Well, well, well. Even I am surprised at the way the riot aftermath has been handled. The Press have run and re-run images and CCTV footage of the individuals responsible for looting and criminal damage, shaming most of them very effectively and sending a clear message to them all about the way we, the people, feel about their behaviour.
I got a lot of feedback, as expected, from my last post and a few of you did not agree with my opinion but that's fine. It is, after all, only my opinion. However, I received emails and messages from young people; teenagers and school children, who agreed totally with my rant. Some of them feel embarrassed to belong to the same generation, social class or geographical area as the idiots that torched and stole their way through last week.
The Government and the police got together and decided to name and shame all those that could be identified. The newspapers listed them, along with their charges and sentences, and the TV news made spectacles of them bumping into lamp-posts and hiding their faces, as they tried to avoid the kind of mass publicity that would ruin their lives.
Not one person has moaned about the 'rights' of these thieves; nobody has complained, as far as I know, about their names and faces being publicised for the whole country (the world in fact) to see. And that makes me feel very glad. Would a Labour Government have allowed this? Who knows... but it worked. It created a contrast for the people involved in the trouble, so that they could measure themselves and their actions against rising public opinion, which was hugely against them. We have, in effect, done exactly what was required of us - we put our badly behaved hooligan kids on the naughty step and told them to think about what they've done. We have commited our little criminals to the media stocks.
But, there are a few anomalies. Those that did not 'fit the bill' for this type of feral behaviour - like the millionaire's daughter who acted as the getaway driver for a gang of looters. she was obviously bored of daddy's money and wanted a bit of low-life excitement. Then there was the out-of-work musician who called the cops 'facists' because they arrested him. He'd stolen a musical instrument. Or the ballerina who decided to steal while it was possible, and then gave herself up when she saw her face being publicly advertised as part of a rogue's gallery. She'd asked herself why she'd done it.
This wasn't all about the usual suspects. This was about opportunism and spleen-venting against authority, as if the individual cop on the street had anything to do with University fee hikes, or unemployment levels... or the price of a ballerina's clothing.
Among the unusual suspects, we had the real hardcore problem; arsonists, serial criminals and murderers. They are going to face justice very soon and when their faces are revealed - especially the ones who mugged the injured student - they will understand that something is changing in this society. People are no longer going to allow them to rule the roost.
For mowing down three innocent young men who were protecting their community, there must be a very long sentence, without parole - please. And for murdering an ageing man who was unilaterally protesting against the behaviour of these louts as they mobbed around him, the individual(s) responsible should never see the outside world again.
We need to examine the underlying problems of course, but for now, I think those affected directly by this need to be punished properly.