Thursday, August 11, 2011

London Riots

Well the song Panic by the Smiths seems appropriate. It all started with guy getting shot. Of course it bothers me the original protest that have a real grievance get drowned out by the rioters that just want to loot. This looting was different from others that I have experienced though. There didn't seem to be any racism hiding under the covers, just people that saw an opportunity to get stuff that they normally wouldn't normally be able to get. I am amazed at how well the police have been able to show restraint. I like it after how much respect I lost for the police after my experience with the egotistical narcissistic cops with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement in New York City.
I grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs so I was quite familiar with riots going on at a distance. I was not expecting to live right next to where some looting was happening. Until about 2AM I was hanging around with friends, watching the news, each with our own laptop and chatting over facebook with other friends. No one really wanting to walk to their own flat. As each shuttle bus dropped more people off from the tube we got updates on which stores had been smashed and where the mob was. The next morning on my way to the tube I took pictures of a burned out building, burned and overturned cars, and broken windows everywhere. The funny thing is, during the entire event I never really felt unsafe because I didn't hear any gunshots like I have when living in California.
The reporting is interesting since there is always the British influence. I have heard them refer to the looters as hooligans and ruffians. There are references to the idea of taking it personal, being ashamed of the actions, and hurting national pride that this could happen in London. Not to mention a cultural duty to shame the people that were looting. The good side, I was happy to see, was the people coming out the next day wanting to help clean up. At each of the points that got looted people showed up with brooms. I think this is such a better reaction then what people were saying after the LA riots that they were stupid for burning down their own neighborhoods.
The next day at work everyone was of course in that post tragedy shock. It made me feel a little queasy since the last time I felt this vibe was for September 11th. It was the same thing where people commiserate together to try to make sense out of something they don't understand, with the news going on people's laptops in the background.

No comments: