Thursday, August 11, 2011

London Riots

Before I begin to unpack the fantastic adventure I had with the #unplugd11 crew out in Ontario a new post popped into my head yesterday.  Yes a new post.  Been a while.  Since April.  Bad Blogging.... but here it is.

As I was driving to pick up my son at his camp the CBC news came on and they were talking about the Riots in London and why they were happening.  One thing mentioned was the disenfranchised youth.  Kids that have been forgotten by social programs, can't find work, or do not want to find work, who are using social media to gather and loot and riot.

Image from London

cc licensed flickr photo shared by tgeasland

This was disturbing in many ways.  The riots in Vancouver show that this is not just a London problem.  Youth these days see it as OK to go on a rampage and destroy things.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Charles de Jesus
Look around you at the litter on the streets and the malaise with so many 20 somethings.  I deal with 13 and 14 year olds.  Most of them keen on life still and less than 20% would be susceptible to joining these RIOTS just because they could do mayhem. So where does it break down.  How do we go from happy kids to ..... lets go break things and be "bad".

This brings me back to the CBC report yesterday.  They interviewed a youth in his 20's in Manchester. What struck me about his interview were the following statements (paraphrasing from memory sorry)
  • Are you not afraid you are going to be caught? Nah I go out all the time till late in the morning.  Never been caught.  How many have they caught anyways 3 or 4 maybe 10 they won't get me.
  • What will happen when you get home? No one cares there. Are they going to ground me? Yell at me. Whatever.
 Here is a youtube video (language warning) not the interview I heard but similar

The tone of the interviewee was so nonchalant, almost I am doing this because I am bored.  That is the scarey part for me.  Just because I am bored I am going to wreck a city and cause lots of damage and hurt people.  Yep I have nothing better to do.

I hope we can find a way to improve peoples way of life.  Give them something to look forward to.  Allow them to find a passion that is something other than looting, violence and mayhem.  Perhaps we can all do our part.

Explain to our kids, tell them what is going on in England. Why it started and how it is able to maintain its intensity.  After we have dealt with our family we then need to figure a way to use this in school to explain to our students the COST of what is happening.  Instant riot leads to long term pain for so many people.

It is a bit of a rant I know but we need to take action now before that youth malaise settles in here and floods over onto the street.  The world is going through a rocky rough time right now.  We all need to do our part.

Just thinking out loud.


Jaclyn Calder said...

I had this conversation with some family a few weeks ago. I wonder how many people out there aren't passionate? Have no purpose. Just go through the motions of life. That scares me. I am in constant fear of not having purpose. Without the need to focus on survival (finding food, creating shelter, etc.) we need to actively seek out a purpose. Something to become passionate about. The story you told at #unplugd11 about the activities you do in your math class helps motivate students and pre-teens to find this passion. Thanks for sharing.

Jeannine said...

The enormity of the damage to property and people is almost impossible to believe when we read about London, and Vancouver for that matter.

I've been struck by a couple of things as I listen to the news:

The race to blame social media for the spread of violence and the pushback from social media users to clean up the mess and catch the culprits. I have mixed emotions about both sides and that's why I feel it is so important for us to advocate for (and model) responsible use with students.

The other thing that really got to me was what I heard from a speech (perhaps by the PM) that a lack of parenting and a lack of discipline in schools was at least partially to blame. Is it discipline we lack, or respect? Is it parenting we lack or connected parenting?

I guess my thoughts are coloured by what we were able to achieve when we strengthened our connections to each other at #unplugd11. I hope whatever actions come from these riots are to build connections, relationships and trust, not to blame, punish or further alienate.

Thanks for getting my blood boiling too!

Mr. H said...

Jaclyn and Jeannine thanks for your comments. So many in the 20 to 30 crowd have not found their way. I am hoping that more will find their way soon. Find a passion and live it instead of being out on the street doing whatever....just because.