Rarely do I comment on current events because there is an army of pundits and bloggers for that. But the very recent rioting in England leads me to some interesting observations:
1. This is organized. Groups of young men are clearly communicating to coordinate their criminal efforts. I wonder at what level this is happening. Within a group, are certain roles defined? Defenders (from police), scouts, looters, communicators, fighters, etc. If that level of organization is occurring, this kind of urban unrest is going to get very effective and increasingly scary.
2. These are small groups (40-200) of young men who are committing these acts. With smaller groups and good communication, it’s possible to outwit and out run the police. Speed is the crucial element here.
3. This is the result of the economic abandonment of young men and they are very, very angry about it. If they can’t earn it, they’ll take it and will organize themselves in their quest for loot.
4. In an essentially gun-free society, small groups of fast-moving young men can really wreak havoc on public and private property.
5. In an essentially gun-free society, citizens and business owners cannot adequately defend their property or themselves and must rely on a police force that is not well equipped to cope with the fast moving groups. Rather, the police are equipped for large scale civil unrest. Tear gas, water cannons, body shields and the like are worthless against this type of civil unrest
6. The police have three primary options: A. Review camera footage quickly and make arrests before the sun sets. B. Increase their aggression and their own level of violence. C. Shut down certain wireless data services at key points where rioting is likely and before it happens.
7. A charismatic leader could emerge to organize these “surplus men” (hat tip to Johnny Milfquest for that term) into something truly revolutionary and very dangerous.
8. As civil unrest goes, the rioting in England is essentially medieval in nature. The weaponry is at the clubs, knives, and boiling oil (firebombs) level. Of course cell phones and cameras add a very high tech element to all of it.
As the United States is far more heavily armed, any civil unrest here will be shockingly deadly. Consider the New York City draft riots of 1863 then add automatic weapons, armor, and air strikes. Our civil unrest will be brief and stunningly bloody.