London Riots Are an Embarrassment

After the Arab Spring and the protests in Greece, Spain, and other countries, one may be compelled to think that recent rioting in London is occurring under the similar idea of demanding change to the system.

Don’t.

The rioting that has been occurring over the last three days began with the death of Mark Duggan at the hands of police under questionable circumstances. Initially, there was just a protest, but as night fell, the protest turned into a riot. Looting and burning of stores became commonplace.

If this had been one night of anger in Tottenham, the part of town where Duggan was shot, then this would have blown over by now. Sadly, it seems to have become open season throughout several areas of London, both north and south of the Thames River. Police and the London Fire Brigade are having trouble containing the problem due to the widespread and massive scale of this looting. No place is sacred to these looters. Jewelry stores, furniture stores, family stores, and chain stores have all become legitimate targets for these rioters.

Now, sadly, comparisons have popped up that have compared these riots to the Arab Spring. I have even heard several of my friends mention disenfranchisement and the need for political change. While this is a minority opinion, it is still an insult to all those who have engaged in protests in the Arab world. Protesters in the Middle East were campaigning for change, while most of these looters are just in it to steal and cause chaos. There is no political message, no demand for change, no sensibility to these people. A real protester does not burn down family stores.

Eventually we must ask ourselves why these riots happened. The shooting of Duggan may have been the spark, but the powder keg existed beforehand. Regardless of the reasons, this type of behavior is unacceptable and an affront to the morals of our society. Eventually changes may need to occur, but the first priority of the government should be to stop this monstrous attack on this great city.

Photo CreditsWikimedia Commons

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Andrew Pasternak

Originally from Baltimore, MD, I graduated from Georgetown University in 2009 with a BA in History and a minor in Government. I recently returned from living in London, United Kingdom, having completed my MA in Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University. While maintaining a deep interest in domestic politics, my main areas of focus are defense, intelligence, and foreign policy.

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