Needless to say, as someone who has visited London several times and attended graduate school there, I was alarmed to hear the news of recent riots that have spread around the city and even other parts of England.
London is a vibrant city, with such a mix of historical uniqueness and modern flair, and it is quite disturbing to see what is happening this week with the senseless, aggressive violence committed so vagrantly by out-of-control thugs. The news is awash with chilling photos of British citizens, innocently trying to get home, being forced to strip down in broad daylight and being robbed by masked hooligans who have no concern for basic decency. Numerous stores have been looted, and fires are being set everywhere. I saw one photo of a woman jumping out of a burning building into safety, and it left me speechless. And to add insult to injury, several British politicians are trying to blame the current economic difficulties and attempts to cut spending as justification for why these crooks are “understandably” acting out.
Thankfully, many Londoners are trying to fight back. They are using Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media to band together to do good things, instead of using them for evil as the hooligans did. I read one story about people coordinating cleanup efforts to try to undo some of the catastrophic damage that British officials are already estimating will cost a fortune to remedy.
My friends in London assured me that they are fine, but they are definitely laying low and are being extra careful. It cannot be assumed that even the most “posh” of neighborhoods in London are immune to the violence. Right now it seems that everyone is scrambling to get home, hoping that the police will continue their diligence in combating this wave of senselessness, and looking to make sense of a situation fueled by chaos.
Hopefully the city known for its culture of politeness will return to stability soon, and those who have injured so many with their cruelty and anarchic ways will be held accountable.