This started as a comment to Borepatch’s post, Col. Jeff Cooper’s advice on the London riots
It seems to me that there are fundamentally two types of riot. The first, and more common is a kind of youthful hooliganism. Such riots are commonly seen in sports fans after a major win or loss. While destructive and criminal, they, by and large, are not terribly serious. They tend to work themselves out after all the emotion has been spent.
The second is an insurrectionist assault against the civil order. These are the kind of riots we saw in LA in the ’90’s and are currently seeing in London. They are much more serious.
It was for the purpose of suppressing the second that the Riot Act of 1714 was passed. The Riot Act provided a mechanism by which certain local officials could order the dispersal of twelve or more persons “unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled together.” The local official would read out a proclamation declaring that,
Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!
If the rioters failed to disperse after one hour, they were guilty of rioting, which was a felony without benefit of clergy, punishable by death. The act also specifically provided legal protection for any person assisting is suppressing the mob.
The Riot Act was repealed in 1973.
I think the repeal was a mistake. It seems to me that part of the reason why one is willing to engage in riot is because there is no individual disincentive not to. The mob provides anonymity. There are too many individuals to prosecute them all, so the risk for any specific individual is fairly low. And the return is fairly high is one manages to loot anything.
The rioters in London are not rioting because of injustice. They are rioting because they are thieves. They want that which does not belong to them, and are using violence to seize it. They are also trying to intimidate the general populace into continuing to pay for their entitlements. They are rioting to show that “they can.” But more importantly, they are rioting to show that the state cannot stop them. And that the state will not stop them.
They are the Danes. Or the Vikings. Or the Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, or Vandals. They are barbarians, and the antithesis of civilization. They are literally sacking London. The only difference between them and the Vandals is that they didn’t have to invade violently. They were invited.
For these barbarians, violent resistance is the only option. If they assault you, you hit back harder. Force is the only language they speak. As I wrote in On the Norway Muders
Kevin Baker has a brilliant post about this topic, and you should really read the whole thing. But, the most important piece is this, “The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.”
If someone attempts to murder you, you must respond, immediately, viciously, and violently. As Malcolm Reynolds said, “Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill ‘em right back! …You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people.”
There is a principle in the ARMA that whenever one makes an attack, one should do so with martial ardor. One should strike as if one intends to harm the enemy. So, too is it with firearms. If one has to fight, one should fight deliberately, and intentionally to harm the enemy. He is trying to spill your blood, surely you should extend him the same courtesy?
I don’t know if riots in this country will be responded to in the same way the British have, but I do know that I agree with Mr Peel that the preservation of the civil order is a duty that is incumbent on every citizen. And for the purpose of allowing the citizens to preserve their lives, their property, and the social order from the raving hordes, I think specific legal protections ought to be in place.
Update Foseti gets it.
Barbarians are barbarians. They are not civilized people. They do not build, they do not produce, they have no capacity or interest in doing anything more than breed, subsist, and destroy. You build a wall to keep the barbarians out, and when they try to invade, as they eventually will, you utilize civilized discipline to slaughter them. You can try to convert them to civilization in their own lands, and sometimes they will be able to maintain one if the population possesses sufficient average time preferences, but whatever you do, you don’t permit them to move in next door.