The London Riots And Their Residual Effects On America

A double-decker bus on fire.
A double-decker bus on fire. | Source

For the past several days, the once-bustling but peaceful streets of London have been filled with both rioting youth and police alike. Maddened by the shooting death of 29-year old Mark Duggan, a local of the now embattled Tottenham neighborhood, teenagers and young adults from several rival gangs joined together to cause approximately 100-million monetary pounds of damage to Tottenham as well as to several other surrounding areas, including large metropolitan cities such as Bristol and Birmingham. The gang members destroyed several police cars and one double-decker bus through the use of petrol bombs, and have injured almost 30 London riot police by throwing glass bottles and rocks at their ranks. Citizens have been warned to stay inside within the safety of their homes, as several of the fires are still raging as a result of the rioters throwing flaming material into the trash bins lining the streets. Several of the gang members involved have also been observed looting products from stores, using any means necessary to smash windows and doors inhibiting their entry.

Race Relations and Socioeconomic Status

Several popular news programs have confirmed that the majority of the rioting youth are, in fact, black Londoners. Most of the gangs that call London home are comprised of these individuals who are more often than not battling one another. However, in an unprecedented act aided by the use of technology to spread the word, former rival gangs have banded together to form an unruly mob.

One private citizen stated on her Facebook page that she ventured outside once to observe the happenings on the street in front of her flat, and she was immediately "berated with racial slurs" from the rioters. She goes on to say that this episode is "devastating," and that she has never witnessed "...such a disregard for human life."

Many online videos sent in from citizens depict a young caucasian youth having his backpack ransacked, his possessions strewn over the street, and several of the objects that he had been carrying taken away by the looters. As one observant noticed, the rioting individuals did not seem interested in harming the boy. It is interesting perhaps to theorize that the gangs are at least reserving their anger for the police and their home-city. At least, for now.

Still, other people are hypothesizing that the riots are fueled by the recent downfall of the United Kingdom's socioeconomic status. Such developments can be observed in the Tottenham neighborhood, where the riots are thought to have originated. Known to be a very rundown and poor section of the city, Tottenham is home to the gangs that are now storming the streets of London. Some are suggesting that these violent acts of aggression were designed to promote awareness to the less-than-ideal living situations of Tottenham's citizens, and that unemployment and rising tension between citizens and the police were to blame. Many other citizens interviewed by American network ABC's Channel 12 News dismiss this notion, claiming that the rioters were "opportunistic looters" who cherished the opportunity to "deck themselves out."

Student protesters in London.
Student protesters in London.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

These incidents are raising alarms in America, another country that has been drastically affected by declining employment rates and lack of debt relief. Americans seem horrified at riots ravaging London, and cannot seem to grasp the full causation of the circumstances. And perhaps those that do aren't talking about it.

One such individual stated when asked, "If you think this is bad, be sure to make yourself absent when the rioting comes to America."

In more recent times, America seems to be a country that is teetering on the brink of civil war. Millions of people are unemployed and can no longer afford to care for their families and/or pay their bills. Citizens are incensed at the behaviors of Congress, who have procrastinated on a debt relief plan that had the potential to alleviate some of the country's tension.

It is very obvious that what has been occurring in London for the past several days can, and will, happen in America. But some people seem to think that such a riot would be infinitely worse than we have observed in London. Largely due to news reports, citizens have now been exposed to the darker side of technology. In the United Kingdom, the rioting members of the rival gangs used Twitter and standard text messaging to inform one another of important times and locations, such as electronics stores and police cars. When asked about this, one American citizen raised his eyebrows and responded, "Are you surprised?"

In much the same way as pity strikes, Americans are expecting to some degree that there will be a rising level of violence within their own country. This can especially be observed in the youthful populations of America, which are most well known for their restlessness and interest in world activities.

What do you think?

Will the rioting in London spark violence in America?

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Comments 12 comments

ewelz51 profile image

ewelz51 5 years ago from Somewhere in the South...

I do think tensions are rising on the American continent, and as someone who has fought the unemployment battle for over two years now,and has watched our Congress become more and more useless at managing the economy and the budget, I can totally understand the frustration mounting on the streets of Britain. However, as someone who lived there for years, it makes me very sad to see it.

larry 5 years ago

how can the the majority of the rioters be african american when they are in fact british citizens. I think you article meant british citizens of african desendant.

jjackson786 profile image

jjackson786 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

I think that's pretty much the same thing....anyway, this is how the sources I used reported the story. The majority of the rioters were referred to as African Americans by both CNN and British News.

And ewelz51- thank you for your comment. I too am now involved with the unemployment system so I understand what you mean. Let's both hope that I'm wrong and this will blow over peacefully for both of our countries! :)

ewelz51 5 years ago

Cameron seems intent on referring to "acts of criminality" and how they will be prosecuted, while not looking at the root of the problem, too many youths with no jobs and nowhere to go. How long before that becomes our problem too?

jjackson786 profile image

jjackson786 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

It is already a huge problem here. With a nationwide unemployment rate of 10% that is ever-increasing, people are growing desperate. The youth in London were just doing what some kids do when faced with huge opposition- react with shock-and-awe methods in an effort to achieve some kind of change. It's unfortunate that it's gotten this far! I am afraid for both the United Kingdom and America at this point.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK

I think either your news programs have got it wrong, or you've misheard them. Firstly they couldn't be African Americans,, as they're British. Normally referred to as Afro-Caribbean over here, if you're referring to the racial group. But actually, it was a wide range of races involved, and a wide range of age groups. It wasn't confined to any one group. You can read my views here: Feel free to leave a comment.

jjackson786 profile image

jjackson786 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Again, allow me to reiterate. I based this article off of sources that referred to the youth individuals as "African Americans." Whether or not that is incorrect is up to the individual's interpretation. This article was not designed to spark debate about race or even the terminology reserved for specific races. The focus of this writing was to inform about the potential causes of the riots, which may or may not cause copycat behavior in America. Please refrain from nitpicking and at least attempt to see the larger picture here.

ewelz51 5 years ago

It seems to me that the comments to this hub are spiraling way far away from the author's intent on the initial writing...not just who participated in the uprisings, but why those who did what they did. The establishment's response to the riots has been necessary but the lack of determination of root cause may come back to bite them come election time as people are still struggling for employment and ways to feed their families, much as we are seeing in this country as the pendulum is swinging erratically every time someone new enters the Republican field for president. The British government can be commended for dealing with the economic crisis in a much more forthright manner than has our Congress, but with those down and dirty tactics come the pain of watching people suffer and seeing them voice that pain in ways that often step outside the law. So far we haven't done that here. But how long until Congress realizes we have to take more drastic measures to get our budget under control and then our people take to the streets?

jjackson786 profile image

jjackson786 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Indeed they are, ewelz! Thank you for your insightful comment. I feel like we are well on our way to taking the drastic path that you mentioned :/

catspirit profile image

catspirit 5 years ago

We have seen demonstrations across the pond in reaction to the economy, joblessness, dismissal of unions in Wisconsin. It is in the very nature of the beast to act and react to "injustice." Whether there will be rioting is yet to be seen. Hot topics of contention center around the economy, illegal immigration and the apparent second-dip recession. Great article, and yes; I didn't get the comments that flowed outside of the content

jjackson786 profile image

jjackson786 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

We are beginning to see the same things you described as happening in Wisconsin in Pennsylvania, catspirit. People are hopeless and we're seeing a repeat in history from even bleaker times such as the Great Depression. Personally, I see no relief and attempting optimism is exhausting. I'm almost certain that you feel the same way. Thank you for your insightful comments!

ewelz51 5 years ago

With the notification from Bank of America saying that they are discussing plans to "consolidate" which could mean job losses of between 25,000 and 30,000 over several years, and that's only in the banking industry, and looking at the meager jobs report we just received, how can we not expect the political pendulum not to swing in directions such as the Tea Party? People expect their leaders to leap into action in one way or another, and so far we have seen neither Obama, nor our Congress do enough over the past couple of years to mitigate the bloodletting in the job market. In certain areas of the country, the unemployment rate remains staggeringly high and the gov't cannot continue to pay benefits time out of mind. Currently the despair is being kept inside homes and perhaps will be kept from the streets untill after the next election. But if voters on one side aren't happy with the outcome, then perhaps we shall see what Europe has experienced. And we may see more people on the streets in Europe prior to our elections.

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