I was born in Lewisham, lived near Catford for almost 22 years and I started my working life in Croydon.
The images of these places on fire with the residents being subjected to previously unseen levels of violence were disturbing to say the least, particularly because of my close association with many of the affected areas.
Anyone wishing to make a point will most likely find that it has been lost in opportunist theft, pointless destruction and a sustained assault on innocent people.
Watching events unfold from the surreal safety of my armchair in Norfolk it seemed clear that there were a number of patterns emerging in relation to the objectives of those engaged in the looting. Sportswear, clothes and electrical shops seemed to be high on the list, but when the food stores were raided, armfuls of alcohol could be seen being carried away, and food seemed to be of little interest.
It is obviously not possible to know how many of those involved were under the influence of alcohol (or other drugs) and I do not recall seeing that many images of people actually drinking alcohol but I did see a number of incidents where alcohol or its container where being used as weapons both against the Police and other members of the public.
Alcohol causes damage to the human body when it is ingested, but there are reports of people being assaulted with bottles and it would seem that many of the ‘petrol bombs’ may in fact have been ‘alcohol bombs’. Anyone that has witnessed alcohol being lit during the cooking process will know that ethanol is highly flammable and easy to ignite, another often overlooked reason that alcohol is potentially dangerous.
Compared to some parts of the world the poverty seen in the UK would represent the lap of luxury to someone living in a corrugated tin shack with little sanitation and no running water.
In the UK alcohol is regularly used by people to change the way they feel about want they ‘don’t have’.
Perhaps if they were grateful for what they do have and aspired to make things better not just for themselves, but for those around them they would perhaps be less inclined to use alcohol to engage in the destruction of not only their own lives but those in the wider community.
Time grateful instead of hateful perhaps?