Rightbloggers Find the Cause of England's Riots: Gun Control and Black People
Riots broke out in London and other parts of England last week. The evident catalyst was the controversial killing by police of Mark Duggan; but, as with the Rodney King beating that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, it's unlikely that one small event could have caused so much fury and violence.
Some people thought the austerity program of the nation's Conservative leadership had finally pissed off enough young citizens to provoke street-level backlash, as had happened earlier this summer in Greece.
Rightbloggers? They obsessed on gun control and black people.
Several rightbloggers were swift to blame gun control for the riots. True, gun-shy England's murder and gun-related-death rates are much lower than gun-crazy America's -- even the hardcore Gun Owners of America argued in 2008, when confronted with this fact, that "the murder rates in many nations (such as England) were ALREADY LOW BEFORE enacting gun control."
But in recent years violent crime has risen in the UK. As ending all gun control is one of American conservatism's holy missions -- right up there with destroying Social Security -- the brethren declared that England was now so violence-wracked that the situation could only be reversed by the free circulation across Blighty of Saturday Night Specials and semi-automatics.
"'Concealed Carry' Will End the British Riots Overnight," claimed Christopher Manion at Lew Rockwell's blog. "I wonder how brazen those British thugs would be if they knew shop owners might have a loaded Sturm-Ruger Mini-14 under every counter." He recommended that the UK "hand out concealed carry permits to every small businessman in England, and end the British riots in a New York minute." Arrests, a more traditional remedy, seem not to have occurred to him.
John Seiler of Cal Watchdog concurred, recalling wistfully how during the L.A. Riots "Korean store owners... brought out their guns and started firing at the looters." (This memory also warmed the cockles of Daniel J. Mitchell of Forbes, among others.) Seiler told his readers, "Get a gun to defend your family. Get training at a local gun range. Do it now, not when something happens and you have to wait 10 days... If enough Californians are armed, next time the riots might be prevented." The L.A. Riots were 19 years ago, but you know how reminiscing can get the old-timers feeling their oats.
(National Review's Stanley Kurtz also hearkened back to L.A., recalling that a young Barack Obama had said in 1992 that those riots "reflect a deep distrust and disaffection with the existing power pattern in our society." "That's Alinsky-speak," said Kurtz, "for 'We've got to use the power of the angry underclass to put capitalism in check,'" which you have to admit is a much more incendiary pull-quote, however fanciful, than Obama's actual anodyne statement. "I certainly don't think President Obama would openly speak about events in London the way he spoke about the L.A. riots nineteen years ago," added Kurtz. "What he thinks to himself is another matter." [cue sinister music.])
Ultimately there was no talking sense to them. When the Boston Globe pointed out that the English riots had left far fewer dead than the L.A. riots, SayUncle responded, "This completely ignores the possibility that some of the life lost in LA was people who needed to shot." "How many of those 35 people killed by gunshot wounds in the LA riots deserved it?" agreed Snowflakes in Hell. "As long as the people killed in a riot were killed because they were flouting law and order, I have no problem with it." By this reading, the English failed not only by not having enough guns, but also by not having killed enough people. Talk about a no-win situation!
But, as those of us who've followed their fantasies of a black crime rampage across America might have predicted, some rightbloggers quickly became convinced it was all about the dark people.
"Mark Duggan Is Black," said Say Anything. "Well... actually he was black. And so are most of the rioters who've been setting London and other cities across England on fire night after night. And though the media refuses to say so, these are essentially race riots that are spreading fear and destruction across Britain."
For anyone who read the actual source, that's a giant leap, but one in which many rightbloggers were willing to join.
"In London, rioting mobs in London and other British cities seem to be notably or even predominantly black," declared Diana West of Big Journalism, before adding, "or so we gather from opaque clues, some photos, and the occasional slipped-in written reference..." Well, there's a standard of evidence.
Gary North didn't even bother to cite opaque clues, or any other kind -- he just flashed back to various actual U.S. race riots in the 1960s. "There was a pattern here," he wrote: "liberal national racial rights legislation ====> local race riot... Here is what is different from Harlem in 1964, Watts in 1965, and a hundred Northern American cities 1967-68. The violence has moved uptown. The violence has moved upscale. The violence is coordinated." So, North seems to suggest, it's an upscale black riot; maybe concocted for a BET reality show, with rioters' ensembles "coordinated" by Tracy Reese.
"The powers-that-be in the UK probably bought into the 'diversity' and 'strength in multiculturalism' myths and now you are seeing what you've done to your society," lamented Final Conflict. "England will never be the same, believe me. Blacks are notorious for setting fires to things after they've committed a crime, and so I knew that the majestic buildings that were burned down, were destroyed by the immigrants from Africa/Jamaica, etc... What little contributions blacks have made in athletics and music (if you call rap music, 'music,' which I don't) does not outweigh all their negatives..." We'd say this cowboy's ready for a guest-blogger spot at Gateway Pundit.
International Business Times noted that "much of the violence has occurred in inner-city neighborhoods populated by the descendants of immigrants from the former British Empire," and sighed, "If only Enoch Powell had lived to see this."
Powell was the author of the "Rivers of Blood" speech, which essentially said that dark-skinned immigrants couldn't possibly assimilate into British life ("The other dangerous delusion from which those who are willfully or otherwise blind to realities suffer, is summed up in the word "integration'").
IBT said that Powell "was proven right. There are entire neighborhoods in parts of London, Birmingham and Manchester in which one will not see a white British face. London itself is believed to be about 30 percent nonwhite now." In this view, integration only works when everyone ends up Caucasian.
IBT eventually devolved to hemming and hawing about how some immigrants were all right ("the so-called 'Ugandan Asians' who were expelled by Idi Amin in 1972 are now... among the wealthiest ethnic groups in contemporary Britain"), and admitted "many of the youths rioting and looting in London and elsewhere appear to be white." So what was the point? Mainly to remind viewers how prescient IBT found Enoch Powell about those people, we suspect.
When British historian David Starkey also quoted Powell and, for good measure, said the presence of whites in the riots showed "the chavs have become black. The whites have become black," the rightblogger reaction was positive. (We're sure it was a hard call for them, though -- while it's equally racist, Starkey's angle kind of blows their whole race-riot thing.)
"What he said!" cheered Never Yet Melted. "Black as a pejorative term. Expressing a hierarchical preference for white, European mores over African-Caribbean mores. The British left is quite indignant about this kind of politically-incorrect speech, and accusations of racism are flying." Well, we didn't say they were coherent.
"Now [Starkey's] in trouble for saying out loud what everybody realizes is true," said Steve Sailer. "These are Ali G Riots, with blacks in the cultural vanguard and idiots of other races following their example of what's cool."
"Historian tells truth on television," said Barrel Strength. "Uh-oh! Non PC speech in England," chortled DailyBrisk. "The progressive liberal idiocracy, otherwise known as the Ostrich Class, has erupted in fury and are accusing Starkey of being a racist," said a clearly scandalized Gates of Vienna.
(Not all rightbloggers, we must admit, were obsessed with black-white racial issues; Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged, among others, was enraged that the Guardian had mentioned the presence of some Hasidic Jews at the riots, which she attributed to anti-Semitism.)
When they weren't blaming the lack of guns or a superfluity of black people, rightbloggers were telling their readers that it all had something to do with liberalism as they feebly understood it.
"What the riots most definitely show is the end result of the leftist agenda," said Flopping Aces. "To quote the mob itself: 'It's the rich people. It's the rich people, the people who've got businesses, and that's why this has happened'... Decades of Socialism have set this in motion. Decades of leftism have set this in motion," etc.
"From London to Philadelphia to Milwaukee, goons are rioting in the streets... The shiftless, looting goons and their liberal allies think rich people should be taxed more, and more economic advantages must be provided to largely uneducated, unskilled, lazy, incompetent goons," said conservative intellectual Ted Nugent.
National Review's Iain Murray was reminded by the riots that "the adoption of certain values by the upper classes in the 1960s wreaked havoc on the underclasses when they adopted them in turn." Murray didn't explain how precisely what linked last week's English riots to those of the American 60s, but he did judge that the rioters had "easy access to credit over the past decade or so," and were now "looking to take for free what they previously got for nominal sums."
That's an almost perfect 21st-Century equivalent of an old-school right-winger fuming about lazy hippie protesters on welfare. But why should Murray bother to work any harder than that on his analysis? His fellow rightbloggers neither know nor care much about Britain or its riots, but they do know what they like: Namely, opportunities to tie their usual obsessions to current events by whatever slender strings of illogic they may weave. As with the rampage of Anders Breivik in Norway, they look at any event, foreign or domestic, and see the same thing: A need to shred all safety nets and flood the world with guns, and then wait for the peace and prosperity they have been taught to expect will inevitably follow.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.