Flash Point

This is the kind of thing that sparks major unrests, riots, and even revolutions:

Flowers left near the site where a burglar was stabbed to death have been branded an “insult”.

Floral tributes and balloons for Henry Vincent, 37, have been repeatedly attached and then removed from a fence opposite a home in Hither Green, south-east London, where he was killed.

Basically, a career burglar who the authorities refer to as a “traveller”, which is the PC term for a gypsy, died after being stabbed in the chest by the pensioner whose house he was burgling at the time. The overwhelming majority of Brits (and any Americans who read the story) thought this was the best outcome that could possibly have occurred, with sympathy levels at zero (although naturally The Guardian had to publish a column saying it was a crying shame).

Many British people believe burglars go about their crimes with impunity, the police aren’t interested, and if they do get caught they’re either given paltry sentences or none at all and are back robbing and thieving within days. Among other things, this pushes up insurance premiums and some have to pay for expensive home security systems. So when they hear a burglar has been killed, a lot of people are happy about it: they see that justice has been done where the justice system has failed. I have to say, that’s pretty much how I feel too. I’ve been burgled and it’s not nice; at the time, I was in a mental state whereby had I the opportunity and a guarantee I could get away with it, I’d have set the perpetrator on fire and slept well that night.

People were therefore outraged when the pensioner who stabbed the burglar was arrested. Gone are the days when the police used to bring people down the station and take a statement, the modern British police run around arresting people for pretty much anything. This suits them as it means they can take DNA samples and fingerprints, adding to the database they’re so desperate to complete, and with the process being the punishment they can use an arrest to inconvenience those who upset them. And nothing upsets the British police more than someone who didn’t meekly stand by while being a victim of a crime, much less someone who sinks a knife into the chest of a burglar. They think they enjoy a monopoly of force and intend to keep it that way. Thankfully, the public outcry over his arrest led I to his being released; had that not occurred, I’m sure he’d have been charged with at least manslaughter, possibly murder.

What then happened was the burglar’s family and friends – also gypsies – went to the address where he died and covered the fence on the property opposite with flowers, turning it into a sort of shrine. This was almost certainly done to intimidate the pensioner, who hasn’t been able to return home, fearful there may be retaliations:

Many residents in Hither Green have interpreted the large tribute to Mr Vincent as an aggressive act.

One neighbour said they saw a car circling the block while the tribute was being erected, which they believe was an attempt to intimidate locals.

If intimidation was the aim, it appears to have worked. Most neighbours are reluctant to talk publicly for fear of being drawn into a dispute that may not be over.

It is well known in Britain that gypsies are violent, consider themselves above the law, and the police are too afraid to tackle them. Frankly, many British people are fed up with travellers, their behaviour, and what they are perceived to get away with and there was a lot of anger over this flower business. Hence this:

The bouquets have been repeatedly taken down by a man who called it an “insult” to Mr Osborn-Brooks.

A man indentifying himself as Cecil Coley said he first removed the flowers overnight on Monday after becoming “infuriated” by the tributes.

He said: “It was a residential area they were placing flowers on. It was inappropriate, and the guy deserves no tribute.”

If the police had any sense, they’d be all over this before it gets out of hand. They’d have told the burglar’s relatives to fuck off back to their caravan site and if any of them are seen within half a mile of the address, they’ll be thrown in jail. Then they’d have chucked the flowers in the nearest skip. Instead they did nothing, so a member of the public has taken matters into his own hands, infuriated with the situation. You can be sure millions of Brits share his frustration and are applauding his actions.

There is a good chance the gypsies will attempt to resurrect the shrine and then hang around to defend it, which might well tempt a group of vigilantes to get together in large numbers and beat the hell out of them. I suspect then the police will go in mob-handed, but that all depends on who else joins in. I’ve written before about what happens in developing countries when the police let criminals operate with impunity, and show no signs of being on the side of the public. Eventually the mob deals with the criminals, and then deals with the police when they turn up to tackle the mob. There is every chance we could see the same thing here, unless the police get a grip.

Mass protests, riots, and revolutions, often start with something minor, a seemingly insignificant event that the authorities initially overlooked but symbolised deep grievances within the population who decided this was the event which would galvanise them into action. The Arab Spring was started by the Egyptian government removing flour subsidies. The Syrian Civil War grew from protests over the detention and torture of a bunch of teenagers in a provincial town. One of the few protests which genuinely worried the Russian government was after a man was prosecuted for the death of some high-ranking official who had recklessly driven into him; millions of people felt the injustice and were angered at the manner in which the ruling classes flout the law. I’m confident the next time Russia’s government is overthrown, it will start with something mundane.

It’s the job of a responsible government to not let these grievances fester, and to identify potential flashpoints and intervene to snuff them out before they turn into something serious. As with most things, Theresa May’s government and what passes for a police service are failing in their duty miserably, leaving the British public feeling increasingly ignored, insulted, and bullied while certain protected groups are free to do as they please. If they don’t get a handle on this situation developing in Hither Green quickly, the burglar might not be its only casualty.

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59 thoughts on “Flash Point

  1. “when you off someone your collar should probably be felt and the incident immediately investigated.”

    As long as that applies to the police as well, fair enough.

    But of course the police know that were they to arrest every officer who was involved in a death on duty (or indeed off duty, I bet if this householder had been a cop or an ex-cop he would NOT have been arrested) that would massively negatively impact the officer for the rest of their lives, so they don’t. But members of the public get no such consideration……..being arrested and released without charge is a punishment of its own, and the police know it.

  2. Understood and yes perhaps more specific law for Tall John and others.

    All I am saying is that for the average subject I don’t necessarily have a problem if the system decides to arrest someone for suspicion of an unlawful killing, and yes the investigating officer may decide that clearly a manslughter case could not be made and an initial arrest is not made. It is a huge inconvenience to the innocent killer which is unfortunate but we need to ensure that we don’t go around killing each other lawlessy and the law is an ass.

    This is a case where the greater good takes precedence over an individuals provided that the individual rills rights are treated faiirly and properly under our system and that justice is served.

  3. Apparently, in nearby Catford, a permanent site for “travellers” is shortly to be established by the local council much against the wishes of the local residents. As “Oblong” notes and as, I think, most who have come into contact with them will agree, the “travelling community” appears to go out of its way to make life unpleasant for the “non-travelling” community on which it is parasitic. It seems to me that the police, as with their passivity concerning the “grooming community”, are being “led beyond authority” (the latest Common Purpose meme) to make life for the law-abiding, tax-paying, largely white majority, increasingly difficult and unpleasant.

    Coming back to the death of this particular professional criminal, there was no need to arrest Mr Osborn-Brooks. He wasn’t going anywhere: the police knew where he was and who he was. I don’t think 78 year old, hitherto model citizens make a bolt for a Brazilian exile especially when they’ve done nothing wrong. A few questions down the local nick or, better, in Mr O-B’s front room would have settled the matter of whether Mr O-B was prima facie guilty or otherwise in half an hour.

    I agree though that, whoever wrote it, were it not for public outrage at his arrest and the attendant publicity, Mr O-B would now be being held on remand for manslaughter at one of Her Majesty’s prisons with the police traducing his reputation through every medium available. BTW, don’t be surprised if, when the fuss has died down, Mr O-B is re-arrested and questioned further. Not that he’ll have to face a court but, you know, the dignity of the police must be preserved at all costs.

  4. Umbongo

    “He wasn’t going anywhere: the police knew where he was and who he was.”

    Personally I am happy enough with him being arrested (for similar reasons to those given by the barrister’s blog upthread) but “verified identity” and “know they won’t run off” are precisely the two reasons I’ve heard given for why police aren’t arrested after killing someone, even on a purely routine procedural basis.

  5. “Coming back to the death of this particular professional criminal, there was no need to arrest Mr Osborn-Brooks.”

    That may well be the case but the point is that we don’t know this and could not be expected to know this, this is for the police that are responsible for conducting the initial investigation to know, consider and decide on this. What if unbeknownst to us there was an eyewitness who seen the deceased attempt to flee once discovered, only to trip and fall and become overpowered by the killer, squealing like a stuck pig, firstly for forgiveness and then in shrieking pain as the killer slowly and calculatingly stabbed the thief to death?

  6. MBE/Bardon

    We know and the police know that an arrest creates all sorts of problems down the line for the innocent: particularly the manifestly innocent. It is a form of legal intimidation available to the police and, as an added bonus, gets the alleged miscreant on to the police records along with his DNA, fingerprints etc. This arrest was a punishment. There was no reason to arrest Mr O-B since I guess that he would have been happy to go to the nick and answer any questions arising. Any refusal by Mr O-B to cooperate or refuse questioning could have then been countered by an arrest. The spurious “protection” of his rights (eg questioning under caution and right to have a lawyer present as consequences of arrest) is a nonsense since he could have had a lawyer present under any circumstances and AFAIAA disclosures/admissions not made under caution are not admissible evidence in court.

    I’m not saying the police should not have investigated nor questioned Mr O-B. I’m saying that arrest was unreasonable since AFAIAA Mr O-B cooperated fully with the police. Regarding Bardon’s counter-factuals: sure there might have been other factors but the police discovered the actual facts pretty quickly. Unfortunately for those in favour of arresting all the usual suspects, the facts we do know argue that Mr O-B killed the scrote in self-defence: the decision of the police not to prosecute argues further that Mr O-B’s actions were completely legal. To repeat, AFAIAA he wasn’t going anywhere and was completely cooperative. Accordingly, there was no need to arrest Mr O-B except to punish him and, as a bonus, to intimidate any other law-abiding citizens minded to take on those more or less immune from police action (eg “groomers” and “travellers”).

  7. @Bardon: “This is exactly what we have this establishment for and is the only thing that seperates us from the likes of thieving, trespassing and threatening Gypos.”

    I thought the thing that separated us was that the Dick Cops are on their side, and not ours..?

    And what Umbongo said on the process of arrest being an extra-judicial punishment that the filth like to wield against others, but would squeal like (ahem) stuck pigs should it be applied to them.

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