"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Kick a Puppy, get a Mean Dog. More on looting and rioting

"Kick a puppy and you get a mean dog," the expression goes. Sure. What we need more than anything else in the aftermath of these latest lootings and riots on the streets of English cities is to ask ourselves why the puppies feel kicked - why they are growing up to be mean dogs.
And, somewhat controversially, David Cameron UK Prime Minister has now asked for advice from Bill Bratton former head of the New York Police Department. In Bratton's first two years at that post, reports of serious crime dropped 27%. And Mr Bratton is no stranger to UK policing, having teamed up with British officers at other times over the past 20 years.
According to Sky News, "In 2009, the Queen awarded him the honorary title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Mr Bratton, who is now a security expert, left the Los Angeles police force in 2009 after significantly lowering the crime rate." So he clearly has wide ranging and valuable experience. Yes our UK police are wonderful, but what is wrong with having the humility to also ask others for advice.

In his ‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address to a Sojourners conference in 2006, Barack Obama reminded the audience ‘the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man. Solving these problems will require changes in government policy; it will also require changes in hearts and minds.’

Simone Weil once said: ‘A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.’ Or as Barack Obama has described this in our twenty first century world, in an address to a Sojourners conference in 2006: ‘When a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we have a problem of morality; there's a hole in that young man's heart; a hole that government programs alone cannot fix.’

So we need to dig deep into all our resources to try to understand this current crisis.

For anyone who wants to explore this further, and wants to make their own contribution to help society heal what is wrong at its roots, I now unashamedly recommend my own book - the result of much research into this and other contemporary world issues. There is a whole chapter on Community, how it is formed and why it becomes broken, how we are failing our youth, the need for education and healing, etc. all brought together with the wisdom of renowned thinkers and leaders past and present and with lots of suggested resources for further action on both sides of The Pond.

‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root,’ wrote Henry David Thoreau. We all have to start striking at those roots.

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