As everyone – seemingly across the world – is aware, the riots that have taken place over the last few days (starting on Saturday 6th August 2011) have been a shocking outrage to us all.
I suppose one might question, where did this all start? Some have associated it with the recent death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, whose family and friends were involved in a peaceful protest on the day, wanting answers about why he was shot. The Duggan family has even said that they do not and will not allow their name to be associated with such violence or criminality. And fair play to them really when after all, they were and still are grieving over the loss of a person dear to them, without all of this unnecessary, ridiculous behaviour.
Secondly, others are associating it with a racial issue. This in itself seems like another ‘scape-goat’ excuse that everyone uses when they can’t think of anything else – “why not pull out the race card?” It seems unfair to discriminate against “black youths” in particular – as they have been described, especially as the CCTV footage shown on numerous channels identifies some of the culprits from a variety of races, including – as disbelieving as this might sound – our own Brits. This just goes to prove that this is a problem that lies far deeper and everyone should really think before using excuses that really do not cut it.
Thirdly, a lot of those who have been interviewed for television have stated that they assume the real root to the riots is anger. Anger because of cuts to EMA, student fees for university students being increased and the rates of unemployment for those aged between 16-25 have increased, including for graduates.
As a graduate myself, I think this is an absolutely pathetic excuse. I went to school because it was a given for someone of my age, and I actually enjoyed learning. I get that not everyone enjoys school, that’s always going to be situation we’re aware of. But I fail to see why, when something such as education, which is put in place – FOR FREE and thoroughly taken advantage of – purely to assist young people with bettering themselves and create a good life for them, should NEED something such as EMA to coax them into attending? What happened to the hard and fast rules of years ago? If you fail exams you end up with a dead-end job? Whilst EMA had its plus sides, it should not be the ONLY reason why these 16-18 year olds get up every weekday to go to college.
With regards to university fees – yes it’s unfair, but it was even unfair while I was at university. My year has always been the guinea pig year – the year before us got the last tuition fee of £1500 per year. Mine was the first to be charged £3000. The fact is I wanted to go to university so I did what I had to in order to go. I took out a student loan, and I’ve had a part-time job throughout my university until now while I further my experience until I can find a suitable job where I can put my skills to good use. Yes, £9000 per year is an extortionate price to pay, but for such huge fees, there’s bound to be something in place to aid those affected. If not, simple – don’t go to university. Having a degree is not the be-all-and-end-all of getting employment these days, it’s experience. I’ve learned this one the hard way, as I have a degree in English, and I’m still stuck working part-time in retail – something I didn’t quite imagine would ever happen, or at least for as long as it has. There are means and ways around everything, so if you want something badly enough you will find a way to get it. These excuses for the anger these youngsters have are cop outs.
Throughout all of this, a lot of the public have made their feelings of the government and Boris Johnson very clear. Did he come home too late? Should he have been here sooner? Whilst I have my own opinions on this, one thing I will say, is that I think his speech would have been far more believable if he sounded like he was actually prepared for it, rather than just “blagging” it and saying what he assumed we wanted to hear. With regards to our Prime Minister, the only question I would ask – was it necessary to state that you were giving the rioters and looters an extra 48 hours to do their damage because Parliament are going to take the time to “debate” the issue on Thursday 11th? I highly doubt that debating is even worth it – perhaps that time spent could be used more productively? We have a variety of technologies these days, video conferencing, video phones, etc. Why could these not have been used to conduct an urgent meeting with the country’s leaders when this first started? That said – I didn’t realize that being a leader of the country was only a 9-5 Monday-Friday job. And lets all remember that these are the people who will be the under the most protection whatever arises in our country.
While they did a good job in lowering the amounts of riots on Tuesday night in London, this was because they called upon police officers from outside – thus causing other areas in the UK to become vulnerable and further, more violent crimes and riots have taken place in these unprotected areas because of this. It’s a definite catch 22 situation. There have been hundreds of arrests, and we’ve been told by the news that our cells in London are full – does this make us all feel calmer? To answer that simply, no it doesn’t. I hope measures are put in place regardless of this situation so that these morons are not put back out onto the streets without punishment for what they have done.
A huge minority have made a disgusting amount of disruption that has caused families and people to become homeless, their livelihoods and businesses destroyed, and their beliefs in humanity shattered. It is never okay for people to feel unsafe walking in their streets going about their daily tasks. It is never okay for people to think they can abuse peoples’ trust by frightening them in the daylight or night-time. It is never okay to enter and destroy peoples’ homes, belongings or public property to “relieve” anger or any distress they are feeling. It is unacceptable and intolerable behaviour.
That said, I want to say a huge thank you to all of the police officers, firemen and ambulances that have aided us by protecting us and our streets since this has begun. And to all those who have come together as a community to clean up the mess, you’ve proven that humanitarianism in our country still exists.