… and counting.

Are you one of those people who is only vaguely aware of the fact that London has been in a state of almost non-stop riots since Saturday? How does that happen? How does the capital city of a G8 country burst into flames and vandalizm and people in North America just don’t know about it. Some blame our news sources, others blame the United States financial situation. I blame it on the fact that the riot has nothing to do with hockey.

Well, even if you weren’t aware that it’s happening, it totally is. According to TIME Magazine (not sure if it’s meant to be an editorial comment or if this is an actual statistic), there have been more fires in London in the past few days than any other time since the blitz. World War Fucking II, when Nazis were bombing the city.

If it’s not hockey related though, why are these usually polite Englishmen rioting like crazy? Well, the whole thing appears to be sparked by London Metropolitan Police killing Mark Duggan (the page is curiously marked for deletion).  Semone Wilson, Mark’s fiancé says “Mark was a good dad, he loved his kids dearly.” Family man, killed by police. Well, that’s sort of fair, whenever cops kill someone there’s often some protests planned. Hold on, the article continues:

(…) he was also known by another name: ‘Starrish Mark’. It sounds like an innocent nickname; it was anything but. In fact, the word ‘Starrish’ denoted his membership of a notorious ‘crew’ called The Star Gang who strut the streets of London’s N17.  (…) Duggan himself, according to some residents, was a crack cocaine dealer who routinely carried a gun.

Now things are a little murkier. Duggan was apparently killed in a mishandled part of Operation Trident, an anti-drug dealing operation. There’s more. “(Operation Trident) deals with gun crime in the black community, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).” That’s a strange choice of words. Now, I know the British use “black” differently than we do, for instance, they refer to hip hop and R&B as “black music” and it’s not racist, that’s just how it is. But an entire police operation centered around racial profiling seems a little strange to me.

So, cops kill Mark Duggan, who’s maybe a drug dealer, as part of a police operation that is maybe centered around racial profiling? It’s not hockey but it certainly seems like a combustible situation. Add to that local vs. police tensions, government spending cuts, England’s own economic crisis, mix in some old fashioned hoodlums and gangsters and you got yourself a stew going.

So, Duggan is killed August 4th, and a protest is scheduled August 6th starting at Broadwater Farm, and ending at Tottenham police station. 200 friends and family of Duggan show up, and the whole thing goes off peacefully. For a little while. By 10:30 at night rioting and violence had spread through the area, smashing police cars, busses. In the story of the day, rioters threw bottles at a family of 3, who were seeking refuge in their car. Why were they hiding in their car? Oh yeah, rioters had burnt their house down.

August 7th brought widespread looting and fires all over London. Tottenham (of course), Wood Green, Enfield and Ponders End, Brixton, Islington, Oxford Circus, Waltham Cross… I’m going to stop there, because even though I’m not, it seems like I’m just making these names up. Bucksney and Trelayne, Wootsburough, and Frinkle Row were also hit hard. Those places were made up.

This hasn’t let up since. Riots, fires and looting have been spreading all over London (fire spreading like wildfire!). Prime Minister Cameron cancelled his vacation plans and arranged an emergency meeting yesterday. What kind of meeting? I’m not making this up. An Emergency Cobra Meeting. COBRA! In the meantime, public transportation is being cancelled all over the city, sporting matches (ha! a sports connection) are being cancelled, Parliament is being recalled early and so on and so forth.

Other than Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger, there’s no real unifying reason for this insanity to be going down. Although, I do find it extremely hilarious that in Egypt, they used social networking as a tool for free speech and the spread of democracy. In England, they’re using it to organize looting and vandalism.

I’ll try to keep an eye on this, due to the time difference and stuff, I might be a little far behind on the most up to date stuff.  I guess the only (slightly) silver lining so far is that other than Mark Duggan, so far there’s only been one casualty reported. Remember, the Olympics are in this city next year.

London Riot Images: Guardian.co.uk
Photo of Mark Duggan: Dailymail.co.uk