Written by Myrna Loy
Can the looting be justified? This of course depends on whose perspective you are looking at. The teenagers will say it is justified because they are getting back at the police for killing Mark Duggan, a mixed-race 29 year old who was shot in the back of his head while in a taxi going home. They will say that they are getting back at PM David Cameron for making their parents lose their jobs, putting their family below the poverty line; they will say that because their parents can’t buy them the things they deem necessary, they have a right to take them if the opportunity presents itself. They say there are no jobs; no opportunities, it is time to take something back. “We pay taxes, said one female looter, so we are entitled!”. For those suffering the impact of the recession, it became payback time! Opportunism and greed fanned the flames in Tottenham and around 26 different cities in the UK
From what I have read and heard, the family carried a banner which said “Justice for Duggan” and marched to Tottenham Police Station to get answers. What started off as a peaceful demonstration to ascertain why the police shot Mark Duggan, turned into another Broadwater Farm riot after a female member of the Duggan family was bludgeoned by a police officer outside the station when imploring for an explanation. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back: the demonstration spiraled out of control, fuelled by an angry, frustrated members of the Tottenham community.
The first Broadwater Farm riot occurred on 6 October 1985, when Cynthia Jarrett, a black woman died from stroke after a police raid in her home; exacerbated by another black woman being shot during a police search a week earlier. What followed culminated in the death of Police Constable Blacklock. It is ironic that yet another death in Tottenham has resulted in mass rioting, not only in the area where it happened but in other cities around the country.
According to sources, 1.4m are living below the poverty line; 1.3m are living with substance abuse parents. 1 in 5 young Britons are out of work - 1 in 2 black people are unemployed but we are told by politicians that a lack of values was the cause of the riots, and that social networks, like Facebook, twitter and the Blackberry BBN, enabled the way the riots were organized. They seem to forget that values come from enjoying a stable upbringing; earning a living; feeling respected and proud – but with 1 out of 2 black people denied the right to have their basic needs satisfied, it is no wonder that the riots involving them, are the outcome. It is surprising that the sensibility of what seemed like senseless, uncontrolled rioting ceased as quickly as it started when they realized their irresponsibility resulted in the death of three innocent traders who were trying to protect their property.
Now the government is now seeking to give parents back the right to discipline their children (after the horse has bolted!); and they are planning to give teachers that right too. Too little too late!
3,000 perpetrators have been arrested, meaning there will be even more unemployable black people. Employers will not employ someone with a prison record – so the unemployment statistics go up, and the downward spiral and vicious cycle continues.
The perspective of those who lost their homes, lost their cars, and other property: why did they suffer the impact of Mark Duggan’s death? Many left homeless – they feel should not have lost everything to fire. They could understand if the rioters had burned down police stations, but they didn’t, they burned down innocent people’s homes and left people jumping from buildings for their lives.
From the perspective of the deceased’s family: Mark Duggan was a family man, a father of four, living with is fiancé of 12 years, with plans to move out of Tottenham and get married. “He always avoided confrontation and would not have fired at police”
From the perspective of the police watchdog: “There is no evidence Mark Duggan opened fire at police before being shot dead by a firearms officer, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said. The police watchdog said ballistic tests showed "no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired".
BBC News understands firearms officers discharged their weapons in the belief there was a threat to human life. Their guidelines allow them to open fire in such circumstances”
The David Starkey, politician said that white people were acting black, and that Jamaican patois and black culture fuelled the riots, while Prime Minister David Cameron said that it is not a race issue but a crime issue and that we live amongst a broken and sick society.
Compare my generation to the new generation when we were respectful to our elders; we couldn’t back chat; we opened up doors, gave up our seats; didn’t speak unless we were spoken to – and did do any harm? No! These days you will find that while there are always exceptions to the rule, the majority of young people in the UK are arrogant, disrespectful to their parents and/or authority.
According to Angela Bajaican – “we must look for solutions to the crisis. … the backlash from the riots is: 'Bring in Robo-cop', 'Stolen bottled water - first offence - six months in prison'; 'white is the new black', 'Gas all the coons' - there is no question which community is in the firing line, despite the facts that illustrate many races were involved, the blame is on the black people as being the instigators, so the challenge for the Black community therefore has never been greater.