Well, it looked like it was happening again. ("It" being this and this.) I passed this one police constable (PC) who looked like he was completely loaded for bear load-bearing vest puffy with full pouches, cargo pockets bulging out from his thighs. He looked like nothing so much as the "heavy metal" man at the lovely Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner.
But as I ran past, I saw he was rear-labelled as a "Police Medic". Very cool. Part bad-ass, part of angel-of-mercy, part medical-supply-loaded Michelin Man.
On the way back, I continued scanning the faces of the police constables . . . and God, they are some pretty boys. I wanted to be able to type "pretty boys and girls" but it looks like there's a bit of gender inequity in who they send out for riot work. In a scrap, I suppose, body mass not to mention upper body strength still counts. At the very end, just on Westminster Bridge, I did see one woman PC. (And, yes, she was completely beautiful.)
I hope very much that none of them get hurt tonight.
Oh! they're cleared the way for breaking out water cannons going forward, if this keeps up. I guess it's hard to get excited about something like that. But, as previously mentioned, I think one absolutely vital principle is at stake here. Simply put, the organisation of society without coercion; and the resolution of political differences without violence, may be the most precious social achievements of humanity so far.
And for better or worse (mostly better), this requires that the government maintain a monopoly on the use of force. The alternative is Fallujah (at the height of the insurgency), Somalia (anytime in the last 20 years), Hobbesianism in all its blood-flecked horror. The trick, I suppose, is that the government be democratically elected, run on liberal and humane principles, and checked and monitored by all the accoutrements of consensual, liberal, pluralistic government and society (such as, critically, an independent judiciary).
I don't know maybe I'm overreacting. Comments, counterpoints, and rebuttals to any of this very welcome.