The London Riots And Their Residual Effects On America
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."
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.