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I Predict A Riot

Between 6 and 10 August 2011, several London boroughs and districts of cities and towns across England suffered widespread rioting, looting and arson.

Following a peaceful march on 6 August 2011 in relation to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan 4 August 2011, a riot began in Tottenham, North London. In the following days, rioting spread to several London boroughs and districts and eventually to some other areas of England, with the most severe disturbances outside London occurring in Bristol and cities in the Midlands and North West of England. Related localised outbreaks also occurred in many smaller towns and cities in England.

The riots were characterised by rampant looting and arson attacks of unprecedented levels. As a result, British Prime Minister David Cameron returned early from his holiday in Italy and other government and opposition leaders also ended their holidays to attend to the matter. All police leave was cancelled and Parliament was recalled on 11 August to debate the situation.

As of 15 August, about 3,100 people had been arrested, of whom more than 1,000 had been charged. Arrests, charges and court proceedings continue, with courts working extended hours. There were a total 3,443 crimes across London linked to the disorder.

Five people died and at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violent acts. An estimated £200 million worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity was significantly compromised.

Police action was blamed for the initial riot, and the subsequent police reaction was criticised as being neither appropriate nor sufficiently effective. The riots have generated significant ongoing debate among political, social and academic figures about the causes and context in which they happened.

Those are the facts as reported on wikipedia. I missed the origin of the riots on the news due to the fact that I was living my life busily accomplishing things. Sometimes three days will go by without me checking on what is going on in the world by reviewing the news. It’s not that I don’t care, I just have a very interesting life and I’m busy. Quite often I learn things from topical comedy shows.

I remember that the first I heard of anything was from my husband, I thought he was making a joke. To be honest I was taken aback to learn that there had been rioting for the two previous nights. I was a little embarrassed, but I also missed the news of the Tsunami in Japan for about 10 hours. This happens to me, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I was appalled when I turned on the news and saw that Croydon was being attacked, attacked by children. I had to step back and think for a moment. What is going on when children are throwing petrol bombs, bricks and metal pipes at the police? I of course took to Facebook, one friend was annoyed at the news, fair enough. I blame the news for inciting hatred and glorifying the initial rioting thereby encouraging gullible, bored and impressionable teenagers to take up the banner of injustice. Silly misguided fools.

I did the only thing I could do, I made jokes of what I saw, the whole sorry situation was one big joke, the blackest of humours unfolded as people lost not only their livelihooods and homes but some also lost their lives, and why? What was it all for?

I don’t believe for one second that it was all down to the shooting of one man. Men are shot everyday and sometimes they have been shot by police officers, it happens, all over the world, it’s sad, it’s tragic, however to err is human and whoever is without sin, well you know the rest of that quote.

Some people blamed the police. I don’t think that’s fair, no one saw what was coming or what was going to happen it would have been impossible to know and to be prepared for the onslaught.

Some people blamed the parents and teachers. I used to be a teenager and I know that the mistakes I made back then weren’t down to parentage or my education. The mistakes I made, and I did make quite a few were down to the fact that I was a teenager learning about the world I lived in. Children learn by trial and error, teenagers are the same except with hormones confusing clear thought making everything so much more dramatic and exciting. It was easy for me to become caught up in bad decisions, I was young and thought less about the consequences of my actions. However I hoped that I had a future ahead of me.

Then there were people who blamed the government. Well it is the goverment’s job to provide a system in which people give a portion of their freedom in order to pursue needs and wants without the fears that are common in a state of anarchy.

I would say what I observed on the news looked like anarchy. I can’t say that the reasons given by the youths interviewed were sound, some were clearly rioting without a cause, looting because they wanted things that they believed they could never buy for themselves. That in it self is sad. I think it is very sad that someone would have so little belief in themselves and what they could achieve in their lifetime that they would be willing to throw away their good name for the sake of a pair of trainers or a flashy television.  Why didn’t they care? Take a lack of regard for consequences and combine it with no hope for a future and I believe you have a powerful fuse to an explosive situation. In short you have anarchy in the state of the youth of the UK.



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