the rioting subsides, for the moment anyway, the analysis of society gathers pace with a debate of largely polarised viewpoints. The leading question seems to be what has happened to the children, when did they become so lawless, how did they get to this terrible state where they smash, steal, destroy and injure without a care about authority, police, parents, or their own futures. Good question; but surely horses and stable doors ! Such concern is admirable but so late in coming. This isn’t a Summer of 2011 problem; it’s been around and growing for years.
Anyway not all the rioters, looters, arsonists, robbers, burglars and fighters that we have seen on tv over the last week are children, or youths (to give them their correct legal label), in fact the majority are not. Nevertheless there was participation of a large number of very young people and their involvement cannot always be traced to any one simplistic cause; it is more complex and the root causes of what has so unsurprisingly happened this week could be numerous and often deep seated, at least for some of them. In most cases there is no cause other than a joy of recklessness, the gain of power (however briefly), the mentality of ‘I do because I can’ and the absence of any fear of being caught, arrested, convicted, punished or even told off by a disinterested parent. If the future holds nothing to look forward to then why bother to look at all.
So pick a cause, any cause. Talk about it, write about it, shout about it, join an e-petition about it. You may well be right and the cause you pick is almost certainly a contributory factor, but that is the easy part; the hard part is tackling any cause and changing a society that has gone badly wrong. We cannot go back in time; what has become established behaviour, whether acceptable or not to the more traditional, has changed and the new world is an immensely challenging one and, in some ways, a very scary one. The criminality we now witness, particularly amongst youths, is here to stay unless there are changes in our society so major that it is almost impossible to imagine them happening. It is more likely we will have to adapt to a more dangerous, selfish and violent world and learn how to live with it.
cuts in the police budget would never lead to violent unrest. Nice one. We have a leader of the opposition who takes every opportunity to be bland, boring and banal. They don’t know the solutions; they are so detached in their multi-millionaire world that they don’t even know the problems to solve until they are manifested explosively on the streets, and even then they don’t really know. They don’t see the reality because they are not part of it. They don’t even see the irony of stiffer sentences for looters being demanded by MPs who did not hesitate to loot from taxpayers by way of false expenses claims. As for bankers getting huge bonuses for losing the country’s money, well that would be worth a street protest in itself, peaceful of course.
But if they are right then why didn’t they put the appropriate deterrents and resources in place. They must have known, as many did, that the inherent criminality was there, unless they admit they are out of touch. In fact they have done the opposite. We have police who give cautions for serious crimes, providing no deterrent at all, but the paperwork is a lot easier than with a court appearance.