Setting up this blog has been so stressful that I’m not going to write a blog post today. Instead I’m going to steal my best ever blog post from tumblr just to show you what I do and how I write. I know the August riots were, er, in August. I know.
My response to the riots
Or, actually, my response to the response to the riots.
I’m a pacifist. I pretty much always have been apart from a minor blip when I sort of joined in with some black bloc tactics on a protest, but all I did was run around the streets of London and no-one caused any trouble, so I don’t count that one. But anyway, I digress. We have seen some disgusting things this past week, the loss of people’s homes and businesses when the riots were obviously no attack on these people, and that I do not condone. However, I have been absolutely sickened by the suggestions I’ve heard as to how to “deal” with the rioters.
“Shoot them all!” From my mum’s boyfriend and his family, arguing that we shouldn’t waste money on putting them in prison.
Right, but apart from the man in Birmingham who killed 3 people when he drove into a crowd, and the man who as shot in his car in Croydon, there have been no mass deaths, and I suspect the people who committed these murders will indeed feel “the full force of the law”, as they should. But shooting people for burning things or stealing? That’s just a little too far. Arson and burglary happens all the time and yet no-one suggests we should just shoot them, do they? The truth is, what they were suggesting is mass-genocide of the so-called underclass.
“Water Cannons and Rubber Bullets!” From the government, the Met and several people on Facebook and Twitter.
So as I laid out in my first (or was it second?) paragraph, I’m a pacifist. Are we forgetting Ghandi when he said “an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind”? Is harming people really going to stop them rioting? Or is it simply going to make them angrier? I’d bank on the latter. Water cannons can take people’s eyes out, rubber bullets can do more serious damage than is made out. And there are the people who are there to try and stop the rioters, the asian community protecting their shop, the mother calling her child home. A water cannon or a rubber bullet is not going to differentiate these people, these methods would just induce more fear on London and other cities where rioting is taking place, people scared to be on the streets in case they walk into a riot area.
“Cut their Benefits and evict them”
Yeah, cos poverty and homelessness in no way breed crime. This is the one that makes me angriest of all. The people involved in these riots are already in poverty, be it social or monetary, and taking away the things which in many ways prevent crime in this country away from them just doesn’t seem very sensible. Take away a home and you take away a person’s right to a job, and without a job or a fixed abode, where does the money come from for basic essentials such as food? This is the primary reason behind burglary everywhere, and do we really want more people sleeping on the streets? The same is the case for cutting benefits. Some would say this forces a person to get a job, but what jobs are there? Those involved in the riots are deemed not to be highly educated or skilled. The truth is there just isn’t enough jobs for unskilled and under-educated workers, and this is why there are so many unemployed. With no benefits, rent can’t be paid, and in turn these people become homeless.
If you don’t like the underclass, don’t let there BE an underclass. Social deprivation is not being tackled in this country, hence the millions of people living in poverty. A thing I’ve heard a lot is “how can someone be in poverty if they have a blackberry?”. Poverty is not just monetary, having parents who don’t care or living in an area the government is turning a blind eye to are also forms of poverty. Losing a youth club in a socially deprived area does nothing but make the area more deprived and the young people who used the youth club bored and disenfranchised. Gangs and youth crime are blamed on teenagers having “nothing to do”, so why take away a positive thing?
I’m not justifying the riots, but people need to identify that unless we tackle the roots, this issue is not going to go away. It’s no coincidence the last riots happened under a Tory government, or that these riots are taking place in a time of “austerity”. Martin Luther King jr. said that riots are the voices of the unheard, and yet people seem even less willing to listen to them. And that is the true “sad state of this country”.