Reading and the Riot Act

I think it says a lot about the looters we’ve been seeing mug shots of on the TV that during the riots which have broken out across the country libraries in Manchester and London have been vandalised and damaged, while the only shop at Clapham Junction to avoid looting was the Waterstones. Apparently the looters aren’t big readers.

An incredibly intelligent young woman of my acquaintance posted this quote by Martin Luther King on Facebook earlier:

“When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty & shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up & express their anger & frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard” – Martin Luther King, B’ham, Alabama, Dec 1963

On the surface an apt quote, but with respect, in this instance I disagree. What we have here is not a social protest, though it may have started out as one. I’ve worked in some rough schools in Reading and South Wales, as well as with children from pretty difficult backgrounds in Oxford, so I am aware of the challenges that some children face. Though this might be described as a by-product of these fractured backgrounds, it is not a protest against them.

This is an opportunistic mob run riot, grabbing what they can regardless of who they hurt with no aim to improve their personal circumstances, unless you count material gains such as plasma screen televisions.They are damaging the facilities which they still have left, are destroying people’s homes and livelihoods while exploiting the power of numbers. People have been killed and have had to jump for their lives from burning buildings.

I am disgusted that this is happening in this land where we really are so lucky in the opportunities life presents us when compared to other countries.

4 thoughts on “Reading and the Riot Act

  1. Phantoms Siren

    I live in one of the most deprived (depraved? :p ) towns in the country- child poverty, joblessness, teen pregnancy, obesity – we’re high or top on the league tables for them all. Mines and steel mills gone, life opportunities nil. Are our teens rioting? Nope. It’s actually quieter here than usual (the police chopper has only been over our estate once, a new record) for once I’m proud of my town for not getting sucked into this madness. Then again we have nothing to loot to begin with (except Jamie’s Ministry of Sainsburys Food), but still….

    1. Siobhan

      You’re from Yorkshire aren’t you? I have say, I’m really impressed that so far Wales has managed to stay out of the mindless rioting. Like in Yorkshire, in Blaenau Gwent people have had it bad for a long time and don’t have a lot (same story, steelworks and coalmines closed) , but at least they’ve retained some common decency and done us all proud in the past few days.

      1. Phantoms Siren

        Yep. I suspect (around here at least) rioting might get you a four day lecture on “rioting in my day”, “you’ve never had to it so good” and “Cameron? We had Maggie”, on balance its probably not worth the aggro. *fingers crossed* the sane areas stay sane 🙂

  2. msdoctor

    I’m watching the riots and looting on BBC in amazement – don’t these people realise they’re just destroying the livelihoods of people who are struggling to raise families and get through life just like they are? I even watched an interview with some of them, when they admitted they had no political agenda and just wanted to get free stuff. Yes its sad that the UK economy is in the toilet, but surely destroying small businesses further isn’t going to help.


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