Why rioters should not use social media.

London Riot

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a riot up the road in London on St. Patrick’s day, it was well covered in social media.

A car was burned, damage done to private and public property and law-abiding residents – including the majority of students living in the area inconvenienced, many fearful of their own safety.

11 rioters have been arrested, police are scanning social media sites for photographic evidence of  more suspects.

Much agonising over the causes is going on in the media, the finger of  blame is being pointed at:

  • The educational institutions where the students are supposed to be studying.
  • The concentration of students accommodation in a small area.
  • Absentee landlords who rent accommodation to students.
  • Alcohol.

There have been parties that got out of hand and disturbances in that area before, but none as bad as this latest disgrace.

Easy to blame others and ignore the real reason for this riot developing, the Vancouver riot and the violence at the G20 summit in Toronto last year getting out of hand.

Inadequate police response.

No serious consequences for most of the rioters, only a fine or possible jail time for those unlucky enough to get caught.

It is mind-boggling to me that the police can descend in car loads on a law-abiding citizen firing a warning shot into the ground to prevent his house being fire bombed by arsonists. Arrest, detain and strip search an innocent father, terrify his kids and forcibly remove two of them from their mother because his daughter drew a picture of a toy gun on a classroom whiteboard. But they cannot use the necessary force to stop a riot, or prevent other criminals from politically sensitive groups illegally occupying property.

It is a fact of life that young people have parties, get drunk and behave badly, if we are honest most of us have done things involving alcohol that we are not proud of at some time in our lives. But the vast majority of people do not riot, damage property and cause mayhem.

Any one who sets a vehicle on fire, throws rocks at police or carries out similar acts of violence should be subjected to whatever force is necessary to stop those acts. If warnings do not work, then police dogs, water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets should be used to contain the violence as quickly as possible and prevent further damage to property and injuries to the police themselves and innocent residents.

The vague possibility of a fine or short jail term holds no fear for a drunken idiot with a lighter or a rock in his hand, but seeing his mate’s leg knocked out from under him by a rubber bullet or being incapacitated by tear gas will sober him up very quickly.

When potential rioters know the consequences, that there is a very real possibility of them getting seriously hurt or even killed for their lawless behaviour, then they might think twice. If our authorities continue to allow this violence to get out of hand, we will experience deaths of innocent bystanders as happened in the riots in the UK last year.

So sad, yet more evidence of political correctness and the spread of the nanny state, use maximum force to take away individual rights and freedoms, but no sign of political backbone to use force against large groups of law breakers in case their “human rights” are violated. What about the “human rights” of the ordinary residents who had their fences and gardens trashed, vehicles damaged and weekends ruined?

The only encouraging sign from this sorry tale, is that it provides more evidence that not only can social media help a riot grow, but it can also help the authorities track down those responsible after the event.

Here’s a thought. Will social media become the tool of choice for vigilantes in the 21 st century?  Will groups of law-abiding citizens use the power of social media to track down, expose and persecute criminals either to assist the authorities or, in the event of official inaction, unilaterally? Such is the power of public exposure and shaming that social media allows, retribution would not need to be physical to achieve the desired effect.

What do you think? Will social media tip the balance for or against better riot control?

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

 

Peter Wright

 

 

Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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  4 comments for “Why rioters should not use social media.

  1. March 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I believe it was P. T. Barnum who famously said “there’s a sucker born every minute”. It certainly seems to me that many people use social media rather thoughtlessly. We’ve all read stories about folks who lost jobs after calling in sick when their Facebook page showed them to be out partying or for posting gossip or complaints about their work place. Obviously, the police are just as able to use social media postings to track down law breaking, just as employers have used it to track down employee misbehavior. I certainly agree that the police should arrest those who participate in riots and mayhem.

  2. March 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I believe it was P. T. Barnum who famously said “there’s a sucker born every minute”. It certainly seems to me that many people use social media rather thoughtlessly. We’ve all read stories about folks who lost jobs after calling in sick when their Facebook page showed them to be out partying or for posting gossip or complaints about their work place. Obviously, the police are just as able to use social media postings to track down law breaking, just as employers have used it to track down employee misbehavior. I certainly agree that the police should arrest those who participate in riots and mayhem.

  3. March 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I think social media has the power to be used by both those that abide by the law as well as those who don’t. The question is not will it be used but rather how can it best be used. No matter your stand on the political landscape Obama would not have gotten as far as he did without social media power of Twitter. This is a clear demonstration of the power available. The question is how can you best tap into this power source and associated pain relief?

  4. March 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I think that Social Media is a big tool, regardless of how you use it. It can be your success, or your downfall. Either way, Many have used it to succeed. Police are using it to track criminals and what not. Governments use it and some have failed using it. Social Media can help aid in crime fighting and will also help aid potential revolutions. Imagine if a civil war were to break out right now in America? Social Media could be used both ways, but I think in the case of war, I think it’s best to leave Social Media out of it.

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