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Horrified fascination.

Driving to work this morning I was brought to tears by the news reports of destruction, looting, and arson in dozens of locations in my home country, England.

This evening, watching videos of the crime spree online, I felt emotional again. I felt despair for the situation that, in hindsight, seems to have been growing for years. I felt sorrow for the people whose property was smashed, stolen, and burned down. I felt empathy for the angry people who felt let down by the government and the police forces, and who felt a need to take to the streets themselves to defend their community the same way people were doing over a thousand years ago. I felt pity for the perpetrators who are ostensibly violent amoral unthinking criminals.

These people, mostly teenagers but many adults, are doing things that should normally be socially unacceptable. Without excusing their criminal actions we must understand WHY they are violent amoral unthinking criminals.

I feel pity for them because there seems to have been some fault or omission in their education, their upbringing, and their understanding of their involvement with society.

Some quotes:

From this video by a brave reporter: http://youtu.be/sXcI-NL3Tro
"We're getting our taxes back" - from a girl who didn't sound old enough to have paid income tax.

From this BBC news video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424
"It was good though, it was good fun" "It's the government's fault" "Conservatives" "Yeah, whatever, whoever it is" "It's the rich people, the people that have got businesses and that's why all this has happened, because of the rich people, so we're just showing the rich people we can do what we want" - from two girls who had been drinking looted booze all night and were hopeful that it would continue the following night.

These people don't seem to understand that a lot of the people with businesses and wealth came from the same beginnings as themselves, and got where they are through hard work and dedication. How has this concept been lost to a whole generation and how can we come back from this?

It's late and I'm tired and there are more videos to watch in horrified fascination.

Sociologists must be having a whale of a time.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
bubs
Aug. 10th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC)
I am watching the news reports from other parts of the world. The uk news doesn't seem to be interested in the why at all.

I am interested in how the(supposed)vigilantes are grouping together; groups of sikhs, groups of EDL. I find that the most frightening thing,where that could go next. I say supposed because I just saw footage (on the French news) of groups of white men bricking black boys on buses.

I don't think people see hard work as the reasoning behind success as there is so much economic gain in this country borne of creaming off the hard labour of others and people have seen their families work hard for generations and get nowhere. I see it as the family lines of those people worked to death on their feet for the land/mine owner finally refusing to work, but that theory needs a bit of work! ;)

All that said it is terrible.
faeryhead
Aug. 10th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
I was sad to see the elderly owner of the furniture store that was burned to the ground. The store had made it through two world wars.

In Philly the young kids like that walk around in groups of 40-100 and beat random people. Happened to a friend of ours earlier this summer.
faeryhead
Aug. 11th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
This is interesting:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/world/europe/12britain.html?_r=1&hp

And it points out that some of the rioters have jobs and/or live in nice neighborhoods.
wastedbeers
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)
Yes, there is something horribly wrong in our society that has been growing, and ignored, for a long time. Sadly, instead of confronting it, trying to identify it, and find a solution, the people with the power are shifting all the blame onto those below them and calling for short term solutions that will just make the problem worse in the long run. Of course there need to be arrests and convictions for crimes committed, but that's not going to change whatever is making so many people act this way. That will take decades even when, and if, it ever gets started.
By the way, the comments on stories on the BBC news website are very interesting to read.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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wastedbeers
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