Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday 22 November 2012

It gets better...

Yesterday, JuliaM posted on the jewellery-shop robber sentenced to five years after being caught and held down by passers-by; the comments include a link to video footage of the robber being well-and-truly sat on by his captors.

Julia's response to this public contribution to maintaining law and order was "If I ever open a shop, it'll be here!" She may be even more convinced, now that details of the incident are emerging:
Ali Shehan, 50, from Banbury, heard shouts and saw Stringer bearing down on him. 
“The guy came running at me and had a hammer in his hand,” he said.“Everybody was behind him and chasing but he was fast.

I don’t think anybody would have caught up with him, but I saw him coming, and I saw the smoke coming out of the shop, so I went and tackled him."
And he wasn't the only one doing his bit for law and order:
Other members of the public also tried to stop Stringer, including former Albanian police officer Rremzi Skepi, 55, who picked up a metal advertising sign and hurled it at one of the suspects.
Evading the sign, according to another (printed) source, Stringer found himself dodging more would-be interceptors including an elderly lady who "swung her walking stick in his direction".
When Mr Shehan managed to wrestle Stringer to the ground he was helped by Mr Skepi, despite shouted threats that they would end up “dead”.
Charming! I don't know whether making death threats in the presence of witnesses counts as confidence or stupidity on a monumental scale.

They held him down for seven minutes until the police arrived, during which time, as the video shows, a succession of helpful passers-by joined in with the sitting - like Kipling's Neolithic ladies - or, in the case of a woman accompanied by a small child, stopped to put the boot in.

While I don't, of course, in any way condone acts of violence towards a man already effectively immobilised, I think the scale of involvement here could be a sign that the public are sick and tired of criminals appearing to get things all their own way.

It may not be exactly what David Cameron meant by the Big Society, but it's definitely sending the right message to would-be offenders.

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