Nobody will disagree that the riots that have taken place in London over the weekend, and which spread to further cities during last night’s intense third night of rioting, are despicable and outright sickening. Luting, setting fire to businesses and essentially attacking each other in what has been portrayed as mindless criminality, surely cannot just be that.

Many, including the government have stated as such but I know this society is in a state of disarray in regard to respect for others but surely the estimated six hundred, if not more, young people across the UK cannot be simply mindless criminals.

First of all, I have a huge issue with the adjective, “Mindless”. Zombies are mindless, but people have choices. Those young people had a choice every night in the past three nights whether to continue on their own usually peaceful path or go out and start causing sheer mayhem on Britain’s streets. To describe these people as mindless is ludicrous! They know what they are doing and therefore, instead of dismissing their actions as “mindless”, which by the way, I think is a pure cop out on the politicians part, we need to figure out why so many felt it OK to trash people’s lively hoods, steel and act like pure hoodlums.

It’s been suspected that the death of a young black man on Thursday in Tottenham last week was the catalyst and although I agree that is the case on the first night of riots, the spread of this outlawnlessness has stepped over that mark. Youth workers have been saying for months they’ve predicted this would happen, potentially during the summer months because of many cuts and cut backs to services and support networks for young people. But we’ll examine that in a little while.

So why are the government consistently ignoring what people are saying? It’s easier to dismiss someone’s behaviour as mindless and not give it a credible motivation as if so, the reasons would have to be heard by the vast majority of the country. Many hate what is happening in the UK and we are all hoping another night of riots will not occur but threatening these people with jail sentences and not giving the police the resources they need to combat the violence is actually going to make this problem spread, in my opinion.

As a former psychologist student, I know that once riots begin, it’s hard to make them stop. Especially in the celebrity era that we are living in. Right or wrong, other young people will go out, as I suspect was the case last night, having seen others like themselves luting and getting infamy and feeling like they could easily get away with it. Part of the mob psyche is the anonymity of the mob. While in a huge group, your identity is temporarily lost and you adopt the group’s identity. By wearing masks, as some did last night, the level of risk was reduced again as they were not only in a huge group of moving rioters but wearing masks and hoodies. Those who weren’t, clearly feel that they will not be caught or in some cases want to be caught.

So why would a large group of young people from several inner city geographics, decide to loot, vandalise and behave like pure criminals?

Only an individual can answer this of course but with what we’ve briefly heard from some people, and previous protests that have occurred, we can summarise a guess. We cannot say simply, these people are criminals because if that was the case, all the criminals would riot and loot on a more regular basis. The last riots we have seen like this were back in 1981 and 1990 when people rioted over the poll tax. That’s over twenty-one years ago and so the “mindless criminals” theory is surely shot out of the water. Criminals don’t appear every twenty or so years, they are constantly around.

Some of those people may be criminals, and it’s more than possible some of them are not. Youth workers, as I said earlier have reiterated this would happen. Services such as youth groups are being discontinued, the education maintenance allowance that helps many young people attend further education independently has been cut, tuition fees to universities have trebled making that path to their futures harder to realise and the job market is such that we have the highest unemployment rate for young people for a very long time.

I will not make excuses for violence and crime but I can understand the anger of some of those. Not all were looting over the past few nights. And the anger that a young man was shot, seemingly unarmed by police, was the spark to light the fire, [pardon the pun].

Happy people do not riot! Contented young people do not destroy the communities in which they live for a kick on a mass level. There are reasons why this happened. And although some of those individuals have gone out to simply “get a new TV” or a phone or any other luxury item or to cause destruction, you have to ask why? Sure, because they have seen others get away with it but also because they don’t see a future worth staying on the strait and narrow for.

As the world economy stands, there are no jobs to work toward, there is little prospect for a successful future. Desperate people do desperate things and although those things are not right, there is still a reason for it.

Some are saying, especially Cameron and his posse that this was not political; I argue that any riot is political. Whether you like it or not, those young people were sending a clear message the past few days. They are saying, I’m angry with this society, I will destroy it because no one is listening. It is said that rioting is the language of the unheard and the point is, this government is still not listening! By dismissing what has happened as “mindless criminality” will not solve the problem. By putting extra police on the streets may help to manage the problem but you have to listen to your people to make the country a better place and this so called “big society” that Cameron keeps harping on about. I see none of that big society anywhere. Maybe the cleaning up that went on today is the closest thing I’ve seen but that’s people helping their people, not the government helping their people helping themselves.

Austerity and oppression will bring you nothing but trouble and sadly this government still do not realise this fact. The irony is that Nick cleg predicted this would happen if the conservatives got into power and, by God, Nick, you were right on the ball. I wish you weren’t but sadly, you were.

Again, I do not condone the violence and looting and destruction that has gone on and I hope it stops but I can feel the anger brewing in this country and I hate to say this but I don’t think it will be quelled that easily. I hope I am so wrong and that the people of every city tonight sleep in peace.

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