Viral London

While watching various twitter feeds about the continuing unpleasantness in London I came across This story.

Purporting to be an anonymous blog of police 'insptector winter' it is a moving picture of the police and victims of the destruction. The Blog itself. is a little odd. There is just the one post for one thing. Like other sites or blogs set up to spread gossip or financial rumors that have been showing up over the past year or two. Also the narrative sounds suspiciously well written and in line with official police releases. Not that this means anything, Brits tend to be better educated in general than Americans and a police officer probably would agree in general with official police statements. But it just feels a little too put on doesn't it? A little too Blue Ant?
 
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Speaking of twitter and the riots, I found news of it on twitter (something about a police car burning in Tottenham, doubtless retweeted by a Wigber although I don't remember whom) a solid half-hour before there was anything available on the BBC website or any of the usual suspects. The BBC did have info about the Duggan shooting, though, which at least let me conjecture about the cause of the unrest.
 
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I talked with the instructor of our online current events class today about including a section on the effect of twitter (and all social media I suppose) on how events develop.

Much of the conjecture bouncing around presupposes the veracity of twitter posts, that's a little like believing the stripper really likes you for your personality.
 
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Twitter =/= journalism, for fuck's sake...
 
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True. However, Journalism =/= news, as well.

Something like Twitter can help to spread news as it happens very quickly; often more quickly than large news crews can. The journalism comes after. Think of it as the two minute news flash versus the half hour in depth report. One takes no time to put together, the other a whole lot. On top of that Twitter comes directly from the street and can be updated seconds after something happens, it's the very definition of "news as it happens".
 
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Reminds me of Womack's London in "Elvissey".
 
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Yellow journalism at best though. Or maybe more accurate to say that is provides a feed of raw data that is normally the domain of the journalist. However, good journalists are trained to filter, verify, and construct a narrative from the data. Raw data has flaws
such as a lot of rumor and simple falsehood.

Quite clearly the solution is to dispatch Lithos to tell us what's going on forthwith.

In the end the riots seem to be a social reaction to exclusion from the power structure of the area. Similar to riots in France in 2009, LA in 1993 and Tampa/St Pete 1987 and 1989. I recall a lot more sympathy for the French rioters, although I am not sure why. Less tolerance for street violence as political protest in the UK/US?

In other news, somebody finally got around to interviewing the cop who got shot.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2...andgun-lethal-weapon

The cop maintained he never told anybody the kid took a shot at him. He saw him reaching for a gun and fired twice, managing to kill the guy and, apparently, almost killing another cop.
 
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'But now the wiz was all turned around, the way it went sometimes, and everything was ugly. The faces in the crowd were driven and hungry-looking, like they all had their own private desperate errands to run, and the light from the shop windows was cold and mean, and all the things behind the glass were just there to tell her she couldn't have them. There was a voice somewhere, an angry child's voice stringing obscenities together in an endless, meaningless chain; when she realized who it was, she stopped doing it.'
 
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"Man on the street" with eyewitness reportage/photos is still a valid conveyor of news whether or not it fits your definition of journalism.

You have to judge the trustworthiness of the source, of course, but just because someone didn't go to Columbia doesn't mean they can't see with their own eyes that a car is on fire or a gang of kids is marauding, and take a picture of it and tell you so.
 
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I'm not one to quote, or even think about Ayn Rand, but the following speaks volumes, and until there is a radical restructuring of the very components of society, this will escalate.

quote:
"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed." Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged
 
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That quote is hilarious, largely because it sounds like Marx, at first.
 
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This rioting doesn't seem to be political though, or race-motivated. The initial protest was triggered by a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to a police shooting, but all the subsequent stuff seems to have more in common with Vancouver's mindless acquisition/destruction riot after the hockey game than the demonstration-cum-riots we see most of the time.

Some cop described it as "aggressive late-night shopping," believe it or not.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Justy:
That quote is hilarious, largely because it sounds like Marx, at first.


From the little I know of Rand they didn't really disagree except on what side of the fence they saw themselves as part of right?

Most of this is just opportunism I think as well.

After the LA riot the police there changed a lot of things. Quick reaction to crowds, extensive minority recruiting. Here, my dad was involved in a lot of 'community policing' whereby the officers became known individually to the neighborhood and were more approachable than before. It has an affect, when you know a kid's mom he is far less likely to hurl a brick at your face. I have no idea what the police there are like though.
 
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"Shepherd's bush being evacuated. Virgin active fulham closed. pack up stand and run back to the car, don't fancy getting stuck in middle."

Here's a tweet from yesterday, retweeted by a WGB associate. So I queried the original author, who took an hour to get back to me, to say actually it was Shepherds Bush Tube station that was being evacuated, not a whole area of some 11,000 people.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by theminx:
This rioting doesn't seem to be political though, or race-motivated. The initial protest was triggered by a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to a police shooting, but all the subsequent stuff seems to have more in common with Vancouver's mindless acquisition/destruction riot after the hockey game than the demonstration-cum-riots we see most of the time.

Some cop described it as "aggressive late-night shopping," believe it or not.


Well, no it's not. It's just easier to think that way, conclude to bump up security even more and be done with it.

In order for a group of people to act out like this, you need them very much in a state of not giving a fuck, or not feeling like they have anything to lose. You only get a population like this when there are some very deep rooted social issues that aren't being dealt with. It's a form of catharsis, venting of rage and frustration for a people that has no other way to be noticed.

I have no knowledge of the situation in and around Vancouver. But i work in an area of Brussels that is very much like some of those neighbourhoods in London. High immigrant population, unemployement through the roof, poverty and lack of education. I would not be the least bit surprised if the same thing happened here. In fact, it has come very close to happening last year or so. And very little has changed since.

Anyway, here's an interview that i would not really call journalism either, but should give you some idea of the mindset of the locals:

 
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Darcus is a legend!
I suspect he has much more to add to the debate than a thousand hand wringing middle class mawgs.
 
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quote:
And yet — there was looting in London after the Great Fire of 1666 and, despite the mythology, there was looting in London during the Blitz. Go back and read Dickens: Criminals, both immigrant and “native” British, have taken advantage of opportunities to loot in London during more peaceful times, too. A peculiar confluence of circumstances — a mob angry about a police murder, a sudden bout of warm weather, an unprepared police force distracted by scandal and, yes, the astonishingly widespread availability of smartphones among the underprivileged — might have allowed them to do so again. Beware of sweeping political generalizations in the wake of these riots: We don’t know whether we have just witnessed a “new” phenomenon, or a more mobile and technically adept version of a very old one.


From:

Conclusions we can’t draw about London’s riots
 
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David, Yes there are politics underlying it, I meant to go back and add some more thoughts to that and didn't get to it.

The thing is that oftentimes these situations emerge from planned peaceful demonstrations, or as a sudden reaction to some government action, or to protest some other political event, like the G8 or WTO or whatever, so people have an understanding of why it's happening...also those things don't tend to last for days and days, do they?

This one seems on the one hand to have been a slow burn from the austerity measures/reaction to police shooting, but on the other, just general wankery. If all those kids had good jobs or places in university would they be going around smashing their neighbours' shops and mugging little kids and roughing up the police? probably not.

Do all those kids actually *want* good jobs or places in university? I don't know.

Also, reports vary but do you guys have a sense of a racial component to this? I've seen at least as many white kids as non-white kids in the middle of it all, are people blaming anyone in particular for it? I haven't had the chance to read *too* much about it and that mostly in the Guardian so on the PC end of things.

In the unlikely event any of you haven't read these, I'll link them.

Zoe Williams in The Guardian

Penny Red's blog
 
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The WTO thing here in Seattle was 4 days... But our cops were smart enough, eventually, to call in the National Guard.

Keystone Kops over there are seriously responding in an odd manner, IMHO.
 
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At least the WTO rioters had a real agenda with legitimate complaints. So did the original London protesters. Now it's just assholes looking for free shit (P.S. any Londoners reading this, I need a Blu-ray player. Well, ok maybe not a 'need' but a really strong want kind of thing. Look don't judge, you know if Tampa was all 'aflame' I would totally grab you a few things.)

Reminds me a lot of the protests after the Diallo shooting in NYC a few years back, but the NYPD don't play and black leaders kept a lid on their people. Hell, the Diallo shoot was a lot worse than this guy, he was only reaching for his wallet after all.
 
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Back to the point of the thread, the wordpress blog has not been updated at all. I remain pretty well convinced that if a reporter were to stop rooting around for riot porn they might be able to trace that back to a PIO with the London Met.
 
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If a reporter were to stop rooting around for riot porn, the earth would stand still, the sky would open up and pigs would fly out of a 500 foot tall Jeebus' leather cheerio.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by editengine:
(P.S. any Londoners reading this, I need a Blu-ray player. Well, ok maybe not a 'need' but a really strong want kind of thing. Look don't judge, you know if Tampa was all 'aflame' I would totally grab you a few things.)


It wouldn't work on your inferior power system.
 
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I think people are over-thinking this, and, of course, trying to push their own agendas on this.

The wankers on the left think it's because the people haven't been given enough support in the wake of the government cutbacks, and are also rebelling against the fuckery of the upper classes (News Corp. phone hacking, politician expense accounts, police officers taking bribes...etc, etc...) and the wankers on the right think it's the lower classes being uncouth, ill-bred rabble who have been mollycoddled by the the state, and, well, this is what you get when you give the lower classes something - they get spoilt.

I think it's far simpler, and edit touched on this: never underestimate the allure of free shit.

And, fuck it, who hasn't wanted to chuck a molotov through an Apple store window?
 
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quote:
And, fuck it, who hasn't wanted to chuck a molotov through an Apple store window?



Fuck your 'hallowed nature of commodities', bitches!

I think it is important to look at situations where riots DIDN'T happen. See where the situations differed. Diallo is one example. There are bound to be many others. What was the difference THIS time in London that lead to a different reaction. Look at other multicultural, global cities and incidents of police killings of minorities where there was civil protest that did not devolve into violence. What are the differences? Police reaction? Organization of the protesters? Political inclusion/exclusion of the minorities? You would want to review incidents in similar cities in terms of size, market cap, population, political system, and demographics. So, NYC, Chicago, Paris, Berlin(?). I don't know, what others? Then review police shootings of minorities and review the reactions of the media, public, police, government etc. Did the current recession impact shit at all? After all Diallo was in '99, when things were going along swimmingly in NYC.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by lithos:
I think it's far simpler, and edit touched on this: never underestimate the allure of free shit.




Apparently, some looters seemed torn between the allure of free shit and their hate of Apple (mmhhh... care to tell us were you've been in the last week, lithos?). Or more likely, were stopped by sturdy Kensington locks.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by editengine:
you know if Tampa was all 'aflame' I would totally grab you a few things.)

Yeah, but they know you can't mail them strippers and meth, so you're on your own.
 
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Have you ever SEEN postal employees? I could totally mail meth but I'd risk it being stolen!
 
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Fucking love this guy,

David Harvey on the London riots "This is the new normal in which we live. This is what the next grand commission of enquiry should address. Everyone, not just the rioters, should be held to account. Feral capitalism should be put on trial for crimes against humanity as well as for crimes against nature.' http://ow.ly/1vEPNQ
 
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As far as I can see, the rioters rioted because it was fun, and the looting came second. Also because it was fun.

That doesn't mean there is not a serious underlying issue of why we have a generation that finds this kind of thing fun.. that don't care.
Lack of hope, lack of community.. and I'm sorry, as much as I not a supporter of this current government, the problem goes back further than just the last year.
 
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Now there is another post, this appears to be a post written solely for the Telegraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...e.html#disqus_thread

Again, no journalism here, simply reprinting what was sent to them. Also note the length and polished style that was on display in the original post. This from a front line riot cop who claims to be working 18 hour days.

He actually notes in one bit that he has little time to sleep other than a few short hours between shifts, "I haven’t had much time to listen to the armchair tacticians between this week’s shifts." oh and bang out 1500 words narrating all his experiences.

In this telling the shopowner is now a newsagent as well. This is the second draft of the first release and it seems that they have added bits of intel from all over the riots to flesh out the story. It also seems to cleverly activate some British references I am not familiar with. Was Inspector Winter a character of some type? Also the experience in the army and Iraq, as well as the interactions with shopowners and immigrants in the person of a Somali seem to be efforst to provide a link to the story for the widest possible audience.
 
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36% of LAPD cops are white. which largely mirrors the pop of LA in general. Yet it seems like some of the London police and politicos aren't really down with making changes. Fire hoses? Really? That was the solution being tossed around? I can imagine the world press playing side-by-side images of British fire depts spraying rioters with Birmingham fire dept using their hoses on black children.

Blocking social media sites? They really want to comparisons to China and Syria?

Charging 1000 ppl with riot offenses? How is THAT going to work? Arresting is one thing, you arrest them to get them off the street but actually trying to charge them?
 
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I thought it was commendable that they didn't blackout the web, that they didn't kick journalists out, that they maintained a nice transparency throughout. We'll see what they do regarding the inquest into who shot who, but for the most part they acted like a reasonable democracy.
 
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I agree. Fire hoses would have been ridiculous. Mk19s are the only reasonable solution I see at this point.
 
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Or just tell the rioters the London police are being replaced by legions of dental hygienists.
 
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