JOHN DERBYSHIRE: A Modest Proposal For Sit-Ins, Riotous "Demonstrations," And Illegal Border Charges—Water Cannons
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

In spite of being the author of that tremendous international bestseller We Are Doomed,  I am, as regular readers know, not all negativity. I do have constructive suggestions to offer. Here's one of them.

I spent a lot of time at Columbia University twenty years ago, when I was writing books about math. Columbia has a very good math library. I plundered it for my data. I didn't explore much else of the university's buildings, but I crossed the campus a lot. I thought it well tended and easy on the eye.

It hasn't been easy on the eye this past few days, with the pro-Hamas protests going on. The grassed area has been covered in cheap tents, strangely uniform in their appearance and placing.

Across town in Brooklyn, meanwhile, a mob of pro-Hamas demonstrators shut down the Eastern Parkway.

The same thing happened in Seattle: a pro-Hamas mob shut down one of the city's main streets.

Shutting down highways is a big thing for demonstrators nowadays. These Hamas nitwits aside, we've seen it with the climate cultists sitting down in the roadway, sometimes gluing themselves to it, in hopes of persuading us to stop using oil.

In Europe and the British Isles there's a different style of street-blocking: Muslims gathering in hundreds, sometimes thousands, to pray together in some main road. This is now a major nuisance.

Don't they have mosques for community prayers? you may ask. Of course they do. In Birmingham, England, where I spent some of my childhood, there is now a mosque on every corner.

So why are they praying in the streets like this? you ask. Why do you think? To advertise their numbers, their strength, and their invulnerability.

Yes, they are invulnerable. The police in London don't dare touch them. April 23rd is the feast day of St. George, the patron saint of England. A group of English patriots, waving—and some of them also wearing—the flag of St. George, assembled near the Prime Minister's residence in Downing Street, waving their flags and singing. The cops moved in with billy clubs swinging.

When Muslims hold a demonstration, the cops stand by and watch. Britain's Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, was fired, to general rejoicing from the Left, for pointing this out [The UK’s interior minister sparks furor by accusing police of favoring pro-Palestinian protesters, by Jill Lawless, AP, November 9, 2023].

All right: demonstrators, unwanted and unpopular, defiling college campuses and blocking highways. Isn't there anything we can do about it?

There certainly is, if we have the will. Here's my constructive suggestion: water cannon.

I don't know how many American and European police precincts have water cannon in their armories, but it should be a lot more. They are great for crowd dispersal. They'd be even greater if fitted out with refrigeration units so the water they're firing is icy cold.

I don't understand why we don't see water cannon in use more often. The mob is dispersed, nobody gets hurt, and water doesn't cost much. If I were mayor of a city—especially a city with a lot of Muslims—I'd have water-cannon units on permanent patrol.

And while I didn't mention this in Radio Derb, such cannons would be highly useful in guarding the U.S. border against banzai charges by illegals:

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.


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