Wednesday, August 31, 2011

UK RIOTS - August 25, 2011

I have been following the news on this outbreak of rioting in UK, but until yesterday, I had only the vaguest idea of what it was that was driving the onset. It stems from the killing of a black man named Duggan by a policeman. The exact sequence of events was never clear at first. What was patent was that the policeman did kill Mr. Duggan and there was no indication that there was even a suspicion that the killing was unjustified. In similar circumstances, one might have expected that the killer would have been suspended pending an investigation of the circumstances, but no such announcement was made. After several days, a crowd went to the local police station to inquire after the state of matters. They were left standing in the street for four hours without comment, after which they turned their backs and walked away. In the light of decades of relationship between the police and the black community in UK, the absence of any recognition of the urgency of having something to say was left to die unanswered. It had come upon the heels of an announcement that Mr. Duggan had killed a policeman or, in a later version, that he had had an exchange of gunshots, and seemed to validate the killing. The crowd exploded. They turned to the one thing that was sure to elicit a response. They broke things. Like the story of the mule trainer that started out beating the mule with a 2x4 “to get its attention”. But the Government has taken shelter in the canard that those who sought attention to the events leading up to the riot were claiming that that justified the explosion of anger and by the allegation that those who demanded clarification were justifying the theft. The issue was not the theft. It was the killing of Mr. Duggan. The attempt to focus on the theft shows the shallowness of Tory understanding.

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