Wednesday, 10 August 2011

What can society do?

People are asking themselves what has gone wrong with our society to spark the riots we have seen over the past few days.
I was horrified by the total callousness of these 'rioters' who stole from an injured man and left him there. They reminded me of the worst type of school bully -  showing no compassion for others and swaggering off with their cronies. What has caused their lack of morals and compassion?

Do these people come from homes where parents have abused or neglected them, and this is all they know – or are they just psychopaths?
What can be done to stop the rot??

Any suggestions???


Blossom said...

Hi Sue.

Three young Asian men (Two of them brothers) were killed in a hit-and-run last night whilst trying to protect their car wash business in Birmingham, during the riots. Apparently, a car swerved at high speed and mounted the kerb in order to hit them.

This Saturday, there is a march by the English Defence League (Google them, the propaganda on their website is chilling stuff) planned for Wellington, Telford. The police have estimated 200 supporters will attend. There is also a Muslim group, with an estimate of equal numbers attending, who are planning a counter march. In the current climate, the planning of this ill- spirited march is utter madness, the estimate of attendees naively low.

These are very scary times, and in the short term it will seem that chaos and hate are taking over, but the vast majority of people are decent, good and caring and they will pull together.

It could be argued that the trouble makers are from under privileged backgrounds and feel that they have little to lose by rebelling, and there may be some truth in that. But that explanation is a disservice to people from a similar background who still try to do their best in difficult circumstances.

I've got a few people on my Facebook who are English but have emigrated to Australia. This morning one of them declared she was ashamed to say she was English. Another ex-pat debarked that she was still very proud to be English, and maybe that's the key.

I am not ashamed to be English, or British, and perhaps a pride in our nationality should be encouraged. And I'm not talking about being hate-filled like the EDL, but embracing the idea that being British means living in a thriving multi-cultural society.

In the short term there will be more disturbances and riots but I do believe that the vast majority of people will pull together to 'fight back', but not with violence. Yesterday, apparently university students were helping an elderly man whose charity shop had been ransacked and wrecked. These young students were helping him to get his shop back together. There will be countless stories such as these emerging, over the coming days/weeks. These should be the news stories that should be focused on to move the country forward.

Times like these show the worst that people can do, but they also reveal the goodness, too. And that is where there is hope.

Blossom said...

By the way, 'debarked' should say 'remarked'. My IPad likes to decide what words I wish to say and it's very annoying.

Sue's Blog said...

Hi Blossom,
The callous killing of the men protecting their car wash business is horrifying - there are some really sick individuals in the world and I hope the police catch them.
Thanks for letting me know about the planned marches in Wellington on Saturday – I hope it does not get out of hand and escalate into a riot –best to avoid Wellington that day!
I agree we are living in scary times and nobody knows how it will end. I like your message of hope – that out of this anger and chaos we might have a better society. Somehow the riots in the streets seem like a bigger version of disaffected, out -of -control youngsters terrorizing communities and housing estates.
One of my theories is that society has become too soft about giving children firm boundaries and there are no real consequences for transgressing them – so there are some children feel they have nothing to lose by acting antisocially.
Another of my theories is that a percentage of the population are psychopathic anyway and these individuals are encouraging others to emulate them in their callous disregard for their fellow humans and their lack of remorse.

Blossom said...

I agree, Sue. I think a lot of children lack boundaries now, but I also think an awful lot of children have suffered for lack of attention. Whether this has in any way caused this current situation, I don't know, but it will be interesting to see if the media commentary at any point blames single parenting and poorer backgrounds, as if single parents are the scourge.

I know of a fair few 'traditional' nuclear families from undoubtedly privileged backgrounds where the kids are nightmares who think nothing of stealing, damaging others' property, being disrespectful and being cruel to their siblings and other kids at school.

And the children I know with the biggest problems of feeling resentment and anger are the ones spoken to, and treated by their parents, as if they are something foul that their parents have trodden in. Treat a child as though they are nothing more than a waste of space and they will most likely act accordingly. And then their parents will complain to anyone who will listen, that they have a problem child and they will expect sympathy for their plight.

I know I'm in risky territory of joining in the armchair critics' brigade and I'm trying hard not to, but I think if we, as a society want the next generation to grow up feeling a sense of responsibility, then we need to make sure that they have been shown it by our example. Young people don't learn by being told, they learn by being shown. And a lot of this young generation have been raised in an environment where parents have been too preoccupied by material possessions as markers of what maketh the man, rather than his actions, and chasing their own selfish whims.

I know too many career-and-possession driven couples who pick up their kids from childcare in the evening, or who neglect their children, getting the kids to cook dinner, clear up after, sort their own laundry, walk the dog, mow the lawns, whilst they, the parents spend the evening sat in front of the TV, glass of wine in hand, complaining of working hard and believing that their children will be happy as long as they see mommy and daddy being happy and fulfilled. If they have the odd pang of guilt of not spending time with their children, they throw them a new Playstation game to distract them. This is not responsible parenting and it produces children with a very askew set of values and an appalling lack of self worth.

Oops, I have indeed become the armchair critic but I do passionately feel that children raised with parents focusing on their self esteem grow up into responsible and decent adults. But that doesn't mean I condone the violence in any way. However an individual is raised, they still have a brain, a mind of their own to decide how they should behave. Each person is still responsible for their own actions and know how they would like to be treated themselves, and should act accordingly. But I think if a child isn't raised to feel empathy and compassion, it may be impossible to learn these feelings later in life.

I suppose, ultimately, I'm trying to say that the makings of any society, good or bad, start at home; happy, safe, structured, loving homes produce well adjusted young adults; I'm convinced of it.

Sorry, I think I may have written a bit of a rant.

Sue's Blog said...

You are right – children need proper nurturing, appropriate support and attention and also need to be set a good example by their parents. Society needs to address the problems that have lead to feckless parenting and look at helping parents parent properly and to take more responsibility for their children’s’ behaviour .
I’ve seen some dreadful, foul-mouthed parents who positively support their children being out -of -control, aggressive thugs and are proud of it.
One of my friends was a teacher - she received such awful abuse and death threats from a parent who took offence at her trying to discipline the child that she ended up having to leave the profession because this woman terrorised and threatened her until she became ill.

Blossom said...

It's incredible, isn't it? I know what you mean, re parents defending their badly behaved children. I saw a mother last night on the news defending the violence whilst a child at her side smirked, then she launched a verbal attack on a man who dared to challenge her outrageous views.

An old neighbour of mine tried to set up a hate campaign against a teacher at our sons' school, because her bully of a son had been disciplined by her - he had a history of belittling other children in his class and was eventually suspended for starting a fire in one of the school cloakrooms. Ironically, this neighbour bullies this child mercilessly in public - his own behaviour is his way of trying to deal with the abuse he receives at home.

As I was friends with this teacher (she had been wonderfully supportive of my oldest son who has mild Asperger's, as her son also has the condition and she recognised the traits, and the friendship developed from there) I got to see both sides of the coin - the aggressive parent and the put upon teacher. Of course,what the aggressive parent demonstrated was her own refusal to acknowledge the problem with her son, which ultimately came back to her and her abuse of him. This boy is now at my son's high school and is known as a trouble maker and a bully amongst his peers, but his mother is so hostile to anybody who tries to broach her about the problem, they can't point it out to her and so she doesn't have to deal with it. For the teacher, she had to endure a whispering campaign started on the playground by this child's mother, which was an attack on her teaching abilities. This mother is such a bully she was trying to rally up other parents to fight her battle for her by undermining the teacher. It's scary that someone could be so motivated to destroy someone's livelihood and professional reputation, but is not motivated to raise her children well.

I feel for your teacher friend, it must have been a horrible situation for her to be in. These types of parents do have a
lot to answer for, just don't try telling them that!