Protest, don’t riot!
Part’s of London and across the UK are burning and the threat of rioting continuing has not let up. But there are two aspects to all of this and only one part is the rioting.
Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in circumstances that are still unknown, but it is now believed he did not fire a shot himself. What are now nationwide riots started as a protest outside the police station in Tottenham near to where Duggan had been killed. “Mark’s parents and family went to stand outside Tottenham Police Station,” Frank Crowe friend of Duggan says. “It seemed to be a major cover-up.” “It started off with just the peaceful protest,” he says. Frank says he can’t really explain how the peaceful protest turned into days of violence.
So what seemingly started out as a protest against a police shooting has denegrated into full scale rioting and criminal behaviour. And with it any chance of a non political examination of the shooting death of a man by police is gone and the socio-economic reasons that sparked it too are largely to be set aside in what will become an issue of law and order. Criminals are not revolutionaries, they don’t prove a point by their actions and Mandela in an Adidas Hoodie they are not! But as those who would seek to find the truth in amongst the chaos we must not simply see this as a riot, it isn’t! Riots don’t start for no reason at all, they require a level of anger amongst a large group of people. They require that said group of people feel so removed from society that they are literally willing to burn it to the ground and that they feel, rightly or wrongly, that where they direct their anger is the appropriate target.
There can be no doubt that certain minorities have faced undeserved scurtiny by the police in areas of London. This is not anything new and riots of previous decades in the same areas are testament to this. But what rioters fail to recognise, that protesters do, is that causing destruction and behaving criminally will win you zero supporters and set you back in any cause you might have. The aftermath of all this will not be as much about disadvantage and the underclass but about law and order. Never again will come the cry, zero tolerance, tough sentences and fight back will all be the buzz phrases as London cleans up. But if some of the roots causes are not addressed then another riot, as in the past, is only a matter of time.
By all means those who act in a criminal manner must face the full force of the law. In fact sometimes heavier sentences are warranted given the fear, anxiety and financial loss that the English community has suffered as a result of a few. But there are always lessons to be learned and they aren’t about how to crack down on criminals. They are about building a society and a community that is inclusive, that provides an opportunity for all and that addresses the underlining issues before they reach a point where a percentage of that society turns on itself.
There are those who say there isn’t racial profiling or a gap between the rich and the poor. But this footage that has gone around the world shows exactly that and it is deeply ingrained, even on the BBC.