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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If personal fire arms were legal in London, would the riots be as bad as they are?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (29027 points ) August 11th, 2011

The only personal experience I have to relate to the London riots is the L.A. riots. That was racially motivated rather than political, so I’m not convinced it is a fair comparison other than the fact that both riots target a lot of small business. Both riots seem anger based too. The L.A. riots also targeted some homes. I spent three nights atop my roof with a rifle, friends, and lots of vodka. We watched as the burning neighborhoods came closer and closer. Many of our neighbors were doing the same. The fires never entered our street.

In the L.A. riots, what became obvious to me and was heavily reported on the news was the fact that many businesses put up boarded signs in their windows stating: “BLACK OWNED”. Those were left untouched with no protection necessary.

But alongside them were many White and Asian owned businesses. The ones that did not get looted were the ones where the owners and their relatives camped out and made themselves visible with firearms. Men were walking the rooftops and standing out in front, all carrying hand guns and rifles. They were also open for business.

None of the businesses next to them were looted either, even though they had no obvious protection. I cannot see any argument to make against laws in favor of private gun ownership in situations like that.

On NPR today, a number of London rioteers were interviewed. They were angry teenagers, and the only excuse they could give to justify their actions was “We’re getting our taxes back”. That was supposed to justify their stealing televisions and the like.

There were comparisons made to the US, and how rioting might be different here. One difference was that US citizens have the power to protect themselves with personal firearms and are not at the mercy of Gov intervention.

This may not be a problem for one night two night rioting. But when multiple nights go by as in L.A. and London, do you think it wise to live in a country which allows personal firearm ownership? I’m wondering how many more shops would have been looted and burned in L.A. without the 2nd ammendment right to bear arms.

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29 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

The only thing I can think of is many of the store owners would have tried to protect their property with firearms. Wannabe hoodlums and thugs are chicken shits that would then move along for other easier targets.

plethora's avatar

Good reason to be a member of the NRA

Bellatrix's avatar

And the hoodlums would have firearms too and perhaps we would be looking at a lot more dead people and dead policemen.

I am glad firearms are not so available in either the UK or my home country now.

woodcutter's avatar

Probably not for the people who had firearms. You can’t even own a machete over there. What the hell?
I doubt the riots would have gone very far at all. The actors in this felt empowered because they know hardly anyone has guns as well as the majority of the cops. They may as well as hung signs on the front of businesses that read “FREE SHIT INSIDE”

lillycoyote's avatar

That might depend on how you are defining “as bad?” 53 people died in 6 days in the L.A. riots in 1992 and only 4 people have died in the riots in England so far. Which riots are “as bad”?

lillycoyote's avatar

@woodcutter The L.A. riots went on for 6 days, resulted in 53 deaths and over a billion dollars in property damage. That doesn’t exactly sound like the rioters didn’t feel “empowered” because they knew people had firearms.

downtide's avatar

I think there would have been a lot more deaths if the yobs had guns. There’s been 4 people shot dead as it is. Five, if you count the incident that started it all off.

What I don’t understand is why the police didn’t use tear-gas or water cannons.

lillycoyote's avatar

@downtide 4 people were shot? I thought 3 of the dead were run over with a car. And I just checked the news and 5th person has died, I think from trying to put out a fire, but I’m not sure.

Bellatrix's avatar

I thought three men were killed in a hit and run and an older gentleman died after being assaulted. Not sure about the fifth.

Lightlyseared's avatar

There was a fifth guy who was shot in his car in Croydon.

Lightlyseared's avatar

So having read about the LA riots where there were alot of firearms about and there were running gun battles in the street and soldiers deployed to keep order I’m not sure that citizens having guns made them any safer.

Seelix's avatar

I think that if firearms were legal, the riots would be worse.

woodcutter's avatar

Guns are expensive. Not all will be able to get them especially the teens involved in this. However the teens sure can do a lot of damage when left to their own devices. It would not have gained the momentum it did if one of those yobs got a bullet in his ass, nothing like it to send someone running home to mommy.

Bellatrix's avatar

It isn’t just teens though. I don’t think this is just a bunch of spoiled brats running around causing problems. This is a highly organised situation. With people using their phones to coordinate where they will ‘attack’ next. There are also other organisations such as the English Defence League becoming involved and cashing in on the unrest. I really can’t see how adding firearms to the mix would be useful.

Also, given the parents of the young people involved here can’t control their behaviour now, do we really think they could stop them accessing the family firearms? I am not so confident that would be the case. I also don’t understand the logic that says, the response to this violent situation is for citizens to be armed and to start shooting each other.

I do wonder why the army hasn’t been brought in but I suspect that might be because of the way that could be viewed by the rest of the world. The English response to civil unrest is to bring in the army. Isn’t that happening in other parts of the globe at the moment? Perhaps the British government doesn’t want that comparison to be drawn.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

When the National Guard was deployed in L.A., the rioting stopped very shortly thereafter. Not sure if they would have been deployed if there were other recent rioting in other countries, or if it had not been verging on race war. I can’t remember the city, but some race rioting was beginning to manifest in the US in support of LA riots. It was small and only lasted a couple of nights. Can’t remember the city.

woodcutter's avatar

This is what a disarmed country looks like. In 1998 the Brits voluntarily agreed to turn in their firearms. The voters spoke. They voted themselves into abject defenselessness. They agreed to give the police the sole responsibly to protect them and keep the peace.

How’d that work out?

Bellatrix's avatar

Right, so you are saying that a country where a higher proportion of its citizens are armed will be more peaceful and the incidence of riots and looting will be reduced?

woodcutter's avatar

@Bellatrix Yes at my place, everyone else will be on their own. There’s no way to predict what angry people will do. One thing that is consistent throughout history is nobody wants to be the first one to die, so in that respect it tends to induce caution. There is no caution when the mob is fearless.

Bellatrix's avatar

Have you looked at the history of riots and lawlessness in your own country?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Perhaps the fundamental question here is to ask if during episodes of governmental abstinence, are public firearms more likely to increased disorder, or to preserve what order remains?

woodcutter's avatar

@Bellatrix Sure, but we have to back quite a long way. Now our cops have M-16’s, protective vests and an awareness they didn’t have in the LA riots. They’ve kept up with the times. I dare say a riot like that would’nt get much traction now especially when our cops make the German polizei look like boy scouts. They don’t move, at all.
The rioters will go to the place of least resistance always or they suffer. So, they who guard their homes and businesses with firepower will be passed up. The rioters will go the next street over and check their luck there.

It’s like when a river floods. The people work together to build levies to divert the floodwaters away from their town but, that means the water will kill the next town downstream, unless they do the same thing. It sounds like every man for themselves but it is the way of survival.

When neighbors and shopkeepers band together and form a ring of fire around themselves to divert the mob, it could mean someone on the next block over is going to be in a world of hurt. Unless they do it too.
Oh sure there will be the conscientious objectors who will sit tight and wait for the police to come and they may…or not. They can’t be everywhere at once, and to quell a riot they pretty much need to be. But you take your chances doing that.

The cops have the power when they have the numbers. And in 99.999% of the time it works out that way. In a mob rule situation the cops are going to be spread thin quickly, probably to protect the upper class neighborhoods first. Hey that’s politics for ya ‘cause rich people don’t need guns really, they have people…and gates.

Really it’s a big roll of the dice or ,glass half empty or half full. Rioters are cowards. Have you ever seen a riot get far with just one or two people? They feed off each other’s frenzy but, they’re in it for the “cause” some of them. Others are in it because they can. But not one of them really wants to get hurt doing this. Over here they know if they start burning and looting there will be pushback, something that was completely absent in London. Oh sure after the dust settled the cops are rounding up suspects but it had to go full bloom and die out before they had time to do that.

It’s the worst feeling to be helpless especially when there is an unruly mob wanting to kill you maybe, or just burn down your house, which in and of itself is a death. Same as someone’s business…it’s their livelihood and it’s their life. Sure there is insurance but who needs to have everything taken away indiscriminately by people who don’t even know you, and have done nothing to?

Lightlyseared's avatar

@woodcutter compare the murder rate of the US with the UK. Compare the number of people shot in their own homes with their own guns by otherwise unarmed assailants. Compare the number accidental shootings. Guns may make you feel safer but feeling safe and being safe are two very different things.

woodcutter's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies There is no way to answer that. It could go either way depending on the situation. The cops are only successful anywhere because the vast majority of citizens are good people. They generally have the bad guys outnumbered. In a mass disobedience all the rules go out the window. Either way it’s gong to be an awful mess.

woodcutter's avatar

@Lightlyseared yeah I have heard of those stats so many times but you can apply that same model to swimming pools and autos and we still kill more people.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The radio interview made other comparisons between US and UK. Though they fully expressed a much higher ratio of murder in the US, the data completely reversed for instances of property crime. Apparently, the sale of US made Louisville Slugger baseball bats are doing very well in the UK. People want them as a source of protection.

i’m not taking a stance here folks. i’m just sharing what i heard and wanting to get your opinions

woodcutter's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies They were aluminum bats too. If I couldn’t get my mitts on a gun .one of those would be my best friend.

woodcutter's avatar

I always thought there was a video surveillance camera on every corner in London. So how did the mob get so far ahead of law enforcement? Possibly buget cuts are leaving more of their spy cameras unmanned? Something I dug up. Even with all their strict gun laws, Briton is a pretty gnarly place to live. One would think crime would be much ,much less. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html

lillycoyote's avatar

@woodcutter How does a disarmed country like England look? There is lot less violence, a much lower crime rate, a lot fewer mass rage killings, a much lower homicide rate and a much smaller percentage of their population in jail for violent crimes, e.g. That’s how it has worked out for them.

woodcutter's avatar

@lillycoyote That’s how it has worked out for them. They should be proud of that one, huh. The fact is, their cops are useless in those situations. Many of them were hurt in this. Hurt is hurt whether it is a smashed in skull with a club or a gut wound with a bullet. All of it is bad. But nobody ever gets to choose which method a thug uses to do them in. In London’s case the young and stronger physically fit ruled the day. Nobody apposed them so more joined the fray because they felt safe to do so.
Terrible as it all was, I really don’t have much sympathy for the victim class there. They got what they voted in. They criminals there are bold and unafraid of taking chances

Personally I feel more comfortable with our criminals having to think twice before acting out. Here in the states rioters will know they will be badly hurt if they persist. Not everyone has a gun, but the criminals have no way of really knowing which are armed and which are “good’ victims. In England they are assured their victims are helpless and it bears that out in the country’s crime rate, The worst in the EU.

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