London riots arrests emphasize complex motivations
Summary of story from NPR, August 11, 2011
The separate cases of two young women who have been arrested following riots in London highlight the difficulty in understanding the motivation behind the violence and looting.
Chelsea Ives, 18, was turned in by her mother when she was recognised throwing bricks at a police car on television.
Ms Ives is also accused of showing particular antipathy to cellphone stores — prosecutors say she hurled the first brick at a Vodafone store, and she’s also accused of attacking a Phones4U shop.
She has pleaded not guilty to two counts of burglary, violent disorder and attacking a police car.
Her lawyer described his client as a “talented sportswoman,” possibly referring to Ms Ives’ status as an Olympics ambassador, a group meant to get young people involved with the London Summer Games in 2012.
The other case concerns Natasha Reid, 24, who handed herself in to police because she was “unable to sleep” after taking part in looting goods from a Comet appliance store.
Reid pleaded guilty to stealing a TV that was worth between $430 and $490.
A college graduate who said she had plans to go into social work, Reid reportedly wept and held her head in her hands as she explained what happened.
She had been walking to a McDonald’s in north London, she said, “when she passed a Comet store that had been broken into,” according to the Mirror. So she grabbed a television.
WVoN comment: Neither of these cases fit the increasingly popular categorisation of rioters being those who are simply disconnected from society.
One was a college graduate looking to go into social work, the other was taking part in “big society”. They don’t fit the stereotype and that’s the problem when you start to look at people instead of demographics. People don’t fit stereotypes.
Personally I think that the desire to find a nice, simple, one-explanation-fits-all is symptomatic of a society that’s stopped viewing individuals as unique human beings with their own needs and wants and motivations.
And that is a very serious issue.