Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Riotous Behaviour

Thankfully, it looks as though most of the riots are fizzling out, but not before they caused me a huge dose of personal despair when my 19 year old daughter got caught up in the Manchester looting around the Arndale centre last night.  She phoned me up on her mobile to tell me that she was locked into a Tesco Express Store because the security staff closed the shutters as a gang of hooded youths descended upon the area.  This is the same gang that went on to loot the Ugg store, Foot Asylum and Diesel, torch Miss Selfridge and cause untold damage to over 100 properties in the area.

The security guards eventually opened the shutters to let out the people caught up inside during a lull in the violence and the police recommended taking the back streets out of the area.  Aware of the horrible broad daylight muggings that had taken place, my poor daughter didn't know what she might encounter.  She put her handbag and mobile into her boyfriend's rucksack so she wouldn't be a visible target for a mugger.  They fled the scene and made their way back to where they were staying.  During this time we tried to phone her and with the mobile hidden away, we got no reply.  It was so frightening.  As Twitter exploded with news of the rioting and Twitpics of the mayhem (including the Tesco with the frontage all smashed in) all I could do was sit and hope that my daughter was safe.  I just kept having visions of some idiot setting fire to a shop and the fire spreading whilst everyone was locked in Tesco unable to escape.

Eventually, when she was safe she got in touch.  She told me that most of the perpetrators were just having a laugh, taunting police and showing off their trophies from their looting spree.  Kids were grabbing odd shoes from the display in Foot Asylum and running off laughing at their achievement.  Megan said how frustrated the police were at their powerlessness, and how many on duty were women in oversized riot gear trying to stand their ground, but unable to respond in the way we all want them to.  It was all just so pathetic, pointless and destructive.

As I relayed my story on Facebook to concerned friends and had a rant regarding the unjustified lawlessness and thuggery, a status appeared from someone who I have had run ins with in the past.

 It read:

"Well, I'm bored of reading statuses from people with no sense of history, economy, politics, psychology, or anything of value beyond their own delusional utopian visions."

Our argument simmered for a while with me saying that this has nothing to do with anything except lawlessness, greed and a minority who thinks the world owes them a living.  It wasn't in the name of anarchy or was just about theft and vandalism.  He blamed police violence and extolled the concept of an ideal uprising, saying my views were naive.  I ranted some more.

Violence is never an answer.  Mindless thuggery is unforgivable and I have no tolerance or sympathy for the perpetrators of this rioting.  I would fully endorse the use of extreme measures to stop looters, something I never thought I would condone.

Am I being an over sensitive mother because my child was put in danger?  Have I lost sight of the young woman who believed in class struggle and worshipped at the shrine of Sociology?  Am I just old and out of touch? Or are things different now?  I'd love to know your views.


  1. I had a similar argument with a friend who got annoyed at me because I stated that whatever 'message' these young people were trying to get across had been lost in violence and theft, and that there was no justifiable 'reason' for destruction on this scale. Friend said all of this was the fault of our government for not supporting young people, and the police for being violent.

    I agree to a point that we need to support the young of our country - but the majority of those people rioting were there out of greed, they were not there to spread a social message about poverty or joblessness.
    Violence will never get your message heard, nor will it earn you respect.

    I grew up on a council estate with no money, second hand clothes, and a bleak future. But I studied hard, worked hard, and did what I could to pull myself out of that situation. I did not smash windows or loot TV's.

    The events of the past few days have done nothing but tarnish the reputation of thousands of other hard working young people that would rather earn respect than steal it.

    As for the older people caught looting, well, it just makes me despair the example those adults are displaying to our young.

  2. I was a single parent on income support in the late 80's/ early 90's living in a council flat above a drug dealer. On paper, these could be my kids. But like you I strove to get out and brought my kids up to be respectful and hard working. It's easy to blame the government or society but most of those looters were there off their own volition for material reasons. It's heartbreaking to witness this unravelling of human decency...all for a pair of Uggs and some trainers.

  3. He talks like a text book and "understands" people he doesn't know yet can't understand you, his friend. He adds academic hypothesising to what was fuelled by greed. He doesn't even acknowledge the original cause. It is he, not you that's out of touch xx

  4. Your comment below mum: I was saying the exact same thing today. Our family could have easily turned into those thugs; living in the area we did, potentially forced into friendships with people in the same area (such as that knob who lived downstairs), deciding that there's no point in education or working hard for a living because we get thrust doll money as soon as you turn 16 and can be assed to collect it from the Job Centre. But we didn't. You and dad worked bloody hard to get us out of there, and even in the circumstances we were still good kids. How can anyone possibly say you are thrust into behaving like that?! I forgot that no one has opinions or personalities or brains and could go against the society we are born into. Yeah, I feel sorry for children born into lower class backgrounds but you can strive for better. You don't have to resort to stereotype. Go to school, work hard, go to university and you'll get EMA and as much of a student loan as you want! That's not the hardest lifestyle I can imagine.

  5. Or if you're not bright and university is not for you, that doesn't mean you HAVE to rob a shop!

  6. I fully endorse everything you said in your Blog - I am so sorry that poor Megan had to be mixed up in the mayhem but thank God she came out of in unscathed.



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