Dead Defending Their Property
The sickness and stupidity of the UK rioting took a much nastier turn last night. Where will it end?
They were three young men wanting nothing more than to defend what was theirs against rampant hooliganism and destruction, and they paid the ultimate price as some madman on a car mowed them down, killing every one of them. Other rioters pulled up short, horrified at what they had witnessed, and the real face of the mindless minority that encourage this behaviour was revealed in all its evil intent.
These Blackberry-wielding criminals – and the measure of how badly done to they are lies in the retail price of the phones they use – over $200 – finally took their savagery to the next level, and the authorities must now respond in kind. It is very fitting that the surveillance society we live in has captured so many images of the people on their rampages of destruction, photos now being displayed all over the very social sites used by organizers.
The measure of how utterly disgusted people are was amply demonstrated yeterday when a mother reported her own son to the police, having seen him looting in a TV report. The courts are working through the night, and the measure of how ordinary citizens get sucked in was clear yesterday when a primary school teaching assistant was convicted. He has lost both job,and career, because no school would now ever employ him again, and for what? Some piece of stolen equipment that he never gets to keep anyway.
There have been arrests made in the thousands now, offenders being given up by disgusted friends and relatives, having helped destroy so many lives, homes, livelihoods and to what end really? Ages ranged, for offenders arrested, from ten to fifty-eight years old, many perfectly law-abiding people, normally anyway, caught up in the looting frenzy that gripped the nation for a time.
Thankfully, it looks like a corner has been turned, because the average, ordinary people being targeted are so outraged that they arefighting back, and there are campaigns running on twitter and facebook, gaining more popularity by the hour, asking people to join in to combat the hooliganism by helping clean up the streets and telling police about anyone they know who was involved.
A student in Manchester last evening gave up names of several fellow students that he had, disbelieving, witnessed taking a full part in looting, and his example is being copied by many others. The courts will, in the next week be overflowing with those brought to account for the moments of madness that caused them to help destroy the dreams of so many,. and hopefully made to pay a heavy price.
It was said, several times in the media yesterday that there is a sickness in some elements of society, and technology must be at fault. When I was young, 50 years ago, playing meant just that, getting into the outdoors and having adventures creating your own fun. These days, computer games encouraging violence and destruction are what keep kids occupied, so how can the authorities be surprised that this translates to the widespread bad behaviour we have witnessed.
Perhaps we would be best advised to bring in a kind of national service, where every 16 year old was obliged to spend six months not only learning military-style self-discipline, but being employed on environmental work such as forestry or general maintenance. Young people have to learn respect, and since those we are talking about are second-generation, whose own parents often simply do not pay enough attention to what they are doing, the problems are compounded.
There are undoubtedly lessons to be learned here on all sides, but the chief one for me was the stark reality of a police force being out-manoeuvred and out-thought by organized elements of the criminal fraternity intent on mayhem. We need more police, not fewer of them, and a much more effective and efficient monitoring of social networking sites generally.
The fact that the Balackberry messaging service had encryption was an open invitation to wrong-doers, so that needs also to be addressed. If people have nothing to hide, why would such a facility matter? We have, in the past week, seen the very worst of British Society flexing muscle, to be answered superbly by the the best of society in heart-warming fashion, but we do not want a repeat. The time for positive action is right now, so let us pray that it gets taken, before anything worse occurs.