"All Terrorism Is Local"

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In the London Times, R.P. Eddy argues that just as terrorism relies on local initiative, so should counterterrorism. Here's an excerpt:

The number and simultaneity of yesterday's attacks suggest localised surveillance and bombmaking, requiring a local support apparatus. We can presume that the bombers spent a considerable amount of time in the UK and may have even been UK residents.

In this way and in others, the London attacks conform to post-9/11 terrorist trends. Globally we have witnessed a movement away from the centralised planning of grandiose attacks seen in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda and towards independent groups attacking smaller and less protected targets. The largest recent terrorist attacks before yesterday's—the 2003 bomb attacks in Turkey and the 2004 train attacks in Madrid—were both cases of this "homegrown terror." The terrorists behind these attacks were residents of these nations and appear to have acted entirely independently of al-Qaeda's central hierarchy. While a group calling itself "the Secret Organisation Group of al Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe" has claimed credit for the attack on London's Tube, it is not at all clear if they have any real co-operation with bin Laden's al-Qaeda or rather simply an emotional or aspirational one, or if their claim is legitimate at all.

Eddy concludes that the most important barriers to terror are local police and—though he doesn't stress this as much as he could—local civilians:

Local police have unique advantages over national assets (such as MI5) to help prevent acts of terrorism because they are part of the community. They "walk the beat," communicate regularly with local residents, and are more likely to notice even subtle changes in the neighbourhoods they patrol daily. Common sense tells us—as does experience—that local law-enforcement personnel are uniquely situated to notice (or otherwise learn of) and investigate unusual or suspicious behaviour. Based on the numbers alone, we can assume that local law enforcement personnel are much more likely than national agents to cross paths with terrorists.

Meanwhile, U.K. Home Secretary Charles Clarke has acknowledged that his pet security scheme, a national ID card, wouldn't have warded off the attacks. He still insists, though, that it would "help rather than hinder" the cause.

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  1. I think this has been true for a while. Al Queda is a brand with various national “franchises”. Worrying about terror is a domestic problem that overseas wars will not be able to stop. This mean that it is a law enforcement problem first and foremost, since conducting domestic military actions will exacerbate the problem more than solve it. We need to see 21st century terrorism as more like the early 20th century anarchists rather than as the state actors we went up against in the 20th century.

  2. It couldn’t have prevented them, but it would have helped? Helped what “cause”? Counterterrorism? So would simply imprisoning every arab in concentration camps. Hey, why not do that!? Dumbass.

  3. His exact words, Evan, were “I’ve never argued … that ID cards would prevent any particular act. The question on ID cards, but also on any other security measure actually, is on the balance of the ability to deal with particular threats and civil liberties, does a particular measure help or hinder it? I actually think ID cards do help rather than hinder.”

    If you can make sense of that, power to you.

  4. Common sense tells us — as does experience –that local law-enforcement personnel are uniquely situated to notice (or otherwise learn of) and investigate unusual or suspicious behaviour.Based on the numbers alone, we can assume that local law enforcement personnel are much more likely than national agents to cross paths with terrorists.

    What’s the level of education and training between the 2? If street beat cops in the UK are anything like they are in the US, all you need to do is pass a simple profiency test, take 6-9 months of boot camp like classes, and have a good interview at your precinct of choice. I am suggesting an airport secruity agent level of intelligence issue here.

  5. On the civilian thing, I was saying something like that a few threads back. To counter a dispersed, not concentrated, threat, you need a dispersed defense — namely, informed, alert and armed civilians.

    Interesting article here, for example:

    “In America, parents who escort schoolchildren on field trips bring their minivans. In Israel, they bring their machine guns… Since 1974, Israel has required armed parents or other guards, as well as emergency medical personnel, to accompany schoolchildren on field trips.”

    I don’t think it should be a gov’t requirement. And I think a bunch of government guards on every corner is anti-liberty. But civilians choosing to carry firearms are another matter.

    Imagine the response in the USA if a parent who accompanied schoolchildren on a field trip announced, “I plan to bring my gun along.”

    Of course, you don’t want a bunch of Walter Mittys walking around out there thinking they’re Clint Eastwood. That’s why “Guns and Their Safe Use” courses should be part of the curriculum at every grade school — instead of us trying to stamp individual self-defense out of our culture.

  6. i think you actually have to be a four-year graduate to be a cop in chicago now, mr king, fwiw

  7. Of course, you don’t want a bunch of Walter Mittys walking around out there thinking they’re Clint Eastwood.

    Based on our experience with millions of concealed carry permits, I think the chance of that is vanishingly small.

  8. “MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Two days before the oldest and best-known U.S. civil rights group holds its yearly convention in Milwaukee, black leaders in the city say their community is being torn apart from the inside.

    Civil rights leaders like 57-year-old Prentice McKinney, who fought to free Milwaukee’s blacks from the ghetto, say gangs, drugs and violence have left those who still live in the nation’s urban cores in fear of the next generation.”
    ………
    As a resident of the ‘hood, I had noticed above-quoted story.
    More police and tighter security are not solutions to terrorism nor solutions to drug-dealing terrorists.
    In both cases the causes of the problems are national policies:
    1. Western governments “Crusading” in the Middle East.
    2. The insane War on Drugs.
    For good measure, toss in the War on Poverty.

    This adds up to a good reason to halt the war on terror, because it’s obvious there will continue to be terrorists–foreign and domestic–until national policies change.

  9. i think you actually have to be a four-year graduate to be a cop in chicago now, mr king, fwiw

    Of what?

    From what I’ve seen of “Criminal Justice” programs they can be as easily dismissed as the basket-weaving for jocks.

  10. Donut King,

    In my profession, city planning, we distinguish between “professional expertise” and “local expertise.” I may know more about the effects of different development choices on the walkability of a neighborhood, but the people who come to design meetings know more about where the kids gather, who takes care of their property, and which streets are safe to cross in the afternoon.

    A beat cop may not have the eduction to be an effective intelligence analyst, but if he and his department are engaging in effective community policing, he’ll know who the new faces are, which people make the neighbors nervous, and which regulars at the mosque give off a whiff of conspiracy.

  11. Ethnic profiling anyone?

  12. Following up on Ruthless’ comments, Sam Smith has a good article today expanding on comment 1. over at Undernews. (Hold it. Is “expanding on” the correct usage?)

  13. A beat cop may not have the eduction to be an effective intelligence analyst, but if he and his department are engaging in effective community policing, he’ll know who the new faces are, which people make the neighbors nervous, and which regulars at the mosque give off a whiff of conspiracy.

    Exactly.

    Of course, in order for this to work, cities have to engage in that sort of policing to begin with, as opposed to the militarized variety driven by the war on drugs.

  14. Globally we have witnessed a movement away from the centralised planning of grandiose attacks seen in Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and towards independent groups attacking smaller and less protected targets.

    al Qaeda has never had a centralized planning structure. They are and always have been a loose network of like minded groups united in the same cause…

  15. A-freaking-men, Jesse.

  16. al Qaeda has never had a centralized planning structure. They are and always have been a loose network of like minded groups united in the same cause

    That’s true, but the network has grown a lot more decentralized in the years since 9/11.

  17. I heard some idiot on NPR yesterday (she didn’t know much about the attacks in London, but was an “expert” so had to act like she did). She also said that it was clear that this involved locals. When asked why, she said that the bombs were set off at nearly the same time, and that there’s no way foreigners could have pulled that off.

    I don’t understand that. Can’t foreigners own watches? (The bombs didn’t go even off simultaneously — there were significant gaps.) Why does it require a local to leave a briefcase on a train, or set off a bomb on a bus?

    This didn’t seem to me to be all that sophisticated an attack. As far as I can tell, it could have been done by four people who had been in the country a few days and picked up some transit maps.

  18. saw-whet,
    Thanks for the tip about Sam Smith.
    After reading his, I say, “Sam Smith for Benevolent Dictator!”

  19. A beat cop may not have the eduction to be an effective intelligence analyst, but if he and his department are engaging in effective community policing, he’ll know who the new faces are, which people make the neighbors nervous, and which regulars at the mosque give off a whiff of conspiracy.

    I’ll mildly point out that I’m little bit surprised to see the idea of cops sniffing, so to speak, the local Muslims for a “whiff of conspiracy” going by without challenge, here.

  20. It never stops:

    Western governments “Crusading” in the Middle East. as the cause of terrorism.

    Sigh.

    Do you really believe that if we withdrew all of our military and diplomatic presence from the Middle East, AQ would leave us alone?

    Are you willing to bet that the trend lines dating back to the ’80s, that were leading to AQ striking at the West from sanctuaries in sovereign nations, and striking with WMD, would have suddenly evaporated if we had only left them undisturbed?

    Do you really think that our military presence in the Middle East is anything other than a reaction to aggression by various Middle Easterners that threatened America’s vital interests (Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, AQ’s assault(s) on Americans and in America)?

  21. The point of community policing, Eric, is that it isn’t about cops going around sniffing. It’s about the people who live, work, and worship in the community (that is, who are in the best position to know what’s up with the people around them) letting the cops know what’s going on, just through the normal interactions they have with them on a day to day basis.

  22. To rely upon police invites further disappointment. My sentiments about cops echo those antiwarriors who see only the torture and abuse commited by a few in uniform as representative of the entire force.

    Let’s show the statists we can manage well without more police.

  23. RC,

    The most violent ideologues wouldn’t leave us alone, that’s for sure.

    But there would be a lot fewer of them to begin with.

    How many people in Europe do you think ended up as communists in the 1940s, just because the communists were the only group around that was resisting the German occupation?

  24. I am a skeptic here. Local knowledge is great, but there is a huge knowledge problem for anyone trying to assess individual threat within the context of a liberal society. Especially one that is a melting pot. The level of domestic security, local or national, required to secure against committed terrorists would be a cancer on a free society. You might as well write a local cop manual that says, “Target Mo. He looks shifty in an A-rab kinda way.”

    I agree that the specific deterrents to any given attack are only those deterrents brought to the scene by people who are actually there at the right (wrong?) time. Is that a policy? I don’t think so.

  25. Joe: your assertation certainly wasn’t the case in denmark, but the danish communists certainly did betray their non-communist danes who took up resistance.

  26. It would probably be more accurate to say, drf, that in some areas there were only communist partisans, and in other areas there were non-communist partisans.

    But the second part of your comment applies to a much wider area than just Denmark.

  27. I’ll defend joe when I agree with him and I didn’t take his comment the way Eric took it. It’s the difference between the police being part of the community and the police being “in charge” of the community. If they’re sniffing around, they’re trying to be in charge; but if the scent wafts toward them, like it would waft toward anyone else in the community, that seems OK. It would be silly to ignore the scent.

    Still, I think a significant number of people LIKE a militarized police force. I don’t know why, maybe because it looks pro-active instead of reactive.

  28. Actually, I didn’t entirely take Joe’s remark that way. Community policing is an idea I like, in general – I’m just not entirely optimistic that attempts to move in that direction from where we are will work out in the fashion we imagine.

    I was mostly just surprised no one else here took it that way, after seeing a lot of proposals of ways to involve the community dismissed as “rat on your neighbor” in other places.

  29. If the cops take their cues about which people bear closer scrutiny from the people who worship at the same mosque, I don’t see how it could be described as religious profiling.

  30. “Still, I think a significant number of people LIKE a militarized police force.”

    yeah, sadly. half the folks i know under 30 are in the “bush is controlled by the illuminati and the banking families” and the other half are rolling around with “if we don’t arrest the aclu soon the terrorists will have won.”

    a lot of “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear, so why do you care?” that’s fucking depressing.

  31. Eric,

    I do agree that certain big-city community policing efforts amouunt to little more than “tell us where the drugs are so we can make some money without having to actually get involved in the community ourselves.” In a big city like Chicago, many of the police involved in those types of community policing efforts actually live 30 miles away from the community (but within the city limits) they’re policing. But again, I think joe was talking about police working in the communities they live in.

  32. If the cops take their cues about which people bear closer scrutiny from the people who worship at the same mosque, I don’t see how it could be described as religious profiling.

    Is this not bordering on civilians snitching to neighborhood cops they feel comfortable with? Are we back to 1-800-USA-TIPS hotline to Alberto Gonzales, formerly General Ashcroft?

  33. Are you willing to bet that the trend lines dating back to the ’80s,

    i love how this excuses irretrievably militarizing both our country and theirs. a 25-year time horizon will justify a lot of sins.

    one might simply note, mr dean, that we first invaded the east wholesale in ww1 — some 80 years ago. al-qaeda is only the most recent manifestation of the west’s incursion into the mideast.

    in short, yes, al-qaeda would assuredly leave us utterly alone if we got out of there — just as the stern gang quit bombing the british when they got out of israel, just as the algerians quit killing frenchmen when they got out. of course, there were a lot of british and french who avidly believed otherwise, due mostly to their inability to compromise with people they perceived as inherently beneath them — and their resistance to reason got a lot of people murdered.

    your bizarre choice to characterize them as nuts who have something against you personally is as counterevidenciary and counterhistorical a reaction to what is happening as i can imagine, and reminds me very much of those examples.

  34. dhex: One of the best things about people under thirty is that they tend to learn with experience. The debate between those two perspectives should be quite fun to watch (or just boring, as it is the same debate with every generation using different buzzwords).

    ===
    I hear “community policing” as the people policing themselves. Probably more hear it as police infiltrating and enforcing in neighborhoods, or using beat cops to put a smiley face on Officer Buzzkill. As long as cops are given special priviliges and are not subject to civilian removal, I don’t think they can be equal partners in a community.

  35. That’s true, but the network has grown a lot more decentralized in the years since 9/11.

    Good link, thanks Jesse….

  36. Dynamist: I don’t see it as the people relying more on the police so much as the police relying more on the people — and higher units of government relying more on lower units of government.

    Obviously we’re speaking broadly here. I wouldn’t endorse all the concrete suggestions Eddy makes in the parts of his article that I didn’t quote. But the general point is one I would think most people in the Hit & Run fan base could get behind.

    R.C.: I don’t want to turn this into yet another kabuki debate over the Iraq war, but it looks to me like you’re squeezing an awful lot under the header “vital interests.” The invasion of Kuwait?

  37. gaius,

    Many people tend to take the idea that someone would indiscriminately kill them if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time personally.

  38. Is this not bordering on civilians snitching to neighborhood cops they feel comfortable with?

    Actually, hopefully one of the first steps is to get rid of the word “civilians” when used in the sense “not policemen”.

    It would be a huge improvement if in addition to introducing “community policing” we could get back to “civilian policing”.

  39. SIR ROBERT PEEL’S NINE PRINCIPLES

    http://www.nwpolice.org/peel.html

    No. 7:

    “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” (emphasis added)

    Does that sound like any cop you had any recent experience with?

  40. Isaac: I reluctantly admit I have known a very few who do indeed seem to embody that wonderful idea. At least in limited instances. But like Joe Friday used to say, it only takes one bad cop to destroy years of reputation-building.

  41. Dynamist

    Follow the link and read all Nine Principles.

    I’ll concede there are the rare individuals that live up to them or would if they had leadership that required it.

  42. Isaac: Wow. That should be tattooed on every officer’s forearm. It reminds of the importance of principle over catering to the whim of the moment. Thanks for the link.

    Leadership is essential, I agree. A constant reminder of the ideal toward which an officer aspires would help the ordinary cop live up to his potential. I wonder if our system of policing has devolved to where advancement is based on politics and cronyism rather than character and talent? And not so much in picking chiefs, who at least know what to say out loud, but in picking lieutants and captains, who shape the every-day face of the force.

  43. We should acknowledge that, while the terrorists of the last several attacks were likely local groups attacking smaller targets, this is due to the semi-successful dismantling of Al Quaeda in Afghanistan. People quickly forget that Al Quaeda had protection and funding from a soveriegn nation to carry out their planning, training terrorists, and access money and weapons.

    We still need to treat terrorism as a global problem, if only to prevent the reformation of this organization into a more significant threat then it poses today. While subway bombings are horrible and tragic, their scale, and impact, are small when compared to what these groups are capable of doing if allowed to grow.

  44. “Do you really believe that if we withdrew all of our military and diplomatic presence from the Middle East, AQ would leave us alone?”

    Not now.

    Thanks to the alleged mentality of the R C Deans, AQ has been backed into a corner.

    I’m not a cat lover, but I happen to be administering to the nutritional needs of a whole passel of ’em while my neighbor is on vacation.

    I’ve noticed, once you’ve pissed ’em off, they’ll take one last swipe.

  45. Thank you very much for that link, Isaac. My town’s police force is a national leader in the community policing movement, and I’ll be passing that on to some of the commanding officers.

  46. I’m guessing you live in Cambridge, joe, the BPD
    can’t
    possibly be what you had in mind.

  47. Does anybody know why they think the London bombings were done by AQ? The attacks were not exactly “simultaneous”, as AQ likes them to be. And there were no suicide bombers, which I find curious.

    Has AQ given up on suicide bombers? If so they’re weakening.

    I read an article on terrorism once (forget where) that made more sense than anything else I’ve seen. It said there are thousands of ways for terrorists to kill innocent people. And if the terrorists decide that’s what they want to do, then nobody and nothing is going to stop them.

    The fact that people are not dying in suicide attacks, by one’s and two’s (or any other numbers), all over the US means there very probably aren’t that many determined terrorists out there. Imagine that….I think this makes a lot of sense.

    Local police have certain strengths. But so does a national layer of “professionals”, as joe calls them. Terrorists may or may not stay in one place long enough for the locals to get an angle on them.

    A diffuse, but definitely layered, defense is needed. But we must realize it’s a game of “bear swatting at bees”. Some of them, probably most, are going to get by you.

    Which is maybe why so many people’s attention has shifted from the local to the international level on the whole question of dealing with terrorists. If you can’t stop them, then how do you get rid of them?

  48. To counter a dispersed, not concentrated, threat, you need a dispersed defense — namely, informed, alert and armed civilians.

    Stevo, you poor sop. Don’t you know that arming civilians is worse than — than — than terrorists?

    RC Dean — Ah-freaking-men. The Muslim world wouldn’t like us anyway. And I don’t believe bin Laden would leave us alone in any event.

    The most violent ideologues wouldn’t leave us alone, that’s for sure.

    But there would be a lot fewer of them to begin with.

    joe, I don’t share your faith. “The most violent ideologues” are precisely the problem, and the fraction of them at large is (probably) fairly constant.

    in short, yes, al-qaeda would assuredly leave us utterly alone if we got out of there

    Sorry gauis but I don’t buy it. Arab unhappiness with the West, and the US, is one problem. But I really think bin Laden is in a different league.

    bin Laden claims all kinds of grudges against the US. So he claims. But what I see in Bin Laden is somebody who wants power on a grand scale (have you heard of Pan-Arabism? It ain’t dead just yet…. ). His terrorism is a tactic for trying to get his hands on the power he wants.

    Terrorism is a way for a small number of otherwise impotent individuals to lay their hands on an international fame that they could otherwise never hope to have. bin Laden needs a scapegoat, and he’ll make us one no matter what.

    Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine — none of these are bin Laden’s home country. Saudi Arabia is (was). bin Laden is blowing smoke about these other countries.

    What bin Laden is pissed off about, more than anything else, is the fact that he was not able to put the Taliban in business in Saudi Arabia. If the US had something to do with bin Laden’s problem on this front, then I for one don’t see any US fault in stopping him. The Taliban were not exactly enlightened, benevolent dictators.

    You see, the US would still be Satan to bin Laden even if we hadn’t done our best to screw up the rest of the Mid East for the last 50+ years.

    blammo is right. bin Laden orchestrated his first attack from within Afghanistan. Now he doesn’t have that sanctuary. That counts as progress.

    Like it or not, this is an international problem.

    That given, we should not stick our noses in where they don’t belong. We should never have championed Isreal in the beginning, for example.

    OTOH, we must also recognize a wild animal when we see one (aka bin Laden). A savage beast cannot be appeased no matter what you do.

  49. bin Laden orchestrated his first attack from within Afghanistan. Now he doesn’t have that sanctuary. That counts as progress.

    Whuppty ding dong. I wonder how much that “progress” cost?

    FURTHER ON THIS: at the time the US invaded Afghanistan, my observation was that they were structuring the invasion to take over Afghanistan politically, rather than find OBL. Not being privy to the details of the Afghanistan invasion, I can’t say for sure that my theory is correct. It is worth noting that the result of the invasion was that we took over Afghanistan, but did not get OBL. That result makes me think I was right back in Oct 2001 (or whenever it was).

  50. STILL FURTHER: In late 2001, I made a small wager with a family member that OBL elude catching or killing at least through election day 2004. Winning the bet was an unwelcome silver lining on that dark cloud of a day.

  51. And there were no suicide bombers, which I find curious.

    I don’t think there were suicide bombers in Madrid. Am I misremembering?

  52. Jesse – from what (little) I recall, you’re right.

    Joe – I had always assumed that the commie resistance killed non-communist, but I picked the country where I knew for sure, and the country that had the most successful resistance.

    My objection was to your answer to RC – it can’t be answered, and we have an example of a hugely successful resistance that was NOT communist. So I was just thinking of where I do not believe your 1940s example held. So while your point to RC is well taken, I don’t think the analogy was successful. And when arguing with fixed-position pro war, having good analogies is probably a good strategy, grin.

  53. I’m going to make three points here. From watching Reason threads, it looks like libertarians only get about 1/2 of one of them. I expect I’ll get stoned for this, but I think it needs to be said.

    1) There is a definite tendency for urbanized nations become pacifist. I won’t go into the reasons why, but it happened in China (around 1000 BC) centuries before it happened in the West. This point should be given hard consideration by the entire Western world, who prides itself on it’s science and objectivity.

    Consider the results in China. After 1000 BC, two of the following three dynasties were foreign, because China — that huge behemoth — could not defend itself against a very small number of barbarians. The Chinese experience, once pacificism set in, was not especially positive.

    Consider the results in Europe. If not for the US, the Nazis would have taken over. Everyone tried to pretend Hitler wasn’t a problem until his tanks were rolling, which nobody in Europe had prepared themselves to stop.

    We cannot turn away from the need to defend ourselves.

    2) In consequence, the idea that arms build ups are inherently bad is simply a bad idea. I see thoughts like this all over the place around here:

    i love how this excuses irretrievably militarizing both our country and theirs.

    gauis brings up a lot of interesting points, but I contend that this attitude is mistaken. Militarizing against the Nazis would have been right. Militarizing against the Soviets was right. Militarizing against the Chinese is right. The Chinese are no longer nice little pacifists, they were conquered and are now ruled by foreigners (Marxists).

    3) Minimizing US interference in foreign affairs is a good idea. I grant that. I also grant that the US has created animosity in the Mid East, among other places. Isreal, again, is a perfect example, and there are many others.

    However, the idea that US can or even should take a laissez faire attitude on the international stage is mistaken.

    To begin with, anyone who won’t concede that oil is a vital US interest is playing ignorant. The fact that it is, means we cannot always and strictly take the lassiez faire attitude towards places like Saudi Arabia. Opposing Saudis like bin Laden from gaining significant power is something the US should and must do do.

    Look at the ideals and intentions of Islamic fundamentalists. I contend that at best, they are marginally above the Nazis on the moral scale. They are definitely equally dangerous.

    Letting someone with bin Laden’s idealogical bent get control over all those oil revenues is a bad idea. Total laissez faire in international relations would mean that the US is not justified in doing anything against any nation, until the tanks and bombs are rolling.

    Considering the cost of WWII, I contend that waiting for the tanks and bombs to roll is a foolish tack. Yet I get the sense that this is precisely what many libertarians would have the US do, in the name of laissez faire international relations.

    To survive in the world at large, the US must learn to recognize the kinds of people it’s looking at, internationally. A strict laissez faire policy in foreign affairs means that while you’d laud a business man at home for astutely seeing through a con artist and then acting against him, the same principle does not hold in international relations.

    Saudi Arabia is not Utah, and you can’t just sue bin Laden because he isn’t playing nice.

  54. Correction — I meant 1000 AD, not 1000 BC.

  55. Sgt. Done For,
    Are you kwais under a new nom de plume?
    And does “Done For” mean you’re “short”?

  56. Ruthless,

    I’m not kwais and never was. And Done For is the feeling I suspect I impart to many people with my diatribes. But I’ve also been thinking I need a new nom de plume.

    Ruthless isn’t bad, actually, but it’s in use.

    I was I, the evil conquerer. I think I’ll take it back up again.

  57. Dynamist and joe, while I don’t always think that paying attention to Victorian Englishmen is wise, I find it sad that Sir Robert Peel, the founder of civilian policing should have become so utterly obscure.

    The militarization of modern police forces (not just in the US but almost everywhere) is an obstacle to civil peace, not just in protection against crime but in terrorism issues as well, IMO.

  58. Isaac: I was out last night observing “enhanced policing” on a downtown Saturday night. I wanted to ask the officers if they had heard of Peel, but I didn’t want to spend the night in the clink.

    For all their shortcomings, I love how the Victorians used the language.

    I also looked up Peel’s Wikipedia entry. He seems like a man of decent principle. Thanks again.

  59. Nope, cd, not Camridge. And even the Boston PD have come quite a long way since the mid-90s.

    Sgt. Done For, “joe, I don’t share your faith. “The most violent ideologues” are precisely the problem, and the fraction of them at large is (probably) fairly constant.” A handful of violent ideologues, by themselves, might be able to kill a few people here and there, but they don’t pose an existential threat to us. A few hundred million people in sympathy with them, on the other hand, can mess our shit up good.

  60. In this world there are many people suffering the harm of terrorism, peace is an eternal theme, we should feel lucky to live in this peaceful environment.

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