Thinking Through the Riots
While the looting is - without any exceptions that I can think of - a case of self interest and illicit gain (and I have no trouble admitting this), I am unsure to what extent the looting can be seen as the reason for the riots rather than the inevitable result of an Urban environment where rioting ensues.
All riots have ‘preconditions’ and ‘precipitants’ wrote Nick Jewson two decades ago and it is an attempt to try and discover these that is needed, as well as the need to curb the excesses witnessed on the streets of London these past few days. The latter is the immediate concern of the Police but the former ought to be concerning politicians, journalists and academics alike. And while the tactic to handle the riots sensitively is the tightrope the Police must walk, the need to frame the events of this weekend in a comprehensive and judicious manner is the effort that commentators must exert.
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