Monday, 8 August 2011

Where are the Police?

Would you agree with the following statement?

"That's crap, I don't buy that for a minute. Calling a riot an irrational expression of rage is such a cop-out, it's opportunism at it's worst, it's just a bunch of people grabbing any excuse they can find to go out and loot a store. Nothing more. The fact that these people ripped off the stores in their own communities, all that reflects is the degree to which these people have absolutely no respect for the law at all and certainly no concept of like community or civic responsibility."

I hope you don't agree with this line because it is never simply the case that a riot is just the decision of free individuals to go out on a rampage, there is always something bigger going on regardless of what the media will tell you. The quote is lifted from the film American History X and specifically the words of Derek Vinyard, played by Ed Norton, on the LA riots of 1992 which were sparked by the assault on Rodney King by police officers. I refer you to the good words of Bill Hicks on that particular affair. The reactionary birdsong around the riots we are witnessing are not so different from this line, though the racist element is subsumed beneath words such as "scum", "thug" and so on. The Right are going completely bat-shit over the riots, consistently arguing that the riots are completely unrelated to the death of Mark Duggan and simply we're witnessing the rational actions of free individuals. This has been pointed out about Twitter by Richard Seymour and the same is true all over the web. It is being fueled by mainstream rags of the Right.
I was in a recent argument on the Facebook group 'R.I.P. Mark Duggan' with a member of the EDL, who has since been banned for racist remarks, and another user who described his political views as "common sense". I initially got involved to shoot down the EDL mouthpiece who claimed that "No Muslim nation would tolerate this?" so I responded "No Muslim nation would tolerate this? I thought you want us to be different from Muslims??" At the same time, the proponent of "common sense" was arguing that the riots began because "an armed criminal called mr duggan did whether he fired his gun or didn't he still had it in him." He then exclaimed that the army should be sent in to "fuck up these idiots". When I gave these guys a prod about Mark Duggan and Charles de Menezes the immediate line was that both of them deserved to die because Duggan was an "armed criminal" and Menezes was an "illegal immigrant". Beware "common sense"!

Of course, when I pointed out the facts that Mark Duggan fired no shots at the officers and the gun he had on him was in his sock when he died the purveyor of "common sense" had another line to spew. The words he had were simple "He had a gun end of legitimate shoot", the logic was clear: a young black man was shot to death by cops, so it must be a good thing! We now know that the weapon Duggan was a replica that had been converted into a working gun, bare in mind that the bullet which was fired into a police radio turned out to be 'police issued'. I pointed out some of these facts in the argument and witnessed an interesting response "if he hadn't been carrying a gun he would be alive he made a choice." I even said I think Mark Duggan should've been arrested for possessing the weapon (though we now know it was hardly a weapon at all) but it was not enough and apparently I just had no problem with men carrying guns on the streets of London. The thought-process was clear "your an idiot if you carry a gun you are making a choice to live outside the law."

My response was "An idiot who thinks a man who has a gun in his shoe should be arrested and not shot repeatedly by officers who then try to make it look like self-defence... Interesting logic there again." Naturally this commonsensical fopdoodle continued to accuse me of condoning the possession of firearms. The Right has no room for the context of the situation that we're in today, for them it is simply a bunch of yobs going on a crime spree and the police or army need to restore order. These riots would have never have happened if Mark Duggan was not killed and there were serious efforts to resolve the grievances of the community. We'll no doubt see more riots before the decade is over. Finally I had him cornered "I don't think it's okay for people to carry guns, I'll repeat to you: Mark Duggan was carrying a gun and should've charged for doing so. What's so difficult to understand about my position? You think he should've been killed and, from what I gather, you'd like to see more people killed in this way." I'm still waiting for that response.

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