Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My take on the riots- remembering that I am a 15 year old teenager.

The riots, dominating the news and media for days on end, demonstrating what Britain has become and destroying lives.  It's hard to imagine that all this started by a small, peaceful protest because a policeman shot a 29 year old man.  Yet it kept escalating and escalating until for completely different reasons unknown to myself, people were attacking each other, burning anything in sight and thieving from shops.  I have my own, clear opinion of the 2011 riots and I hope that you can see that through my writing.

We all have things that we want to have in life.  The latest clothes, phone, CD- you name it.  Sometimes, we may be lucky enough to have them, other times we may not.  For example, I'm not going to lie in saying that I am always after the next trendy clothes from Topshop.  The feel of the material, the numerous outfits I could create from it are just a few of my thoughts when I've found an item of clothing that I want.  If someone were to say to me 'How much do you want that?' I may respond with an answer such as 'Quite a lot.'  But do I want that top so much that I would be willing to steal it? No.  'And why?' you may ask.  'Because I'm not dishonest,' I answer.  Although I have admitted that I want that garment, I would never lower myself to stealing it because I can't be bothered to pay for it myself or 'it seemed a good idea at the time.'  Sadly, this is what so many young adults, teenagers and even children did this year.  People did the unimaginable and destroyed shops and in reality peoples lives, all because they wanted that Blackberry phone for example, that they couldn't afford.

Leading me on to my next, and possibly bluntest point addressed to the rioters- if you want something, work hard, earn yourself some money, and then you can buy whatever you want.  I am aware that we are in a recession, times are hard and unemployment is high.  I can understand that you may badly want something, but use that to spur you on to make a success of yourself and then you can easily afford it.  One reason which I think is fairly logical, do you want a gorgeous dress with the security tag still secured and visible? Do you want the new, amazing Blackberry that is actually a model for the shop that doesn't even work? Want something- pay for it like everybody else.  You are being a good honest person that way and will get products in their best quality.

I was astounded this year by the amount of people that stole from shops in the riots, and I am aware that it wasn't just the 'horrible chavs' that we all assume it was.  People with good, wholesome backgrounds were involved, demonstrating that absolutely anyone can be a part of these terrible events.  There were vast amounts of people who stole, but not all of these can be bad people.  It's sad that a lot of these people stole because they thought they would get away with it as so many others appeared to do so at the time.  It's like school, when you think about it.  Your friend can be messing around in lessons and the teacher may not notice, but then when you both are the teacher will notice and you will get in trouble.

'The youth of today'- a phrase that I cannot stand to hear, but feels all the more relevant after this summers' events.  Adults can look upon us as though we are all vandals that just want to cause trouble and be a burden on society, when really this is only the minority of young people.  Are we all in hoodies ready to steal from our local shopping centre and cause havoc? No.  But the ones that are are the ones that ruin it for the majority and ultimately give us a bad name.  I hate the fact that some adults consider all young people to be thieving chavs, because there are the good teenagers as well, who simply get overlooked in the media because they are constantly trying to portray us in a negative light.

One question that springs to mind about the riots... did all of the rioters know what they were rioting about? Was every single person aware that they were protesting because a policeman shot an adult prior to these events? The sad truth is no.  People weren't setting cars on fire and stealing from the shops because they were upset about the death of Mark Duggan.  Many of them wouldn't have even known who Mark Duggan was.  Shops looted, building burnt, lives ruined, purely because people wanted an excuse to get all the material possessions that they couldn't afford and let off some steam by acting as vandals.

Ashamed to be a British teenager, is the viewpoint that I have of the riots.  The riots are another building block in the tower of negativity that has been created of young people.  I simply want to reiterate one of my main points by saying that everyone has the potential to have a great life if they work hard.  I have recently been told 'the world is your oyster,' which is true.  If everyone chooses to put in the hard yards to make something of themselves, they can do anything in this world.