Since this blog is primarily about civility, it seems important to mention last week’s riots in London. Having visited London earlier this summer, I was shocked and dismayed to see it under siege, with buildings going up in flames, police officers battling rioters, and shop windows being destroyed so that looters could go in and raid the contents. What a shame, especially as the city gears up to host the Olympics next year.
Riots have no place in civilized society. Though the London riots had more to do with socioeconomic forces than this summer’s hockey-spurred Vancouver riots (although I’ve read that many looters were middle-class, including one woman whose father is a millionaire), it’s so disheartening to see people destroy what others have built up. Small business owners saw their shops under attack, and factories that employed hundreds of people will be forced to shut down and have lay-offs. I also saw hoodlums help up an injured young man, then rob him. Rather than hurting the government or the establishment, the rioters were hurting people like them, dragging more into poverty and homelessness.
The London riots show just how vulnerable our society is to random acts of violence and thuggery. While it’s up to our government and leaders to provide preventative measures and a sense of order, it’s also up to us to be responsible human beings and maintain civility. Have respect for your fellow man, and pride in your community!