So no doubt you'll have seen this particular footage in various places already, and know of all the horrendous violence, destruction and looting that's going on all over England that's been going on these past few days. But what started it all, and why hasn't it been stopped?
It all supposedly kicked off last week - initially a peaceful protest in response to a Londoner being shot by police, seemingly unlawfully. This then escalated as protestors took to the streets and started making their "opinions" known. Though at this point I think we can forget about this as any semblance of a justification for these riots.
First off, even if the police had just found some randomer on the street and shot him, there would be no reason for any of this, not even the first acts. It is for the law courts to investigate and judge actions such as those, not for any hooligan with a hoody and a baseball bat. Even if it is shown at the end of this ongoing investigation that the police were in the wrong, in what way would you be justified in trashing other people's property? If you need to take out your frustration on something, then complain to your local representative, write and angry letter, buy a punchbag, anything; just what's the point in destroying your own area? There have now been fatalities from riots as well, not to mention the hundreds seriously injured, so where is the justice in that?
Secondly, and more importantly, if this were the initial excuse to cause havoc in the streets then it has long been forgotten. Violence has spread from one city to another all over the country, and the true nature of so many has been revealed. That nature is both a greedy and a bloodthirsty one, as demonstrated in happenings nationwide including the one in the video above. What kind of person sees someone hemorrhaging blood on the street and goes over not to help them but to go through any other property they might have left? Scum, that's who. It's all opportunism with people going out to cash-in after they've seen other people get away with it on the news. Although people aren't all getting away with it, and arrests are being made, showing images of people just strolling past police with molotov cocktails or a with TV under their arm really isn't going to help the situation.
This whole series of events has made me (even more) embarrassed to belong to my generation. You just have to look at the videos being plastered all over sites like the BBC and the Guardian to take in just how messed up the people carrying out these actions are. For one, children as young as twelve and thirteen are participating in the looting. One can argue that's because they don't know any better, but if we haven't managed to teach them simple things such as respecting life by that age someone's missed a trick. Then the most frustrating things of all are the soundbites of interviews with the young people who are looting from high street stores. A couple of examples here that speak for themselves with regard to the utter stupidity of those involved, and the complete ignorance of the effect their actions are having:
The police themselves, as officers, aren't to blame though. They do their best with what they're given, both resources and orders. The police as an organisation have some part in the fact that the riots have been ongoing, but most of the blame lies with the governmental higher-ups who dictate the line they are to take (after having stripped the police down on financial and personnel levels). The police response on the first night of the riots, i.e. standing around doing nothing (bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase "police presence"), definitely was not the right one - someone had to make that call and it hasn't ended well. It was that seeming nonchalance of the MET that led both to other rioters taking up the cry in other cities and also the same rioters returning over and over again.
The main problem now is the pandering of the politicians. If only a direct message could get out which shows that people are being dealt with swiftly and harshly, things might draw to a close. But as a nation we are afraid to act for various reasons, both home and abroad. We are afraid to authorise police to use any kind of real force because last time this happened a charge was filed against them for manslaughter. And we're afraid to bring in extra support from the armed services because we're currently chiding other countries on the global stage for doing the same. It's all well and good to report that riots in London have been kept under control simply by bringing in thousands upon thousands of extra policemen and that other cities should follow in their footsteps, but they can't just click their fingers and have an extra consignment of police show up - particularly when London has already taken the majority of officers from other places in the country!
So is there an end in sight? Well, that remains unclear at the moment, which bodes incredibly ill for us as a nation. Not because of our Olympic dreams as the news is reporting, but for the simple reason that if we can't quell riots like this within a week then there is something seriously wrong; Britain is hardly a hotpot of civil unrest after all. I could go on about these happenings and what's behind them for hours, but I've just been called for food so I suppose this will have to do.
Stay safe all,