Three Men, Eight Minutes in London

Eight minutes is a pretty solid response time for a terrorist attack, given that you will want to stage up some sort of response rather than sending individual officers in without backup. You'll want to send people in linked up with at least one other officer, and given that aspect of this, eight minutes from report to "terrorists shot dead" has got to be close to as good as it gets. The London police deserve real credit here.

The British people also deserve credit for fighting back. At the "Black and Blue" -- alternatively described as a "pub" and a "steakhouse" in the press -- a disarmed populace fought back as well as it could by hurling glasses, chairs, whatever came to hand. Slowing the attackers any amount is not to be disparaged as a response given that the police inside London are capable of a fairly quick response time. Every second is a second off the eight-minute clock.

So you might call this the "new normal" for London. You could adapt to this the way London adapted to the Blitz. Once in a while, these bloody attacks come up. It's part of life given the existence of a real enemy that wants to kill you and destroy your civilization. Everyone knows his duty: the disarmed citizen to resist however possible to buy time for the armed agents of the state to arrive and stop the attack. Mentally, one could accept this and learn to live with it.

Why, though, should one do so? The Blitz was accepted because, in 1940, the British had no way to strike back against continental German targets. The alternative was to surrender, but that was unacceptable. It was endured because there was no alternative but to endure it until things changed.

It was also endured because the British superiority in naval forces, and its homeland defense, prevented the Nazis from carrying out any other sort of attacks. There is a parallel here. The Islamists who are murdering British citizens on a regular basis are very much like the Luftwaffe, in that they have hit upon a reliable way to cause death and disruption within London that nevertheless cannot possibly win them the war they want to fight. The Nazis at least could hope for a collapse in civilian morale that would cause a demand that the British government surrender. These Islamists cannot hope even for that, as there is no one to whom the British could surrender if they would.

My own prescription is by now well-known: I think the population should be armed and trained in how to fight back. A civil defense option here would leverage the goodwill of most ordinary people such that any group of fifty random folks at the pub would be able to form a common defense, a kind of impromptu shield wall. If the British government really rejects arming them with firearms, it can train them to fight with knives or sticks. Properly, of course, a free people has the right to self-defense -- and therefore, the right to the tools of self-defense. Properly, a free people has the duty to defend the common peace and lawful order -- and therefore a duty, stronger than a right, to be prepared with the tools to do so.

So far this resort to the citizen militia has not been appealing to the elites, who fear -- I suppose -- the citizen's militia more than they fear the radicals and terrorists. One might wonder why that would be so in a society that claims to be a democracy.

Still, in the light of this attack, it should be obvious why such a militia is an important component of civil defense. There's a clock that starts ticking at the onset of an attack like this, and it stops when the terrorists are dead. The police probably can't do much better than they did in terms of response time here. What can help are citizens who are trained to defend themselves, both in terms of how to avoid harm to themselves and how to link up for a common defense against the foe.

Do that, and the eight minute response time doesn't look so bad. Indeed, even at eight minutes, the police might begin to find that they are arriving largely too late to save the attackers.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Perhaps they fear a citizen's militia, but I suspect what they really fear is black people, hispanics, and poor whites with guns, though they can't bring themselves to think that, let alone say it. They displace that fear onto a group that competes with them politically for power in Washington, and thus their access to the really prime goods of the society. Also, they are less likely to be trained for self-defense, so using weapons is a more remote strategy.

So opposing the ownership of guns is a two-fer for them.

douglas said...

If the reports that at least one of the jihadists was wearing a 'fake suicide vest/belt' (and the photos I've seen seem to agree with that), one thing the police did wrong is there was no insurance shot. 50 rounds were fired, and successfully brought these guys down, but the vest warranted the insurance shot.

Grim said...

We used to call those "security rounds."

douglas said...

Yes, that's it alright, thanks for the proper term.