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to think that 'explaining the riots' and 'justifying the riots' are two different things? doing my head in...

(81 Posts)
dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 15:37:59

Let's be clear: NO ONE, except for idiots and criminals, is happy about the riots. No one thinks it's okay for the city to be set on fire, people's lives endangered, years of hard work destroyed, etc. They are a terrible thing and the people doing the damage should be punished.

But I do firmly believe that to keep this from happening again, we need to understand why they are happening, which means looking at social and economic factors that are driving so many people into criminality in the first place. But then people on here or in real life (Boris Johnson, sigh) say you are justifying or excusing the riots.

I honestly don't get it! Am I crazy? Do people really prefer to go around judging instead of understanding, just making up solutions and hoping they work?

I am putting this in AIBU because to me it seems so obvious that explaining is not justifying, but so many people believe differently that I am actually starting to wonder if I'm missing something.

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 15:42:22

I should add that I have lived in high poverty/crime neighbourhoods for nearly my entire life.

festi Tue 09-Aug-11 15:44:35

agree whole heartedly, i have given up on the threads now.

adamschic Tue 09-Aug-11 15:50:08

YANBU, no-one in their right minds could support what is happening atm, but I'm not surprised it's kicked off. Saddened but not surprised.

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 15:50:11

I know, I can't read them anymore. I probably shouldn't have started this one but it was either that or bang my head on the table for an hour or so.

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 15:51:42

Adams, I am struck by how many people living in these neighbourhoods are saying 'we all knew it would kick off soon'. It is really depressing.

adamschic Tue 09-Aug-11 15:52:06

I carn't read the threads and won't go on facebook for a few days.

Stay safe everyone.

EightiesChick Tue 09-Aug-11 15:52:45

Agree. I think some decisive action is needed to stop the current actions and break the circuit, to protect the residents and local businesses in these areas, but then something needs to be done for young people to address the lack of anything better in life that has led to looting and rioting.

TheBigJessie Tue 09-Aug-11 15:53:23

People often use those words interchangeably, unfortunately.

It's simply reached the point that if one is literally trying to explain/understand/analyse any negative behaviour, that other people will assume one means excuse or justify.

festi Tue 09-Aug-11 15:54:31

I just typed out a responce to the blackberry thread and deleted it because I couldnt be arsed to repeat the same message anymore that is getting misconstrude as support. people live in thier own bubble, on or away from thier won doorsteps will only see and hear what they want to.

TimeWasting Tue 09-Aug-11 15:54:36


festi Tue 09-Aug-11 15:58:11

bet this will not make topic of the day, as it shatters middle englands ideoligy of what good old great britain is made of.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 09-Aug-11 16:00:46

I totally agree. I lived in Croydon for years and worked with homeless young people. Bright, funny, creative, intelligent, young people who (and I can't think of any other reason) because they were young, male, poor and Black left school with nothing, had no job, no future and no reason to protect property that they would never own.

People are saying that because they are using Blackberry's and iPhones to organise, they are not disenfranchised. Mobile companies will give you credit when no one else will touch you. That doesn't make you rich and happy.

Rioters and looters should still be punished but could we make sure that their kids get an education and prospects.

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 16:01:16

ah thanks, glad to see I'm not the only one!

But why are people like this? Is it just lazy thinking? Lack of empathy?

I think that if anything is going to change we need to also change the attitudes of people who are now sitting there going 'scum, shoot them all'. Because as long as people think like this and vote, I don't really think anything will change at all.

EdithWeston Tue 09-Aug-11 16:01:17

They are indeed two different things.

And work on different timelines.

Looking for explanations will take time - and need to draw on both the Withern investigation (for immediate detail), but crucially also take a long hard look at the social policies of the last 14-20 years (when the bulk of the rioters were growing up) to identify what failed. I agree it's important this be done.

But it cannot be done quickly, and whilst the disturbances are continuing it will be taken as making excuses. Probably better set to one side until the streets are peaceful again.

SomethingBlue Tue 09-Aug-11 16:01:22

Totally agree. I can't bear the blind self-righteous complacency of those who refuse to even think about the reasons (NB I haven't been reading anything here, my reaction is to what I've heard on radio interviews).

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 16:06:57

Edith, that's a really good point. That actually might explain a fair bit of this.

I guess my thinking is that since the riots show no sign of abating, it's helpful to think about explanations now so that they can be taken into account when trying to decide on how to handle the violence.

If they are really all hard-core gangsters then sure, maybe bringing in the army would work, but I think the social and political aspects of this mean that bringing in the army is about the worst thing they could do.

Ormirian Tue 09-Aug-11 16:11:30

You are probably right.

I am often found on threads objecting to the use of the word 'chav' and general snobbery and standing up for people who have to live in the grim council estate near my house and places like them. But i do that because I beleive that anyone and everyone has the potential to be fundamentally decent and reasonable human being, because IME they are, and dismissing them because they don't have the same chances as others is wrong wrong wrong!

So when something like this happens I am shaken. Because it proves me wrong. People aren't all decent and reasonable. And my initial reaction is anger. Sorry. I hope there is a solution - I'd pay double my taxes if we could find one that would make life OK for everyone but meanwhile this hideous, pointless, self-serving violence and crime has to stop! And then let's deal with stopping it happening again.

foxinsocks Tue 09-Aug-11 16:20:47

Because by 'blaming' it on other factors, it sounds as though you are not placing responsibility on the shoulders of people who committed these crimes and as far as I'm concerned, one of the biggest problems we have in society (in England) is not necessarily poverty but lack of responsibility for ones actions and the impact on society as a whole. These people thought they could get away with it, so they did!

I don't mind the debate but I don't want to partake now while people are still defending their homes and businesses. That's just my opinion smile.

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Aug-11 16:26:33

Hmm so it's the timing of it? It just seems inappropriate to be all analytical and detached when people's houses are being burned down? I can see that.

Ormirian, I don't think you're proven wrong. It's a small number of people making everyone else look bad. You're going to see all the idiots out on the street, you don't see all the law-abiding people staying home and keeping out of it.

iggii Tue 09-Aug-11 16:30:56

For some reason two images have popped into my head - a teenager carrying a stolen flatscreen, and a banker accepting a 6 figure bonus after messing up the economy.
I think both actions are wrong, but only one will probably be going to jail.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 09-Aug-11 16:33:06

I think, because it is still happening, people are just very angry and want it to stop and for those responsible to be punished, rather than trying to work out solutions for the future to stop it happening again?

festi Tue 09-Aug-11 16:37:55

I too am angry and want those responsible punished. that does not discredit the fact that there are many opinions that are different to the "they are simply ferrol rats". But there are social economical and political issues behind what is happening also and the people are expressing/debating and bringing those to the fore front do not agree with what these criminals are doing.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 09-Aug-11 16:38:51

YANBU. I left another thread on this because it was like sitting in an editorial meeting at the Daily Heil.

LolaRennt Tue 09-Aug-11 16:39:04

Sorry this has not happened in one neighbourhood suffering from a specific ill. Its happened everywhere. The student riots last year happened with a totally different economic class... I think people when given a chance to act lawlessly and be dick heads, will choose to.

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