I'm currently watching BBC news, along with the rest of the awake world and the buzz word tonight is 'looting'. Now I have a couple of questions: when does stealing turn into looting and why is it happening now?
In my opinion mass stealing turns to looting when large enough groups can be formed to overthrow police resistance. This isn't 'opportunist' - this is collective action driven by common thought. A woman tweets tonight: 'I saw 3 or 4 young women looting Tesco Express for nappies and milk tonight. Difficult and serious problems beneath this mess #londonriots' and I can only agree. Yes, stealing is wrong but when widespread looting occurs we have to be asking where it is coming from. What levels of deprivation must be driving this extreme illegal activity? It all stems down to one thing; money. In my lifetime I have never seen the UK in such a state of inequality and marginalisation. Ultimately human beings are programmed to do what they can to survive and I fear that civilised behaviour has smashed straight out of the high street shop window because times have become so desperate.
Punishing the offenders for their crimes will not, on its own, solve the underlying social issues here. Much, much more needs to be done to understand and help the overall situation. People are desperate for a reason.