If you haven’t heard about Roy Larner yet, he’s the British football fan that is being called a hero for his actions last week at the Borough Market near London Bridge. When three terrorists entered the Black and Blue Steakhouse waving knives and shouting “Islam! Islam!” Larner charged them, throwing stools and glasses and swinging at them with his fists. Ultimately they left the restaurant, with Larner in pursuit and bleeding from at least 8 stab wounds (he is presently recovering in hospital). He may have saved numerous lives by his actions.
Larner wasn’t the only unarmed civilian or police officer that fought with the terrorists, who killed 7 and injured 48 before they were finally and permanently stopped by armed police. But what seems to have placed Larner in the eye of the media is what he said to the terrorists:
“I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’. So they started attacking me.”
Mr Larner added: “I stood in front of them trying to fight them off. Everyone else ran to the back.
“I was on my own against all three of them, that’s why I got hurt so much.
“It was just me, trying to grab them with my bare hands and hold on. I was swinging.
“I got stabbed and sliced eight times. They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere.
“They were saying, ‘Islam, Islam!’. I said again, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall!’
Millwall is a football club in South London whose fans are known for their pugnacity, a nicer word than “hooliganism,” of which they are sometimes accused.
On Good Morning Britain, presenter Piers Morgan, a fan of rival London club Arsenal, told viewers: “Millwall fans get a very bad rap, a lot of it very deserved, but there are times when you really want a lot of Millwall fans, and that was one of them.”
So, do I think that the solution to Islamic terrorism is to deputize or even arm English football fans? Not necessarily, although civilian response to terrorism has sometimes saved the day here in Israel. But there is an important clue in Larner’s statement to the terrorists.
“I’m Millwall,” he said. Or in other words, I’m from here, standing my ground and protecting my people on my land. Don’t come in here with your knives and your Islam crap, not on my home turf.
Part of what motivated Roy Larner to risk his own life and limb, perhaps in addition to the “four or five pints” he admits to having consumed, was the very basic human drive to defend one’s home and family against foreign invaders; the tribal instinct, so disapproved of by the post-modern John Lennon fans who moved to the back of the restaurant when Roy confronted the terrorists.
As long as Western society tries to suppress the tribal instinct, which provides the emotional drive behind nationalism, patriotism and national solidarity, we will continue to be defeated and humiliated by the Islamic jihad, which is also strongly tribal (although it sees itself as a conqueror rather than a defender).
So-called “populist” leaders, like Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump and others, have in common an appeal to tribal feelings, regardless of the details of their programs. And one of the reasons people find them attractive at this historical moment is because they see it as a powerful response to the threat of the Islamic jihad against the West.
In order to protect herself from the jihad, Britain (and the rest of Europe and ultimately the US) will have to adopt tribalist policies, such as limiting immigration from significantly different cultures – in this case, Muslim ones – and perhaps expelling the known bad actors among imams, activists and politicians. Maybe the most radical mosques should be closed altogether. The UK should probably arm all of its police officers, too. But in the end, no number of police on the street, armed or not, can prevent terrorism, only respond to it more quickly. Only the elimination of potential terrorists from the population can actually end it.
Here in Israel one often sees T-shirts with nonsensical, silly or embarrassing things written on them in “English.” Today we saw one that made a lot of sense, and I think Roy Larner would agree. It read:
Have another pint or five, Roy. You’ve certainly earned it.
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