England, I wish you the best of luck.

| Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Long before I was born Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and to put it mildly, many people were justifiably upset. But it doesn't take much for justifiable anger and protest to turn into riots. And looting.

At the time Chicago had a Mayor Daley, the father of our so recent one. He gave police the order to shoot arsonists. It sounds brutal, but I think it was perfectly justified. Vandalism and theft are bad, but are they truly dangerous? I don't think so. But fire, fire spreads, it catches innocent people, and it destroys on a much larger scale. Arsonists are potential murderers. So there's a line to draw.

Some of this is caused by people with problems who don't think the democratic process is on their side, or accessible, or however you want to phrase or spin it. I see why people in that situation would turn to riots, as a way to say... something (riots aren't good at coherent messages), when they don't feel like the 'system' will let them speak.

But riots are disorderly. And disorder attracts opportunists and criminals. Well fuck them!

The saddest part may be that violence doesn't encourage people to look for solutions to underlying problems, but to instead retaliate, crack down, demand justice, and then a lot of people lose their jobs and a lot of people go to jail and a lot of useful ideas get thrown out because they don't satisfy the desire for retaliation.

I hope nothing like that happens here. We do love our guns so much... It could be uglier.


Anonymous said...

I remember the LA riots some years back. The "little Korea" section was spared -- because storeowners camped out on their rooftops, with rifles, and shot looters.

An armed society is a polite society.

Klepsacovic said...

An armed society is a self-suppressed society. If that's your idea of polite, then please, never write an etiquette book.

Stabs said...

Yeah I think the gun issue is a mixed blessing. There's a lower barrier to entry for rioters, they feel safer, but people are so angry that I think we would be close to riots guns or no guns.

And of course if everyone is armed and you have a riot then you're pretty much straight into civil war.

There are pretty solid reasons for young people to be pissed off and to feel that putting an X next to the name of whichever posh twat you happen to hate least on the day isn't genuine democracy and involvement. I hope that the message gets through that Britain is systemically failing, it's not just a few opportunistic criminals. We're not all out on the streets but we're all deeply unhappy with our government and our corporations.

Anonymous said...

Being a fairly liberal sort I can understand and fully support a persons right to protest. I can also understand why some protests turn into riots. However in the case of the riots taking place here in the UK right now, it is blatantly nothing more than yob culture thinking they have a right of entitlement to whatever they can take.

There may be a core of people who justifiably think they have no voice and feel put down by society. But the majority I'm afraid are nothing more than criminals putting the lives of others in danger. And that I'm afraid will only lessen any support they would normally have gotten from the liberal sorts like me.

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