The vivid images or rioting and looting in London and series of other English cities this week has sent the observers of social conditions scurrying to find reasons to explain why these events have occurred. But, are there clear reasons other than a genuine initial cause for the rioting in Tottenham, which was then used as an excuse by bands of opportunists to create mayhem and rob and loot?
Societies are full of disaffected people, yet only a handful seek to express their disaffection through violence against people or property. A question to ask and answer is if the few who have shown their disaffection by disregard for life and property are really expressing vividly an anger and frustration and feelings more widely shared, but clearly not expressed through violent behaviour. It does not excuse the violent behaviour but it may indicate that we know more about its roots than people want to suggest.