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why i’m not much worried about riots.

August 19, 2011

If you’ve been paying much attention to the news the last month, you’ll have heard about the riots in London. Young people started rioting in protest of a police killing, but very soon the riots were just looting and arson, destruction for the fun of it, what Time Magazine calls “recreational violence.” An excellent phrase. First time I’ve seen it in print.

I don’t think such widespread rioting will occur in the US. There was a large riot in Los Angeles. 1993, I think.

But the riots mostly occurred in black neighborhoods, didn’t spread that much, if at all, into the more ethnically diverse middle class, and there were no riots anywhere else in the country.

Yes, there were riots in the 1960’s.. Kent State, in Ohio, the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the free speech movement in Berkeley, CA. But, even during the incredibly volatile 1960’s the riots didn’t last very long and were not very widespread.

The class struggle riots in Britain that just ended..

I don’t think these types of riots will happen in the US.

Here’s why..

In Britain, it is against the law for anyone other than the military and law enforcement to own firearms. Think about that.

Here in America, just about any law-abiding citizen with no criminal record or history of mental illness can buy guns.

There was looting and burning during the LA riots, but some shop keepers brought out their shotguns, stood on the roofs of their stores, and pointed their guns at the rioters. Even in the mob frenzy of a riot, shotguns get attention. Many shopkeepers saved their stores and their livelihoods because they owned and were not afraid to use firearms.

Riots like those that occurred recently in England and spread to several cities in that country are just not likely to happen here. People will protect themselves.

There is a downside to all this firearm ownership though.

It is slightly possible that American youths could start a riot, and bring guns with them. A band of armed teenagers could do a lot more damage. They’d still be put down buy the rest of us, but it would be a bloodbath. And the rest of us would win.

I don’t think today’s American youth are going to riot, and if they do, I doubt they will bring guns. Frankly, I think American teenagers are far too self-absorbed and lazy and distracted to put down their cell phones and video games and get up from their computers and start rioting.

So I’m not that worried about it.

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