Editor’s Note: A lengthy review by Max Hastings published by The Mail Online makes the case that years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of brutalized youths. While the focus is England, the tail reflects both sides of the Atlantic.
A few weeks after the U.S. city of Detroit was ravaged by 1967 race riots in which 43 people died, I was shown around the wrecked areas by a black reporter named Joe Strickland.
He said: ‘Don’t you believe all that stuff people here are giving media folk about how sorry they are about what happened. When they talk to each other, they say: “It was a great fire, man!”’
I am sure that is what many of the young rioters, black and white, who have burned and looted in England through the past few shocking nights think today.
It was fun. It made life interesting. It got people to notice them. As a girl looter told a BBC reporter, it showed ‘the rich’ and the police that ‘we can do what we like’.
If you live a normal life of absolute futility, which we can assume most of this week’s rioters do, excitement of any kind is welcome. The people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.
Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.
They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.
They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.
Editor’s Note: While this report reviews last summer’s riots, the final paragraph has a compelling message for the future:
Unless or until those who run Britain [or America] introduce incentives for decency and impose penalties for bestiality which are today entirely lacking, there will never be a shortage of young rioters and looters such as those of the past four nights, for whom their monstrous excesses were ‘a great fire, man’.