In the interests of disclosure regarding my previous entry, I am going to clarify precisely where I stand regarding gun control and internal security.
I support the Second Amendment. I support law-abiding citizens having, in the words of William III, “arms for their defence.”
I also support the Royal Ulster Constabulary/British South Africa Police’s Police Anti-Terrorist Units/Koevoet model of the internal security (or, in North American parlance, “policing”) over the summonses-issuing centred North American model of policing. What does this mean?
It means that the focus of the police should be exclusively internal security and that the issuing summonses for the sole purpose of allowing the Mayor to continue to dine regularly at Tavern on the Green, as well as CompStat/FUDGESTAT, should both be extirpated from the routine of policing.
It also means police armed with rifles riding Casspirs instead of modified civilian RMPs. It also means police regularly maintaining Vehicle Check Points in No-Go Areas/Casbahs (or, what is variably referred to in North America as “high crime areas” or “the ghetto.”) During the height of Operation Banner (from 1969 to 1994, with Banner being wound down by Westminster in 2007), Ulster, despite regular SF/IRA and other illegal organisations routinely detonating bombs and shooting people, still had a lower murder rate than New York City Supporters of gun control will attribute this outcome to the fact that Britain did not have a Second Amendment. There were, however, other variables at play. For example, this is what a New York Police Department Patrolman looked like for a good part of the 1969-1994 period:
By contrast, here is what ordinary Constables (i.e., not SWAT or GIGN or RAIDS-type Constables) of the Royal Ulster Constabulary looked like in the same period:
NYPD Patrolmen in 1969-1994 (and onto today, for that matter) routinely only carry sidearms. RUC Constables in 1969-1994 walked the streets and patrolled the countryside with Sterling SMG’s and rifles. When it is evident that the police take internal security very seriously, murderers and other criminals tend to think twice about getting caught.
For North American readers, the last two photographs above will immediately conjure images of Ferguson 2014 and Baltimore 2015. The words “freedom of speech,” and “freedom of assembly” and “democracy” will then come to their minds and out of their mouths.
As concerns democracy, the fact that the Royal Ulster Constabulary was patrolling with rifles, backed up by the Ulster Defence Regiment, the mainland British Army and Royal Marines, demonstrably did not prevent either one of the irredentist (“anti-Establishment,” in the case of Ulster) parties from getting candidates elected to high office.
As to freedom of speech, I admittedly hold a position that is different from what is the norm in North America, and my definition is most likely at odds with that of libertarianism. As far as I am concerned, Freedom of Speech includes:
-the right to write pamphlets/letters to the editor/one’s own blog/tweets
-the right to speak freely, within the constraints of the Official Secrets Act, when being interviewed by reporters
-the right to upload one’s own video content
-the right to create and showcase whatever art/original content one damned well pleases, including paintings, sculptures, movies and television content (the latter two within the constraints of 2257) and video games
-the right to parade and demonstrate peaceably
It is most particularly on this last point of freedom of speech, the right to parade and demonstrate peaceably, that my views are at variance with the North American standard and with libertarianism. The Orange Order parading to celebrate civil and religious liberties, various motorcycle organisations holding runs to raise awareness of Veteran’s issues or to raise money for charity, gay pride parades, demonstrations for Sergeant Al Blackman’s release, demonstrations for the repeal of anti-homosexuality laws, picket lines, Joanna Lumley demonstrating to support pensions for the Gurkhas, rallies on capitol hill for one’s political issue of choice all fall within my views as enunciated above. What does not fall within my views as enunciated above are the following:
-rioters throwing rocks and other missiles at police, be it in the Falls or Londonderry, be it in Ferguson or Baltimore, be it at Hungary’s southern borders, be it Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’ band of violent brigands who made Montreal ungovernable in 2012
-students taking their campuses hostage as occurred at Mizzou, UVA and Dalhousie in the recent past
-the annual Labour Day “Homicide Day Parade” in Brooklyn, wherein politicians and the NYPD’s REMF “traditional command and control hierarchy” orders the poor patrolmen unfortunate enough not to be able to get that weekend off to ignore evident use of contraband and to ignore “celebratory gunfire.”
-#IdleNoMore sabotaging railroad tracks and interrupting the flow of commerce, harming people’s ability to earn a living
In fact, my views on the demonstration aspect of the right to Freedom of Expression is closer to that of the Quebec Civil Code than it is to that of the vaguely worded, in this respect, First Amendment. The Quebec Civil Code very clearly states:
“6. Every person is bound to exercise his civil rights in good faith.
1991, c. 64, a. 6.
7. No right may be exercised with the intent of injuring another or in an excessive and unreasonable manner, and therefore contrary to the requirements of good faith.
1991, c. 64, a. 7; I.N. 2014-05-01.”
In practical terms, this means that I am inclined to support the way 1 Para handled the January 1972 Londonderry demonstration and that I would also be inclined to support the National Guard following in 1 Para’s footsteps in Ferguson and Baltimore-type scenarios.
In my previous entry, I mentioned Loughgall and Gibraltar. For my North American readers, let me clarify these references.
In 1987, the Special Air Service (a special duties unit of the British Army that resembles the Navy SEALs in America), the RUC’s Special Branch and the British Army’s 14 Intelligence Company surveilled several troublemakers as these latter made ready to make trouble at a police station at Loughgall in Armagh. Then, without mirandising them, the SAS neutralised said troublemakers on the spot. There was no “identify yourself as a police officer,” there was no “fire two shots and then reassess the situation,” there was only the SAS discharging their firearms until all eight troublemakers were accounted for and everyone went home happy. Later that year, a plainclothes SAS unit surveilled three troublemakers at Gibraltar. When the troublemakers’ car stopped to refuel, the SAS neutralised them under the exact same protocol followed at Loughgall.
The Loughgall and Gibraltar crime prevention operations were carried out with the highest of professionalism which is why, unlike recent cases in Baltimore and Chicago, none of the security forces personnel involved in these two operations was ever subject to prosecution. Moreover, in stark contrast to Ruby Ridge, Waco and other “high risk warrant service” operations which seem to be fashionable with American law enforcement, the SAS, 14 Intelligence Company and the RUC Special Branch’s elite E4A purposely chose to initiate contact out in the open and on ground of their own choosing. They specifically did not initiate contact at the terrs’ own holdings, blind as to what fortifications awaited. That is why the SAS who, in American parlance, “executed the warrants” at Loughgall and Gibraltar walked away from it while several American federal law enforcement agents at Ruby Ridge and Waco did not.
There are some who maintain that the situation in Ulster was completely different from internal security/”policing” in America. In particular, a Professor at George Washington University has written a book asserting that the circumstances in which RUC Constables worked did not constitute normal and proper policing circumstances. This assertion simply shows the gulf between this Professor and actual policing conditions in his own country. The situations of policing a hostile community described in his book perfectly fit the description of police made by NYPD Officers on a well known, informal NYPD forum.
It is difficult to talk about policing in America without the issue of race coming up. The sensationalist impulses of CNN have made this so. So let me talk about race.
I learned the history of Africa (through John Buchan, H. Rider Haggard, Daniel Carney, Wilbur Smith and Frederick Forsyth) long before I learned the history of race relations in America. One of the advantages of this chronology of my learning is that I know that Blacks, like any other race—or demographic— , are not a monolith. They have their criminal element and they have their decent element. As von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Askari, the King’s African Rifles and France’s Tirailleurs Sénégalais have demonstrated with histories written in their own blood, Blacks are more than quite capable of loyalty, bravery and selflessness. (Indeed, this is one of the reasons I so loathe the “man”osphere. Their view of Blacks as a monolith of criminals is a profound insult to the memory of those brave African troops who served loyally alongside Western soldiers in the course of several wars in the twentieth century.)
The reason American law enforcement is at such odds with American Blacks today is that American law enforcement, in its parochialism, failed to create anything like Belgium’s Force Publique in the Congo, the British South Africa Police’s Support Unit in Rhodesia’s Operational Areas and the South African Police’s (and later South-West African Police’s) Koevoet. American law enforcement, in other words, failed to create all- or majority-black units specifically intended for tracking and countering the nefarious element in their own community.
Had American law enforcement stood up and deployed such units, had American law enforcement REMFs had the courage to tell their political masters that the latter’s obsession with CompStat/FUDGESTAT numbers and summonses-generated revenue was seriously compromising the police’s ability to maintain internal security and had American law enforcement been less parochial and more inclined to learn from the example of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the SAS, policing in America today would be significantly less controversial than it currently is.
One final note, not on gun ownership rights or internal security, but rather on the vast gulf between football in particular and sporting (and other things in general) as they are experienced in America and Britain.
In America, a New York football team member donned an "NYPD" baseball cap in honour of a recently slain NYPD Officer;
The 11th of November is to Britain and Canada what Memorial Day is to America, a day to remember those who lost their lives defending the nation. In Britain and Canada, the 11th of November and the weeks and days leading up to it are marked by the wearing of the Poppy (a red plastic poppy, not a genuine poppy, in case anyone in America reading this got the idea of traveling to Britain or Canada just before the 11th of November in order to score some poppies from which to extract contraband.) The Poppy is worn out of respect for those who served, those who died and those who were wounded. Yet, Irish football player James McLean, although he plays for the British West Bromich Albion Football Club and accepts British payment for such, refuses to wear the Poppy because he hates Britain. Americans, can you imagine the Falcons' Osi Umenyiora, the Titans' Michael Roos, or the Patriots' Sebastian Vollmer doing like James McLean and going out of their way to disrespect Veterans?