Frustrating Riots

10 08 2011

A prophet who I respect, a number of years ago warned the Christian community to resist frustration that they would feel as there was an increasing breakdown in law and order in our Western societies. Frustration is, I suspect a partial cause for me writing today and a factor in many people’s lives in the light of the street riots that have been occurring in Britain this week.

Let’s go back to the beginning: the police were after a man who had, according to the media, a somewhat questionable reputation. They had information that this man was dangerous and was quite likely to be carry a gun. When they close in on him (and I am only repeating what has appeared in the media) he puts his hand in his pocket when challenged, an act that any sensible man faced by armed police would not do unless he was intent on a shoot out. The armed policeman promptly shot him through the heart. The media (TV especially) leap on this and interview his parents who make him out to be a good guy who surely wouldn’t carry a weapon – he was and it was capable of shooting people. There is the first level of frustration with misguided parents who obviously lost the plot years ago and a media that makes the police look bad.

Now there is a subtle further frustration because many of us no longer trust the police because over the past thirty year they have shown themselves often to be very human and very fallible and when you are supposed to be the bringers of justice you must be above that. There are, on the other side, all those fighters for civil rights who also lose our respect when they sound hurt, shocked and surprised when in today’s climate a suspected criminal carries a gun and they don’t expect a bad outcome! Can we not simply say quite openly, if you give the authorities cause to believe you are involved in criminal activities and you then carry a gun, please don’t be surprised if you are shot if you make any move apart from putting your hands up when challenged by uniformed police.

Next frustration: the media who use the word ‘demonstration’ when people in the street set fire and vandalise property. Call it what it is “unacceptable rioting”. At least as the days have gone on the media who stopped using the word ‘demonstrators’ and not call them what they are – looters and rioters.

Next frustration: parents and teachers. I cannot help but feel in total agreement with the shopkeeper who cried, where are the parents, what are they doing let their young kids out. The truth probably is that the parents make excuses fro their kids. Teachers? Well when the photos start going up on the TV screen of looters, I would expect teachers to (after parents who are probably going to keep their heads down) say, I recognise him/her, they’re in my class. But then comes the bigger frustration that as a society we’re going to make excuses for these kids.

Yes, it is an unfair world, yes there are people who have well paid jobs and the younger generation don’t but actually not all of the younger generation behave like this. yes, they’re frustrated that they can’t get a job in the present climate  but they go out and do volunteer work to get known or to build up a portfolio of experience for when times get better and jobs start being advertised. Who is going to get that job? The kid who has sat around doing nothing or the one who has been volunteering and learning on the unpaid job. Easy answer!

And let’s not play the colour card either. There are plenty of good coloured kids who are doing what I suggested above. No this is a ‘defeated culture’ mentality and it starts with parents and the rest of us give little encouragement. Let’s start having some honesty on the streets. As has been said by many, much of what we’ve been seeing has been mindless, self-centred, greedy, spiteful, criminal acts. Let the law take its course and may they be punished.

Which brings on yet another frustration.  Community Service? Prison? Isn’t it time we started thinking outside the box. Number One: Parents stand in the box alongside their delinquent child and  if they plead “They’re out of control,” then let the options be, either YOU will do Community Service as well, or you will attend two months worth or parent training for parents with teens to see that it’s not completely impossible to bring change. Number Two: how about completely different punishment – how about putting this rioting teenager in solitary confinement for a week and I do mean in a room for no TV, no music, no mates or no phone or anything, no company, just a bed, a drinking fountain and a toilet (all vandal proof) and no means of committing suicide, with the warning that if you re-offend, you’ll be in for three weeks and so on. Think about it. If you don’t like that I’m sure there are so other better ways than what we have at the moment. (Six weeks working in a refugee camp in Africa??)

But of course our biggest problem is not the credit crunch but the fact, as I wrote in my previous blog, that we have lost our moral compass and have no absolutes, so it is little wonder these kids have no compunction about destroying or stealing what is not theirs. That may be a reason but it’s not an excuse, for there is no excuse in a civilised society, but we might ask, is a society without any moral base founded by God, civilised any more?

Running a close second to that is our tendency to pretend that everything is all right in our society when it is clearly not. Government will need to do some rethinking (that’s what they volunteered and are paid for!) and the Church needs to come out of the woodwork and be a demonstration of a viable alternative society that has answers, God’s answers that work, as well as being caring and compassionate and there for the underclass. Frustration is a sign that things are not right and that we feel powerless to do anything about it. Are we, I wonder?














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