|A woman leaps for her life from a blazing building in Croydon|
|Camden Lock last night|
The police have, of course, borne the brunt of violent attacks, without resorting to it themselves (in most cases). Even though they are an easy 'hate' target by the rioters,we must remember that they too are victims, trying to be everywhere at once in order to respond to the destruction and challenges around us. Last night was one of the worst scenes of disorder in London for a generation. The London riots is not just a game. It is criminality, lawlessness and burglary. Chief among the victims, however, are the ordinary residents whose neighbourhoods have been trashed, whose livelihoods have been comprised, whose shops have been looted and whose lives have taken a distinctly fearful wondering of which place will next be hit. Like most people, I have nothing but hard questions and no answers. I can only hope that in the wake of this, community after community will seriously tackle the causes of the situation.
While London is feeling despair today, there has been some hope. Neighbours, co-workers, and complete strangers have spent the day commiserating with one another, checking to see that people have kept safe in the midst of the upheaval. Some youngsters in Camden High Street carried signs advertising 'free hugs' to anyone who felt a need for one, and the capital is coming together to rebuild its communities, literally in the mass 'riot clean-up', and metaphorically as we prepare for another night, and a new chapter that seeks answers to the mob mentality that has swept through the city and across the country.