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So we reach day 4 of the riots (if I can count correctly) and we're still no closer to any solution. Equally, we don't really know why people are rioting any more. I know initially there was unrest after the shooting of Mark Duggan on Thursday 4th August (yes, my birthday, whoop de doo) and a peaceful march took place on the Saturday but everything else kicked off on Saturday night. Rioting started in Tottenham and the internet was rife with stories about Tottenham being on fire. I have to admit that I didn't really pay much attention to this for various reasons. Part of me thought that it would get dealt with very quickly but the other part didn't much care because it didn't affect me and I didn't know anyone there or anything about it.

Now this is not the case.

The riots have now reached my area. Last night there was rioting in Birmingham and loads of shops were wrecked. According to my sister there were even Police, Forensics and Community Support Officers in town earlier. We are being advised to stay out of Birmingham (in it's entirety), Wolverhampton City Centre and West Bromwich, amongst other places and it's very scary. I don't think there are any other places near me with riots at the moment, but I don't know how long it will stay that way.
Following the updates on here some of the pictures and videos from Birmingham are very scary. Take a look down the page to really see what's been happening near here.

Some pictures from the above tumblr link, linked here for your ease

Car on fire in West Bromwich

Santander, Birmingham smashed up

Fire damage at Handsworth Police Station

Rioters attacking Pandora, Birmingham, and afterwards.

Maplin electronics, Birmingham

Police vans outside the Mailbox, Birmingham

Riot police on Temple Row and elsewhere in Birmingham

Not even McDonalds was safe...

And one that's as serious but slightly more amusing

Well if you can steal it, why don't you, I guess.

Last night Police arrested over 100 people in Birmingham. Fortunately West Midlands Police seem to be handling things better than London Metropolitan Police and even Birmingham City Council started the riot clearup in the early hours of the morning, before people started work. For that alone I am proud to say I am near the second city but overall I am disappointed by people in this country.

The thing I don't get though is why do it? Why go rioting? Why go looting? Who thought that rioting would solve the problems? In what world would rioting and looting make you part of the community?

That's the point. Thoughts. No-one thought. No-one thought it would help, they just did it because it seemed like a good idea to do it at the time.
It doesn't make any sense though. If you're going to riot as people used to, then you riot for a reason. Other countries have recently shown us how rioting and protesting has changed the government but if you want to change the way the government works then you should direct things towards the government, not at innocent people and communities. Instead what we have are people rioting just because they can and opportunists looting because they want some free stuff. The most quoted statement from a Police Officer on the scene last night is: 'This wasn't an angry crowd, this was a greedy crowd' and from watching the footage I can wholly agree.

This video of the trouble in Birmingham shows various incidents of vandalism, people just breaking in and taking stuff because they want it and for no reason aside from that.

Now tell me that isn't just mindless violence?

I'm not saying that it's 'poor people who are looting' as it's not. Rich people loot too, it's just hidden better and called fancier things. Taken back to the bones the MP's expenses scandal is looting just in a more clever and technological way. Either way I still do not agree with it. What has happened to people if they have to resort to blatant stealing? Where is common decency?

I've been watching the News while I've been writing this. The scenes of rioting are just sickening. Shots of places in flames, homes and business going up in smoke...
I feel most for the guy whose family run Furniture shop went up in flames last night. Watching them talking about it and seeing the footage of it almost brought me to tears. Their shop had been there for 144 years, through 5 generations and two world wars... He watched as it went up in flames for no reason. Before it went up he said there were people around but no-one really doing anything. All that had happened to the shop was that a brick had been thrown through a window. Then he went around the corner and when he came back 144 years of history was going up in smoke. I've not tried looking for the video of this (part of me doesn't want to find it) but I have found some pictures which are phenomenal but not quite as heartbreaking as the video.

London has it far worse than here though. My friend lives in Ealing and her area has now been targeted. She popped home earlier to find police tape, lots of Police and cameras on her estate. It's all very scary but none of this even relates to the original reason. To quote another friend, she says, 'none of it's in memory of Mark Duggan. The peaceful protest was, the riots are just idiots trying to feel powerful' and another agrees 'I know. that was the excuse they used originally I think. They all need to be taken home and get a good smacking from their mums! They obviously didn't get enough when they were little!'

Let me just clarify here who is doing this. The news calls them 'youths' and 'young people'. They're a mix of ages, races and sexes but all of them bear some resemblance to gangs. Some of them are older but some of them are as young as 11. A youth worker commented that some of these are doing it just because they have nothing else to do. No-one is always going to have something to do, but we shouldn't be rioting just because we can. Others say that they don't know what they're doing but they should know what's right and wrong, even at 11. And people that young shouldn't be allowed out without their parents knowing where they are etc and if the parents do know, why on earth haven't they done anything?!
Please don't start saying that people are rioting because of severe unrest and depression and whatnot. If you're not part of the community and you have no money and you don't have a job whose fault is that? I don't have a job but I don't feel the need to go rioting. I'm angry at people but I don't feel the need to go rioting. Equally I cannot think of a time where I would ever consider rioting, let alone consider it as a solution to my problems.

Also, people are saying that social media is causing these riots. I don't think so. Social media and networking has just made it easier for people to communicate. Currently it is believed that BlackBerry Messenger has been the main source for the rioters and there are calls to have this blocked. As a BBM user (responsible, thanks) I am most annoyed about this. BBM hasn't caused riots and without it the riots would have still happened, people would have just called their friends. If anything BBM has helped good people communicate and let friends and family knows they're alright.
As it is the media is helping the rioting seem 'cool'. It's showing more people what's being done and there are copycats out there replicating the riots in other places, none of these being useful and all of these being pointless. Without constant media coverage, mostly the helicopter coverage, would as many people have taken their lead from what they've seen and be doing the same now?

As for my thoughts on why it's happening and what to do about it, I don't know. I do agree with David Cameron in that if you're old enough to riot then you're old enough to accept the punishment. I don't think we need to bring the Army in, what does that say about our police force? Though on a plus note at least this has shown the importance of the police and that police funding cuts are a terrible idea, but that is by far the only slightly shiny lining to all of this trouble. What I have seen so far appears to be mindless violence from thugs who have nothing better to do. If there is a genuine reason for the vandalism et al then I'd really like to hear it.
This rioting is slowly killing the country. In addition to breaking the normal shopping circles which is causing job and income losses, it's also hindering the tourism. Without this the economy will suffer. The pound will plummet and we will be end up in a depression. In the future public resources will change and people will wonder why they haven't got access to things they used to have. I imagine a lot of the people who will complain will be the ones who are vandalising everything now.

I really hope it was worth it.

Comments

( 3 humble opinions — Your humble opinion? )
(Deleted comment)
ladyofsalzburg
Aug. 10th, 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
If you send in the army it will really prove to people that the police do nothing and then we'd be in an even worse state.
I believe there were 16,000 police in London last night but things are still spreading elsewhere, thank you copycats. There is no need for it.
Lucky for me my area has been kept nice and safe by Staffordshire Police but it's still worrying..
(Deleted comment)
( 3 humble opinions — Your humble opinion? )

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