Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Go Granny, Go

A gang of thugs descend on this jewelry store and begin trying to smash the windows to steal items on display. Shop staff coming running but retreat when threatened with crowbars and the gang resumes trying to smash the windows. I suggest they aren't too bright as they could have just walked in and taken the stuff, but intelligence and crime rarely go together, at least not this sort of crime.

Watch off to the right of the screen and you will see Super Granny come running across the street. She pounces on the gang and starts swinging her handbag at them. They have helmets on, heavy jackets and are armed with crow bars, yet Super Granny seems to terrify them. As she wades into the gang, swinging her bag left and right, they decide to jump on their motorcycles and flee. But it appears Granny gets the last laugh as one of them is knocked over and other people pounce and hold the thug for the police. Alas, knowing British police they will probably apologize to the thug for the inconvenience.

Super Granny, Ann Timson, says she was standing around talking to someone when she heard a commotion. At first she thought the men were fighting with one another. And she said she was alarmed "that too many people just stood around watching as if they were in shock and nobody was doing anything." Then she realized it was a robbery and got even angrier because "they felt they could get away with what they were doing in broad daylight."

The elderly woman says she smacked one of the men "with my shopping but he got away. I don't know what happened next but I just kept swinging my bag. Then they tried to escape, I landed several blows against one lad on the back of a bike and brought him to the ground. He raised a hammer to me so I just kept hitting out and shouting and shouting for others to help and bring them down."

Because of her intervention others joined in and helped her and four of the thugs were apprehended. She insists she is no hero and just wants "to be left in peace" and doesn't want media attention. I suspect that she won't get her wish there given the uniqueness of what she did. Unfortunately most people allow injustice to continue when they see, afraid to intervene. Super Granny is a marvelous exception and a role model.

One of the men was brought to the ground by Super Granny and apprehended on the spot. A member of the public followed another until the police arrested him. And two others were caught by the police after they received photos of the incident on their BlackBerrys. Two others are still at large. Of course the police, while thanking the public, urged people to not risk "their own safety by getting involved themselves."

A man filming a documentary across the street caught the incident on film.

I should note that the police in Britain are very much opposed to communities policing themselves yet very hesitant to do anything themselves in many cases. I will give a personal example when I was spending a few months in a small town on the English coast, not far from Dover.

I was in line in a local fast food restaurant when one of these lower class thugs that now permeate British society comes in. He pushes his way to the front of the line and starts getting aggressive with this older woman who is standing there. He gets into an altercation with this woman and starts becoming aggressive toward her. I'm standing there astounded by his thuggish behavior. I go to the staff of the restaurant and demand to know whey they are letting this happen. I get the "what-am-I-supposed-to-do excuse" from them and suggest they call the police immediately—I still thought the police would help at that time.

The thug is threatening the woman but the staff stand there watching, as if it were television. The thug pushes his way through the people and goes outside. I see the police there and run out to them. I point the officer to the thug as he is standing around the corner with some of his equally low-class friends having a laugh the way he treated this elderly woman. I tell the officer: "That's him right there. I was inside and saw what he did and can testify about it." The officer just stands there, doing nothing. I ask: "Aren't you going to do something?"

His response astounded me. "Well, I will in a bit, I don't want to embarrass him in front of his friends." At that point I wanted to smack the cop. Given the culture of the friends I suggest that the best thing that could have happened was for them to see that their are consequences to their actions. Alas, in the British welfare state, the consequence of being a criminal is to qualify for welfare programs meant to help you. No wonder the British underclass is growing.

UPDATE: More reports I've seen indicate that Super Granny is in her 70s and that a fifth man has been arrested.

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