Category Archives: crime

Concentrate on the inessential

This is the motto of the British police, writes Dalrymple. (It is taken, he points out, from that of the psychiatric services.) Concentrating on the inessential gives the police

far less trouble

than, say, arresting and punishing the culprit of a crime.

Dalrymple observes that today the British police

repress everything except crime and disorder

while dressing up like

the paramilitary arm of some extremist political party.

Counselling

carried out by men or women in stab-proof vests

Counsellor’s uniform

appears now to be their chief rôle. After all, says Dalrymple,

it is far easier to identify the victims than the culprits, and therefore it is a far more efficient use of police time (in very short supply) to attend to the former rather than to the latter.

The police are determined to

improve the service to their customers

and they often regret that

in the past they have concentrated too exclusively on trying to catch the culprits and not enough on the pastoral care of victims.

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The inadmissible

THE Americans have a theory, writes Dalrymple,

that to allow small crimes to go unremarked and unpunished is to invite bigger crimes.

Needless to say, Britons of intellectual disposition

despise this theory: first, because it is American; second, because it does not address the root of all crime — that is to say, the injustice of our present social and economic arrangements; and, third, because it is obviously true.

Why we read and re-read the doctor-essayist

Dalrymple is identified by an acute English journalist (also a skilled and powerful debater), Peter Hitchens, as

one of the greatest men of our age [second item in Hitchens’s 6th August 2017 column in the UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday].

For decades, Hitchens reminds us, Dalrymple

worked in a major British jail, listening to the excuses and self-justifications of people who had done terrible things to others, and to themselves.

Refusing to follow fashion,

and genuinely concerned for these often very sad characters, he treated them as adults, urging them to take responsibility for their actions instead of offering excuses for them. Many, who had come to despise authority, were glad to be up against someone they could not easily fool.

Hitchens’s guess is that many of those Dalrymple treated

benefited greatly from his tough-minded approach. He didn’t fill them with pills or substitute one drug for another. His observations of the way heroin abusers feign terrible discomfort, after arriving in prison and being deprived of their drug, is both funny and a badly needed corrective to conventional wisdom.

All this, Hitchens notes, is to be found in the Dalrymple collection The Knife Went In (2017).

The title, a quotation from an actual murderer, is an example of the way such people refuse to admit they had any part in the crimes they commit. The knife somehow got there and went into the victim, by itself. It is a series of short, gripping real-life stories in which he recounts his experiences with our broken, lying penal system with its fake prison sentences and its ridiculous form-filling as a substitute for action.

The book is mainly about prisons and crime, but, says Hitchens,

it tells a deep truth about the sort of society we have become. It is one in which almost nobody is, or wants to be, responsible for anything.

Hitchens concludes:

A future historian, a century hence, will learn more about 21st-century Britain from this book than from any official document.

The decay of Paris

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-22-18-34Dalrymple writes that quite a number of the stations of the Métro

smell unmistakably of the homeless, far more than they ever did before. Whole families of beggars take up daytime residence in them, claiming to be Syrian refugees but really being gypsies.

At the Gare du Nord

one would not know what country one was in, except that such a mélange could not occur anywhere but in a few major Western cities.

There are more French in Kensington than here, he says.

This is not, he points out,

true cosmopolitanism. It is the reduction of everyone to the lowest common denominator, namely something akin to American ghetto culture.

One’s sense of security, he notes,

is not heightened by observing how many of the young men jump the ticket barriers, quite openly and with a sense of entitlement on their faces, secure in the knowledge that no one will say, let alone do, anything about it. One is not surprised occasionally to observe a crime committed there; one is surprised that there are not many more.

Islamism is a response to a psychic problem

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Adel Kermiche

Mohammedanism, writes Dalrymple,

rushed in to fill the gap left by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its collateral damage to the prestige of Marxism. How many of us predicted that this current of something that only vaguely approximates thought, and is more like an inflamed state of feeling, would become so important?

From the intellectual point of view,

even gender studies are more interesting than Islamism. No doubt the history of the world is replete with absurd doctrines for the sake of which people have been ready to kill and to die, but one might have hoped that in the 21st century no part of mankind would be any longer susceptible to Münster-Anabaptist-type delusions.

Anyone, says Dalrymple, who has read Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones

quickly appreciates the almost pathetic thinness of the political thought behind it.

The appeal of Islamism

is not to the head but to the gut. Young European-born Moslems who go to join Isis have biographies that are depressingly similar. Often (though not quite always) of poor educational attainment and economic prospects, and resentful of their subordinate place in society, they nevertheless take with enthusiasm and gusto to the less refined aspects of contemporary Western culture. Before conversion, as little boys go through a dinosaur stage, they go through a rap-music, drink, drug and petty-crime stage.

Mohammedanism

is the answer to their impasse, there now being no other on offer. Suddenly they are superior instead of inferior, important instead of insignificant, feared instead of despised; best of all, they are licensed to kill. Better a dead lion than a live rat.

What is to be done?

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 17.12.34Dalrymple is clear:

  • Reform — or even dismantle — the educational and social-security systems.
  • Liberalise the labour laws.
  • Repress crime much more firmly.

And that’s just to start with.

Sydney sordor

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.04.28Dalrymple writes that the murder scenes in City of Shadows, an exhibition at Sydney’s Justice & Police Museum, are

sordid in the extreme: blood spattered on the sheets of an unmade bed in a low boarding house, that kind of thing. They speak of sordid desperation rather than of cunning, let alone of struggles with conscience. I am afraid that the murders in the trials of whose perpetrators I have given evidence have all been of this kind, as the overwhelming majority of murders are and always have been.

Dalrymple does not think

anyone looking at these pictures, however unrepresentative of their time, would feel much nostalgia for the years in which they were taken. The scale of the raw poverty was unlike anything today.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.04.45Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.03.00 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.03.17 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.03.43 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.04.06 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.05.07 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.05.26 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 08.07.00 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.58.07 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.59.08 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.56.37 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.59.46 Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.57.20

Idle and incompetent police

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 14.16.20A few years ago, writes Dalrymple,

my wife called the police when she witnessed a serious crime being committed: arson. Only by persistence did she manage to get the police even to record the crime. (They had no intention of doing anything about it.)

A few minutes later an officer telephoned her

to tell her she had wasted police time; although he had time enough to telephone her to tell her so. The problem was that she had messed up his figures.

Ever since,

I have had difficulty in believing official crime statistics.

Frivolity of Western criminal justice

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A mockery: Palais de Justice, Brussels

How penology fosters Islamist terrorism

Dalrymple writes that the 2016 Brussels bombings

exposed the frivolity of the Belgian criminal-justice system, which it shares with the British and French systems, and several others, and which has turned the fight against crime into an elaborate and expensive—though lucrative—charade.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui possessed and used a Kalashnikov, which

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 08.55.51is not generally a sign of good citizenship or of a momentary lapse therefrom such as we may all from time to time suffer.

And

you would not have to be Sherlock Holmes to surmise that a man who had used a Kalashnikov before he went to Syria might be a dangerous man after returning.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 09.03.00Khalid El Bakraoui was

left at liberty.

One is struck, says Dalrymple,

not only by the leniency of the original sentence—the violent robbery of cars is not the result of a submission to momentary temptation—but by the iron determination of the system to keep him out of prison.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 09.06.29Given that

so many Islamist terrorists graduate seamlessly to politico-religious crime from common delinquency, one can say with tolerable certainty that one of the root causes of such terrorism in Europe is liberal penology, with its view that punishment is therapy and prisons are hospitals for the temporarily disturbed or naughty.

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Muslim zealotry and embittered materialism

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 14.39.01Dalrymple writes of Islamic proselytising in prisons:

An outside observer might conclude from the religious literature that he sees there that Britain is more an Islamic than a Christian country.

Prisoners are susceptible to religious conversion, by which, Dalrymple says,

they do not feel that they have simply surrendered unconditionally to society, meekly accepting its law-abiding, middle-class norms after years of flouting them. They do not simply slink away from crime, defeated by the system; they have actively chosen a new life.

A life without boundaries

is a life of torment. It is without form, a void. Islam, with its daily rituals and its list of prohibitions, is ideally suited to those who are seeking to contain their lives.

Mahometanism, Dalrymple points out, has this great advantage:

It is feared by society at large. By adopting Islam, prisoners are killing two birds with one stone: they are giving themselves boundaries so that they can commit no more crimes — of the ordinary kind — and yet do not feel that they have capitulated to the demands of society.

The extent of the secularisation of young Muslim men in prison

can hardly be exaggerated. They do not pray or keep Ramadan, or perform any other religious duties. Like their white and black counterparts, they are interested in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Their difference is that, thanks to their cultural inheritance, their abuse of women

is systematic rather than unsystematic as it is with the whites and blacks. That is the way they intend to keep it, for it is a very gratifying system.

Dalrymple explains that

the match that puts the flame to the combustible mixture is a general sense of grievance and of grave injustice.

By injustice,

they do not mean that they did not do what they were accused of having done. On the contrary, they know perfectly well that, like most other prisoners, they have committed between five and 15 times more crimes than they have been accused of, and celebrate the fact. No, by injustice they mean social injustice.

Their justice, says Dalrymple, is

an ideal state of affairs which includes an effortlessly acquired, endless supply of women and BMWs. Much religious zealotry is disappointed and embittered materialism.

The politico-religious fanaticism

of which we are rightly afraid is not the product of Islam alone, but of an amalgam of Islam with sociological ideas according to which people are victims of structural injustice, of the modern equivalent of djinn, such as institutionalised racism.