PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland -- Some have compared the riots in the UK to the London Blitz. It's a flawed comparison. The strategic bombing of London in 1940 came from an external enemy, Nazi Germany. Enemies from within are carrying out the free-for-all that began in Tottenham, England on Saturday -- quickly spreading to London and other parts of the UK -- following the shooting death of suspected gang member Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police.
Theresa May, the British home secretary, rejected calls for water cannons and more forceful methods to help overwhelmed police quell the chaos. Interviewed on Sky News May said, "The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities." If that sounds completely feckless, that's because it is.
Businesses have been wiped out. Untold numbers of jobs have been lost. Did the community "consent" to that? If even a few shop owners had been armed, perhaps these products of the British welfare, entitlement and envy state might have thought twice about their thuggish behavior. Unfortunately, gun laws in Britain are strict, owners must be licensed and self-defense can be difficult to prove. Northern Ireland, while also part of the UK, has more liberal gun ownership laws and the bar to prove self-defense is much lower, perhaps because of the history of violence in the country before the peace agreement. There has been no rioting in Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament from its summer session to discuss the situation and to present a "united" front. But that, along with condemnations "in the strongest terms" won't address the real problem, which many Britons may not wish to confront.
The problem in Britain, and increasingly in America, is moral and spiritual, not economic and political. British history and values are no longer being adequately taught in the UK for fear a sense of super-nationalism might be conveyed. This at a time when no nation is to be considered superior to any other, a view expressed by President Obama.