home-security system may conceivably make
your home more safe, but it makes you less so.
> Conversely, up here in the New Hampshire second congressional
> district, there are few laser security systems and lots of guns. Our
> murder rate is much lower than Britain's and our property crime is
> virtually insignificant. Anyone want to make a connection? Villains
> are expert calculators of risk, and the likelihood of walking away
> uninjured with an $80 television set is too remote. In New Hampshire,
> a citizen's right to defend himself deters crime; in Britain, the
> state-inflicted impotence of the homeowner actively encourages it.
> just as becoming a drug baron is a rational career move in Colombia,
> so too is becoming a violent burglar in the United Kingdom. The
> chances that the state will seriously impede your progress are
> Now I'm Canadian, so, as you might expect, the Second Amendment
> doesn't mean much to me. I think its more basic than that. Privately
> owned firearms symbolize the essential difference between your great
> republic and the countries you left behind. In the U.S., power
> resides with "we, the people" and is leased ever more sparingly up
> through town, county, state, and federal government. In Britain and
> Canada, power resides with the Crown and is graciously devolved down
> in limited doses. To a north country Yankee it's self-evident that,
> when a burglar breaks into your home, you should have the right to
> shoot him--indeed, not just the right, but the responsibility, as a
> free-born citizen, to uphold the integrity of your property. But in
> Britain and most other parts of the Western world, the state reserves
> that right to itself, even though at the time the ne'er-do-well shows
> up in your bedroom you're on the scene and Constable Plod isn't: He's
> some miles distant, asleep in his bed, and with his answering machine
> on referring you to central dispatch God knows where.
> These days it's standard to bemoan the "dependency culture" of state
> welfare, but Britain's law-and-order "dependency culture" is even more>
> enfeebling. What was it the police and courts resented about that
> Norfolk farmer? That he "took the law into his own bands"? But in a
> responsible participatory democracy, the law ought to be in our hands.
> The problem with Britain is that the police force is now one of the
> most notable surviving examples of a preThatcher, bloated,
> incompetent, unproductive, over-paid, closed-shop state monopoly.
> They're about as open to constructive suggestions as the country's
> Communist Mineworkers' union was 20 years ago, and the control-freak
> tendencies of all British political parties ensure that the country's
> bloated, expensive county and multi-county forces are inviolable.
> The Conservatives' big mistake between 1979 and 1997 was an almost
> willfully obtuse failure to understand that giving citizens more
> personal responsibility isn't something that extends just to their
> income and consumer choices; it also applies to their communities and
> their policing arrangements. If you have one without the other, you
> end up with modern Britain: a materially prosperous society in which
> the sense of frustration and impotence is palpable, and you're forced
> to live with a level of endless property crime most Americans would
> regard as unacceptable.
> We know Bill Clinton's latest favorite statistic--that 12 "kids" a day>
> die from gun violence--is bunk: Five-sixths of those 12.569
> grade-school moppets are aged between 15 and 19, and many of them
have had the misfortune to become involved in gangs, convenience-store
> hold-ups, and drug deals, which, alas, have a tendency to go awry. If>
> more crack deals passed off peacefully, that "child" death rate could
> be reduced by three-quarters.
> But away from those dark fringes of society, Americans live lives
> blessedly untouched by most forms of crime--at least when compared
> with supposedly more civilized countries like Britain. That's
> something those million marching moms should consider, if only because
> in a gun-free America women --and the elderly and gays and all manner
> of other fashionable victim groups--will be bearing the brunt of a
> much higher proportion of violent crime than they do today. Ask Phil
> Collins or Ridley Scott or Germaine Greer.
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