It’s no mere laughing matter, but it’s a riot

Brian Jones
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Riots are no laughing matter, but you’d never know it by listening to some ostensibly serious comments about Vancouver’s “Canuck Catastrophe” in June and the U.K.’s “Defend a Gangsta” mayhem this month.

The embers were still smouldering in London when letter writers and commentators broke open their old Sociology 101 textbooks, turned to the index and looked up “riots, causes of.”

Apparently, the louts didn’t make a personal choice to destroy and loot; rather, their actions were due to their dire circumstances, poverty, oppression, lack of hope, low self-esteem …

Low self-esteem? Yes, according to Prince Charles.

(From the blogosphere:

“All together now: On the third

day of riots my true love gave to me … three Nike trainers, two Apple iPods and a big-screen Samsung TV.”)

Bankers’ bonanza

It is scandalous and highly unjust that not a single banker has gone to jail for causing the worldwide recession.

Surely somewhere a law was

broken when bankers and financial managers “bundled” high-risk mortgages and then sold and

traded them as if they were widgets.

Bailing out the banks was foolish and unnecessary. They cause a recession … but taxpayers pay for their greed and avarice.

Looters abound

This aspect of economic injustice has not been lost on some observers of the U.K. riots. There are looters at the top and looters at the bottom.

True enough. But it is highly doubtful the issue was on the minds of people as they smashed windows and torched buildings. How many rioters could explain what a sub-prime mortgage is, and its relation to bank bailouts?

(From blogosphere: “Col. Gadhafi says Libya now recognizing London rioters as legitimate U.K. government.”)

Slow wheels

British justice was swift. British courts were open around the clock, and quickly sent numerous people to jail.

Meanwhile, fully two months after the events in Vancouver, not one person has been charged.

Feeling the pressure, Vancouver’s police chief went before the microphones this week to explain Vancouver is not London, Canada is not the U.K., etc.

It sounded like a standup routine, but provided something to ponder for those who believe the recitations about declining crime rates. According to the official

statistics, there was no spike in violent behaviour in Vancouver in June. Destruction? What destruction?

Even so, it is hard to forget those images of London cops standing and watching as rioters pillaged the city.

(From blogosphere: “No looting this side of road, 7 p.m.-7 a.m., Mon.-Fri.”)

Groaning gangsta

My favourite news clip was the TV interview with a U.K. gangsta. Wearing the standard black pirate cap that is signature gangsta apparel, the guy moaned and whined about unfairness, injustice, oppression, destitution and so on.

Maybe he had read the letters to the editor in The Globe and Mail. But all I could think was, “Buddy, you look like a gangsta, you talk like a gangsta, you act like a gangsta — don’t be surprised if people treat you like a gangsta.”

(From blogosphere: “Stolen from the Old Spice advert style: Hello rioters. Look at your friend, now back to me. Now at your friend, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using petrol bombs and started using job centres, he could potentially be me. Look down, back up. Where are we? You’re at an interview with the man your friend could work for. What’s in your hand? Back at me, I have it. It’s an application form to that job you need. Look again. The form is now money. Anything is possible when you get a job and stop looting. I’m on a horse.”)

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email


Organizations: Nike, Apple, Samsung Globe and Mail Old Spice The Telegram

Geographic location: Vancouver, U.K., London Libya Canada

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