Should We Blame The London Riots On Poor Parenting?

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London is still burning with riots that have raged for days now and while many are simply trying to evade injury, some are all ready pointing fingers. Rosemary Righter says that the death of Mark Duggan is not what triggered this chaos, but rather a growing fear and ambivalence towards our youth.

Rosemary writes over at The Daily Beast:

The rioters who torched and thieved their way through Tottenham on Saturday were not out to avenge Duggan’s death: they were out to exploit it. To claim the streets as theirs, for laughs, for loot, and for the power-buzz of terrifying people, of seeing them panic and of seeing outnumbered police back away from their brick, bottle, and firebomb onslaughts…We have seen this coming and we have done, we have dared to do, pathetically little about its root cause: the collapse in Britain of parenting and, beyond that, of our readiness to take individual and collective responsibility for the fact that, as a nation, we seem to have become afraid of teenage children.

Rosemary goes onto attribute parental excuses and not “proper” parenting as the root cause:

There is an excuse for everything. If they behave appallingly, they are “hyper-active,” and if they learn nothing, they are either dyslexic or have attention-deficit disorder. If they are juvenile criminals, they may, in extremis, be subjected to ASBOS, “anti-social behavior orders,” rather as though they had farted, not mugged a 90-year-old for her pensioner’s purse.

Rosemary’s argument echoes that of every generation once a big catastrophe strikes, as it’s often so easy to blame disruption on the young. But while these young people seem more ready to raid and set fire to cars, we have to remind ourselves that we have seen behavior like this before. Riots happen nearly all the time, and even though this most recent one in London is on a much higher scale, combating police and exhibiting violence are not innately millenial tactics for conveying contention — especially over a particular issue.

Modern parents may be more relaxed or permissive with their children, but I would argue that the shooting of Mark Duggan and the nerve it has struck with the young people of London is a lot more complex than that.