Predict a Riot

kimani-protestersTo anyone who lived in North London a year or so ago, this story looks eerily familiar. A gateway city, with a long history as a multi-cultural melting-pot. Check. Institutionalised poverty in ghettos deliberately created during the 70s and 80s. Check. A decade or so of zero-tolerance for crimes such as walking while black, using the mechanisms of anti-terror and anti-drug hysteria for political cover. Check. A largely white police force with a very long history of violence and abuse against the poor and the coloured. Check. And a dumbass white cop kills an unarmed black teenager, leading to days of mass rioting. Check.

Now, I could swear that when something like this happened in London, the global reaction was vindictive to say the least. The world had some fun at the expense of a British government who had mis-managed the economy and race relations in their capital so badly that actual riots were happening in the streets of a major metropolis. Scandalous! Now, the Americans, in particular, had a lot of fun talking about what they would do. Which is, apparently, invade:

The mysterious reference to a numbered military plan generated a flurry of interest on Twitter as NPR host Michele Norris shot back:”I want to know more about the military’s plan to suppress any potential ‘insurrection.’– CONPLAN 3501 and 3502????”

Interestingly, the CONPLAN (which stands for an “operation plan in concept format” at the Pentagon) Ambinder referenced is a popular subject among conspiracy theorists and critics of martial law. According to the public policy organization, CONPLAN 3502 is the U.S. military’s plan for assisting state and local authorities in the event of a riot or major civil disturbance: “Tasks performed by military forces may include joint patrolling with law enforcement officers; securing key buildings, memorials, intersections and bridges; and acting as a quick reaction force.”

Remember that Ambinder, who referenced the plan as a real government response, is employed as a spokesperson for a Democrat administration, the closest thing to liberals the US has on offer. Put this in context with the astonishing street violence unleashed on the unarmed heads of Occupy, and the wanton destruction of legal medical marijuana in California with backhoes and bailiffs.

Much was made out of how swiftly organised criminals moved under the cover of mass unrest caused by the death of an innocent boy in London. Cameron did over-react, partly because the Met has been itching for another good chance to break black heads en masse since Brixton in the 70s. But sending in the full might of the military with live rounds?

New York is now re-engaging with the unrest of the poor for the first time in really quite a while, and I’m not seeing the kind of sanctimonious bullshit in the US press that they spewed over London’s problems. Instead, we’re seeing fairly serious and realistic reporting, in quotes like this:

Dozens chanted “NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today” and “No justice, no peace”as they marched west on Church Ave. toward the 67th Precinct stationhouse, on Snyder Ave. near Nostrand Ave.

But things quickly got out of hand as some protesters tried to climb on police motorcycles and tossed bottles. Men and women were pepper-sprayed and thrown to the ground and handcuffed One officer smashed a teenage girl across her shins with a baton, toppling her to the ground.

How things change when it’s your guys doing it.


March 2013
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Per Argument Ad Astra

Politics, history, economics and rampant speculation from a victim of the Great Recession, currently at large in the West Midlands.

"When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters."
                -- Adam Smith


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