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Guards, guards!

“Passengers locked on train with violent thugs”, reports the Times:

Two “psychotic” thugs spent 30 minutes assaulting and abusing commuters after rail staff locked them in a carriage and refused to open the doors.

Witnesses said that the two suspects had been clashing with other passengers on the Southern rail service from Hastings to Brighton on Tuesday last week when a train guard intervened. The men attacked the guard, onlookers said, before he locked himself in the driver’s cabin.

When the train arrived at Lewes station in East Sussex, the doors were locked.

Megan Townshend, 22, who was travelling with her two-year-old daughter, said the decision to trap the men inside the train fuelled their anger.

“The men then began walking up and down the train between carriages threatening people and punching the seats,” she said.

“Anyone who tried to confront them got punched. They tried smashing the windows and said they were going to burn the carriage. I was terrified they’d come near the buggy my daughter was sleeping in.”

This gives a whole new spin on that ancient question, “Who shall guard the guards themselves?”

62 comments to Guards, guards!

  • Mr Ecks

    We need to go back–as in pre-Plod times–to being martial society where people learn to take care of themselves and deal with assorted shitehouse clerks they may encounter.

    We need guns as well.

  • Patrick Crozier

    It would be nice if the whole thing weren’t behind a paywall but locking the doors does give the police a chance to get to the station and arrest the culprits. Hopefully, they will be charged, tried and – if found guilty – placed in the stocks.

    Many years ago an acquaintance of mine was on a train targetted by “steamers”. He pulled the emergency cord. The steamers could do nothing as the train pulled into the station and the police showed up to arrest them. Whether they were put in the stocks or not I don’t know.

  • Peter Barrett

    The current insistence currently causing strikebound chaos on South Western Rail is that guards are required to ensure the safety of the passengers. Hmmm …..

  • Itellyounothing

    And bigger meaner guards must guard the guard.

  • CaptDMO

    Gosh,paywall, and no desire to subscribe.
    Is no description of the assailants traditional in English news agency outlets?
    US outlets like to play a selective game of “Guess the Nationality”, “Guess the race”, “Guess the gender”, or “Guess the political party”

  • Ira Epstein

    Don’t tease this benighted colonial, but what is a steamer?

  • Fred Z

    Patrick Crozier: What’s a “Steamer”?

    The English dialect of the American language is often Greek to me.

  • Julie near Chicago

    :>)!

  • Fred the Fourth

    How in hell is locking passengers in the carriage compatible with fire safety?
    I would have thought carriages would be designed to make such locking impossible.

  • Vinegar Joe

    And not one person was carrying a narwhal tusk? What is the world coming to? 😡

  • pete

    Market forces in action.

    Why should a train guard endanger himself for very modest wages?

    Travellers are free to arrange alternative transport for themselves, with well paid, effective security personnel to protect them in the event of a threatening lout turning up.

  • Rob

    How in hell is locking passengers in the carriage compatible with fire safety?

    English Law is subservient to Union Law.

    Why should a train guard endanger himself for very modest wages?

    He couldn’t endanger himself by unlocking the doors at the station.

    Anyway, my prediction is that next to nothing will happen to these thugs.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And persons are free to take jobs whose job description doesn’t say anything about actually “guarding” passengers. But that’s what he agreed to do at a wage of X £/hour or whatever, so that’s exactly why “he should endanger himself.”

    Personally, I wouldn’t take such a job in the first place.

  • Felipe Grey

    ‘Steamers’. Slang for a Gang who go through trains robbing people/threatening violence for non cooperation.

  • Peter MacFarlane

    What Peter Barrett said.

  • Patrick Crozier

    There seems to be some confusion over what a train guard does. His function is to protect the train. To that he extent he is mostly responsible for opening and closing the doors. It is not to use physical force.

    The fact that a guard has seemingly so little to do is why some lines have opted for Driver Only Operation (DOO). The current wave of strikes on South West Railways is probably (one can never be entirely sure) because the company wants to dispense with the guard and go over to DOO.

    FWIW, when you pull the communication cord (to indicate a crime taking place) it is the driver who responds not the guard.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Rob, that was a serious question.
    How is it possible that a carriage is designed so that while at rest in a station, passengers cannot exit? (Can be locked in?)
    50 years ago, maybe, but in today’s safety-first culture?
    This has nothing to do with what the guard may have been doing.

  • Gene

    Are we sure these thugs weren’t Extinction Rebellion activists, seeking vengeance for their Canning Town humiliation?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Patrick,

    Thank you for explaining about the actual duty of the “train guard.”

    Misunderstanding near Chicago (as well as in Chicago, but that one ain’t on me). Apologies to all.

  • APL

    From the Daily Mail, which isn’t behind a paywall.

    “two ‘psychotic’ and ‘violent’ men .. ” , “Witnesses say the two men .. “, “Witnesses say the men .. “, “Two psychotic men were violent .. “,
    ” Why did you lock the train when there was a man threatening .. ”

    Well, I think we know one thing about these mystery ‘men’. They weren’t white. Let’s just chalk this up to the manifold benefits of diversity.

    it’s much like this incident. All we know about that case was that they were homophobes.

    “Newspapers” today. Huh!

  • Itellyounothing

    Previous generations knew newspapers were only good for wiping.

    Indoor loos and news on expensive heavy television sets has obscured this folk wisdom.

  • @Itellyounothing,

    That’s not fair. They can also be useful to place under the cat’s dish so that stray cat food doesn’t hit the floor and is easier to pick up. ^_~

  • Paul Marks

    I have given up trying to understand what this country has become – stories such as this just make no sense to me.

  • neonsnake

    They weren’t white. Let’s just chalk this up to the manifold benefits of diversity.

    If the Daily Mail doesn’t mention their ethnicity, then they’re absolutely white.

    If there was any chance of pinning this on dirty furreners, the Mail would have taken it.

    The culprits were white. End of.

  • APL

    neosnake: “If the Daily Mail doesn’t mention their ethnicity, then they’re absolutely white.”

    In a spirit of idle amusement, £5 says you are wrong.

    By contrast with the ‘train incident’ where men who couldn’t be described except by their psychopathic tendencies despite being observed by a train full of witnesses, and where there were, so far as I can tell, there were NO mobile phone recordings of the incident ( that is amazing today ). When whites are implicated in an incident, photographs and images are splattered across the BBC , or newspapers .

    Shouldn’t we all form a circle hold hands and chant ‘we will not stand for this institutional racism’?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Absolutely.

  • neonsnake (December 6, 2019 at 7:42 pm), before taking APL’s bet (APL, December 7, 2019 at 8:58 am), I suggest you try to find the story on the Guardian and/or the BBC, and then seek in either for any references to persons of pallor. Also you could ask Natalie if she purposefully omitted any Timesian references to persons of pallor – or lack of it – in the quote above (undoubtedly their appearance is irrelevant to her her post’s specific point).

    Before doing so:

    – If you do find references to persons of pallor (psychotic thugs of pallor), what would you think APL should concede?

    – Conversely, if you find only references to persons of no particular appearance (psychotic thugs of no particular appearance), or no reference to the story at all, what would you think you should concede?

    I’m sure we all agree that psychotic thugs are not invariably and inevitably of any particular appearance. But as regards media tendency to report or withhold what their appearance might be, I seriously question your conviction that the DM is even as reliable in one direction as the Grauniad in another. Prove me wrong if you can.

  • APL

    Niall Kilmartin: “what would you think APL should concede?”

    Just for the record. Five pounds is all that’s on offer, & foreign exchange fees will be deducted from the principle.

    Having searched around for ‘train incidents’, I conclude that riding public transport in the UK can be quite stimulating. Thank God I don’t have to, that much.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “By contrast with the ‘train incident’ where men who couldn’t be described except by their psychopathic tendencies despite being observed by a train full of witnesses”

    They were described. They were described as men.

    You don’t often see news articles telling you about women attacking other rail passengers, do you? If you search the news and find most of the stories about thugs either describe them as ‘men’ or as ‘people of no particular appearance’, what should you conclude?

    Statistics is hard to understand for some. It’s true that blacks have a higher rate of arrests than white per head of population – about 35/1,000 compared to 11/1,000. But of the roughly 700,000 arrests made in the UK, about 500,000 are white people, and about 66,000 are black. Most criminals are white.

    The ratio is 7.5-to-1 that a randomly selected arrestee will be white. A randomly selected white person is better than 99% likely not to have been arrested this year (some will have been repeatedly arrested), and a randomly selected black person better than 97%. Although the arrest rate per head of population is about 3.5 times higher for blacks, it’s about 10 times higher for men. Being a man is therefore a far more relevant characteristic to mention, and jump to casual causal assumptions about, than being black.

    Neither do they mention the astrological sign, blood group, or favourite flavour of ice cream of the perpetrators. Are they a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person’? We need to know!

    Anyway, video here:
    https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/18076941.passengers-locked-train-violent-lunatics-assaulted-staff/

    You can judge for yourself, but I have to say he looked white to me.

  • APL

    NiV: “Anyway video here: You can judge for yourself, but I have to say he looked white to me.”

    1. That video is not on the train.
    2. The guy with his back to the wall, appears to be white, I agree. But in that 15 second clip. It looks to me as if ( ‘back to the wall guy’ ) is getting assaulted.
    3. The news item cites ‘two men’ and/or ‘the men’ ( plural ). Once again ‘back to the wall guy’ seems to be being assaulted by two men. I can’t make out their ethnicity from the twenty seconds of video.

    On the strength of that video, my five quid will be accompanying me to the Pub tonight. Maybe never to return.

    NiV: “Are they a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person’? We need to know!”

    You probably don’t need to know if they are a cat person, but dogs need to get out in public, so yes, I’m interested to know if a dog person chooses to keep a Dobermann or a Pomeranian. And yes, when I meet that guy while walking his dog, I’ll make some snap judgements based on the information I have to hand. Later, I may refine my judgement.

    NiV: “It’s true that blacks have a higher rate of arrests than white per head of population – about 35/1,000 compared to 11/1,000”

    Not just higher, ( Yes, I’m not much good at statistics, ) but, isn’t that 318% higher?

    NiV: “arrests made in the UK, about 500,000 are white people, and about 66,000 are black. Most criminals are white.”

    But most of the UK population is White. So you’d expect more white criminals – ( are your figures adjusted for White Europeans who may have a higher or lower disposition to criminal activity than the British whites. Romana, for example, being notorious for criminality in their own countries. White Norweigians? Not so much. ) in prison.

    NiV: “You don’t often see news articles telling you about women attacking other rail passengers, do you?”

    snigger.

    Rail passengers maybe, maybe not. But women being preferentially treated by the legal system ?

    One might conclude, preferential treatment of female offenders could go some way to explaining why women are disproportionately under-represented in arrests or in the prison population. There’s that bloody Patriarchy again.

    The other conclusion, Nullius in Verva is, in Navy termonology, ‘laying down smoke’.

  • APL, if we assume the man standing against the station wall in the video at Nullius’ link above (which I also found), being confronted by others, is the one referred to as being “outside the station shouting and screaming” at the very end of the Argus story, then … as neonsnake did not close with your bet before Nullius posted that link, I would assume the bet is off.

    The few seconds of video shows me a man standing against a station wall being threateningly confronted by another who is less tall but seems the aggressor and is mostly back to camera (it is hard to be absolutely sure this other is man, not woman). Wall-man appears defensive: early on, he appears to hold his hands up, palms out, as if seeking to diffuse the confrontation. Then the other seems to charge right up to him and he throws an arm out. The third figure (who looks like a woman to me) seems to be also confronting wall-man at the start but turns away (appearing unconcerned that this leaves wall-man a clear strike at her back) by the end.

    This is not inconsistent with the wall-man being the trouble-maker who is now being contained by a forceful member of the public and friend while the authorities take their time arriving, after the rail company, having locked the passengers in with him and another till the authorities arrived, then unlocked everyone on getting a ton of “let us out” texts and learning the authorities were still a few minutes away. If all you had was the video, you could think the wall-man was a defending-himself victim, but the story invites a different view. (Self-defence training often includes making you aware that people in the vicinity can miss the aggressor’s first strike and turn to look just in time to report the retaliator’s counter-strike as the sole event.) Maybe the back-to-camera confronter is the kind of self-reliant member of the public we approve.

    An evil of the hate-speech laws (and even more of how they are selectively enforced) is that we must guess at what reporters may be shy of telling us. We know the statistical tendency (which interacts, as Nullius remarks, with other statistical tendencies as long as ‘minority’ remains a factual description). But it is merely a statistical tendency for lack of information to be informative – a tendency that neonsnake denied for the DM (quite wrongly I believe) after you asserted you ‘knew’ the men were not white (the claiming to know likewise wrong) and then were willing to bet £5 on (a better way to put it, perhaps a good bet, and I’d say the jury is still just about out for now) but neither you nor neonsnake could know from silence.

    I apologise if I sound tendentious in this comment. There are some interesting points about reasoning from withheld information that I found useful to draw out (the subject has long interested me).

  • APL

    Niall Kilmartin: “and which you might have lost £5 on – though I’d say the jury is still just out) for lack of information to be informative.”

    My earlier post in reply to NiV in which I took issue with a number of his assertions. Seems to have been smitten by the Samizdata moderators. It got through the five minute edit unscathed, and then disappeared. Bad boy APL.

    With regard to the 20 seconds of video, my reply was that I am still confident of a visit to the Pub tonight armed with £5

    I agree, the guy with his back to the wall does seem to be white, but he appears to be defending himself from the other two. Frankly, it could be any night at almost any rail station in the UK.

    The reports of events from the train clearly imply two ‘men’ acting in concert. That seems to comport with the video if you agree the guy with his ‘back to the wall’ is defending himself against two assailants, he seems to have a size advantage. But even then two to one, it’d still be risky to focus on one opponent. In my opinion, he’d need to be quite sure of disabling one of his opponents, before he could lend all his talents to the other.

    Anyway, given that the passengers were on the train for 30 minutes, WTF are the Police?

    To some of NiV’s other points:

    NiV: “It’s true that blacks have a higher rate of arrests than white per head of population – about 35/1,000 compared to 11/1,000”

    Not just higher, ( Yes, I’m not much good at statistics, ) but, isn’t that 318% higher?

    And;

    NiV: “arrests made in the UK, about 500,000 are white people, and about 66,000 are black. Most criminals are white.”

    But most of the population is White. So you’d expect more whites in prison.

    And, I thought this worth a chuckle:-

    NiV: “You don’t often see news articles telling you about women attacking other rail passengers, do you?”

    snigger.

  • Swede

    Was this an all female train?
    Where the fuck were the men?
    Jesus.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Where the fuck were the men?”

    I imagine that was who the article was referring to when it said: “Anyone who tried to confront them got punched.”

    Or do you mean “Where were the men who were bigger and tougher than the men causing all the trouble, like there always are in the action hero movies?”

  • Swede (December 7, 2019 at 6:17 pm), in a given carriage the men may have been few, old, inadequate or just poor at banding together. I was once in a far-from-empty Indian restaurant when a black guy charged in, screamed “I was good enough to lend you a f…ing tie” and started punching the lights out of a young man dining with his girl at another table. Despite being surprised, the attacked diner proved tasty enough – which was as well, because I was the only one who helped him reduce the intruder to a state where we could wait for the old bill. An old man came forward to protect the girl (who was crying and shaken) and remove cutlery from the chaotic table (I guess he figured it was better no knives and forks were to hand), while the not-old restauranteur and his fit-looking grown-up son deployed to protect the undamaged parts of their property (and phone said old bill), but they, and everyone else, seemed content to let the two of us do the actual pacifying.

    Sometimes the plot of High Noon describes how people actually behave. At other times, it is flight 93. I think modern society is getting worse for this – but remember when High Noon is set. An element of chance applies – it can vary a lot what distribution of age, sex and above all character you will find in a random small group.

    And finally, an aside just to think about (I only thought of it after writing the above because of earlier comments in this thread): who knew before reading this sentence (to some reasonable guess/bet level) that the race of everyone else involved was white, except that of the restaurant-owner and his son, who were Indian? Does anything whatever about me or you follow from your answer?

  • BTW Swede, by chance, Mark Steyn has some recent remarks on where are the men (h/t instapundit).

  • Nullius in Verba

    “An element of chance applies – it can vary a lot what distribution of age, sex and above all character you will find in a random small group.”

    It also depends on what distribution of fighting skill/training/experience people have. There is an absolutely massive range. Night club bouncers, boxers, martial artists, guys thrown out of army special forces for being a bit too psycho,… and the vast majority of men who spend their lives sat behind a desk tapping on a computer keyboard and not getting enough exercise, and haven’t been in an actual scrap since they were about ten years old.

    There’s this really weird idea around that all men are of roughly comparable fighting ability, and are all capable of dealing with anyone, and are all supposed to nobly risk their lives to defend the innocent. No. Mr Joe Average would last no more than a few seconds against an experienced fighter – there’s a damn good reason why in self-defence classes they teach you that the best form of self defence is to run away. (More precisely: 1. Avoid trouble. 2. If you can’t avoid trouble, run away. 3. If you can’t avoid trouble and can’t run away, hit them as hard and fast as you can so they go down and then run away.)

    Yes, sure, if it’s another Mr Joe Average whose got drunk, arrogant, or stupid, and you’re reasonably sure that’s the case, then yes you can. But in general, standing up to certain people can be just plain suicidal, male or not. And if there’s any possibility they’re armed… . Getting involved is not recommended if you can possibly avoid it. Real life is not like a romantic movie script.

    As it happens, in this case they didn’t have a choice, and it looks like it was some of the other passengers who did keep the guy cornered until the Old Bill showed up. Well done. But it could have gone a lot worse.

    The problem in this case seems to be that the cops told the guard to keep the doors locked until they got there, assuming the miscreants weren’t an immediate danger (most troublemakers aren’t) and so the priority was to arrest them. They should have been trained to prioritise public safety ahead of making an arrest. Lack of communication, and lack of training.

  • bobby b

    “Mr Joe Average would last no more than a few seconds against an experienced fighter – there’s a damn good reason why in self-defence classes they teach you that the best form of self defence is to run away.”

    This is one of the best arguments in favor or a right to carry weapons.

    Without weapons, society is at the mercy of the overly large and the overly strong and the overly aggressive. The bullies. The psychos. The trained warriors.

    With the ability to carry a weapon for self-defense, such variables are equalized out.

    Incidents such as the train attack generally happen in places where the carrying of a weapon is forbidden. In the USA, they occur in cities with strong weapon prohibitions. By one account, about 95% of “mass shootings” in the USA have occurred in “gun free zones.”

    As part of weapons training, we still learn that step #1 is avoid, and step #2 is run away. Step #3, however, is “aim for center mass.” I find that much more acceptable than “bleed, or watch other innocents bleed.”

  • standing up to certain people can be just plain suicidal, male or not (Nullius in Verba, December 7, 2019 at 10:14 pm)

    It was quite literally pure suicide for those guys who stood on the decks of the Titanic to stand there – but they did.

    If just one of the men in the Mark Steyn discussion had been willing to die – and had any cultural/social reason to suppose some of the others would rush the terrorist as he took the bullet – then the 14 women in the classroom might have lived. Or, later, as those men stood outside their classroom in the corridor listening as Gamil gunned down their classmates, if any number of those men had joined in almost any kind of plan for taking down Gamil Gharbi then he would not have strolled confidently from the classroom after completing the killing – for all they knew to visit another location and kill more.

    Your points are sensible when a single man’s life is at stake and he wants to avoid losing it for nothing, for just a momentary gesture of defiance. But each child in a classroom of young kids is far more outmatched by a tough guy than any adult, yet can do a lot to minimise their losses if they combine. But that needs a culture that produces the mix of a brave first-actor and a likelihood of second-actors willing to seize the opportunity. So I feel Swede’s question was worth asking. Self-defence lessons are self-defence lessons; when others are targets, other considerations arise.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Without weapons, society is at the mercy of the overly large and the overly strong and the overly aggressive. The bullies. The psychos. The trained warriors. With the ability to carry a weapon for self-defense, such variables are equalized out.”

    They’re possibly a bit less unequal, but I’d not consider them ‘equalised’. Quality and quantity of weapons, training, and tactical positioning have a major effect.

    Consider Afghanistan. Everyone is allowed to carry guns, and a lot of people do. But there are still mass killings. It might mean that instead of guns they use mortars, or grenades, or bombs. And when the Americans went over there, they generally kicked Taliban butt, because they had better weapons, training, and tactics. There’s still a huge difference between the top of the scale and the bottom.

    The guy doing the shooting is always going to be better prepared, but they only do the minimum preparation necessary. So if there are gun-free zones, they can get a gun and walk around fairly casually. If they know that everyone has got guns, they’ll do it differently. Whatever you come up with as sufficient to defend yourself against their attack, they will go one step further.

    The same applies in the other direction, of course. Inthe UK, even most of the criminals don’t have guns, but that doesn’t save people if the bad guy has knives. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    “As part of weapons training, we still learn that step #1 is avoid, and step #2 is run away. Step #3, however, is “aim for center mass.” I find that much more acceptable than “bleed, or watch other innocents bleed.””

    Agreed.

    “It was quite literally pure suicide for those guys who stood on the decks of the Titanic to stand there – but they did.”

    Such is the price of Patriarchy.

    “If just one of the men in the Mark Steyn discussion had been willing to die – and had any cultural/social reason to suppose some of the others would rush the terrorist as he took the bullet – then the 14 women in the classroom might have lived.”

    Yes, and if the women had been willing to die and had rushed the terrorist, some might have lived, too.

    And possibly if the men had rushed him, there would just be 30 dead students instead of 14. It would depend on the situation – if you can come at the gunman in a coordinated mass from multiple directions fast enough that he can’t shoot them all, then maybe. But I would expect the gunman would have considered the possibility, and taken precautions.

    One of the common stories they tell about the First World War is how the Brave British Tommy used to charge en masse across no-mans-land into the face of the machine gun nests and barbed wire. According to the story, sheer bravery wasn’t sufficient; not in the face of superior firepower.

    “But each child in a classroom of young kids is far more outmatched by a tough guy than any adult, yet can do a lot to minimise their losses if they combine. But that needs a culture that produces the mix of a brave first-actor and a likelihood of second-actors willing to seize the opportunity.”

    No, it needs planning, preparation, and practice. It’s one of the most notable things about human behaviour in an emergency that humans don’t think clearly under stress. They freeze in indecision, they panic, they run the wrong way, they stop and go back to pick up their belongings, they get crushed as people fight to get out, they do the most stupid things. Bravery isn’t enough. They don’t think ahead. Surprise is a huge tactical advantage. You have to do all your thinking for emergency situations ahead of time.

    It’s like we have fire drills to practice evacuation in the event of a fire. It’s not a cultural problem, that we’re insufficiently scared of fire, and liable to just sit there while the room burns. It’s so that we can find out what the problems are, and solve them with a clear head. It’s so that we’ve done it all before, and can remember what to do.

    So if you want to be able to survive a lone gunmen on a shooting spree, yes, there are a whole bunch of things you can do – women and children too. Drop to the floor, get behind cover. Throw things – nobody aims well when there are objects flying towards their face; flinching is a reflex. Improvise weapons. When moving, keep moving and dodging, and move fast. Know where the exits are, and get to them. Be aware of potential hiding places if you can’t. If you can coordinate an attack, have a signal you can use to synchronise it. Share information. Use disinformation. Raise the alarm, make lots of loud confusing noise. Turn off the lights.

    But you can’t expect people to do all that on the spur of the moment, with no preparation or coordination whatsoever.

    Of course, preparation for every eventuality takes time and resources, and those are in limited supply. People don’t prepare for them because such events are extremely rare. (Unless you live somewhere like Afghanistan.) And whatever steps you take, they can find ways to counter. Life has risks, and bad things happen. We simply try to do the best we can.

  • “It was quite literally pure suicide for those guys who stood on the decks of the Titanic to stand there – but they did.”

    Such is the price of Patriarchy. (Nullius in Verba, December 8, 2019 at 12:57 pm)

    It was testified in court that Gamil Gharbi’s Algerian father

    “had a total disdain for women and believed they were intended only to serve men.”

    which sure sounds well inside any possible definition of ‘Patriarchy’, but he seems to have omitted explaining to his son that the these beliefs came with the price tag of dying for women instead of killing them – or anything even remotely like it.

    As regards the rest of Nullius comment, training and preparation very much have their place but we will ever and again be confronted by things we’re not trained for, and then shared culture and its expectations will be part of what decides our chances. Culture, as both Burke and Thomas Sowell explained, is a sort of bank of the experience of the dead, and a form of communication of expectations. Cultures can vary greatly in the value of what they provide in this vein; they are not equal.

    One can sort-of train for the unexpected. British officers being trained in patrolling have arrived at their RV in the middle of empty Salisbury plain only to have floodlights turn on and a rock band start playing (or similarly-absurd event) just so the DS can see whether they run around like headless chickens when the world goes mad or drops into an alternate reality, but while that tests character and inventiveness, it is not training in Nullius’ sense. This thing is happening. You are not even remotely trained for it. What do you do?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It was testified in court that Gamil Gharbi’s Algerian father “had a total disdain for women and believed they were intended only to serve men.” which sure sounds well inside any possible definition of ‘Patriarchy’, but he seems to have omitted explaining to his son that the these beliefs came with the price tag of dying for women instead of killing them – or anything even remotely like it.”

    The Patriarchy deal is that men get obedience and women get protection. If women aren’t obedient, they don’t deserve protection.

    Humans have an instinct by which they learn certain core social norms as they grow up, that they are then instinctively driven to enforce. When someone violates one of your cultural norms, it triggers visceral feelings of violent anger and disgust, and an urge to stamp out the aberrant behaviour. It evolved to enable humans to live in tight social groups. Animals with conflicting interests having to share the same territory need agreements about boundaries of behaviour, and who gives way to who. But they also need to be flexible and adaptive, to suit a wide range of circumstances. The instinct allows people to collectively converge on a shared set of protocols, and enforces them. But evolution works blindly and without an overall direction and plan, the mechanism is unselective, and so the social norm-enforcing instinct can pick up all sorts of other unecessary baggage, and incorporate it into those norms to be enforced. Thence authoritarianism, totalitarianism, theocracy, torture, slavery, atrocity, genocide, and blood feud. Thence all the wars between “us” and “them” based on stupid and irrelevant distinctions.

    The norm that counts male lives as worth less than female, that demands male self-sacrifice in their protection, was originally the same social norm that requires obedience and submission from women to men, as their protectors, guardians, and in-a-sense ‘owners’. The visceral instinctive contempt we feel towards males who don’t comply with those self-sacrificing norms, even if that would be at the cost of their own lives, is the same sort of feeling that someone like Gharbi would feel towards women who violated those norms. They’re overturning the basic core values on which a decent, civilised, and stable society is based. A martyr who stands up for what’s right and decent, even at the cost of their own life or freedom, is heroic. Dulce et decorum est pro Patriarchy mori. And that’s how someone like Gharbi would see himself. There is no atrocity so hideous that this instinct cannot justify it in the name of ‘defending the good of society’.

    “One can sort-of train for the unexpected.”

    Yes! One obvious distraction is much like another. But you have to have been through it a couple of times to learn that.

  • bobby b

    Nullius in Verba
    December 8, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    “They’re possibly a bit less unequal, but I’d not consider them ‘equalised’. Quality and quantity of weapons, training, and tactical positioning have a major effect. . . The guy doing the shooting is always going to be better prepared, but they only do the minimum preparation necessary.”

    I’d certainly agree with you that training is the single most important factor affecting an outcome, but I think you’re assuming that most carriers are Elmer Fudds walking around with their guns on backwards and dropping all of their ammunition on the tile floor of the restroom whenever they bend over.

    Non-metropolitan society here has many ex-military instructors and high-end shooters, such that there are classes and training and contests available cheaply and commonly for anyone who wants them, and lots of people do choose this as a fun hobby. We’re not just an armed society: we’re a fairly well-trained one, and, as you say, the bad guys do the minimum preparation necessary. So, surprisingly, the bad guys get the short end of the stick more often than not in an encounter. That’s one of the reasons crime has been going down in carry jurisdictions faster than in prohibited ones.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I’d certainly agree with you that training is the single most important factor affecting an outcome, but I think you’re assuming that most carriers are Elmer Fudds walking around with their guns on backwards and dropping all of their ammunition on the tile floor of the restroom whenever they bend over.”

    No, I’m saying that the range of skills is a higher cliff than you can experience with a few months training.

    Think about playing chess. You can sit down a complete newbie in front of a chess board, and they’ll have no idea how to even move the pieces. Elmer Fudd. They’ll lose to someone who knows the rules. Then you can teach them how to move the pieces round the board, the rules of the game, but they’ll still lose to someone who has played a few games. After a few games they’re starting to get the idea that you can’t just march your pawns up the board and take your opponents king, but you’ll still lose to a more experienced amateur. As an amateur player, you’ll lose to a club player. As a club player, you’ll lose to a master. As a master, you’ll lose to a grand master. As a grand master, you’ll still lose to a regional champion.

    You can learn self-defence, but so can the bad guy. You can learn basic tactics, but so can the bad guy. You can pre-prepare the ground, erect barricades and safe points, arrange perimeter defences, surveillance sensors, armour up, and get better weapons, better communications, better transport, better logistics. But so can the bad guys.

    The unarmed people who get shot in massacres are the people who don’t know the rules of chess. The guy shooting them is the chess player marching his pawns up the board to take the king. What I’m saying is that learning how to block pawns doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically win at chess. It just means your opponent has to up their game too.

  • bobby b

    “But so can the bad guys.”

    Yep. But so far they haven’t, and so far they don’t appear to be thinking in those terms.

    No, we’re not going to take on Marines. We’d get kicked. But we’re not facing Marines. Those few bad guys who match us in training – and there will be a few – are going to be a challenge. But we’ll handle the other 95%, and life will be that much better.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Yep. But so far they haven’t, and so far they don’t appear to be thinking in those terms.”

    95% of the time they don’t need to. And so long as that’s true, they won’t.

  • neonsnake

    If you do find references to persons of pallor (psychotic thugs of pallor), what would you think APL should concede?

    It’s hardly difficult, is it Niall? I’m saying he’s racist.

    When all of the statistics are against you, and the first thing that APL comes up with is the skin colour, even when the Daily Mail doesn’t mention skin colour. APL is racist. You’re all trying to come up with excuses, and trying to protect thats he’s racist.

    The most likely likely thing is that it’s was a couple of drunk white guys. All the evidence is that.

    What do I want them to concede? That they’re racist. Also, anyone who is defending them, they they’re racist too.

  • Swede

    Were these 2 gents armed? Guns/knives, or anything other than possible strength and intimidation?

    If the answer is no, and there were 4 to 6 completely untrained, non-military men on that train, then I absolutely believe the men could have controlled the situation.

    Hell, make those 2 thugs Navy SEALs and the other men accountants. What is really needed is a leader. Somebody who says “this is what we’re going to do”. You can absolutely overwhelm bullies, no matter how they’re trained.

    My guess is that these 2 guys were garden variety douche bags but that they operate in a society where people are told to keep their heads down and mind their own business.

    That’s why this situation has the story it has.

  • Nullius in Verba


    “Were these 2 gents armed? Guns/knives, or anything other than possible strength and intimidation?”

    From the article:

    “Mr Dodsworth added: “By the time I arrived at the station I started hearing screaming and shouting.

    “The guy that was the main one causing all of the issues was outside the station shouting and screaming at everyone.

    “Things intensified when he started shouting he had a knife and started kicking a taxi.

    “Someone came and dragged him away from the incident and about five minutes later the first police car turned up.”

    One passenger tweeted the company: “You locked passengers on a train with a lunatic who became even more aggressive, ‘threatened to take hostages’, ended up fighting with passengers, opened doors. Fight escalates.”

    Another asked: “Why did you lock the train when there was a man threatening to punch passengers and set the train alight?””

    How would you be able to tell that they didn’t have a knife? X-ray vision?

    “You can absolutely overwhelm bullies, no matter how they’re trained.”

    Oh dear… 🙄

  • It’s hardly difficult, is it Niall? I’m saying he’s racist. (neonsnake, December 8, 2019 at 8:54 pm)

    I asked two questions: what you’d think APL should concede and what do you think you should concede? You’ve only answered one – and by statistical arguments resembling those you made, you’ve probably answered it wrongly. This isn’t the most obvious site for a racist to hang out on – but it is an obvious site to hang out on if you think the media spin the news and/or hate speech laws push them to, so have a strong tendency to deduce meaning from what is not mentioned.

  • APL

    neosnake: “It’s hardly difficult, is it Niall? I’m saying he’s racist.”

    In your opinion I am a racist, very good. The ‘go to’ stance for Leftist totalitarians of low intelligence ( but I repeat myself ). I must admit I’ve thought for a while you are a bit of a fascist. Which in my opinion was confirmed when you posted this an admission you are not interested in dialogue or discussion but rather, who is prepared to use force first, and you’ve declared yourself to be that guy.

    neosnake:You’re all trying to come up with excuses, and trying to protect thats he’s racist.”

    Yes, everyone else on Samizdata is against you.

    Huh!

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I asked two questions: what you’d think APL should concede and what do you think you should concede? You’ve only answered one – and by statistical arguments resembling those you made, you’ve probably answered it wrongly.”

    I think the disagreement is over whether the media neglected to mention the race of the two thugs because:
    (a) It’s totally irrelevant;
    (b) It’s relevant but politically controversial and the media are trying to either avoid trouble or promote a particular political position by not mentioning it.

    Neonsnake’s (and my) argument is that only a racist would reject (a). Neonsnake did so by applying the same fallacious argument to come to precisely the opposite conclusion – a reductio ad absurdam. I did so by pointing out all the other factors that the media also don’t normally mention, and also pointing to the protected category information (the perpetrator’s sex) that they did.

    It’s not relevant, unless there is a specific race-related element to the crime. In most cases, the media aren’t mentioning it simply because it’s not relevant. In some cases they may be taking especial care not to mention it because although it’s not relevant, they know racists will be crawling all over it as if it was relevant if it’s so much as mentioned. That they do so obviously upsets and distresses racists, for who the race of the participants in any crime story is always the most critically important element. Just as for any other sort of single-issue campaigner, whose ‘side’ the participants are on in their own particular war is always the most critical information.

    Frankly, I’m a bit surprised APL didn’t simply reply “Yes I am, and proud of it.” Free speech and fredom of belief apply just as much to racists, and to treat the term as an insult kinda concedes the point, accepting that holding racist opinions is bad/wrong. That’s very PC.

    Racism is just an opinion, which people are entitled to hold if they choose. (And which other people are entitled to disagree/argue with.) Libertarians should only have a problem with racially-motivated harm.

  • Neonsnake’s (and my) argument is that only a racist would reject (a). Nullius in Verba (December 9, 2019 at 6:10 pm)

    Your argument is simply wrong. Someone – especially someone who comments on this blog – might reject (a) because they have acquired a strong distrust of mainstream media, so deduce that silence always indicates consent to the PC narrative.

    With the word ‘always’ in the sentence, that assertion is clearly wrong and will lead anyone who literally follows it into bad guesses – into possibly losing £5 bets, for example. Why did the DM not state the race of the hooligans? Well, it could be from PC caution or it could be because “We’re journalists, not slaves. We like to go home at the end of our shift. The only video anyone posted was a bit confusing and the police station phone was engaged when we called, so we left it vague”, etc. Real life always has much of that.

    When you and neonsnake assert “only a racist would reject (a)”, I could obviously repeat the first sentence in my paragraph above, replacing ‘always’ with ‘only’ – but I think it’s even worse than that. There are many prejudices in the world, some founded on very observable facts (PC bias in the media, for example) and becoming prejudices only when too indulged – when, for example, silence is taken to have meaning always, not just sometimes.

    I have no personal knowledge of APL any more than of you, just as all of us at starting had no personal knowledge of the train incident (and still have only a slightly-hard-to-be-sure-about video). We are just talking about ways to bet, combining what (little?) we each know and suspect about population ratios, crime tendencies, PC media bias, pressures created by the hate speech laws – and what kind of people are or are not most likely to comment on this blog.

    I advise APL to keep betting small sums only – or review when silence does and does not have meaning. Likewise, I advise you and neonsnake to review whether the absurd prejudice we were and are all still taught, that gives us (as it is intended to) a ridiculous over-readiness to impute racism, is sufficiently mastered.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Someone – especially someone who comments on this blog – might reject (a) because they have acquired a strong distrust of mainstream media, so deduce that silence always indicates consent to the PC narrative.”

    Insufficient. Even if anyone here was daft enough to do that, there are lots of different aspects to “the PC narrative”.

    Why didn’t APL ‘deduce’ that they were Antifa leftists? Or eco-protestors? Or volunteer thought-police objecting to somebody’s non-PC speech? Or activists for Momentum having an argument about politics and the election? Or ardent Remainers having an argument with a Leaver? Or someone protesting about the rail-workers’ strike? Or perhaps they were gay, and fighting with someone who had just dissed their boyfriend?

    Why did APL immediately jump to the conclusion that of all the PC-narrative things the media might conceivably want to hide, that the one they must be hiding was the perpetrators race?

    But it’s a ridiculous argument. The vast majority of crimes don’t have any PC-narrative-relevant aspect to hide. Most crimes have nothing whatsoever to do with race – it’s totally irrelevant in most cases. A couple of guys started a fight on a train, the guard locked the doors and waited for the police, the guys were angry and threatened the other passengers. What’s that got to do with their race? Unless you think race is relevant to every story, there have to be thousands of media stories that don’t mention it. So why on Earth would anyone not totally obsessed with the race of everyone involved deduce that the media not mentioning it implied it was there?

    Sometimes the media is silent simply because there is nothing to say.

    The issue is not with suspecting the media of hiding something – it’s with assuming that race would always be mentioned if it wasn’t something to hide. It’s bad enough that you can get into trouble for the things you say – when people start taking offence at the things people haven’t said, we’re plumbing the depths of PC madness.

    I expect APL is aware of all this as any of us. It wasn’t intended as an actual serious deduction. It was a bit of obvious hyperbole to make a trite political point. A racist one.

  • bobby b

    “Most crimes have nothing whatsoever to do with race – it’s totally irrelevant in most cases.”

    I’m an OWG. In my youth, I hung around and worked in sketchy places. I got robbed (guns, knives, garden implements, fists) and smacked and assaulted more often than I would recommend. My assailants were mostly black, sometimes Native American. (This was in a city that was about 85% white, 10% black, 5% Native American.) I think that one of the miscreants was white. I’m not positive of this, as I was busy doing some facial bleeding at the time.

    I am now more trusting of meeting young white guys in dark alleys than I am of meeting young black guys or young NA’s.

    Am I racist for this?

  • Why didn’t APL ‘deduce’ that they were Antifa leftists? Or eco-protestors? (Nullius in Verba, December 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm)

    Well, it would be either because he’s a racist or for the obvious reason – that as far as I know the hate speech laws do not permit you to be arrested for remarks about eco-protestors or Antifa leftists. The PC love to talk as if AGW-denial was a crime, but they have not succeeded in making it so, as yet, while only the first part of Antifa’s belief that our speech is violence and their violence is speech has been made law so far. Were these additional laws to be imposed, and have a decade and a half to sink into MSM journalists’ awareness and practice, you might have a bit more of a point.

    I have argued above that APL should guard against assuming silence is always PC silence. But it would be absurd not to know where the pressure for PC silence is stronger and where it is less strong.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby: NO. You’re doing the obviously rational thing, playing the odds.

    Furthermore, as you’ve said over and over, you’re entirely open to judging an individual on his merits rather than his racial characteristics (if there be such things). But if all you have to go on is your understanding of the statistical danger of being in a certain kind of neighborhood at a certain hour and being assaulted by a member of a group of people who are, as best you can tell, more inclined to theft or mayhem than members of certain other groups, good judgment would at the very least merit some wariness and a heightened readiness to flee or fight if necessary.

    When I were a kid, Mother, like most sensible mothers at the time, taught us not to walk close behind presumably parked cars unless they were clearly turned off and no one was in them. This went also for walking between parked cars.

    (Even moms and other grownups today seem utterly unaware of this simply safety rule. As do their kids.)

    Was she, were they, “parked-car-ist”? Of course not. The point was that to walk behind unvetted but “parked” cars carried a small, but significant, risk of being run over.

    Lacking infallibility, we humans get along precisely by playing the odds as we judge them to be, informed by our cost-benefit analyses. Sometimes our judgment is good; sometimes not so much.

    Sometimes other people kibbitz and make their own judgments as to whether our behavior is morally acceptable or not. Sometimes as they’re coming to judgment they trouble to look at the circumstances of and possible reasons for what we do; sometimes not, and their own judgments of our behaviour is flawed — or correct even though made on poor grounds.

    .

    There’s the saying, “Never say never.” And there’s my own slogan, “Most blanket rules aren’t.”™ But we all do make blanket rules for ourselves, and hopefully suspend them when they’re not appropriate. And sometimes we suspend them in simply overstating the case.

    It’s a common judgment among the Anti-Left/Anti-Progressive folks that the news, educational, and even entertainment media give certain Victim Groups, including “races,” cover which they often deny to other groups. It’s very easy to get into the habit of assuming such behaviour in those media, even though it may or may not be there in a given case.

    If these media want to be judged strictly fairly, then they need to stop with the unfair treatment of various groups.

  • APL

    nullius: “we’re plumbing the depths of PC madness ”

    And in my opinion you and your chum, are in the vanguard of PC madness. Again, in my opinion, the rest of you on Samizdata will have about six months before these guys try to impose a ‘code of conduct’, where they naturally will be the arbiters of ‘right think’ and ‘true speak’.

    But, it’s not just my alleged prejudice that informs my opinions. I have some facts that are worth repeating.

    Where to start? That could be difficult…

    Maybe this

    Or this one

    Or this one

    Or this one

    Or this one

    Or this one

    This one

    This one

    This one

    This one

    This one

    But but, I hear you say. They’ve all been reported in the press. Well, not the Rotherham rapes, nor were the Oxford rape gangs, all those gangs were covered up by the media, until they couldn’t any longer. And what did that achieve? Just more rape gangs.

    So, I notice a particular pattern. And I’m the racist. I haven’t killed anyone, I haven’t raped anyone and unlike your chum, neosnake, I don’t make it a habit of assaulting folk because I don’t like what they say or come to that, the colour of their skin.

    But I’ve got the ‘racist’ pattern recognition circuits, that you object to.

    And by the way, I didn’t much care for the Irish paramilitaries when they were on their killing and bombing spree either.

    By the way, the Republican paramilitary murderers have started up again. Just goes to show that appeasement, the kindest way I can describe your stance, is just a declaration that you are weak, and is counterproductive.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I am now more trusting of meeting young white guys in dark alleys than I am of meeting young black guys or young NA’s.”

    There are, as I say, lots and lots of criteria on which you could do such statistics. Male or female. Rich or poor. Old or young. Smart clothes or scruffy clothes. Trainers or boots. Pick up truck or Prius. Beard or clean-shaven. Why pick solely on skin colour?

    If all you’re after doing is estimating trustworthiness, then the more categories on which you base your decision, the more accurate the result and the safer you will be. So how many categories have you collected statistics on, to aid your decision?

    And would not the most reliable criterion as to trustworthiness be to not trust guys who want to meet up with you in dark alleys? 😉

    “that as far as I know the hate speech laws do not permit you to be arrested for remarks about eco-protestors or Antifa leftists”

    Are you suggesting that a newspaper journalist would be arrested for merely revealing the skin colour of a criminal?!

    “The PC love to talk as if AGW-denial was a crime, but they have not succeeded in making it so”

    It’s actually a protected category!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grainger_plc_v_Nicholson

    “Were these additional laws to be imposed, and have a decade and a half to sink into MSM journalists’ awareness and practice, you might have a bit more of a point.”

    You’re still missing the point. In the case in question, race is irrelevant. There’s no need to apply PC rules to stifle mention of the perpetrators’ race, because nobody but the the race-obsessed would even think to mention it. 5/7 of the people arrested are white. This guy was white. So what? What’s that got to do with anything? Why would anyone even think a journalist would consider it an interesting or relevant point to mention?

    I mean, do you have conversations like this one?

    “Hey! Great news! I just sold my car for 500 bucks!”
    “Oh yes? Was the guy you sold it to black?”
    “Huh? What?”
    “I mean, I noticed you didn’t mention the race of the person you sold it to. I figured that’s because you’re scared of being arrested for hate speech. He was black, wasn’t he?”
    “Urrr…?”
    “You leftists are all the same. Obsessed with racism…”

    In every story you tell about people in your life, do you always carefully specify the race of every participant? Is the reason you sometimes don’t because you’re scared of being arrested for hate speech? What meaning shall we ascribe to your silence on the matter?

    I don’t really care, one way or the other. Like I said, racism is just another belief, like a kooky religion. I just think it’s very noticeable how with certain people the subject always pops up, like the way some people insert what Jesus would do into every conceivable conversation.

    “When I were a kid, Mother, like most sensible mothers at the time, taught us not to walk close behind presumably parked cars unless they were clearly turned off and no one was in them.”

    I notice you carefully didn’t mention the colour of the cars. Would they happen to be… black? 😉

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Where to start? That could be difficult…”

    It could. As I mentioned earlier, out of the 700,000 arrests in the UK, 500,000 were of white people. So you only have 499,989 more examples to go…

    🙂

    Seriously, anecdote is a bad substitute for statistics.

  • bobby b

    “Why pick solely on skin colour?”

    Because that was the common factor amongst them. (I will stipulate that they were all male, and I have no fear of meeting women of any color in a dark alley. Well, except my ex-wife.)

    So, does this make me racist?

    (If it makes this easier, I will also stipulate that I think that it does, to some extent, but that this definition of “racist” means that in a Venn diagram with one circle of “racist” and another of “acceptable and understandable behavior”, it produces some overlap.)

  • bobby b (December 11, 2019 at 12:30 am), I understand the point you are trying to make, but in claiming

    I think that it does, to some extent

    you assert that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is an anti-black racist (“to some extent”). The reverend, in an admirable, if rare, moment of honesty, admitted that when he heard footsteps behind him, turned, and saw the man was white, not black, his reaction was relief. The same could be claimed of many a black NY taxi driver noticing the race of a prospective fare, etc. And it goes beyond direct fear of assault. A study of successful black-owned US banks showed they leveraged the political protection their ownership gave them to invest disproportionately outside the black community, relative to other banks. (IIRC, this is discussed in those Thomas Sowell books you have ordered for Christmas.)

    It would be a reductio-ad-absurdam argument to describe as anti-black racism (even if only “to some extent”) behaviours that black people acquired rationally from experience of other blacks – so it would be incorrect to describe so the same behaviour in you.

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