Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Quote of the Day
"When you ignore very poor people, they decided to take the law into their own hands."
-- Clive Bloom, author of Violent London: 2,000 Years Of Riots, Rebels And Revolts, on the riots currently consuming London and spreading across the UK
I'm certainly not excusing the sickening behavior on display throughout much of England right now, nor should anybody else. This is not some kind of revolution. Vicious thuggery is vicious thuggery, and the responsibility for it should be placed pretty squarely on the shoulders of those committing these crimes.
But you'd have to be blind or willfully ignorant not to grasp that when you create a staggering disparity between a large underclass and a small upper-class -- with only a dwindling middle-class in between to act as a buffer -- then place them side-by-side geographically, eventually there will be a conflagration. And it will be lit by the tiniest spark because the entire situation will always be like gasoline vapors waiting to explode. You push people down, or simply allow them to be convinced that there's no opportunity at all for them out there -- then beam images of a collapsing economy, a government demanding austerity measures, and the very wealthy casually skating for the crimes they've committed into their homes night after night -- and the result will be all-but-inevitable. Yeah, a riot breeds a riot and the mob mentality is precisely that because it can spread so quickly and take on a life of its own. But largely underprivileged kids and young adults rampaging through neighborhoods like Notting Hill and attacking Michelin-starred restaurants, and that violence reaching epic levels -- the kind not seen in decades -- that's the sort of thing that can't simply be shrugged off as a case of a bunch of little gangsters pumped full of adrenaline.