London

Cars Could Be the Latest Instrument of Assault to Be Banned in London

London already has restrictive gun and knife controls. Could cars be next?

|

Stefan Rousseau/ZUMA Press/Newscom

In the aftermath of a car attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, U.K. officials have proposed making the area a car-free zone.

On Tuesday, the driver of a silver Ford Fiesta hit multiple pedestrians and cyclists, injuring at least three people, before crashing into a security barrier. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu says authorities are treating the incident as an act of terrorism.

Now some politicians and police officials are suggesting that parts of Westminster, where the attack took place, should be closed to cars. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told Sky News it's important not to "take an on-the-hoof response to what was a very disturbing incident." But he said "there may well be a case for pedestrianization" of parts of Parliament Square.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan agrees. "I've been an advocate for a while now of part-pedestrianizing Parliament Square, but making sure we don't lose the wonderful thing about our democracy, which is people having access to parliamentarians, people being able to lobby Parliament, visitors being able to come and visit Parliament," he said, according to The Telegraph.

Nigel Evans, a Conservative member of Parliament, told TalkRadio that "filtering traffic" in the area could add an extra layer of security. "I suspect this will reignite the debate on whether the whole of Parliament Square should be pedestrianized to ensure that anybody can't weaponize a vehicle and disrupt and indeed destroy our democracy," he said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick doesn't want Londoners to let terrorists "completely change our way of life." At the same time, she told the London radio station LBC it's important to take "reasonable measures" to protect the public. "Whether that area outside should be pedestrianized further is a matter that will be discussed, no doubt, between the parliamentary authorities, us, the intelligence agencies, the local authorities, and the mayor," she said.

London has a history of banning any sort of weapon that criminals could use to attack civilians. For decades, restrictive gun laws have kept the vast majority of Londoners (and all U.K. citizens) from legally obtaining firearms. But gun laws haven't stopped criminals from killing. In February and March, London's murder rate even exceeded New York City's.

Khan's solution was to launch a knife control campaign, even though carrying a knife in public without "good reason" has been banned in the city for years. But prohibiting people from carrying guns or knives did not stop Tuesday's car attack. And banning cars, even if it's only a partial ban in certain parts of London, probably won't do the trick either. People who really want to commit crimes will find a way, bans be damned.

NEXT: Can a Baker Be Forced to Make a Transgender Celebration Cake?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If only there were some clue to the motivations of the people conducting these attacks. It is just a mystery isn’t it?

    In the aftermath of a car attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, U.K. officials have proposed making the area a car-free zone.

    Those self driving cars must be getting out of hand. A car attack!! Cars are nasty bastards I guess.

    1. Imagine a London where only self driving cars are legal and they haven’t gotten any better at preventing Russians from killing people or hacking computer technology.

      1. That ought to work out well.

    2. Well, they don’t have a law against chain saws yet.

    3. Well, what if Christine got loose in London?

  2. In some countries, a functioning court system deters crime so that there is no need to ban items.

    1. And some countries don’t import thousands of homicidal lunatics who want to die for the cause. That never hurts either.

  3. Look, the laws against murder don’t stop them so why would any lesser law or regulation do so?

    Utterly illogical, and yet the British wonder why they lost the empire.

  4. Where did they get the idea for common sense assault vehicle control? They must have been reading our comments.

  5. >>>Westminster, where the attack took place, should be closed to cars

    ban the English instead

  6. Fascists gotta fascist. Banning things instead of looking at the people who did this.

    http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/03/ british-man-arrested-for-wielding-potato-peeler/

    1. Does the world really need any more chips?

      1. 640k chips should be enough for everyone.

  7. Doesn’t go far enough.

    Ban the personal automobile upon the entirety of Britain.

  8. Right, so all those pols are now going to hoof it to their offices? All furnishings, food, and everything else will be carried on on foot?

    I didn’t think so. It won’t take long for some damned fool to hijack a lorry or taxi and smash a few pedestrians, and the police will be even less on alert, seeing as how the threat has been legislated away.

    1. How would the bobbies stop a guy on a car rampage? With a billy club?

      1. Blow enough of those shrill whistles and he’d have to cover his ears.

  9. Didn’t they have car bombs there in the 1980s? They didn’t try to ban cars after that, why should they do it now?

    1. Possibly because there arguably more libertarian attitudes in the West than there are today.

    1. I thought it was two, or do I have the death toll wrong on this one?

      1. Pronounce the word “one” out loud to get the full effect.

        And I wasn’t referring to the death toll, which I’m pretty sure is still zero for this latest attack.

  10. REUTERS LONDON, AUGUST 15 2019- in the aftermath of a recent vehicle ramming outside the Westminster pedestrianized zone that killed a pregnant woman and her 3 adopted orphan children, London officials are expressing fears that the effort begun one year ago to exclude vehicles from high-risk areas in the city may not have gone far enough.

    “It’s like airport checkpoints, you know? You stop them outside one area, they just bomb the lines waiting outside,” said Dandruff McTossershire, chief of the Metro PD’s You Know, Christine Really Doesn’t Lend Itself To A Audience-Participative Stage Adaptation division. “The only solution is to just keep expanding the cordons outward until you can catch the wankers coming out their front door.”

    Discussions are currently underway to expand the WPZ out another block by next year. Spokesmen for the municipal government say that they hope this will become an annual ritual to keep worried citizens from failing to vote for the presently incumbent officials or pestering them with outraged phone calls while they’re on vacation in Majorca.

    “Basically, we’re going to keep pushing it outward until we hit the Chunnel sometime around 2350, and then we figure it’s the frogs’ problem,” McTossershire concluded.

    1. And yes, I noticed that I wrote “a audience-participative” instead of “an audience-participative” as soon as I posted it. Look, this is a high-speed, high-stress work environment, okay? They ain’t payin’ me enough to be circumspect.

  11. Kahn.: Huh! ‘Flu, eh? Ha. Right. Now, banning stuff. Tonight I shall be carrying on from where we got to last week when I was telling you to ban fresh fruit.
    (Grumbles from all)
    Councilman 1: Oh, you promised we wouldn’t do fruit this week.
    Kahn: What do you mean?
    Councilman 2: We’ve done fruit the last nine weeks.
    Sgt.: What’s wrong with banning fruit? You think you know it all, eh?
    Councilman 3: Can’t we ban something else for a change?
    Councilman 1: Like banning a pointed stick?
    Kahn: Pointed stick? Oh, oh, oh. We want to ban pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you eh? Well I’ll tell you something my lad. When you’re walking home tonight and some homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don’t come crying to me! Now, the passion fruit…
    All: We done the passion fruit.
    Kahn: What?
    Chapman: We banned the passion fruit.
    Councilman 1: We banned oranges, apples, grapefruit…
    Councilman 4: Whole and segments.
    Councilman 1: Pomegranates, greengages…
    Councilman 3: Grapes, passion fruit…
    Councilman 1: Lemons…
    Councilman 4: Plums…
    Councilman 1: Mangoes in syrup…
    Kahn: How about cherries?
    All: We did them.
    Kahn: Red *and* black?
    All: Yes!
    Kahn: All right then, bananas.
    (All sigh.)
    Kahn: We haven’t banned them, have we? Right. Bananas. What if there are terrorists armed with a banana.
    Councilman 1: Suppose they’ve got a pointed stick?
    Kahn: Shut up.

  12. I do not understand why we did not beat these pussies in one week in 1776 ?
    These coke sackers all squat to pee

    1. As I recall, they sent German mercenaries – – – – – – – –

    2. In 1776, the British had only exported a small portion of their population to the colonies. Over the next century, they sent most of their “troublemakers” to Australia, while the best of their middle and upper class left to rule India and other tropical colonies – and mostly died there of fevers, when the natives didn’t outright kill them. That is, over 5 generations, they sorted their population by sending the aggressive and resourceful away, and keeping the wimps. By 1914, they had to ask Australia and New Zealand for shock troops, while filling the supply clerk positions from the British Isles. WWI and WWII killed off most of the remaining British men that actually were men.

  13. Ban the Muslims, they’re the ones killing people with cars.

  14. Guns, knives, kitchen knives with pointy ends, cars. It’s only logical. What will be next? I believe common hardware tools [hammers, screw drives, etc.] are already on the list. You can however sharpen a stick, so pencils and dowels definitely need to go. And trees. And of course scissors. Pretty much anything you would remove from a padded cell designed to protect a suicidal person from themselves should be on the list.

  15. Maybe the London city government and UK in general should start by accepting there is a growing community of Muslims who are committed to engaging in acts of terrorism. How many times do they have to commit terrorist acts before the government stops pretending that more restrictions on what people can and cannot own will solve the problem. Make negative statements about Muslims in the UK and you will wind up in prison even though these are the people running over pedestrians, planting bombs and beheading people in broad day light. The scary part is this mentality is the same one progressives in this country have about how to deal with similar issues. Punish those who are not breaking any laws rather than admit and address those who are.

  16. In 1995 at the expiration of the Official Secrets Act seventy-five year cap on release of internal papers, when no one was paying attention, it was revealed that the internal Britisg government discussions that led to the 1920 British Firearms Act was NOT crime control. It was fear that British WWI vets (especially those with the 1919 expeditionary force that fought with the White Russians against the Red Russians) disgruntled by no jobs in peacetime post-WWI Britain would stage a Bolshevik-style revolution against the Crown.

    Anything you can do wrong with a gun is already against so many laws it is ridiculous. If Malum In Se laws don’t act as a deterrent to and punishment of bad behavior, Malum Prohibitum laws are worse. It does the dignity of the law no good to pass these ineffective symbolic laws that amount to voodoo criminology. They contribute to the public loss of faith in the rule of law.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.