The Wall Street Journal reports that a retired general’s resistance to the Chavista regime has defeated efforts to effectuate his arrest and set an example for resistance.
A gun-toting retired Venezuelan general has become a folk hero to the country’s opposition and galvanized a protest movement by defying the government of President Nicolás Maduro, engaging in a Rambo-like standoff with security forces sent by the president to arrest him.
Angel Vivas has been holed up in his home in a hilly Caracas suburb since last weekend, when Mr. Maduro, on live television, ordered his arrest for having backed student protests that have convulsed this oil-rich nation.
When black-clad officers from military intelligence went to the retired Army general’s house Sunday morning, he emerged wearing a flak jacket and armed with a semiautomatic rifle and pistol, warning that the only way he would be taken was in a body bag. Scores of neighbors came out in support of Gen. Vivas and heckled security forces, who eventually backed down.
“I have a right to self-defense,” Gen. Vivas said in an interview inside his bunkerlike home, which is decorated with family pictures and mementos to his 40-year career in the army, including old rifles and swords.
“At no time did I order anyone to commit violence,” he said, after the government said his tweet giving defense advice caused a death. “I was helping unarmed civilians defend themselves….A priest recommends prayer, a doctor recommends medicine, a military man recommends how to defend.”
In the days since, Gen. Vivas has become an inspiration to many of the protesters, who have risen up in past weeks against what they see as an increasingly authoritarian government and an economy savaged by high inflation and scarcity. ...
Gen. Vivas’s Twitter account, where he regularly blasts the Maduro government as “illegitimate” and a stooge for Cuba, which has close ties to Caracas, surged to 233,000 on Wednesday from some 50,000 followers on Saturday. His 16-year-old daughter Natalia’s account went to 15,000 followers, from 200, after she posted YouTube videos of the standoff.
“He has the guts that a lot of people lack,” said Anessa Cafferata, a 21-year-old engineering student who takes part in daily protests across the capital. “He’s protecting his home, and we students are protecting the country.”
The short and stocky 57-year-old general symbolizes some of Venezuela’s deep divisions that have only hardened in recent weeks as protesters—largely backed by the middle and upper class—square off against a populist government.
In the upper-middle class enclave where the general lives, there is little affection for the government, blamed for a crumbling economy where ordinary goods are scarce on store shelves.One neighbor complained that he went four months without toilet paper. Another said car batteries were now a favorite target for thieves because Venezuela lacks the dollars to import new car batteries. The local school has been closed for two weeks due to the protests.
Neighbors take turns standing guard outside the general’s home, ready to raise the alarm if the government returns to arrest him. Access to the neighborhood is cut off by barricades manned by protesters, who have piled garbage, old tires and tree branches at main intersections to stop government officers from returning.
“He’s a one-man military rebellion,” said Ivan Monroy, an amateur historian who visited the general’s house this week to deliver a copy of his book.
Santa Monica watch dealer defending his store against armed robbers killed five criminals in the course of four gunfights. Targeted for revenge by an LA gang, he finally gave up his storefront, but he still sells watches and does repairs by appointment and on-line.
It is impossible imagine a better metonomic image of Britain disarmed.
The recent breakdown of civil society in British cities has been widely associated with welfare state entitlements and an all-encompassing liberal egalitarianism which insists on treating criminality as victimhood. A version of society Kipling predicted: “[T]he brave new world begins, when all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins.”
But it must also be noted that the left’s aversion to punishing crime has consistently featured a single notable exception, a passionate determination to make a conspicuous example of any law-abiding citizen competing against the state’s monopoly of force by daring to defend himself against crime and violence. In such cases, liberal authorities have consistently been out for blood.
Joyce Lee Malcolm, a professor at George Mason University has made the study of the British experiment a personal specialty, and reports in the Wall Street Journal on some of the atrocities produced by the contemporary administration of justice British-style and their results in multiplying crime.
Great Britain’s leniency began in the 1950s, with a policy that only under extraordinary circumstances would anyone under 17 be sent to prison. This was meant to rehabilitate young offenders. But the alternative to incarceration has been simply to warn them to behave, maybe require community service, and return them to the streets. There has been justifiable concern about causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment, but little admission that some individuals prefer theft to work and that deterrence must be taken seriously.
Victims of aggression who defend themselves or attempt to protect their property have been shown no such leniency. Burglars who injured themselves breaking into houses have successfully sued homeowners for damages. In February, police in Surrey told gardeners not to put wire mesh on the windows of their garden sheds as burglars might hurt themselves when they break in.
If a homeowner protecting himself and his family injures an intruder beyond what the law considers “reasonable,” he will be prosecuted for assault. Tony Martin, an English farmer, was sentenced to life in prison for killing one burglar and wounding another with a shotgun during the seventh break-in at his rural home in 1999. While his sentence was later reduced to five years, he was refused parole in 2003 because he was judged a danger to burglars.
In 2008, a robber armed with a knife attacked shopkeeper Tony Singh in West Lancashire. During the struggle the intruder was fatally stabbed with his own knife. Although the robber had a long record of violent assault, prosecutors were preparing to charge Mr. Singh with murder until public outrage stopped them.
Meanwhile, the cost of criminal justice has convinced British governments to shorten the sentences of adult criminals, even those guilty of violent crimes, and to release them when they have served half of their sentence. Police have been instructed by the British Home Office to let burglars and first-time offenders who confess to any of some 60 crimes—ranging from assault and arson to sex with an underage girl—off with a caution. That means no jail time, no fine, no community service, no court appearance.
In 2009, 70% of apprehended burglars avoided prison, according to British Ministry of Justice figures. The same year, 20,000 young offenders were electronically tagged and sent home, a 40% increase in the number of people tagged over three years.
All sorts of weapons useful for self-defense have been severely restricted or banned. A 1953 law, the “Prevention of Crime Act,” made any item someone carried for possible protection an “offensive weapon” and therefore illegal. Today there is also a list of devices the mere possession of which carries a 10-year sentence. Along with rocket launchers and machine guns, the list includes chemical sprays and any knife with a blade more than three inches long.
Handguns? Parliament banned their possession in 1997. As an example of the preposterous lengths to which zealous British authorities would enforce this law, consider the fate of Paul Clark, a former soldier. He was arrested in 2009 by Surrey police when he brought them a shotgun he found in his garden. For doing this personally—instead of asking the police to retrieve it—he received a five-year prison sentence. It took a public outcry to reduce the normal five-year sentence to 12 months, and then suspend it.
The ban on handguns did not stop actual crimes committed with handguns. Those crimes rose nearly 40%, according to a 2001 study by King’s College London’s Center for Defence Studies, and doubled by a decade later, according to government statistics reported in the London Telegraph in October 2009.
Knives? It’s illegal for anyone under age 18 to buy one, and using a knife for self-defense is unlawful. In 1991, American tourist Dina Letarte of Tempe, Ariz., used a penknife to protect herself from a violent attack by three men in a London subway. She was convicted of carrying an offensive weapon, fined, and given a two-year suspended sentence.
The result of policies that punish the innocent but fail to deter crime has been stark, even before the latest urban violence. The last decade has seen a doubling of gun crime. According to the latest annual report of the Home Office (2009), there was a 25% increase in crimes involving contact, such as assault and battery, over the previous year.
A survivor of an Alabama university shooting said the professor charged in the attack that claimed three lives methodically shot the victims in the head until her gun apparently jammed and she was pushed out of the room.
Associate professor Joseph Ng told The Associated Press on Tuesday he was one of 12 people at the biology department meeting Friday at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He described the details in an e-mail to a colleague at the University of California-Irvine.
Ng said the meeting had been going on for about half an hour when Amy Bishop “got up suddenly, took out a gun and started shooting at each one of us. She started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head.”...
Ng said the meeting was held around an oval table. The six people on one side were all shot.
“The remaining 5 including myself were on the other side of the table (and) immediately dropped to the floor,” he wrote.
Ng told the AP the shooting stopped almost as soon as it started. Ng said the gun seemed to jam and he and others rushed Bishop out of the room and then barricaded the door shut with a table.
Ng said the charge was led by Debra Moriarity, a professor of biochemistry, after Bishop aimed the gun at her and attempted to fire but it didn’t shoot. He said Moriarity pushed her way to Bishop, urged her to stop, and then helped force her out the door.
“Moriarity was probably the one that saved our lives. She was the one that initiated the rush,” he told the AP. “It took a lot of guts to just go up to her.”
Ng said the survivors worried she would shoot her way through the door, and frantically worked up backup plan in case she burst through. But she never did.
I thought it was interesting to read how when Amy Bishop’s gun jammed (or was simply empty), after she had shot six people, several of the remaining biologists were sufficiently driven by survival instinct to rise from hiding on the floor, ask her to stop shooting people(!), and then, as she presumably gaped at them in astonishment, employ superior numbers to push her out the door. After which, they proceeded to try to barricade themselves inside. It would be just too bad, of course, for anybody else who had recently offended Amy Bishop who happened along after she reloaded or cleared her jam.
Five people made no attempt to apprehend or disarm a woman who was obviously, temporarily at least, unable to fire any more rounds. As far as they were concerned, short term personal survival was the key priority. Dealing with Professor Bishop would be a job for the authorities. Let the police and the rest of the university community take their own chances. And when I look over the list of department members (not named in the article), it does seem to be the case that the majority of the persons potentially present, and not otherwise accounted for, would have been male.
British model and singer Myleene Klass called the police after she waved a knife and managed to scare off two intruders trying to break in at 12:45 A.M. British police warned her that she might very well be arrested if she did that again.
Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear’Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.
The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.
Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon” – even in her own home – was illegal.
Jonathan Shalit, Miss Klass’s agent, said that had been “shaken and utterly terrified” by the incident and was stepping up security at the house she shares with her fiancé, Graham Quinn, who was away on business at the time.
He said: “Myleene was aghast when she was told that the law did not allow her to defend herself in her own home. All she did was scream loudly and wave the knife to try and frighten them off.
When someone is stalking you, you need a gun right now, but when Robert J. Averich meets a young woman in trouble in a gun shop, he is obliged to tell her that she’ll have to wait for federal criminal checks and take safety classes before she can protect herself.
Me, I would have explained that she might want to buy a black powder replica right now (requiring no waiting period) to keep on hand while going through the process.
Melanie Phillips describes how the British left and the Labour Government has shamefully surrendered to the Saracens.
In Britain, the war in Gaza has revealed the extent to which the media, intelligentsia and political class have simply crumbled in the face of the global jihad.
The U.K. is a major player in European and world politics and is America’s most significant strategic ally. Until now, it has been considered one of Israel’s firm supporters and a linchpin of the Western defense against the world-wide Islamist onslaught. With the reaction to Gaza, however, that reputation is no longer sustainable.
Years of demonizing Israel and appeasing Islamist extremism within Britain have now coalesced, as a result of the media misrepresentation of the Gaza war as an atrocity against civilians, in an unprecedented wave of hatred against Israel and a sharp rise in attacks on British Jews.
Throughout the war, London’s streets have witnessed a hallucinatory level of violent and explicit support for Hamas from Muslims, members of the far left and supposedly progressive individuals.
Certainly, there have been anti-Israel protests around the world. But in Britain, not only have these been particularly violent but the authorities have done nothing to stop such incitement of hatred.
The police told pro-Israel demonstrators on at least one occasion to put away their Israel flags because they were ‘inflammatory.’ Yet officers allowed some anti-Israel demonstrators to scream support for Hamas — and even to dress up as hook-nosed Jews pretending to drink the blood of Palestinian babies.
In general, the police have reacted passively to the violence. One recent video clip captured the astonishing spectacle of Muslims stampeding through London’s West End hurling traffic cones and other missiles at the police, all the time shrieking ‘Allahu akbar’ and ‘cowards.’ The police ran and stumbled backward rather than standing their ground and stopping the rampage.
But, why be surprised? This is the same Britain that convicted Norfolk farmer Tony Martin of murder and sentenced him to life in prison (later reduced on appeal) for defending himself against two burglars.
From the modern leftist perspective, criminals are always at least partially justified by their grievances, and the crime which cannot be forgiven is self defence.
This 9:07 video describes how Britain’s bans on handgun ownership and self defense have resulted in unprecedented, previously unimaginable levels of violent crime. The British policeman, formerly equipped with a nightstick, now carries a pistol and wears body armor.
Miami Local10.com provides an inadvertently hilarious example of liberal media self-parody, gravely quoting with dead seriousness the relatives of the criminals who got shot by one of the victims of a hold-up, who, though 71-years-old, happened to be a retired Marine with a concealed-carry gun permit.
The family of one of the men who was shot by a retired United States Marine while they attempted to rob a Subway sandwich shop said the customer shouldn’t have pulled the trigger.
According to Plantation police, two armed men barged into the Subway at 1949 Pine Island Road shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, demanding money from the employee behind the counter. When they tried to force John Lovell into the bathroom, he pulled out a gun and shot both men, police said.
Donicio Arrindell, 22, was shot in the head and later died at the hospital. Fredrick Gadson, 21, was shot in the chest and ran from the Subway, but police found him in hiding in some bushes on the property of a nearby BankAtlantic.
Lovell, 71, was the lone customer at the time. Police said he had a concealed weapons permit.
Gadson’s grandparents told Local 10 on Thursday that Lovell was wrong for pulling the trigger.
“He should not have taken the law in his hands,” said Rosa Jones, Gadson’s grandmother.
Her husband, Ivory Jones, also condemned the media for its portrayal of Lovell’s actions.
“I don’t condone what they did, (but) I definitely don’t condone the news people making him out to seem like they’re making a hero out of this man because he shot somebody down,” he said.