Monday 8 August 2011


Using descriptions from Twitter, the above picture of a Metropolitan Police officer was generated.

I’ve been using Twitter to follow the recent riots in London – for its many virtues (people were tweeting actual videos and photographs), there were an equal amount, if not more, vices. Aside from rumours raging (false reports of riots in areas there were no riots), the fringe elements of British society decided to come out and make as many political points as they could. The radical rapper Kareem Dennis, known as Lowkey has several tweets which sum up the kind of nonsense that was being posted:

Unfortunately this is the only language the Metropolitan Police understand or respect.

Rich people don't loot and happy people don't riot. Nothing is black and white

When you collectively brutalise a community why wouldn't that community respond brutally?

To answer his question: this isn’t the “community” doing anything, it’s a group of thugs. According to Dennis, two wrongs really do make a right, or at least allow for an “understanding.” I handle this baloney about the false distinction between understanding and excusing in another post so I wont handle it here. But you can clearly see it: if someone is treated brutally and the only language the ‘aggressor’ understands is attacking shops, post offices, public transport – can you really blame him? No, you have removed moral culpability.

When people have NO other way of holding the police accountable for their brutality, what do you expect?

What do I expect? If that were the case, I expect you to use your democratic rights, to protest, to lobby, to hold members of parliament who refuse to deal with the issue accountable using your ballot. It’s called being civilised in a democratic society. And thats assuming that these protests are exclusively about brutality, they are not. Currys, Vodafone has nothing to do with brutality, the local curry house, the people made homless have nothing to do with this. 

The British army is burning Afghanistan and Libya as we speak, so I think you can get over a Bus.

There is a difference between sovereign nations responding to an attack by clearing out an illegitimate government, with massive human rights violations, which harboured the responsible individuals to stop future attacks in self-defence. The Afghan people have consistently supported the assistance. And we responded to the call of the Libyan people to stop their manic leader from killing them.

When the British Army burns whole countries you know nothing about and loots them of their natural resources where is your indignation?

You’re obviously referring to Afghanistan, Iraq and possibly Libya. Who do you know that knows ‘nothing’ about these wars? You may have uneducated friends, I do not. As for ‘looting’ their resources, in Iraq there was an auction for Iraq oil deals in 2009: the winners were mostly Russians and Chinese. Even after the rise of oil prices in the U.S, the Iraqi government refused to lower the price. “Looting” indeed.

In this country you are factually more likely to die at the hands of the police than at the hands of a terrorist.

Oh really? According to the IPCC’s report ‘Deaths in or following custody’ only 5% of the 333 deaths between 1998-2009 were a result of police restraint. That’s 16 people. And even then, 13 officers were brought to trial, and they were all found not guilty. But, let me guess, a British court of law isn’t good enough for you? There were 52 victims of the 7/7 attacks. That was one attack: as I mentioned in the last post, 12 attacks were stopped between 2000-2009. And to really make your conspiracy-laden head explode, the current threat level for international terrorism is “substantial – this means there is a strong possibility of an attack.” So, there are more victims, more frequent and higher risk from terrorism.

Another radical self-described activist Jody McIntyre re-tweeted:

Don't salute people terrorising small business' but love hearing bout major corporations being set alight #salute

Lowkey also said that he didn't ‘have sympathy for M&S or footlocker.’ Yeah, because these major corporations are part of “police brutality” right? Because its not people who live in the community who use and work in these shops? Because it’s not individuals who own corporations? Because small businesses don’t strive to be bigger and better? Cool story bro.

I haven't mentioned Mark Duggan because I think it imprudent without waiting for the conclusions of the IPCC. However, even if the police stabbed him in the face repeatedly, the response is not attacking public transport and terrorising communities. It is holding people through the democratic and justice system. But somehow I doubt people like Dennis are able to engage in rational discourse. We should count ourselves lucky that 9/11 truther extremists like him are a fringe.


TB said...

'I expect you to use your democratic rights, to protest, to lobby, to hold members of parliament who refuse to deal with the issue accountable using your ballot'

As much as I agree with a lot of your post, and you deal with people trying to write off moral responsibility I take issue with this. It's not much use directing people to the ballot box to enact change because the impact of one vote is irrelevant. As is lobbying say your MP. There simply isn't enough pressure to do so. Rather than trying to trick people you can enact change that way you're much better off at explaining the merits of acting together as individuals.

Mugwump said...

I accept a lot of public choice theory and I acknowledge the criticism you've made of the democratic process but I still think they are at least part of the solution. On an individual basis, there is small chance but the fact remains that MPs do react to mass movements. That said, I do concede that I should have specifically mentioned individuals acting together in trying to enact change.