One hundred years ago today, on John Moses Browning's (PBUH) 54th birthday, two Latvian Anarchists attempted to rob the payroll of Schnurmann's Rubber Company in Chestnut Road, Tottenham, England. The payroll was worth about £80, or roughly $8,800 today. Armed with then-still-new semi-automatic pistols, the two robbers, Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lapidus tried to make their escape, starting a shooting-spree that resulted in twenty-four wounded (seven police officers) and two dead - one police officer and one 10 year old boy. The police officer's reported last words were, in fine British tradition:
"Come on, give in, the game's over!"Here's a photo of the firearms in question:
The top one looks like one of JMB's early works. If anyone can identify them, I'd be grateful.
One robber killed himself just before the angry crowd could do it. The other was captured after he shot himself, and he later died of his injuries.
The Tottenham Outrage is cited by a lot of us in the gunnie world because it is an example of how things used to be, and how - many of us believe - it still ought to be. The Tottenham Outrage was a living demonstration of Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Modern Policing, first published when he established London's first "modern" police force in 1829; most especially Principle #7:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.During the incident, average people going about their daily lives joined in the pursuit of the robbers. A party out bird shooting at nearby Lockwood reservoir reportedly exchanged fire with them. The Tottenham police, in the tradition of British police to this day, did not go armed. Officers, unable to find the key to the locked firearm cabinet in the station house actually had to smash the doors off to get to their weapons, but brother officers already in pursuit instead borrowed firearms from people on the street - something literally unimaginable there today, and literally unremarkable back then.
A mere 100 years ago today.