Feel free to play this as you read:
It rained on Wednesday, which effectively put an end to the rioting and looting which had been going on for the last four nights, since, you know, it’s not really worth it making a political political protest by stealing Playstations and big-screen TVs and designer clothing if it’s just gonna get wet, and you might even catch a cold.
Police have stayed on the streets in force for a few more nights, but things by now seem to have more or less gone back to normal. The police must be absolutely exhausted, and good on them for a job well done.
They’ve gotten a little angry, though, at the politicians trying to take credit where it wasn’t due – the Prime Minister and others are saying they were behind the move to flood the streets with cops and cancel all police leave, while police leaders are saying those were decisions made before the politicians even got involved. If that’s right, they’ve got every reason to be miffed – the police have done a great job here and deserve every bit of credit for it they can get.
Now that the police job is all but over, the next step is to see what the courts dish out for those caught. There have apparently been about 2,000 arrests so far, with more happening every day as video footage is sifted through and other bits and pieces fall into place. Clearly, this is too many people to keep locked up so the courts are operating on 24-hour-a-day rotations to try and get through the lot. Exhausting as it may be, they have to make sure that they are in fact handing down sentences which will act as a strong deterrent to anyone else who thinks they might want to get involved in these things in the future, as I ranted about here.
However, what we have seen so far is shockingly low: people are getting convictions for a single day, their time in detention overnight counting as that, and so they are being released immediately with no more than a slap on the wrist. However, I have also heard of some people getting several months of prison time, so how the consistency is working on this is beyond me. I will have to wait until more reliable information is available. One thing that blows me away, though, is the complete lack of mention of community service. For crimes which have debilitated the community, I can’t think of any more suiting punishment than to make those responsible head back out and try to make it better. Fines are useless against those who can’t/won’t pa them, and there is limited prison space to keep them all locked up. How has community service not even been mentioned?
Also, to give you some idea of who’s been involved, those convicted whose names have been released so far include university students, law graduates, teachers, models, and Olympic ambassadors, in case anyone still wants to believe this was something motivated out of necessity and desperation by those without options. A fair few seem to have been turned into police by their embarrassed and shocked parents as well, dealing a blow to blaming poor parenting.
Hopefully it will be remembered for what it was, but disappointingly I can already see some people starting up again about how police should have done better, and about how the riots were “in response to an unjust killing by a police officer”. Guess it’s just cool to hate the cops.