JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2009/10/backlash.html (23 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1255006632-613202  Jeremy at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 12:57:12 +0000

Two words on that subject: Tony Martin.
Hope they enjoy jail for having the audacity to defend their lives and property.

jsid-1255009102-613205  Mark Alger at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 13:38:22 +0000

Sooner or later, the British people will figure out that, if they take the same scofflaw attitude as their tormenters, little or nothing will be done to them, as the police have no will to investigate violent crime.

Then watch out.


jsid-1255017770-613224  Unix-Jedi at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 16:02:50 +0000


Sorry, can't agree with you there.

The police *will* track down and *will* arrest and they *will* go after the "affluent", the "privileged".

I think Pratchett put it best in Night Watch:

Swing, though, started in the wrong place. He didn’t look around, and watch, and learn, and then say, “This is how people are, how do we deal with it?” No, he sat and thought: “This is how people ought to be, how do we change them?” And that was a good enough thought for a priest but not for a copper, because Swing’s patient, pedantic way of operating had turned policing on its head.

There had been that Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that, Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons had to reduce the crime rate.

Vimes wondered if he’d sat up in bed in the middle of the night and hugged himself when he’d dreamed that one up. Confiscate all weapons, and crime would go down. It made sense. It would have worked, too, if only there had been enough coppers—say, three per citizen.

Amazingly, quite a few weapons were handed in. The flaw, though, was one that had somehow managed to escape Swing, and it was this: criminals don’t obey the law. It’s more or less a requirement for the job. They had no particular interest in making the streets safer for anyone except themselves. And they couldn’t believe what was happening. It was like Hogswatch every day.

Some citizens took the not-unreasonable view that something had gone a bit askew if only naughty people were carrying arms. And they got arrested in large numbers. The average copper, when he’s been kicked in the nadgers once too often and has reason to believe that his bosses don’t much care, has an understandable tendency to prefer to arrest those people who won’t instantly try to stab him, especially if they act a bit snotty and wear more expensive clothes than he personally can afford. The rate of arrests shot right up, and Swing had been very pleased about that.

Admittedly, most of the arrests had been for possessing weaponry after dark, but quite a few had been for assaults on the Watch by irate citizens. That was Assault On A City Official, a very important and despicable crime, and, as such, far more important than all these thefts that were going on everywhere.

It wasn’t that the city was lawless. It had plenty of laws. It just didn’t offer many opportunities not to break them. Swing didn’t seem to have grasped the idea that the system was supposed to take criminals and, in some rough-and-ready fashion, force them into becoming honest men. Instead, he’d taken honest men and turned them into criminals. And the Watch, by and large, into just another gang.

jsid-1255018693-613227  Kevin Baker at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 16:18:13 +0000

THAT is tomorrow's Quote of the Day!

jsid-1255022272-613235  Ken at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 17:17:52 +0000

I'd make the last paragraph the QOTDay after that. ;)

jsid-1255023797-613237  teqjack at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 17:43:17 +0000

Possibly related, Health&Safety has decided that police should never put themselves at risk of harm, though it grudgingly concedes that it may not prosecute officers who do so.

jsid-1255027364-613240  DirtCrashr at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 18:42:44 +0000

They're not really hiring POLICE there anymore, it's some other kind of P.O.L.I.C.Experiment or something with a Union attached...

jsid-1255033675-613244  Sarah at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 20:27:55 +0000

If the police won't put themselves at risk to protect the innocent, then they could at least get the hell out of the way of people who will. The way I see it, the police could still play an important role in curbing crime by refusing to arrest people who defend themselves, others, and their property, against yobs.

jsid-1255036090-613247  DJ at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 21:08:10 +0000

But they gotta earn their paycheck somehow, Sarah! Whaddya 'spect 'em to do, play pinochle and eat donuts all day?

jsid-1255036891-613248  Unix-Jedi at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 21:21:31 +0000

Kevin: have you read Night Watch? If not, there are a couple you need to read first, but it's a work of art.

Coppers liked to say that people shouldn't take the law into their own hands, and they thought they knew what they meant. But they were thinking about peaceful times, and men who went around to sort out a neighbor with a club because his dog had crapped once too often on their doorstep. But at times like these, who did the law belong to? If it shouldn't be in the hands of the people, where the hell should it be? People who knew better? Then you got Winder and his pals, and how good was that?
“Very well, then,” he said and marched stiffly back to the squad. “Sergeant Keel, order the men to fire. One round of arrows, over the top of the barricade.”
“First man that fires, I will personally cut that man down,” said Vimes. He didn't shout. It was a simple, confident statement of precisely what the future would hold.
Rust's expression did not change. He looked Vimes up and down.
“Is this mutiny, then, Sergeant?” said the Captain.
“No. I'm not a soldier, sir. I can't mutiny.”
I said, was he insane, Sarge?” ...
“He asked you to shoot at people who weren't shooting back,” growled Vimes, striding forward. “That makes him insane, wouldn't you say?”
“They are throwing stones, Sarge,” said Colon.
“So? Stay out of range. They'll get tired before we do.”
“You took an oath to uphold the law and defend the citizens without fear or favor,” said Vimes. “And to protect the innocent. That's all they put in. Maybe they thought those were the important things. Nothing in there about orders, even from me. You're an officer of the law, not a soldier of the government.”
(Those aren't the best lines, IMO.)

jsid-1255038453-613250  Sarah at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 21:47:33 +0000

Whaddya 'spect 'em to do, play pinochle and eat donuts all day?

It'd be a start. And a damn better use of their time than whatever they're doing now.

jsid-1255044460-613254  Phil B at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 23:27:40 +0000

But VERY occasionally things pan out correctly.

Before clicking on these links, make sure you aren't eating or drinking anything and cover the keyboard ...

From the "You couldn't make it up" collection ...



Some of the comments are worth a look too.

jsid-1255046336-613257  Kevin Baker at Thu, 08 Oct 2009 23:58:56 +0000

Kevin: have you read Night Watch?

I have not. I know this goes against the common consensus, but I've read the first two or three of Pratchett's Discworld novels, and he just doesn't do it for me. Perhaps I need to give him another chance, but there are so many other books in my "to read" list that I'm loathe to spare the time.

jsid-1255049515-613260  Unix-Jedi at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 00:51:55 +0000


The "Watch" Arc I think you'd love. The other books are _good_, but the early ones are much more into inside-jokes and references to fantasy stuff.

Let me crib from Wikipedia:

Starting with Guards! Guards! in 1989, the major novels featuring the City Watch are:
Guards! Guards! 1989
Men at Arms 1993
Feet of Clay 1996
Jingo 1997
The Fifth Elephant 1999
The Truth 2000
Night Watch 2002
Monstrous Regiment 2003
Thud! 2005

Bolded are ones I strongly, strongly recommend (and will help understand how awesome Night Watch is.) Italicized are extremely good, but the character building and interpersonal relatinships either aren't important for NW, or you'd pick up on them.

Thud! was excellent, too, but Monstrous Regiment was merely "eh". :)

The first two help (Guards! Guards! and Men at Arms) build the characters and the universe. Feet of Clay gets into "government" and "the one" wishes, Jingo is about war and the insanity there (and some interpersonal story). The Fifth Elephant builds up more of Vimes story (but you can kinda figure out the upshot without it), but is excellent. The Truth is about newspapers and reporting and what "the truth" really is. Very good, too.

I think you won't be sorry for reading at least those three.

jsid-1255049729-613261  LabRat at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 00:55:29 +0000

You might want to give it another chance at some point; Discworld is one of the few series I'd actively discourage new readers from starting at the beginning of, first because the author got so much better over its course, second because it's not all that necessary to picking up the universe, and third because it became something entirely other than what it began as. What it started out as was straight and unsubtle parody of shallow fantasy- what it became was some of the best social satire and commentary I've ever read while retaining story and character.

Of course, I'm still bored by Heinlein, so it's obvious our tastes are different. :)

jsid-1255049974-613262  LabRat at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 00:59:34 +0000

Also, tacking on to UJ's post, The Fifth Elephant is actually about tradition, the nature of social change, and government again- it's just most obviously a character piece and a good mystery. ;)

jsid-1255050971-613264  GrumpyOldFart at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 01:16:11 +0000

Anyway, I would add Jingo and Thud! to the "you really should at least read these" list.

And just so ya know, anything written before Guards! Guards!, he was still kinda finding his feet where discworld was concerned.

jsid-1255052359-613266  Ken at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 01:39:19 +0000

Of course, I'm still bored by Heinlein, so it's obvious our tastes are different.

Heretic! Shaygetz! Shun! SHUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!!!!!1!!!!leven!! ;)

jsid-1255052400-613267  FTNuke at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 01:40:00 +0000

Just wanted to say I agree with everyone above, you should give Discworld another chance, especially if you formed your opinion of it based on the first couple of books (the ones with Rincewind). The ones that deal with the Watch (Sam Vimes) are my favorite as well, but any of the ones with Death as a main character are also good.

jsid-1255095554-613278  DJ at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 13:39:14 +0000

"It'd be a start. And a damn better use of their time than whatever they're doing now."

I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're dead right.

jsid-1255105920-613305  perlhaqr at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 16:32:00 +0000

DJ: At least when you pay the Mafia, they actually leave you alone. And if some schlub comes along and starts hassling you, you can go to the Don and point out that you've been paying protection money, and they might actually do something about it.

Whereas when you pay your taxes, you're directly paying people to come fuck with you. I don't like paying taxes, and I think it's immoral as hell for them to collect them, but for fuck's sake, it'd be worth paying those bastards off if they'd just take the money and jerk off all day, rather than come up with new ways of not leaving me alone. From the lowest Zoning Inspector to the Speaker of the House, I wish they'd just take what we pay them and not do their job.

jsid-1255112883-613317  Retardo at Fri, 09 Oct 2009 18:28:03 +0000

Heh. First, they say "Don't endanger yourself, we'll do it for you! That's our job!"

Then when the public takes them at their word, they say "Who, US?!"

Because they are the public. They're not recruiting in Texas. They're recruiting in the UK.

jsid-1255136969-613353  Toastrider at Sat, 10 Oct 2009 01:09:29 +0000

How long, though, to follow Pratchett's remarks, until the middle class yobs are as willing to stab a copper as the thugs?

Wonder where the first urban 'no-go' zone will be...

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