Sam Case: Sticks and Stones…

This is an article by Sam Case, a former police officer now working in sport and health.

Affray, riot, arson, vandalism, looting. Words that conjure up images of street brawls, burning cars, smashed windows and police officers in NATO helmets.

Large scale public disorder is an interesting phenomena, behaving a bit like pathogens. Nothing for ages then ‘BANG’ up pops an issue to set the streets ablaze.

Shielding takes on a whole new meaning when facing a mob, with a real shield and tactics from the time of the Romans. Your first petrol bomb – glowing rag illuminating the throwers face, masked, not protection against a contagion but worn to frustrate identification. The shout from a colleague, if you’re lucky, a warning before impact, then the heat, searing, instant and all-consuming, your chin tucked down to seal helmet visor against your Nomex overalls, the overpowering smell, petrol vapours and singed hair, then the welcome sight and feel of the extinguisher team literally putting you out. Like all PPE the kit works, sometimes, but you wouldn’t want to live your life in it.

Whatever the cause (even those that have extensive sympathies within the ranks), the face of authority is usually a police line, so naturally they attract the violence. If politicians arrived, waving their statutory instruments, they would become the focal point (from the police and the rioters probably).

Why some people protest and some do not, has been the subject of extensive study. An LSE post from 2015, by academic Jacquelien van Stekelenburg (someone who ‘likes’ a good riot), gives an interesting introduction to the subject, highlighting the need for a grievance, real or perceived, including the concept of relative deprivation – often a third party problem you and your group recognise and have sympathy for.

Research suggests that feeling part of a group which you perceive as deprived is particularly important for engagement in protest.

This third-party connection is advanced like never before, through social media networks and twenty four hour news. Like contagions, the modern transport methods of information can spread globally in real time. No longer languishing on the slow print route, they are turbo charged through fibre optic cables and satellites.

This is a new age for the protest movement: a school girl in Sweden morphs into roadblocks in London complete with pink boat. A policing action in one country leads to the defacement of statues in another. The connection is a narrative, a trending cause that most on the march know little about. Superficial, the micron-thick knowledge of a first-year undergraduate who only ever uses Wikipedia, just enough to join the band and daub the placards with paint.

So I now find myself in a strange position, ready for action, again, ready to join the ranks to fight. Only this time it would be different, I’d be on the other side of the barricade. In opposition to a set of laws and guidance that has and will continue to kill, injure and hamstring millions of innocent victims , of every colour and creed and regardless of your preferred pronoun.

I find myself outraged, a boiling torrent of anger at the damage being done to school kids, to teenagers, the vulnerable old (whatever that means), to the cancer and heart patients who have been forgotten, to the truly poor of this world, no furloughing, no grants, their lives divined from the label sown into my trainers and the memories of trips to foreign lands. Also to the small business owner starring into another empty bottle. I even have sympathy for those who have swallowed every bit of nonsense to be flushed from No10. The muzzle and glove-wearing followers of a novel death-worship cult. Those who make everyday tasks feel like you’re an extra on Casualty (by the time you read this it has probably been expunged from TV history for a minor indiscretion involving a safe space).

Few, if any, of those in power ever experience the sour fruit of their policies. They’ve never been called to a stranger’s home, complete with grieving spouse and sobbing children, for the macabre ‘solo show’. Here you find a victim of despair, a desperate soul, their final ‘self portrait’ painted blood red in the garage, the brush a smoking ten gauge or suspended still and silent from the loft hatch. I have and those images are etched into my brain for eternity. A price you pay for swearing to serve, I’m not complaining, just sharing. Despair can lead to this premature ending, for others the loss of dignity, hope, job, home or social networks spells a decline into ill health, crime, addiction and abuse (perpetrators and victims alike).

How to end this happy little tale? Where do we turn for hope? Maybe we all need to rally to the cause, champion freedoms whenever we can, resist the calls to cancel rather than debate. Attend that controversial lecture, read the stuff that you don’t agree with, question consensus, question your Doctor, always, not just now, question anyone who thinks THE SCIENCE is settled or that science is useless. It is neither. Above all refuse to stay silent, because that is you cancelling yourself.

Now is the time to build the ‘barricades’, to link our shields, to form a line and do our best to hold it, it’s all we can do. We will be attacked, we will get bruised and battered, we will even lose a few along the way but this is a price worth paying because the alternative is truly bleak.

I fear we will soon see more riots and disorder. I do not condone them or wish to see violence and destruction, but I do now understand them a little better, I finally have a cause to protest for.

P.S. Today I walked past a skate park, it was packed. Full of laughter, skill, daring, risk, youth giving a giant middle finger to the new normal. It was a sight that would normally pass me by, an ordinary scene of little relevance, yet today it gave me joy and made me smile, hope revived.

Share this article on social media:

14 thoughts on “Sam Case: Sticks and Stones…

  1. What’s to be done?, as Lenin was wont to say when reality proved to be disappointing.

    In theory, we citizens give the State a monopoly on the use of violence when necessary to preserve the general peace. When faced with a violent protestor lighting up a Molotov Cocktail, the appropriate response would be a marksman putting two bullets into the center of mass. Violence, meet Greater Violence. Followed by a bulldozer visiting the homes of relatives of the violent protestor. Except that was the policy Israelis pursued for years against their violent protestors … and it did not work.

    Palestinian violence was able to continue for years thanks to people like UK taxpayers, who sent money to the UN, who sent it on to Palestinian terrorists. Similarly, IRA violent action against the English was able to continue for years in large part thanks to the financial support of well-meaning Irish-Americans.

    What’s to be done? If we were serious — pursue the sources of financing and the sources of organization for the current anti-social violence. Start taxing all these tax-exempt charitable foundations which have been hijacked by Leftist extremists. Shut down universities which fail to take strong action against campus rioters or which fail to defend free speech and open enquiry. Regulate social media tightly — and tax it heavily. Starve the beast!

    But it won’t happen. Sad, but that is the way things are.

  2. Protesters could learn an awful lot from Hong Kong. I was there for a few weeks during the latest disturbances, and during the 2014 “occupation”. The tactics were amazing, and would have been effective if this weren’t the definition of an irresistible force meeting the immovable object of Jinping’s communist party dictatorship. Alternating mass peaceful protests (the largest of which approximately 25% of the population turned up for) with escalating nightly occupations, including violence against property – principally roads and pavements but also selected businesses. I didn’t see a single mainland Chinese-owned bank that wasn’t boarded up.

    The HongKongers have the added advantage of having an undeniably just cause, which isn’t obviously the case in the west right now.

    It was quite something to watch, from a safe distance. One incident stood out, at an intersection in Kowloon with cops to the north and protesters to the south. When the lights allowed east-west traffic, vehicles would drive along that road as normal. When the lights went red, the two sides took turns to exchange petrol bombs and tear gas (tear gas isn’t nice either). It was a surreal experience, like watching a bizarre cricket match.

    The relevance to today is that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there isn’t substantial backing, probably more agitation than finance, from China for the BLM thing. The analysis that a movement with some reasonable demands (if not always reasonably expressed) has been hijacked by something more sinister is inescapable. Plus obviously the lockdown theatre that is obviously intended more for western consumption than to prevent spread of COVID in China.

  3. We have voluntarily reached East Gerrman Stasi levels, where it’s difficult to know who to trust, in social groups you have to be careful in case one wrong statement gets thrown back at you. As for online the idea of writing down something even mildly dissenting or disapproving in a group where people know who you are, where you work has become fraught with risk. Often I’ve found myself posting a link or a comment in a group and then deleting it before sending.
    The cruel irony being that all those complaining they don’t have a voice (BLM, Trans rights etc.) are now the only ones that have a voice. In a sense I’m glad to be working from home as I’m sure someone in work would suggest ‘taking a knee’ at some point (we have already had the obligatory company statements) and I’m with Raab on there only being 2 people I’ll take a knee for.

  4. P123: ” Often I’ve found myself posting a link or a comment in a group and then deleting it before sending.”

    This is the chilling effect of the minority of activists who have somehow co-opted reasonable people who don’t want to be thought of as racist, homophobic etc to suppress reasonable discourse. It’s a denunciation culture that we should all be concerned about.

    Of course, the irony is that some of those activists can also become a victim of this culture if they say something that doesn’t meet the invisibly shifting norms of victimhood. It’s like the old saying that if you ride the back of a tiger you need to be careful not to fall off.

  5. @Gavin

    Spot on

    Similarly, IRA violent action against the English was able to continue for years in large part thanks to the financial support of well-meaning Irish-Americans

    Which reduced rapidly following 9/11 – I did feel a touch of schadenfreude

    The USA cash helped them, but Russia and their proxies supplying weapons and explosives was more damaging and what UK sought to intercept. RoI complicity was largest problem for UK


    I’m sure China and Russia are funding BLM, Anit-frackers, XR etc. Although the Soros funding encourages more activism

    I didn’t know this: Leftie Luvies opposed Churchill and WWII

    Despicable behaviour. Is this within her power?
    Pelosi orders removal of portraits of Confederate House speakers

  6. >I didn’t know this: Leftie Luvies opposed Churchill and WWII

    I can’t read the Speccie article, but, basically: God, yes. They did. Virginia Woolf was my favourite example of this. Theodore Dalrymple did a great article on her and the Germans. She spent years saying the British were as bad as the Nazis, and then the war started, and eventually it dawned on her that she’d been a fool.

  7. “I find myself outraged, a boiling torrent of anger at the damage being done to school kids, to teenagers, the vulnerable old (whatever that means), to the cancer and heart patients who have been forgotten, to the truly poor of this world, no furloughing, no grants, their lives divined from the label sown into my trainers and the memories of trips to foreign lands”

    Well said. A powerful piece railing against the nonsense of this “new normal”.
    I’d be more understanding if “they” at least said honestly what this is all about, because, whatever it is, it has nothing to do with a poxy respiratory virus or an unintentional killing in Minneapolis.
    We may be fast approaching the time when those grey haired white men – you know; the ones who build, repair, maintain and deliver everything we need to live, have had enough. They might decide that it’s no longer possible to carry on working in the dystopia that surrounds them and their families. They may well turn their attention to more destructive pursuits.

  8. I’m also very angry indeed and heartbroken at the socio-economic damage and deaths due to the lockdown – and at the BBC for failing to articulate these concerns in the way you have done and at the shallow self-interested public health establishment who seem to be colluding in the whole deadly shambles.

  9. Let’s not forget we were put under house arrest. The Scottish Regulations begin with
    “Restrictions on movement

    5.—(1) Except to the extent that a defence would be available under regulation 8(4), F1… no person may leave the place where they are living.

    Then later on they make a few exceptions where the state allows us to leave our house. This is outrageous. I don’t understand why more people are not up in arms about being told where they can go for a virus that is not dangerous to the vast majority of the population. And shades of East Germany with the number of people informing on their neighbours. Businesses being destroyed. Massive unemployment coming. have seen a driver alone in her car wearing a face mask. What have we become?

  10. Agree, the level of programming is quite something to behold but Generally most people are not stupid so there might be a glimmer of hope for change. When I look around me those that I see have managed to get dressed and have matching shoes and socks)

  11. @Hector
    I wish there was a way to know if article paywalled

    Churchill once challenged BBC intolerance; Gavin Mortimer, 19 June 2020, 7:17am

    Winston Churchill: hero or villain? That was the question the BBC asked on its website on 10 June. It caused outrage in some quarters, but was Auntie taking its revenge for the humiliation it suffered at Churchill’s libertarian hands during the second world war?

    In the summer of 1940, a movement was launched in Britain called the ‘People’s Convention’, which brought together a disparate alliance of Marxists, socialists and pacifists. Among its most prominent backers were Robin Page Arnot, Harry Pollitt, and Willie Gallacher, all veteran communists. The Convention held its inaugural rally in London on 12 January 1941, attended by over 2,000 delegates, and one of them, a Mr Warman of Coventry, declared that ‘the policy of the government was not in the interests of the people but of the wealthy’.

    Several figures from the artistic world were sympathetic to the causes of the People’s Convention, among them the actor Michael Redgrave, the actress Beatrix Lehmann, the band leader Lew Stone and Sir Hugh Roberton, the conductor of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir. The response of the BBC was to ban any artist who had expressed support for the Convention. ‘The BBC sent me a letter saying they wanted to see me on a matter of utmost importance,’ Redgrave told a reporter on 3 March.

    After a day’s filming at Teddington studios, Redgrave presented himself to the broadcaster and was informed that ‘the governors of the BBC had decided that the People’s Convention was not in the national interest, or words to that effect, and that they would like to know where I stood. They said I could have time to think it over.’ A furious Redgrave replied that he didn’t need any time. ‘I said the People’s Convention was perfectly legal and constitutionally formed for the people of England to express their views, and unless the government suppressed it, it was not the business of the BBC to do so. I then said, ‘I take it you do not want me as a broadcaster any more?’ and they said that was so.’

    The Musicians’ Union was firmly behind its banned members – one of whom, Sir Hugh Roberton was removed from the airwaves for his pacifist views – with a union official declaring that the BBC ‘was guilty of an unwarrantable infringement of the civil liberties of the individual’.

    Churchill agreed and pressurised the BBC into rescinding the ban, which he announced to parliament on 20 March 1941. With the nation engaged ‘in its struggle for life’, the PM said he wouldn’t want to hear a member of the Convention expressing their political views over the airwaves; but he said it was unjust that an artist should be prevented from performing their talent simply on account of their political opinion. He also upbraided the BBC for firing two skilled technicians on the grounds that they were conscientious objectors.

    ‘The rights which have been granted in this war, and in the last, to conscientious objectors are well known,’ Churchill told parliament, ‘and are a definite part of British policy. Anything in the nature of persecution, victimization, or manhunting is odious to the British people.’

    Churchill couldn’t resist adding a touch of levity to the solemn debate: ‘But I think we should have to retain a certain amount of power in the selection of the music, as spirited renderings of Deutschland über Alles would hardly be… ‘

    Parliamentary reporters were unable to catch the last word because it was ‘lost in a gust of laughter’ that swept the House.

    The response of the printed press to Churchill’s intervention was largely favourable. A leader in the Birmingham Daily Post on 21 March stated that the PM ‘has exerted himself to make the BBC behave reasonably. His statement on its change of attitude to artists who hold pacifist, Communist or other heterodox political views is inspired by that fairness and common sense in which the BBC has shown itself to be, in this matter, lamentably lacking. To proscribe an artist, as such, because of his politics, is not patriotism; it is persecution.’

    All of which leaves one wondering whether that question on the BBC website shouldn’t be rephrased: The BBC: hero or villain?

    Gavin Mortimer’s book, The Greatest: how the world war two generation can help us overcome crises, will be published by Constable in October

    Pertinent too – No

  12. FYI

    Primula cheese recall : Clostridium botulinum

    Product recall alert for all our Primula Cheese tubes following the discovery of Clostridium botulinum in one of our products

    150g Primula Cheese tubes, all flavours – BB 25.12.20 to BB 28.01.21
    100g Primula Cheese tubes, all flavours – BB 30.10.20 to BB 10.12.20

    Do not eat any Primula Cheese tubes you have already purchased, with the above best before dates, but instead return these to stores in exchange for a full refund

Comments are closed.