09 August 2011

London's Rioters and looters.

I've been in quite a few riots over the years on the news beat and they are utterly terrifying. There's a collective mob intelligence that takes effect and can cause normally well behaved people to act irrationally as they are enveloped by the group dynamic. I guess the serotonin levels go through the roof causing something like the phenomenon that causes crickets to morph into locusts. Humans are as susceptible as any other creature and some in the know manipulate their peers accordingly.

Our technology just amplifies this.

The authorities were equally alarmed at the invention of the printing press and it's potential for propaganda.

Twitter is also a powerful tool for good, of course. Just think of the arab uprising for example. And to a lesser extent, the call now for communities to counter the rioters by collectively cleaning up the mess.

I'm growing increasingly furious at the government for taking away the youth centres that many of these wayward youngsters availed of. They are rudderless now with no clue where to go for guidance as they struggle on their journey to adulthood.

We are much too protective of young children in this country. We do not let them take any risks. We don't allow them to walk to school. There is an irrational fear of the stranger. They're mollycoddled. They are not making decisions for themselves early enough. And then when they become teenagers their loud and boisterous behaviour has adults cowering in fear. THEY'RE JUST KIDS! They're all too aware of their being marginalised. And many of the parents of these wayward youth are themselves not well developed adults.

There are of course so many other issues at work here too. I know that. But for adolescents, it's very easy to be lead astray. These are extremely vulnerable people and we adults need to be more involved in guiding them. These are potentially extremely intelligent people with copious amounts of energy and dynamism that could be such a massive force for good in our society and it boggles my mind that they should be so isolated. They are this country's most precious resource and this government just doesn't get it.

I really think it's time to very seriously debate lowering the voting age. Let's get these youngsters involved in the political process. Let's give them a voice while they're young, fearless and confident instead of letting them become terrified of their future prospects and utterly dejected with nothing to lose, as appears to be the case with the looters and rioters.

Let's try and figure this out.
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