Last Thursday (Aug. 4), Mark Duggan – a 29-year-old man from Tottenham, north London – was shot and killed by police. The events that followed could not have been predicted. The father of four was gunned down by police officers, after he posed "a threat to life." It was later acknowledged that Duggan did indeed have a firearm, but the bullet found to be shot was police-issued, suggesting that bullet came from a police gun, not Duggan's. At present, according to the BBC, "there is no evidence to suggest Mark Duggan opened fire at police before being shot dead by a firearms officer."
The streets of north London were horrified by the murder of the innocent man, leading to various members of the community to start a protest, demanding answers from the police. These questions were not met, tempers flared, and the protest spiralled uncontrollably into anarchy: police cars were set on fire and shops were looted. The man dem were not playing! What started out as a small protest was about to lead into something much more dark and sinister, which would leave thousands jobless and cause our beloved Prime Minister to leave his family holiday to come back and do, well...absolutely nothing at all.
From the London boroughs of Tottenham, Enfield and Croydon, to cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Leicester – young people around the UK joined forces and started rioting: stealing from shops and burning police stations down, leaving millions of pounds worth of damage behind them. When a chance to laugh in the face of the law came around, people jumped at it. Now, not that I condone any of this behaviour, but could these young people be doing all of this to prove a point?
For many years, the police have used their power against our youth - especially our young black men - so maybe it’s their time to prove that they, too, have power? I'm just saying. It was only a matter of time before a tabloid journo, Paul Routledge, ignorantly pointed the finger at rap music for the cause of these riots. So, I took to Twitter and asked some UK lyricists to share their thoughts on the chaos currently taking place on the streets of the UK.
: "I’ve been beaten up and abused by the police since I was 17 years old. It’s not even a black thing anymore, the system just don’t care about the youth and the government cuts are leaving the country dirt broke. People are fuckin’ pissed!"
: "I believe that we must find more educated ways to tackle our problems. People should vote Labour and become more of a community."
: "It should have never happened. My thoughts go out to anyone who was hurt or experienced being scared."
: "All I can say is that I don't condone the looting, at all. End of! The government don't connect with the youth. #Change."
: "It’s some idiot ting! Just shows that people are clones and that they have no morals."
: "Looting is one thing, but burning down small businesses and homes of the general public is despicable. Cameron came too late and the media reporting is suspect. Not all of the areas affected are shown/spoken about. I wonder why that is?"
: "No smoke without fire. More than just mindless crime. Need to stop the cause, etc, etc."
: "Destroying innocent people's homes and family businesses is not going to make the government realise that there needs to be a change. We’re all going to suffer for this at the end of the day."
: "The whole riot thing has got out of hand. People have taken it a bit too far. But people are forgetting the reason why this all started. The reason is because Mark’s family wasn’t given any information on how he died and the police had everyone waiting in the station for 4/5 hours. I hope this all stops and that people come to their senses."
: "Too many black men have died in suspicious circumstances involving the police, but I don't condone burning innocent people's homes and businesses, that isn't helping the situation. But every now and again, these things have to happen for a change to be made."
: "I think the riots started because the police killed an innocent man in Totty! The Government don't do anything for the youth, they only harass them. They started the first riot in north London because the police assaulted a young girl. It's time to let the government know that the youth have had enough!
: "You've gotta look at the reason why this is happening in the first place. Young people in this country are frustrated, angry and restful towards the system here. They are bored, idle and there is a lack of role models in our communities. The government taking away funding for mentors and youth clubs has all added to the madness in the streets, NOT RAP OR GRIME MUSIC! Everyone needs to take responsibility in regards to this issue."