So, with a little clear light between ourselves and the riots, some corners of the press (and government) are calling for rioters to be evicted from social housing. Even suggesting changing the law to ensure it.
Stop right there. I mean it; stop.
What good is evicting someone from their homes on the basis of one or two nights of violence going to do? The argument I'm going to get in return is "oh, they deserve to be punished", possibly followed by a description of rioters as "feral" "scum" and "rats". (Don't know about you, but describing rioters as rats just gives me the mental picture of a gang of rope-tailed rodents carrying a HD ready telly, but anyway.)
Yes, if they've been convicted of a crime, they will be punished by the legal system. But, like a lot of the rhetoric, evictions just reinforce a view that the rioters are evil and beyond redemption, so the best thing for them is to be cast out of society. If that view point prevails, then we are in for a lot more trouble!
1. If you've been cut off by society, you're unlikely to be wanting to follow society's rules. Just like the law of a country only applies to residents and those it does business with, so the rules of society apply to those living within society.
2. The best way to deal with the violence of the last few weeks, is to look at our society. What has happened in our culture that has encouraged the riots? As some have (correctly) pointed out consumerism has a lot to answer for. (Though, it's all very well sitting in your ivory tower, you've got to get down on the ground and do something about it)
3. Think about how much youngsters have to do in the long summer holidays. Is there a large gap where a bit of stimulation should be? There's nothing more frustrating than boredom. Think about their communities - what will be lost when the cuts come?
Instead of casting families out of society for the misdemeanour's of one teenager, we need to look at ourselves and work to change society for the better. And, yes, it might be a good idea if the church pulled its finger out to help too!