In the last few days I have heard a whole heap of people, from Bishops (of Manchester) to politicians (Keith Vaz), to Joe Public, all calling the recent violence in certain communities, MINDLESS.
I know that we all use words to mean different things, but mindless seems wholly inappropriate for this outbreak of theft.
People made choices, took calculated risks in order to do what they did. It doesn't make sense now (I am guessing that for most people as they sit in court they may have a dawning realisation of the same), but at the time it was not mindless. The opportunity to and advantages of, stealing outweighed the risk of getting caught. Daft in hindsight, but not mindless.
What is also clear is that in places there were minds at work. There was order to the theft. There was system and choice. There were ringleaders and co-ordinators. They are possibly the same ringleaders and co-ordinators that work day in day out making deals out of criminal activity.
Some of those co-ordinators were mothers: seeing an opportunity to feed their kids, provide entertainment. Criminal by our laws yes, mindless no.
It is easy for us to dismiss things as mindless because we do not understand them. But in doing that we do a further work of distancing ourselves from what has just happened.
And that is the title of the next post.