In the aftermath of a natural disaster, there’s the danger of the loss of shelter, services and food. In most cases, people who experience the loss of shelter and services
Food is a different matter. People, no matter how civilized, tend to panic if they become uncertain as to when they will next be able to eat. And, not surprisingly, this panic is exacerbated if they have dependents, particularly children who are saying, fearfully, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” As Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine
Intelligent, educated, otherwise-peaceful people can be driven to violence and even murder if the likelihood of future meals becomes uncertain. This has been the cause of spontaneous riots throughout history.
But this is not the only cause of
And it always ends in the same way. The false economy of “free stuff” eventually devolves into over-taxation and economic collapse. When it does, people are more likely to riot, as the entitlements are “owed” to them. In today’s world, however, this condition has peaked far beyond what the world has ever seen before.
Increasingly, those who are angry that the free stuff they are receiving is not enough to placate them, take to the streets. Typically, they throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, burn cars at random, destroy buildings and loot stores. All of this activity, of course, does not make it more likely that they will receive more free stuff from the authorities who presumably owe it to them. Instead, it victimizes those who have lived lawfully and with less dependence upon the state.
Riots occur for a great variety of reasons. The trigger can be something as absurd as in the 2011 Vancouver, Canada riot, in which locals became infuriated over the loss of a hockey game. Over 140 people were injured and over five million dollars in damage was done in a five–hour period. That last bit of information should be emphasized, as the fans had plenty of time to calm down after their team’s loss, but the rage, once ignited, became self-regenerating. This is one of the important dynamics of a riot that’s often overlooked. The riot, which may begin as a reaction to an event, becomes the event and is continued for its own sake.
In the same year, thousands of people rioted in London. The trigger was more serious this time – the shooting of a local man by a policeman. (Although the man had fired on police prior to being shot himself, this fact failed to deter rioters.) The riots, like most irrational retaliations, only served to cause more deaths and injuries. The riots lasted a full five days over a dozen London boroughs, then ignited further in a dozen other cities. Over £200 million in damages occurred and over 3400 crimes were logged.
There’s another dynamic that’s not revealed as it’s seen from the safety of our television screens and that is the spontaneity of a riot. For anyone who has lived through a riot, as I have, the lesson is an indelible one.
Riots, on occasion, are planned and, once they begin, there are occasions in which individuals capitalize on them (such as the riots in Ferguson Missouri, where hired rioters were bussed in). But, in most cases, they’re spontaneous. They begin as a reaction to pent-up anger. (In the Vancouver incident, the anger was building even before the hockey game had ended, but many riots, especially socially-related riots, are
The riot itself is generally a small spark that’s added to the existing anger and is often related to a specific event, such as the riots in US cities the night Martin Luther King was shot in 1968.
Once started, riots, for the most part, are entirely unplanned and rely on random acts of violence. Within minutes of the first violent act, entire
A third often-misunderstood dynamic is
In my own experience, new locations of violence erupting seemed to be going off all around the city, like popcorn. Before one could be quelled, others would pop up. The incidents
Warfare has traditionally been approached from the standpoint that one army faces another and they fight until one surrenders. Guerilla warfare, however, has always proven
Of course we’d hope that rioters would learn from their crimes, but this is rarely the case. In the London riots of 2011, rioters burned down the local Sainsbury’s in their own
This is exemplary that, in every case,
So, what can we take away here? First, and most importantly, that riots are, by their very nature spontaneous, mindless and, for the most part, uncontrollable. Second, if an individual lives in or near a location where
The key here is that the move
- Source, Jeff Thomas via Sprott Money