Something Else You Don’t See in England

Via Instapundit comes this story of {tongue-in-cheek}”vigilantism”{/tongue-in-cheek}:

Teenager’s action wins praise

A 14-year-old Miamisburg girl is being commended by Miami Twp. police for her quick thinking and bravery in helping a group of residents make a citizens arrest.

Morgan Ruppert spotted a purse snatch suspect running in her direction, being chased by a group of residents, when she instinctively ran toward him. She reached out and grabbed at the purse strings of the stolen purse, and gave the running man a hefty kick in the shins.

It caused him to trip, and he fell to the ground, where the men chasing him pinned him down and held him until police arrived.

Outstanding. And there’s more!

(Maj. John DiPietro, deputy police chief of Miami Township) said he recognizes the action of the residents involved as a “result of the terrible tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.

“When those folks took over in that airplane and stopped the hijackers, I think it triggered something in a lot of good people,” DiPietro said. “I think there is a feeling now that criminals are not going to be tolerated. People are fed up and feel they are not going to let this happen.”

But…

DiPietro said residents should never put themselves in danger.

“It is an individual choice — how active you want to respond,” he said. “But you are also of help when you are a good witness. When you call 911 to report suspicious activity and when you provide us with a good description, then you are helping a lot.”

In other words, “Don’t defend yourself or others. You’re not qualified.” It IS an individual choice, and putting one’s self in danger to stop crime is one of those choices. Why do law enforcement representatives constantly tell us not to resist?

Contrast this to the responses to this Joyce Lee Malcom article advising England that they need more guns. (Hat tip to the Geek with a .45) For example:

I find this notion ludicrous. We do not need a nation of armed vigilantes (potential or otherwise) to ensure the peace, but rather active citizens who are willing to stand together against crime in their neighborhoods and cooperate with local authorities to apprehend criminals. This is the way to reduce crime. To draw a link between gun ownership and an overall drop in crime in the US is spurious and the article does not have enough evidence to point to a causative relationship between the two. – Sean Aaron

And why doesn’t England have “active citizens who are willing to stand together against crime”? Because doing so runs the risk of prosecution for the use of excessive force, maybe? Because the Brits have been told for so long that they’re not qualified or authorized to?

Maj. DiPietro might be correct that 9/11 has inspired more people to actively resist crime, but this kind of thing wasn’t unheard of even prior. And while Ms. Malcolm’s prescription is not without serious side-effects, I think she’s right when it comes to violent crime. And I think this guy has his head up his posterior:

I have no problem with responsible gun ownership, but lets face it, most people are not responsible enough to own and operate a gun in safety. Gun ownership is not necessary in a society that informs on criminals and helps the police to root out crime in the neighbourhoods. – Greg, Canada

Really, most people?

One of the problems in England is that people who “inform on criminals” and “help the police root out crime” tend to be seriously victimized by said criminals, and the cops are pretty much powerless to stop it. On top of that, defending yourself from the thugs can get you in deep water there, as in the case of Martin James. If I recall correctly, Mr. James killed himself the day before he was to appear in court.

Here, at least, we’re still allowed to defend ourselves.

UPDATE:  As of August 6, 2013, due to the herculean efforts of reader John Hardin, the original JS-Kit/Echo comment thread for this post (read-only) is available here.

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