Burn, Baby, Burn: Why United States Citizens Should Follow the UK’s Lead


It didn’t take long for me to figure out that there was some civil unrest going on in the United Kingdom. I saw news of the events passing through my timeline with enough frequency to know that this is something serious.

I didn’t realize how serious until I accidently looked up at the television while CNN was on and caught a video that showed a flicker of buildings burning and the police hauling ass in the opposite direction as mobs of people rushed towards them. I had no details as to what the riot was about but the sight of cops running with the same fear on their face as they instill in others is always a pleasant surprise.

And it’s not like I haven’t seen my fair share of riots; I was at work during the Rodney King riots. Me and the overnight crew at McDonald’s marveled at the shit kicking going on in Cali.

Up until last night I would have sworn that no body does a better riot then California.

I stand corrected.

You may think I am making light of the financial and social price tag attached to such a display of civil unrest. I’m not.

“Civilized societies” frowned upon it’s citizens using aggression and force to convey their feelings to the ruling class. Riots have always been something people are discouraged to do.

What good can come of it after all?

I’m sure life is shook up a bit for the citizens and all that burning and car beating will surely have to be paid for by someone. The citizens will bear the burden of the cost to rebuild; be it through taxes or through private insurance deductibles by those who can afford to own property and pay insurance deductibles.

No. Public opinion condemns citizens for utilizing a lesser form of frustration.

However, if you look at the broader situation you’ll soon notice that the rioters of the UK were showing exactly what they should have been showing.

Sometimes when people don’t listen it helps to throw things.

We teach children that tantrums are never good. Civilized people are supposed to use their words to communicate. We teach children to ask and wait for an answer; we teach them to be content with what we as adults give them. Children are taught to be seen and not heard and to not show their displeasure when their expectations and needs aren’t met to their satisfaction because we satisfy our needs and give children what we want them to have. Children are trained to acknowledge that someone is in charge and it’s not them until a child hurls a sippy cup across the room and nails you in the forehead.

Now whose in charge?

Tantrums are like riots; they both convey the most basic form of frustration, rage and a momentary loss of tempered sanity.

I think a riot is in order for the people of London; the disjointed quality of life that has been common in the country for years has caused a class of people that feel helpless.

The richest 10% of the population have enjoyed an increase of wealth while the average citizen has the opportunity for social mobility that is worse than several developing countries.

London’s poorer sections have to deal with police brutality as a way of life. The volatile relationship between private citizens and the police that patrol these neighborhoods shows no room for civility. When courts have neglected to find any officer guilty of police brutality in the suspicious deaths of over 300 people then public can’t help but to question authority.

The unemployment is record high and people are told it’s their faults they are without work.

I don’t judge the riots going on in London.

I only wonder how long it will be before the citizens of the United States show out in public and selfishly demand some satisfaction.

Are the people of the UK wrong for rioting?

Better yet, is there ever a justifiable reason for rioting? Take into consideration how aggressive public dissent has bought about social change. Should we consider this the early days of anarchy? I don’t know.

But what I do know is that this revolution is being televised.