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London Burning

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The coddling of the criminal class in England is nothing new. In 2003, America’s 1st Freedom traveled to England to speak with Tony Martin, a farmer who protected himself with a firearm in 1999 when his home was broken into by a band of career criminals. One of the invaders was killed and another wounded. Though Martin protected himself from attack within his own home, he was sentenced to life in prison.

The attacker who was wounded received a mere 18 months in prison, and was given recompense from the government to sue Martin for emotional distress.

Martin was paroled after serving nearly four years in prison, and to this day continues to live under the threat of retaliation from the cohorts of those he was forced to shoot in his home—forced, as Martin’s home had been targeted no less than 30 times prior to that night, with authorities doing nothing to protect him. After his release from prison, they’ve done nothing to protect him still.

Sadly, Martin’s case isn’t an outlier, but a signifier of the brave new world English officials have wrought. What at the time was a rallying cry among a populace sickened by the government’s victimization of a crime victim, and their subservient attitude toward the perpetrators, soon became just another harbinger of what would come to England.

This summer, as an elderly flower shop owner in Manchester played dominoes, thieves burst in armed with knives and attacked the proprietor and a friend. A struggle ensued and a 30-year-old thief was fatally stabbed. Upon his release from the hospital, 72-year-old shop owner Cecil Coley, affectionately known in the neighborhood as “Pudding,” was arrested for murder.

In fact, even passively attempting to protect one’s property is forbidden in parts of England. In 2001, the BBC reported on a 93-year-old woman who, having been a victim of repeated burglaries, placed barbed wire around her home, but was ordered to take it down after police became concerned it could injure intruders. And this spring, police in parts of England ordered residents to remove chicken wire from the windows of garden sheds—installed to protect against a rash of backyard burglaries—as the wire was deemed “dangerous” to criminals.

And while actively or passively protecting one’s property is forbidden, even owning property can put one askance of the British government’s bizarre new worldview. Roving gangs of squatters are increasingly breaking into homes in England while the owners are away on vacation—or even just away at the store—and changing the locks, creating false lease agreements and laying claim to property while the lawful owners scramble to find legal recourse.

Meanwhile, officials seem apathetic to their plight. “Squatting is not a crime” but merely a civil offense, one British judge noted when she ordered that a list of vacant homes in the north of London be provided to something called the Advisory Service for Squatters, a group that serves the more than 20,000 squatters in the United Kingdom today.

“While Judge Henderson acknowledged that publication of the list could have ‘a negative impact’ on crime prevention and might be of use to organized criminals looking to burgle and gut empty homes,” the Daily Mail reported, the judge “insisted, ‘The tribunal does not consider that any perceived social disadvantage of living next door to squatters, or the costs of eviction of squatters, are matters that the tribunal is entitled to take into consideration since squatting is not illegal.’”

These tales would seem the stuff of fiction. But they are not the reality for millions of Britons today, where the laws are maintained to protect the criminal element, while the law-abiding citizen is viewed as the greatest threat to order.

This is where an acquiescence of rights leads, and this is the future that many envision for the United States.

Some of the most incredible images that remain of the 1992 L.A. riots are found in footage of South Korean store owners protecting their property with lawfully possessed firearms, driving back bands of rioters intent on looting and burning businesses and attacking shop owners.

All that the Second Amendment embodies is on display in that footage.

Now consider images from the 2011 riots in London. We saw no store owners protecting their shops. Just burning buildings, looters making off with armfuls of storekeepers’ goods and proprietors standing bewildered, waiting for help from the authorities that would never arrive.

(Of course, looting occurred during the Los Angeles riots and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. These cities put up roadblocks to armed defense of self and property in the wake of upheavals, and in the process took a step away from constitutional fidelity and a step toward the England of today.)

For years, Peter Hitchens has warned his countrymen that the erosion of rights coupled with the coddling of criminals in England would lead to disastrous consequences.

And this August, the proverbial chickens of which Hitchens warned came home to roost. The criminal society that England’s progressives fostered over the past decades erupted into chaos, with police unwilling and citizens unable to stop the carnage.

“Bitter laughter is my main response,” Hitchens wrote in the Sunday Mail in response to the riots. “You are surprised by what has happened? Why? …

“The great majority of the looters, smashers, burners and muggers have not been arrested and never will be. Our long-enfeebled police were so useless at the start that thousands of crimes were committed with total impunity,” he said. “Now we know why they don’t call themselves ‘police forces’ any more. But they aren’t ‘services’ either, for they certainly don’t serve us or do what we want them to do, preferring to arrest us for defending ourselves. The criminals, who are cunning without being intelligent, all know this. They will wait for the next chance.

“They have all learned what most British politicians somehow cannot grasp—that the more encounters you have with our justice system, the less you fear it. A few ‘exemplary’ sentences—none of which will be served in full, or anything near it—will only help to spread the word that arson, robbery, violence, spite and selfishness are not punished here any more. Indeed, these are the things we are now famous for around a world that once respected us,” he said.

“And that is why we have many more nasty surprises waiting for us, here in The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain.”

Sadly, Great Britain isn’t the only country that could have more nasty surprises waiting.

“All Americans should pay close attention to the riots in Great Britain, because this is the criminal utopia that gun-ban extremists at the United Nations, and in our own White House, want to impose on us,” the NRA’s Cox warned soon after the riots. “Next year, the U.N. will convene leaders from various countries around the world to finish writing an international Arms Trade Treaty that could severely restrict or even outright ban Americans’ right to sell, purchase, carry or own a firearm. Anti-gun extremists have been working on this treaty for well over a decade. Now they’re closer than ever to realizing their dream.

“Ironically,” Cox said, “the British government is one of the strongest proponents of this latest U.N. scheme to destroy our Second Amendment rights. Evidently, British politicians think America and the rest of the world should enjoy the same results that were on full display in London.”

In 2004, when the United Nations was laying the groundwork for what would become the international Arms Trade Treaty, the NRA’s LaPierre traveled to London to debate Rebecca Peters, architect of the gun ban in Australia that was modeled after Britain’s own disarmament scheme, and then-head of the U.N.’s global push to ban civilian firearm ownership.

Asked during the debate why Americans should sacrifice their Second Amendment rights at the altar of global gun control, Peters answered smugly, “It seems to me the National Rifle Association would say all people on earth are created equal, but some people—Americans—are created more equal than others. No, Americans are people like everyone else on earth. They should abide by the same rules as everyone else.”

Seven years later, as the United Nations continues its attempts to subjugate the Second Amendment so Americans will “abide by the same rules as everyone else,” LaPierre made clear to those at the U.N.—and those here at home working toward the same goal—that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is non-negotiable.

“The cornerstone of our freedom is the Second Amendment,” LaPierre said in his address to the U.N. this past July. “Neither the United Nations, nor any other foreign influence, has the authority to meddle with the freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, endowed by our Creator and due to all humankind.”

Much like England, the United States could well be destroyed from within by those working to dismantle this cornerstone of freedom. This coming election season, the future of our country surely hangs in the balance.

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