Tottenham Riots

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Steax » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:41 am UTC

Best wishes to fellow xkcdians in the affected areas. I know from personal encounters that it doesn't take much for looting and minor chaos to transform into all-out anarchy, if only for split seconds. Those seconds can take lives. Stay safe!
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby michael24easilybored » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:48 am UTC

Dauric wrote:Wild Question from across the pond:

In the U.S. riots usually end up in the police breaking out the tear gas, even if the riot is -relatively- low key, such as the riots in Denver when the Broncos won the superbowl in 98 and 99. I've been looking at videos of the riots in London, and I don't see clouds of tear gas. There's a lot of smoke from burning buildings, but it looks like the police are basically using batons and bodily force behind riot shields.

Are the videos I see representative of the tactics of the London PD, or is it "sanitized" for the media?


Hey there. The general ideology regarding the Police in the UK is that they police "with the consent" of the community. This basically means that the Police are there with the public's support and aren't any kind of militia or instrument of force to impose the governments will on the people. Because of this (and also because we have very low gun ownership in the UK) the Police in the UK are very lighty armed, most officers carrying now more than a baton and a can of CS gas. The same philosophy probably explains why the police aren't using tear gas, rubber bullets of water cannons in London and other cities.

Obviously there are Police authorised to use firearms, and in Northern Ireland where there have been serious troubles over the years the Police are routinely armed with firearms and experienced in using rubber bullets and water cannons during disturbances.

Personally, if I was David Cameron I'd be sending over the RAF to Northern Ireland to pick up these water cannon trucks and as many rubber bullet firing officers as the PSNI can spare. I hate to sound like a mad old right winger here but I think a lot of these looters could do with a shot up the arse from a rubber bullet.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Sokh » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:54 am UTC

This is getting surrel. I always thought with the troubles we'd be having there'd be a large scale protest but I never could have predicted riots on this scale. Still desperately trying to contact family and friends back in Croydon, I'm hoping they're either at work or out of town while this is going on. It's sad to see streets you recognise from childhood burned to the ground.

Edit: Sister's staying longer in Spain with one of my brothers and my sister in law says it didn't reach them last night. Finger's crossed My other brother is ok and nothing too serious happens tonight. With 16,000 police out hopefully rioters will be dettered.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Plasma Man » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

michael24easilybored wrote:Personally, if I was David Cameron I'd be sending over the RAF to Northern Ireland to pick up these water cannon trucks and as many rubber bullet firing officers as the PSNI can spare. I hate to sound like a mad old right winger here but I think a lot of these looters could do with a shot up the arse from a rubber bullet.
I have to say that I think that is a seriously bad idea. As the BBC point out, it's the marching season, so they could well be needed there. As for rubber bullets, I'm sorry, but that's complete and utter idiocy. It's well-known that they can kill people, and at the minute, even a rumour of someone being killed by the police would cause the whole thing to get worse.
I think the police have actually got the right idea at the minute. Keep calling in reinforcements and additional personnel, but stick to standard techniques, don't risk creating more anger to fuel the riots.

As to why this has happened, it seems to have started off with anger over the police killing Mark Duggan, but, as the spreading disorder across the country shows, it now seems to be those who don't think they have much to lose realising that the police can't be everywhere at once, so there's little to stop them grabbing what they can. As I implied above, I think the best thing for the police to do is to keep the response controlled, but keep it constant. Keep arresting people, keep tackling trouble as it appears, and make it clear that they're not going to let those out committing disorder to get away with it. I think the aim has to be to try to get things back to business as usual, not to escalate things.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Dream » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:20 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:As for rubber bullets, I'm sorry, but that's complete and utter idiocy. It's well-known that they can kill people, and at the minute, even a rumour of someone being killed by the police would cause the whole thing to get worse.
Well, unfortunately for that thinking:
http://www.londonnet.co.uk/news/2011/au ... night.html


Instead of a curfew, the Met Police have announced that an unprecedented 16,000 offices will be on duty on the streets of the capital tonight (Tuesday 9 August 2011), with plastic bullets to be used if deemed necessary.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Plasma Man » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

Oh shit. That has the potential to go horribly wrong.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby ShootTheChicken » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:41 pm UTC

Especially when you consider they're all fed up and sleep deprived at the moment.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby addams » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:27 pm UTC

People need meaningful work and purposeful play.

People need each other. 600,000 young people that have no purpose nor much meaning in their lives is tragic.

I would not know how to live in their worlds. Their world is my world.

I am sure that I do not understand. Oh me yarm. Does anyone else remember the over population studies that were done with Rats?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation

It is, just, a thought.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopula ... mpowerment

It does not make me feel confidant when Wikipedia has Education and Empowerment followed quickly by extraterrestrial settlements.
Education and empowerment seem so much easier than finding a place among the stars.

India is the most populated place on earth. They do not have riots. Why not? Is it the Religion? I do understand that people would want to stand up and say, "No." To the idea that we suffer now because we deserve it. I say, "No." to that idea, also.

We do not need to make a choice between riots and needless suffering. I am so sorry that London is have a difficult time. We can all live so well, if, we could share what we have.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby greengiant » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:38 pm UTC

addams wrote:India is the most populated place on earth. They do not have riots. Why not? Is it the Religion? I do understand that people would want to stand up and say, "No." To the idea that we suffer now because we deserve it. I say, "No." to that idea, also.


They do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Riots_in_India In the 2005 ones, to pick an example, 9 people were apparently shot dead by the police. There could easily have been more riots than are listed as the English-language wikipedia (unsurprisingly) seems to have much more material on English speaking countries.

Also, the Education and Empowerment link you gave suggests providing wide access to sex education and birth control which is something the UK already does fairly well (not suggesting perfectly of course). Not sure it really applies to this situation.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Deep_Thought » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

addams wrote:India is the most populated place on earth. They do not have riots. Why not? Is it the Religion? I do understand that people would want to stand up and say, "No." To the idea that we suffer now because we deserve it. I say, "No." to that idea, also.

I'm assuming you meant most densely, rather than most, because China might like to have a word about that. As for why we've got riots here right now and they don't, I've only got generalisations along the lines of distribution of wealth, familial breakdown and lack of social engagement* to offer.

*Social engagement works both ways. I'm not sure the people instigating these outbreaks would be interested in joining in with society even if a clear path was offered for them. Everyone involved in these riots chose to be there and get involved. They now bear the weight of their responsibility in that choice.

Ninja'd: Apparently they do have riots anyway.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Ptolom » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Plasma Man wrote:As for rubber bullets, I'm sorry, but that's complete and utter idiocy. It's well-known that they can kill people, and at the minute, even a rumour of someone being killed by the police would cause the whole thing to get worse.
Well, unfortunately for that thinking:
http://www.londonnet.co.uk/news/2011/au ... night.html


Instead of a curfew, the Met Police have announced that an unprecedented 16,000 offices will be on duty on the streets of the capital tonight (Tuesday 9 August 2011), with plastic bullets to be used if deemed necessary.

I don't know about rubber bullets, they sound rather dangerous, but I really think there needs to be a police crackdown. I never thought I'd say this but we need slightly more police brutality. It's their responsibility to protect people and property and they're not doing so.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Dream » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:I never thought I'd say this but we need slightly more police brutality. It's their responsibility to protect people and property and they're not doing so.

And what do you suppose will happen when photos appear on the Web of brown kids covered in blood while the police fire guns into crowds of children?
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Enokh » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:22 pm UTC

More people who deserve to be shot with rubber bullets will take to the streets? Idiot kids will maybe start to think that there are consequences when you run around looting and setting shit on fire?

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Sokh » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:32 pm UTC

The consequence should be exactly what the police are doing at the moment, arresting the rioters. I would expect every human right to be extended to the people detained that I would expect myself. Violence towards them, in any form, even non lethal, will only incite further violence in retaliation from them. rubber bullets CAN kill and like plasma man said, it has the potential to go horribly wrong.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Dream » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:deserve

See, the police don't punish people. You don't realise it, but what you're advocating is a literal fascist police state.

And that's why the police shouldn't be thinking about baton rounds, because it will be seen as punishment even if it's not, and it will incite retaliation. And the point is to stop all of this, not start much much more of it.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Deep_Thought » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

It doesn't even have to be brown kids. I've read police blogs today claiming that the word on the front lines last night was "Remember Tomlinson", and mid-level commanders were trying to get assurances that individual front-line officers would not be held responsible for any injuries before ordering charges. I don't blame them for being so cautious. I think that public perception has changed enough in the last 24 hours that they aren't going to be so worried tonight.

The arsonists are the ones I really want caught and locked up for a long time. Looting is bad and idiotic, but it doesn't put actual people in danger. Setting fire to shops with occupied flats above is pretty close to attempted murder or manslaughter.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Ptolom » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:43 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Ptolom wrote:I never thought I'd say this but we need slightly more police brutality. It's their responsibility to protect people and property and they're not doing so.

And what do you suppose will happen when photos appear on the Web of brown kids covered in blood while the police fire guns into crowds of children?

The web is already full of pictures of kids covered in blood who have been robbed by other kids. And the response of the police shouldn't be based on what will create the least outrage on the internet.
People seem to have been pretty content for the police to fire thousands of plastic bullets into unruly crowds of Irish protesters, but to use them in London is seen as unprecedented brutality.
It's not pleasant, but it's better than standing and watching people smash the place up. Of course, there are probably safer alternatives to rubber bullets. Pepper balls (like paint balls but filled with capsaicin) seem like a good alternative.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Dark567 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:51 pm UTC

Wouldn't you try tear gas before rubber bullets? The former seems like a lot less violent way to dissipate rioters.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Both the Met's tactic book and the current spread-out nature of the rioting precludes the use of tear gas.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Ptolom » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Maybe, but tear-gas affects areas rather than individuals, who can move elsewhere, leaving the area inaccessible for firefighters. It's also more likely to hit bystanders.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Sokh » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:54 pm UTC

A quote from an IAMA by a police officer dealing with this on reddit.

They fight. We 'deal with civil disorder', whilst under constant l, vigilant watch by the media and our superiors. We do defend ourselves, but 'fighting' isn't part of the job description.


The police are there to detain those breaking the law so they can be processed and punished. Not to deal out punishment themselves.




That's reserved for Judge Dredd.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Jumble » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

By way of a quick update, I got a train out of central London half an hour back. There were reports at work of trouble in Wimbledon (!!), there's a big pall of smoke rising over the east end and my bike ride to the station kept being interrupted by convoys of riot police vans. Still lots of people around. It's a sunny evening in London and no-one (least of all a bunch of thieving little shits) is going to take away the Londoners Devine right to a pint after work! I'm just hoping it doesn't spread to the suburbs or I could have an interesting night. Travel safely, all.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Deep_Thought » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:It's not pleasant, but it's better than standing and watching people smash the place up. Of course, there are probably safer alternatives to rubber bullets. Pepper balls (like paint balls but filled with capsaicin) seem like a good alternative.

I like the sound of these pepper balls, although Wikipedia claims someone in Boston died from one (I assume shot in the face).

Well, unfortunately it seems to be Salford/Manchester's turn tonight. :( Good luck all forum people up North.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

Tear gas has several problems associated with it. As pointed out already, it affects areas rather than looters and can linger for some time, preventing access both to legitimate residents, firecrews, and police. Another problem is that (at least some types of) tear gas are abortifacients, which is a major concern in neighborhoods and where the rioters are young and potentially fertile. With any chemical weapons, including pepper balls and tear gas, there are associated medical risks and costs.

I have to say I'm pretty impressed, at least morally, by the response of the London Police so far. They seem to be trying very hard to maintain the moral high ground.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Enokh » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Enokh wrote:deserve

See, the police don't punish people. You don't realise it, but what you're advocating is a literal fascist police state.

And that's why the police shouldn't be thinking about baton rounds, because it will be seen as punishment even if it's not, and it will incite retaliation. And the point is to stop all of this, not start much much more of it.


Being arrested isn't punishment? And if you equate "a literal fascist police state" to "police officers using force to oppose people actively pursuing the destruction of property, large-scale theft, and the endangerment of innocent lives", then 1) that's an incredibly loose definition of fascist police state and 2) that means most of the world is a fascist police state.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Deep_Thought » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:Being arrested isn't punishment?

No, it's not, at least in most people's eyes. Sure it's inconvenient, but the "punishment" part of the justice system is supposed to come after prosecution and conviction, i.e. prison or community service. If you want more severe punishments, that's the place it should be handed out, not at the start of the system.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby mind404 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:18 pm UTC

I don't know if this makes me a bad person that this is one of the biggest things pissing me off about it, but if they are burning historical buildings... that really irks me. You can't replace those things.

and yes people too, I do hope all are well as those take a while to replace adequately as well
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Dream » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:21 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:People seem to have been pretty content for the police to fire thousands of plastic bullets into unruly crowds of Irish protesters, but to use them in London is seen as unprecedented brutality.

There are no words to describe how divorced from reality you are.

Enokh wrote:And if you equate "a literal fascist police state" to "police officers using force to oppose people actively pursuing the destruction of property, large-scale theft, and the endangerment of innocent lives",

I don't, I equate it to police shooting (even with baton rounds) people because they "deserve it". That is very much fascist police action.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Just to head off any potential off-topicness:

Fascism is an often misconstrued term.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Роберт » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:39 pm UTC

The police definitely should not be meting out punishment. They should definitely be arresting the rioters, as calmly and humanely as possible. Any unnecessary roughness is wrong, I don't care if the rioters "deserve it", it's not the job of the police to do it.

So far it sounds like the police are doing as well as would be expected?

Edit: apperantly bats and nightsticks are selling well on Amazon's UK site. :-/ http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/09/technology/amazon_riot/
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Enokh » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

There seems to be some confusion as to what I was trying to say, and this apparently revolves around my usage of the word "deserve" (I'm assuming this since it's come up, in quotes, a few times). I'm not saying that police should be running around and shooting rioters with rubber bullets (or anything else). I'm saying that, if what options the police have that don't include rubber bullets isn't working and the rioters are still putting lives in jeopardy, then it's time to use rubber bullets.

As far as "deserve", I mean it as following: If person A, without provocation, attacks person B and person B defends themselves, person A deserves the injuries they received during B's self-defense. I do NOT mean deserve as in: Person A decides Person B is being a jerk and so attacks Person B, and person B deserved it.

And before folks start getting all snarky, I mean "self-defense" in the actual sense of the phrase, so none of this "just because someone is trying to slap you doesn't mean you get to shoot them in the back of the head!" nonsense.

Perhaps a more pertinent example would be Person A attacking Person B, B is unable to effectively defend themselves for whatever reason, bystander C steps in to defend B from A. Person C uses the bare minimum of physical force, after saying things like "stop" etc., to end the thread to B. A deserves whatever injuries he got during C's defense of B.

Deep_Thought wrote:
Enokh wrote:Being arrested isn't punishment?

No, it's not, at least in most people's eyes.


[citation needed]

If being detained in a prison cell against your will is punishment, then being detained in a jail cell or in the back of a police car against your will is punishment. Furthermore, what is the difference between being shot by a rubber bullet and being hit with a baton? Both cause injury, both are physical violence, and both can (rarely) kill.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby casoid » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:20 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:People seem to have been pretty content for the police to fire thousands of plastic bullets into unruly crowds of Irish protesters, but to use them in London is seen as unprecedented brutality.


To be fair though, the average Belfast sectarian riot is as much about targeting the police as anything else. You end up with a situation where large numbers of people are going out with the express intent to commit violence against others and against the security forces. Nobody in London is throwing blast/nail/acid/petrol bombs at anyone just yet (not on anything like the same scale at least, as far as I'm aware), and therefore discharging hundreds of baton rounds may as yet be unnecessary.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:25 pm UTC

An observation over the dinner table:

"Well, the exemplary sentence given to Charlie Gilmour has obviously failed to act as an example"
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Jumble » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:29 pm UTC

casoid wrote:
Ptolom wrote:People seem to have been pretty content for the police to fire thousands of plastic bullets into unruly crowds of Irish protesters, but to use them in London is seen as unprecedented brutality.


To be fair though, the average Belfast sectarian riot is as much about targeting the police as anything else. You end up with a situation where large numbers of people are going out with the express intent to commit violence against others and against the security forces. Nobody in London is throwing blast/nail/acid/petrol bombs at anyone just yet (not on anything like the same scale at least, as far as I'm aware), and therefore discharging hundreds of baton rounds may as yet be unnecessary.

Also, keep in mind that there is a finite supply of 'kinetic' riot control gear in the UK. As we are in the marching season in Northern Ireland (where we celebrate our community by marching through the streets to demonstrate how much we hate each other) I suspect much of the heavy gear is on the wrong side of the Irish Sea.

[edit] just heard that parliament has been recalled. With that and the cancellation of all police leave, clearly Cameron has decided that if he can't have his holiday nobody else is going to either.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Pandorly » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:32 pm UTC

Poor Cameron had to set his holiday short. My heart weeps for him.

How come people give a shit when some criminal is shot but they don't care when Ian Tomlinson is beaten by police while coming home from work and later has a brain haemorrage as a result?
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Ptolom » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:40 pm UTC

casoid wrote:
Ptolom wrote:People seem to have been pretty content for the police to fire thousands of plastic bullets into unruly crowds of Irish protesters, but to use them in London is seen as unprecedented brutality.


To be fair though, the average Belfast sectarian riot is as much about targeting the police as anything else. You end up with a situation where large numbers of people are going out with the express intent to commit violence against others and against the security forces. Nobody in London is throwing blast/nail/acid/petrol bombs at anyone just yet (not on anything like the same scale at least, as far as I'm aware), and therefore discharging hundreds of baton rounds may as yet be unnecessary.

This is of course true. They definitely shouldn't be used except as a last resort, where the potential for injury from the riots is greater than that from the baton rounds.
People have been throwing petrol bombs at the police, and one man has been shot dead.
Dream wrote:
Ptolom wrote:People seem to have been pretty content for the police to fire thousands of plastic bullets into unruly crowds of Irish protesters, but to use them in London is seen as unprecedented brutality.

There are no words to describe how divorced from reality you are.

I'm not comparing the riots in London with sectarian violence in Ireland, I'm just talking about people's response to use of force by the police.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Deep_Thought » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:48 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:If being detained in a prison cell against your will is punishment, then being detained in a jail cell or in the back of a police car against your will is punishment.

You're slightly missing the point of what I was trying to say. In theory, we should not be punishing innocent people, people are innocent until proven guilty, and in the eyes of the law you're not guilty until you've been in front of a judge and jury. Hence your punishment should start after that point. Slapping the cuffs on someone in a riot is a more open-and-shut case than usual, but that doesn't mean due process can be circumvented. Of course being detained in a jail cell or police car is shit. I certainly wouldn't want to end up in either. That's why if you're found guilty time served is counted against your sentence.

Wrapped up in this is also the issue of what the purpose of prison is - is it for punishment, rehabilitation or simply to protect the public? I tend to go for the latter two, because if you just want to punish someone there's better ways to do it than locking them up (IMHO).

Pandorly wrote:How come people give a shit when some criminal is shot but they don't care when Ian Tomlinson is beaten by police while coming home from work and later has a brain haemorrage as a result?

People did care - there was quite a large public outrage especially after the two videos came out! Also, just to be accurate, it was an abdominal haemorrage, not a brain haemorrage if I remember correctly.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:55 pm UTC

It's because Ian Tomlinson's peers didn't know many gang-members, and the protests didn't interest the local gangs.
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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby casoid » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:02 pm UTC

Pandorly wrote:Poor Cameron had to set his holiday short. My heart weeps for him.


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Disclaimer: I am in no way implying that the David Cameron is anywhere near as cool as Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz.

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Re: Tottenham Riots

Postby Mittagessen » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:07 pm UTC

Leaving this interesting take on the events here.


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