|Image via Flickr courtesy of Spinneyhead|
I didn't have much to add to the blogosphere on the subject of the riots after my initial post Tuesday morning, and since then London has calmed down considerably. The increase in police presence definitely helped me, personally, feel safer and more secure; though there over 3x more police on the streets each evening, stores and pubs are still boarded up. Tuesday night the police in Islington were from Cumbria; last night they were from Cleveland. On my way home from my run, we saw a bunch of Cleveland cops resting in their van and I thanked them for coming down to help us – they seemed genuinely pleased to be acknowledged.
Meanwhile, the violence has spread north to Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds, Liverpool, and west to Bristol. I feel bad that some of their police are in London keeping the peace while the colleagues left at home are battling the riots in reduced numbers. But it's been made clear that police now have the authority to act against the rioters, rather than watch and contain the violence, and it seems to be making an impact.
No one knows when this senseless lawlessness will end; it's been raining now across the north for the last day and now raining in London which should help keep the criminal element indoors. The Irishman thinks we will have unrest of varying degrees for a few more weeks yet, even if the major rioting stops. What is worst about this situation for me is the heightened sense of suspicion I think all people are feeling. No longer am I apt to just dismiss the kids on bikes with hooded sweatshirts that I see on a daily basis – now, and for some time to come, I will wonder what they are up to and probably judge them. I don't want to be that person. I want to maintain my idealism and faith in humanity... problem is, I fear they're both already gone. Hopefully, I can somehow nurture their return.