It's been seven days since the Koln riot episode and about every twelve hours.....you get a new twist. Today (Thursday)....in Dusseldorf (a neighboring urbanized city about sixty kilometers away)....a vigilante group has formed to protect women.
The group....."Dusseldorf is Watching"....says they have a thousand members so far (at least on their Facebook site). Whether it's a thousand active members or just 200 members who are really serious.....you can't tell.
Their slogan, I thought, was catchy....."One for all, all for one". One of the creators has to be a Alexander Dumas enthusiast (from the French classic.....the Three Musketeers).
They say they are not political in nature, and will be non-violent. The intentions here are simply to present themselves and let thugs know that via a Smart-phone....they can have a cop on the scene in just a minute or two.
The cop reaction? That's a curious thing. The initial comment could be taken as a neutral position or a negative position. The conscious and deliberate act to watch or hunt predators or offenders is not for citizens (that was the take-away from commentary that I saw). Cops don't want citizens trying to act like unarmed citizen-cops.
When you look across the US at efforts like this.....the "angels" that run the NY City subways and various non-violent vigilante groups.....once established, they don't go away. They seem to be able to recruit people....even five to ten years after being formed, and the public has a positive perception of what the groups do.
What one might take from this.....it only took seven days to round up a thousand people in Dusseldorf. My humble guess is that within a month.....at least twenty such urban areas will have similar groups. By early spring, I'll even forecast that 150,000 Germans are now members of such a group. While they may all talk of non-violence.....some incidents will occur and self-defense tactics will be incorporated. The non-political nature? That will eventually evolve and a year down the road....it'll be hard for them to say they are non-political as they grin and kinda hint that they see this as a reaction of Merkel's failed immigration policy.
The cops? They will have to react to these phone-calls for assistance and actually do real police-work. They will be intensively under the view of the public and being asked more stupid questions. They probably don't want the vigilante groups to be some form of competition.....which obviously....they are.