Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Love Where You Live

Manchester “Riots”

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the recent riots around the UK……
“The country is broken, they are yobs and scum, the government is at fault, it’s not the looters fault, it’s society’s crime” are some of the general arguments being wafted around.

Now I’m not saying there are no political and social issues underlying the recent behaviour but the people that were swarming into Manchester last night had only one agenda – themselves. They were out for what they could get, for free because they believed they were entitled to it.

As I was waiting to leave town last night I saw a bread spectrum of people heading towards Manchester with intent. Boys with attitude as strong and obvious as their previous convictions, teenage girls out for the ride, groups of young people looking for a bit of action or entertainment. Older groups of people out to see if it was all going down and whether they could get themselves a bit of booty. This was no orchestrated criminal activity. This was no political movement. This was people getting together for this seasons entertainment. Last year it was flash mobs and pillow fights, this year it has a more violent edge.

Last night saw greed, violence and wilful criminal damage on a great scale across Manchester. It was more than just teenagers going a bit wild and letting off steam. The damage was started by a handful of individuals with criminal intent and escalated by the mob who were happy to get in on the action. Most of the people who have been arrested around the UK are already known to the police.

Shoplifters are a way of life for us. We have been a victim of theft on a day-to-day basis and on a larger scale when our studio was ransacked a few years ago. The people who commit theft range from teenagers looking for a rite of passage to professional criminals who go out purely to steal for profit or personal gain. The majority of thefts I see are by young people who get caught up in the moment, maybe they see an opportunity, are goaded into it by their mates.

It’s shit. We put a lot of work into our business and it’s not nice having something stolen that you put your time and effort into creating. Thieves don’t think about that. They think about themselves, or they don’t think - there is no thought process to the consequences of their actions. Or if they do think they don’t care.

What we have been seeing on a national scale is an escalation of this selfishness. People are out for themselves, for what they can get. This selfish trait of human nature is within all of us – it’s survival of the fittest gone wrong.

Forget about politics, this about choice. Do you want to be the sort of person that would steal off another person, would damage their livelihood for your own personal gain? Do you want to be the sort of person who will stand by and watch someone wilfully damage property just so you can get a bit of booty? Are you going to encourage someone to steal something while you watch on? Don’t try and justify your behaviour by a political stance, you’re fooling yourself. There are no political motives – just personal greed.

And if you’re happy to live your life motivated by personal gain then think about the consequences of your actions. If you can’t bring yourself to feel empathy about the bigger corporations that have been targeted, think about the smaller retailers whose trade may be affected. How would your life be changed if they weren’t around?

And if you can’t bring yourself to think about the wider implications of your actions, can’t bring yourself to think about other people then think about your family and your future. Think about yourself and your life with a criminal conviction.

It’s your choice. 

Your life is what you make it.

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