Reactions to the London Attack, Helpful and Unhelpful

 

Jon, I was prompted to write this when I saw your post this morning.

I spent the day yesterday with two friends who were visiting from London. They live quite close to London Bridge. One used to be a Ricochet member. Both were, until recently, solid Atlanticists — and still are — but they’re both offended beyond words by the tone of hostility and contempt for Britain that’s oozing, non-stop, out of the US these days, starting with the President, and echoed by many Americans on social media. I don’t blame them for being offended.

“Instructing Londoners to run, hide, and tell,” Jon writes, “is a dramatic departure from the can-do, stiff-upper-lip, globe-striding empire of a century ago.”

Actually, it’s not.

This guidance has been in place since 2014. It’s not a dramatic departure from anything, although it is a response to studying hundreds of similar situations around the world, including many in the United States. You’ll note that Britons are being told, explicitly, not to surrender or negotiate. The reason they’re emphasizing the seemingly obvious — run — is that we now, unfortunately, have a lot of evidence about how civilians (everywhere) behave during terrorist attacks and other emergencies. Some small percentage of them do behave as we all like to fantasize we would: They become superheroes who defeat the terrorists using any implement available. Unfortunately, in reality, many people don’t do that. They freeze. 

“Freezing” seems to be something like a biologic default. It’s a cross-cultural reaction to fear. So people do in fact need to be told, specifically, not to obey that instinct. They need to be warned that their first response may be to deny what’s happening, or be confused by it, and freeze. They need to hear (often, repetitively) that this is not the reaction most likely to result in their survival. 

This is why we get a lot of seemingly-obvious warnings about what to do and not do in other kinds of emergencies — e.g., “If you need to evacuate this plane, do not stop to get your luggage.” The reason we hear that all the time isn’t because the airline officials condescendingly suspect we might be idiots. It’s because they know we are. There’s evidence, and a lot of it, that a significant number of people will try to get their luggage, even though every second matters when you’re trying to evacuate a smoke-filled plane, and even though people who try to get their luggage put everyone behind them in mortal danger. And yes, this happens in the US as well as the UK. An NTSB study found that 50 percent — yes, 50 percent — of the passengers in emergency evacuations tried to take their bags. Now, why would they do such a stupid thing? Because most people have no experience of situations like this, and most people don’t respond heroically — or rationally — to them, unless they’ve had a lot of training. No matter what you think you would do, the reality is that in emergencies, many people do dumb things, and unless you’ve been in the situation yourself, you don’t know for sure you wouldn’t be one of them.

“Run, Hide, Fight” is standard protocol for active-shooter situations in the US, too. Are Americans wimps because we, too, need to be told to run and hide? Ah, but you say, part of the advice we get is to fight. Well, no one is telling the British not to fight: And indeed, they fought — they fought back with everything they had on hand: chairs, pint glasses, bottles, discarded bicycle parts. They’ve emphasized “Tell” over “Fight” because that actually makes a lot of sense if you’re living a country where the cops are armed and the terrorists aren’t, and it makes even more sense if the cops are able to get there and kill all of the terrorists within eight minutes. That is, by the way, an impressive achievement, and the appropriate reaction from allies to that news is, “Well done,” not “You remind us of Neville Chamberlain.”

Larry Barton, an American researcher at the University of Central Florida, is the highest-rated instructor at the FBI Academy and US Marshals Service. His research supports both the “run” advice and the giving of the advice. He analyzed 61 deadly assaults in public places from 2006 to 2016 — mostly in the United States. Among those who survived, 73 percent did so by running. Those who ran wound up with no no injuries or only moderate injuries, e.g., a sprained ankle. Of those who survived by hiding — 20 percent — a third were more seriously injured. “Running” is generally the best strategy. It is not always and everywhere the best strategy; there is no such thing as a universally successful solution. But it’s statistically likely to be the best strategy. A highly pro-Second Amendment group, The Truth About Guns, ran simulations of the Charlie Hebdo attack, for example, in which one or more of the civilians were armed. The civilians “died” in every scenario except immediate flight from the scene. So overall, based on evidence, the responsible advice to give the public — whether it’s armed or not — is “run.” 

When Americans respond to an event like this by insinuating that the victims of the attack are wimps, or that they would have performed better under the same circumstances, it — unsurprisingly — offends the victims. It offends them terribly, in fact. And pointlessly. As one of the friends who was visiting me yesterday wrote on my Facebook page (in response to an offensive comment to this effect):

Before you sneer at us, may I remind you that the UK has the longest continuous experience of terrorism on its soil of any western country, and the greatest expertise in stopping it. Yes, we have had far too many terrorist incidents, but they are a drop in the ocean compared with the myriad plots that have been foiled. I think it’s fair to say the 9/11 plot would probably have been detected here. A little respect for us might be in order, too.

I agree. A lot more respect might be in order.

Many Americans believe the British were offended that Obama moved a bust of Churchill. Obama denied that it had been moved. Whether or not it was moved, I’ve never spoken personally to anyone in Britain who was offended by this story. Many have never even heard it. But everyone I know in Britain — and remember, I lived there for seven years, so I do know many people there, and I stay in contact with quite a few of them — is wildly offended by this kind of sneering. It causes real harm to our relationship with the people of Britain. What we say, in fact, on social media and other public fora, causes more offense than anything our politicians say: A politician’s comments can be dismissed, by people with a generous nature, as unrepresentative of the American character. But when ordinary Americans use social media to sneer at our allies, it really leaves a bad taste — and let’s not pretend we would not feel precisely the same way were the situation reversed. We would.

More than 220,000 British personnel have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Ministry of Defence figures, 456 Britons have died in Afghanistan. More than 7,300 have been treated for battlefield injuries, non-combat wounds, or disease related to their service. In Iraq, 179 British service personnel were killed. Some 5,800 were treated in field hospitals. This is a heavy toll. Britain wasn’t attacked on September 11. We were. They are in Afghanistan because we asked them to be. They entered war in Iraq because we asked them to. They did so despite believing it would increase the risk of terrorism on British soil. They did it because they are our allies.

When in response they hear sneering contempt from Americans to the effect that they’re sheeplike, cowardly wusses reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain — illustrated by wartime enlistment posters, clearly meant to suggest that Britons no longer enlist — they respond exactly as Americans would were the situation reversed. They did enlist, and do enlist, and they have been fighting, by our side, since September 11. Here are photographs of British men (and a woman) who died in 2010 in Afghanistan. In this link, you can see more photos of the British men and women who’ve died in every year of that war since it began. 

So why would an American, in the wake of an attack on British soil, taunt the British for failing to enlist? Every one of the men above died because they took seriously the promise that an attack on any one of us would be an attack on all of us. Is taunting the British for being “sheeplike” and unwilling to enlist in the fight the right way to show our respect to their families?

Jon posted a photo of the famous “Keep calm and carry on” poster, intimating that the Britain of calm, dignity, and resilience is dead, replaced by a bunch of cowering ninnies. As it happens, that poster — precisely — has been widely circulating on British Twitter in the wake of the attack. But I suspect that if it were a new poster, Americans would be mocking the British for urging calm and normalcy. Our president would be Tweeting, ‘At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and the British are saying, “Keep calm and carry on!”‘ 

President Trump’s tweets caused grave offense. You may think the offense misplaced, but I can promise you they did cause offense, and I don’t find that offense at all hard to understand. What on earth would possess him to use an occasion like this to criticize the Mayor of London? Jennifer Rubin’s description of this is accurate:

After receiving blowback for that obnoxious missive, he tweeted out, “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!” But then he decided to slam the mayor of the city attacked, who had calmly warned his fellow Londoners: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.” Trump took the second part out of context and responded viciously, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” (The mayor, of course, was telling them not to be alarmed by the heightened police presence.) Trump was not done, however, inanely tweeting, “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!”

The offense caused by this kind of boorishness has real consequences — for us. It’s insane, right before a British general election, to hand ammunition to a politician like Jeremy Corbyn. But that’s exactly what this kind of behavior from Americans does. It puts defenders of the Anglo-American alliance in a terrible position. And this time, the people who are offended aren’t the usual suspects — they’re not British leftists who have always hated Americans and always will. We’re offending people who have always considered Americans their closest allies. And it isn’t because they’re delicate snowflakes, either. It’s because we’re being offensive. The tone of contempt from Americans, above all, is one no amount of rational argument can counter. If American voters didn’t care for being called “deplorable,” how do you imagine British voters feel about being called cowardly, sheeplike, and a disgrace to their heritage?

The UK has committed 1,250 military personnel to the fight against ISIS. Apart from us, the Royal Air Force has conducted more airstrikes in Iraq and Syria than any other Coalition country. It provides intelligence and surveillance to Iraqi Security Forces. It’s trained 39,000 Iraqi soldiers in engineering, medical skills, and infantry. In Syria, UK armed forces are training Syrian opposition groups in infantry, emergency medicine, and explosive disposal. How does undermining this alliance help us?

Why would we mock the British in the wake of a terrorist attack that killed seven innocent people on their soil? We know what it means to be the victims of terrorism. Why would we spit on our friends? What do we get out of it?

My answer: We get nothing out of it. So I suggest we not do it. It’s not in our interests to harm the friendship between the United States and Britain. And more importantly, it’s just not decent.

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  1. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    You’re out of touch again, Claire.

    You seem to think that anyone thinks individual Brits are cowardly. The sneering is not because Brits are cowardly, but because they are disarmed. Their government won’t allow them to defend themselves so the only reasonable thing they can do is run or hide.

    When people are armed then they can fight. When even their police aren’t armed, even they feel a need to run, pathetic though it seems.

    Perhaps the Brits should examine why they are being sneered at and adjust accordingly. They really are a laughing stock, and deservedly so.

    The fine people of the U.K. should be free to arm themselves.

    • #1
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:04 am
    • Like37 likes
  2. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    • #2
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:09 am
    • Like6 likes
  3. Profile photo of Majestyk Thatcher

    Sadiq Khan’s inane Islamophilia deserves at least as much examination and scorn as anything written about here. His notion that terrorism is just part of the weather forecast as part of a condition of living in a big city is toxic and desensitizing.

    We’ve transitioned from a situation in 20 years or less where the biggest threat to peace and harmony in Blighty was the random car bomb (with convenient call-in warning) from the IRA to a situation where there are ten thousand jihadists in London and rape and sexual slavery as practiced in goat-herding parts of Pakistan are going on in the English countryside.

    Perhaps that should be the focus, not Trump’s tweets.

    • #3
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:13 am
    • Like36 likes
  4. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Zafar (View Comment):
    except the American Right.

    That’s a pretty big “except.”

    • #4
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:13 am
    • Like4 likes
  5. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    Correction, should read: “. . . except the Americans and the radical Muslims.”

    • #5
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:13 am
    • Like4 likes
  6. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    Correction, should read: “. . . except the Americans and the radical Muslims.”

    Another thing the American Right and Islamists have in common!

    (Also you both claim to speak for the majority and deny being a minority. Just saying.)

    • #6
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:17 am
    • Like4 likes
  7. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    Sadiq Khan’s inane Islamophilia deserves at least as much examination and scorn as anything written about here. His notion that terrorism is just part of the weather forecast as part of a condition of living in a big city is toxic and desensitizing.

    Yeah, and another thing. What is with this misquoting their capital’s mayor to make some (I assume) point and expecting them to think you’re just fine?

    • #7
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:20 am
    • Like6 likes
  8. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Some small percentage of them do behave as we all like to fantasize we would: They become superheroes who defeat the terrorists using any implement available. Unfortunately, in reality, many people don’t do that. They freeze. 

    And this is the most pathetic part of your apology for British subservience.

    You know who doesn’t freeze? People who are able to fight and prepare themselves to fight. Throwing chairs and counter attacking with taxis was fantastic but if the people had firearms they would have been a lot more effective.

    • #8
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:20 am
    • Like20 likes
  9. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    Correction, should read: “. . . except the Americans and the radical Muslims.”

    Another thing the American Right and Islamists have in common!

    (Also you both claim to speak for the majority and deny being a minority. Just saying.)

    Yes. When friends and enemies see them as weak, maybe they need to change.

    • #9
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:23 am
    • Like6 likes
  10. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    By the way, eight minutes is pretty good for police response time. You know what’s even better? Zero response time because free people who are already there are armed and ready.

    • #10
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:31 am
    • Like25 likes
  11. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    Sadiq Khan’s inane Islamophilia deserves at least as much examination and scorn as anything written about here. His notion that terrorism is just part of the weather forecast as part of a condition of living in a big city is toxic and desensitizing.

    He doesn’t hold that notion. Trump believes he does, but he doesn’t.

    We’ve transitioned from a situation in 20 years or less where the biggest threat to peace and harmony in Blighty was the random car bomb (with convenient call-in warning) from the IRA

    I remember — and lived through — that time; it wasn’t a trivial threat. 

    to a situation where there are ten thousand jihadists in London

    I’m not sure where you got this number. There was a report in the Times of London that claimed 23,000 people were on the radar screens of British intelligence, which I would surely hope is the case, given the scale of the threat. Some 3,000 were judged to be a threat and are under “investigation or active monitoring.” But this morphed in the media, from what I can tell — via Sputnik and other Russia-sympathetic news organs — into “23,000 jihadists.” We actually don’t know (and shouldn’t know, for obvious reasons) what the criteria are for putting people in the database. It could be that they’re full-on jihadists. But it’s more likely that they’re on the list because it’s prudent to put everyone who falls under a certain category on that list: e.g., perhaps they’ve been to a mosque known for radical preaching; perhaps they’re related to jihadis, perhaps they’ve travelled to a country with a lot of jihadi activity; perhaps they’ve visited a website associated with jihadism. Point is, you’d fully expect that the security services would have a lot of names on that list by now. The number that should worry people is “3,000.”

    and rape and sexual slavery as practiced in goat-herding parts of Pakistan are going on in the English countryside.

    In the English countryside? Come on. There was a massive scandal in Rotherdam. It was a scandal precisely because this is not normal behavior. It had, when exposed, massive repercussions. This is not normal behavior in the English countryside.

    Perhaps that should be the focus, not Trump’s tweets.

    My focus isn’t Trump’s tweets, it’s our Tweets. The way we speak on social media to our friends and allies.

    • #11
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:36 am
    • Like8 likes
  12. Profile photo of Kozak Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    • #12
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:42 am
    • Like35 likes
  13. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    I don’t think excessive sneering is called for. It just makes things go sour.

    How about Americans don’t sneer about the UK, and they don’t sneer about how violent, uncouth, backwards, stupid, etc. that we are?

    My whole life, I have seen, the message that come from Western Europe, that Americans suck. We are looked down upon as a people. It gets really old, Clarie. It gets old to sit in France and be lectured by a waiter on how tipping is a stupid American custom. It gets old for a cab driver to put forth on how we are violent. It gets old to hear someone from Romania tell me how wrong we were in Serbia. I have only been to Europe twice in my life, but both times I have had my fill of how wrong Americans are. (The lack of more than 2 viable parties is also, somehow “wrong”).

    Is it possible, that as human beings, Americans, especially those on the right (but I repeat myself), are just plain tired of being sneered at? The natural response is to sneer back. Expecting human beings to behave in unnatural ways is not a conservative point of view.

    So, my bargain is this: Sneering goes both ways. How about cutting America some slack?

    • #13
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:42 am
    • Like48 likes
  14. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Claire, you got me steamed up this morning.

    Terrorism is very effective because it is easy to make random attacks. It doesn’t work unless the people lose faith in their government.

    There’s not much you can do against bombs. That’s why modern (the past 100 or so years) terrorists prefer bombs. It’s too simple to stop someone with a bladed weapon or even small arms when the people are armed. Even if a few are victims, the terror is deflated when the victims fight, and even more when they fight effectively.

    The proper response is not to run or freeze, but to fight. It sure would be nice if the Brits were not only allowed but encouraged to fight. Some might get killed, but the goal should be to thwart the terror effect.

    • #14
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:48 am
    • Like13 likes
  15. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    Yes, I think you’re right. Bobbies with guns, yes, but keep guns hard to get a hold of (so also for terrorists and other criminals).

    That’s a good thing.

    • #15
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:49 am
    • Like2 likes
  16. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    That didn’t happen.

    • #16
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:51 am
    • Like3 likes
  17. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    Yes, I think you’re right. Bobbies with guns, yes, but keep guns hard to get a hold of (so also for terrorists and other criminals).

    That’s a good thing.

    That is an argument for another thread.

    • #17
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:51 am
    • LikeLike
  18. Profile photo of Columbo Member

    The “American Right” is not sneering at our dear friends and allies “The Brits”.

    I think that the sneering is at what the “Left” has done to our culture and to what it means to have personal responsibility and personal freedom to defend oneself. The sneering is at the political correctness that pervades all of these stupid rules and “guidance” over ones own behavior. And that is not restricted to Jolly Old England. Think back to Boston. Anyone remember … “Shelter In Place”. One 20 year old guy shut down all of Boston and precipitated a door-to-door search process by heavily armed federal and local government forces, that completely ignored the freedoms and rights of its own citizens ….

    Police in SWAT gear had swarmed into the small suburb, searching houses and combing yards while the rest of the Boston area came to a halt. The streets of the state capital were lifeless; Red Sox and Bruins games were canceled as television broadcast nonstop coverage.

    It took a bloke who disobeyed the shelter in place rule to have a cigarette and check out his boat in his own back yard to find the criminal.

    That, and “when is enough enough?”. How many people have to lose their lives before we quit the ridiculous denial that Radical Islam is at war with the world and we take up the fight rather than be mere pawns (run, hide, deny) in their quest for world domination?

    • #18
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:53 am
    • Like32 likes
  19. Profile photo of Miffed White Male Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    How about Americans don’t sneer about the UK, and they don’t sneer about how violent, uncouth, backwards, stupid, etc. that we are?

    My whole life, I have seen, the message that come from Western Europe, that Americans suck. We are looked down upon as a people.

    You beat me to it. Oh gee, the Brits feelings are hurt because of a few social media posts the last couple days? We’ve been hearing this garbage from Europeans for decades!

    • #19
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:54 am
    • Like25 likes
  20. Profile photo of Kozak Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):
    In the English countryside? Come on. There was a massive scandal in Rotherdam. It was a scandal precisely because this is not normal behavior. It had, when exposed, massive repercussions. This is not normal behavior in the English countryside.

    Of course it’s not “normal in the English countryside”. This was imported from another culture. Where it is normal. And it’s way way more then just Rotherham…

    Rotherham child abuse: Cases in other towns

    I certainly am not mocking the British people. I am mocking their government, which over the course of several decades was consciously used by a number of groups to fundamentally change the nature of their country, and is now reaping what it sowed.

    • #20
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:55 am
    • Like28 likes
  21. Profile photo of Columbo Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    That didn’t happen.

    It did in Paris.

    • #21
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:55 am
    • Like6 likes
  22. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns?

    It’s not off topic at all. They use knives because they are bloodier when used. Guns are more effective for killing large numbers, but blades have a greater terror effect. The problem with blades is they are easily defeated by good guys with guns.

    • #22
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:55 am
    • Like3 likes
  23. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    Yes, I think you’re right. Bobbies with guns, yes, but keep guns hard to get a hold of (so also for terrorists and other criminals).

    That’s a good thing.

    That is an argument for another thread.

    Hey, I wasn’t the person who decided to use the fact that the terrorists had knives to tweet some sort of riff against gun control.

    The thing is : if you treat tragic events in other people’s countries as grist to your mill to score some grubby domestic political points it’s not going to go over well – and it won’t reflect well on you or your nation.

    Not when anybody does it.

    • #23
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:57 am
    • Like8 likes
  24. Profile photo of Kozak Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    That didn’t happen.

    “Multiple eyewitnesses said that community police officers fled from Borough Market in London after seeing two men with knives stabbing people as part of a terror attack Saturday.

    These eyewitnesses told The Guardian’s Lisa O’Carroll that two men started stabbing people outside a restaurant in Borough Market, close to where the first terror attack took place on London Bridge, resulting in multiple fatalities.”

    • #24
    • June 5, 2017 at 4:58 am
    • Like18 likes
  25. Profile photo of Kozak Member

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Nobody is sneering at the Brits right now, except the American Right.

    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns? Perhaps the Brits don’t have it all wrong.

    Wonder what the death toll would have been if the first police who were unarmed and ran away had in fact been armed? They sure seem to have that wrong.

    Yes, I think you’re right. Bobbies with guns, yes, but keep guns hard to get a hold of (so also for terrorists and other criminals).

    That’s a good thing.

    “When seconds count the police are only minutes away”.

    I’ll carry my own thank you.

    • #25
    • June 5, 2017 at 5:00 am
    • Like14 likes
  26. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    edit: off topic, but why do you think those jihadis in London used knives instead of guns? Would the death toll have likely been higher if they had used guns?

    It’s not off topic at all. They use knives because they are bloodier when used. Guns are more effective for killing large numbers, but blades have a greater terror effect. The problem with blades is they are easily defeated by good guys with guns.

    I find it hard to believe they could have used guns but they chose to use knives instead.

    That doesn’t seem to be a choice terrorists make anywhere they have access to guns to commit mass mayhem.

    I think you’re right about public executions, but not about this. Gun control limited the number of deaths – in this and many many other criminal situations. That’s why countries have it.

    • #26
    • June 5, 2017 at 5:03 am
    • Like2 likes
  27. Profile photo of Lois Lane Coolidge

    I agree with much of what you’ve written here, Claire. I lived in England for a while, too. I think some people don’t understand British culture much, per some of the reactions to your post. And I definitely don’t understand why it’s even a little controversial to say it’s bad to be boorish.

    Regardless, it seems especially silly to me to have the most powerful man on the planet engage in Twitter sniping against a mayor in another country. Despite the importance of London, I’ll say that again. Mr. Khan is a mayor.

    That elevates Khan, as it stirs the British heart to dig in and defend him against attacks from someone in another country wanting to stick his nose in, and I think many Americans would understand this impulse if they thought about it.

    Anyway, I think you’re absolutely right about how this helps Labor.

    The tweets weren’t constructive.

    • #27
    • June 5, 2017 at 5:05 am
    • Like12 likes
  28. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I don’t think excessive sneering is called for. It just makes things go sour.

    How about Americans don’t sneer about the UK, and they don’t sneer about how violent, uncouth, backwards, stupid, etc. that we are?

    I agree that the sneering — on both sides — is utterly wrong. It’s rude, for one thing, but it also has real repercussions: It undermines critical alliances.

    My whole life, I have seen, the message that come from Western Europe, that Americans suck.

    I’ve been tracking Western European appraisals of this carefully for 30 years. Until recently, the strongly-held view that Americans suck was confined to the far left. There was often a casual sense that Americans were weird, but it didn’t go deep, and there was a lot of affection and respect for Americans, too.

    What I’m seeing now is new, because it’s coming from people who have always liked Americans. It’s partly a function of the way Trump speaks about and to Europeans, but it’s also a function of social media and the Internet disinhibition effect. People feel free to be extremely rude about each other in ways they’d never be if they were actually in their company.

    We are looked down upon as a people. It gets really old, Clarie. It gets old to sit in France and be lectured by a waiter on how tipping is a stupid American custom.

    I’ve never been lectured about this. My experience is that waiters here think tipping is an adorable, lovable, wonderful American custom. Why would they think otherwise?

    It gets old for a cab driver to put forth on how we are violent.

    Well, we are, as you said just recently. But I agree that it’s rude to point this out.

    It gets old to hear someone from Romania tell me how wrong we were in Serbia. I have only been to Europe twice in my life, but both times I have had my fill of how wrong Americans are. (The lack of more than 2 viable parties is also, somehow “wrong”).

    I’m sorry you had bad experiences. But I think you’re right to say the behavior you’re describing is rude. It isn’t one we should emulate.

    Is it possible, that as human beings, Americans, especially those on the right (but I repeat myself), are just plain tired of being sneered at? The natural response is to sneer back. Expecting human beings to behave in unnatural ways is not a conservative point of view.

    But we’re the ones doing the bulk of the sneering. And we seem to be the ones with a complex about “being sneered at,” too.

    So, my bargain is this: Sneering goes both ways. How about cutting America some slack?

    Well, the only people over whom we have control is ourselves. I think we should try to eschew this kind of sneering — both because it’s not in our interest, and because it’s wrong, mean, and rude. It makes a lot of sense to sneer at North Korea. Sneering at our closest friends — why? Why would we want to?

    • #28
    • June 5, 2017 at 5:06 am
    • Like10 likes
  29. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    I think you’re right about public executions, but not about this. Gun control limited the number of deaths – in this and many many other criminal situations. That’s why countries have it.

    No. Countries have gun control because that allows governments to cow their people.

    • #29
    • June 5, 2017 at 5:07 am
    • Like21 likes
  30. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):
    Sneering at our closest friends — why? Why would we want to?

    Because maybe criticism from a friend might be taken to heart.

    • #30
    • June 5, 2017 at 5:12 am
    • Like7 likes
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