Reactions to the London riots

All right. You've probably heard about this already, so I'll try and give those of you who haven't a quick overview.

Some guy who may or may not have been part of a gang (but was definitely part of an ethnic minority) was shot by police. As far as I can work out, while he had a gun wrapped in cloth he didn't fire it - all bullets were fired by police.

Important notes: Tottenham's been hit by the cuts quite badly, the ethnic minorities/non-whites there (not sure of the PC term) have been stopped and searched by police more times than others and being suspected of crime really gets to you after a while, Britain has a history of rioting in recession, other countries are doing the same thing.

Taking all of these factors into account, in hindsight it's really not that surprising that riots broke out there. As far as I can work out, the others have been given confidence by what's happened at Tottenham and they're rioting because of austerity measures, because everyone else is doing it (mobs are stupid and do this a lot) and because hey, you can loot the shops for free stuff.

I'm not trying to glorify the rioters - this is me trying to pick apart their actions and figure out what's going on.

Anyway, this wasn't even the point. There's been a lot of stuff on Facebook and Twitter about it, and mainly it consists of different people with different complaints. As Sturgeon's Law predicts, 90% is crap, and in an effort to keep myself sane I'm going to mock that 90% for all it's worth...not that much, but still.

Complaint #1: "Humanity is doomed and society is past the point of no return!"
Boo-fucking-hoo. I try not to swear, but it's pretty justified here. I'm a misanthrope myself - I believe that humanity for the most part is extraordinarily stupid and cruel, especially in large, uncontrolled groups. All the same, at some point it starts reeking of sanctimony - "You're all heartless and brutish, except for me!" - and of a kind of self-righteous hopelessness - "The world is doomed and only the Elite will be saved!".

I hate what people can do, but I understand - or at least I try to understand - why they do it. I know that there are still good people out there, not just because I consider myself to be a good person (I don't), but because I can see them around me. I personally believe that as long as there's one "good" person out there willing to do something, humanity's not doomed - which might be optimistic of me, but I'm not throwing it on the scrapheap yet. As for society being past the point of no return? Again, due to the presence of good people, I highly doubt it. I do feel that the people have been failed by their communities (or lack of them) and the government, but I think that doing nothing about it (as saying that they're past the point of no return would imply) is even worse. We may not be able to save this generation, but we still have a chance of saving the next  - a chance that we should take to benefit everyone.

Complaint #2: "Send them to Afghanistan!"
Being sent to fight an increasingly futile war where they might end up scarred for life is a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone who didn't choose it. Not to mention that they'll probably mutiny and fuck up whatever good's being done there, if any.

Complaint #3: "I don't understand the world! It's going insane!"
Guess what? Neither do I. Neither does anyone, and if they claim to then they're doing it wrong. I'm probably sounding a bit too harsh here, but it's true. Cry it out, breathe deeply, research like mad and carry on. Works quite well for me. The world's going insane because people will only take so much crap, deserved or not, before snapping - at least, that's my take on things.

Complaint #4: "Send in the Army!"
Only as a last resort. If anything it'll add fuel to the fire, fuel which is very much unneeded.

Complaint #5: "The police aren't doing anything!"
Yes they are, but they're thinly stretched and containing a mad public is pretty hard. Just because they can't quash everything immediately doesn't mean that they're weak.

Oh, and something else while I'm on the subject - don't support the police unconditionally. Don't support the rioters unconditionally. This isn't particularly black-and-white, despite people saying otherwise. If you must support anyone, support these people, who are actually, y'know, trying to get something done.