Riot Rant.

I’m fed up with the talk on the 24 hour news of the ‘mindless criminality’ or ‘thug culture’ that has engulfed cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham & Liverpool over the past few days. I’m equally fed up with the ignorant tweets and status updates on face book bandying about stereotypical opinions describing how the ‘scum of society who scrounge off my taxes’ have been ‘destroying my country’. Some even claim to be ‘ashamed to be British’.

This is not because the current unrest is not due to thoughtless, reckless most of all pathetic behaviour. But it’s because I feel that we aren’t looking at how we got here and how we could try to see sense of it in some shape or form.

Like gun crime in America, the hysterical UK media is crying out to blame someone. From video games, violent films & now even rap music as the root of the riots. After the Colombine shooting in 1996, the press pointed the finger at Marilyn Manson.

I feel his words echo the sentiment of the ‘other side’ of the riot debate:
“…the media wants to take it and spin it, and turn it into fear, because then you’re watching television, you’re watching the news, you’re being pumped full of fear, there’s floods, there’s AIDS, there’s murder, cut to commercial, buy the Acura, buy the Colgate, if you have bad breath they’re not going to talk to you, if you have pimples, the girl’s not going to fuck you, and it’s just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that’s what I think it’s all based on, the whole idea of ‘keep everyone afraid, and they’ll consume.”

In a consumer-led society it’s hard to feel part of it if you can’t afford the latest trainers/clothes/i-pod that are ‘in’ that particular week. Every advert, film and now even music video is filled with labels, brands & product placement that makes it hard to keep up. This is not a blog to excuse the violence and theft, but asking how we can all look to the future rather than stand around & blame?

A section of society who don’t realise they are even part of our society. If they felt like they were part of the community and included, it’s hard to believe the streets would look like they do now.

Of course you can have as many public inquiries as you like but you can’t stop the minority doing this again. But if we can all work together to stamp out stereotypes of Cameron’s “hug-a-hoodie” crowd – and show the world these kids have something to give back, show them respect and not write the whole lot off maybe we can bring some of them back into the community. You’re not going to get through to everyone – there’ll always be a minority.

But the social gap is so wide now it’s a different world full of resentment and isolation.

More money pumped youth projects and community led groups will allow more respect for the local community – it’s about feel included and belonging.

Because the main issue is getting these young people to respect their community as that is who they’ve hurt the most. It’s not the big brands that have been hit hard – it’s those local businesses that have been ruined.

That’s the true tragedy of all of this surely?


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