This is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. A man (Mark Duggan) was shot by police on Thursday. He was a gang leader who was meant to be arrested as part of a planned operation on drug charges. According to police, he appeared carrying a gun which he shot at police, and then was shot in turn. The family claims he wasn’t armed, and anyway definitely didn’t shoot first. How they can make the latter claim if the first one is true is beyond me, but that’s beside the point. We’ll have to wait until more information comes out.
Unfortunately for police, and ultimately for all of London, he came from a low socio-economic area which hated police. On Saturday night, riots began around the police station in Tottenham, leading to 61 arrests. On Sunday night, riots broke out in a whole host of areas with no connection to Tottenham, leading to about 100 arrests. Today, Monday, riots have kicked off in even more places, in the middle of the day. Including areas outside of London, and my own little suburb here in the southwest.
Displays like this against the police annoy the hell out of me. If you’re going to break the law, especially if you’re going to go out and wave a gun at police, you deserve to get what’s coming to you. You don’t get to play the game and then get pissy when it doesn’t go your way. Do the cops have to wait until one of them is shot before they’re allowed to shoot back? I remember similar stunts in Australia when I was there, after a kid being chased by police on his bike fell off and impaled himself onto a fence spike. Do cops have to hold back and only pursue at a safe pace so the runner doesn’t hurt themself? Riots in France a few years ago were kicked off because a couple of people running from the cops hid themselves in a power box and electrocuted themselves. Saying the police are responsible for the stupid actions of people who try to outwit them is ridiculous. The police do a tough job, and when communities turn against them for it, who would want to join the force?
But it would be a mistake to say these are riots brought about by a retaliation against police for what was considered an unjust shooting. They have nothing to do with it. All it is now is punks. Thuggery, theft and opportunism. Knowing the police are spread thin, and using it to steal and cut loose when there is less individual chance of being caught. Attacks aren’t even being made on the police anymore, until they turn up. Attacks are being made on random shops, mobs simply smashing places up and looting everything they can. Walking down the street, setting fire to cars and buildings, smashing things up to throw at other things. The faces on the TV aren’t angry and vengeful, they’re laughing and ecstatic. Kids as young as ten are making groups on Facebook or Twitter or Blackberry communications, just to target an area and steal what they can. People are running off down streets with huge TVs, crates of alcohol and new shoes, having never even heard of Mark Duggan. People are setting anything they can on fire, and running off just for fun. It’s organized criminal behavior, and nothing more.
The worst thing is, it’s happening in poorer areas. The stores, houses and cars getting looted and destroyed belong to people just as poor as those doing the stealing. All these monkeys are doing is making the general situation a ton worse, by bringing everyone else down for their own personal gain. In their stupid farce of pretending they’re acting for the greater good, they’re the biggest cause of their own and their neighbours’ problems. The ones actually trying to help the community are the ones getting slandered and destroyed.
It just makes me really angry, and I hope the police show no mercy to anyone they manage to catch. The fact that a large number of the villains are kids is also frustrating. The parents must be condoning it somehow, probably happy that their kid is “sticking it to the man”, without even thinking that “the man” is just some poor bastard down the road. I sure hope the underage thing doesn’t let these punks get away with it.
And at the end of it all, good luck to Mark Duggan’s family if they ever want real public support. Any chance of this being any kind of righteous crusade went out the window a long time ago.