Nostalgia for the peace and serenity (and occasional boredom!) of France or Norfolk here in the UK swept over us this morning and we awakened less than refreshed after a second night of wailing sirens and helicopters pounding away overhead.
London — parts of it anyway — are in chaos right now and this is a less than pleasant situation to find ourselves living in. For the last two nights, violence has erupted as soon as darkness descended and our part of North London has been marred by this set of angry outbursts.
The BBC mid-day news has just termed this “copycat criminal behaviour” since it is now apparent that the violence and looting last night had nothing whatsoever to do with the original riot in Tottenham on Saturday — a riot that escalated after a peaceful protest about the shooting death of a young man by local police. An article in today’s Telegraph notes that some of this criminal activity is being orchestrated through the use of Blackberry Messaging, Twitter, and Facebook.
We’re currently working on a renovation project in North London and an essential tool was missing a part — so my husband Mark decided that it was a good opportunity to purchase a new cordless drill. He ordered it online on Sunday and received the confirmation by email that it could be picked up at a nearby Argos store on Monday morning.
I had warned Mark this morning that Dalston was one of the neighbourhoods that had been attacked last night, but he was still quite surprised to cycle over to the Argos store and find it closed up tight with pieces of metal siding screwed over all of the windows. Several other shops showed similar damage and were boarded up and silent.
Mark cycled home, looked up another Argos shop online, and set off again in the opposite direction on his bike. He was back in half an hour and was spitting angry this time. Not only had the second Argos store been looted, but all of the other stores in the shopping center had been raided also.
I barely slept last night. The police were on our street twice with their lights on after several groups of young men went up and down the street beating on the skips in front of various construction projects and banging the sides of the cars along the street. I was quite nervous that they would set the scraps of building materials in those skips alight as we had seen on the news in other parts of the city — or they would vandalise the cars including ours. A helicopter circled endlessly overhead for hour after hour as I sat tensely at the front window, watching the activity in the street below.
There are too many valid social ills in any contemporary society to list or examine in depth in the pages of this travel and lifestyle journal. But the kind of senseless theft that we are seeing has nothing to do with protests about social issues. I am quite concerned that a percentage of the homeowners, business owners, and renters are either uninsured or under-insured due to the economic downturn. So how are those innocent victims of this violence meant to reconstruct their lives?
Our slight inconvenience at having to source a power tool from another location is an pitifully insignificant issue when you examine the bigger picture and the lives that are being directly impacted by social unrest and violence.
Hopefully my next post will be about something pleasant and cheerful — but given the state of things — we shall see!
08/08/2011 at 11:43 AM Comments (2)