Stuff & Comments
It'll be a riot!
16/8/'11
So, there's been a lot of turmoil about lately. There's been rioting throughout England. There've also been quite a few people telling whoever will listen what they think of the rioters. Consequently, there've been many rants and counter-rants about who exactly is to blame for the destruction. It goes something like this:

Alice: The looters are bad people, and they must be severely punished.
Bob: The looters are predominantly socially excluded individuals and their actions are a consequence of our society's failings.
Alice: What are you talking about? These people had a choice, and they chose to do bad things.
Bob: How can you possibly think it's that clear-cut?

And so on. It's pretty polarised, and the "Alice" characters are vicious fascists. Right?

I don't think so. I've seen some terribly harsh things written about the rioters by friends who are ordinarily fairly progressive. They've been buying into the idea that the rioters are sub-human and deserve whatever can be inflicted on them, short of corporal or capital punishment.

Meanwhile, I've seen one friend refer to these others as bigots.

Now, before anyone invokes friendship divorce proceedings, take a step back. The riots are still fresh in people's minds. There's been massive, immersive media coverage. We've all been able to see the destruction to people's property and livelihoods, and the general fear and misery that's been inflicted. It's only natural to be angry, and it's only natural to direct that anger towards the rioters. However, anger fades.

Until that happens, I'd advise everyone to be very careful about what they say.

I, however, will opt for mildly inappropriate humour. Look, this guy's looting a lute!
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